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AIBU?

I can't cope with my 5yo anymore

132 replies

Dara99 · 12/02/2024 19:15

He had always been high energy but since starting school he is something else. Huge tantrums, won't listen to anything I say, calls me stupid, tells me he never wants to see me again just because I have run him a bath and he doesn't want one. He punches me, kicks me, is vile. I'm a good mum, I have boundaries, he has good nutrition, but he's just awful to me. He has suspected adhd but as he's so young nobody will help. Everyone just says 'watch and wait' with no support at all. I just want to cry all the time and count down the minutes until he goes to school. I don't understand what had changed. It doesn't feel like a phase and I feel like he hates me. I don't know what to do.

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HAF1119 · 12/02/2024 20:36

You're doing well so please do cut yourself some slack!

No 2 children are the same, one may thrive with after school clubs to burn energy, another may be exhausted. If you find the clubs aren't making behaviour worse on those days then I wouldn't personally give them up.

Sometimes with a ND child there is an element of trial and error to find what may work. I think it is important to express 'it is not okay to kick' or whatever they have done, either soon after the event quietly and calmly, or once you have taken yourself for a moment.

I try to combat super loud crazy behaviour or shouting/screaming with lowering my volume until I'm whispering. Even if it's sometimes when things are happy and I'm whispering for a bit to offer a nice treat. Just to encourage them subconsciously to quiet/self calm just to be able to hear what you are saying. I find it more soothing for myself to just keep getting more calm and more quiet in this environment too, as it helps me at least feel in control of myself

For a bath you could try different things he may like. Light up toys, bath bombs that change the water colour, bath bombs with a toy in the centre, crackle baff etc. mine would fight off a bath without a bath bomb/crackle baff on offer each time. With them it is not too bad, still some objection to the initial hair wash, but he gets to put the bath bomb/other in as soon as it's done, so it's more manageable. In particular he likes bath bombs with little toys in the centre and you can't get multi packs (may not work for yours - just a suggestion, there may be something else you could do)

Try to list 3 clear priorities for yourself to break it down and feel manageable. For some people it may help to write these in a book and note progress/things to remember that worked/didn't

Managing daily behaviour
Getting support whilst not diagnosed
Getting a diagnoses

For the getting a diagnoses part - don't give up. Compartmentalise it by booking an appointment with the school (simply ask for a meeting with the school teacher and SENCO) and the GP, then forget them until the day. Once the day has come say everything you are saying here. Let them know it is not manageable and you need a referral, that a referral will generally put you on a long waiting list and you'd certainly remove if things change, but that you cannot continue without support and help. If they reject, book another appointment and repeat.

In terms of help and support whilst not diagnosed

Please do look online at support in your local county. There are often things like support groups where parents speak on zoom/other to each other. Sessions with a support worker to give guidance on dealing with specific struggles (sleep/feed/school/behaviour etc). It helps to not feel alone, and to continue getting ideas for managing the behaviour as you go along. After a diagnoses you would be given leaflets listing these support sites/contacts, but I think they all let you sign up pre diagnoses.

www.scope.org.uk/advice-and-support/find-support-services-before-child-diagnosed/#:~:text=Contact%20your%20local%20authority%20to,support%20that%20your%20child%20needs.

www.autism.org.uk/autism-services-directory

www.youngminds.org.uk/parent/parents-a-z-mental-health-guide/adhd/#Usefulhelplinesandwebsites

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Bananawotsit · 12/02/2024 21:16

Re: after school clubs - if they help your son and you and he enjoys them etc then ofc stick with them. I think it can be an obvious things to reduce as if kids are working so hard at school to mask their difficulties/control their emotions, after school clubs can add to this.
Every child is different so the advice is not one size fits all - you know your son best and what may/may not work for you both.

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Hbradley · 12/02/2024 21:32

Just wanted to say that you sound like a fab mum. The way you handle things sound spot on and great that you are doing a hobby, it’s so important to look after yourself too.
I don’t have much advise, but do keep pushing with school / gp for an assessment. It does sound awfully tough!
It’s lovely he tells you he loves you, so hold onto all those good bits and things will improve. It’s fab he eats and sleeps so well, all those important things are things you’ve played a huge part in. Also lovely he enjoys his clubs. That’s a great sign.
take care of yourself.

