5 year old with negative attitude - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 03-26-2009, 09:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I’m in some desperate need of advice regarding my, almost 5 year old, son. His attitude towards humans and animals is horrible. I am about in tears as I type this because I feel so bad that he has turned into this horrible negative ball of energy and I feel that I am all at fault for it. He is a great kid, don’t get me wrong, but as he gets older his attitude is nearing unbearable. At times, I just want to run and hide from him. He is not physically aggressive, just verbally. The whole family is having a very difficult time dealing with this. He is constantly yelling at someone/thing over anything. His 1 year old sister touches him, he yells at her. I say something he doesn’t like, he yells at me. A woman in the store is ‘in his way’ in the store, he yells at her. A friend won’t play his way, he yells at them. He trips over the dog, he yells at the dog. The dog barks, you guessed it, he’s yelling again. I find myself walking on eggshells trying to prevent all this, I can’t do it anymore, and it’s not working. I have talked to him about this. I can’t seem to get through to him that it’s not nice to treat people/things this way. I have explained to him that we don’t treat him that way, we don’t deserve to be treated that way or how would he like it if he was yelled at all the time but he just doesn’t “get it” for lack of better words. I keep his sister away from him but then he comes near her and she grabs/touches him and poof, meltdown. I have been keeping the dogs outside more but he pounds on the windows when they bark. It’s as if he always has to be in control and be bossing someone/thing around. I completely respect the fact that he is his own person but he is breaking me down, I can’t stand all this negativity. I have tried ignoring this behavior and that hasn’t helped the situation at all. Over the past 3 years this has slowly built up to where it is now but in the past 4 months it has gotten so much worse. Any ideas to what is going on here?

If I can please have a moment of pity party time for myself. I don’t do anything good enough or right for him. I always cook the wrong the thing, he never wants to eat what I fix or what’s in the pantry, he hates going to the grocery store or helping with the meal planning. I have a 1 year old nursling who still nurses through the night, I am sleep deprived. I have let the house go as much as I possibly can but I am worn out and broken down. It is possible that this is all my issue (well that’s not true, other family members are getting fed up being treated so poorly). I feel like a failure as a mother. I am so exhausted and feeling so beat down. I am being beat down by my son… I know that sounds horrible but I am telling you he is relentless. There is always yelling, bossing, mean faces and words coming from him. I’m at a loss here. I know he can’t be happy with all that negative energy. I just don’t know what to do to help him and in return help the rest of the family. Has anyone dealt with anything like this? What am I doing wrong here?

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#2 of 25 Old 03-26-2009, 10:50 AM
 
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Is it possible he has sensory issues, or is otherwise not feeling well?

You might want to read Kurcinka's "Kids, Parents and Power Struggles". Personally, if I have a kid who cannot speak in a polite way, they go to their room until they have themselves under control. I don't know if you're RU (I don't really understand the RU approach to this kind of thing, so if you are, I imagine my advice won't work for you), but if not, you might try requiring that he speak in a pleasant, respectful way to the people around him.

My oldest has sensory issues and, particularly when she's feeling overwhelmed sensorily, she has trouble with unbelievable grumpiness. We work with her on keeping her environment manageable, and strategies for what to do when she's getting upset, but until I started demanding that she treat the rest of us decently, with consequences for being rude/unkind, she wasn't willing to try. She was suffering socially for her grumpiness, but she couldn't see it, and I fear it would have been years before she decided on her own to work on it, and I wasn't willing to let her mistreat the rest of us until she decided to stop.

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#3 of 25 Old 03-26-2009, 11:02 AM
 
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Oh, how I sympathize. My 10 yo ds has been much the same way for most of his tiny life. The thing that has helped the most is asking him to try again when he says something rude, unkind, or uses a tone that indicates these. By immediately offering a second chance it helps him learn in the moment the kinds of things that are upsetting to others. In the beginning he often didn't know how to rephrase differently so I would ask if he would like suggestions (which he always did). Now he still slips sometimes but it is far less often and far less objectionable when he does. He also almost always knows how to rephrase when given a second chance.

