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EXTREMELY Violent 4 year old...I'm out of ideas - Page 2

post #21 of 29

I don’t have a lot of experience in this (my son just turned 3), but I wanted to chime in as you obviously are dealing with so much, and doing a wonderful job with a very challenging situation.


I second (third?) the suggestions to see a developmental pediatrician asap. Regular pediatricians sometimes – with good intentions – choose more of a wait and see approach, while dev ped’s will look at the whole picture and help identify a course of action to address your concerns.


Whether or not your son is on the spectrum, it sounds like he may be dealing with some sensory challenges, so I’d also encourage you to find a pediatric OT familiar with sensory processing issues. Physical activity is great, but the OT can help you develop a “sensory diet” – a set of activities designed to give your son the specific sensory input he needs, which hopefully will help him learn greater self-regulation.


On a related note, one possibility is that your son’s tantrums are not intentional (behavioral) on his part, but a reaction to sensory elements that he hasn’t learned to manage. There is a page on Facebook that has some incredibly useful suggestions in terms of understanding behavior through a new lens: https://www.facebook.com/autismdiscussionpage?fref=ts One of his main premises is that we melt down when we are overwhelmed, or afraid, or feel in some way unable to cope with a situation. So the main approach becomes to help the child feel safe, and he offers some specific suggestions.


Finally, I have found this book incredibly helpful:

http://www.amazon.com/Whats-Eating-Your-Child-Connection/dp/0761161198 She really gives you a totally different perspective on the connection between what our kids eat and how they behave, learn, grow, etc. Basically she teaches you to be a detective based on your child’s behavior to figure out what foods he may be sensitive to, or what nutrients he may need more of. It can make an enormous difference.


Take care of yourself, good luck, and keep us posted.

post #22 of 29

First of all, my heart goes out to you and your husband and your son. You are amazing to be giving and giving and giving in the midst of so much. Medically, I would recommend seeing a homeopath. They are good at figuring out these kind of mystery behaviors. I would also suggest eliminating common allergens (gluten, dairy, corn, soy, nuts) in case he has allergy. Start with one at a time (I'd start with gluten personally), but before you take it away, have gluten free breads in the house so it doesn't seem like a punishment. Emotionally, I have a different take on it. When children aren't able to get their point across with words, when their wants and needs are respected and honored, that is when they get physical. It sounds like your son has tantrums when he feels powerless, which is normal, and he lashes out as a way to try and feel more powerful, which is also normal. It sounds like he is trying really hard to let you know that he wants his voice heard, too, and that he wants the same amount of respect as adults get. Trying to get him to be compliant and listen and follow a schedule isn't going to work because it is not his schedule, it is yours, and it might not be what works for him. He needs you to be on his side, but of course set some clear boundaries. He needs to feel like he is loved--and I'm not saying that you don't love him--it is clear to ME that you do, but I'm not so sure it's clear to him. You say it's ridiculous for grandparents to play with him and cars for 4 hours, but I think that is the most amazing gift they are giving him. And they might be loving every second of it. I would get the house really clean, get some help cooking meals that will last for 2 or 3 days (or get take out if you can) and literally give him all of your attention in that time. Give him love in the way he asks for it and respect his needs as much as possible. He might be really sensitive and every time you say "no," he might get really embarrassed and feel really rejected. Then he lashes out. Tough love won't work--it will make him more rejected, and maybe if he gets scared enough he won't lash out to you, he'll hurt animals or other kids, but he'll learn to do it secretly so he wont be punished. I would spend some time on some conscious parenting sites like Janet Lansbury (http://www.janetlansbury.com/) or Naomi Aldort (http://www.naomialdort.com/) I would book a session with Naomi Aldort or another therapist who can help you and also help give some ideas for your family.


