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Thread: Not sure what to do.

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    453

    Default Not sure what to do.

    I am having an increasingly hard time with my DS. He's almost 6. He has always been hard work, but lately it's getting worrying. I know he's had some changes this year with first me being pregnant (tired, grumpy, usual pregnancy stuff) and now having a new baby in the family. But I don't know if his behaviour is 'normal/acceptable' considering those changes.

    He's very angry, he won't do anything he doesn't want to do, he just says no. He has no respect for authority, he has no respect for our house, his belongings, etc. For the first time yesterday, I was quite worried he might hurt DD. I had asked him to do something, and as usual he refused, and it ended with me growling and him getting angry and throwing a tantrum. I was rocking DD to sleep in my arms. He hit me and kicked me a few times, I ignored him. Sometimes it seems he does stuff for a reaction, so this time I didn't give him one. But then he took my thong and hit it over the arm of the couch, just cm's away from DD's head. I moved DD right away from him.

    He refuses to get in the shower at night, screams no, I don't want a shower, I hate showers, etc etc. Then when we finally manage to get him in there, he will refuse to get out. It's a battle every night with dinner, it seems not to matter what we dish up, he hates it, doesn't want it, I'm not hungry, etc. Then 5 mins later is asking for food.

    If he's sent to his room for timeout, he stands in the doorway and spits, throws things, pokes his tongue out, pulls his pants down and pokes his bottom out.

    We've tried calmly talking, yelling and growling, time out, special privileges taken away, toys taken away, smacking, reward/sticker charts, asking him why, ignoring his bad behaviour & praising his brother's good behaviour, lots of praise for the rare times he does listen..

    For the most part, lately I had put it down to having a new baby, but yesterday I had (well-meaning) family members telling me I need to sort this out ASAP, if he's like this now imagine him when he's older, so-and-so was like this and look what happened when he hit his teen years, etc etc. I just don't know what to do anymore. Every time I battle with him I end up feeling like a failure. I keep wondering where I went wrong??

    I should add, he's pretty well behaved at school. His teacher was shocked when I mentioned his spits, hits and kicks when he doesn't get his own way at home. She said he's definitely not like that at school. He's not the best behaved in the class, but he doesn't carry on there like he does at home.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Darwin
    Posts
    679

    Default Not sure what to do.

    I don't have much advice but maybe some counciling or a child psychologist could help him work through his feelings? He may not know how to verbalise them so show's them physically. Also make time for one on one with him each day could be broken down into 10 minute slots rather then one huge block of time. Also physical activity so walks to a park etc. sorry if you have tried these things just wanted to offer some tips we tried.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    630

    Default

    If it is related to all the changes with the new baby maybe making sure he gets some special one on one time with each parent to try and focus on positive behavior?

    No other bright ideas, sorry

  4. #4

    Default

    I can offer you my sympathy, I have an 8 year old DS who can also be a handful. Some of the behaviour you have mentioned sounds familiar, particularly the dinner issues and the yelling back at you when you tell him off. Firstly, I would not tolerate physical violence from my DS AT ALL. He went through a stage at about the same age as your DS when he would hit or kick if he was annoyed and we punished immediately by sending him to his room and removing a special toy or privilege for at least 24 hours. You absolutely must follow through with any punishment. He was not allowed to come out of his room for a set time (usually about 15 minutes) BUT that time did not start until he was sitting quietly 'thinking about his actions' - not sure how effective the thinking bit is, but it sounds good! If he was rude, yelled at me, stepped outside his room... then the time he had to sit quietly was extended by 5 minutes. After he had sat quietly and calmed down, either DH or I would go into the room to talk to him about what he had done and he would generally apologise himself, but would be asked to apologise to whomever he had been nasty to if he didn't do it himself. Maybe the bedroom won't work for you, but it worked for us. The trick is to be very calm yourself throughout, as I found that the angrier I got, the angrier my DS became!

    On an average day, I find that my DS behaves best if i can engage him in an activity. He loves to be outside, so I get him doing jobs outside to help. He likes to be physically active, so something like cleaning windows or scrubbing the verandah is good. I encourage him with positive reinforcement - 'great job, mate, I love it when you're helpful. The windows look really clean.' His chest swells up and it seems to spur him on to do an even better job. My boy is a handful when he is not busy doing something! By the evening, if he has had a busy day, he is tired and happy to have some down time. His happiest downtime is something which involves the rest of the family, such as a card game or even just sitting around the table having a chat - something that engages his brain.