We also realized that we were using sarcasm a lot when talking with each other, not to the kids but in front of the kids. Dh and I both have a sarcastic sense of humor and it was all in fun but our little guy couldn't discern sarcasm so we both had to learn to curb it. Our kids will also ask us to "try again" if we say something unkind or rude, even if it was meant to be a joke. I really think giving them the power to do that has helped this process as much as anything; they know that this isn't because they are kids, it is because this is a better way for ALL people to interact with each other.
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#4 of 25 Old 03-26-2009, 11:34 AM
 
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*typed with many interruptions helping ds with something so forgive disjointedness and redundancies with anyone who posted meanwhile*

My ds does have a strong tendency towards being very cranky/negative. But it's not all day every day. And he doesn't do it to non family. He's gentle with animals but I could see the family dog could fall under the category of family (we don't have a pet). 4 was a bad age and I see your ds is still 4, just turning 5. 5 wasn't awesome but it showed gradual improvement.

At age 4/5, sleep was very important as was food. But he was asserting his independence so wouldn't always take what was offered. I could have offered him his favorite candy and he would've screamed he didn't want it, some days. Some days there was just no talking to him. Basically, I just did what I could to help him get enough sleep. He'd take late naps, 5-7pm. Most people would try to keep their kid awake and put him to sleep early but that didn't work for ds. That would mean he'd have trouble falling asleep because he was overtired and he'd sleep poorly (waking or having night terrors), as well. Then the next day would be a mess and we'd get into a horrible cycle. I'd sometimes throw him in the car and just drive around so he'd fall asleep. Or I'd plan the day so we had a long car ride home in the afternoon.

The best solution when he was having a hard time always seemed to be a change of scenery. I'd haul him in if we were out, out if we were in, leave wherever we were. In those situations, it was when he'd get into an overstimulated "crazy mode" and was unable to turn himself off. I don't know that that would help your ds because he doesn't sound out of control in the same way. BUT a change of scene is always good for getting out of ruts.

I did learn not to engage him when he was in a mood, not to feed it by either trying too hard to make things better or by asserting the sky really was blue if he said it was orange. I'd put food in front of him and walk away (not mean, just not sticking around to be an audience).

My ds needed a TON of focused attention. Half an ear while I did some other task didn't cut it. He'd get lots of cuddle time (still slept in arms!) which I know helped him (and me) feel connected. Even if we had a hard day, we snuggled. And he'd frequently tell me he loved me despite having spent the day screaming he hated me

I'm wondering if your ds is feeling less connected because of having been "displaced" by the baby. Many times, sibling jealousy doesn't really get bad until the younger one gets mobile and starts getting into the older one's stuff.

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#5 of 25 Old 03-26-2009, 11:41 AM
 
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Just wanted to add silliness was an invaluable tool. Despite his crankiness, he does have a great sense of humor and if I could keep mine, his would return. But being silly can sometimes backfire because it can make the other person feel he isn't being taken seriously.

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#6 of 25 Old 03-26-2009, 11:50 AM
 
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I think your son is begging you to be the parent, and not try and be his friend. There is no reason he should be allowed to treat people that way, or think that it is acceptable to treat people that way. It sounds like he thinks (and is) he is running things around there. He IS, if you are 'walking on eggshells' and just trying to avoid his triggers, which is anything that he doesn't love.

This age is hard, for all children, but boys especially.

Where is his Dad in all of this? How does he feel about his behavior and what does he do to correct it?

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#7 of 25 Old 03-26-2009, 12:12 PM
 
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Just lurking here...not an unschooler, but we would lean that way if we homeschooled. Anyway, I wanted to recommend two books and second Kids, Parents and Power Struggles that a pp mentioned. The other two I like are The Explosive Child by Ross Greene and Non-Violent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg.

All of these books take a "working with" approach and none of them are dominating, or authoritarian. I think they're definitely worth a look. It seems to me that your little guy is needing some help in learning how to take other people's (and dog's) feelings into consideration and what that means for him in the big picture. I don't think it's out of line with my understanding of unschooling to let him know how you feel when he does one of these things (like yells at his sister). The Non-Violent Communication book may help you with ways to let him know w/o feeling like you're trying to manipulate him. It's okay to own your feelings and it's okay to speak for those (like your baby or the dog) who can't speak themselves.

