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I hope that some of the steps forward we’ve seen are permanent ones, for all of our sakes. We all get to the point when we have had enough of certain behaviours and battles, don’t we?

My son has crept back into control. I only realised it this week. Now I’m trying to unpick it all, and the exhaustion I feel at potentially having to face all those tantrums, all that hate, has engulfed me.

We had a glorious six weeks where he would comply with our ideas about going out. We tried to mix it up for our daily exercise (and are blessed with an area rich in parks and woodland) and he realised that we usually planned something good and that he would enjoy it. Massive, massive breakthrough. We had a happy, trusting little boy in our care who knew we did our best for him. Good times.

But now we are back to screaming, refusal, ripping things up. Having to stop and wait so that every walk takes three times as long; him running off and getting lost so that we have to stop what we are doing and look for him. Endless sulking. Last night he took my garden secateurs and tried to pull his tooth out (we have had four teeth pulled out before). He talks frequently about wanting to kill me, rip my skin off, eat me (and this in an affectionate, but nonetheless bloodthirsty way.) Lying has also increased; he is unable to hear the word ‘no’ but repeats questions that have to have ‘no’ answers again and again…. He is stealing, hoarding. Oh God, it’s just all been creeping up and I didn’t even realise until it was all there, right in our faces.

It might be because he has to go back to school on Monday. It might be because we have had to let go of the rules a bit to maintain sanity during lock down. Both of these things may well have made him feel afraid. I suppose the resurgence of these behaviours is a communication of that. Unfortunately, a communication that refuses to listen to comfort, doesn’t trust adults and deepens rifts.

I think it’s time to dig out all those trauma and attachment books again.