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Does my 5 year old need counciling?
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Does my 5 year old need counciling?

My son is 5 years old and will not due simple tasks that I ask him to do such as put on his shoes, or sit at the dinner table to eat. Everyday its a problem. I'm at my wits end. I cry often b/c I feel like I cant handle it anymore.
Yesterday I told him dinner was ready to come sit at the table. He said "well mommy I want to watch Thomas" . I said "you can watch that after dinner..". 5 or 10 minutes later he still was not at the table. I had to pick him up while he was resisting and force him to sit at the table.. he then said he didnt like what I fixes and pushed his food away. My husband (his step dad) had to take him to his room for not doing what he was told... when he came back down he still would not eat... so my husband had to give him a swat ont he butt. He finally took some bites and then when it was bathtime, I turned off the TV and said lets get a bath.. he just sat there w/ a mean look on his face and didnt want to get off the couch... Today, I was getting ready for preschoool and said "put your socks on" he said "NO. I'M HUNGRY". I had already made him lunch and it was on the table but I wanted to get his socks and shoes on first so that when he was finished eating, we could leave right away. He did not put on his socks and I said "are you testing me?" he said "yes". I went over and gave him a swat on his butt... he said " it didnt hurt". I gave him another swat and he said the same thing. I pulled down his pants and spanked him once and he cried and then put on his socks. I went to the kitchen and said lunch was ready and came into the kitchen , looked at his chicken nuggets and threw them on the floor. I picked him up and put him in his room, not making it to school. He cried himself to sleep as he was saying "i hate mommy". He tells me he hates me all the time.
Anytime we go somewhere , when it is time to leave, he throws a temper tantrum. He resists alot of the time, he even hits me even though I punish him for it by spanking him. I am pregnant and he hits me in the stomach. He aggrivates his 1 year old brother alot but I think that is a little normal.
What can I do?/?? Does my son need counciling. Does  he have anger issues? Why is he acting this way??
Please help me!!! I am falling apart dealing with this.
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Avatar_f_tn
I feel for you mom. Your son is definatly testing you, this is normal, yet very frustrating.    Try starting off when he is in a good mood and explaining to him you (family) are going to do things a little different.  Mommy needs help because things are so busy.  You may enen try a chart or something like that.  Plan the day with him.  The night before, let him pick between a couple outfits what he will ware to school the next day, then lay them out for him to put on in the morning.  Let him choose the breakfast (but dont give him to much to chose from, it could confuse things).  Make him a part of the decision makeing.  He sound like he may want a little controll over what is happening.  Maybe if he feels like a contributor to the family, he will not want to contamitate it so.  This will all take time and consistancy, I truly mean consistancy.  Make sure you let him know how proud you are of him when he does good.  Dont get tired, dont give up.  I know a lot of people have differ views when it comes to spanking.  I don't judge, but i have truly found it only teaches him how to treat you.  Ask your son what he thinks you should do when is is acting inapropriate?  What kind of punishment do you think is fair?  His answere may suprise you.  If you cant nip ip in the butt soon it will only escalate.  Dont give up.  When he tells you he hates you, you calmly say, "thats ok, I have enough love for the both of us".  Always stay calm and in controll infront of your kids.  When its all said and done.......go to the bathroom, lock yourself in the bedroom and just let it out.  Cry into your pillow, punch the pillow.  Just breath..........
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Avatar_f_tn
Thankyou for your suggestions. I am losing it today. I am truely falling apart. I cant handle it anymore. I have been crying so much today and I'm crying at the moment. I just yelled at my 1 year old for whineing and pulling at my leg while I was trying to do the dishes. I just need a break. I feel like I've failed my kids. I have tried so hard, I've been at home w/ them for 1 1/2 and I've never felt more worn down, drained, stressed and even down right depressed. Trying to keep up w/ the house, yard, kids and myself if not as easy as most people think.
My 5 year old has taken toll on me. Everyday its something. I will try some of the things you suggested. Thanks again .
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203342_tn?1328740807
It sounds like you have a real control issue going on here. Yes, he's testing the boundaries but some of these clashes could probably be avoided with a few changes.
I've learned that it's best to give kids a time limit as to when you want them to finish something up or get ready to go somewhere, etc. When you just go in the room and turn off the TV and say it's time for dinner, of course he's going to get upset. If you were watching a favorite TV program and somebody did that to you, wouldn't it upset you? I'd start off by giving him a time limit. You can get a timer if you want and set it for say 10 minutes. Then tell him that in 10 minutes dinner will be ready. After 5 minutes, tell him that he has 5 minutes. When he's down to a minute or two, warn him that his time is almost up. Also, try to time it so that you are not putting in a movie that you know he won't be able to watch all the way. I'm not saying cater to him but try to things up so that you don't have a melt down.
When it's time to go somewhere, give him plenty of notice. Ask him to put on his shoes and socks. Praise him when he does as he's asked. This is really important. You must make sure that he's getting plenty of positive reinforcement. It's been said that you need to say three positive things to counter one negative thing.
He may be only 5 but he still has feelings and should be treated with respect and also should treat you and others with respect. You have to be careful that in your disciplining him you don't break his spirit. I personally don't believe spanking works. It will make him even more angry as you can see by his angry outbursts and saying he hates you. I know that's not how you want him to think of you or remember you when he's grown. I often think about that. How will my kids think of me when they're grown? Will they remember me as an angry mom always yelling or spanking? Will they remember the things we did together, the talks we had? I try to look through my kids eyes sometimes.