I'll step out now since I feel a little like a party-crasher here, but good luck.

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#8 of 25 Old 03-26-2009, 01:05 PM
 
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Yep, seconding the recommendation for The Explosive Child. That book was the first step in some really significant life changes for us that helped ds shed the angry self that was keeping him from being true self.
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#9 of 25 Old 03-26-2009, 01:09 PM
 
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I'm not an RU, I guess, because when my daughter does that she gets to go stay by herself for a while until she can treat others with respect. To me it's a huge issue and not one to put off. When I was young I was really bossy nad it caused so much heartache as friend after friend rejected me and I could not figure out why. It wasn't till I was an adult that I was able to look back and see what a bossy little annoying thing I was. I wish someone had taught me how and made me behave to my friends so I wasn't so lonely as a kid. It would have taken more than a "talking to" to get me to pay attention but it totally would have been worth it.

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#10 of 25 Old 03-26-2009, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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**excuse all typos and such, I'm trying to pull this all together real quick**
Thanks you for all the book suggestions. I will defiantly go to the library ASAP to check a few out!

Now for some damage controll... my DS is not a brat as I am getting the feel that some of you think. There is a difference. My son would break his neck trying to get to any of you, just to help you pick something that you have dropped. If you introduced yourself to him, he would shake your hand and introduce himself and give you his age (he picked this all up on his own). When he isn't being his mean bossy self he is the most well mannered polite child. He is two very extremes, black and white.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
Is it possible he has sensory issues, or is otherwise not feeling well?

You might want to read Kurcinka's "Kids, Parents and Power Struggles". Personally, if I have a kid who cannot speak in a polite way, they go to their room until they have themselves under control. I don't know if you're RU (I don't really understand the RU approach to this kind of thing, so if you are, I imagine my advice won't work for you), but if not, you might try requiring that he speak in a pleasant, respectful way to the people around him.

My oldest has sensory issues and, particularly when she's feeling overwhelmed sensorily, she has trouble with unbelievable grumpiness. We work with her on keeping her environment manageable, and strategies for what to do when she's getting upset, but until I started demanding that she treat the rest of us decently, with consequences for being rude/unkind, she wasn't willing to try. She was suffering socially for her grumpiness, but she couldn't see it, and I fear it would have been years before she decided on her own to work on it, and I wasn't willing to let her mistreat the rest of us until she decided to stop.

ZM
Yes, DS has Sensory Integration Disorder/Dysfunction and Pervasive Development Disorder.. we do deal with the sensory issues on a daily basis. I have demanded him treat us better, I have not found any consequences that would make him see that I mean business. Perhaps I should have posted this in Special needs but 1) I do not view him as special needs and 2) I have tried that route and all the I got was "good luck and let me know when you find something, we are all in the same boat." I am sure there is a way to get through to him, I just haven to found it and I was wanting to see what USers would do.

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Oh, how I sympathize. My 10 yo ds has been much the same way for most of his tiny life. The thing that has helped the most is asking him to try again when he says something rude, unkind, or uses a tone that indicates these. By immediately offering a second chance it helps him learn in the moment the kinds of things that are upsetting to others. In the beginning he often didn't know how to rephrase differently so I would ask if he would like suggestions (which he always did). Now he still slips sometimes but it is far less often and far less objectionable when he does. He also almost always knows how to rephrase when given a second chance.

We also realized that we were using sarcasm a lot when talking with each other, not to the kids but in front of the kids. Dh and I both have a sarcastic sense of humor and it was all in fun but our little guy couldn't discern sarcasm so we both had to learn to curb it. Our kids will also ask us to "try again" if we say something unkind or rude, even if it was meant to be a joke. I really think giving them the power to do that has helped this process as much as anything; they know that this isn't because they are kids, it is because this is a better way for ALL people to interact with each other.
I love this idea, I have never tried it and it sounds great! We have learned too, that we have to watch our sarcastic mouths. DS sounds like a little adult, he picks up our words and phrases and uses them. On an occasion he will throw some of the sarcasm at us in the right context but still, thats not to funny... well it is but we can't let him know that! DS also has a fabulous memory, hardly forgets a thing. He has recalled conversations month ago almost word for word complete with different tones of voice to distinguish between the duologues. Not so great at brothers wedding rehearsal and he gives everyone a reenactment of an over heard disagreement with his father and I. We watch what we say well!

