I'm not sure if this is the right place to put this thread, but here goes -
About a month ago, my husband moved out. We have four children - DS, 6yo; DD, 4yo; DS, 2yo; DD, 7mos
My 6yo is usually a great kid, but has always tended toward defiance and anger when he's upset. Since DH moved out, 6yo has been basically a big ball of rage. He says he's not mad about DH moving out, but I can't put my finger on anything else.
Every day for the past two weeks (or more, can't remember, brain is foggy!), our house has been a battleground. 6yo hits his siblings, kicks, scratches, screams in our faces, pulls hair, etc. Multiple episodes per day.
For example, today -
8am, 6yo wakes up and pulls up a video on my computer (we are TV-free). I know he's having a tough time lately and figure a little bit of video watching won't hurt anything. Two hours later, he's still going, so I tell him it's time to turn off the videos. My dad comes by and we decide to take a group trip to the grocery store. All three of the other children are ready to go. 6yo refuses to put on a shirt, throws all the laundry I've just folded around the living room, then runs around the yard topless (it's freezing cold!) and barefoot, and kicks me in the stomach when I try to help him get his shirt on. So I get the other kids into the van, and finally 6yo pulls his shirt on and comes running. My dad asks, "Why all the fuss, kiddo?" 6yo answers, "Mama won't let me watch videos all day."
In the grocery store, 6yo repeatedly sneaks things into the cart that we do not ever buy. He pushes his sister over, pulls her hair, and hides down an aisle. (This is absolutely not his normal grocery store behaviour - just recent!)
Home again, 6yo goes into the kitchen and helps himself to our expensive organic jam, eating nearly the entire jar with a spoon. When I tell him to put it back in the fridge and please stay out of the kitchen, he growls in my face and swipes a fist at me. I tell him we have friends coming over and he says he will kill them (they are some of his best friends!). I ask him to hang up his coat, which is in the middle of the floor with the dog using it as a bed, and he screams "I hate you!"
My 4yo DD got a vTech kids' computer thingy at the thrift store and was sitting quietly doing a spelling game. 6yo says, "Give me your computer, I want to play." 4yo says, "You can use it when I'm finished." 6yo grabs her hair and gets right in her face, yelling, "Give me that thing, NOW!" Of course, 4yo bursts into tears.
6yo uses an entire roll of packing tape that he was already told was off-limits (and it was put away out of reach, he climbed a chair to get to it). When I take it from him, he yells, "You are horrible! I hate you! You're an awful mama!"
My dad tells 6yo he doesn't like the way he's being spoken to. 6yo says, "Oh well, I don't like anyone, and I don't like being nice. I hate my life."
Bedtime - 6yo wants to sleep with his dog. I bring the dog into the bedroom (we have a family bed). 6yo asks for a snuggle. I climb into bed next to him, as does the dog. The dog tries to playfully chew on my hand, so I push his nose away from me. 6yo grabs my hair and yanks, pulling quite a bit out of my head (OW!), and screams, "Stay away from my dog, you wretched woman!" I put the dog back in his crate and cry to myself a little. When I try to talk to 6yo, he says, "Don't talk to me. I don't want to hear your voice. I don't want to talk about my feelings or my spirit. I have an evil, evil spirit." He cries himself to sleep, not letting me touch him.
Each day lately has more or less been a variation on this theme. 6yo looks awful. He has dark circles under his eyes, his eyes are puffy, his skin is pale. I feel like I've become a referee, breaking up fights between my kids and keeping 6yo from causing serious damage.
I don't know what to do. It seems that no matter my response, 6yo becomes more and more angry. I respond with love - he gets angrier. I respond quietly & firmly - he gets angrier. I yell at him - he gets angrier (obviously!). I've removed him to the bedroom for a time out a few times, for the sake of keeping the other kids safe or keeping him from breaking things. He just runs right out of the room and gets even more destructive. In one extreme moment, I even spanked him (big mistake - I was at my wits' end). I have no way to keep him from hurting or destroying - I can't restrain him, and if I hold him he freaks out. I have a baby on my back 90% of the day, a clingy toddler, and a 4yo who also needs attention. I'm actually amazed at how well the younger three kids are taking all of the crap my oldest is throwing at them.
I'm reaching the end of my rope. I need help and honestly don't know what to do at this point. Our household is not perfect, but has always been fairly peaceful and happy. Heavy on the attachment parenting, lots of connected together time. We've never experienced anything so intense and ANGRY before and I just can't seem to find a way to respond to my son that actually helps him.
I'm considering putting him in school just for the sake of keeping his angry outbursts away from the other kids for a few hours a day. *sob*
Happy mama to L (Sept '06), R (Apr '08), R (Apr '10), and G (Mar '12)! - Homemade , Home birthed , Home schooled , Home grown
Is there any way you could get counseling for him? I know it's horribly expensive and I don't know what kind of resources there are for kids going through this. You said he isn't in school. I know there are psychologists in school. With the puffy eyes and paleness it sounds like it's affecting his sleep, and he's going to have a hard time feeling better emotionally if he isn't sleeping. You could even start with a pediatrician.
It sounds to me like it's beyond a discipline problem. I hope some parents with more experience in divorce will come in here and give you some more advice. It does sound really difficult for all of you.