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Help! Severe Aggressive/Defiant Behavior! - Page 5

post #81 of 494
It does sound as though a child psychiatrist would be a better bet. The behavior specialist just sounds strange.

Also if the child psych recommends medication, ask him or her to "talk you through the risks, benefits and alternatives." IME most reasonable doctors LOVE that phrasing and will give clear answers to it. If he or she doesn't seem to like the question, you may want to try for a third opinion; but most doctors I've known, give good answers if you phrase it that way.

It may end up that your DS will have to take some medications with unpleasant side effects; the goal isn't zero side effects, because such a medication has never been invented, but you want side effects that are not worse than the condition the medication is for.

ETA: if it does turn out to be bipolar, adults have a lot more medical options for that than children do. So at least you'll know that you just have to hang on until he's old enough to expand his range of choices.
post #82 of 494
i didnt read all of the responses, but from your story i hightly recommend counseling for your son and you. i know you tried a psychologist, but what about a licensed professional counselor (lpc), especially someone trained in nondirective play therapy (it is amazing!) or possibly even sand tray therapy though he could be young for that.

just want you to know i'm thinking about you...it sounds like a really tough situation and you're so brave for continuing to lovingly care for your son.

btw, risperdal...it's mostly used off-label, meaning not what it was made for (psychosis)--especially in children. it has helped some kids, but if u go that route, start with a really low dose. might seem obvious, but sometimes drs do their own things.
post #83 of 494
Thread Starter 
Hi Firelilly:

My son's psychologist does do nondirective play therapy with him. When we go into her office, that's all he does is play. However, I also have appointments with her to discuss parenting strategies without my son present.

I am also trying to get counseling for myself, but although my medical benefits allow me visits once per week, Kaiser (my medical plan provider) only allows me visits every 3-4 weeks, which is certainly not enough to be helpful. I have made many calls and requests to receive regular counseling, especially since I am having quite a bit of PTSD after my son and I went through the attempted break in while we were there and in complete terror for more than 30 minutes, which is how long it took police to arrive.

I think my son's therapist is good, but I definitely need better support.

Quote:
Originally Posted by firelillylight View Post
i didnt read all of the responses, but from your story i hightly recommend counseling for your son and you. i know you tried a psychologist, but what about a licensed professional counselor (lpc), especially someone trained in nondirective play therapy (it is amazing!) or possibly even sand tray therapy though he could be young for that.

just want you to know i'm thinking about you...it sounds like a really tough situation and you're so brave for continuing to lovingly care for your son.

btw, risperdal...it's mostly used off-label, meaning not what it was made for (psychosis)--especially in children. it has helped some kids, but if u go that route, start with a really low dose. might seem obvious, but sometimes drs do their own things.
post #84 of 494
Just wanted to let you know I was thinking of you and your little guy. , hope you both have found some peace.
post #85 of 494
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone:

Things are much better and have calmed down quite a bit, but we have had this pattern in the past. Whenever a stressful situation hits (and we've had MAJOR ones), his behavior goes off the charts. I think he is feeling more secure right now and is thus being more cooperative and less angry.

I did get the book several of you recommended by Glasser (Transforming the Difficult Child) and I am starting to work on some of the principles. I am starting to think that some of his behavior might have just been an extreme attempt to get my attention. As a single mom working two full time jobs, I am always SO exhausted. On the days when I don't work, I often spend several hours in the morning lying on the couch while he plays or snuggles with me, but I am definitely not as present as I could be. On work mornings, he again gets little attention because I am rushing around showering, getting his lunch and clothes ready, and doing all the things I need to do to get us out of the house. Mornings are when he is most likely to act out, so I've been trying to give him as much attention as possible, even just in little ways. I have FOUGHT to bring back my patience, which I had lost for several weeks. I am making a concerted effort to compliment him for every positive act that he does.

