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Help! Severe Aggressive/Defiant Behavior! - Page 7

post #121 of 494
Dear Bisou,
I just found this thread and have tears in my eyes.
I can tell you are a wonderful and none of this is your fault.
I have not read all the replies so sorry if this has been brought up already, but it seems your son could have Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). If this is the case, meds will not really help. He needs to see an Occupational Therapist ASAP. Unfortunately many child psychologists and doctors do not know anything about Sensory Processing Disorder. The good thing is your son is young so if he starts Occupational Therapy soon, he can be greatly helped and there are lots of things you can do for him.
Here is some information about SPD http://www.spdfoundation.net/aboutspd.html#lookslike

A good book is The Out of Sync Child
http://www.out-of-sync-child.com/

And the sensory Sensitive Child
http://www.sensorysensitivechild.com/index2.html

I agree with others who suggested possible Food Allergies. Allergies can also attribute to poor sensory processing and in your son’s case it sounds like his is overly sensitive hence his strong reactions. I am not an
Occupational Therapist but my son did have SPD so I did a lot of research on it.
Good Luck Mama, my heart goes out to you.
post #122 of 494
I second the pp. Both my children have SPD. My daughter is tactile defensive and my son is a seeker. They received OT and it was a life saver.

The Out of Sync Child is a great book!

I wanted to add more. My son, now 4 was in several daycares and kicked out of all of them because of his aggression. He actually landed one child in the hospital after biting his face so hard it split his eyebrow open and he needed stitches.

He would run into walls for no reason, scream, and toe walked. He did not speak right away either. The pediatrician had us take him to the pediatric neurologist who was the same one that treated me as a child when I had epilepsy. He gave my son Risperdal at .5 mg three times a day. A VERY high dose for a child of 2 1/2. But it did help a bit. It was also through an organization called Easter Seals that told me he also had SPD just like his big sister only he was on the opposite sides of the spectrum. As I mentioned, she is tactile defensive (certain fabrics, food textures, colors even, and movements like swings make her crazy).

He is a seeker meaning he tries to find stimuli in order to feel a sense of normalcy. Even to this day he does cartwheels down the hallway instead of walking and for two years had to wear AFO leg braces with physical therapy to help with the toe walking. When he was unable to voice what he needed, he couldn't cope, his body awareness was non-existent and he was just what everyone else deemed a "problem child".

I was able to get both my kids into OT services, speech therapy and the physical therapy for him. It was wonderful. Plus with my help I got him off the medicine which is very damaging to the liver, took any food that contained yellow 6 and red 5 out of his diet and cut out artificial colorings, perservatives and sweets. Which has a major effect on children behavior.

He has not used his braces since, he never stops talking, he's no longer aggressive, and though he still "seeks" it's not as bad as it was. I also got him into ballet, tap, jazz, and acrobatics with his sister which have really gave him a great outlet for his need for stimulus but in a controlled setting. Karate is also a great one and music especially for children with SPD. I just got him a lap harp which give him both auditory, visual and physical stimuli at once.

I would also suggest getting the Out of Sync Child Has Fun. It comes packed with activities for children with SPD to do that will help them when they're having a bad day. Good luck hon.
post #123 of 494
Ok, I hope this does not offend, but here goes: I have just read through the whole thread, and your descriptions of your son's behaviour are really, really disturbing. My deduction as an outsider is: either you are really, really messing up this parenting thing, or he is very ill. Now, before I get flamed, it does not seem to me that you are messing up badly enough to cause these sort of problems. You are a dedicated, hardworking, devoted, loving, positive mother who would go to the ends of the earth to find the solution for this child. From *my* perspective, your biggest failure has been making excuses for him, and dude who wouldn't want to see the very best and hope for the very best for their child? We all would. We all do. I am very, very sorry for you both for all the trauma that you have been through together, but I really think there is more at play here. Both of his parents have mental health issues (& we know those are genetic), and that is ok. But he sounds very sick; he sounds like he needs help. Perhaps he is not getting a more aggressive approach/dx from the professionals he's seen because you are sugar coating some things because you are his mama and you can SEE all the WONDERFUL things about him through the really terrible, scary actions. You have said in this thread you may be over reacting; I will be the voice of dissent and say it seems you may be often under reacting. I hope that you will have clarity to see what he needs and to find/accept that for him & that you both are able to come to a place of peace and healing.
Peace,
PaisleyStar
post #124 of 494
I'm sorry I couldn't read all the replies, but has abnormal brain histamine been mentioned? This article calls it a cause of opposational defiant disorder, http://www.healthrecovery.com/HRC_20...er.htm#hhchild -
mentions some ways to test and supplements to help. The implication is then to find what is causing the elevated histamine. Food allergies would be where I would start- with an elimination diet and Feingold diet, the works. It's a lot of work, but better than drugs, imo and iyo, obviously.
post #125 of 494
Poor thing. My son is also giving me a hard time but I keep hoping that it will get better when he starts to talk. Am I waiting in vain... ?
post #126 of 494
Unschooled Mom,It is great reading about all that your children are doing now!
I just want to reply after reading paisley Mom's post that a Sensory Processing Disorder diagnosis is in no way sugar coating a condition (I am not saying you are implying this but your post just made me think about it.)
SPD IS very serious.
Jean Ayres, PhD the occupational therapist who was the pioneer who first described the problem over 50 years ago, observed that a high percentage of prison inmates had it! These were people who in their time when SPD was still unknown were probably already labelled as trouble makers, which of course effected their self esteem and they grew up to be outsiders just that!
I also believe there is a relationship between allergies and sensory integration as well which is my only complaint about a lot of the SPD literature out here. The books usually say know one knows why a person has SPD..
post #127 of 494
Thread Starter 
Hi Jalilah:

I don't think anyone else has made that suggestion, so I will definitely check it out. I will check out the links you posted. Thanks! You have all been so helpful.

