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So disappointed - thought we'd cracked 6yo's bad behaviour

(27 Posts)
Hippee Sun 05-May-13 21:45:05

I have posted before about DS1's behaviour, asking for advice on how to deal with it. The first time was when he was 4 and I got some really helpful posts telling me that if I hadn't sorted his behaviour by four I never would shock sad

He has always been challenging in comparison to other children. He is very lively, but also gets very tired. He cannot seem to stop messing about or fiddling with things. I usually can't leave him alone with DS2(4) and DD(3) without there being shouting and screaming as he either takes toys from them or pushes them or bosses them about within a few minutes. He won't stop when asked and the naughty step and sticker charts don't always work as punishment/reward. He behaves better at school, but his teacher has to keep a very close eye on him. I have asked his key workers at nursery and teachers at school what they think and they have always said that he is "at the lively end of normal". He behaves very well in one-to-one situations with me and other adults. With his brother and sister it all quickly degenerates and I find it hard to not become the shouty mum that I hate being. He is also not happy - he doesn't sleep well, says that he has nightmares, and tells me that he can't help doing naughty things because he can't stop the bad thoughts sad. I try to make him see how much we love him, and that we just don't love his bad behaviour - and he seems to feel secure and tells us that he loves us (he's very cuddly).

I have been on parenting courses and we have even tried homeopathy and cranial osteopathy, having had both recommended by friends. Nothing worked. Finally, his latest teacher suggested fish oils. We'd used a multi-vitamin with fish oils before, but changed to Eye-Q. Within a couple of days, and for the next 3 months it has been like having a different child - he's not perfect, of course, but I felt that we could finally have a normal, happy family life - and best of all, he was happier too. His teacher noticed the difference. Then, last week, it all reverted to how it was before. He had started a couple of extra activities in the week, and I wondered whether they had tipped him over the edge. He only did one of them this week, but it has not improved.

Sorry that this has been such a long post - just have no idea what to try next. Any advice will be very gratefully received.

MaryRobinson Sun 05-May-13 22:07:16

Maybe the extra activities are tiring him out too much?

rubyslippers Sun 05-May-13 22:09:13

I could have written your OP

I wish I had the answers - much sympathy

sad

sittinginthesun Sun 05-May-13 22:14:02

How's his sleeping this week? We've all been waking up earlier (due to the sun actually shining), and I've noticed an impact on all our behaviour.

steppemum Sun 05-May-13 22:20:30

I have just read 'siblings without rivalry' by Adele Foster - same one who wrote How to Talk so Kids Listen (which is also good)

she has lots of ideas for helping to reduce sibling tension.

My ds is full-on and has been hard work at times. He is pretty horrible to one of his sisters and the fighting is really hard. Some of her suggestions are already working.

Can really relate to the ''normal happy family life for a change''

TBH the link to fish oils and the brain has been pretty much over inflated from the original studies and so i would suggest that it is more that you have hit on something that helps than that it was the fish oils.

poachedeggs Sun 05-May-13 22:22:42

Does he snore? If he does, he may have sleep apnoea. See your GP, because it's fixable.

Hippee Sun 05-May-13 22:38:56

Doh - just posted a reply and lost it.

Thanks everyone so far. Since the reversal sleep has become broken - usually ending up with him in our bed in the middle of the night, so no-one gets good sleep. He's also messing about at bedtime - it took 2 hours tonight - so he'll be shattered tomorrow. He doesn't snore, but I'll look up sleep apnoea.

I have been reading Siblings without Rivalry too - it's spot on, but the techniques don't seem to be working yet. My biggest problem is getting him to stop and listen - and just not do whatever comes into his mind.

I am thinking of postponing one of the activities until after the summer, but he really wants to do it, so that will be a shame.

rubyslippers - let's form a support group!

steppemum Sun 05-May-13 22:55:24

my ds is definitely a lot worse if tired. It is like his short fuse just got much shorter.