Yesterday we went to a children's play area that has a large indoor sand box, and he did such a great job playing and sharing with the other kids, even working collaboratively with them on projects and laughing and joking together! He even held in his (often explosive) temper when one child grabbed something out of his hand and took it. In the past, he would've gone to that child and grabbed it back or even hit the child. Instead, he used his words and talked to the child, me, or the child's parent in these instances to get some help with the situation. I was so proud of him! I've seen other similar instances lately where he has even been hurt by another child (hit, pushed down by another child without any cause) and again, in the past he would've gone and hit that child twice as hard, but instead he is using his words and coming to me for comfort.

Another book that I've had on my shelf and LOVE is "Playful Parenting." I've read it before when he was much younger, and I think it's more helpful for children my son's age (4) and older when they are more verbally communicative. He suggests making things fun or turning resistance around by making something a game. This doesn't mean you make it a game when your child punches you in the face; bad behavior still needs consequences. But if your child is not cooperating with picking up toys or getting dressed, he gives ideas like making it a race. Some parents do this almost instinctively. Racing works for my son almost every time! I say, "I am going to pick up the toys faster than you! I am going to beat you!" So I end up picking up a few toys, and he will do the rest. When he has recently gotten into his angry mode, we've been calling that "Mr Crabby Man." I will say, "Oh no! Mr Crabby Man is here! Not again!" He finds this funny. Of course if he took this as mocking or humiliation (something my parents did to me!), I would not do that. It only works because he thinks it's funny. I will say things like, "Ok, don't smile or laugh. You are not allowed, Mr Crabby Man! I want to see that grumpy face." Of course he immediately can't help but laugh. Eventually he will say, "Ok! Mr Crabby is gone!"

The only thing about this is that it takes SOOOOO much energy and creativity and sometimes I just want to say, "Get your damn shoes on NOW! I am not telling you again!" Of course I have tried that (without the "damn"), and it hasn't worked so well. We both end up angry and in conflict. So, I have to find the way to get more energy and have more patience, which I have been working on.

If anyone has tried Glasser's book, did you do the reward system he suggests? It seems VERY complicated for a younger child (though I think it'd work great for an older child). Though he's bright, I don't think my son could totally understand the point system or understand that he'd have to get (for example) 200 points in order to earn a trip to the zoo, or that he couldn't redeem his points for a trip to the zoo on, say, a school and work day. We were doing a sticker chart (something he always HATED in the past), but I haven't been as consistent with it as I should be. There are so many components to keeping our daily lives just moving along. I am mom, homemaker, teacher, laundress, cook, maid, bill payer, etc. Anything that needs doing, I have to do. I am sure other single moms (current or former) understand how hard this is!

The other thing I didn't agree with is that Glasser suggests removing every priviledge except for food, shelter, sleep, and water (basically). The child then has to earn all other priviledges. I understand why he suggests this, because in order for the child to be motivated, you need to include most things as earned priviledges and not rights. However, the one thing I didn't agree with at all was outside time and exercise. On his reward list, he included things like "30 minute bicycle ride." To me, exercise and outdoor time are ESSENTIAL for all kids, but especially for "challenging" children with lots of energy (and sometimes anger and aggression). If my son doesn't get several hours of outside time or active play time per day, he is not fun to be around. I think that this is essential for both a child's physical and mental health. What if a child never chose bike time as his reward time and instead only chose TV or video game time? I will keep exercise, bike time, playground time, and other active things as part of my son's regular expected program. To me, exercise is as essential for him as food, water, and sleep.

Anyway, that's our update. I am optimistic that this is a permanent change for the future, but I also know that it might not be. In the meantime, I will just work on becoming more and more patient and creative in avoiding meltdowns (without being a pushover!) and model the behavior that I want him to have. I am definitely proud of how we are doing. Thanks for the encouragement from everyone!
post #86 of 494
That is so wonderful to see! I actually find myself thinking about you and your son alot. How stong you are to keep fighting for your son and his innocense. Keep pushin mama. You are an inspiration to us all!
post #87 of 494
I really like this response. I too, have dealt with some agressiveness in my 3.5 yr-old. Sometimes, she is passive-agressive or totally ignores me and laughs at me if I try to address or talk to her about what is going on. I forget to set up structure though and that is very important. Even chaotic structure is structure and that in itself is gentle discipline.

