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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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Dara99 · 12/02/2024 22:56

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.

He eventually got in. Half the time he wants to get in. The other half he doesn't. He comes home from school covered in mud on forest school days so he MUST have a bath on these days.

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SecondHandFurniture · 12/02/2024 22:57

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.

We are having this too. I think DS is NT but he is halfway through reception and "horrible goblin" is perfect. You give him 2 options, he suggests a third, we say ok and he yells he doesn't want the third option he suggested. They push and push. He doesn't hit but will throw a cushion on the floor or sulk behind a curtain. I am just waiting it out!

For what it's worth, if he does accidentally hurt me I do shout. A big booming one. The shock of that normally snaps him out of it.

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Changethenamey · 12/02/2024 23:02

This sounds just like my son, who is also 5. I’ve been in touch with school multiple times who tell me he is fine there, although easily distracted. I have two older children who have never ever been aggressive, so I don’t know how to parent this little ball of fury!!! Every day he is violent to me and his siblings. Most of our days out are cut short as he has hurt one of us or a random child, or stripped naked or run off (half terms are tricky for us!). He has meltdowns and hates transitioning. It’s very very tough if you don’t have school on side. I have started recording his tantrums and outbursts and what triggered them, and taking pictures of our injuries in the hope that either he stops being able to mask in school or I manage to get a report from one of his other activities which I can take to the gp. No advice apart from to echo others and read up on parenting adhd/nd children. My son does not react well to shouting or time outs like my others did, he also doesn’t care if I remove treats or toys, he just doesn’t care when he is in the moment and completely lost it.

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Worriedmotheroftwo · 12/02/2024 23:35

I would say that DD is an utter nutter outside of school and had bouts of aggression at home as well (she’s a bit under 5) but similar to yours good at school (her focus in class is fine but she needs to move a lot at pre-school).

I wouldn’t assume ADHD just yet. We’ve just instituted a star chart (which I was very against but it has actually helped). She also struggled with transitions but thats not uncommon in the age range either.

I do think the advice on parenting like he has ADHD is a good idea. He may or may not be ND but you may find some of the strategies helpful regardless. The explosive child was also very good, helped us pinpoint where we were running into trouble.


Good advice - The Explosive Child is a great read.

OP, your son sounds similar to mine. He has recently been diagnosed with ADHD. Look up Right to Choose if finances are an obstacle- it's a completely free diagnosis, quite quickly.

I would also request the GP to put him in for a blood test. Turns out my son was extremely low on iron. We gave him supplements and he is so much better now, though still mad as a hatter. We were actually getting the blood test for something else so only realised by accident!

I know it's so hard.

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ZiggyZowie · 12/02/2024 23:49

I think children start school at too young an age.
It's a long day, a very long week and there is just so much they have to obey and take in and remember.
It's a lot, I really think part time would be ideal for the first year ideally ,of course that wouldn't meet the approval of everyone but they are so small and they really do get exhausted.

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Rybvita · 13/02/2024 01:26

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This.

@Dara99 assuming he doesn't have special needs/trauma, his behaviour is due to inadequate parenting and lack of proper discipline. That's the blunt truth. Yes he could have neurodiversity but the things he's saying to you aren't normal and your child is on the high road to antisocial behaviour when he grows up if he's disrespecting your authority and exhibiting these behaviours so young. Please, both you and his dad need to sort it out now and stop being so weak and soft.

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coxesorangepippin · 13/02/2024 01:46

He kicked you in the face and you politely said you would deal with it later???

And then you wonder why he's ruling the roost??

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FloorMop · 13/02/2024 01:49

I think the transition from nursery to reception ( twice the number of children, half the space)
Is traumatic for many 5 year olds. DS is a July birthday, so was one of the youngest in the class. He was confident, articulate, but still struggled with the general hubbub and mainly having to cope with the awful behaviour of many of the other children. It is very stressful and after behaving well all day, they come home and the floodgates open. Tiredness, stress, hunger and pent up energy is a difficult combination for a 5 year old to handle. I moved tea time, bath and bedtime an hour forward for the first 6 months and basically treated him as a much younger child until he settled in. It is a difficult time.

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Preggopreggo · 13/02/2024 04:12

Solo parenting a ‘spirited’ child sounds seriously tough.

Have you read any books? If you struggle to find the time listening on audible is a great way.

The Book you wish your parents had read - best one to start with
How to Talk so Little Kids will Listen
Hunt, Gather, Parent
Playful Parenting

For the bath scenario - did you validate or just tell him he had ti and try to explain why. Validating the feelings but holding the boundary on the action can help hugely, plus a bit of silliness.

