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5YO turns into the devil. Behaviour and discipline
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#1 melbgirl

Posted 28 December 2012 - 08:20 PM

I am so very touched by all your replies.

Thank you all for your time (and there was a lot of time requied for this epic post!)

I have decied to take all your advice and discuss it with DH.

You have all given me a lot to think about and you were all so nice about it, just what I needed tonight.

Thanks for the hugs, I always thought they were a bit strange, but I really appreciated them tonight original.gif

I'll be back to let you all know how I went original.gif

Edited by melbgirl, 28 December 2012 - 09:42 PM.

#2 sakura73

Posted 28 December 2012 - 08:30 PM

I don't have any answers but I wanted to reply and say you and your DH sound like you are doing an amazing job in hard circumstances.

It seems like he has some fears perhaps about bed. Can you talk to him about them?

And perhaps, instead of removing privileges and toys for bad behaviour, switch focus and reward good behaviour with a star chart or something? Since he does know how to behave at some times?

But I also think you might want to chat to your GP about this.

Good luck, OP.

#3 libbylu

Posted 28 December 2012 - 08:32 PM

Wow - that sounds totally tough.
I can really only think of two things.
1. He sounds irrational and overtired at bedtime. Perhaps he needs to go to bed an hour or half an hour earlier so he is still calmer and not overtired.
2. We also had a lot of bedtime battles but they were caused by something different - our DS has separation anxiety and was genuinely panicky about me leaving him alone in his bedroom, which was the cause of the playing up - all he wanted was me to lie in bed with him and would go bonkers (like your DS) if I left the room.  We got through this with POSITIVE reinforcement rather than taking things away that he already has (like you we had tried that and it failed), we allowed him to add five marbles into a small jar each night as he got into bed and when he filled the jar he could pick a new toy from the shop.  For each bit of bad behaviour after lights out we would take out a marble (marbles are easier to take back than stickers and they get great satisfaction in dropping them in the jar).  It took him about 3 or 4 days to get the hang of it, and then he really got into filling up that jar and there was a massive improvement.
I wish you the best of luck - it sounds really tough.

Edited by libbylu, 28 December 2012 - 08:34 PM.

#4 chucklebury

Posted 28 December 2012 - 08:37 PM

Op I don't have a anything helpful o add except big hugs
Also ave you checked him for worms? Is he maybe doing it for dads attention if he is not seeing him all day?

#5 Mamacass2

Posted 28 December 2012 - 08:43 PM

OP I have been through this with my DS who is 6, we went through about 2 years of this behaviour with him hitting and kicking mostly DH. I could almost write your post word for word. I think with my DS it was because a new baby came along who is now almost 3 and he was jealous. She would and still does go to bed after him so I think he felt he was missing out on something. As another poster has suggested I brought his bedtime forward by half an hour because I thought he may be too tired to cope with things. I also have a very set in stone bedtime routine for him. He has a two minute alarm on his dad's phone before he goes down to his room, we then do teeth and toilet, a reader and story, then we have five minutes more. I instigated five minutes more element to his routine at the suggestion of a couple of other mums a year or so ago where it is his special before sleep time with just me and we chat about the day and stuff, sometimes he likes a tickle or a made up story instead of the chat. This has all helped, he also now seems to mostly grown out of it. He has not thrown a bedtime tantrum/meltdown for a long time and he only sometimes comes out of his room now after we have said goodnight. Anyway I hope this has reassured you a bit that other people are going through the same thing. I have shed many a tear over bedtime, it is so frustrating! Good luck.

#6 Ines07

Posted 28 December 2012 - 08:44 PM

My 5 year old DS is starting to do the same thing at bedtime, not getting physical or loud, but constantly getting out of bed for no reason. I've found that after being at preschool or having a physically demanding day he was much better at going straight to sleep. But since school holidays began he's been worse, even thought he is still tired, but I suppose not exhausted.