I recently went through a tough time trying to talk with her about something that happened while at grandma's house with my two sisters and my neice who is 1 yr old. My daughter was playing with a push toy and my neice came over and sat on it to ride it. My daughter got upset and eventually started to push the toy viguourously with my neice on it so my sister took the toy away from both of them. Mind you, my sister did tell my daughter in a nice voice to be nice and gentle and careful. My sister said that my daughter ignored her, which is typical of her as I have seen her do this when someone addresses her specifically or corrects her, she even ignores me.

I guess my sisters saw my daughter destroying her dress as though she has pent up anger. One of my sisters took her in the room and asked her in a very nice uppety way why she was so upset and my sister said she calmed down immediately while also rolling all over the floor, (again, moving her body a lot). When they got home, I tried to talk to her about it, she said, "I can't talk", although she did validate that she was sad that the toy had been taken from her when she was originally playing with it first. I tried to explain to her that my neice is a baby and we need to be gentle with her but it took an hour of crying, hitting me, kicking me, yelling at me, until she finally broke down and relaxed into my arms and finally started to respond to me. I think, should I have pressed it? Should I have left her alone when she asked me to leave the room? Should I have ignored it? Would she remember it if I came to her at a later time to talk about it? I asked if we could talk about it later instead and of course she ignored me so instead, I pressed it and told her we needed to stay in the room until we are both calm and we can talk about what happened. I don't if this is right or not, it doesn't feel completely right but our situation isn't the best either so we have many stresses that complicate things.

She sometimes likes to play with it, like chase, if I get closer to her to try and get her to listen, she laughs and runs like we are playing a game and it's sooo difficult to get her to actually listen to me. She changes the subject, plays, and sometimes will finally respond by saying, "oh" or "ok". I'm not sure what to think at this point. Am I teaching her to just apease me by saying those things? I try to identify what feelings she is going through and she doesn't want anything to do with it.

In the past, when I have tried to use creative play, it seems to work much better. Like moving and playing helps her express better. She can't sit still and talk, no way! She has to be moving and doing something, which sometime makes me think she is ignoring me or the situation. She loves dance, paint, clay, drawing, music, hula hoops, digging in the dirt, etc.

If I were to set up art stations like you suggest, the hard part is keeping the house clean and do I make her clean up one station before she can move to the next? Most mothers who have grown children say the one mistake they made is not making the kids clean up after themselves whether they make them or are creative in doing it with them. The moms usually say that they just cleaned up after them and then when they got older, they were slobs.

A little history about me, we are attachment parenters for the most part but have been through a separation, a ton of moves, domestic violence from the father and then me reacting to that because I'm triggered since I had abuse in my childhood. Although both her father and I have similar parenting views and compassion for our daughter and want her to have a better life than we had growing up, we can't seem to correct things within ourselves to make that happen. I have realized that I am happiest when with her father and so is our daughter. The only thing, it's only a matter of time before he blows up. We are not together now but are working on co-parenting and are going to do couseling together with the focus being on ourselves individually and on parenting our daughter.

There is a lot of healing to do and if you are still triggered from your childhood, that will affect your parenting and your relationship with your youngen so healing yourself is a must.

Does anyone have any advice for my situation too? I'm afraid that if I don't do something now, I will end up ruining her life? I will visit that website recommended above and check out that book. Those sound like great starts.

Thank you for sharing your story with us and thank you to everyone who has already replied. It has been a tearing fearful, hopeful reading for me. I hope everything goes well for you in the future.

P.S. Have you heard of the Explosive Child? Google it. It may help you.
post #88 of 494
I just posted a response but meant to say that I really like the response from "TheLightbearer". Very helpful for me!
post #89 of 494
Hey, so glad to hear that things are better.

