My 5 year old changed so much in those last months. I feel as if we are contantly arguing over something or me telling him something to do and he ignores me completly. We have a hard time bringing him to bed at night, which almost always end up in yelling. We start with showering him, brush teeths, put on pj, reading a story, singing a song (and while I sing he often doesn’t lie in bed but tries to get up or play with a toy). Leaving the room and in a few minutes, he is out again. And so it goes for an hour or more, every evening. I start telling him that I won’t read a story or sing if he dosen’t go to bed afterwards. But without it I feel the end of the day is so lost and angry.
We live in a new neighbourhood (things were like this bevor we moved) and he is very courious about the other familys and their homes. He walks to them and starts talking, often asking if he can play there. I try to tell him that he can’t go there whenever he wants, that I want him to listend to me when I say it’s not the time (dinner time and so). Today he walked over to the neighbours, I sayed he can’t go, he walked further, I told him again, and again and again and he was already far away and I was with the baby and couldn’t go to him fast enough. So I coulnd’t do anything about it. I say something, he ingores it. This is just an example for many many situations during the day.
He dosen’t share his toys with his younger brothers, but wants theirs. I understand this behavior from a 3 or 4 year old. Last week, when friends where visiting with their boy, he played with him and together they went after my 3.5 year old. Today again on the playground, he found a girl his age and with her, he went after his brother. He gets in the car, sits next to the baby, and sticks his finger in the babys eye.
I don’t understand all of this, really not. He wasn’t this way half a year ago.
I’m so sick of constantly arguing and feel like loosing my connection to him. I don’t want to become this constantly angry mama but feel like it right now.
Any ideas? I would be so thankful!
I don't have a 5 year old and I only have one child, my nearly-3 DD--so I can't really offer much advice. I just wanted to offer some empathy!
I thought your post title said a lot about how you're feeling and I wonder if it might help to work on/think about improving your connection first....
I know that it's very hard for DD to understand "rules" that involve mostly social boundaries (no, we can't stand on the neighbor's lawn) or that change depending on the day/time (no, right now we can't go over to talk to Neighbor X, because it's dinner time). These rules depend on a more complex understanding of social dynamics and time that she can't really understand. It can be hard for her when we get into situations where there are a lot of seemingly arbitrary (to her) rules.
What I try to do, when I feel we're getting into one of those ruts, is to find ways to say "yes" (Sure, we can go to the pet store tomorrow, when it's open), to offer alternatives (we can't stand on Gloria's lawn, but we could roll down the hill in our yard together), offer choices so that DD feels she has more control over her environment ("It will be bedtime in half-an-hour. Would you like to read a story together or play with your puppets before bedtime?"), and give lots of warnings/transition time when I know there's an activity coming that is going to meet with resistance (which is pretty much every activity with a 3-year old, even the ones that I know she's going to enjoy...but I digress).
I don't know how well those techniques would work with a 5-year-old, but I didn't want to leave you without any responses!
It sounds to me like two things are going on:
He's reacting to the new baby (it sounds from your post like you've got a baby, a 3 1/2 year old and a 5 year old -- that's a handful for you, no matter how well behaved)
He's wanting a bit more freedom than he's getting.
First of all, I suspect he's annoying his brother and the baby because he wants attention and he knows it'll get him attention. The antidote to that is to take time every day (not sure how you're going to work it, but maybe when the younger two nap?) down on the floor playing with him. The key part to this is that you have to let HIM direct the play for these 20-30 minutes. Have him choose the activity. You're the hired help and play along. You don't direct. You don't tell him how to color, drive his cars, or how to react. You can make your characters act, but watch his reaction.
A great book that describes why this works is called Playful Parenting -- basically you're filling his cup of attention, and you're seeing what's interesting to him or bothering him or on his mind. Right now, it's pretty clear from my kids' play that ds is intrigued by the idea of male aggression, especially when playing sports. When we play baseball, he'll 'charge the mound' if a pitch goes close to him. With basketball, he'll argue loudly with me about fouls, or he'll foul me blatantly. Now, ds is possibly the most mild mannered, least aggressive kid I know. He's a rule follower. But playing baseball/basketball with me gives him a safe space to see what it feels like to break the rules and be aggressive. (OK, I'm sure the neighbors think we're both completely nuts, because it does get pretty loud!)
For the toys - teach him to trade. Maybe set aside a couple of 'special toys' for him that he doesn't have to share with his younger siblings. But then if he wants something of theirs, he has to trade them for it. With the baby, it'll be easy -- they'll take anything. With the 3 year old, it'll be some more complex negotiation, and he won't always get his way. That's OK. Let him have his meltdown, comfort him and move on.
For the 'running away', is there any way you can meet your neighbors who have kids? If there is anyone with kids near his age, and it's only a few houses away, I'd be OK with him walking there by himself and asking if the kids can play. You could start by calling them neighbors and asking if they can play, then sending him down for an hour. If he just wants to play on random people's lawns, then yes, the pp is right, you have explain to him that people don't like to have their stuff messed with.
When you're out for a walk -- give him small boundaries and see if he can meet them. For example, he can walk up 2 houses and wait for you to catch up. If he can do that, then maybe he can go to the corner and wait for you. At 5, my kids could go about a block ahead of me (if I could see them), as long as they waited at the corner. Usually what happened is that they raced to the corner, and then raced back. Make sure you're phrasing this as what he can do and not what he shouldn't do. So, "don't run" isn't nearly effective as "wait for me at the corner".
Bedtime -- what I would suggest is (a) starting bedtime 30 minutes earlier and (b) expecting to take longer with him. Again, the coming out again and again suggests to me that he needs attention, and this is a sure fire way of getting it. When kids are feeling like they need more attention, they'd rather have negative attention than no attention at all. So, what would happen if you sang your song, and just sat in his room with him chatting for 10 minutes? Then leave, and say "if you stay here, I'll check on you in 5 minutes". Then do it. We used to set the timer for ever increasing intervals. We'd check on the kids at 5, then 10, then 15, then 20 minutes, etc. After the 10-15 minute interval, they'd usually be asleep. Sometimes it took up to 30 or more. But the checking on them helped them feel connected. The timer reassured them that we wouldn't forget and gave us an incentive to give them to stay in bed. (We'd reset the timer if they got out.) Would a radio on with some soft music help him feel less 'lonely' in his bedroom? Both my kids have radios. Our daughter listens to music, our son to sports talk radio.
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