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  1. #1
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    Default Help with 5 yr old tantrums and behaviours

    DS is 5, turning 6 in October. He has been a challenge for a long while. And I'd describe him as sensitive. But in recent months, he's began to shout or scream high pitched at the top of his lungs when he doesn't get his own way, and it can escalate into full on meltdowns. I literally can't do anything at this stage, if I try to put him in his room away from his little sisters who are scared, he just runs out screaming at me or throws things at the back of the door if I hold it shut.

    These incidents commonly happen over little things like when he asks for more food on the way out the door to school and I say all he can have is a piece of fruit due to time!!!

    Also, he's become very disrespectful in the way he talks to me (not always but often) and a lot of his talking is done in a raised, angry voice.

    He has some social anxiety around talking to adults, even well known ones, and his main triggers are around food (what he isn't allowed at a particular time, or not knowing what he wants to eat), and also as he wakes early each day, by 5:30am, I believe a lot is tiredness.

    He had tonsils and adenoids out last year and grommets inserted, which helped his behaviour improve for a little while. He was found to be anaemic a few months ago so started him on iron supplements.

    Just wondering if anything else could be going on? I keep wondering about allergy testing (as a blood test picked up abnormal white cell count in the part that's related to an allergy), or maybe something to do with vision that's undetected. But don't know if I'm clutching at straws and it's just bad parenting. Feel so guilty.

    He's doing well at school and his behaviour is good there, it's just at home. 😢

    I've booked in to see a family therapist/child psychologist in a couple of weeks. Just posting to see if anyone has any thoughts because I'm just worried about him and really need to find a way to help him.

    TIA

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    Anyone please?

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    I am sorry as I only have a 3yo so no experience but I do wonder whether you have had him assessed for ASD? His behaviour could be fine at school etc but could be over stimulated etc therefore taking it out on you at home (also its his safe place).

    I could only suggest maybe giving him a timeout space with some sensory stuff? Things to squeeze, hit etc.

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    My 5yo has also recently started losing the plot...massive tantrums that escalate out of nothing and he has never previously been at all difficult, although he suffers from terrible separation anxiety. I think it's fatigue based, he regularly says he's tired even not long after getting up. He has massive tonsils and tosses and turns and mouth breathes at night, so I think he's not getting good sleep. He's seeing an ENT soon...if it's not fatigue related I'm not sure what. A phase? Attention seeking? DS has responded quite well to a sticker chart..positive reinforcement rather than negative.

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    Quote Originally Posted by twinklify View Post
    I am sorry as I only have a 3yo so no experience but I do wonder whether you have had him assessed for ASD? His behaviour could be fine at school etc but could be over stimulated etc therefore taking it out on you at home (also its his safe place).

    I could only suggest maybe giving him a timeout space with some sensory stuff? Things to squeeze, hit etc.
    Thanks for the reply. I haven't really thought of it because he's seen a psychologist previously for his social anxiety, plus a paediatrician, and neither had raised it. But certainly will consider it further just in case.
    Things to hit or squeeze is a good idea to try to stop him damaging the door! Thank you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaybaby View Post
    My 5yo has also recently started losing the plot...massive tantrums that escalate out of nothing and he has never previously been at all difficult, although he suffers from terrible separation anxiety. I think it's fatigue based, he regularly says he's tired even not long after getting up. He has massive tonsils and tosses and turns and mouth breathes at night, so I think he's not getting good sleep. He's seeing an ENT soon...if it's not fatigue related I'm not sure what. A phase? Attention seeking? DS has responded quite well to a sticker chart..positive reinforcement rather than negative.
    Thanks. My DS definitely was like this before his tonsils came out. Fatigued soon after waking, a mouth breather, and not sleeping well even though he was asleep. He would snore. His tonsils were so big they were touching. Adenoids enlarged too. So I think definitely seeing the ENT will be good for your son too!!
    Interesting that your DS also has a specific anxiety like mine. I wonder if it's at all related to the anxiety in any way.... although he's pretty good with it at school and talks to his teacher and friends just not my friends!
    He has a sticker chart, unfortunately it doesn't really help him but nothing seems too. 😢

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    I just thought I'd send a quick reply regarding my experience with my now 8 year old at that age. I thought he had a pretty good diet as I never bought them much processed food, however the bread ,butter, crackers etc. they ate were full of additives and preservatives. I looked up the fed up website and changed the brand of bread (now they have the Coles additive and preservative free bread) and the butter (they had dairy soft but now they have homebrand in the cooler months cos I can store it in the cupboard and I think it's mainland spreadable in the warmer months). Just a few tweaks to his diet and his behaviour changed dramatically. Could be a coincidence, but I've tried reintroducing things and bread seems to be the biggest issue. Not sure if that helps.

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    I wouldn't be surprised if it's due to his anxiety. I've worked with a lot of kids who manage to hold themselves together pretty well at school but then lose it at home. It's not because of bad parenting, more that they have to work so hard to appear 'normal' at school that by the time they get home there's nothing left in the tank, and it's a safe place to let everything out they've been holding in all day. Anxiety can interfere with sleep too and being tired doesn't help behaviour either.