Things have been really up and down with my son over the last few weeks, as seems to be the pattern. I do notice that the more patient I am with him, the better he usually does, but sometimes his behavior is SOOOOO inappropriate/annoying/harmful/painful/destructive/or a combination of all of the above that it's hard to keep it together!

Thanks again for the information.

~Bisou




Quote:
Originally Posted by jalilah View Post
Dear Bisou,
I just found this thread and have tears in my eyes.
I can tell you are a wonderful and none of this is your fault.
I have not read all the replies so sorry if this has been brought up already, but it seems your son could have Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). If this is the case, meds will not really help. He needs to see an Occupational Therapist ASAP. Unfortunately many child psychologists and doctors do not know anything about Sensory Processing Disorder. The good thing is your son is young so if he starts Occupational Therapy soon, he can be greatly helped and there are lots of things you can do for him.
Here is some information about SPD http://www.spdfoundation.net/aboutspd.html#lookslike

A good book is The Out of Sync Child
http://www.out-of-sync-child.com/

And the sensory Sensitive Child
http://www.sensorysensitivechild.com/index2.html

I agree with others who suggested possible Food Allergies. Allergies can also attribute to poor sensory processing and in your son’s case it sounds like his is overly sensitive hence his strong reactions. I am not an
Occupational Therapist but my son did have SPD so I did a lot of research on it.
Good Luck Mama, my heart goes out to you.
post #128 of 494
Thread Starter 
Hi Unschoolin:

I will have to read more about this. My son doesn't sound at all similar to your daughter, but may have some similar tendencies that your son has. Sometimes it seems like he is trying to get attention through his behavior, but sometimes it seems completely random. Sometimes he's just an angel (with an occasional minor tantrum, like any child would have). It's hard doing this all on my own though.

Thanks everyone, again, for the advice!

~Bisou

Quote:
Originally Posted by unschoolinmom View Post
I second the pp. Both my children have SPD. My daughter is tactile defensive and my son is a seeker. They received OT and it was a life saver.

The Out of Sync Child is a great book!

I wanted to add more. My son, now 4 was in several daycares and kicked out of all of them because of his aggression. He actually landed one child in the hospital after biting his face so hard it split his eyebrow open and he needed stitches.

He would run into walls for no reason, scream, and toe walked. He did not speak right away either. The pediatrician had us take him to the pediatric neurologist who was the same one that treated me as a child when I had epilepsy. He gave my son Risperdal at .5 mg three times a day. A VERY high dose for a child of 2 1/2. But it did help a bit. It was also through an organization called Easter Seals that told me he also had SPD just like his big sister only he was on the opposite sides of the spectrum. As I mentioned, she is tactile defensive (certain fabrics, food textures, colors even, and movements like swings make her crazy).

He is a seeker meaning he tries to find stimuli in order to feel a sense of normalcy. Even to this day he does cartwheels down the hallway instead of walking and for two years had to wear AFO leg braces with physical therapy to help with the toe walking. When he was unable to voice what he needed, he couldn't cope, his body awareness was non-existent and he was just what everyone else deemed a "problem child".

I was able to get both my kids into OT services, speech therapy and the physical therapy for him. It was wonderful. Plus with my help I got him off the medicine which is very damaging to the liver, took any food that contained yellow 6 and red 5 out of his diet and cut out artificial colorings, perservatives and sweets. Which has a major effect on children behavior.

He has not used his braces since, he never stops talking, he's no longer aggressive, and though he still "seeks" it's not as bad as it was. I also got him into ballet, tap, jazz, and acrobatics with his sister which have really gave him a great outlet for his need for stimulus but in a controlled setting. Karate is also a great one and music especially for children with SPD. I just got him a lap harp which give him both auditory, visual and physical stimuli at once.

I would also suggest getting the Out of Sync Child Has Fun. It comes packed with activities for children with SPD to do that will help them when they're having a bad day. Good luck hon.
post #129 of 494
Thread Starter 
Your mention of prison just reminded me of something my son said a few days ago. He said, "Mom, can you teach me to be good so I don't have to go to jail? If you can't teach me how to be good, I will be in jail when I grow up. I don't want to be in jail." Now, I want to be clear that no one has EVER said anything like this around him. He just came up with this himself, and it made me very sad!

In response to PaisleyMom, my son has been seeing a therapist and saw a behavioral pediatrician as well. Both the therapist (whom we've been seeing for about two years) and the behavioral pediatrician mentioned Bipolar Disorder. Believe me--I did not sugar coat or downplay anything! Also, my son's therapist has seen him in complete meltdown mode (screaming, hitting, hysterical, completely out of control), so she knows how bad it can be.

Just when I think I might break down and try medication, he does wonderfully for a few days or even weeks, and I think, "Come on, if he was mentally ill, he couldn't act this well!" But I know that some mental illnesses have fluctuations, so I don't know.

I do know that my son has had a LOT of trauma in just the last two years. In only two years he's had extreme damage done to his genital area by a daycare worker (confirmed by a doctor, which was reported to the police and child protective services), has been force-fed at another daycare, and experienced a 30 minute attempted home invasion with me. These are only the MAJOR traumas. He's also had some less major ones, like his nanny leaving after a year with no notice and never seeing him again. She was like his second mom, so this was devastating. There are many other things too. I am not saying this to excuse his behavior, but just to show that there are reasons he might feel like his world is out of control.

