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Very Spirited Child - Please help! - Page 2

post #21 of 48
I guess my post got a little lost. I want to again suggest "Is This Your Child?" by Doris Rapp. If it were my child I would want to try that first, rather than jumping right into seeing a psychiatrist, possibly using meds. She may really have something and may really need meds, but I'd want to rule other stuff out first. There are more horses than zebras (in this country, anyway), kwim?

Allergies to dyes run in my family, so I was lucky in that I knew what to take out first. Red 40 is the worst, yellow is also a big culprit. My dd would totally wig out when she ate M&Ms for instance. Couldn't sit still, couldn't control herself, couldn't listen, running, climbing, jumping, yelling, etc. She is still very spirited and loud, but she is much more in control of herself than when she gets dye in her system. It still occassionally gets past me, so we get additional "proof" from time to time.

Other big culprits are dairy and wheat. You can do an elimination diet, taking out all possible allergens, then slowly adding things back in to see if they have an effect. Or you can try taking out the biggest culprits one by one to see if behavior improves. You can try a search on the web for the Feingold diet. It has done wonders for some of my family members. There was also a pretty extensive article in mothering awhile back on the Feingold diet and had pretty detailed instructions on how to discover what your child's allergies might or might not be. I will see if I can find out what number issue it was and get back to you.
post #22 of 48
P.S. I noticed you are in Portland, OR. I would imagine you would have wonderful access to health food stores. There is an abundance of awesome stuff available these days that are dye-free, dairy-free, and/or wheat-free, etc. I know Whole Foods and Wild Oats both carry only foods that are dye-free (well, with the exception of WO conventional section). Read the labels, and look for color names, usually with numbers next to them, they are usually at the end of the list of ingredients. I find it pretty easy to find my dd stuff without additives, and she really likes it, too. We also get our meat at the hfs, without preservatives, etc.
post #23 of 48
Thread Starter 

Feingold diet, few ?s


Thank you. I will research the Feingold diet.

I am completely opposed to my dd being on medication (except benadryl as I have been assured by many it is very, very safe). I will not do that, especially not stimulants or anti-depressants. We would use behavior modification, occupational therapy, maybe parenting classes. We will also try dietary changes. I will check our ins. to see if a consult with a dietician is covered.

We have a huge Nature's about 20 minutes from our home that I'm sure has a lot of wonderful foods. Right now her diet includes: chicken noodle soup, graham crackers, saltine crackers, popcorn, gogurt (current flavors contain blue #1), mac & cheese every once and awhile, apples, carrots, plain pasta. We could easily switch to all natural yogurt. I certainly hope wheat isn't the culpret as she eats so much of it. Do you know if they can do allergy testing for that (like a skin test) rather than eliminating it to find out?

Thanks again.
post #24 of 48
Angelsmama, your decription of your daughter could also be used to decribe mine, who is also 5. I'm glad you started this post. I too feel guilty because it seems I am always saying quite down , stop it all day. Having a spirited child can be so hard but I also see the good in it too (well I try). My daughter is so intelligent, articulate, artistic, imaginitve, compassionate, and loving. I try my hardest to praise her for those qualities and to remember them when I feel I'll go crazy, which is more often than I'd like to admit. Thanks everyone for all the info.
post #25 of 48
Thread Starter 

yes...she is also extraordinarily wonderful

Originally posted by Sheacoby
My daughter is so intelligent, articulate, artistic, imaginitve, compassionate, and loving. I try my hardest to praise her for those qualities and to remember them when I feel I'll go crazy, which is more often than I'd like to admit.
Helayna is one of the sweetest, most generous, creative, artistic, intelligent, brilliant people I have ever met. And that is what I have to remind myself of every day. She is amazing. Thank you for reminding me again!

Best Wishes,
angelsmama - Helayna is my Angel
post #26 of 48
Like Sheacoby, I feel like you are talking about my daughter, angelmama, esp. the outside voices thing...

And I really relate to the feelings of helplessness that come up. Delia is a wonderful child; people who know her say she just sparkles! But my, she is exhausting...

and the "help" people offer is just, well, confusing to me. Like, "well, just make her do it...or make her stop" I am sure that the only way to accomplish that would be to physically hurt the child, or at least break her spirit, and then where would my darlin's sparkle be?

anyway, just wanted to say, what interesting, helpful ideas have been posted here. I've been planning on rereading the Spirited Child book myself...has anyone ever done the workbook? the dietary stuff is intriguing (DH likes to take her to 7-11 to get Slurpees; I know those days are going to be--um, challenging)

there really should be support groups for parents of spirited kids!
post #27 of 48
Thank you all for sharing on this thread. I have a spirited six-year old and I am also re-reading "Your Spirited Child" by Mary Sheedy Kurchinka for the third time! I also have her book "Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles", but I haven't read it yet. Has anyone read that book?

I really struggle with the loud voice in the house, the energy level and especially the NOT LISTENING. That is where I lose it, I start out saying everything nicely, gently etc., but by the time I can get him to pay attention to what I am saying, I am not talking so softly anymore, if you know what I mean. He is also very, very, extroverted and that is the exact opposite of my introverted personality. Lately I have been telling him that having all that energy is a good thing now and when he grows up and I try, try, try to tell myself the same thing. He is my middle child and the other two are not spirited, so I know it IS much more challenging raising a spirited child. It is sooo exhausing and I know exactly what you mean about the guilt. No matter how hard I try, I never seem to have enough patience to get me all the way through the day.