I'd say try to turn this around to be more positive. Why not let him help you make dinner? It would make him feel important, give him one on one time with you and he'd be more likely to eat what he's helped prepare. Make sure you are spending one on one time with him. Kid's are less likely to have outbursts if they are getting a special time with mommy and daddy every day.

One suggestion I'd have is to make a chart. Kids like them for some reason! Put your schedule on the chart with pictures if he's not reading yet. Like for instance:
6am wake up - eat breakfast
6:30am dress, hair combed, teeth brushed, shoes on
7am may have cartoons or show of choice if all ready by then
7:30am off to school
12:30 home from school, prepare for lunch (hands washed)
1:pm Lunch
1:30 Special time with Mom - he gets to to choose activity
2:30 clean up
3:pm may watch TV or play video games
4pm free play
5pm Help mommy with dinner - set table, etc.
6pm Dinner
6:30pm Clean up after dinner
7pm Special time with Daddy
8pm Get ready for bed, PJ's on, teeth brushed, potty used
8:15pm Read a book together, say prayers, get a cup of water if needed
8:30pm Bedtime

This is just an example but it would help him if he could see what he has to look forward to each day.

I'd also make him another shorter chart with reward stickers he can earn for using good manners like please and thank you and doing things the first time. Get creative. Use stickers (kids love them!) and tell him when he gets so many stickers that he can have something special like a trip to the ice cream store or a small toy when he goes to the store, or even just extra special time with mommy and daddy. Warn him when he's acting up that he would lose a sticker. You'd be amazed how fast they'd straighten up! For some reason kids love this stuff. Give it a try. Get creative, use pictures and stickers. Let him get involved and help. Even ask him what rewards he thinks he should get for being good and what punishment he should get for not behaving. I really think this works so much better than all the negative reinforcements like the spanking. I speak from experience. I tried the spanking too with my daugher when she was little. It made her worse. She'd be completely out of control. I felt helpless. She was a very strong willed child and the spanking just really makes them more obstinate, I'm telling you! My daughter loved the charts. Yeah, it was a lot of work, but it works if you do it. It's up to you, but I think it's worth a shot to try all of this. I hope things get better for you all. I know it's hard to feel so much stress in the house. I'm sure he doesn't like it either. I know this was long and I apologize. I hope any of this is useful and helpful to you. Take care.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thankyou too for all your sugguestions. I talked it over with my husband last night after he got home and we are going to do things a little different. I did put out his outfit last night and prepared better for today. I am going to look for a reward charte and I am going to cut out pics of ice cream or draw pictures so he can see what to look forward to when he is good. My husband said we are guilty of not spending one on one attention with him. I have a 20 month old that is needy, and I babysit an 8 month old. These 2 smaller children break up my attention greatly. And I feel like I have been so negative lately. Constantly telling him to do something multiple multiple times. I do praise him alot though... but often times he will come up to me and say "was that nice of me?". My husband and I both agree that he obviously needs more positive attention if he has to ask for it. Another problem is , is that my husband is gone alot and if we do go somewhere like the park, I have to leave sooner than later b/c of the smaller children.... and I cant play with him as much when we are at the park. (my hands are so full). We had to leave the movie theater early last week b/c of my 1 year old. Looking back, I should have taken the 5 year old alone and spent one on one time w/ him and leaving the 1 year old home.... I need to start thinking of things to do w/ him one on one.
When my son goes somewhere like to Grandmas/Grandpa's or his Aunt's, he literally throws a fit when its time to leave b/c he truely is having alot of attention and fun over there... now I can see why he doesnt want to come home... my attention is divided. I am probably going to stop babysitting soon b/c we are moving closer to my husband's job and he will be home more too. (this should help greatly!!!!!). I love my son sooooo much and only want the best for him. I dont want him to have a bad behavior growing up and constantly getting in trouble at school or later in life, work. I want him to have a good foundation and be a well rounded person.