He is an extremely bright child with an off-the-charts vocabulary. His therapist is constantly amazed that he can do things, say things, and understand things that an 8-9 year old would. He is excellent with sports as well, and once shot 52 baskets pretty much in a row when he was playing basketball with me. (We were using a shorter hoop, but he was standing just as far back as I was and completely beat me, by like 30!) He has some amazing skills. He could ride his bike without training wheels before he was four years old. He asked to have them taken off, then just took off, the FIRST time, like he'd done it a million times.

So while his behavior is a major issue, he isn't suffering in intelligence, verbal skills, or motor skills, balance, etc. Actually, he EXCELS in all those areas. The only place where he is really lacking is in keeping his behavior under control, and it's mainly with me. He does great at school. The bad behavior comes out when he's with me or my parents, but to a lesser degree with my parents.

Sometimes I think he's angry at me for working so much and not spending lots of time with him. When we are home, I am often doing home chores (cooking, cleaning, etc) or checking work-related email. I often do get on the floor and play toys with him, but it seems like it's never enough with him. He always wants more time and more time. Of course I think he deserves this, but it doesn't justify his behavior.

Here's a current example. I was trying to sit here and type this while he was watching a show on TV. Out of the blue, he just kicked me extremely hard in the arm. Why? Because he doesn't want me to do anything except what he wants to do, and sometimes doing what he wants to do has the same results (which I'd NEVER do when he hit or kicked me, of course!).

Anyway, I now need to deal with a time out, so I will end this here. No time to edit, so I hope it makes sense!

Thanks again for everyone's help.



Quote:
Originally Posted by jalilah View Post
Unschooled Mom,It is great reading about all that your children are doing now!
I just want to reply after reading paisley Mom's post that a Sensory Processing Disorder diagnosis is in no way sugar coating a condition (I am not saying you are implying this but your post just made me think about it.)
SPD IS very serious.
Jean Ayres, PhD the occupational therapist who was the pioneer who first described the problem over 50 years ago, observed that a high percentage of prison inmates had it! These were people who in their time when SPD was still unknown were probably already labelled as trouble makers, which of course effected their self esteem and they grew up to be outsiders just that!
I also believe there is a relationship between allergies and sensory integration as well which is my only complaint about a lot of the SPD literature out here. The books usually say know one knows why a person has SPD..
post #130 of 494
Thread Starter 

DAY from HELL

So I've had a really awful day, and I hope you guys don't mind if I vent. Sorry--this is going to be a book. Put on your reading glasses!

I thought it might be good for my son to try gymnastics, as he's very athletic and always trying to do flips, cartwheels, handstands, and other gymnastic-type moves, and he's also been wanting to be around more kids his age, so I found a highly recommended gymnastics studio and signed him up. We went to the first class a few weeks ago, and he was really excited, but then completely scared when we got there. I kept encouraging him, and he would go join his class, but then he'd start crying and come running over to me. I was sitting right there where he could see me. The teacher was very nice and kept asking him if he wanted to try the next thing they were doing, but he was too scared. I pushed him a little (in a gentle way) because he's had lots of problems with this kind of thing before (being fearful of new experiences), but has always felt very proud of himself when he was able to go through with something, but he still was really scared, so after encouraging him a few times to re-join the class, I just let him sit with me and watch.

After that, we talked about how scared he was, and we agreed that he could go back and sit and watch the class until he felt comfortable joining the class. He thought this was a good idea, and I wanted him to be able to master this task of taking a class like this. I also know that he'd LOVE the class if he could let go of the fear, since they get to do things like jump on the trampoline, which is something he's asked to do a million times.

So tonight we were supposed to go back to the class. I had assured him that he didn't have to do anything but sit there and watch with me until he felt ready to try the class. We were supposed to go eat first (I had just picked him up from daycare and it was close to dinner time), then go to the class. When we arrived at the restaurant, he said he didn't want to go to the class, but wanted to eat, then play in the kids' play area at the mall instead. I said that we could come back to the play area after his gymnastics class, but that right now we needed to eat, then go to gymnastics. He threw a HUGE tantrum, screaming at the top of his lungs about not wanting to go to gymnastics and wanting to play at the mall instead.

I was torn. Do I make him go to gymnastics so he learns to follow through and not just have a tantrum and get his way all the time and to help him work through that fear in a gentle manner? Or do I say, well, this is supposed to be enjoyable, and if he's screaming and crying, it's not enjoyable, so let's just bag it? After much internal debate, I decided on the latter, though I have to admit I was quietly angry. We had already made the 30 minute drive to the location, and I had already registered for the class. He was screaming and crying and insisting that he wanted to go out to eat and to play at the mall. I said that going out to eat was part of going to gymnastics (which it was), and since we weren't going to gymnastics, we would just go home and eat. I figured that he also didn't deserve the treat of going out to dinner with the huge tantrum he was throwing. And, I had given him snacks in the car (an orange, a granola bar, and a string cheese), so it wasn't like he was dying of hunger.

So I proceeded to head home, and he proceeded to scream, yell, and throw things from the back seat. He was completely out of control, saying "I hate you" and that sort of thing---something I thought I wouldn't hear until he was a teenager---he also often tells me that when he's a grown-up, he will never see me again. It's hard to take.