I do a modified chart with my 5 year old. I have the list of behaviors which I modified to language that works better for us. The top section includes behaviors that will get an automatic short (and I do mean short!) time out like aggression. I do a flat 10 points for each category.

He really enjoys this process and it gives a common language for behaviors.

I started out charging points for stuff but didn't like it that well. We choose a specific thing now--like a fun activity that he doesn't get to do all the time--or something he wants (currently a stapler!) and he earns points for that activity or thing.

It is a heck of a lot of work to stay on top of everything that needs to happen.
post #90 of 494
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbie64g View Post
That is so wonderful to see! I actually find myself thinking about you and your son alot. How stong you are to keep fighting for your son and his innocense. Keep pushin mama. You are an inspiration to us all!
Thanks Barbie! It's odd to think that a stranger we've never met is thinking about us, worrying about us, and hoping for the best, but it's also immensely comforting! To think that someone we've never met cares about us shows that wonderful human connection we can have. Having had some less than pleasant experiences (understatement!!!) with humans lately (namely a stranger deciding it would be fun to break into my house, rape me, and cut me up with a knife, possibly also assaulting my baby as well), I definitely need to renew my faith in humanity, and this sort of thing does that for me, so THANKS.
post #91 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bisou View Post
Thanks Barbie! It's odd to think that a stranger we've never met is thinking about us, worrying about us, and hoping for the best, but it's also immensely comforting! To think that someone we've never met cares about us shows that wonderful human connection we can have. Having had some less than pleasant experiences (understatement!!!) with humans lately (namely a stranger deciding it would be fun to break into my house, rape me, and cut me up with a knife, possibly also assaulting my baby as well), I definitely need to renew my faith in humanity, and this sort of thing does that for me, so THANKS.
Between that and your daycare experiences, espcially what your little guy went through when he was MY BABY's age, I would not have to wonder how your faith in humanity would be so shaky. PM me if you ever want to just talk with a friend.
post #92 of 494
subbing to come back later and read
post #93 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bisou View Post
To me, exercise and outdoor time are ESSENTIAL for all kids, but especially for "challenging" children with lots of energy (and sometimes anger and aggression). If my son doesn't get several hours of outside time or active play time per day, he is not fun to be around.
THIS!!! Only have a second, but I had to say that my DS had some of the problems that you listed, and when we moved to the country and started homeschooling him, he got 100X better. Tons of outdoor/free time

PM me if you want details. Gotta go
post #94 of 494
Thread Starter 
Hi Ammasmahma:

You said . . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by ammasmahma View Post
When they got home, I tried to talk to her about it, she said, "I can't talk", although she did validate that she was sad that the toy had been taken from her when she was originally playing with it first. I tried to explain to her that my neice is a baby and we need to be gentle with her but it took an hour of crying, hitting me, kicking me, yelling at me, until she finally broke down and relaxed into my arms and finally started to respond to me. I think, should I have pressed it? Should I have left her alone when she asked me to leave the room? Should I have ignored it? Would she remember it if I came to her at a later time to talk about it? I asked if we could talk about it later instead and of course she ignored me so instead, I pressed it and told her we needed to stay in the room until we are both calm and we can talk about what happened. I don't if this is right or not, it doesn't feel completely right but our situation isn't the best either so we have many stresses that complicate things.
I am sorry to hear that you, too, are having a tough time with your daughter. In reading the portion above, I noticed that you are questioning yourself, like I often do (and I assume many/most/all parents do from time to time)--"Was that the right way to handle this? Should I have done something else? Am I making this worse?"

