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I have a beautiful 5-year-old son (almost 6). Over the past 6 months, his aggression and behaviour are becoming really difficult and hard to handle. He has been quite violent towards himself (hitting himself in the head both with his fists and numerous objects), other children in school, school staff and myself. This has become such a problem, that he has been excluded from school. The school decided he does not take part in trips. Just recently he busted my lip because I wouldn't let him run away in a supermarket.

I try talking to him, trying to explain why myself or school are upset but don't really get any kind of response. He is currently on a waiting list on the autism pathway for assessment, doctor thinks he has possibly ADHD. He has speech problems and is currently attending speech therapy and has been for the past 2 years.

He is the most loving and brilliant child anyone could have when he has his good days and I praise him a lot! (I think too much sometimes) Gets rewards or treats like choosing a new film or a new book or something sweet. He has no problem with food which is great as he eats fruit and vegetables always!

Nobody seems to want to help which is very frustrating for both me and my son as I am getting desperate for answers. I would be eternally grateful if anybody could suggest any strategies to put in place or any advice to possibly help him become a little more calmer.

  • I'm very sorry to hear about your troubles. I don't have the solution. However one thing I picked up on. You suggest perhaps you over-praise him when he behaves well. This may actually be causing more harm than good. Try not to overdo it with the praise. Keep it simple and to the point. Try not to draw too much attention to his behavior, good or bad. When he behaves well, great, but this is how he should be all the time, and he doesn't require a reward for it. When he behaves badly do your best to ignore him. Children tend to do whatever will give them the biggest most interesting reaction. – user1751825 Feb 15 '16 at 4:13
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    You don't really discuss what you have tried already to curb this behavior. How is he disciplined? And be really really honest with yourself, how consistent are you about the discipline? If children get their way even just once through bad behavior, they will continue to really push those boundaries again and again and again to see if they are really the ones in charge. It seems malicious, but since hes 5 its actually a developmentally appropriate behavior (all be it a really frustrating one). – user7678 Feb 15 '16 at 13:27
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Have there been any structural changes in home life or school life in the last 6 months? If there have been changes he may be reacting because he doesn't like or understand them. It can help to explain, in a way that he can understand, what is changing and what is not changing and also to explain why. As noted in some of the comments, consistency and follow-thru in approach on discipline and reward is a big factor. However, since you describe him as sweet natured and note the behavior change is dramatic and recent it sounds like a reaction to something that is big in his world. We have three kids, I grew up in a large family and have lots of nieces and nephews around. I was not always a believer but have come to believe that kids generally have some reason (maybe not fully logical to us) for dramatic changes in behavior. Try to find out what, if anything is bothering him. It may be that asking directly doesn't work. You may want to try just spending a lot of time with him without any kind of pressure on him to 'open up' to you. My wife has gotten more out of our kids at that age by just letting them control the conversation for a while then nudging gently to get them to open up.

Kids usually do have a logic at that age, it's just not readily apparent to us. It really sounds like something has changed to cause him to change. If so you need to figure out how to allay his fears about that change if you can. We adults often do things that make sense to us but are profoundly puzzling and frightening to children, even at an age where we see them as advanced enough to understand.

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