So 2 ideas:
1. take him for a long walk, to a friend's house or to the beach etc ( as you have said no more park visits) to tire him out.
2. When my DS first started misbehaving at bedtime 2 years ago ( he has been good until recently) I was told to just quietly and without any talking put him back to bed as soon as got out of the room. No interaction is the key I think as they get no reaction from you and I presume eventually get bored of it. It did work after some persistence.
Hope that helps, my DS is driving me mad lately at bedtime too!

Edited by Ines07, 28 December 2012 - 08:46 PM.

#7 kay11

Posted 28 December 2012 - 08:49 PM

We actually went to counselling for my DD (4) and the counsellor warned us that this type of punishment just escalates (he knew a girl who had lost all her toys, her bedding and the carpet on her floor..). He was very much into natural consequences - which it sounds like you've been doing - misbehave at the park means you leave the park early etc. And also lots of positive reinforcement.

The key for us was what we called 'practice' - so you don't just punish but actually practice and model the behaviour afterwards - eg my daughter would deliberately make loud noises when I was trying to get her little brother to sleep. I made her practice playing quietly on her own while I pushed her toy pram around with a teddy bear.

#8 melbgirl

Posted 28 December 2012 - 08:49 PM

Thank you all so much for your replies (and reading my post, think I win the prize for the longest post!)

Love the marble idea and the reward rather than punishment as that isn't working.

Will look into the worms original.gif
Didn't know they can make them misbehave.

Agree it does have something to do with attention from DH, but even if he spends the whole day with him he carries on.
It has been worse the last 3 nights an DH has been home early every night!

Don't think it is anything upsetting him as it doesn't happen every night.  

#9 Frau Farbissina

Posted 28 December 2012 - 08:52 PM

Have you tried varying the routine? Perhaps a shower instead if bath, story in the lounge room instead of bed? Earlier bed time as PP suggested. Is he allowed to play in his room? I let my 5 yr old read or play in his room after we've done the story, and he usually then goes off to sleep himself when he is ready. Does he have a night light or do you leave a lamp on, or is he in the dark? Hope some of these ideas help. Battling with kids behaviours like this is so wearying!! Good luck!

#10 Lifesgood

Posted 28 December 2012 - 08:56 PM

Yes it does sound within the range of 'normal' 5 y/o behaviour OP. Several thoughts come to mind.

Firstly your DS' behaviour sounds reasonable similar to my DDs when she was 5, although your DS may be a bit more physical in his reactions than DD was.

Secondly, it does sound like your DS may be experiencing a testosterone surge (which happens periodically in boys from quite a young age).

Finally, I think if you are consistent and calm with him eventually this stage will pass. Decide on your course of action for each situation in advance and stick to it - from what you have described above it sounds like you are already doing this. Try not to react too strongly, stay calm (easier said than done I know, but keep trying). If you use a naughty corner make it somewhere that you don't have to witness his shenanigans. I always put DD in her room and closed a few doors so I didn't have to listen/see her tantrums. After about 15 minutes I always went in with a cool drink of water and a wet flannel and cuddled her, wiped her face and neck and gave her some water. Then we would just cuddle while she calmed down and then talk a little bit about what went wrong.

Don't over-analyse the behaviour and what triggers it, you'll drive yourself mad. Just deal with each situation consistently and firmly, always following up with love and reassurance and you'll all come out the other side.

#11 melbgirl

Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:01 PM

Mamacass2, the most heartbreaking thing is we already have a wonderful bedtime routine and he is perfect all the way through it.  Then he turns devil!

Bedtime is 6/6.30 and I am also quite strict with the routine.

Like the idea of the long walk.

Kay11, I had just said to DH that from now on we will give firm instructions the first time but then just put him back to bed with no reaction.

I am sure he is just after a reaction.

Thanks again for your replies and kind words.

I actually feel good about this for the first time in a while, something cathartic about writing it all down.

Thanks for listening.

#12 kay11

Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:05 PM

Does he need to go to bed so early? My 4yo goes to bed at 7:30pm (doesn't have a day sleep). Might he just not be ready to go to sleep yet? Are there some quiet evening activities you could all do as a family that he might enjoy?

