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Uncontrollable violent rages in a 4 yr old

(12 Posts)
BramblyHedge Tue 14-Dec-10 12:36:42

DS1 (4) started reception in September and is generally a nice, relatively well behaved boy. He can be a monkey like all little boys but no problems at school, gets on with his little brother, plays nicely etc, bit lazy but nothing to worry about.

However something seems to have snapped with him lately and he is having what I can only describe as rages, stemming from apparently nothing. He will repeatedly shout 'No' very loudly and abruptly - not respond to anything (either being told off or softly softly lets have a cuddle approach). He will kick, hit and scratch (not great as 7 mths preg with dc3), tell us to go away (which we do but he keeps going on). Nothing gets through to him (talking about nice things/ bribery/ threats/ trying to cuddle).

Yesterday I was walking home from school with him and all I said was ' how was your day' and 'really looking forward to seeing you in the play tomorrow' - he threw his lunchbox down, did the 'No' thing and ran ahead of me all the way home (no roads to cross). He was trying to hit me and when I asked why he said he didn't want me to ask him 'how he was'.

Then last night he woke up at 11.30 and we had an hour of this - ds2 had a temperature as it was and ended up in our room as he was so upset (they share). DS was trying to kick my tummy, yelling as loud as he could (great as we live in a Victorian terrace next to a social worker). He was crying, responding to nothing (mainly us trying to give him a cuddle/ find out what was wrong).. so so angry. I am hormonal and got upset and it was all a big mess. I had to push him away from me at one point as he was trying to thump me and then he said I was hitting him (which I wasn't and wouldn't ever). I am very worried as it is all so out of character and also because I am worried what the neighbours think.

Sorry this is a bit of an essay - part of me wonders whether this is just him trying to assert himself as he starts school, but part of me wonders whether there is something very wrong. He does also have night terrors but they are totally different as he is asleep for those. Any thoughts welcome

DingALongCow Tue 14-Dec-10 13:24:59

Sounds like there is a lot going on in his life at the moment, DD (5) is always more angry/emotional at the end of term we have found, as it is a long few months when they are this young. At the end of the first term in Reception some of the exitement has worn off and with a new brother/sister on the way he might rather be at home (obviously not possible though!) as it is sinking in that this is for a good long time now! Plus add in all the 'unusal' school stuff like nativity play and parties etc and it can be quite unsettling. DD is very emotional at the moment, lots of extra weeping and shouting and she has been at school for a year now, its all a bit much and I can't wait for Friday.

It might be worth asking his teacher how he is at school, DD started behaving like this in the middle of the term when she was having a hard time with two of her classmates (pushing, namecalling and one strangled her). It was out of her comfort zone and she didnt know what to do and who to go to for help.

She also goes through phases where she doesn't want to talk about her day and I back off and chat about things that make her happy instead - not what I have done that day as it makes her wish she was with me, but funny things, or things to look forward to-like Christmas.DD was jealous that I spend all day with her little brother so I try and make time for just her in the evenings-I spend much longer in her room at bedtime after I have put her brother to bed and we talk/read etc. Hard though when I just want to go downstairs and get on.

I hope things improve a bit for you soon.

tb Tue 14-Dec-10 17:09:22

Sorry, can't offer anything positive - we had the same problem when dd was 5 - she tried to break dh's glasses when she was told to turn off the tv at bedtime.

Despite camhs and the French equivalent, we're still having problems 8 years later - only problem she's now 5cm taller than me and weighs 80+kg.

Good luck

InaraSerra Tue 14-Dec-10 17:16:12

It's possible that now you are 7 months pg, the fact you are having another DC is becoming much more 'real' to your DS1. He may recall sharing you with DS2, and not be looking forward to sharing with DC3, and as he's that bit older may understand better what that means. When you add in starting school and all the pre-Christmas excitement it sounds like it's all getting a bit much for him.

Can you spend some special time with him, talk to him about the baby, and see if he needs any reassurance on that front...

YulenoYurbubson Tue 14-Dec-10 17:18:43

Does he have an ear infection?

Has anything changed with his diet?

tb Tue 14-Dec-10 17:19:56

I seem to remember that there was a really good Pingu video where Pingu had a little brother/sister. Would something like that help, because he may not remember feeling the difference between the things he can do, and a baby can't do?

SantaIsMyLoveSlave Tue 14-Dec-10 17:27:11

I suspect that to start with he's absolutely exhausted at the moment -- the first term in Reception can really wipe them out, and often/generally they are fine at school but it all spills out in behaviour at home. Then there's the excitement of Christmas and the stress of a new sibling -- you've got a potentially explosive mixture there.

snowedinthesticks Tue 14-Dec-10 17:47:00

My DS1 had a complete personality change during his first term at school.

As santa says he is probably very, very tired.
In my DSs case there were no behaviour problems at school, he saved it all for me and he was horrible.
I brought his bedtime forward from 7.30m to 6.30 and this did help. Plus he seemed to calm down once he was about half way through reception.

JamieLeeCurtis Tue 14-Dec-10 19:19:43

Yes, he's probably tired, physically and emotionally. For some DCs it's all they can do to hold themselves together at school and then all their emotions seep out at home. At school they put a lot of effort in to being good and concentrating and that is tiring.. DS1 used to have terrible tantrums when I picked him up from school.

Also, if you don't already do so, give him something to eat straight away as they are often very hungry.

He may be finding it hard to be away from you when there's another child at home with you (even if he enjoys school), and he also knows another is on it's way.

Also - he may be very nervous about the play. Some apparently confident children can get quite het up about performing when it comes to it.

Al in all I'd say he sounds pretty normal. Try not to worry. It will pass. I think that sometimes when they are like this is the time they need a bit of what I call "love Bombing" - try and get some time on your own with him.

I would, however mention it to the school, and get them to keep a special eye out in the playground. There may be a problem with another child that they haven't picked up on. This is Just In Case smile

BramblyHedge Fri 17-Dec-10 15:15:19

Thanks for all the replies - glad to see it seems normal and I can see now a few more things that might be causing it - will start with earlier nights and hope he catches up with some sleep over holidays. I am trying to downplay the whole new baby thing but I can see it isn't helping.

tb - funny you say about the glasses - he does actually wear them and I am so hoping he doesn't break them in a fit of rage!

MammyG Fri 17-Dec-10 22:09:49

There are some great books that help wee ones with a new baby. The teacher could also do a class on this at school. I always do when someone is expecting I think it helps the kids to hear how their peers coped and felt. I would also check with the school. I have often had parents come to me with anger issues at home and I would have an angel at school. A good few times there was actually an issue at school from not liking who they were sitting with, to struggling with something.
I also have 3dc's. DS1 hates when I try to hold him if he is cross/tetchy and DS2(real temper) totally acts up and gets out of hand if I try to soften him up I have found the only thing that works is to disengage and tell them you will not interact until they calm down. And then follow thru and dont interact with them until they verbalize relatively calmly what is wrong. DS2 can just burst into temper and wail and I have to sit there and repeat that I dont understand what is wrong and he has to stop screaming if he want me to understand him. I have found the calmer and slightly more detached or unphased I am the better he responds. lately it all ends in a reassuring hug and cuddle session but he is over it by then.

BramblyHedge Sun 19-Dec-10 21:46:08

Thanks MammyG - I think I am beginning to learn what doesn't work and restraining is one of those! I partly do it to stop him kicking my tummy but think I just need to make sure I remove myself from his vicinity. I mentioned it to his teacher and she seemed surprised but maybe she might keep a bit of an eye on him and mention anything now I have flagged it.

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