My wife and I have been struggling with our son for some time. He's a fun kid, lovely, maddening, healthy and pretty normal. To get ahead of the obvious suggestions, he eats healthy, sleeps a normal amount, and has a pretty consistent routine. He's almost 5, in Junior Kindergarten. Mom works, and he is in an after-school program until 5.
I thought I'd reach out for other's experience. We have started the process of getting him into specialists...I'm not sure how to start identifying what "he has", or if its even anything outside the normal.
Since he was 2, we had issues with his temper, with conflict or stressful situations. We wrote it off as "terrible twos". He got better in some ways, worse in others.
His behaviour at school is acceptable, according to the school. Some minor hiccups, but nothing outside the norm for a boy his age. I would identify him as an introvert. He can play with others, but often is on his own. He wants to please his teacher, and be included in class.
At home, he can have a good day, and everyone is happy. If it's a "bad day" he is off the rails. When I travel for work, my wife really bears the brunt: Unreasonable fighting over nothing: De-escalation is impossible, if he digs in: It will usually end with deliberate damage, physical fights, biting, hair pulled, screaming. He can pull the same things with me, but its worse when I'm gone.
Getting angry with him doesn't work. Being calm, and trying bring him down gently doesn't work. It's over once he blows up, and when he decides he's done.
Punishment / grounding is no threat. He does not react to anything being taken away, or "time outs". Put him in his room, and he'll tip over a dresser, rip the closet apart.
The threat of a consequence will not stop anything from happening, although he understands what a consequence is...and we follow through.
Triggers seem (but not always) to be:
Fatigue: The end of the school day, he's wiped.
Rushed schedule: Mom's busy, sister needs to go to swimming...please finish your dinner
Crowds: seem to stress him out, but not always
New social situations: dinner at a friend's house, etc. He can find a spot alone, and start to get into something. He knows its wrong. You have to watch him closely. Try to stop him, and it can end in a massive tantrum. He dug his nails into my wife's arm, drawing blood. He then collapsed in tears, and mom just held him...
What we have done:
Allergy/nutrition/health testing: (he's ok)
Language testing: His verbal expressive skills are behind normal, but we're working on it...He's getting close to the "normal" range. Comprehension is above average: he's a sharp kid.
When he was 2-3, the verbal expressive shortcomings were always a big frustration for him.
What's next: Our doctor is going to get us on the list for a behavioural specialist. Not sure what that entails.
If anyone has had experience with this, I like to hear about it. My wife is in tears, the end of her rope. He's unable to cope with his mental state, and she has to deal with the outcome.
Love him to pieces, and enjoy time with him..It's sad to have this cloud on the household.