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problems with DS

(7 Posts)
NettleTea Thu 06-Oct-11 10:21:19

should probably post on education, but feel I know people on here a bit better!
I am feeling a bit tearful today.

I am not sure what is happening with DS, young age 5. I know that he is a very sensitive boy, but I am struggling with the fact that everything seems to set him off crying, and I dont know how to deal with it. I dont think I deal with it very well because I find it very frustrating when it's about something stupid, or he seems to be getting inproportionately upset about things which dont seem to warrant the extremes of emotion he is displaying. For example this morning he had a complete breakdown because he couldnt find his magic wand, and it turned out that he had left it at the farm, and hysteria resulted, ending up with me sending him to sit on the stairs until he could stop crying (as he was blaming me and shouting that I was mean when I suggested that we could get it next time we went there, and he was screaming that he hated me)

I think he is over tired as well, but he keeps getting up at the crack of dawn, and when I put him to bed he doesnt go to sleep. This obviously doesnt help. And I am not sleeping well so my patience isnt what it could be. Things spiral out of control very quickly and we all end up upset.

He is not having much fun at school. Every day he says it was the worst day ever, and every day he is reporting that people are being mean, or have hit him, or he is being bullied. I dont know whether his definition of being bullied is accurate - whether he classifies anyone who says something he doesnt like is bullying, or whether there is substance in what he says - as he can go off on a simple disagreement, and has a tendancy to get sad very easily, it is hard to judge what is going on. I know he has been hit, but I also know that by crying so easily he may also be setting himself up to have people say things which set him off. DD (yr 6) has told me about seeing him crying at playtime, although she is often not at break at the same time as him. He is fine in the classroom aparantly, and doing well with lessons. I know that the step from reception to a mixed yr1/yr2 class is a big step, which is probably mentally exhausting as well. I have spoken to the teachers when there are reports of him being hit, and they have said that they will keep an eye on things. But again he has reported things happening (like being put on the naughty chair) which have proved to be made up - they dont even HAVE a naughty chair! I put down some of these reports to him making things up tojustify why he felt awful as its very hard for a 5 year old to admit that he is just very tired.

Yesterday he fell off his bike and smashed his face up, so he isnt feeling that great. DD also said that there was a problem with a yr4 boy who bashed him, which was reported to the teacher. At home we have a bunch of kids who play together outside, and he has been reporting every 5 mins that they are being mean to him - wont let him play, are asking him out and then going into their garden and saying he cant come in. I dont understand what is happening. I dont know if there is something about him that makes him a target for being the victim - if it is the fact that he is easy to make cry and others think that is funny, or that he is just very oversensitive and the normal wrangles of 5 year olds are being over reacted to. I feel awful, adults say he is a lovely little boy but why are other kids being so mean. He loved school last year, was friends with everyone, we had no playground issues, I just dont know what has gone wrong.

GodKeepsGiving Thu 06-Oct-11 10:26:31

He sounds very similar to my son who has autism. It may well be worth taking him to your GP and getting a referral to Paediatric Psychologist. It's incredibly stressful for you and I'm so sorry for what you're going through. Obviously, he may have no medical issues but it's worth checking it out. I would take him to the doctor anyway and possibly speak to the school nurse. I'm so sad for you and really do hope things get better soon.

GodKeepsGiving Thu 06-Oct-11 10:37:35

Also, it's worth speaking to school and the HV. I hope I didn't alarm you with suggesting autism but I have 3 SN children and one with severe health problems and they frequently do interact differently from other children. I have also found that if my son is very upset and stressed it's worth keeping him at home for a day or two or he gets worse. I don't know if that's an option for you, but forcing him to go when he's feeling very emotional is counter-productive. I know MNet isn't the place for hugs but I'm sending one for you and your little boy anyway because I know how difficult it is. Be strong for him, but don't neglect yourself, you need support with this too. Please feel free to private message me if I can help you any further.

