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to ask if my 5 yo DS's behaviour is normal?

10 replies

nomoremsniceperson · 18/09/2022 15:04

I’m just feeling at the end of my tether with my 5.5 year old son.

Outside of the home he’s a joy - we know he is well-behaved, kind and compassionate at his daycare. He’s well-liked by the adults, other children and he’s socially well-adjusted. He copes well with adversity, physical discomfort (eg bad weather, long walks) and conflict, and is cheerful and enthusiastic about all sorts of things. He loves animals and is kind and patient with babies & smaller children.

However at home he’s often a nightmare. Although we also see his good side a lot, he constantly explodes at us if the tiniest thing doesn’t go his way. He winds up his sister (7) and though they play together, often their games end in fighting, screaming and hitting, usually initiated by him trying to upset her. With me, he will randomly slap me across the face or bite me apropos of nothing. He will often hit me as he walks past. I try to react calmly and always tell him no hitting. Rarely I shout, when I am surprised or badly hurt, or stressed. He often swears and says he hates us. DH has learned to react better - for a long time he was shouting a lot at DS when he acted out, but he tries to be calmer now. Sometimes though he can’t hide his bitterness or irritation. I try to explain to him he has to for DS’s self esteem, but I understand why he gets so frustrated. Nothing seems to work. I have tried being gentle. I have tried being firm. I have tried taking things away, or timeouts, following through with consequences. We take care to pay attention to him, to play games with him, read to him, spend time with him, take him out on excursions. He gets tons of cuddles and love. But nothing changes. This has been going on for 3 years. We feel like we are failing our son.

The worst thing is his behaviour suddenly vastly improved in spring, apparently with no change in our behaviour, and he was great for 3 months - then in June he just regressed straight back to his old, aggressive, angry, frankly violent ways.

The daycare flagged up a potential language issue, and I think that may be a reason behind his rage… I think he may have some sort of language processing disorder that makes it hard for him to get a handle on his feelings. We have begun the process with child mental health services to try and get him diagnosed but I think it’s going to be a long wait. He also seems to have really bad impulse control - he once threw a wrench into DH's face for example.

He won’t talk about anything with me. When I try to probe gently why he has such difficulty with his negative emotions and why he acts out he just covers his ears and yells at me to stop talking.

DD went through a difficult, explosive phase, but it was over by 4.5 years and was far, far less intense. Maybe this is just the same process, but taking a longer time? Is this normal? Did anyone else experience this? What could it be? Will it end? Am I doing something wrong and hurting my son?

Any advice would be so greatly appreciated.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

9 votes. Final results.

You are being unreasonable
You are NOT being unreasonable
catchthedog · 18/09/2022 15:08

where has he learned swearing from and how to use that as a way of absuing you? what has he witnessed to have formed this reaction ?

nomoremsniceperson · 18/09/2022 15:23

he's heard me swearing, when I hurt myself for example. but I apologise if a bad word slips out. he knows it gets a reaction and thinks it's funny

OP posts:
MolliciousIntent · 18/09/2022 15:29

At 5.5 he should be at school and not daycare, is this possibly boredom/frustration due to not receiving enough mental stimulation?

TheYearOfSmallThings · 18/09/2022 15:32

That is not normal (the random attacks and general aggression) and I would ask for some professional help to find out what is going on with him.

CoastalWave · 18/09/2022 15:32

Sounds exactly like my son.

He's got ADHD.

You need to start the process now for testing. Takes 2-3 years from start to finish. Get the GP to refer you for a QB test and take it from there. You need referral to an Occupational Therapist first.

SparkyBlue · 18/09/2022 15:35

MolliciousIntent · 18/09/2022 15:29

At 5.5 he should be at school and not daycare, is this possibly boredom/frustration due to not receiving enough mental stimulation?

If they are not in the UK then he might not have started school yet.

Hellodarknessmyoldpal · 18/09/2022 15:35

The physical and verbal outbursts don't sound age appropriate. It seems you are already engaging with professional services to investigate if there is anything else going on which i think is a good idea.

Firstawake · 18/09/2022 17:13

Children who struggle socially, often work hard to act how society expects them to, in public. Once in their safe space (home) they can release all those pent up feelings.
Make sure he knows what will happen each day, eg visual time table.
Who will be collecting him, who will be at home. All these little things may make his day easier and mean less anger/fustration at the end of the day.

nomoremsniceperson · 18/09/2022 19:23

thank you for all the suggestions.

@CoastalWave - yes, ADHD has long been one of my suspicions. I think I probably have always had it, the inattentive type at least. I was always "in a dream" as a child but I hear girls are better at camouflaging, which I certainly did. I still struggle now with remembering things, procrastination with boring or difficult tasks, double-booking appointments/social plans and organising my time. I need a lot of workarounds to keep myself on track.

I'm worried any possibility of attention issues will get dismissed in him though, as he isn't at all the typical image of ADHD - he has no hyperactivity symptoms, for example.

May I ask what is the treatment for your son, both medical and parental? What helps him the most?

OP posts:
Iknowforsure1 · 18/09/2022 20:05

Behaviour of your DS is extremely concerning and I would push and push for reasons. Including checking his physical health as many physical health issues affect behaviour.

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