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Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post
My ds does have a strong tendency towards being very cranky/negative. But it's not all day every day. And he doesn't do it to non family. He's gentle with animals but I could see the family dog could fall under the category of family (we don't have a pet). 4 was a bad age and I see your ds is still 4, just turning 5. 5 wasn't awesome but it showed gradual improvement.

At age 4/5, sleep was very important as was food. But he was asserting his independence so wouldn't always take what was offered. I could have offered him his favorite candy and he would've screamed he didn't want it, some days. Some days there was just no talking to him. Basically, I just did what I could to help him get enough sleep. He'd take late naps, 5-7pm. Most people would try to keep their kid awake and put him to sleep early but that didn't work for ds. That would mean he'd have trouble falling asleep because he was overtired and he'd sleep poorly (waking or having night terrors), as well. Then the next day would be a mess and we'd get into a horrible cycle. I'd sometimes throw him in the car and just drive around so he'd fall asleep. Or I'd plan the day so we had a long car ride home in the afternoon.

The best solution when he was having a hard time always seemed to be a change of scenery. I'd haul him in if we were out, out if we were in, leave wherever we were. In those situations, it was when he'd get into an overstimulated "crazy mode" and was unable to turn himself off. I don't know that that would help your ds because he doesn't sound out of control in the same way. BUT a change of scene is always good for getting out of ruts.

I did learn not to engage him when he was in a mood, not to feed it by either trying too hard to make things better or by asserting the sky really was blue if he said it was orange. I'd put food in front of him and walk away (not mean, just not sticking around to be an audience).

My ds needed a TON of focused attention. Half an ear while I did some other task didn't cut it. He'd get lots of cuddle time (still slept in arms!) which I know helped him (and me) feel connected. Even if we had a hard day, we snuggled. And he'd frequently tell me he loved me despite having spent the day screaming he hated me

I'm wondering if your ds is feeling less connected because of having been "displaced" by the baby. Many times, sibling jealousy doesn't really get bad until the younger one gets mobile and starts getting into the older one's stuff.
Change of scenery doesn't always work well for us. He doesn't do change well at all times and that would make it worse. I don't engage in his mood. I have found if I ignore it, it helps but only as arguing goes. I hate to argue with him but me explaining what he is doing isn't nice, quickly turns into him telling me him telling me why he is angry, I listen and then acknowledge his anger, then reexplain why what he was doing wasn't nice for him to explain why he is angery... it quickly can turn into an argument. Discussing it after the fact hasn't given me any better results. I just can't get through to him that its not right to talk so negatively to other people. When I tell him his friends wont play with him anymore he tells me he doesn't want to be friends with them anymore and never wants to see them again. I know he doesn't mean this but still, so frustrating! As far as naps go, they are a battle. I pick my battles with him. I wish we had a free flowing home but I fear that isn't possible with our family. Naps do cut down on his yelling a bit but not a lot. Naps are so hard to do with him if he doesn't want one. He will get upset and then it turns into a meltdown and that can last anywhere from 45 min to 3 hours, its horrible and not worth the nap that may happen after the meltdown. He gets up set and falls into one of these meltdowns it effects all of us. I get stressed, he is clearly not ok, baby is so upset from the noise and chaos, DH is annoyed = me more stressed, dogs are pacing trying/trying to hide... the house is totally on edge and not functional. However, I think I am going to try to find a way to make naps part of our daily routine. See how that goes if it is the daily norm. It is going to be a challenge but something has got to give... As far as his sister goes, from the beginning I have made sure he has not felt left out/replaced by her. I am the oldest of 4 and I know how it feels to get lost in the family. On a daily basis DS has one on one time with DH and me without little sis in the equations. As for as her getting in his stuff, not yet. DD is a butt hopper and that is as far as her mobility goes, its pretty easy to keep her out of his stuff and away from him, granted its keeping him away from her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post
Just wanted to add silliness was an invaluable tool. Despite his crankiness, he does have a great sense of humor and if I could keep mine, his would return. But being silly can sometimes backfire because it can make the other person feel he isn't being taken seriously.
Silliness is a huge no no with him. It just makes thing so much worse. I have tried in on a few different occasions and boy did that blow up in my face!