    What might help you is to write a list of his triggers and plan ways to manage these in advance. As you've already discovered, there's not much you can do when he's at peak tantrum so the best thing is to try stop it before it starts. For example with the food, maybe instead of telling him he can only have a piece of fruit, give him the choice of a piece of fruit, a muesli bar or a piece of toast - or whatever you feel is appropriate. Also take into account that making a piece of toast is likely to be quicker than dealing with a tantrum! But being able to make a choice is likely to help him feel more in control and therefore less anxious. And he's making a choice you're happy with either way.

    You could also try ignoring/minimising bad behaviour like speaking rudely but heaping praise on when he speaks nicely. This won't always be possible I understand but hopefully he'll get the idea that life is better when he behaves. I'm guessing that because there's so much tension at the moment, praise might get forgotten sometimes (again that doesn't make you a bad parent if this is the case, it's just what often happens in these situations).

    I'm glad you have an appointment with a psych booked because having someone to teach your DS skills and strategies to manage his anxiety is also important. Often these will be things you can practice together.

    I'd recommend trying to get your hands on the book "you've got dragons" by Kathryn Cave. Really great picture book that uses a dragon showing up and following you around as a metaphor for anxiety. I find it's great to read to anxious kids and is a great conversation starter.

    Hope all this helps!

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    Quote Originally Posted by besha View Post
    I wouldn't be surprised if it's due to his anxiety. I've worked with a lot of kids who manage to hold themselves together pretty well at school but then lose it at home. It's not because of bad parenting, more that they have to work so hard to appear 'normal' at school that by the time they get home there's nothing left in the tank, and it's a safe place to let everything out they've been holding in all day. Anxiety can interfere with sleep too and being tired doesn't help behaviour either.

    What might help you is to write a list of his triggers and plan ways to manage these in advance. As you've already discovered, there's not much you can do when he's at peak tantrum so the best thing is to try stop it before it starts. For example with the food, maybe instead of telling him he can only have a piece of fruit, give him the choice of a piece of fruit, a muesli bar or a piece of toast - or whatever you feel is appropriate. Also take into account that making a piece of toast is likely to be quicker than dealing with a tantrum! But being able to make a choice is likely to help him feel more in control and therefore less anxious. And he's making a choice you're happy with either way.

    You could also try ignoring/minimising bad behaviour like speaking rudely but heaping praise on when he speaks nicely. This won't always be possible I understand but hopefully he'll get the idea that life is better when he behaves. I'm guessing that because there's so much tension at the moment, praise might get forgotten sometimes (again that doesn't make you a bad parent if this is the case, it's just what often happens in these situations).

    I'm glad you have an appointment with a psych booked because having someone to teach your DS skills and strategies to manage his anxiety is also important. Often these will be things you can practice together.

    I'd recommend trying to get your hands on the book "you've got dragons" by Kathryn Cave. Really great picture book that uses a dragon showing up and following you around as a metaphor for anxiety. I find it's great to read to anxious kids and is a great conversation starter.

    Hope all this helps!
    Thank you. That's very helpful. I'm definitely trying to praise politeness where it happens and he's recognised this because he'll say "I'm using my manners mummy!". 😊

    With food, yes usually he gets options, so maybe it was misleading saying only fruit, sorry about that! I agree it's quicker than dealing with the tantrum! It might only be two options when we're literally rushing out the door though. He has a hard time choosing anything, and likes carb heavy foods like crackers and bread. It's hard to get veges into him. He eats three fruits only. His diet doesn't have much variety. I also don't want him to get into the habit of not eating enough of his breakfast then asking for something else later when there is not time before school. I want him to fill up on breakfast so he doesn't need a snack before school!

    So yes it's been an ongoing battle daily with food. We have breakfast options as pictures on the wall to help him, but sometimes he still doesn't want any of it but can't tell us what he does want! So frustrating!

    I will take a look at that book.

    Literally cannot wait for this appointment next week. Feel like I spend so much time thinking about what I can do to help him!

  12. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theboys&me View Post
    I just thought I'd send a quick reply regarding my experience with my now 8 year old at that age. I thought he had a pretty good diet as I never bought them much processed food, however the bread ,butter, crackers etc. they ate were full of additives and preservatives. I looked up the fed up website and changed the brand of bread (now they have the Coles additive and preservative free bread) and the butter (they had dairy soft but now they have homebrand in the cooler months cos I can store it in the cupboard and I think it's mainland spreadable in the warmer months). Just a few tweaks to his diet and his behaviour changed dramatically. Could be a coincidence, but I've tried reintroducing things and bread seems to be the biggest issue. Not sure if that helps.
    Thanks. We have pure unsalted butter (the aldi one) but bread, wraps, crackers etc im not sure about... probably they have additives, and he loves those foods.

    I had looked into the Fed Up website before and was all geared up to try it. Because it certainly can't do any harm! But DH blocked it, and was all negative because he doesn't think that's it and doesn't want to lose out on foods he likes really. But might have to reconsider I think.

    Basically I'll try anything to see what might help him!


 

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