#13 lizzzard

Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:14 PM

I just wanted to pop in and mention that if you want to seek help from a psychologist, you can get a referral from your GP for a mental health plan which will cover a large percentage of the cost of 6 sessions, and you may be able to get another 6 sessions after that original.gif

#14 melbgirl

Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:15 PM

[/size]Frau Farbissina We did vary the routine a few weeks backwith no change unfortunately.  So we areback to the old one. Now with the added walk after dinner, poor DD won’t likethat!

We tried letting him play in his room, but after destroying bookstonight that won’t be happening for a while.

LifesGood, how I wish this is within the range ofnormal!  

I also like the idea of the cold flannel and water.  

The love and reassurance is getting harder to come by aftereach outburst and I am hating myself a little more each day.

Kay11, I have tried a later bedtime but things are farworse.  He even told me tonight (beforethe outburst that he only wanted 1 song as he was tired), then boom.  So I am more inclined to think that we mayneed to make sure he is in bed by 6pm.


#15 lamarque

Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:17 PM

Wow OP, what a tough time you're going through.   sad.gif

We went through a backchat kind of power struggle with DS when he was 8.  We purchased the book 'Setting Limits with your Strong-Willed Child' by Robert J MacKenzie.

He talks about the 'family dance' and how a strong willed child likens the 'family dance' to a good soap opera.  Entertaining to watch and participate in!  A reward for the strong willed child is winning the battle but also watching the parents participate in the soap opera and getting lots of negative attention from it.  It's up to you to stop the dance before it begins.

We purchased the book through Amazon and the first few days were hard but once we stopped engaging in the dance things gradually improved.

Can you and your DH be at home together for a week to try and sort it out?  You mentioned the time out and how you had him there for 45 mins but when he was released the behaviour didn't change? I presume you then changed tactics?  If you did, I'd reconsider.  He won the time-out battle because you gave up on that tactic.  If it takes you and your DH all day, I'd stick with it, especially given the fact he is escalating it physically and verbally (swearing).   Don't do it on your own, you will go crazy.  Tag teaming would be beneficial with the 'free' partner getting out of the house for a while.  

Anyway, it helped us immensely.  Goodluck OP.

ETA - just saw your post above.  Remove everything from the bedroom that is of value until good behaviour returns.

Edited by lamarque, 28 December 2012 - 09:22 PM.

#16 melbgirl

Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:17 PM

Lizzard, thanks for that, I will look into it.  I was told the best I could expect was $20 off each session, so still $80 a pop.

#17 surprizzzed

Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:19 PM

We have experienced a lot of similar behaviour (unfortunately for us not limited to bed times sad.gif) At the root of it for my DS it has been anxiety and he is now taking medication which has helped a lot.  

But in your case I would look at other methods of reducing anxiety first - maybe re-arranging furniture, having a new teddy in the bed, a new blanket, a body pillow, music, night light, even sharing a room with a sibling.

I would go see a peaditrician too.

#18 **Tiger*Filly**

Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:21 PM


Edited by Tyrone Finkelmeyer, 26 March 2013 - 08:40 PM.

#19 Expelliarmus

Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:25 PM

I think the bedtime is too early.

I agree with a reward system in place of a punishment system.

And I think part of it is to do with DH.

I have a friend who, when her DD was about 3, was having a great deal of difficulty with her DD pooing her pants all the time. She and I talked and talked and talked about what exactly was happening and eventually I picked up a pattern that she had not. Her DH had been having a busy time at work and was leaving before DD woke and home fairly late. Bedtime/tiredness was an angle I explored with her and the bedtime had been set at 8:30 because any earlier the child didn't see her father at all.

What was happening was that if she pooed Dad would get home, demand to know if she'd pooed today and then go on a lecture about it to the child. Spent a good 20 minutes/half an hour going on at the child. If she hadn't pooed Daddy went into the den to read the newspaper and unwind.