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2boyzNosleep · 12/02/2024 21:33

Hi, just skimmed over this and just wanted to say you can self-refer to CAMHS. It's not necessarily better coming from a professional as all the would put on the form is very basic information anyway. CAMHS do a full assessment nearer the time.

I'm not sure if it's different in different areas but even though people think it's preferred for GP, school, health visitor or school nurses to do it they use the same referral form on the website.

Better to self-refer and not need it, then listen to people to keep telling you to wait.

I saw a post the other day from a mum whose 9yr old sounded like he had neurodiversity and the school expected the mum to go in and sit with him for 2 hours every week for a year, The mum didn't think he had additional needs as their SENCO had told her he didn't and refused to do a CAMHS referral. This poor boy has obviously been struggling for years, and will probably never get assessed until its far too late.

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nutbrownhare15 · 12/02/2024 21:33

I've seen the Explosive Child recommended as a useful book

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Passthegin99 · 12/02/2024 21:34

FWIW my 5 1/2 year old often displays the same behaviour you describe and I'm pretty certain he's NT. I think school is just tiring and overwhelming and they can't emotionally regulate and they take it all out on you. One thing I find gets through to him occasionally is if I tell him he's hurt my feelings. Sometimes that seems to get through to him for some reason. He's just recently developed a little bit of empathy for physical hurt but it's taking a long time. I was really shocked at the way 3/4/5 year olds behave...I thought door slamming and screaming "I hate you, you're the worst Mum in the world" was teenage territory! You're certainly not alone but it's bloody hard work sometimes. I hope it gets better as he gets more used to school and finds it less tiring.

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poodlyschmoodly · 12/02/2024 21:39

You might not get to this post but as the mum of a boy around this age, loads of his mates, and he, have gone through this horrible goblin phase around this age. Totally stark for my kid who was delightful before and after. I think there’s a big developmental leap so if it’s out of character for him, he may grow out of it.

My eldest is ADHD and i noticed stuff his whole life. My youngest just had a stage of 6 months or so and did grow out of it.

Also lots of primary school is activities that really favour girls’ more typical ways of learning so many of the boys at this age really struggle and it makes them frustrated and miserable.

The parts of the world where they don’t start school until 7 or 8 are onto something for sure

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ChildofSunday · 12/02/2024 21:42

Sorry you are going through this OP, it is so hard, especially as a lone parent.
Have you thought about using timers, such as ‘five minutes until bath time’ ‘two minutes until bath time’ and so on, it can help reduce the frustration of having to stop an activity they are enjoying. A physical sand timer can also be helpful.
the other thing I would suggest is as much time as possible outside to burn off any excess energy, and reduce screen time, especially YouTube.
I know it’s always easier said than done though.
don’t be too hard on yourself, kids are bloody hard work.

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Nextweektoo · 12/02/2024 21:44

Consider seeking early help support from your local authority. They may suggest a parenting course but I think in some areas CAMHS request you do this before an ADHD assessment anyway. If nothing else you could be signposted to useful support in your local area.

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poodlyschmoodly · 12/02/2024 21:44

ChildofSunday · 12/02/2024 21:42

Sorry you are going through this OP, it is so hard, especially as a lone parent.
Have you thought about using timers, such as ‘five minutes until bath time’ ‘two minutes until bath time’ and so on, it can help reduce the frustration of having to stop an activity they are enjoying. A physical sand timer can also be helpful.
the other thing I would suggest is as much time as possible outside to burn off any excess energy, and reduce screen time, especially YouTube.
I know it’s always easier said than done though.
don’t be too hard on yourself, kids are bloody hard work.

Such good advice I’d forgotten this from when my adhd son was smaller really made a difference x

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herewegoagainy · 12/02/2024 21:48

Does he have to have a bath every night?
I would be really clear that violence is not okay.
He sounds very over tired.

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Dara99 · 12/02/2024 21:49

CAMHS don't take self referrals where I am

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Custardslice3 · 12/02/2024 22:10

I'm also a lone parent of a now 9yo who displays similar behaviours and has various diagnoses. Often I hear about parents dealing with these sorts of challenges by 'tag teaming' i.e. taking over from each other when they've reached a point where they are exhausted by it etc, which you obviously can't do. I get it. It is relentless and it can be so difficult to keep yourself regulated when it feels like a constant onslaught of verbal and physical aggression.

