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Tantrums and aggression in a 5 year old
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Tantrums and aggression in a 5 year old

I'm worried about my neighbour's son.  He's 5-1/2 years old, and he seems to be having a very difficult time dealing with his anger.  He has enormous tantrums on an almost daily basis, and sometimes these tantrums can last for an hour or more.  He has been attending 1/2 days in preschool, and his teachers have expressed concern about his behaviour there as well.  He doesn't voluntarily interact with any of the children there; instead he walks around the periphery of the other children's activities and shows his increasing level of tension by flapping his arms.  If approached by another child, even in the most innocuous of ways (someone saying "hi", for example), he pretends he is a dinosaur (a meat-eater, obviously), snarling at them, and tells them he hates them and he is going to kill them. If he is highly stressed he will hit them or push them as well.

He seems quite intelligent and can discuss animal habitats, dinosaurs and Digimon in detail -- but throughout these conversations he often states how he hates this or hates that -- hates birds, for example, except for hunters (and will run screaming at any birds in the yard to make them fly away).  He seems lost sometimes -- he doesn't smile or laugh as often as other children I've known, and in the middle of what appears to be a fun activity in the park with his siblings (ages 1 and almost 4), he will suddenly turn on his brother (the almost 4 year old) or turn on a child nearby and tell them to go away, that he hates them, etc.  Every now and then, if some child is injured or crying (for reasons having nothing to do with him), he seems quite exultant about the fact.

He also has periods when he seems very nice -- a day here or there when he shares, or makes a card for someone. But the next day he goes back to his more aggressive behaviour.  (To be fair, I should mention that I've never seen him show the slightest aggression toward his 1 year old sister.)

His parents seem very good at parenting -- they're involved with their children and gentle with them, so I can't see where this might be coming from.  His 3 year old brother is aggressive as well, but better at controlling it -- I'm guessing that HIS agression comes from the environment he lives in with his older brother.

In the case of the 5-1/2 year old, his mother has been told by his teachers that he needs to be checked out, but she refuses and says that there's nothing wrong.  She thinks he's just going through a phase that he will grow out of.  Is it possible that she's right?  Is there anything that I, as a mere neighbour, can do?  She's quite defensive about the whole situation (understandably, of course).

Much thanks.
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The teachers are offering useful and appropriate guidance. Such behavior is not indicative of a phase which will spontaneously remit. If you're on solid ground with your neighbors, I'd talk with them about your concerns. To be frank, there really is little else you can do.
8 Comments
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My 7yr. old son displays similar actions as this 5yr. old little boy.  I have been told by his school that he might be add/adhd. I've also been told that it might be that other kids at school pick on him because he is half hispanic and half black.  I've also been told that it's because he doesn't see his dad enough.  I have done research on my own and have come to the conclusion that it might be aggresion (aggression).  He will start seeing a psychologist in one week.  I really hope things get better once he starts seeing a psych.  I'm sure your neighbor never wants to talk about it because of the "stress" of the situation.  Always having to be called to school to deal with the situation. The last thing she needs is to have someone else talk to her about it. But it does need to be said. Try talking to her on one of the "good days" for the little boy.  I myself know that there is something wrong with my son and will appreciate any comments or suggestions that anybody would like to share. My e-mail is ***@****     thank you!!!
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MY SON IS ALSO 5 YEARS OLD. HE IS VERY CLOSE TO ME AND VERY LOVING, BUT HE ALSO THROWS BAD TANTRUMS LIKE A 2 YEAR OLD. HE HAS BEEN KICKED OUT OF 2 SCHOOLS AND I AM HEARING IT FROM THE SUMMER CAMP HE IS ATTENDING NOW. I AM GOING TO GO SEE A PYCHIATRIST NEXT WEEK MAYBE HE NEEDS RETILIN. HAVE YOU HEARD ANY BAD THINGS ABOUT THIS MEDICATION? I JUST NEED TO DO SOMETHING BEFORE HE ATTENDS KINDERGATEN...
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I dont think that this is odd behavior we are talking about a 5 year old BOY they are rough and tough at least they want to be and when they cant they try to bully their way but as long as you continue to hold your groung then you should be ok. I dont believe that just because your 5 year old is throwing tantrums and not listening that you should put him on a drug!
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Avatar_n_tn
Well, it's not that we spoil our kids or anything.  My son knows right from wrong but when he throws a tantrum, it's like he's someone else.  We can go thru one whole semester at school without him having a tantrum then all of a sudden he'll have 3-4 in one school week that will last anywhere from 1-2 hours. He sometimes needs two people restraining him so he doesn't hurt himself or anyone else. There is something wrong with these kids. I know that's what alot of people think, that "we have spoiled kids", but it's not like that.  Only someone going thru it would understand.  Please , anyone , let me know what you have tried, and any "tests" that a psychologist, pedi., or school have given your kids.  I really want to help my son with this problem that we are going thru.  Thank You!!!   ***@****
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Avatar_n_tn
My son is also 5 yrs. old and has been extremely rough(even hugs and kisses are very rough),has terrible tantrums to the point he doesn't even know what he is fighting about. My concerns started when he was 1yrs. old he would have tantrums and bang his head. He would get into fights with non-human things like the vacumm cleaner.  We had him tested by many people and the only diagnosis so far that really clicks is Sensory integration dysfunction and he is receiving occupational therapy every week and has had possitive reactions to it. He also goes to counseling every other week, this helps me let off the frustration and gives me positive ways to make life easier for the whole family.  No drugs are needed which makes us feel better.  My son also starts Kindergarten next week and I'm a nervous wreck, the teachers and principle have not talked to us about a plan other than Special Education Class. However, he is much too bright to not be in regular class. He has emotional and behavioral problems not learning problems.  We have been to Neuralogists, Psycotherapist,Behavior therapists,and nearly everyone has a different diagnosis from ODD to ADHD. We have been concentrating on the Sensory Integration Dysfunction and he has been improving and I been trying to be more patient.
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Avatar_n_tn
My 7 yr old did all of these same things when he was 4 1/2.  Tantrums, rages, aggression,etc. are indications of an essential fatty acid deficiency.  After Kyle started taking EFAs in May 1999 his behavior problems stopped after two weeks.  We use a product called Efalex, but there are a variety of Omega-3 products.  According to the study done at Purdue University, it appears getting 480 mg of DHA per day is the key.  However, you must also give the correct balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids in order for the DHA to be absorbed properly.  

Try reading "The LCP Solution" by Jacqueline Stordy and Malcolm Nicholl.  I got my copy from Amazon.  Although it goes into detail about the Purdue study and why EFAs help behavior problems (along with dyslexia, dsypraxia, and ADHD), it is every easy to read and understand.  The website is lcpsolution.com
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Avatar_n_tn
MY SON IS 5 AND IM DIVORCED. I CAME OUT OF AN ABUSSIVE RELATIONSHIP. MY SON IS VERY SMART . NO TROUBLE WITH SCHOOL WORK. HE IS JUST VERY AGGRESSIVE IN SCHOOL. HE DOES NOT SHOW THIS BEHAVIOR AROUNG MYSELF OR FAMILY. HE HAS EVERY OTHER WEEKEND VISITS WITH HIS DAD WHO PROMOTE SUCH BEHAVIOR AS HITTING, SHOVING OR AS HE WOULD CALL IT 'STICKING UP' FOR YOURSELF. HIS TEACHER SEEMS TO THINK HE IS BEING LABELD AS A BULLY AT SCHOOL.
THANK YOU CHELLIE
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