    My DS is a great kid, as I'm sure yours is! My boy has always been well behaved at school and like your DS's teachers, ours were shocked to hear that he could be such a bugger at home. I'll be honest and say that there are still times, such as if we are going out for a meal or we have a doctor's appointment or similar, when I think 'Good grief, please can the kid behave!!', but he is certainly a lot better than a few years ago. It just takes time - and the patience of a saint!! Good luck!

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Perth, WA
    Posts
    2,315

    Default

    First of all, *hugs*

    Triple P parenting stuff has a great reputation - lots of tried and tested methods for dealing with challenging behaviours. I'm looking into doing a course myself...

    Our best strategies are preventative - phrasing things positively rather than negatively (Keep your hands and feet to yourself rather than Don't hit), redirection/distraction, noticing when a meltdown is coming and heading it off (food works well here!) and ignoring attention seeking stuff.

    We use 'time in' (where we sit with DS in silence, holding him if we need to, wherever we happen to be, or in a quiet corner nearby, until he's ready to apologise) for physical violence - very rare here. DS is only three though and cant deal with being left. We do ignore him though - I turn away, or close my eyes! I'd ignore all the secondary behaviours your DS does in time out - but don't go back until he's quiet and calm. Talk about this when he's happy, before the time out, so he knows what to expect.

    'Certainty, not severity' - so being consistent. Also, it doesn't have to be a big deal punishment - no need for yelling, a lecture and a consequence. If the consequence is to take a toy away, then just take the toy away - no, 'I told you not to.... Right, no toy for a week! Blah, blah...naughty....really pushing the limits young man...etc' lecture. A simple, 'You did.... That means no toy for two days.' That's it. Ignore any secondary behaviours - don't get drawn into an argument.

    Can you do up a simple poster with one or two target behaviours, a goal and a consequence? eg speak in a polite voice. Every time you do this you get a sticker, marble rin a jar etc. 10 stickers equals whatever reward you negotiate. Discuss what words you'd like to hear/reactions you want so he knows what TO do rather than what NOT to do.

    You are already doing a great job. Don't be too hard on yourself.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    453

    Default

    Thanks for all your replies. I ended up taking him to the GP, and we have a referral for a pediatrician. The GP didn't think there was anything to be concerned about, he recommended the triple P parenting course, so I'll def look into that. I just asked for the referral just in case! The more I think about it, the more I am leaning towards it being the arrival of DD that has set him off. I am going to be making more of an effort to spend some one-on-one time with him and will see how we go

  7. #7

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    I think I actually posted the exact same thing about 10 months ago about my son! Every single thing you have written was what we went through. And unfortunately (not to put you off) triple P, behaviour tonics, ngala and 123 Magic were no help what so ever!!! I thought for a while he had something wrong with him and I went to speak to a child psychologist, who actually informed me that they don't like to do anything until they are closer to 7 years of age. When he changed schools, we found a complete change in his behaviour. Where before he had major issues with verbalising his emotions and listening to reason, he can now stop and listen to what we are asking and not all the time but most times we can reason with him. We give him options...do you want a shower or a bath? Do you want to get yourself dressed or do you want me to help? And Praise EVERYTHING! It gets exhausting but we absolutely praise every single good choice he makes. We have gone from him being in time out from the moment he opens his eyes in the morning, to not being put in time out now for well over 6 months. Have a chat to his teacher, and see if they can incorporate some lessons at school on listening to parents, and making good choices. As you know by his behaviour at school, he is capable of making good choices. If there were something wrong, he would act up at school too. I feel for you, I know how frustrating it can be, especially when you know they are good for other people.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    SE Melbourne
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    2,975

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    A referral to a psychologist might be moRe helpful than a paediatrician I suspect - you need advice and support about how to manage him (not necessarily counselling for him - but that may be an option too). A paed will consider things medically and probably won't spend the time on how to manage the behavioural stuff that you might need.

    Triple P has good research behind it - but can be a bit heavy on the theory which can put some people off, or make it a bit difficult. Changes can be hard for kids - keep at it, you are trying and that's important.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Middle Victoria
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    my dd was much younger, but struggled for awhile after ds was born. she got quite violent, and we couldn't leave her with the baby unless there was an adult in arm's reach.

    we found her behaviour improved and she was much happier, when we planned more one on one opportunities, especially physical ones. (park, wrestling, trampoline, big cuddles or tickles).

    we also made opportunities for short, positive interactions between her and baby. it made her feel important as a big sister.



    now they are great friends , but I wondered if ds would even survive his first year, in the early days.

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