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DS(8) has almost daily meltdowns - immaturity or something wrong?

(9 Posts)
largetiamaria Fri 01-Jul-11 21:34:17

I need to talk about my DS. He has always been a challenge but things have not improved with age and he still frequently loses his temper in a massive way. He totally loses control of himself and screams, spits, lashes out and calls me and DH the worst insults we can think of. He kicks off if we ask him to do something, if he is not allowed to do something, or if he gets into a dispute with one of his sisters. Typically he does not calm down for over an hour.

I don't know what to do anymore. I've read many parenting books and feel fairly confident in my ability to parent my 2 dds, but do not have a clue how to handle my son. He is getting bigger and it's difficult to restrain him if he tries to hit us. We stay calm and put him in his room to calm down but he just runs out again. He doesn't care about any threat - we take away tv and computer time and pocket money but he's not bothered, we just do it because we don't know what else to do.

My dds are avoiding him more and more and are not getting the attention they need due to us constantly trying to deal with ds. He is generally quite negative about everything and considers that he has a bad life but can also be delightful and we have some good times together if he's in the right mood. He is fine at school.

I worry about why he is like this and if it's something we have done. DH think's it's just the way he is and that he's immature and things will improve. I hope he's right but thought things would have improved by now if it's just immaturity (I agree that he is emotionally immature).

Anyone have experience of a child like this? This situation is ruining our family life and I'm scared to go out and do anything in case he kicks off.

HelloKlitty Sat 02-Jul-11 08:55:06

Some things to thinnk about are what he is eating and how much TV and computer time he is getting.

8 is still very young....and if he is getting 10 hours sleep a night and a good balance of TV time and healthy food then I would put it down to immaturity and maybe frustration. Is he getting plenty of excersise? That's another thing to think about.

If you are honest with yourself...does he eat many additives? Ordinary things like squash can affect some kids really badly...likewise cheap yogurts and crisps can have an adeverse affect.

When my DD went through a bad phase we eliminated any processed foods and also cut her TV time to one hour a day...no computers in the week at all....it was hard but her behaviour took an amazing turn for the better.

largetiamaria Sat 02-Jul-11 09:39:38

Thanks, he eats healthily, sleeps well and gets plenty of exercise. During term-time he gets hardly any tv time, a bit more in the hoildays but only an hour a day I would say. Same for computer time, although he's lost his DS now for 2 days.

He has a very strong personality and doesn't care what anyone else thinks. For example, he's been refusing to brush his teeth to the extent that they were visibly dirty. He got comments from other kids but couldn't care less. We've now decided that he we are going to brush them whether he likes it or not - another twice daily struggle. Things that my dds would shrug off can cause a major meltdown in ds - things like not wanting to wear any of the socks in his drawer for example. In that situation I tell him he needs to be ready in 5 minutes as we are leaving. He screams for the 5 minutes we are waiting then when he hears us starting to go out of the door, he runs out and puts his trainers on without socks, then cries the whole time we are out because his shoes are hurting him. That would be a typical outing - if not the socks then something else he's angry about.

His behaviour is getting us all down. Each day DH and I wake up and say we're going to try to have a good day today, then ds will punch his sister at the breakfast table because she didn't pass the jam quick enough for his liking, and we're all upset by 7.30am.

cybboid Sat 02-Jul-11 09:52:15

Have you talked to him about his behaviour while he is calm?

My ds (8) also has a very very short fuse, has sworn at us, hit his brother, thrown things and seems at exploding point a lot of the time. Punishments are met with 'I dont care' (Although I know he does)

Is he the youngest? Does he behave like this in public and for others or just for you?

We talked about what he could do as an alternative to swearing and hitting, although it doesnt always work .

We found that if we put a supreme effort in with him, noticing him being good, praising him, its more unlikely that he will kick off. I think a lot of it is frustration with being the youngest in our house

Oh I also wrote fake letter to the Headmaster asking for help and left it lying around where he could read it. That calmed him down for a few weeks!

largetiamaria Sat 02-Jul-11 10:07:08

He only does the meltdowns for us, although if he's got something to say, he will say it, anywhere, to anyone. He has no regard for social politeness at all - I know he's only 8 so hopefully this will come. For example we were recently visiting friends who had a 4 year old ds and he and my ds really didn't get along. We were all sitting down to dinner with the other family when ds announced "X is so annoying, I'm so glad he's not my brother." I'm not insisting he likes everyone, but you can't say that!

I've talked to him a lot about his temper over the years. He has quite good awareness and admits that if he says things like "I hate you" it's because he's angry and he doesn't really mean it. But he always comes up with a reason why he got angry and it's always someone else's fault, i.e. if my sister wasn't so annoying I wouldn't get angry. Lately he has started shouting at me that I hate boys and only like girls, which is hard to hear as that's probably how it looks to him, my dds are hardly ever in trouble.

Thanks for your suggestions, we do need to be more positive and always praise him whenever we can.

largetiamaria Sat 02-Jul-11 10:07:45

He's the middle child of 3.

HelloKlitty Sat 02-Jul-11 11:31:00

It's so hard to judge....but from your posts you mention your DDs a lot...how good they are and how they would shrug off things that make DS melt down...and then when you say that DS says "You only like girls" that does make me think that he may feel unfairly compared....that perhaps he feels pushed out or less important than his sisters.

Does he get any one to one time with you or his Dad? An outing just for him? Time alone to play a game with you?

largetiamaria Sat 02-Jul-11 21:12:56

I think he probably does feel like that at times which obviously makes me feel guilty and upset and which is why I would like to improve the situation if possible. We do make one to one time for him and he particularly enjoys going off with DH as they are interested in similar things. The dds get time too. If anything I would say ds gets more attention than the dds as he is so demanding, the girls often miss out on attention from me but he would never see that, he just thinks everything is so unfair for him. I have to sit with him to do his homework otherwise he would not do it, whereas dd1 is left to get on with it, because she can. He would never see that though.

largetiamaria Sun 03-Jul-11 10:56:03

Had another massive meltdown already this morning. DD2 was quietly colouring in at the table when ds decided he needed the whole table for himself to do something. He ordered dd to move, she protested a bit then he shouted at her and shoved her out of the way. I told him the table was not just for him but dd2 might move over a bit if he asked her nicely. He shouted that no, he needed the whole table and pushed dd again, so I told him to go to his room. He's there now, screaming, but hasn't tried to come out yet. I told him that if he comes out, the time-out will start again from the beginning.

I know it must be annoying to always be in trouble when his sisters rarely are, but I can't possible condone situations like the above, which imo amounts to bullying behaviour.

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