You need to care for you first and foremost, so please take a bath when you can, get time for you, and understand that you are doing your very best in what must be such an incredibly trying situation. Give yourself so much love and understanding for what you are dealing with and for having the courage to reach out. It is NOT easy being a parent when everything is going smoothly--in crisis it is the hardest job imaginable. I might be totally wrong in all my advice, this is just what works for me, and I have a highly sensitive child who is prone to violence when we are not hearing him and trying to figure out the underlying need behind his behaviors. My child also loves when we dress him (he frustrates easily and feels really nurtured when we cater to him in that way, and I know eventually he will dress himself, so I dont mind), and he also has the same sensitivity to noise (we carry earplugs with us wherever we go and shy away from loud places entirely, never set foot in bathrooms with loud hand dryers, etc). Emotionally, our child gets rejected really easily and lashes out as a result, and our child is also very sensitive to being corrected or denied anything (and of course we have to say no sometimes). One time I came to the car to get him out of the carseat (my husband called me to ask for help because he wouldn't let my husband get him out). When I approached my son, he screamed and started flailing his arms around, trying to hit me and telling me to get away from him. I was pissed for a minute and then I stopped and asked myself what was going on, what was behind it. I realized I had taken a while to come out to the car from the house, and I said to him, "Were you waiting a long time and wanting me to come out sooner?" He started crying and crying and reached for me, and said, "Mama, why wouldn't you come?" So if I just look at the behavior, I miss what is underneath. And I am no perfect parent, I get angry sometimes and snap and feel punitive, but this is what has really been working for me so I wanted to share.

post #23 of 29
Thread Starter 

I type about 75 WPM when I am having a good day with my hands.  Even at that, it is going to take me like 2 hours to respond to everyone.  That's what I get for not getting on for a day!


Karmas, I will look into the book.  I'm open to trying just about anything right now.  Thank you!


Jmarroq, Thanks you for sharing your story with me. I am glad that things have calmed down with you son and that you have been able to manage everything without drugs. With my health, at one point I was taking 30 pills a day. I felt like I was poisoning myself with medicine. Now I take 4 pills a day and 2 of them are just temporary for the next month.  The only other medicine I take is an inhaler for my asthma when it is needed.  I can't say that I feel worlds better by cutting out that majority of the pills, but emotionally I do. Once I was off of them, I surely didn't feel any worse either, so they were pretty useless in the grand scheme of things.  All I take now are an anti-depressant and Morphine for my pain.  I only allow myself 1 Morphine a day, as for a short while I realized I was taking 5-6.  Granted, I wasn't abusing them, I was in pain and I am allowed one every 2 hours, so I could really take 6-8 a day. However, I did not like feeling chained to them, so I limited myself.  Otherwise, I am taking Chantix to quit smoking.  I was only smoking half a pack a day at the absolute most, but I decided that if I had gotten rid of my meds because they were poisons, it didn't make much sense to poison myself with cigarettes either.  Anyway, my extremely long point is that I commend you for not using drugs to treat your son.  I know that in some cases it is the only option, but I am glad that you guys were able to work with his symptoms and keep him off the meds.  I will surely look into any sort of state program to get him tested. I think that he shows enough signs that it is warranted and it isn't going to hurt anything.  The only thing I found for our state was an early intervention program, but it is for from birth to 36 months. There must be something else out there though and I will definitely look for it.  


The4ofus, I don't think dairy is the culprit.  He had a pretty nasty ear/sinus infection combo and had no dairy for several weeks, while we had to go through a few antibiotics to get him better.  He still isn't on any dairy right now. So, I don't think it is dairy.  However, it is something that I will keep in mind and look into if it seems like he gets worse when he starts dairy again. Thanks.


Echo, a lot of people are bringing up diet on here.  I understand that it could be a problem, but I am skeptical at the same time.  It seems like almost everyone has some sort of food sensitivity or allergy now to gluten, dairy, whatever.  This is a new thing. When I was growing up, you never heard of such a thing and I didn't know a single child (and I knew a lot as I was the town babysitter) who had any sort of emotional/mental problems because of a food allergy. I don't have a problem with people who do believe in it, but I myself have a hard time with it. I don't mind trying out dairy, as that has been a culprit of many problems for many years, though I still have a hard time with the emotional part.  I just can't believe that we all grew up just fine eating everything and now it's like 60% of kids can't eat gluten, or dairy or wheat, the list just keeps growing. I appreciate all the things that you and others have said in regards to diet and if nothing else works, then perhaps I will look to that, but I'm just not a believer at this point.