I hate to think my son is unhappy w/ me and/or home. He is so very very special to me. Thanks sooo very much for your thoughts and suggestion. I cant tell you enough how much I appreciate it.

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Avatar_f_tn
I have a 4 yr old and a 18mth old.  I understand.  I know what a toll it takes on you mentally and phyically.  The stress factor is emence.  My husband was gone all the time working and I was with the kids 24/7.  I thought I was loosing my mind at times, and yes, my children are the absolute world to me.  I was yelling and all that good stuff too.  I felt so angry all the time.  I finally went to my ob/gyn.  I told her how stressed I was and how out of wack I felt.  She suggested I go on a pill called YAZ.  It is simply a birth control pill (which I didn't need), but it has an extra med. to help regulate you mentally.  It took 4 months for it to effect me properly, but I can handle these situations much calmer.  I cry so much less.  And I feel I can be a better mom and think more clear.  I'm not saying this is what you need, but you need to keep yourself together and happy, in order to help keep your family happy.  I know its hard to put yourself before your children, but sometimes it is worth it to everyone.        
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Avatar_f_tn
I wouldn't let his step dad discipline him...you should do that.  Just a thought....i guess it depends on how long your husband has been in his life.  If he's still in touch with his bio dad, then definitely, do not let the step parent discipline...causes problems in the future.  Like others have said, your son is testing you...don't give it, stick with limits you have set, and eventually, he may stop this behaviour.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for you suggestion on this but we do have limits on how much my husband disciplines him. However my husband has been in life since he was 1. His dad on the other hand IS in his life but nothing to the point where he has a big effect on him. I do not beilieve that a step parent should stay out of things... I do believe there are limits... but not to just stay out of things. My son needs a father figure.. not a friend. My husband does well w/ him, plays with him, takes him places, praises him etc. Just like a parent should. And trust me, if my husband wasnt in his life, my son would probably we WAY more out of control. My son hitting me in the face at age 2. He got better for a while but then started to act up again... I think the first 2 responses to my question were the best. I've started new things and they actually seem to be working. I've had some much better days where my son has been behaving better. This is HUGE to me. I feel better and so does my son. My husband is very supportive of our new structure and praises my son for doing well. I also grew up in step parent household and if my step dad didnt discipline me, boy oh boy would I have been a mess...because my mom didnt scare me. But my step dad did... and he never layed a hand on me once.. His tone and looks put the fear of God in me. Something every child should have while growing up. It keeps them in line. Makes them think twice about being bad.
Thanks again for your response.
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm glad you two came to the realization of the attention thing.  That is definately I'm sure a major factor in his behaviour.  

He lashes out because although you do praise him, he gets more attention when he's bad.  One on one time is a great idea and if you plan it right I'm sure will help immensely.  

When he does good things, praise yes, but I would also make a big deal about it for the first while just to REALLY show him what being good gets.  He does a good thing - then you take him to the park alone just the two of you.  Something like that.