Through all this, I kept my cool, and just ignored the screaming and concentrated on driving. Once we were off the highway, the screaming really intensified to an ear-shattering level. I told him that if he didn't stop, I would pull over and we'd have a time out in the car. He chucked something at my head, so I pulled over and stepped outside of the car to get a break from the screaming and give him a time out. I called my mom because I was on the verge of a meltdown myself at this point. I know calling my mom is a bad idea, but I really have very few options, and I don't often feel strong enough to deal with this all alone. (It would be great if I had a parent friend who has gone through this with their child that I could talk to and get some support from. All my friends have those calm "angel" children, and when I talk about my son's behavior, they are completely baffled, and I feel a little bit of judgment at times, like I am not disciplining him properly.)

A side note on time outs: I know many of you don't agree with time outs, and neither did I originally. I am still conflicted, but I do know that just talking to my son about things didn't work and doesn't work. Before I tried time outs, his behavior was continuing to escalate and get more and more violent. Since using time outs, life is still very difficult, but the aggression has decreased about 80%, I'd say. The other major problems are there, and I hate when time outs become a battle of wills (sometimes I have to gently restrain him in a chair if he refuses to stay or is hitting me), but I'd say that overall it's better than any alternative I've tried.

So back to where we were: My son is in the car, having a time out in his car seat, and I am standing outside, talking to my mom on the phone, trying to calm down. My mom is being decently supportive, or as good as she gets, I guess. My son is screaming his head off and hitting the windows. When I open the door a few minutes later to tell him that he needs to calm down before we will continue home, he tells me that he has peed his pants. This is something he has started INTENTIONALLY doing on a regular basis during time outs, even though I will let him go to the bathroom, if needed. It's sort of a "Well, you can put me in time out, but I am going to pee my pants" sort of thing, him trying to have some control or get me upset.

So, he peed his pants, completely soaked the car seat, and it also went through to the vehicle seat below and soaked it. My car and carseat were soaked in urine. Great. After 40+ minutes of screaming and throwing things, I had had it.

And I was PISSED. As a single mom, I don't have lots of money, and I try to take care of the possessions I do have. My car is a 1998 Honda, so nothing fancy, but it's in good condition without any damage or rust, and looks and smells nice (or DID). Since I can't just go out and buy something new, I want to take care of what I do have. I know possessions aren't the most important thing, but I do value cleanliness, and I don't want to drive around in a car that smells like a Port-A-Potty.

I needed to clean this up, and I immediately realized that this posed a huge problem. I have a Britax Frontier carseat, one I chose because it's supposed to be one of the safest on the market, one that allows a child to wear a harness until 80 lbs, which is supposed to be safer than a booster seat. Unfortunately, I didn't realize when I bought it that I'd be unable to install it myself. It really requires two people to install.

So, I have a car and carseat soaked with urine. To clean both adequately, I need to remove the carseat from the car. I have no one to help me. If I remove the carseat and can't get it back in, I can't go to work tomorrow or the counseling appointment with my son's therapist, which I desperately need!!!!

We went home and I told my son that we had to clean the carseat. I was completely angry the entire time, even though my son was trying to be "good"--helping me, trying to give me hugs and kisses. I was so angry, and I feel bad about being so insensitive to him, even mean. I am just at my wit's end with him. I always feel like I don't know how to react. If I act "normal" and not upset, does that mean that the peeing all over the car doesn't matter? I don't know. I am constantly confused and second-guessing myself when parenting this child.

I tried and tried to get that carseat back in after cleaning everything, but I just couldn't. I was literally drenched in sweat trying to pull the seatbelt with all my might to get it connected, but I couldn't do it. I JUST LOST IT. I was sobbing and crying, so angry that I am so dependent and incapable of doing things myself. I was so angry that my only alternative was to call my parents for help. I was so pissed off at my son for doing this. Of course this was not how I wanted to spend my evening. I had worked all day, I was exhausted, I had been in the car for almost an hour with a screaming child, and now I had pee all over everything, and I was incapable of putting the carseat back in. I just HAD IT.

My mom said she and my dad would come down to get the carseat back in. Keep in mind this is a three-hour round trip drive, so I knew they would be resentful about it. This is how they work: they do things for me, but they resent it and make me pay through being cold or critical towards me or complaining about things.

When we went back to our apartment after cleaning the car to the best of my ability, my son just had one tantrum after another. He threw things at me several times. He had a huge sliver in his finger, and when I tried to look at it and take it out with tweezers, he hit me in the face. We had time out after time out, as things spun out of control.

When my parents arrived, my mom immediately doted on my son like he was a poor victim and basically ignored me like I was some cruel, terrible person. There was no warmth or concern from her at all. I asked her if she could get him in bed and read him some stories, since it was 9pm, but she said, "No, we're not doing it that way. Give me your keys. I am going downstairs, and your dad and I will do it." I said I wanted to help my dad since it was my carseat and I wanted to see if there was any way I could've installed it myself, like something I missed that would've made it possible to do alone. (Nope. It definitely needed two people.) My mom said no. I said, in a calm voice, "I am an adult, and I'd like to be able to make my own decisions about this." She said, in a disgusted tone, "Well, you weren't acting like an adult a while ago. You were completely out of control." Thanks for the support, mom. They always act like my reactions to my son are so wrong and that he is just a poor little thing that has an awful mom. (Of course they beat me, or "spanked," as they like to call it, but I was an awful child, so that was ok, according to them. Ironically, they will say that beating me was wrong, but then suggest that if I just spanked my son I wouldn't have these problems. They are a big mass of contradictions.)

I KNOW that not breaking down and sobbing and losing it would be preferable. I know that keeping my cool would be better. I know it's not good for my son to see me practically hysterical. It's just that this is a CONSTANT thing, a daily battle, except for a few days here and there that are good, or even wonderful at times.