One thing that I've tried with my son when he doesn't want to talk is using puppets. It's so weird because I know he knows the puppet is me talking, but he will talk to the puppet, but not me. I might say, in a silly voice using his zebra puppet, "Hi! You look really mad right now. What's wrong? Can I give you a hug?" and he will say, "My mom is being really rude and won't let me play. She says I have to go to bed, but I don't want to." And then my son and the zebra will have a little conversation. We also sometimes play where one puppet acts out the negative behavior (hitting, throwing something, etc) and the other puppet tells the misbehaving puppet that what he is doing is not ok. My son will often intervene and put the misbehaving puppet in time out. This seems to be very effective.

I don't mean to sound like the parenting expert here when I've been at my wits end until just lately. There have always been some things that work at SOME times, but not others. Lately, I've been pulling out ALL the patience that I can muster. I've also been using a lot from the book "Playful Parenting," which I love. It gives lots of ideas for defusing situations that are about to go from bad (crabby child) to worse (full blown tantruming child).



Quote:
Originally Posted by ammasmahma View Post
She sometimes likes to play with it, like chase, if I get closer to her to try and get her to listen, she laughs and runs like we are playing a game and it's sooo difficult to get her to actually listen to me. She changes the subject, plays, and sometimes will finally respond by saying, "oh" or "ok". I'm not sure what to think at this point. Am I teaching her to just apease me by saying those things? I try to identify what feelings she is going through and she doesn't want anything to do with it.
I think it's very hard for young kids to express their feelings. I think sometimes they just don't know what they are feeling, but they just feel not quite right. They can't always put words to it. I used to expect my son to express what he was feeling, but his therapist said that probably wasn't entirely possible, and I also realized this myself. I think with misbehavior, it's not necessarily important WHY they are doing it, but you have to set a boundary that the child CAN'T do this. The boundary my son's therapist said to set is behavior that hurts (or has the potential to hurt) the child, others, or destroys property. She said all other behaviors, like saying bad words, should just be ignored.

My son recently did a "run away/chase game" when I was trying to put him in time out. His therapist said that I should not chase him. I should just stop, and when he stops, I gently take him back to time out. I am not sure if you're using time out with your daughter or not, and I definitely don't think time outs are some magic thing or that they should be used with all children or in all situations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ammasmahma View Post
In the past, when I have tried to use creative play, it seems to work much better. Like moving and playing helps her express better. She can't sit still and talk, no way! She has to be moving and doing something, which sometime makes me think she is ignoring me or the situation. She loves dance, paint, clay, drawing, music, hula hoops, digging in the dirt, etc.

If I were to set up art stations like you suggest, the hard part is keeping the house clean and do I make her clean up one station before she can move to the next? Most mothers who have grown children say the one mistake they made is not making the kids clean up after themselves whether they make them or are creative in doing it with them. The moms usually say that they just cleaned up after them and then when they got older, they were slobs.
I think that having lots of positive "time in" with children is SO important, and I am realizing that this is probably a big part of what my son was missing out on. I am a single mom, I work two full time teaching jobs (I teach college-level English), and my son's dad is not involved, so I have very few breaks. I have very little support system. Because of this, I often didn't have the energy to give him the attention and play time that he needed. I've been trying to go to bed earlier (hard because I've been having insomnia due to the crime in May) and let things go (cleaning the house, etc) to play with him more. The more I follow the "Playful Parenting" approach, but also keep boundaries, the better we seem to both be doing.

This is not to say that we might have a massive relapse in another week or two or a month or two later, but for right now, I am optimistic and feel like medication is OFF THE TABLE. Hallelujah! (Of course this is no judgment of those parents who chose to use medication for their children; I am sure some children may really need medication. It's better for a child or parent to be medicated than for both people to feel like they can't stand each other, in my opinion. If I end up having to go that route, I will consider it.)

