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5 Year Old Separation/Anger/Spoiled

I have been struggling off and on with my son's behavior for the last two years.  We have a secure family unit with both parents at home, and we have an older daughter, aged 8 1/2.  Both have been in daycare or school most of their lives, but I spend virtually every other minute after a regular 8-5 work day with them and on the weekends.  My son is VERY attached to me, and does not want to be separated from me at all.  He doesn't want to go to school, even though he attends a very nice, loving preschool (and having the same teachers his sister had, I know it is not part of the problem), he only wants to stay home with me.  If he needs a glass of milk or a blanket, etc., it is always me that has to get it or perform the task.  His Dad is more than willing, and his sister is good to him too, aside from the occasional sibling disagreement, but he says "no, I want mommy to do it".  This, I would not be too concerned about, but some days he throws temper tantrums at school where a teacher gets kicked and today he attempted to bite the counselor who was trying to escort him to class.  He is VERY intelligent and in many cases I believe he does it so I have to come to school for a conference, etc.  His Dad has a rather long commute, so it is me that would have to take care of these issues.  That said, I am concerned he is nearing a possible suspension (horrid thought for a 4K student!), and we have to make some changes.  I considered changing our routine to take every privilege away as a rule and make him earn those daily rather than taking away things when he is bad.  I also wonder if, because he seems to act out to get my undivided attention, it wouldn't be prudent to "remove mom", and by that I mean tell him if he behaves as he should that he and I will do some special activity together just he and I for X minutes.  Force him to allow his Dad and sister (or teachers in the case of school) to nurture him more than I, and refuse him when he demands that I am the one to perform the task.  If I truly thought it was because he didn't have enough attention from me, I would drop everything and give him that, but I think it is more an issue of being "spoiled" because he is the baby, and for many years, he has been the one that life revolved around.  Does anyone have suggestions for me, or comments on these two ideas?
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13167 tn?1327194124
He's not "spoiled".  He's a preschooler who wants his Mommy,  but he doesn't have her.  He is deprived.

Some kids do very well with that,  some kids express their need for their mother in very strong ways.  

He's expressing it strongly.  This isn't something to punish,  this is something to cherish and nurture.    

Statements like "I understand how you want your Mommy all day when you're a preschooler,  I'm so sorry we aren't in a position to do that,  I miss you all day too and wish so much I was with you" will get you further than punishing him for expressing natural desires.

You don't want to remove privileges from a child who is crying out for attention,  you want to give him more attention even if he's not exhibiting the behaviors you'd like to see.  

He needs you.  How cute is that?  How many more times in your life will you be needed this way by another person?    None,  is the answer.  

This is something to feel very sad and weepy about,  not punitive.
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Avatar universal
First, I wonder if your son is suffering from separation anxiety disorder.  This is not the same as being spoiled.  Tantrums are very common to children suffering from anxiety as the child is trying to "survive" in a scary and perceived unsafe world.  And, you are correct - you do need to "detach" yourself from the situation (and it will not be a pretty sight as your son will rebel against his father as well as other adults).  He will feel as though other adults are unsafe and it will be very unsettling for him.  But, if anxiety is the issue, keep in mind that an anxiety disorder is a physical, emotional and mental issue; not one controlled or changed by discipline methods.  The only way anxiety is "cured" is to teach the child how to "manage" his fears and that takes time and patience and proper techniques.  So - detaching yourself as the only caregiver would be wise (although it should be done in minute stages over a long period of time). Bribing or rewarding behaviour usually does not work with anxiety (neither does trying to reason or logically explaining the situation).  This is because anxiety is not a behavioural issue; as I stated before, anxiety is a physical, emotional and mental health issue.  

Second, I might suggest you google the phrase "separation anxiety and young children" or "separation anxiety and school" or  "how to help a child with anxiety" or "anxiety disorders in children" or similar words/phrases to see if this could be the issue.  If you feel that anxiety could be the problem,  then please contact your family doctor for assistance.  If he/she is unable to help you, ask for a referral to a medical mental health specialist as a child neurologist for advice and treatment options.

Hope this has been of some help.  All the best....
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