Frustrating fives

We’ve talked a lot about how spoiled we are with Avi (not the other way around!) –  he is so verbal and so awesome and most of the time he is a joy to be around. He’s funny and observant and so clever that I’m constantly writing down the things he says because I don’t want to miss any part of his hilarious kid logic.

He is also turning five at the end of this week, and I’ve decided that is worse than the terrible two’s and the trying three’s and whatever alliterative nomenclature exists for four year olds.

All of a sudden, five is old enough to talk back to your parents.

Five is screaming and stomping.

Five is entitlement.

Five is loopholes.

Five is “not fair!”

Five is presenting the illusion of reasoning ability when the reality is he’s one “no” away from a tantrum.

Where is this coming from?!

I’m so frustrated with the unpredictability of it all. Literally one minute we are walking hand in hand to a picnic, and he’s talking up a storm and being cute and awesome. The next we’re at said picnic and he’s “shooting” my friends with a finger gun and claiming it’s just a hose when I call him on it because he knows damn well he isn’t allowed to have/pretend/whatever anything that shoots. He used to be painfully shy around both adults and other kids, and is certainly capable of falling back into that depending on the environment we’re in, but more often than not with other adults now he’s the opposite: show-offy, obnoxious and even physical.

It’s especially out of control at family/friend gatherings any time we try to leave while he is having fun. Recently we’ve instituted a strategy to just remove him immediately if things escalate/deteriorate, and last night, for the second time in a week, he left a family party without getting to say goodbye to anyone in attendance. It sucks. It absolutely, totally, completely sucks. For him, for everyone else. But I believe it would be worse if we just let him five it out (yes, I’ve made that a verb). He hasn’t quite gotten the calming down/recovery part down yet, but we’re working on it. I want to help him more with that, but I’m just so frustrated.

I know. I KNOW. He’s only five. I say that all the time. And I say it knowing that this is a relatively new phase and that’s why it’s so frustrating. We don’t know how to fix it. Yet. But we know it’s a phase so we’re throwing everything we can at it to nip it in the bud. Because it sucks. Have I mentioned how much it sucks?!

So, yeah. The frustrating fives. I’m sorry, everyone. Hopefully we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming soon.


8 thoughts on “Frustrating fives

  1. Oh my goodness, five is dreadful, especially when you’ve got an articulate, smart kid. We frequently would ask each other, “why does our child suddenly hate us?” We figured it was mostly a struggle between being a “big kid” and hanging on to some of the “baby” things he still finds comforting. But, also, that five-year-olds are just kinda jerks. Cute and sometimes entertaining, but really prone to just annoying the crap out of you.
    We recently celebrated number six. While I wouldn’t say it’s like a switch was flipped, in the past few weeks I have noticed much more “sorry Mom” for bad behavior, and, what looks like (finally) empathy. He’s also starting to grasp the concept of consequences. Not liking it, mind you, but at least getting it.
    Hang in there. Five is awful. I’ll give you a full report on six once we’re closer to seven. :)

    • I think Avi understands consequences and I know he’s demonstrated empathy on a number of occasions as a four year old. On the cusp of five he seems like he’s actually losing that ability!

  2. Huh.

    Three for me is still the most obnoxious age. And Kate is mired deeply in it.

    flora is 5, and I think the hardest thing right now is that her first response is to scream and/or cry. At anything. the majority of the time, the crime in no way warrants such an extreme response. But (maybe because it’s in contrast to my constantly challenging Kate), overall, I like 5 best so far. She is much like you describe Avi: funny, sweet, pleasant, talkative and curious. When she freaks out, I just pretty much try to breathe deeply and get her off the ledge.

    As far as leaving an activity, do you give him a countdown at all? “Avi, 20 more minutes, and it’s time to go.” “Avi, 15 more minutes…” etc. I started doing this with the girls at 18 months and (usually) it helps a lot. There are certain situations that even after countdowns, one or the other is going to melt down on me. But those are the exception.

    Anyway: Good Luck! Every age clearly brings its challenges.

    • Yeah, we do the countdown thing. Last night we talked it through and he got a ten minute warning and a seven minute warning and all the adults got a warning – we tried to make it into a thing that everyone was on the same page about. When the time came, he flipped out. Hardcore. On the floor, hiding behind the couch, shrieking and stomping. Total meltdown. I chalk it up to exhaustion – it was way past his bed time – and I try to be sympathetic, but it was still a hot mess :)

  3. yeah, we have fairly good luck with the countdown method. but i also have physically removed a tantrumming almost-five=year-old when needed. it’s almost worse when they are so smart and verbal because you fool yourself into thinking you CAN reason with them.

  4. I’m not a parent, but I spend a lot of time with other people’s kids and babysitting. I know consistency is key, but it is no way an instant fix. I always give the kids I’m watching a choice. I give them choices I’m willing to do and also reach my end goal of finally leaving the zoo dear lord please and thank you. It’s a control thing for kids. An testing those limits, 5 sounds about right.

  5. Pingback: A plan emerges « having fun storming your castle

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