As for cleaning up, I think it's important that clean-up is always what you do when it's time for play to end. When it's time to go to bed, my son has to clean up all his toys and put everything away. I almost always make this a game by racing him, that I will pick up toys faster, or that I will be able to get ready for bed (wash my face, brush my teeth, etc) before he can clean up his toys. He seriously loves this! Anything that can make it a game is good. I don't think children should think of parents as personal servants, which is a trap I've fallen into myself. Now that my son is four, I am trying to always encourage him to do the things he can do for himself. Cleaning up is something I definitely enforce.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ammasmahma View Post
A little history about me, we are attachment parenters for the most part but have been through a separation, a ton of moves, domestic violence from the father and then me reacting to that because I'm triggered since I had abuse in my childhood. Although both her father and I have similar parenting views and compassion for our daughter and want her to have a better life than we had growing up, we can't seem to correct things within ourselves to make that happen. I have realized that I am happiest when with her father and so is our daughter. The only thing, it's only a matter of time before he blows up. We are not together now but are working on co-parenting and are going to do couseling together with the focus being on ourselves individually and on parenting our daughter.
I felt like I had to ask: are you saying your daughter's dad is physically abusive to you, but that you are happiest when you are with him? I know that many victims of domestic violence feel this way, and I worked as a domestic violence counselor (volunteer) for four years, so I do understand the psychology of this, but it is so unhealthy for you and your daughter if I have, in fact, read this correctly. I have also been in abusive relationships, but never with my child, and I will never be in a relationship with someone who would mistreat me in any way now that I have a child. I wish I had had this same respect for myself prior to becoming a mother, but I think this is one gift my son's unexpected arrival has given me.

If your child witnesses violence towards you, do you think that will affect the way she views you and her level of respect towards you? Don't you think this will also affect her future relationships and how she allows herself to be treated as an adult? Do you think that viewing violence will also cause her to act out? I don't mean to sound like I am judging you, because I know it can be extremely hard to leave an abusive relationship, especially when it means being a single mother, but if this is what she's witnessing, I think the first step to improving her behavior is removing yourself and her from this situation. If she is able to see her dad and have him not act out violently against her, then she needs to see him without you present, in my opinion. If he could get treatment/counseling and no longer be violent, not even verbally (screaming, yelling, etc), then maybe it would be an ok situation. Of course I am not in your shoes, and this is just my opinion based on my own personal experiences and training, but if I read your post correctly, and you really are currently experiencing domestic violence in the home with your child, this needs to stop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ammasmahma View Post
There is a lot of healing to do and if you are still triggered from your childhood, that will affect your parenting and your relationship with your youngen so healing yourself is a must.

Does anyone have any advice for my situation too? I'm afraid that if I don't do something now, I will end up ruining her life? I will visit that website recommended above and check out that book. Those sound like great starts.

Thank you for sharing your story with us and thank you to everyone who has already replied. It has been a tearing fearful, hopeful reading for me. I hope everything goes well for you in the future.