He also struggles to fall asleep at times, although once he is asleep he stays asleep. We reviewed bedtime, no screens, bath, relax time (story and cuddle) let him read in low light for 15 minutes, etc etc. It helps some, but isn't perfect.

Act first think second is definitely the way it is, my mantra is 'use your voice - ask her to move instead of hitting her because she is in the way'

With the siblings book, I am trying it, and I see little chinks where behaviour is beginning to change a bit, One of the main issues between my lot is competition - 'it's not fair' 'she's gone on the computer and its my turn' 'she's had 2 biscuits and I want another one'
I have found the book helpful to rethink it all, to make them not in competition with each other.

rubyslippers Mon 06-May-13 09:28:39

I'm up for a support group smile

i have that siblings without rivalry book, i must dig it out

DS is much worse if he doesn't get enough sleep - he had his tonsils and adenoids out about 2 months ago and he is sleeping much better now but i think he has a sleep deficit to catch up on

he used to have purple bags under his eyes - used to snore like a train

it's so frustrating - he can be so good so i know he can but there is no consistency.

wibblyjelly Mon 06-May-13 10:35:32

This may be a silly suggestion, but could you use the 2nd activity as an incentive to be good? Monitor his behaviour on a chart, and if he has been good enough he gets to go, if not he doesn't? My ds is only 7 months, so I have all this to go, so sorry if you've already tried it, and it hasn't worked.

Hippee Mon 06-May-13 21:42:04

I am saying that Beavers may have to wait if he can't calm down wibbly - we missed it last week because of polling day anyway. He's been great today, but we have had an exciting time with older cousins. I'm sure that MIL and SIL think I am exaggerating how bad he can be, because he does tend to be okay at big family things where he gets loads of attention.

Will stick with the Siblings book and try a few more things. We do have "treat day" for all three, separately - for DS1 it means that on Wednesdays we go to a cafe before school after dropping DS2 and DD off at nursery and we do something together after school too, before we pick them up.

Will let you know of anything we try that works!

Lavenderhoney Tue 07-May-13 16:15:40

I've just read 123 magic and it has worked a charm ( instantly almost) for teasing and a few other minor issues - whinging and rudeness.

It's very helpful. I had a bad day with mine last sat and wanted to run away. I felt totally ignored and just a shouty mum. 24 hrs later, I haven't shouted, ds is much happier, no incidents since the first time i used it for teasing and bossing dd, and said crossly " I wish you hadn't thought of that county thing". Hah!

Have you tried a chart for good behaviour at school with a treat at the end? This could be just you and him go out together whilst your dh has the others.

My ds is often super tired and silly after school- so he has a snack on the way home, and then he has a bath with music of his choice- bit of me- time before homework and being surrounded by others. Plus bedtime is a lot more relaxedsmile

wibblyjelly Tue 07-May-13 16:38:39

Hope it works itself out soon for you.

Hippee Wed 08-May-13 14:27:31

Thanks everyone - to top it all I've got internet connection problems, so access to Mumsnet is limited!

We use 123 Magic and it worked for a while but not quite so effective now.

I'll try him in the bath earlier - hadn't thought of that one.

Hope everyone else is okay.

Lavenderhoney Wed 08-May-13 14:35:41

I had to get my ds to realise early bath wasnt a punishment and meant early bed! I bought him some " relaxing clothes" ( pjamas) which are not referred to as pjs. He buys itsmile and dd has some now- they live to get home after a busy day, bath and put on relaxing clothes now.

I am also super clear on expectations every day if I think he might start, in a nice way. I also try and have a chat with him when he's in the bath, just a nice chat about football or new books or whatever. He says he feels grown up, which is nice, I think.

quickchat Wed 08-May-13 21:29:12

I haven't read other posts so sorry if this is duplicate.

I have 3, boy, girl, boy.

I notice sometimes my DS1 can get quite jealous and tearful and I think it is becaus ethe older one always misses out a bit. They are at school while the others are at home or "fun nursery" not like "boring school".