If you've not already done so, then maybe have a look at Yvonne Newbold/Newbold Hope. Lots of info and support around child to parent violence.

You're doing great - but you do need professionals to step up and support you both. If you think he needs support in school then you can apply for an EHCP yourself which would trigger and EdPsych assessment as part of the process.

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penelopelady · 12/02/2024 22:24

Sounds like autism as well. Ask to be referred to early help, speak to your doctor and the school and push back to the school. They might not have an issue but there is one. The kicking off at home is classic for autism

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Blessedbethefruitz · 12/02/2024 22:26

I know many health visitors are unhelpful, but ours sorted a referral for a development assessment at the hospital for our ds4 last year (we had concerns about adhd mainly, he literally can't keep still or rest with us, and has some minor health issues that often pair with ND). We waited maybe 3 months, much faster than I'd been hoping for given current state of nhs... Might be worth a try?

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ilovebreadsauce · 12/02/2024 22:34

But you are not holding firm boundaries are you? Kicks you in the face and you just ignore it!

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gemloving · 12/02/2024 22:34

@Dara99 my 5 year old is the same. It's very difficult. Angel at school, struggles with phonics (reception) but not to a level that it needs proper attention. He's socially quite awkward, good heart but can be such hard work. It's got better but it's all of a sudden got worse again. Violent outbursts, go away, never come back, you're not my best friend anymore.

I also have a 2 year old (nearly 3) and I can tell that my second son is neurotypical (I believe) and a breeze compared to my first. Everything they suggested for my first actually worked for my second child type of thing. Happy to chat if you'd like x

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Twolittleloves · 12/02/2024 22:36

BigDogEnergy · 12/02/2024 19:23

Most areas follow national guidance and won't accept a referral until 6 years. That said, you can definitely be asking for additional support in the meantime. You can self refer to OT in a lot of areas, and school can refer you for an early help assessment.

Not always- My DD was referred at just over 5 in reception.She was seen at 6yrs 8mths.

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Dara99 · 12/02/2024 22:40

ilovebreadsauce · 12/02/2024 22:34

But you are not holding firm boundaries are you? Kicks you in the face and you just ignore it!

I don't ignore it. What am I meant to do, shout and scream at him? Keep trying to talk to him whilst he's going bananas? No. I tell him I am going to leave him to calm down and talk to him after. I wait for him to calm down, come back, and have a discussion about why we don't hurt each other. I then ask him to say sorry which he always does. I'm hardly ignoring it, it's just impossible to deal with in the moment. My boundary is that I won't accept him hurting me and I won't engage with him when he's being violent.

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gemloving · 12/02/2024 22:40

@Ladyj84 I have two children, one is a breeze to parent, the other one isn't. Same parenting. Boundaries are set. When my child has a violent outburst, my child simply cannot control their feelings. What's your actual boundary that would work here. Would love some of your expert advice because clearly you've got neurodiversity figured out. Biscuit

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Dara99 · 12/02/2024 22:43

He's just crawled into my bed and told me he loves me and wants to hold my hand. He's now holding my finger 🥹

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SussexLass87 · 12/02/2024 22:46

Huge sympathies OP - I'd recommend googling "post school restraint collapse"...it really helped me when my children were that age. It explained a lot about their behaviour after school and helped me to make some changes at home (and to push for changes at school) to support them.

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AuntPru · 12/02/2024 22:46

OP, I haven't got time to write a full reply, but if you search my username you'll see my posts on a different thread. Long story short: try cutting out gluten for a bit to see if it makes a difference, it's transformed our family life!

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Lyracappul · 12/02/2024 22:47

Gosh I’m sorry you feel so unsupported by so many people.. I think keep a diary of all of difficult behaviour might help with your evidence gathering.. even just dictate emails to yourself labelling them all with x behaviour .. so you can find them..

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VeterinaryCareAssistant · 12/02/2024 22:52

After he kicked off about a bath did he get plonked in there anyway, or did he get away with not having a bath? Because that will just encourage him to do it again.

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