I have a 5 year old stepson who is struggling in pre-school and at home with aggressive and defiant behavior. This has been going on since he started day care at 2 years old, after his parents divorced. He has been kicked out of 2 day cares and has been removed from the regular class in preschool and put in with special needs children. He has a history of aggression toward other children as well as teachers, and sometimes premeditated. He asked his teacher once to come down to his level for a hug, and then punched her in the face and screamed at her. He has bit, hit, screamed, thrown things, drawn blood, and yesterday he spit in another child's face. At home, he is sometimes defiant, but not to the same extent. His mother, father, grandparents and I have been doing our best to stay on the same page and to figure out the cause of this behavior. He has seen 3 different therapists, and now goes to counseling every other week to an independant counselor and once a week with the school counselor. None of them have any ideas or suggestions.
I know that divorce effects a child, but he doesn't remember his mother and father being together. His mother is engaged to a nice man, and his father and I have been together for 2 years. Both home environments are safe and loving, and none of us are aggressive people or allow him to watch aggressive TV...we don't know where he's getting this from.
We have tried time outs, spankings, TV and toys taken away, rewards for good behavior, and do the best we can to remain consistant at both homes, but he continues acting out in school. When we ask why he does these things, he says its because he's angry or he "doesn't know".
The worst part is, when we ask him, he knows that he is hurting people and that behaving like this is wrong. We have asked him if anyone is mean or hurts him, or if he has ever seen anyone else do these things, because you never know what could be going on, and he says no.
All of us are at the end of our ropes. We are frustrated, confused, and sad. There is nothing else to take away, and we can't find the cause of this anger, aggression, and defiance. His father and I are planning to have children, and we don't want to be afraid of what he would do to his siblings, especially considering the large age difference between them.
Any advise would be appreciated. All of us love this little boy and don't want to see him struggle throughout his school career and throughout is life. Help!!!
5 is a tough age - even the most sweet, mild manner child will become defiant and to an extent aggressive. It's a huge milestone in behavioral development for children.
You say y'all are being consistent and routine in discipline. I cannot stress enough how important this is. You have to be FIRM and consistent, it needs to be absolutely 100% predictable to him what will happen when he's aggressive and misbehaved. Will it make it all go away? No, there's no magic "bullet" but it will start to change his attitude which will then in turn change his behavioral choices. Aggression and violence should NEVER be okay or allowed, it should be loss of privelages, time outs or spankings (if you believe in those) or whatever your harshest punishment is. ALONG with talking to him and working to instill empathy on how HE would feel if he had been the one on the receiving end of what he did, etc.
Have you explored any other outlets for his pent up aggression / behavior? A regular karate class for instance? A way for him to exercise his aggression in a constructive manner. Martial arts, or a swim class, or something of that ilk to help him get out his energy and teach him discipline. Just a thought.
Do y'all have a routine schedule at home? Children crave a predictable routine, it makes them feel safe and in control. The same thing happening at the same time every day/night, a routine THEY can predict can be a huge deal for certain children. Very structured. Is he getting enough sleep at night? He should be going to bed at the same time every night and sleeping for enough hours. I know how cranky and ill mannered my daughter gets when she only gets 8 hours, forget about it if she gets less than that...and her school reports reflect it directly every day.
Hang in there! But if you are honestly concerned about the well being of a baby around him, I certainly wouldn't advise disregarding that concern. Continue with therapy, ask for ideas on how to curb and discipline his behavior.
*Proud mommy to a 6 year old princess and 18 month old bundle of joy son*
Come join a growing forum community for all members of the family! No spam or advertising, full staff logged in daily! www.familygatheringforum.com