‘You really don’t want to have a bath. I hear you. You’re very angry at me because I’m saying you need a bath. You never want to have a bath ever again. The problem is [this avoids using but], if you don’t have a bath to clean this mud, your skin will get sore and itchy. Do you want to dive into the bath like a dolphin or hop in like a frog?’

And then if there’s still no cooperation: ‘can you get into the bath by yourself or do I need to lift you in?’

(but no conversation like this until he’s not in meltdown mode, his rational brain won’t be active)

Also worth investing in some bath paints/try a Pom Pom bath/ buy or make bath colourful bombs together

Can he choose bath or shower?

also ‘When, Then’ statements “When you’ve had a bath, then we can play monster trucks/bake a cake etc.

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ilovebreadsauce · 13/02/2024 04:24

Dara99 · 12/02/2024 22:40

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.

So there is no consequence.You absolutely are accepting him hurting you, oh just so long as he says sorry afterwards .

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Sonora25 · 13/02/2024 04:30

what are the consequences here OP? He kicks you and calls you names and then what happens?
maybe you should introduce a reward/stxiker chart for good behaviour and set some firm
boundaries for things like name calling and violence. he behaves well at school because he knows there will be consequences. You need to rein this in now before he is too big and strong.


Buy fun toys for the bath and bubbles, small bath bombs and make it fun and maybe he will enjoy bath time more.

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Noicant · 13/02/2024 05:43

Also I was basically punishing DD by taking things away, it was totally the wrong approach (first and only time DH has been right about anything). She’s more motivated by reward, punishment just gives her a bit of a “well fuck you too attitude”. I actually asked her teacher at one point if she thought Dd may have ADHD and she was like “er no” and I know she referred another child so I do think for some kids a personality thing.

But there does have to be something in place. Incentivise good behaviour, consequences for bad behaviour.

I would just be very wary of thinking there is something atypical about him at this point. Also the boys in DD’s class struggle a lot more with regulation than the girls and can’t keep it together at school either (no idea if its biology or socialisation). Look into the limbic leap as well, a few parents have mentioned to me changes in their kids behaviour around 4+. Going from being pretty soft to biting a kids face kind of thing. Kids are constantly developing and he’s still little. DD has been commented on as being extremely active, not hyper as such just on the move and I’ve found making sure she has an hour of proper exercise helpful.

Kids take a long time to socialise into civilised human beings and sometimes they can be bloody horrific (I’ve sat in the loo crying a few times myself). But their little brains are constantly growing and emotional regulation takes longer for some kids than others.

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ilovebreadsauce · 13/02/2024 05:48

@SecondHandFurniture You give him 2 options, he suggests a third, we say ok and he yells he doesn't want the third option he suggested.

By asking for the third option he didnt even want, he was just testing your authority, which instantly crumbled.what message is that giving him?

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Sonora25 · 13/02/2024 06:55

How much screen time/gaming time does he have?
do you manage his expectations and tell him
what happens after school? Eg we will have a snack now, play lego a bit , then have dinner and bath time etc

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Janelle7 · 13/02/2024 07:07

You need to request a report from the school senco and also write one yourself on the childs behaviour. Then give these to the GP who can make a referral to community paediatrics. Because of age it would go to them first not camhs. Best of luck, its so hard, but keep to a routine. Sounds like youre doing all you can

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Snowpaw · 13/02/2024 07:18

After school is really tricky for lots of children. They are so tired and overwhelmed. In our house I have tea ready as soon as my 5yo DD is home and just let her eat quietly and not ask her too many questions. I lay out some toys / paper and pens and just let her do her own thing for a bit. Often I do a bath straight after tea as it really helps calm her down and then she seems more settled and happy to play in PJs the rest of the evening, then supper before bed. And if it’s a really hard evening she’s in bed by 6.30. Tiredness has a huge impact on her behaviour.

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SecondHandFurniture · 13/02/2024 07:19

ilovebreadsauce · 13/02/2024 05:48

@SecondHandFurniture You give him 2 options, he suggests a third, we say ok and he yells he doesn't want the third option he suggested.

By asking for the third option he didnt even want, he was just testing your authority, which instantly crumbled.what message is that giving him?