I know that many of you reading this might just think "Why don't you medicate him then? He's obviously driving you crazy." I don't think medication is some magical pill that will solve everything. The medication they recommended is Risperdal, and the doctor said it would reduce his aggression, but it wouldn't help with the defiance or other behavioral issues. Though he still does act out aggressively at times, it's on the decline. At this point, it's more the screaming, refusal to listen, tantrums, and disobeying direct requests and rules that is the main problem. I am not sure medication would help with that. I also fear what kind of side effects medication could have, and, to be honest, I feel like him being on medication is a failure on my part. I know that when I am the "perfect parent"--patient, calm, loving, strong, creative in my approach, unable to be swayed when disciplining, energetic, interactive--that he does pretty well. This doesn't work 100% of the time, but maybe 50-60% of the time. But I just get so worn down by his behavior and my work schedule and lack of sleep that I just can't keep it up.

We also continue to have problems with him being unkind to the cat. Sometimes it's just him picking her up constantly and not letting her go when she wants down. Sometimes it's flat out meanness to the cat, intentionally hurting her or being mean to her (chasing her, screaming at her). Of course this is NOT ok with me.

This is what happened yesterday. My son asked to go swimming. It was my day off, so this is something we often do--go swimming, then go out for pizza. I was in the shower getting ready for us to go, and when I came out, he was really angry and not acting right with the cat. He doesn't like her to go into the bedroom because she hides under the bed, which she does because she's trying to get away from him. I want him to allow her to go into the bedroom if she wants because I think she needs that chance to escape, so we had a battle about that that ended with him having time outs. Finally I saw that he had a cat scratch on his face, and it eventually came out that he was angry at her because she scratched him, and that she had scratched him because he was holding her and wouldn't let her go. He said he doesn't want her anymore. He also shoved her roughly into the bathtub on Monday. There was no water in it, but he did that to be mean to her because he didn't want her in the bathroom when he was going potty.

It's just always one thing after another with him. I don't want to get rid of our cat, but neither do I want her to get hurt. Everything is so overwhelming my head just spins.

I have been reading the book Transforming the Difficult Child that was recommended to me, and I am trying to implement the suggestions there. I also checked into the Sensory Processing Disorder that someone else mentioned, and he definitely has some of those symptoms (more wanting to be over-stimulated than under-stimulated), but I don't know how many he'd need to be considered significant.

I go to see his therapist tomorrow. I am just completely burned out.

Oh, he's also been having nightmares almost every night, screaming and completely terrified. Last night he didn't want to go to sleep because he was so afraid of the nightmares he might have. They mainly have to do with "bad guys" getting us, which is no surprise after we went through the attempted break-in in May.

Well, I should end here. Not sure if anyone has any suggestions, but I do appreciate the support. Things are so up and down with him. It scares me because I've been wanting to date (after being single for five years), and I just think who would want to put up with this? I don't even want to put up with this behavior, and I am his mom and love him. I feel like I can't take it anymore, but what are my options? There is no option other than to just keep going and trying to survive.

I am thinking about looking into a naturopath or acupuncture/acupressure and Chinese medicine. I really want to feel like I've explored ALL avenues.

Thanks for reading. I don't really believe in this (not much of a religious sort), but pray for me, or whatever your equivalent of that is!!!! I need all the help I can get. I feel like I am drowning here. I am just so burned out that I can't even be the kind of parent I want to be anymore. I am running on empty.

~Bisou
post #131 of 494
Oh, mama. to you and your DS.

My reaction on reading your post is this. On the gymnastics thing-- if he didn't want to go, and had never been and enjoyed it (ie, participated cheerfully) I would have just let it go when he started telling you loudly and clearly that he didn't want to go. And while I get why you linked dinner out with gymnastics, that just isn't a hill I would have been prepared to die on. I think his desire to eat and play at the mall was understandable and not really unreasonable, but that's just my opinion.

I'm so sorry about the peeing. And I can totally get your frustration and anger with the cleaning the carseat and getting it reinstalled. I don't have much advice on that at all. Just lots of sympathy.

On the cat issue-- your cat deserves to be safe. If your son really, really can't leave her alone, you need to find a new home for her. It sounds like this isn't a time in his life where he's able to control his impulses around her.

I wish I had a magic solution for you. You have my sympathy and my respect for being such an amazing mom throughout these difficult situations.

Much love and light to you.
post #132 of 494
I am PMing you.
post #133 of 494
Mama,

I understand how hard it is to admit your child has mental health issues, especially Bipolar but please try the Risperdal, it will effect his behaviors across the board and not just the aggression, you will see changes pretty much right away, were talking in a day or 2. It doesn't have to be for life but for now you need to get a handle on the behavior and the Risperdal will do that. I've been there, so have many mama's here advising you and once you start the meds you will wonder why the didn't I start these years ago!? Its just night and day between medicated and unmedicated BP childen. You can be the best parent in the world but it doesn't really matter because meds are the only thing that are going to help at this point if nothing else to allow you to reset some behavior patterns ingrained in both of you at this point I'm betting. Believe me, I KNOW how scary meds are to think about. I resisted for 8 years and regret it, so much damage was done and it wasn't until I was near suicidal from the constant stress of raising a child straight from hell that I accepted that we needed the meds the Dr's had been tying to explain we needed for a couple years at that point. The meds allowed us to get a handle on things and start putting our family back together. We spent about 6 months on the Risperdal and added a mood stabilizer too along the way but it gave us time to chill out and regroup and then we were able to start exploring alternatives again. Now we found some alternative therapies that work but we still have the mood stabilizer on board but nothing is like the hell of a year ago thanks to meds.
post #134 of 494
Thread Starter 
Hi Marylizah:

First of all, thanks for reading my book of a post and for replying.

