My son, the 5 year old bully

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by bender77, Aug 28, 2013.

  1. bender77

    bender77 New Member

    Hello all,

    Just joined and trying to find answers. I'm desperately trying to figure out what's going on with my kid, and I'm pretty sure its my fault. I'm sorry this is long, but I want to be detailed about what is going on.

    My son is 5, and is very, very smart. When he was three, his preschool teacher asked us to have him tested for adhd because he had a hard time listening. He did some biting, and hitting as well. After a few months at school, and a very good teacher, he calmed down and the violent behavior stopped. We had him tested, and were told that he didn't have adhd. They said they believed the problem was that he had the vocabulary of a 5-6 year old, but not a complete understanding. This caused adults to believe he actually knew what he was saying, and couldn't figure out why he didn't understand what they were trying to tell him.

    Fast forward, he turned 5 in july and has just started kindergarten. He's bigger and stronger than most kids (95th percentile for height, 70th or so for weight), which makes it all worse. Every day there is at least one incident. He either punched someone, kicked someone, pushed or poked. Today, he threw a rock and broke a little girls glasses. When asked what would have happened if she wasn't wearing glasses, he said "she probably would be now". He seems to show zero remorse and doesn't understand that this stuff hurts people. He's only been at school for a week and already has been in the principals office multiple times and today they said we need to put him on a behavior plan. He is also no longer allowed on the bus.

    He desperately wants friends, and is very outgoing around other people. He isn't violent at home with his little sister (she's 2), or our dog (lab). He isn't violent towards my wife or myself.

    Overall, he is a very sweet and loving kid. Loves to cuddle, loves to be read to etc... He doesn't like being told what to do, and is generally defiant. I

    Details on why I believe its my fault:

    I grew up without a father, and a mostly absent (working) mother. I never learned how to "connect" with people. I was defiant, but not overly violent. I may have thrown a cat or two off a fence, but the ran away unharmed. I didn't get in fights, mostly because I was afraid, but did get picked on quite a bit. Still, to this day, my personal relationships suffer.

    My son has been seeking my attention since he was old enough to express it, but I didn't give it to him. I've had very little patience with him (I am married, and my wife has a much better connection with him). After some reading, it came to light that this may be because he hasn't gotten the attention from me that he needs, and that he hasn't been able to express his emotions appropriately. Once I read this and it clicked, I felt terrible and very sad. He needed me and I wasn't there. I knew I needed to make a change.

    Monday, when I got home, I spent the entire evening with him. Quality time, not just plopping him down to play in front of me. We cuddled, we hugged, he cried, we played. When he first got home, he was very high strung. Couldn't sit still for ten seconds, wouldn't listen to a single thing we asked him to do...could even talk to him. He was all over the place. I sat him in my lap and asked him if it hurt his feelings when I don't play with him, or take him places with me. He said yes and started to tear up. I asked him if we could spend more time together, and be best friends and he started to cry. I felt like we were getting somewhere. After he cried for 10 minutes or so, we sat together talking for another 20-30 minutes. We then played together for another 30 minutes before dinner.

    This is when I noticed the change. After our time, he was amazing! He listened, and was happy to do the things we asked. He picked up his toys, ate all his dinner, etc... The next morning, he came in to our room as usual and laid in our bed. I cuddled with him, and we talked for 10 minutes or so about our upcoming day. I told him that I wanted to spend more time with him. I told him that I was going to take a shower, and if he could go get dressed we would have some time before I went to work to hang out. He went and got dressed without me saying another word. We spent 20 minutes at the breakfast table playing with some cards. He seemed to be very happy. I told him that if he came home with a good report, we would go somewhere special.

    Tuesday - He went to school and had the same problems. He punched a kid in line. When asked why, he said because it hurts and laughed. This was after he lied about it repeatedly. His teacher called us and said they wanted to start a behavioral journal, we agreed this may help.