Spanking is not effective on him anymore really, from your original post - so when he is bad you have to find something else - does he have an absolute favourite toy? - he loses it until you feel he deserves it back -  or if you implement the reward chart, a negative behaviour means he loses a reward.  You will have to try a different method. When I was a kid, spanking was used, but only when we did something really naughty and hence it never lost it's effectiveness (and I turned out completely normal, so I think anyway!)  

You aren't a bad mom - you are stressed - keep your cool in front of the kids and lose in private with your hubby there to hug you.  It can be better, and will get better with complete dedication and consistancy.

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Avatar_n_tn
all this advice sounds great-I have a 4yo boy who's doing the same type of things. How do you handle getting your feelings so hurt by someone so small? I KNOW (intellectually) they test, push buttons, and are learning how to identify and express their feelings. But I am already depressed (on meds) and doubting myself as a mommy and wife and this just adds to that. Then of course feeling stupid and guilty for being so emotional. My husband is great with him, but more like his buddy & I actually get jealous. They hang out and have fun & I get home from work and everything is a test-dinner, dressing, taking medicine, picking up, brushing teeth...EVERYTHING. I get a few hours with him and it's like we don't even get along. But at the same time I can't leave the room without him calling, yelling, "Mommy..." So I'm crying all the time too. Maybe I need counselling, not him! It just seems like everything is getting more stressed,, more disorganized. And he is awesome, sweet, smart, fun-so why act like that only to me? I want him to be happy, well adjusted, not resent me or remember later that mommy was always sad or grumpy when he was growing up. We praise him, we read to him, we snuggle, build puzzles. But then he'll say "I like daddy better" or "I don't love you at all ever". He even tells me that I don't love him! And he & his daddy are the most important parts of life to me and I love him(them) more than anything. So why all the clinginess but still hits me and does all that testing me? How do you turn things around? The more he acts up the more depressed I get and then he acts up even more. And he is actually keeping my husband and me from having our own time, or any down time.
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203342_tn?1328740807
Maybe he only acts that way with you because he's picking up your vibes that you're stressed or grumpy as you say. Kids do pick up our moods with amazing accuracy.
He prefers spending time with his dad because he sees that he's more relaxed around him.
It might be a good idea to look into counseling. He sounds pretty normal from your description of a 4 year old.

It is important that you and your husband have some alone time too though. Can you do that after he's in bed? And try to have a date night at least a couple of times a month. It will do wonders!

And don't take it personally if he says he doesn't love you. All kids do that. They learn there's power in words and it's a power struggle. He doesn't mean it. He does see that it affects you and that's why he says these things. Try not to show any kind of reaction. Ignore it. Catch him being good and praise him. Give him lots of hugs and kisses and ignore the bad behavior.
I think you're too hard on yourself. I understand! I'm kind of the same way. We mothers tend to blame ourselves if our children aren't meeting the perfect standards that we think they should. Learn to forgive yourself over the big things. Don't worry or stress over the little things. And try and find humor in some of this. It sounds like that's what your husband does.
Go make some cookies with him or something and enjoy your time together. Before you know it, he'll be all grown up. Enjoy him.
Best wishes.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have 2 drawings i've kept from my daughter when she was like 4. One is "I LOVE YOU MOMMY" (she wrote words/could read quite early) and a pretty picture of us. The other is "I HATE YOU MOMMY" and another not so pretty picture. They could have been a day apart or even the same day. She turned out fine.

