Sunday, July 22, 2012

Difficult Children

My five-year-old is driving me to distraction.  I have to leave the room sometimes to cool down because he makes me so angry that I feel like screaming in his face or worse.

He is a very intense child.  Two days ago, my husband had gone to work for the night shift.  We had eaten dinner and I was allowing the kids to watch a little TV before winding down for bed.  The five-year-old was upstairs watching something else than the other kids, who were downstairs.  I was on the computer checking email.  The power went out for about one minute.  Then it came back on.  We have Direct TV so the satellite had to power back on, which sometimes can take up to thirty minutes after a power outage.  The three kids downstairs shrugged their shoulders and said, "It will probably be on again as a re-run anyway" and went upstairs to brush their teeth and get pajamas on.  Not him.  He started screaming and wailing because he couldn't finish his show.  I told him that because the power went out, the TV company's system had to restart and sometimes it takes a while to get working again.  He continued to scream and wail as if he hadn't heard a word I'd said.  I told him that there wasn't anything I could change about what was happening with the TV.  I told him that we could look for that same episode of that show later to try and record.  We could even try to find it online.  Nothing would calm him and he screamed like that for a good twenty minutes before he found something else to wail about.

The above scenario is pretty typical.  He probably does something similar at least twenty times a day.  He wanted white milk and I gave him chocolate.  He wanted a sandwich not cut and I cut it.  He wants to ride his bike but it's raining.  He wants to play Legos with his older brothers but they want to play something else.  He doesn't want to do his chores.  Any and every little thing, a change or something he doesn't want to happen or anything unexpected comes along and he goes nuts wailing and crying.  I do try to forewarn him when it's time to change activities, like if his time on the Wii is almost done (this is a daily battle, even though he KNOWS he only gets 30 minutes and he KNOWS when he's down to the last few minutes and he KNOWS he has to get off or  he's grounded the next day, he still throws a tantrum almost every time), but I can't forewarn him about everything, like the power going out. 

I have tried to soothe him, ignore him, tell him "too bad", empathize with him, but nothing works.  He ignores everything and everyone around him and wails and wails.  I just don't know what to do anymore.  And I'm nervous because he starts school this fall and we all know that things don't always go your way at school and sometimes things change without warning too.  How will he handle that type of thing at school? 

Has anybody ever dealt with something like this? 


Kristen said...

That sounds a lot like my almost 4 year old! I have been hoping it is a stage he is going to grow out of soon. He can really be the sweetest kid, but the silliest things can set him off (like his sisters getting in the car before him or my starting to cook dinner without him being up on the counter - ahh!) So frustrating. I try reasoning and then threatening that he will have to go to bed because he is so crabby he must be tired :) Sorry no real good solutions from me, but it's good to know you're not alone right :)

Cami said...

Ok, I posted a BIG long comment a minute ago, but it disappeared. My Ethan is very similar. You can read several posts as I figure out what to do with him last year starting with this one: Or you can just talk to me. We have things much more under control now, but it took a while. The book I mentioned on Facebook really helped, and so does his anxiety medication. I hope you don't have to go so far, and hopefully he'll grow out of it as you teach him how to deal with transitions and disappointments, but for now, I know how hard it is to deal with. Hang in there. We can talk if you don't want to read months of my crazy blog posts! :)

Cami said...

This post has a good explanation of the Collaborative Problem Solving approach we have been using in case you'd like a sort of preview of what the book is about: A lot of schools use this approach as well.

Royalbird said...

Thanks, Cami, those posts were good, and I will look for that book. And Kristen, yes, it does help knowing I'm not alone.


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