I've spent a lot of time thinking today, talking with a therapist friend on the phone, and also had a visit with my son's therapist today (without him), and I totally agree with you about the gymnastics/dinner thing.

At the time, I had decided to take us out to dinner since we didn't have time to go home, but I figured since we weren't going to gymnastics that we should just go home to eat, and when he exploded into this huge tantrum, I didn't feel like it was right to then reward his tantrum, in a sense, by taking him to do what he wanted (dinner and playing at the mall), which was why he was tantruming in the first place. My therapist friend said that I could have given him a time out for tantruming, then take him to dinner and to play, like he wanted. I am not sure how I feel about that. I sort of like the idea, but also worry that then a tantrum still becomes a route by which he can get what he wants ("first, have a tantrum, then have a time out, then I get to do what I want!"). If this happened again, hopefully I could divert him away from having the tantrum before it happened so it wouldn't be an issue.

I do think that trying to push him into gymnastics was the wrong thing. He had been excited about it, and I knew he'd be really good at it and enjoy it once he got into it, but pushing him to try it wasn't a good move on my part. My therapist friend recommended that I focus on only making him to the things he HAS to do--like not hit/hurt me, not hurt the cat, not break things, not scream, go to daycare when I have to go to work--and everything else is negotiable. My son's therapist said that the only things I should discipline him for are actions that hurt himself or others or destroy property, though she has also included extreme tantrums as well. It definitely was a problem to have him screaming in the car like that last night, as I could hardly drive safely.

I think that my friend is right that I do need to focus on getting him to be successful at the things that are ESSENTIAL and really matter and trying to infuse our lives with as much joy as possible (dinner out and playing at the mall) the rest of the time.

It's so &#@!!!-ing hard!!!!!!!!!! I knew single parenting would be tough at times (exhausting, frustrating, lonely), but I never thought it would be THIS hard. I guess that's because I don't have a typical child.

I also agree with you about the cat. It's hard to know exactly when it crosses the line into the place where the cat needs to go. So far he has pulled her tail, pushed her into an empty bathtub, and picked her up and refused to put her down when she wanted down. He also bothers her a lot. I know a lot of his frustration is that she doesn't do what he wants her to do. I definitely don't want her to get hurt, but it's hard to know when enough is enough.

I feel so confused about what's the RIGHT thing to do so often with my son. Last night it was like I was having a million different arguments with myself in my own head. I also have a hard time transitioning out of these fights with him, like do I just act all nice like nothing ever happened? I feel so deficient as a parent, so incapable at times. I had pretty awful parenting as a child, so I see a lot of that coming out, which I HATE. Of course I hated being treated that way as a child, so when I hear some of the things coming out of my mouth, I think "What is WRONG with you? Why are you saying that?" So inside my mind during these conflicts is a big mess of confusion about what's right to do, sadness and anger about my situation and being alone, and self-criticism and even hatred towards myself for some of my reactions to his off-the-charts behavior.

I am trying to implement the suggestions from Transforming the Difficult Child, and I think it might work. I am just SO exhausted that it's hard to make all the changes that need to be made.

Thanks again for your reply!



Quote:
Originally Posted by Marylizah View Post
Oh, mama. to you and your DS.

My reaction on reading your post is this. On the gymnastics thing-- if he didn't want to go, and had never been and enjoyed it (ie, participated cheerfully) I would have just let it go when he started telling you loudly and clearly that he didn't want to go. And while I get why you linked dinner out with gymnastics, that just isn't a hill I would have been prepared to die on. I think his desire to eat and play at the mall was understandable and not really unreasonable, but that's just my opinion.

I'm so sorry about the peeing. And I can totally get your frustration and anger with the cleaning the carseat and getting it reinstalled. I don't have much advice on that at all. Just lots of sympathy.

On the cat issue-- your cat deserves to be safe. If your son really, really can't leave her alone, you need to find a new home for her. It sounds like this isn't a time in his life where he's able to control his impulses around her.

I wish I had a magic solution for you. You have my sympathy and my respect for being such an amazing mom throughout these difficult situations.

Much love and light to you.
post #135 of 494
Thread Starter 

Questions for Jalilah

Hi Jalilah:

I have a few more questions for you about SPD. I did ask my son's therapist about this today, and we did a checklist that she said she'd then review and talk to me about. She definitely didn't rule it out. Here are my questions. If you'd prefer to PM me, that would be ok too.

1) If you don't mind explaining more, can you tell me what sorts of symptoms your son has?

2) Is SPD considered on the autism spectrum, or is this something different?

3) What kinds of treatments do they do with your children? Is there anything I could try with him at home that might work?

4) What does life look like with your son? What do you try to do or to avoid? How do you deal with the aggression?

In reading a little about it and looking at some of the symptoms, my son fits a few things, but not others at all. He's very verbal (advanced in verbal skills) and has excellent motor skills. He does seem to like intense impact (wrestling, hitting things, being roughhoused with), he has recently started rubbing his hands and back against things a lot (like walls, tables, bathroom stalls--ick!) even when I ask him not to, he also likes to tap or hit tabletops, and often makes irritating noises. He is very overwhelmed by large groups of people, especially kids, and by new environments. However, he is a decent communicator and does interact with people well once he's used to them. He is ok with being touched by me and his grandparents but gets immediately furious if another child touches him. He has an extremely difficult time with doctor's exams and at the dentist; he will scream, cry, and even vomit because he gets himself so upset. He HATES having his teeth brushed, so I had to literally hold him down or sit on him (not hurting him, of course) for two years to brush his teeth. He got a cavity and was having signs of further tooth decay, so I had no choice. I had to brush his teeth. He has no sensitivities about clothes or foods, however.