P.S. Have you heard of the Explosive Child? Google it. It may help you.
I hope everything goes well for you and your daughter in the future, as well. I hope that if you are currently in a domestic violence situation (something you seemed to mention so nonchalantly, as if it was a minor part of your life) that you can find the strength to get out of that situation. There are lots of resources for women in your situation. Though your abuser may have many wonderful qualities (my son's biological father was just like that---wonderful and loving one minute, and completely crazy the next) domestic violence is so damaging that it really outweighs everything else. If I read your post right and this is still happening, I hope you will get some counseling and help for yourself and your daughter.
post #95 of 494
Thread Starter 
Thanks Barbie. I just might take you up on that! Yes, we've had more than our share of crappy experiences with fellow human beings in the last two years. Seriously, when I think about it, I almost can't believe it. I am hoping that I will be coming up on a time period that is so WONDERFUL that I can't believe it! People always say, "You are so strong! You should be proud of yourself!" but I am tired of being strong and constantly fighting. I just want to have some smooth sailing for a while!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbie64g View Post
Between that and your daycare experiences, espcially what your little guy went through when he was MY BABY's age, I would not have to wonder how your faith in humanity would be so shaky. PM me if you ever want to just talk with a friend.
post #96 of 494
Bisou - I have read this whole thread and I just have to say you rock! Good for you for standing up for your baby! He is SO lucky to have you for his mother! Many, many hugs to you. You and your little guy have been in prayers. I hope things continue to go well for both of you - you both deserve lots of peace and happiness.
post #97 of 494
Would you consider homeopathy? Send me a PM, I'll help you as best I can.
post #98 of 494
First of all hugs to you- I had tears in my eyes reading your origanal post because I can relate in a way. My son has had behavioral problems since about the age of 2. He has been diagnosed with many things including bipolar. I too did not want to try meds- but eventually did due to pressure from the school and daycare. He started to develop tics and I was somehow (I don't remember how) led to chiropractic. I had him see a chiro and his tics almost instantly resolved- I decided to homeschool and took him off the meds and then made the mistake of also stopping the chiro. Last year at the age of 9 his behavior was WAY out of control and I ended up resorting to meds again- which actually seemed to make things worse and the tics came back! The tics made me remember the chiro and again as soon as we started with that the tics went away- I again discontinued the meds and am happy to say that after a about a year of chiro and 8 months of half day long outpatient therapy that I finally have a managable child- he still freaks out a bit more then other kids his age but its mostly only verbal and that is a huge improvement. All that to say that if it hasn't already been mentioned you may want to try to find a good chiropractor if you are still uncomfortable with the meds.
post #99 of 494
"The behavioral pediatrician said that it just shows he has awareness of what's socially appropriate and that after holding it in all day, he blows his fuse when he's with me because he feels safe doing so with me.. "

I agree with this.

With my background in working with ADD, ODD, and otherwise defiant kids, I would advise against putting a child this young on meds. I agree that he has been severly traumatized and sounds to be a sensitive kid who has been greatly affected by these instances. No amount of meds will help him overcome the feelings that he needs to deal with in order to move past the hurt and anger he feels. I have seen countless kids who have lived their life on meds from a young age and underneath continue to be the same angry and hurt small child they were the first time they were put on meds.
I think the play therapy is a great idea! Have you read Playful Parenting?
The time outs seem to not be working. IMO he seems to be acting out with you because he does not have the verbal ability to articulate the extreme anger and hurt he feels. He may feel fear every day at school that he can't trust anyone there to not hurt him like he has been hurt before. You are his safe place. I really like the time in idea. Let him know you love and accept him... that it is okay to be angry and hurt, and that you will help him through it. Once he is calmed down then you can talk with him about better ways to handle it. Is there a certain word he could say when he is starting to feel out of control? It could be a silly or serious word that would let you know he needs a time in. He may also really benefit from being wrestled with in a playful way. Where he can feel powerful by pushing you over and seeing you fall dramatically. Maybe you could get him a punching bag he can take his aggression out on? Does he have plenty of time and space to release his physical energy? Places he can jump, hit things (balls, punching bag), etc. Positive releases of physical energy. His need to get this stuff out of him will not go away. You may be able to suppress it with meds, but it will not cure his feelings. Many kids have told me that their meds only keep them from expressing the anger they still feel inside.
It sounds like you have a very sensitive, feeling, active little boy who feels betrayed and needs to know that he is loved and accepted unconditionally. That does not mean that you are okay with his violence, but he needs to know that you will not remove your love (which he may be feeling during time outs - which then causes him to just act out more cause he does not have the words to express the deep fears he has). You are his safe place. He feels safe letting it all out with you. Love him, hug him, let him know you will get through his pain together with him.
You are an amazing mother. You are searching out the best possible options for your baby, and obviously love him more than anything.
Hugs to you and your sweet baby boy.
post #100 of 494
I read your whole thread. I think you are amazing. I have a little guy who is a year older than yours. He has not had the trauma-inducing things you have talked about in his life, but I just wanted to say that so far, age 4 has been REALLY HARD for all my children. Not that it will be automatically better, but you said upthread somewhere that he didn't seem to be able to discuss all his feelings, and needed to act out physically. This was our experience too. We just didn't have the tantrums that you've described in length.

Hang in there.
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