Luckiest,  I have heard a little about the gut health affecting some other health.  However, I do not have RA or an auto immune disease.  As a matter of fact, they have no idea what I have.  I have avascular necrosis (basically the bone dies from the inside out and eventually collapses) in multiple joints and have already had my hips replaced (at age 29) due to that, but they can't find a cause.  The only reason for bone death is loss of blood flow, but they have run a thousand tests on me and my blood is fine.  I have no clotting disorders or deficiencies of any kind.  I have many auto immune syptoms, strange rashes, swelling and painful joints and probably 50 more symptoms, but all my tests have come back negative.  I have even gone to the mayo clinic and been tested for diseases no one else has ever heard of.  I have none of them.  I also have things like my tendons will stiffen up and harden, making an arm, hand, foot or another body part unusable for a random amount of time.  It might be days, weeks or months and then it will be gone.  It always comes back, but there is no set pattern.  I get "lumps" that is the best word for them, under the skin.  They get very painful and swollen.  They biopsied one and found that it was necrotizing (the tissue was dying) that there was vasclitis and other things as well, but again, my bloodwork doesn't support any of that.  I may have had vasculitis in that bump, but no where else.  It is all quite crazy.  Basically I have a lot of things wrong with me, but there is no findable cause for them.  My blood is perfect. So, I don't think it can be linked to food in any way, or they would have found it by now.  Thank you for the info though.


Okay, I've been writing this over two days now...lol...I think its time to actually post it.

post #24 of 29
Thread Starter 

Baltmom and kermit, I will respond as soon as I am able!

post #25 of 29

Thanks OP.. I think I needed to hear that what we are going through is likely to be normal. I've been hearing that a lot lately, and it really helps!


I can give anecdotal evidence to the connection Luckiest makes between arthritis and gluten.. my SMIL used to have major arthritis issues until she cut out gluten from her diet, and now she's a new woman. I keep thinking I should try to eliminate it just to see if it would help me, but my issues aren't that bad. I have osteo-arthritis in my knee (diagnosed and clearly hereditary), and also starting to get achey and creaky in my fingers and other places (I'm only 37!). I'm still able to do everything I need/want to do, but with some pain and I'm more prone to injury. If things get bad I'll try some dietary restrictions and see what happens... not sure if the gluten affects osteo-arthritis, but it's worth trying if it means I won't get knee replacement surgery like my dad did at 60 (i know that it will also help to stay active and not get overweight, so i'm working on that too :)).

post #26 of 29
OP, forgive me for not getting much past your update after seeing your provider. We are headed out the door and I want to reply but I realize I may be missing some things further in the thread.

Your provider is wrong on the autism I believe. You have have huge flags for autism spectrum. I have a spectrum child and I see a lot in your post. Speech isn't delayed, can't be in fact, for an Aspie diagnosis. He has lots of flags. I didn't see anything in your post that made me think not in fact.

Can you ask around and see who evaluates autism and related developmental issues in your state? Your early intervention office may be able to give you leads on evaluators (he's too old to participate but they would be referring kids they serve likely), your Children's hospital, any autism societies or support groups in youar area, etc. You want someone who is experienced and able to evaluate a younger, higher functioning child.
He may be a child who needs medication actually. But I will say a few things about my son, who doesn't respond at all to consequences by the way/in fact it causes more negatives.

First, my son would have uncontrollable fits--including attacking people--when his blood sugar was lowish. We had to make sure we fed him every 2.5 hours--protein, complex carb, fat. I gave him a spoon of apple sauce as soon as he woke so I had time to get breakfast ready for him while he had a little boost.

Some kids really do respond extremely with food issues (gluten, dairy, etc.) so it's worth trying. But I think, I'm certain, you've got some underlying issues beyond that.

