Age 5/6...is it me or is this a really hard stage?

(21 Posts)
Tittie Mon 11-Oct-21 15:43:45

I'm really struggling with this age. My lovely, kind, funny, well behaved DS has become quite hard work over the past few months (he's in Y1). Everything seems to be a battle - he's challenging, pushing boundaries big time, deliberately changing his mind about inconsequential things once it's too late, so that a meltdown has to ensue...he doesn't seem to enjoy school now that learning has become less play based and more formal, so getting him out of the house every morning is a chore and often involves tears 'because I just want to play'. Is this all normal?

Even with fun stuff, e.g. we're about to leave the house to see his friend or go to the park - he'll get to the front door and then announce that he's not going.

I really try so hard to be one of those calm 'gentle parents', following advice I've seen online, but it's so hard and he seems so resistant to the calming or gentle parenting techniques I've read about sad

OP’s posts: |
Ilikecheeseontoast Mon 11-Oct-21 22:42:33

Sorry you’re going through this. Have you tried speaking to his teacher? Y1 should still play quite a bit. Especially this year’s children.

Rainallnight Mon 11-Oct-21 22:51:54

We’re finding the transition to Year 2 bloody though. DD (5) can be tricky anyway, but we’re definitely seeing a lot of emotion about all the hard work/lack of play in Year 1, and a real sadness to have lost her Reception teacher and all the fun she was having there.

I have no advice, just sympathy.

Rainallnight Mon 11-Oct-21 22:52:43

Agh, so many mistakes. It was supposed to say ‘we’re finding the transition to Year 1 bloody tough

iloverainandrainbows Mon 11-Oct-21 23:02:53

I have a 4, nearly 5yo and he is HARD WORK. He's not at school (still in school nursery) as we've deferred him (Scotland). Everything is a negotiation, he won't wear certain clothes, he won't get his teeth brushed, if you suggest something he doesn't want to do it, he won't kiss us goodnight, he won't read books anymore, he screams and has meltdowns if he doesn't get his own way and he's so incredibly whiney. My god, it's so hard.

Tittie Tue 12-Oct-21 07:57:02

That's reassuring to hear. It just feels like a lot of our interactions are negative at the moment because it's all about trying to get him to agree to really basic stuff. I never thought I'd find my toddler the easier of the two!

OP’s posts: |
givemushypeasachance Tue 12-Oct-21 13:22:54

My friends have a 5 year old and think they could have written this post as well! He's a summer born 5 year old, so gone into year one but he's young for his age. Everything does seem to be a bit of a struggle with him. When he's in nice mode he's pleasant to be around, pretty hyper and bouncy, full of imagination, enjoys making up games and running riot at an adventure playground. But he gets very sulky and whiny and temper tantrumy quite easily. At the weekend he had a major meltdown because all he wanted to do was watch youtube videos or play a computer game. This was after already spending quite a bit of time [too long] watching videos that morning. He tantrummed for an extended period of time about this, refusing all suggestions of any other activity, saying all he wanted to do was that, whining and crying. Even refused suggestion of going out to find a new fun park (usually his fave thing to do) and having an ice cream there. The ingratitude of a 5 year old kicking and screaming because you've suggested you will take them to a park for an ice cream if they'd like is certainly grating! His parents generally try to follow gentle parenting as well, but as an external party around that point I was thinking he needed a telling off rather than being told oh that's sad you don't want to do that, and fending off the kicking tantrum legs.

Advertisement

iloverainandrainbows Tue 12-Oct-21 15:10:42

Yes, this sounds familiar mushy! I spend ages negotiating with my son "would you like to go swimming/to soft play/paint/bake/etc etc" and sometimes in his replies, he's so rude to me. I do like to come down quite hard line on rudeness and ungratefulness but sometime I just feel so beaten down by it all that I just can't muster up the energy to follow through with any discipline so the cycle continues.

Legomania Tue 12-Oct-21 15:20:17

My now 6yo had a phase like this earlier in the year. DH and I spent a bit of time reinforcing our basic expectations around politeness (ie, not optional) and introduced a few sanctions (mostly around screen time) when these weren't met. I think some of it was restraint collapse from behaving at school.
Anyway, he's delightful at the moment, so the above plus time seem to have worked.

N4ish Tue 12-Oct-21 15:27:42

Yes, I'm going through this at the moment. My 5 year old seems to be torn between babyhood and being a 'big girl' and veers wildly between the two ways of behaving making life very tricky. I think the extra pressure and structure in year 1 after the freedom of Reception is underlying this so I'm trying to be sympathetic and hoping it will soon pass! I like the term 'restraint collapse' above, will keep that in mind.

ChristmasPlanning Wed 13-Oct-21 12:35:40

Relieved it's not just me! DS is a great boy most of the time and has settled well into primary school. But since since baby type tantrums have increased. Sometimes I think it's the end of the school week and he's overtired and over-exerted. However other times it just feels like pushing boundaries. Some days it's exhausting though!

Woeismethischristmas Wed 13-Oct-21 12:43:58

No consolation but I found 8-9 the hardest stage. Endless back chat.