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Originally Posted by BoringTales View Post
I think your son is begging you to be the parent, and not try and be his friend. There is no reason he should be allowed to treat people that way, or think that it is acceptable to treat people that way. It sounds like he thinks (and is) he is running things around there. He IS, if you are 'walking on eggshells' and just trying to avoid his triggers, which is anything that he doesn't love.

This age is hard, for all children, but boys especially.

Where is his Dad in all of this? How does he feel about his behavior and what does he do to correct it?
I am trying really hard not to take offense to this. I am a parent and a friend but for most a parent. When you say "There is no reason he should be allowed to treat people that way, or think that it is acceptable to treat people that way" I'm just sitting back and letting him go. I have not always walked on eggshells, I choose to do so now because its the only thing that I have found that helps. It is a temporary solution until I find a permanent one, thats why I am here, asking for help. I do avoid some of his triggers but I also stomp on some as well. If it was up to him he would seldom change his clothes, take a bath, brush his teeth... when it comes to his health he has to do these things or I will 'help' him do them. I am 8 months new to unshooling, I haven't always been so laid back and relaxed. Even then there was no difference. I dont know what else I can do. Spank him? I see a few problems with this. 1) I never want my children to fear me, I feared a parent, I know that feeling. My children will not. 2) He has a high tolerance to pain. I would have to beat him nothing short of his life before he would feel any level of pain, spanking/beating is defiantly no an option and not solution. Sending him to his room? We do that at times but 98% of the time the turns into a meltdown. Meltdown in our house mean tearing room apart, running into walls, head banging, screaming and crying that lasts up to 3 hours, nonstop. So not worth it! Timeout? Same as sending him to his room. Rewarding? Ha, that would be great if he actually cared about the reward. He can pick the reward and when I point out to him that he is being nasty and if he doesn't treat _ better then he will not get it, he doesn't care. He losses the reward and he keeps being nasty and thats the end of that. Taking away privileges? Well I still use this one when I am at whits end. It works for the moment but not for the whole day. If I used this every time, my (almost) 5 year old would have nothing, all the time. I just don't think that is fair, he is a child. Its not that he is spitefully being mean, I just don't think he understands what he is dong wrong. As far as DH goes. He works during the day and its just me and the kids for most of the day. He does see DS behavior and he isn't happy with it, none of us are. He gets on to him (as in yelling and I'm not happy with it at all) but even that doesn't change anything. It is clear that none of us are happy with this, DS knows it, I just don't know how to help him change. I don't know, I feel like I keep hitting a brick wall when it comes to this issue.

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#11 of 25 Old 03-26-2009, 03:48 PM
 
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It's hard to say whether this is just a habit he's developed or something deeper.

I like to believe that children are inherently good, have an innate desire to be accepted by society, etc...My inclination in reading your post is that he has a problem that no amount of sending him to his room is going to fix.

I would probably seek some help or assistance from someone knowledgable about child development. It could be sensory issues, it could be poor sleep (highly recommend Sleepless in America; excellent book), it could be diet, it could be many things.

My guess is your child is not happy being this way either, but is too young to know to ask for help. Read lots, talk to people, and see if you can figure out the root of this problem. Address it there.


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#12 of 25 Old 03-26-2009, 10:28 PM
 
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Hey Mama,

We have eliminated a lot of issues with my ds by following the Feingold diet. Good luck.
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#13 of 25 Old 03-26-2009, 10:58 PM
 
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I want to agree with PPs that wonder if there's a food sensitivity here. It sounds to me like the kind of behavior that is triggered by sensitivities. You may have already though of this (as it sounds like you've already tried a lot of avenues) but dairy and wheat are the two most common triggers for behavioral issues. Have you tried cutting them out? I would give it several months with no wheat/dairy/sugar and see how that goes.