My son responds much better to a positive approach. Consequences weren't helpful, at least not the way they are typically done. Someone mentioned Green's the Explosive Child. Your library can probably get that and it's worth it. I can recommend a book that helped me the most but it has a religious tone (still usable if a person isn't offended by mention of Christian thoughts--it's really a behavioral approach--but he is clearly a Christian). Christlike Parenting I mention it because it has some ideas I've never seen anywhere else. Howard Glasser, though, is secular and takes a similar approach in his materials. Transforming The Difficult Child is not written as well as his newer book, All Children Flourishing. I prefer the All Children Flourishing but suspect Transforming the Difficult Child may have some additional things that might be helpful. Here is a page with his books. You can probably get at least the Transforming book at your library and certainly both of Glasser's through interlibrary loan. The other I couldn't get through the library but it had some ideas I didn't see in Glasser's work. I found all of them more effective than anything else with my son. Another thing to look into is sensory issues. I am sure you have some and addressing those may help. Hanen materials will help you address the play and relational things but save that until you get the behavior under control. Talkability might be great for him.

To start I'd find an evaluator (get recommendations as much as possible--you need someone good to evaluate high functioning preschoolers). Pay attention to food to see if there is a link to the behaviors (gluten first perhaps along with watching blood sugar). Request Green's book and one of Glasser's from your library. Is his room a safe place to take him (your hubby take him) when he's violent.

You really do need professional help. I feel for you. Oh, there is a special needs forum here too. You could ask there for thoughts. Those mamas often deal with this type of extreme.
post #27 of 29

I read your original post (but none of the follow ups, so someone may already have mentioned these same things).  None of this behavior sounds "normal", and I don't think it has anything whatsoever to do with what you're doing/not doing.  What you're looking at is outside of the realm of "normal", so the usual bag of tricks isn't going to cut it. 


It strikes me that he has some of the indicators for Aspergers (or maybe PPD-NOS), both autism spectrum disorders, particularly his interests, and his fine motor deficits.

Also, it sounds like you might be dealing with either a mood disorder or something behavioral like ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder).  Usually when I get kids with ODD they also have ADHD (a real fun combo, let me tell ya) but it's not unheard of for it to co-occur with Aspergers or Autism, and I've seen what that looks like--usually highly intelligent kids who are fine until you have to tell them no...then lookout! 


Get an evaluation regardless.  This is not normal stuff, and the more information you have on what is causing the issues, the better you'll be able to deal with them.  If you are dealing with something like an autism spectrum disorder, or a behavioral disorder, there aren't a lot of magic tricks that will work wonders, but there are some strategies that can be taught/implemented around learning how to self-manage, cope with frustration, deal with the sensory side of it, that will make things easier for all of you.  


The one encouraging thing I can say is that with things like autism spectrum disorders and other dramatic variations on what's normal, it usually does get better over time, and a lot of kids usually do grow out of some of the worst behaviors (especially the hitting/biting/tantrums)...not that they go away entirely, but they usually become less frequent/intense/violent as the child gets older (and learns more strategies for dealing with frustration).  I've noticed a pattern where a lot of kids with these kinds of issues do tend to mellow out a bit as they get older.

post #28 of 29
For what it's worth, all of my bloodwork came back negative for autoimmunity, and while they finally decided to call my illness RA, it didn't fit the clinical description and was just mysterious joint degradation. As far as I'm aware there aren't blood tests to confirm leaky gut, so it's very possible to have clean bloodwork and major gut health problems.
post #29 of 29

Couldn't read but not respond. One of my kids is very close in age to yours. I agree with others that your child sounds academically advanced. One of our older kids learned to count to 20 in preschool (real preschool, not a daycare for two year olds that calls itself 'school'). Being able to do addition and/or subtraction is, in our experience, kindergarten level work. Some kids play by sorting or lining up toys but if that is the only kind of play, no imaginative or creative play, then it might be cause for concern. The tantrums sounds really difficult. Not sure there is much to do besides keep at your doctor for referrals to specialists. If your doctor isn't being very helpful maybe bring in a written list of the number, type, and severity of tantrums that happened over several days along with a video of typical aggression and/or a tantrum.

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