JassyRadlett Wed 13-Oct-21 12:50:23

Y1 is such a huge jump. And I agree this year’s cohort is probably finding it particularly tough as they didn’t have a normal reception year - they lost nearly a term and then so much time was spent on resettling them then they lost all that natural progression and readiness towards Year 1, so it’s been a massive shock. And so they’re all exhausted, physically and emotionally. I know so many parents in the same boat. We are having a lot of tears over the most inconsequential things at the moment, and I know he’s finding the lack of control really daunting.

With my eldest, he was a lovely, well-behaved toddler and preschooler but then at 5/6 was an utter nightmare as he started to butt up against all the boundaries he hadn’t needed previously. We had to pull the reins pretty tight. He’s (mostly) lovely again now.

So no advice, but much solidarity.

CouldWeStartAgainPlease Wed 13-Oct-21 13:09:32

I have found there to be hard phases at every age so far! They do eventually come through it but at the time it's exhausting and worrying.

My 5yo DS is an absolute dream at the moment (sorry) but I'm making the most of it and trying to store up positive vibes for whenever he enters the next tricky phase. Could be tomorrow, could be a few months.

MeadowHay Wed 13-Oct-21 14:24:51

I have no advice but my 3.5yr old sounds exactly the same albeit smaller & younger. It is draining sometimes and hard to always stay patient and calm and feel empathy. Like some PP have said mine can be super rude - shouting in my face over things and all sorts shock. Me and DH are left wondering how best to deal with it all especially when she's still so little but don't want it to get worse as she gets older. 'Restraint collapse' is apt, she's at nursery 2 days a week and they gush about how amazing and well-behaved she is and she will often be in full-on meltdown mode before she's even been strapped into her car seat!

kymeraray Wed 13-Oct-21 14:37:59

Have been finding the same with my 5 year old. Just went in to P1 (Scotland) but to be honest has been in this phase since about May.

Find her 3 year old sister much easier. Have tried all the gentle parenting with hard boundaries for being rude (to us and her sister). Seems she just keeps pushing and pushing.

I am wondering if I am giving her a bit too much credit and maybe forgotten she really is just a baby. Have had endless chats with her about being rude and “how would you feel if your friend said that to you” but I’m starting to wonder if she actually understands what I’m saying to her. For example: all hell will break loose at least once a day and usually due to her not wanting to share with her sister and ending with screaming and tantrums. If I ask her afterwards “do you know why mummy got you in trouble” She will just say “I was naughty” rather than “I pushed my sister”.

Sorry- random musings and probably not very helpful for anyone.

MagnusMagnusson Wed 13-Oct-21 20:53:46

I had similar experience with my now 6 year old. I put it down to tiredness from moving up to year 1 but also at school (especially year 1 onwards) they are required to follow alot more commands and requests from their teachers than in EYFS. I think when they get home they lose it a bit, almost as a bit of rebellion against having to follow so many rules/instructions in school etc.. It will calm down for sure, my 6 year old is now mostly fine. Still the occasional tantrum/intense frustration. Think there is also a testosterone boost in boys around 5/6 which can impact their behaviour. I find after school activities help alot so that he can let off steam and feel alot freer from all the constraints at school etc...

SkankingMopoke Wed 13-Oct-21 21:37:07

My yr1 5yo is hard going too at the moment, although I remember her sister being the same at this age so it must be a developmental stage/leap, probably amplified by school-related tiredness. The older one is now mostly a joy to be around, so I am holding on to that! Hopefully it will happen soon, as it is only a matter of time before my eyes roll so far back I'm not able to find them again.
We are getting multiple incidents of bursting into tears over incredibly minor things each day, a return to wee accidents most days (only at home though 🤨😏), a lot of foot stomping and screeching, and she has taken to biting/hitting/kicking her sister when she thinks we aren't looking. Her teacher has told us, quite unprompted, that she is a joy to have in her class, and a model student... She looked shocked when I said her behaviour at home was nothing like that!

mistermagpie Wed 13-Oct-21 21:43:49

I can totally relate, my 6 year old was a dream baby and a lovely, sunny toddler and is now like a sulky teenager. I feel like I'm walking on eggshells trying not to 'set him off' and he will veer from totally happy and cheerful to absolute rage in the blink of an eye. He's in P2 (Scotland) and can be difficult about going to school some days and on others he trots right in, but it's virtually impossible to tell what makes the difference. I feel like I'm on a rollercoaster.

In contrast my 4 year old is just lovely at the minute and I've got a nearly-2 year old who is also pretty good, considering, so I don't understand where I'm going wrong with my eldest.

black2black Wed 13-Oct-21 21:47:34

OP I’ve been using a reward chart with my DS3. When he brushes his teeth, puts his PJs on, clothes on, tidies his toys away etc he gets a star for these things. He chooses what his prize is when he gets 10 stars, usually an ice cream. He’s chosen a toy before and a disco with mummy. It’s been so helpful getting him to do as he is told.

lljkk Wed 13-Oct-21 21:51:22

I found age 6 hardest with all 4 DC.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in