If it helps him to be calmer, then I would go on an elimination diet and see what else can be done to help him. Or better yet, check out GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome).

FWIW, I don't see this as a parenting/discipline issue at all. It sounds to me like there's something else going on. Food sensitivities is my first guess.

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#14 of 25 Old 03-26-2009, 11:46 PM
 
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Just popping in to say I have a kid with sensory issues. It's real. Honest. And likely related to the lousy behavior.

It's folks that don't have a sensory kid that end up saying that "be a parent" stuff. I know they mean well....

I'll tell you what worked for me, which might help you.

1) Totally upping the sensory diet. Mine is a sensory seeker.

Tumbing mats
BIG swings inside and out
Outside play every single day
Spring horse
Disc sitter pillow thing-ys

and the all important

HEAVY BLANKET (a life saver)

and a heavy vest that I made with a polar fleece vest from REI with sculpy sewn in for anxiety producing situations

2) Staying really really calm about the mouthing off. Unless it's hurting her sisters feelings, not saying anything. (We don't have problems in public, though I'd handle it by apologizing to the person he yelled at) Water off a ducks back otherwise.

3) Self-care. Gotta emphasize this. You can't do 2 without it.

4) Mentally and physically engaging tasks....stuff from The Out of Sync Child Has Fun is good.

5) That Sleepless in America book....it's all about ways of lowering tension during the day, not just sleeping. Great insights and very practical, helpful suggestions.

Hang in there.
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#15 of 25 Old 03-27-2009, 01:55 AM
 
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I second (and third) the suggestions about food sensitivities, if you haven't already worked on them (there are many). Sensory issues and PDD are often connected to food sensitivities (or at least worsened by them). Can you find someone in your area who can help him with his sensory integration issues? Can you try an elimination diet? Dairy and gluten (wheat, barley, rye, oats) are the two most common, although there are others. The ALCAT test seems to be the most well-respected for food sensitivities (but it requires a blood draw).
to you. I am sorry that you have felt attacked. I sure hope things improve soon. I hate it when people tell me I let me ds walk all over me. Please!

Jen 47 DS C 2/03  angel.gif04/29/08/ DD S 10/28/09 DH Bill '97.

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#16 of 25 Old 03-27-2009, 07:02 AM
 
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I know you're getting a lot of book suggestions and I'm sure they are all good, but I did want to second a PP's recommendation for The Explosive Child by Ross Greene.

It sounds like you are doing really well actually. I don't mean that like it sounds, I know it's hard on all of you and you need to find ways to improve things, but it sounds like you know and understand your son well and that's only going to help. I know what you mean about being two extremes.
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#17 of 25 Old 03-27-2009, 08:18 AM
 
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I'm sorry you are feeling judged and under the microscope. I know I've already posted my advice but I couldn't help but post again and offer my reassurance because I know what it is like to have a very sweet and loving child with a temper and what its like when every solution you've tried hasn't helped and some of them even make the situation worse. I also know about walking on eggshells and it has nothing to do with your child "needing you to be the parent." You ARE being the parent because you are here looking for the best solution to this situation. (((hugs)))
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#18 of 25 Old 03-27-2009, 10:48 AM
 
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I never thought he was a brat.

Thinking more about this, I agree with the pp that just concentrating on making him feel better and keeping your sanity is good strategy for now. He's 5 and he's probably feeling overwhelmed with the baby and stuff. Usually when I feel the way you've described, the problem passes within 2 weeks of venting about it. I hope it works that way for you!