So she was pooing herself to get Daddy's attention. If hse pooed, Daddy interacted with her. If she didn't he never saw her - not properly.

The child stopped pooing her pants when Daddy came home from work and spent 20 minutes playing with her every single day regardless of her behaviour during the day.

Is there something like that going on in your house? If DS is not 'bothering' when DH is not home I would bet there is something in there where/why he is trying to get Daddy's attention.

The early bedtime of 6/6:30 could be massively contributing to it as for most full time working dads that would give about half an hour of time to see the kids after work. And that time is going to be full on eating/bathing/routine oriented instead of quality time just chilling.

Really explore what is happening the whole day and week to see what connection there could possibly be.

Good luck.

#20 melbgirl

Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:25 PM

Lamarque, that is DS it a T.  He really gets a thrill out of it.

Thanks for the book suggestion, I have also just bought the Explosive Child.

Unfortunately DH is not in aposition to have time off at this time of year.

#21 lamarque

Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:30 PM

QUOTE (melbgirl @ 28/12/2012, 10:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Lamarque, that is DS it a T.  He really gets a thrill out of it.

Thanks for the book suggestion, I have also just bought the Explosive Child.

Unfortunately DH is not in aposition to have time off at this time of year.

Bummer.  Anyone else that could take your other child off your hands for a day?  Sorry, I haven't relaunched the topic to see your OP but thought you mentioned another child.  

It will be very hard to deal with by yourself and it sounds like you're at the end of your tether (as anyone would be).  OR, get the book and give it a go, you can always come back and scream at us in the venting section.   bbighug.gif

#22 melbgirl

Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:33 PM

I may try a later bed time, but really don't think that is the issue.  Both of my kids are up at 6.30/7 regardless of what time they go to bed.

I really do think that DH is the key to this but he doesn't get home until after 8.30 every night (with the exception of the past few days which is not usual).

I don't think keeping DS up past 8.30 for him to see his dad is the answer.

I do know that if DS goes to bed after 7pm, I get the outbursts even when DH is not home.

Most nights DS goes to sleep so much more easy, we may have a couple of coming out episodes, but not the full on outbursts.

#23 lamarque

Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:41 PM

QUOTE (Madame Catty @ 28/12/2012, 10:31 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You need to stop the punishments right now.  They are NOT working.  And I think they are far too harsh and inappropriate.

I'm not so sure, I think the majority of the issues for the OP is the physical and verbal issues, not the leaving the park early issue.   She has been called a ****ing idiot by her 5 year old a few times, her DH has been slapped across the face, she has almost been punched in the nose, she has been scratched, hit with a teddy and then had it thrown at her head and to top it off she has been spat on with attempted biting.

OP, you're probably exhausted by the end of the day too so I can see how hard it would be to be consistent and firm when you are doing the majority of the parenting.

#24 kay11

Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:45 PM

If my husband gets home shortly before bed my kids get wound up and ratty because they want his attention and want to play with him and miss him.

I also agree that a week of no playground is really harsh for not wanting to leave. The psychologist said that the punishment has to be immediate and good behaviour should be able to win back something taken away. Maybe try using the playground as a reward for good behaviour?

#25 lynneyours

Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:53 PM

DD1 at 4 was getting that way too.  I figured out she doesn't react well to punishment, but thrives on rewards, praise and cuddles and making me proud of her.  
So now, I try to praise everything good she tries or does, and tell her I am disappointed in her if she behaves atrociously.  It's been a massive improvement.

Also - if she is hungry/blood sugar low, she generally acts badly.

We've also learnt that she is scared of the dark.  She has a nightlight, her sister in the room, and is now allowed to leave the lamp on, and quietly "read" books in her bed, laying down.  She is not allowed out except to the toilet.  She will do this til tired, then close her eyes and go to sleep by herself, where it used to be hours of fighting.  

I think there are lots of other good pieces of advice too, but these work for us.  

She is 4.6 now and wakes round 8-8.30am and goes to sleep between 7.30-8pm with no nap in the daytime.

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