I know you're not a medical expert, but having children with SPD, how does this sound to you?

After thinking about this, some of this may be a sensory issue, or it could just be a behavioral or mental health issue. I'm not an expert either. I do want to make sure that I have figured out what's really going on, as much as I can, before I start medicating him, if I even go that route.

Thanks so much for your reply, and my best to you and your children. Any parent dealing with children with mental or physical health issues deserves some kind of wonderful reward (a few million dollars? an all-expense paid trip to a resort? not sure exactly what the prize could be!), in my opinion!


Quote:
Originally Posted by jalilah View Post
Dear Bisou,
I just found this thread and have tears in my eyes.
I can tell you are a wonderful and none of this is your fault.
I have not read all the replies so sorry if this has been brought up already, but it seems your son could have Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). If this is the case, meds will not really help. He needs to see an Occupational Therapist ASAP. Unfortunately many child psychologists and doctors do not know anything about Sensory Processing Disorder. The good thing is your son is young so if he starts Occupational Therapy soon, he can be greatly helped and there are lots of things you can do for him.
Here is some information about SPD http://www.spdfoundation.net/aboutspd.html#lookslike

A good book is The Out of Sync Child
http://www.out-of-sync-child.com/

And the sensory Sensitive Child
http://www.sensorysensitivechild.com/index2.html

I agree with others who suggested possible Food Allergies. Allergies can also attribute to poor sensory processing and in your son’s case it sounds like his is overly sensitive hence his strong reactions. I am not an
Occupational Therapist but my son did have SPD so I did a lot of research on it.
Good Luck Mama, my heart goes out to you.
post #136 of 494
Thread Starter 
Hi Satori:

If you don't mind, can you tell me a little bit about what your son was like as a baby and a young child--up to my son's age, which is four?

BPD has been suggested, but no one is giving me any clear "We think your son probably has X" at this point, even though I've asked. I know they sometimes don't diagnose kids this young.

If you'd prefer to PM me, that would be ok too. I am just wondering if my son has many similar behaviors to what your son had at this age, though I know every child is different.

Another poster suggested Sensory Processing Disorder, so I am looking into that as well.

Thanks for your reply and for reading my posts. It does really mean a lot to me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Satori View Post
Mama,

I understand how hard it is to admit your child has mental health issues, especially Bipolar but please try the Risperdal, it will effect his behaviors across the board and not just the aggression, you will see changes pretty much right away, were talking in a day or 2. It doesn't have to be for life but for now you need to get a handle on the behavior and the Risperdal will do that. I've been there, so have many mama's here advising you and once you start the meds you will wonder why the didn't I start these years ago!? Its just night and day between medicated and unmedicated BP childen. You can be the best parent in the world but it doesn't really matter because meds are the only thing that are going to help at this point if nothing else to allow you to reset some behavior patterns ingrained in both of you at this point I'm betting. Believe me, I KNOW how scary meds are to think about. I resisted for 8 years and regret it, so much damage was done and it wasn't until I was near suicidal from the constant stress of raising a child straight from hell that I accepted that we needed the meds the Dr's had been tying to explain we needed for a couple years at that point. The meds allowed us to get a handle on things and start putting our family back together. We spent about 6 months on the Risperdal and added a mood stabilizer too along the way but it gave us time to chill out and regroup and then we were able to start exploring alternatives again. Now we found some alternative therapies that work but we still have the mood stabilizer on board but nothing is like the hell of a year ago thanks to meds.
post #137 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bisou View Post
Hi Satori:

If you don't mind, can you tell me a little bit about what your son was like as a baby and a young child--up to my son's age, which is four?

BPD has been suggested, but no one is giving me any clear "We think your son probably has X" at this point, even though I've asked. I know they sometimes don't diagnose kids this young.

If you'd prefer to PM me, that would be ok too. I am just wondering if my son has many similar behaviors to what your son had at this age, though I know every child is different.

Another poster suggested Sensory Processing Disorder, so I am looking into that as well.

Thanks for your reply and for reading my posts. It does really mean a lot to me.


I highly recommend this book, page after page you will see your son in here.
post #138 of 494
I haven't read the whole thread, but I was curious what kind of diet you feed your son? Do you eat out a lot? Does he eat a lot of fruit? Sugar? Grains? Some kids are so sensitive to foods that it really does affect their behavior. My son is crazy sensitive to corn syrup (and corn in general). He goes from being mostly rational to being almost impossible. He won't look at us and can't sit still. He has a hard time controlling his own behavior. He gets that way when tired and hungry too....and four was his worst age (just to give you a little hope...5 was better, and 6 is awesome so far!). You may want to make sure he's fed only whole foods with an emphasis on protein and fat. I know that sounds contrary to conventional wisdom, but low fat diets are linked with depression and irritable behaviors. We all know how much better we feel after we eat protein. Try to reserve sugar only for special occasions.

Also, have you ever tried just not doing time outs? It seems he really, really feels he needs some control, and time outs really don't foster those kinds of feelings, you know? I know talking and asking doesn't work, but neither do time outs. If they did, we wouldn't have to keep doing them over and over. Find a way to get through it so you can make the tantrum a teaching moment when he's done. Try going into another room if you have to, or try empathizing with him, "You had a rough day." "You are really mad at me." Maybe try being silly if it doesn't offend him. Just do what it takes to not get in a power struggle. Be as gentle as possible, but do not allow the cat to be abused, obviously. Your son needs to have some control in his life, so find ways to give it to him. Give him choices, let him help you cook (if possible), let him feed the cat...etc.