I think it must be hard being a very little 6 yr old but there are two even smaller more demanding and let's face it, cuter siblings!

I have started taking DS1 out with just me or getting DH to take him out alone and this seems to have boosted him alot. I think they need one to one at his age and especially when they are the older one but still little IYSWIM!

Do you have support to be able to take him out alone regularly, say once a week even for 2 hours?

Hippee Tue 14-May-13 15:59:27

Thanks again - just got internet back so catching up. A friend tells me that she has 10 minutes "worry time" with her DD1 every night - have started this with DS1, but it's hard because DS2 always buts in.

I'm talking to the doctor about it all on Thursday, without DS1 being there.

quickchat - that is one of the things that I do - Wednesday is "treat day" and we have an hour before school and a couple of hours after school by ourselves. DH also does quite a lot with him on his own too. A friend has recommended "Lovebombing" - where you have a whole weekend on one-to-one.

Ilikethebreeze Tue 14-May-13 16:19:43

This thread is thought provoking.
My kids are older so sort of been there, done that.

The fish oils is interesting that it made your child like a different child.
Linking all your posts together, it strikes me that your ds may find it difficult to focus?
You say he reacts or behaves well on a one to one basis.
But not so well with his siblings.
And is now struggling with 2 extra activities in his routine.

I am somewhat thinking that it is the extra stimulus, or extra number of child interactions, or both, that he finds too challenging.
[Would definitely continue with the fish oil though. I cant see how 3 months can be a fluke.]

Also thinking that he, and not to mention you and the other siblings, would benefit from him being by himself playing, reading whatever in another room say for a few minutes an hour. He would probably find that helpful to sort of cope and bring himself to think about his actions and give him some easy quieter time iyswim.

luckymamaoffour Fri 17-May-13 06:20:41

I am going to go against the grain here and suggest maybe he is reacting to the level of control in the house. I know my son did and I didn't consider myself particularly authoritarian, but I did use behaviour modification techniques (time-out, star charts, limits and consequences). It wasn't until I read this book www.wombatbooks.com/theshepherdess - (its a non-punitive parenting book) and followed the strategies that things improved and I really understood that he was just reacting to being controlled (as he saw it).

luckymamaoffour Fri 17-May-13 06:22:56

Sorry wrong link. The book is called The Shepherdess; A Guide to Mothering without Control. www.wombatbooks.com.au/the-shepherdess.

CreatureRetorts Fri 17-May-13 06:28:33

What's his diet like generally?

MinimalistMommi Sat 18-May-13 10:36:34

I'd bin the activities (do activities during day at weekend instead) and see routine as most important thing. My five year old would have loved Rainbows but I know her behaviour would have got more difficult with over tiredness. I almost have to insist she goes to bed earlier (she's not allowed to play after her bath, otherwise she can't settle off, she can just read or colour after her bedtime story for a bit and then when she is snuggling in bed I make up a little five minute story and then sing her a song that I have done since she was very little.) We seem to have two three good nights where she settles off and then one bad night where she can't. Lots of sleep and her behaviour is so much better, bad night and she's grumpy and naughty. She has really early bedtime by the way, lights out 6.30.

Also constipation can make her very grumpy too?! So I make sure she drinks lots of fluids.

I think sleep, or lack of, has the biggest influence on a child's day to day behaviour.

MinimalistMommi Sat 18-May-13 10:37:47

Also, my girl is a little angel on a one to one basis, but with her sibling it can be another story.

MinimalistMommi Sat 18-May-13 10:39:26

Also, my youngest is separated from her sibling after bath time (they share a room, my oldest goes to my room to read and goes to bed at seven) otherwise she gets into interacting with her or fighting and then she would not relax and be able to fall asleep.

MinimalistMommi Sat 18-May-13 10:40:07

I think ILike is spot on about the extra stimulus.

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