We had gotten to a point with my 8 year old where she didn't like to speak courteously to people, ever-- I'm still not sure why, and I'm starting to wonder if it's because it seemed too emotional to ask someone to "please" do whatever. I'm just learning that the reason all the talking I did wasn't helping is that when I thought she was being completely insensitive to the feelings of people around her, she was actually very very sensitive, and so when I tried to talk to her about why I didn't like the way she was treating other people, she was so overwhelmed by the way my disapproval felt that she wasn't really hearing what I said. So, for her, either a very short description of why I don't like the way she's talking (e.g. "When you talk to me like that it makes me angry.") or telling her to go to her room until she's ready to treat the rest of us better is more effective than lots of talking. We are working on the sensory stuff, but we decided that at 8, she was old enough to begin to learn that you don't get to mistreat the people around you whenever you're not feeling 100%. It's not something I'd do with a 5 year old.

Something my dd found very helpful was this website:
http://www.cyh.sa.gov.au/HealthTopic...ies.aspx?p=287

It seems to describe anger and anger management in a way that she understood and appreciated. After she read it, we talked about how to make the strategies they describe work in our lives. She hasn't had a major episode since we read it, and I have noticed her using the strategies they recommend (like going off to be alone BEFORE she gets really upset).

((Hugs))

ZM
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#19 of 25 Old 03-27-2009, 11:16 AM
 
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I struggled with a very angry 5 year old. He is almost 7 now, and still very strong willed and demands a lot of focus but we are managing much better now. It was really hard for a couple years though.

I believe that sleep was a huge issue for my ds. He also finally got diagnosed with asthma last Spring. I believe he was really uncomfortable in his body - he wasn't breathing well. It was undetected by me and doctors for a long time), though I always knew there was something just off but didn't know what to do. We went thru a year of NAET treatments, and now he takes asthma medication.

I also realize that his anger does not have to become my anger. I play more of the sympathizer role now instead of getting sucked into the drama. It helps all of us. Good luck.
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#20 of 25 Old 03-27-2009, 11:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
I never thought he was a brat.
Me neither, thought he sounded like my guy.

Things got so much better as my ds outgrew his need for day time sleep. He doesn't have SPD but he is highly sensitive. Change of diet never did anything for him though eating before too hungry did help. I noticed he needed naps more in the spring as our outside play time increased, even if he hadn't napped all winter.

To make naps happen, I'd invite ds to lie down and snuggle (nurse, really, when he was still 5). I'd tell him if he didn't want a nap, he could get back up after some "nummies". That would get him over the initial resistance of getting into the bedroom (he really liked nursing, lol) and once snuggled up, he'd frequently opt to stay. You probably aren't still nursing your ds but maybe a story time in bed followed by a family nap would be attractive if you can manage both kids being sleepy enough at the same time.

Sometimes a long (2 hour) bath was a good nap substitute. I never made ds take baths and sometimes he didn't want one for long periods but certain toys make them awfully attractive. We've used marble runs in the tub. Ds has had a remote controlled sub.

A familiar movie can provide a restful downtime for my ds.

Silly only works at the right times and if it is honest good humor not forced or seemingly (to ds) mocking. And if he isn't in too bad of a mood.

I know sudden changes are hard on some kids so I'm not surprised your ds doesn't take to it well. It just works really well for my guy... I could haul him away from a situation with him struggling and fighting. As soon as we'd get outside, he'd be snuggling up to me and calming down. It looked really not RU.

Punishments NEVER worked. Always made the situation worse. Rewards? Ha! So I totally hear you on that.

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
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#21 of 25 Old 03-27-2009, 11:49 AM
 
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Hugs to you, mama! I could have written your post and was actually on MDC looking for info on just these types of things when I came across your post. Only my DS is now 7 and it seems to be getting worse rather than better. We go through phases where he has different issues, but it is never completely gone, just...different. This is not a new thing for us either. It has been going on for most of his short life, but I am at the point where I would like to run away.

I know people try to be helpful when they say "be the parent, control that child...", but it's not helpful. Like most things, if you have not had a child with these issues, you truly have no idea what it is like. Sometimes, even when they have a child like this, they still blame you, as mom, for the actions of the child. I am currently having my own DH telling me this is all my fault...like I don't blame myself enough already.

I understand completely walking on egg shells. I have found myself doing the very same thing, even so far as to be a buffer between him and other people to try and prevent the anxiety and meltdowns and anger.

DS gets enough sleep. He eats well. But, I have some of these issues as well. Actually, I see alot of things in DS that I see in myself. You would think I would then know how to better relate to him, but I don't.