Er - I'm talking about saying "What do you fancy for breakfast? Cornflakes? Weetabix?" and him saying he wants porridge, me saying ok and then him saying he doesn't want porridge. Similar with colour plate or socks. This is not a hill I'm going to die on - I'm not going to him he can't have a third breakfast option which he can see is in the cupboard just to assert myself; nor have I told him he must choose between option 1 and 2. Thanks though!

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orangeleopard · 13/02/2024 07:22

Hi OP, I’m going through very similar with my 4 year old. I definitely think he’s got adhd and he’s on an individual learning plan at school for his disruption and lack of attention etc but it’s the same as you and being told the ‘wait’ as he’s too young to be assessed for adhd apparently. It’s making me miserable, he’s bouncing off the walls until 10/midnight every single night. He breaks things, bites me, kicks and punches me. He’s started to spit. He has speech issues but still manages to tell me ‘go away’ by screaming in my face all the time. It’s exhausting. He has meltdowns all of the time over things not going the way he wants them too and he runs. He has no sense of danger and will hurt himself and do the exact same thing again. I don’t see if there’s obvious signs why age is relevant.

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MorningSunshineSparkles · 13/02/2024 07:28

My child was diagnosed with ASD and ADHD at 4. Push for a referral, he’s not too young. The waiting list is years long, by the time he’s seen and assessed he’ll be a few years older than he is now.

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Vettrianofan · 13/02/2024 07:31

Dara99 · 12/02/2024 21:49

CAMHS don't take self referrals where I am

Same. Has to be done via the school EP, and even then the behaviour has to be consistent in at least two settings for it to be taken seriously. Been there done that... months later got a letter from the vetting team at CAMHs to say that DS didn't meet the criteria for it. Have a lovely information leaflet instead to check out different websites.....

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Dara99 · 13/02/2024 07:32

Sonora25 · 13/02/2024 04:30

what are the consequences here OP? He kicks you and calls you names and then what happens?
maybe you should introduce a reward/stxiker chart for good behaviour and set some firm
boundaries for things like name calling and violence. he behaves well at school because he knows there will be consequences. You need to rein this in now before he is too big and strong.


Buy fun toys for the bath and bubbles, small bath bombs and make it fun and maybe he will enjoy bath time more.

Of course there are consequences. If he does it in public we go home from the activity, if he's watching TV he has screen time taken away, if it's just before bed he only gets one book instead of three (or zero books if he carries on) etc etc. If he has a good day he gets lots of praise. Star chart didn't work for us but we do a small treat after school on a Friday if he has a decent week. If he kicks or punches he doesn't get one which is a lot at the moment.

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MorningSunshineSparkles · 13/02/2024 07:33

Biggest thing that helped me with after school over stimulation - DS comes in and goes straight to the sofa or his room. Shoes off don’t matter, uniform off doesn’t matter. He needs a solid 30-40 mins entirely alone with no one talking to him. Give him a snack and drink without speaking. Allow him 30-40 mins screen time (my DS self regulates with a screen, use whatever calming toy/device/whatever that helps your DC calm down). Allow your DC to come to you instead of you going to them, that’s when my DS is usually ready to interact with the world again.

It’s a much calmer evening. They really struggle to self regulate at that age, you need to show them how. Once you’ve managed to help them find ways to self regulate it’s so much easier.

It’s an incredibly hard few years at this age, especially with ASD in the mix. You need to find ways to help them calm down and regulate their emotions when they’re this little though or you’ll end up with a teenager who’s still lashing out with meltdowns and unable to regulate themselves.

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MorningSunshineSparkles · 13/02/2024 07:35

Also punishments for meltdowns are barbaric. A meltdown is an entire loss of control over your actions and emotions and comes with a lot of shame and self disgust, even at that young age. You’re punishing them for losing control when you’re the one that’s not shown them how to regulate.

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Vettrianofan · 13/02/2024 07:36

And even when you have a child at secondary school it doesn't get any easier. I wrongly assumed my eldest DC was on the referral list for CAMHs over a year ago but by complete accident we found out a few weeks ago at an unrelated outpatient appointment he isn't even on it! I have now insisted that the school can refer even though his teacher at school said they only can refer children with queried neurodevelopmental conditions. I phoned the GP practice who confirmed GPs have nothing to do with CAMHs referrals - all done via secondary schools now. Finally the school listened. It's not right parents have to jump through so many hoops to help their child.

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DelilahsHaven · 13/02/2024 07:38

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What a vile, unhelpful post.

Watch and wait is a very common approach in all manner of potential illnesses and conditions.

Op does not need judgey people like you telling her it's all her fault.

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