    Tuesday evening - he came home with the journal filled out (he comes home to mom, I get home later). Mom called and said he was out of control. I got home and it was the same story as the previous night. I had to pull him aside and sit him down. I was able to calm him down by hugging him and telling him that once he settled down we could talk...then play. He asked if we could go somewhere special and I said "I wish we could buddy, I really wanted to take you somewhere. We can't go, but we can hang out together and play here at the house". This seemed to sadden him, not make him angry. He started crying. I asked if he was crying because he wanted to spend time with me. He said yes. I re-enforced that we would still be spending time together, but it would be at home. I told him we could try again tomorrow. I told him I wasn't made, just sad because I was looking forward to it. We went through the journal his teacher sent home. I told him the rest of what she wrote was really good, and we just had this one little thing we had to get rid of tomorrow (the punching).

    Once he calmed down, and stopped crying, he was on best behavior again. The rest of the evening was great. He listened well, he ate all his dinner, and was a joy to be around. I gave him an old plastic card from my wallet and told him it was "good boy" card, and it would help him remember to be good at school so we could go somewhere special. Every time I asked him to do something, if he didn't listen the first time, I asked him to show me his good boy card. He would show it to me, then do what I asked him to do, and was very excited that his card was working.

    This morning (WED) - Same as yesterday. He woke up in a great mood, came in and snuggled for a bit. I told him that if he could get dressed while I was in the shower, we would have time to eat breakfast together. He did it without a second request. At breakfast, I asked if he had his good boy card. He did, he had put it in his pocket! He asked if it needed batteries :). I reminded him that if his journal came home with a good report, we would do something really cool. He seemed very excited.

    This afternoon, I received a call that he had broken the little girls glasses, and pushed another kid; And that the school was very worried about his behavior. He wasn't allowed to ride the bus anymore because he could stay in his seat, and wouldn't listen to the bus driver. I asked if we should pull him out of school but they didn't think we should just yet. They want to put him on a behavior management plan with the school psychologist.

    Another important fact is that we have moved several times. He's been to a few different places for daycare. We just recently moved, and hopefully we are done. We wanted to be settled when he started kindergarten. He's gone through a lot of transition lately.

    I know that it took years for him to get this way, and he won't be better overnight. I know that what I'm doing, spending time with him and connecting with him is something he needs. I wish it hadn't taken this long for me to figure out how to do it, but hopefully it's not too late...he's only 5, right?

    What else can I do? I hate to see him struggle because he's got everything else. He's so smart, sweet, athletic, creative etc.... How can I get him to stop being mean to others? I'm so much happier now that I've discovered this connection with him. I'm happy that I've figured out a way to get him to calm down and listen without timeouts and spankings.

  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think you need to get a professional involved, partlcularly a Neuropych. I doubt if his behavior is due to lack of attention and it isn't getting better when you lavish him with attention. I also think it sounds more like Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) than ADHD.

    What was his early life like? That can impact the wiring of a child's brain. Did he have a chaotic first three years? Where is dad? Has he witnessed domestic violence? Abuse? Has he BEEN abused? It would help if you filled in the blanks.

    Most people who try to do this alone find that their kids just get worse. We do not really know what is going on and our guesses are often wrong. I would not try to figure it out alone. You need to get him evaluated. Most of our difficult child's have good days/bad days. It's just part of the cycle. It does not mean that one method that seemed to work for one day has changed anything.

    Hugs and we are here for you.
  3. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hello and welcome!

    First, I think it's wonderful that you are dedicated to getting to the root of the problem!

    Second, I think that your child is incapable of holding it together aaaallll day in order to earn the reward of going somewhere special with you. School is a long day for any kid. For a kid with issues? It's forever! I think you need to drop that "special reward at home for good behavior at school" line of thinking entirely.

    Sounds like, at the very least, he has some impulse control issues going on...

    Definitely time to bring in some professionals for testing! I think keeping a journal of the behaviors is a good idea.

    Welcome to our corner of the world! Sorry that you find yourself here. But - you will find this site a wealth of information and very good company.
  4. fun fam

    fun fam New Member

    HOw is your son doing? I'm sorry, I have a hard 5 year old too.