What is "normal" behavior for 5 year old?

Discussion in 'Childhood and Beyond (4+)' started by MrsWright, Jun 20, 2014.

  1. MrsWright

    MrsWright Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    So Jack has always been a bit more....*more* sad, *more* mad, *more* excited...ect.  I read the book "Raising your spirited child" and its like they wrote it about him.  I need help though, or encouragement, or advice on how to handle him and what is just him being 5 and him being a spirited 5 year old! 
    For example, he got in trouble at safety village for not keeping his hands to himself and (getting in trouble and the punishment) sent him over the edge and he actually threatened to hurt a teacher!  When JT or Hannah are doing something he doesn't like he screams angrily at them instead of nicely asking them to stop (all. the. time.) :headbang:   Every little thing is such a big deal to him and I've noticed (JT mostly) catering to him to prevent a melt down...example, after daycare they asked for a piece of gum, they all wanted mint but I only had 2 left and JT and Hannah said it first so that left Jack with apple....he was whining debating about whether to take the apple when JT gave his piece up.  It's very sweet of him but I just don't think that thought would be reciprocated if ya know what I mean?! 
    Trying not to compare but JT is super laid back (don't worry, he's holding his own too) and my nephew who is same age, 3wks older, is more like Jack but at a much much much lesser extent.
    Any words of wisdom? Should we see a therapist? I bought a couple anger books to read to them all but I really want to change not only his behavior but his heart....I don't want him thinking its ok to always be so out of control of yourself:(
  2. ECUBitzy

    ECUBitzy Well-Known Member

    I have no advice, I just understand. Between my two... Well, I never know who is harder to deal with. Alexis bottles until she melts down and it's all very internally directed (sobs and dramatic hands and general upset) whereas Sam pushes her frustrations OUT in the instant she's overdone and has hit classmates. I feel like I'm experimenting every single day.

    Just big hugs. They're awesome boys and you're amazing, so I have every faith you'll pull through.
  3. kingeomer

    kingeomer Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I second Stephanie.  I always say therapy can always help, perhaps the therapist can help him deal with his anger in a more productive way.  Both of mine have had their moments like that and one of the rules I have is that if you want to get something you must ask in polite and big girl/boy voice and if those two conditions are not met then you don't get the thing.
    Another suggestion is maybe having him take deep breaths and give him an opportunity to start over in a less angry way.  Like, "Jack, let's do a retake..." and then talk to him why it worked better the second time around.  
    It can also be an age thing.  Just seeing my kids go through kindergarten (and their classmates) you'd be amazed how much kids mature from 5 to 6.  The kid in their class that was hitting people in frustration definitely calmed down by the end of the school year.
    You both are great mommies and the kids will get past this, I promise :hug:
  4. KCMichigan

    KCMichigan Well-Known Member

    I have worked with behaviorally/emotionally challenged kids in the school setting and something that worked well was to practice 'social stories'.

    Find a time when everyone is full, happy, and well-rested...then practice being angry, sad, mad, happy, upset, joyful, silly, etc in different pretend scenarios ( your at school and friend takes your toy what can you do? An adult asks you to stop playing? You dont want to do X. Your clothes fit in an uncomfortable way- what can you do? Your at home and someone is sitting in the place you want to sit- what can you do?).

    This proactive approach not only gives kids some language to use, but also supports appropriate social responses and gives them some confidence & control in how to approach a situation that seems overwhelming.

    Another proactive activity is to read books like this http://www.amazon.com/dp/0316573957/?tag=mytwins02-20 . Get kids thinking of emotions and to know that everyone feels them- also to be able to label how they feel is empowering and can help them find solutions for when they feel mad, sad, glad, tired, joyful, etc.

    Language can also be powerful....

    1.acknowledge emotions " It looks like you are _____ (mad, sad, happy) right now."

    2.Then ask about the situation. Sometimes as adults we assume we know what is going on, when it an be totally different. For example-- you see one kid angrily trying to grab a toy from another. You recognize the child is upset and then state you see a problem. Ask what it is.... As an adult, we assume the kid might just want the toy. (which is sometimes the case) but the child grabbing might actually be worried about running out of time and/or he/she might have a piece they want to add to it....etc. You just dont know. Ask.

    3. Restate what the child said...." You said you wanted that toy because you found a missing piece. You were angry because another child had it." Adults want to be heard and recognized for what they say and feel- kids are the same way.

    4. Ask for suggestions on how to solve the problem if applicable. " I see you wanted to add that piece to the toy. How can we do that ?" Listen to all suggestions and offer some if needed.

    5. Follow through with a plan. "Ok. You want to add that piece and said you will ask the child if you can do that while they play with the toy."

    6. Supervise the plan and confirm that it worked and/or try a different plan until problem is solved.

    It seems a bit formulaic and as an adult it is SO HARD not to jump in and offer our solutions to what we see is the problem....but about 80% of the time acknowledging feelings, making a plan, and solving a problem is very empowering to a kiddo-- which for intense kids, often alleviates some of the loss of control they feel when they DO spiral out of control. Working through issues in a child-led manner also gives them tools to use with less and less adult support as time goes on instead of consistently depending on adults to solve problems.

    Another tool I use is controlled choices....for things that are non-negotiable set up a sense of control for kids. It bedtime (not negotiable) but then offer do you want red pjs or blue pjs? Do you want this book read to you or that one? So even for things that are non controllable for the child, they get a say in part of it.

    I also explain a lot. We do X because of Y. Sometimes a sense of knowing why and what is going to happen may prevent or lesson full-blown meltdowns- especially if it is not a routine event.

    At 5, another good thing to look at is expressive and receptive language. Some intensities can occur due to frustration at trying to express themselves and communicate and/or at a sense of not understanding receptive language and then melting down when there is a breakdown in communication. An adult gives a two step direction and the child only comprehends the first step and then gets frustrated and loses control when he/she is confused at what is happening and/or what they should be doing.

    Lastly, routine and/or going over the day before hand can be helpful. Some intense kids feel more secure when they know what is happening and when. I use picture or word schedules both at home for my kids (I have an intense kid!) and in my classroom.

    Hopefully, some if this helps. I've worked with intense kids and live with an intense kiddo (karma is funny that way!) and it can be hard to find a good balance between keeping appropriate expectations for her and reaching frustration level for my kiddo....every few months we have to assess 'is this working?" and/or what we can do to help her handle her BIG emotions in a socially appropriate manner (without letting her use them to manipulate others to get her way either!!--- for example if I cry loud/long enough can I get what I want?. If you wonder, the answer is NO but she still tries every now and then!)

    EDITED to add: Learning to handle big emotions is standard for 5 year olds (and many other ages) and the drift from dependent on adults to feeling more independent on themselves in a bigger world (school, classes, playdates, etc) can lead to a lot of emotional-social stretching and growing for Kindergarteners. It is the frequency, intensity, and triggers of melt-downs that can make a difference between 'standard' for a specific age and 'not standard' for a specific age rather than the behavior itself.

    A consult with a child psychologist and/or school social worker (if he is K age) might be helpful to gauge the depth/breadth of his reactions compared to same age peers and can give you valuable insight into ways to help him.
    2 people like this.
  5. MrsWright

    MrsWright Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Thank you!!!:). I will check out those books! I don't think he has any sensory issues but role playing when they aren't already wound up is a great idea!!!:)
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