We didn't use physical punishment ever however but lots of time-outs and we just threw the TV out when she was 5, forever--makes a big difference in one-on-one---lots more time for everything. I think kids that get hit learn to hit, especially if their spankings are when you're in anger. I like TOY JAIL more, put their toy away--they hate that and learn to behave quickly. We still use a form of this on the 10 year old, still works.
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Avatar_n_tn
Cultivating good behavior starts at age 1 and can only succeed with consistency. Children become capable of learning new things ie. new disciplines as they develop. Knowing when and how to start working on each new issue is key to being consistent and keeping life as peaceful as possible while giving your child the utmost advantage in life by helping them grow with a positive emotional output and attitude instead of negative. Here is an article explaining each stage of child discipline development:
http://pre-kteachingtools.com/article2/?cat=6
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Avatar_f_tn
I wouldn't let him watch tv after he already threw a fit earlier that day about the tv.
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Avatar_n_tn
my son is like this and plus hardly ever eats what i put out for him, but i dont smack him for not eating his food ,or for not putting his socks on seems everytime this lad didnt do as he was told he got a smack ladies post said he got a smack for not eating his dinner , he got smack 3 times for not putting his socks on he is 5  how much time does it take a mum to put on a little ones shoes and socks  for him or to help him to do it. My son is defiant bad tempered seems to never behave and i have also spent my days in tears feeling like im losing the plot . And tonight  i did end up  giving him a  smack on his bum for something we were playing a game on the laptop on a childrens website and one min he was laughing next instance he kicked laptop out of my hands and it has now broke so he got a smack on bum and told why he got one .i know smacking him was not the answer but i just was so annoyed with him  and he looked at me like i was the worst person on earth .
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Avatar_f_tn
I have a 4 yr. old grand-daughter whose behavior is to me not normal. I don't see her often as I live in another state but recently got to visit her for her 4 yr. old birthday party. Well she was very nice to me and my husband and had quite a busy day opening presents. When it came down to sitting at the table in front of her cake and her mom asked her nicely to make a wish and blow the candles out she looked at her mom and said no you blow them out then she hit her mom. This goes on alot acting out to her mom even when she was 3 she would pinch her mom and yell at her/ Her mom was on tramadol while carrying her and sometimes doing on the average of 8 pills a day and i am worried that this has alot to do with her behavior now. Also there  is alot of violence in the family with the mom and dad and like i said i am not there often enough and all i know is there is trouble with this little girl.is this just a phase or what?
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Avatar_n_tn
so you punish him for hitting by hitting him?hmm!!!!think about that
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Avatar_f_tn
I have two children, ages 22 and 15, a boy and a girl.  My son was very much a child with his own mind.  I was frustrated, too.  However, he has grown up to be a wonderful young man.  His strong will has enabled him to make good decisions and not follow the crowd.  So what seems like a curse now will actually be a blessing as your son is subjected to peer pressure.  Luckily, I was willing to try the suggestions given and had a very supportive husband, my son's stepfather.  We had a routine for my son, which we followed religiously.  This seemed to give him security.  Everything we did was a game.  That's where the real patience comes in, especially when you have a million things to do, other children to care for, and are tired.  However, attitude is important.  I had to become immune to the tantrums and his refusals.  I spoke to him face to face and asked that something be done when the tv show was over.  Then I would walk over and turn off the tv.  Many times I had to physically lift my son up and place him gently on the chair for dinner or the steps for time outs.  I was consistent.  My husband helped and it worked.  It is not okay for you to be the only one to do the routine or chores.  Of course your son will prefer daddy.  Daddy is the fun one!  You get stuck with all the routine.  Your husband should take over some of the routine too.  Sometimes both of you can bathe or read to your son.  That's really special.  My husband and I spent many nights singing my son to sleep.  Talk about long days and ridiculously long nights!  Even now I hear the theme song to The Brady Bunch and I get flashbacks of those nights.   It's the price we pay to raise secure, happy children.  Be patient and find reasons to laugh.  Sometimes it's funny.  You are the adult.  The child is still just a child.  Surely, he cannot outsmart you even if he's got more energy than you.  The suggestions here are wonderful.  However, I would strongly urge you to try not to spank your child.  A child will be confused as to how the hand the loves him/her can also hurt him/her.  Trust will be lost.  Good luck.  Find reasons to celebrate.  The fact that you are concerned enought to ask makes you a caring parent.  That's a good thing. :)
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Avatar_f_tn
This woman is asking for advise on how to fix the problem she should not be critisized, everyone deals with their problems differently. I for one am so glad to hear that there is someone out there going through the exact same thing as myself and is not afriad to talk about it, there is so much stigma about being a good parent i'm sure we have all felt the pressure of young children in our lives nobody is perfect
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