Most of all . I've only been through a tiny bit of what you're going through. Hang in there! I'm hoping your DS can outgrow that stage as mine did.
post #139 of 494
Wow, I just read this whole thread and am in awe of you mama!!!! I'm just going to describe my experiences and then throw in my 2 cents. Hopefully something in there might help out.
Both of my kids are on the autism spectrum, DS 1 has Aspergers and DS 2 has autism. Both can be aggressive but DS 1 had major issues with aggression and tantruming when he was younger and still has issues with aggression with me and his brother. Although DS 1 wasn't as explosive as your DS, I found myself nodding my head a bit and saying "mmm hmm, yup, DS 1 did that too". Right down to injuring the family cat.
I too was resistant to medication for a really, really, really long time. It's been so long now that I can't really remember what the final straw was, but I finally consented to a trial of an anti-depressant ( Wellbutrin I think?) and it was a goddessend for quite some time. DS 1 has some pretty major medical problems that have made it really hard for him to stay on meds. I know that sounds strange but he can do ok on a med for a while and then suddenly start puking because of it. His body develops a resistance or allergy? to it after awhile. We still haven't figured out what is going on with him medically. the one thing I did want to relay to you is that after I tried my son on the meds, he told me that for the first time he felt relatively "normal" and wished we had tried them sooner. Struggling to maintain was such a toll on him, and for once he could finally relax and know that there wasn't going to be a huge amount of effort and strain to be able to interact inappropriately with others. You are right in that meds are not a magic panacea. They aren't suddenly going to "fix" things. But what they can do is eliminate ONE piece of the pie that is this whole entire drama that causes problems for your son. By eliminating that one piece of the pie, you and he both might find that other solutions such as art therapy, Feingold diet, etc....will be more successful.
I'm also a Special Education teacher. One thing that you need to keep in mind is what you plan on doing in regards to school. While he has been able to keep it together for the most part during daycare, I suspect school is going to be another ball park. School is stressful. He will have kids in his space, teacher in his space, making demands of him all day long. Will he be able to cope with that? If you plan on having him attend a school, you really need to be in close contact with their Special Ed department prior to registration, explaining what has been going on. The district my DS 2 attends has "choices" classrooms that focus on kids with behavioral needs and the classrooms are very positive and the kids do quite well there.
As far as your parents go, I have a set of toxic parents too. They suck. Is there anyway you can start slowly reducing your reliance on them? I know that we have never met but I wouldn't mind PMing you with my cellie number if you ever needed someone to vent to. My kids are certainly no angels and you'll get no shock or judgement from me. My guess is there are probably more than a few mamas here who would be willing to do the same. I think the more you can reduce their involvement in your life, the easier it will eventually become for you. (and the next time you need help with the car seat, pop DS in a seat belt in the back and drive to your closest police or fire station. I bet you anything you can get some hot, hunky, beefcake dude in a uniform to help you out and you can admire the eye candy while he does the work...well ok, the eye candy is not a for sure thing but I bet it put a smile on your face ). ((((((((((HUGE HUGS))))))) to you and your DS.
post #140 of 494
Thread Starter 
Hi Karlin:

I haven't yet looked into the Feingold diet, which has been recommended to me, but I am planning to do so. I've been in a state of constant research about all this lately!

We are vegetarian and eat an 80-90% organic diet. I avoid anything with high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, or other artificial additives. We do eat out a few times a week though, but I haven't noticed any particular behavioral changes around certain foods.

I think we probably do eat too many refined carbs, like pasta and pizza. I always buy whole wheat/whole grain breads, but if we go out for pizza, obviously that's not whole wheat.

Evaluating his diet is on my to-do list for sure.

Thanks for the reply!


Quote:
Originally Posted by karlin View Post
I haven't read the whole thread, but I was curious what kind of diet you feed your son? Do you eat out a lot? Does he eat a lot of fruit? Sugar? Grains? Some kids are so sensitive to foods that it really does affect their behavior. My son is crazy sensitive to corn syrup (and corn in general). He goes from being mostly rational to being almost impossible. He won't look at us and can't sit still. He has a hard time controlling his own behavior. He gets that way when tired and hungry too....and four was his worst age (just to give you a little hope...5 was better, and 6 is awesome so far!). You may want to make sure he's fed only whole foods with an emphasis on protein and fat. I know that sounds contrary to conventional wisdom, but low fat diets are linked with depression and irritable behaviors. We all know how much better we feel after we eat protein. Try to reserve sugar only for special occasions.

Also, have you ever tried just not doing time outs? It seems he really, really feels he needs some control, and time outs really don't foster those kinds of feelings, you know? I know talking and asking doesn't work, but neither do time outs. If they did, we wouldn't have to keep doing them over and over. Find a way to get through it so you can make the tantrum a teaching moment when he's done. Try going into another room if you have to, or try empathizing with him, "You had a rough day." "You are really mad at me." Maybe try being silly if it doesn't offend him. Just do what it takes to not get in a power struggle. Be as gentle as possible, but do not allow the cat to be abused, obviously. Your son needs to have some control in his life, so find ways to give it to him. Give him choices, let him help you cook (if possible), let him feed the cat...etc.

Most of all . I've only been through a tiny bit of what you're going through. Hang in there! I'm hoping your DS can outgrow that stage as mine did.
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