NettleTea Thu 06-Oct-11 11:14:29

thanks for the reply. Its possible that is is on one of the 'spectrums' although he generally interacts very well with other children, and is very emotionally aware - he is highly empathic and very imaginative regarding playing with toys, far more imaginative play than his sister. We are all aware that he is a bit of a perfectionist and very upset by sudden changes - in the past the sorts of things which have upset him are biscuits breaking in half, changes of activity (ie going from 'play' to 'tidy up time' - he is always given reminders that these things will happen) other people breaking rules, other people getting upset, and things not being/doing exactly as they should/did last time. This behaviour was far more noticeable when he was younger, he does seem to be a little more relaxed about things, but it is possible that the change in classes has had more of an impact than we are all aware of.

ChitChattingWithKids Thu 06-Oct-11 11:24:08

It seems to me the first challenge is making sure he has enough sleep. If he's tired no coping strategies are going to work.

If he's getting up at 5.30 am then he goes straight back to bed. At bedtime he goes to bed, regardless of whether he sleeps or not. Keep the room dark so that he can't look at books/play with toys. In fact, it would probably be best if there were no distractions in his room, so removing toys from his room may be needed. Don't interact with him when he gets out of bed apart from putting him back in and walking away. (You've probably seen all the Nanny SOS shows, that sort of thing!!!). A very strict bedtime routine would help, bath for 15 minutes with 3 toys of choice. Into PJs, then a story. Hugs and kisses and then out of the room. He is probably overtired and therefore not sleeping well. For a few days there may well be tantrums and it will more than likely get worse before it gets better.

Perhaps try to organise some 1 to 1 play sessions with other children from school, to give your DS a chance to become friendly with someone in a less pressured environment. Some children need extra time to make friends, and just don't cope with larger groups. Although the fact that he loved school last year probably means that overall he is ok with other children so it is probably something quite specific that is causing the problems.

I don't know anything about autism, but ANYONE who hasn't had enough sleep will find it hard to deal with things, and school is pretty tiring and difficult for children.

NettleTea Thu 06-Oct-11 11:37:17

I did tell him he wasnt to get up this morning until he heard the alarm clock (apart from a wee!) and he did as asked, so thinkwe can break the early morning routine. His best friend at school has been the recipient of name calling, which has upset him too, and I had been thinking about inviting him to tea. He used to play with a few of the girls in reception, but now they have discarded him as they now have access to older girls, which I think is another blow for him. He wasnt interested in playing football after school, which is a shame as I thought it may give him a game to play in the playground with other boys. He wants to go riding and do streetdance like his sister. He does enjoy his bike, climbing trees and adventuring at the farm, but is also very keen on birdwatching/fishing/nature and loves programmes like Wonders of the Solar System in preference to Ben 10! That said most sticks become weapons, though he has never quite managed to shift the thoughts of his uncle, an army officer who was murdered in his sleep by a rogue soldier in Afghanistan a couple of years ago, and is quite despairing about the whole concept of war. He went to a very forest school inspired nursery, and I was worried that it had been a fairly cossetted existance and he would have trouble adjusting to the rough and tumble of primary school (though to be fair it is a very small village school with an intake of 14) Seems the culture shock has only just kicked in.

ChitChattingWithKids Thu 06-Oct-11 11:47:47

Well with an intake of just 14 there isn't a huge amount of choice of who to play with which can make it easier and harder - time will tell.

My DS plays nicely with girls when it's 1 to 1, and I have a lovely cuppa with the other mum - tried to have a few play sessions over the summer so that he had a chance to make new friends before school started. But at school he doesn't play with the girls, which he finds sad. Not trying to stereotype, but it seems the girls are happier doing indoor, sitting down craft activities while my DS prefers Dinosaurs, the climing frame and running around.

I suspect if he prefers different activities to the norm he may well find it harder, but hopefully with support he can work through that and find things in common with the other DC anyway.

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