He is sensory seeking...I am defensive. I hate being touched all the time and he can't get enough of it. He is just so intense in everything he does that it scares the other kids off. They aren't really "scared" of him, but they do seem to recognize that he is different and don't want to play with him. He gets right in their face when trying to talk to them and only wants them to play with him and not play with the group...the triggers go on and on. But, like the OP DS, mine is very sweet and kind and compassionate when he isn't angry.

So, I have been to the library, too. I have gotten The Explosive Child, Non-Violent Communication, and like 3 or 4 others I can't think of right now. Books are great, but I do feel like I need someone to just come here and tell me what to try...kinda like Super Nanny, I guess...LOL. I feel like I spend so much time trying to figure out new ways to relate to, help and deal with DS, that it takes time away from him sometimes, or time away from my sleep.

Anyway, I don't have any suggestions, but I do understand.

Amanda
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#22 of 25 Old 03-27-2009, 06:07 PM
 
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Sometimes it is perfectly appropriate to seek outside, professional help for situations that seem out of control. It's no judgement against your parenting or your child.
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#23 of 25 Old 03-28-2009, 06:22 PM
 
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We're going through some of what you're going through too.

Ds is 5 and has food sensitivities. We've eliminated gluten and casein (dairy), and strawberries, from his diet, and have enjoyed several years of peacefulness with him. However, ds recently went to visit his grandparents for the weekend and came home a mess and we are still dealing with the yelling, explosiveness, angry, negative attitude towards all of us in his family.

The Feingold diet has helped us tremendously, it is a lot of work, but very much worth it.

Also, after reading Parenting the Highly Sensitive Child I now realize that partly why ds reacts so much to certain foods and why it can take so long to leave his system is because he is very sensitive. He feels things very deeply, and this book really helped me recognize that as well as give me tips on what may work with him and what wouldn't work with him (for example, he needs regular, good-quality sleep, a consistent routine, gentle transitions, and most importantly, specific disipline techniques- time outs/exclusions terrorize him, although initially it was what I would do to give myself a chance to calm down).

Good luck! This week has been brutal here, so I can imagaine you're feeling very worn down after so long.
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#24 of 25 Old 03-29-2009, 11:30 PM
 
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I understand the food and sensory issues can take awhile to figure out even if that is what it is. You need something NOW.

Have you ever tried feeding him a line? For example, he gets angry and yells. Have you ever tried, in a short, simple phrases something like this? The point is NOT to explain in any long fashion the whys, but rather the hows--how to say something without yelling.

(1) Get his attention.
(2) Tell him: I hear you are angry at the dogs. Say, "Stop barking, dogs!"
(I say to my children, "tell it, don't yell it.")
(3) If he does it and they don't stop (which they probably won't) you could say something like, "Let's go to another room" or "Let's listen to this song instead of the dogs."

I wouldn't work on the angry faces yet. IF you see an improvement with the yelling then you can move on to that. When my DD does that to me, sometimes I say, "I don't accept your anger." In other words, I don't take her anger as mine. It's hers. I say it more for myself than anything, so that I don't take it personally.

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#25 of 25 Old 03-30-2009, 09:41 AM
 
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i haven't read all the posts, but it sounds like your lil man has some strong sensory issues.

there are 5 "types" of sensory issues. one is over-responsive. there are two types of "over-responsive." one is "fearful and withdrawn" (my DH) and the other is the other is "negative and stubborn." (my DS)

this causes him to be "explosive." (only when really stressed). usually he is just "chronically inflexible and easily frustrated."

these kids get really strident when their sensory needs aren't being met. the more overrun my DS feels, the more angry, uncooperative, and aggressive he gets.

i strongly suggest you read "sensational kids" by lucy jane ******, and "the explosive child" by ross greene. look for a sensory specialist to do an evaluation of him. (i had too look hard to find someone who actually specialized in sensory issues, the regular OT didn't really seem to know what was going on.)

this is a yahoo group for unschoolers with kids who have SPD. (sensory processing disorder)

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SPD-un...guid=154348808

GL!

"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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