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5yo rebel

Discussion forum for parents in Australia


5yo rebel


I have a (just turned) 5 yo son and an (almost) 3 yo daughter.

My 5yo is very bright and loving, but most of the time really oppositional. We give hime boudaries, but he just keeps acting like he has none. We try to be gentle parents (use most of the recommended approaches with options, mirroring and such), but I am starting to feel this isn't the right path with him. Even the simplest daily tasks are a struggle. Eating breakfast, getting out of the house, going for a walk. I have to keep chasing after him, he doesn't comply or respects other people property and screams and screeches, when he doeasn't get his way or is being told "no." This constant struggle drains me and I find it hard to go for visits and to be out in public with both kids, since my 5yo acts more like a 2 yo than my 2yo is. He ignores people talking to him and is rude, a lot of time reckless as well. How do I get this kid (who is still very much his mommas boy) to act a bit more "civil"? Do I expect too much of a 5yo and should shift my perspective? Any miracle solutions out there?
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Re: 5yo rebel

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Hi @AnnieNew , 


I can relate very strongly to this post! I am also the parent of a very bright, loving but spirited 4 year old - it can definitely be incredibly challenging sometimes! ReachOut is aimed mainly at parents of young people aged 12-18,  so this forum may not be the best place to hear form other parents of young children I'm sorry - but I'm sure a lot of parents here would be able to remember the challenges of trips out with young children! 


One thing I've noticed about my son is that he can really struggle with transitioning from one activity to the next, which sometimes results in a lot of defiant behaviour around getting dressed/ meal times etc. Giving him an idea of what we will be doing, and when, has been really helpful with this - talking to him about expectations and consequences before we do an activity also seems to help (sometimes!). 


One resource that I've found really helpful is the Raising Children's Network, they have some great materials on typical preschooler behaviour and different strategies that may be helpful- I've linked to some of them here.


I've also found Janet Landsbury to be a really great resource who talks about toddler and preschooler behaviour in a really respectful, gentle and evidence based way, are you familiar with her writing at all? It sounds like her approach may align with your values as a parent, here's a link to some of her writing about challenging behaviour if you find it helpful. 


I'm also wondering if you've ever discussed your concerns about your son's behaviour with your famliy doctor at all? It looks like you're outside Australia, so I'm not completely sure on what resources are available in your country, but we also have early childhood centres in Australia which are a free service for parents to talk to health care professionals about their children's development up until school age - they can be a great place to get some more support, and also get advice about whether it might be helpful to have your child seen by another health care professional like a speech pathologist, OT or child psychologist, to see if there's any underlying issues that might be causing the behaviour. 


Wishing you all the best - parenting small children can be incredibly demanding, and it's clear that you are an engaged and loving parent who wants the best for your kids I'm also wondering if you have any support from family and friends when you need downtime? It can be easy to forget as parents but looking after ourselves is also incredibly important.