After reading my post, I realize I left out all his good qualities. I guess that is too typical when we have a spirited child. He is fun loving, full of life, intense, a wonderful artist (I think the only time he is quiet is when he is drawing), charming (most people really love his sense of humor and outgoing personality) and he has an insatiable curiousity and love of learning. I do not ever, ever want to crush his spirit.
post #28 of 48
I located that Mothering article. It's in issue #101 (July/August 2000) and is called "ADHD and Diet: How Food Affects Mood." It gives a lot of good tips for finding out whether and/or what your child is sensitive to. I'm not sure whether you can do a scratch test for this sort of thing or not. Perhaps for things like corn/corn syrup and wheat. Dairy might be harder to do since there are several elements that could cause the problem, such as lactose and casein (milk sugar and milk protein).

If your dd never eats colored candy, jello, etc. or drinks kool-aid, Hawaiian punch and stuff like that, then that's probably not it, but it could be wheat. One of the things about food sensitivities is that the person tends to crave/eat a lot of the very thing that bothers him or her. It could also be salicylates which are in things like apples, their juice, and wintergreen oil.

My dd was also sensitive to wheat. It was a pain to eliminate, but not as bad as I'd feared. It was pretty easy to find alternatives at the hfs. And she's all but outgrown it now. I think she was sensitive because I introduced too early when she was a baby, and also because it really dominated our diet. Now I try to be very conscious that I am alternating our grains to get a variety.

My dd is also a lot like the descriptions of everyone's children. She is intelligent, vivacious, sparkly, friendly, outgoing, extremely verbal, creative, empathetic, and energetic. She is also LOUD, doesn't always listen (I, too, find myself hollering after the third or fourth time! ), is intense, and exhausting! I also get comments from people about how I should just "make her" or "not let her. " Yeah, right!

I just noticed she has much more control of herself when she gets enough sleep, eats as regularly as possible (not an easy task with an irregular person, I know), and has certain things left out of her diet.
post #29 of 48
Hi angelsmama,it is late here but just one thing that jumped out at me about what your daughter eats is the chicken noodle soup.Do you make your own or is it store bought?The store brand will most likely have monsodium glutimate(MSG) in it and it is VERY bad for you.I make all my own soups and for a while was using a soup base from the health food store that i thought was ok until i discovered it had BHt(which is in mosy cereals to preserve the freshness) and it is also bad for you.
It may seem overwhelming at first to start doing dietary changes but it is so worth it and actually gets easier as time goes on.My son will often pick up stuff in the grocery store and "read" the ingredients,shake his head, and say"no good mum,too much junk"
I make my own cookies too.I add flaxseed and sesame seeds to the peanut butter ones and always use organic peanut butter as it is just peanuts.A lot of the unatuaral butters have icing sugar,Dextrose(more sugar) and hydrogenated oils in them.Our bodies don't need any of that.
A book(not another one for you to read ) that i found usful about healthy eating was "Healthy Kids" by Marilu Henner
She talks about dairy foods,colours etc.it makes you think.
My son loves cheese but i buy cheese that has no colour in it(most of them do).We were in the grocery store one afternoon and the lady at the deli counter offered him a slice of bolonga(Ahhhhh) i said no thanks he doesn't eat meat but gave him a slice of cheddar cheese.Within 1/2 hour he was like a child from another planet and i swear it was the cheese.
Start reading labels when you go shopping.It is more time consuming but throught ime you get to know what to avoid.
I have a bread machine and i love it.I have addapted the receipes to add flaxseeds,wheatbran,sesame seeds etc.
One thing i try to give my son is a childrens EFA(essential fatty acids) mixture.I read that children that have learning disabilities etc can greatly benefit from this supplement.It is good for behavioural problems too.
Time for bed,my thoughts are with you.Coming here to chat is so good for the soul
post #30 of 48
Allergy testing would be advisable when dealing with all the factors. You just get a little bit of stuff injected into your arm, just under the skin. I'm extremely allergic to cats, and I had no adverse effects from the testing. It doesn't hurt at all.

Lots of stuff to consider! I wish my in laws would consider all this more often. My son doesn't have learning disabilities, but they know his condition and his hyperactivity, and all the grandkids got LOADS of candy for christmas in their stockings! They ate so much that they didn't eat any of the healthy dinner I prepared!

These kids have enough to deal with, they don't need the extra stress of their bodies dealing with processing sugar and crap in candy! With diabetic rates soaring, and research piling up, you'd think I could get my in-laws the hint that it's not welcome. They won't even touch yams (I added pepper only-no sugar) and when their kids asked to try them, they got like a teaspoon each because their parents were darn sure they wouldn't like them! My kids love them.

anyway, just complaining again... off topic...
post #31 of 48
Actually, they can just draw a bit of blood and run it through this machine thingie they have now for allergy testing.

I have severe allergies and the pin prick series is very serious buisness and involves A LOT of pricks, and I dont think an adult can easily asses what hurts to a child when that child is going through such testing. It literally takes all day or multiple days to go through that type of testing when it isn't clear what they are allergic to...

they do it on your upper arm in a grid pattern...

I am severly allergic to horses and my Dr did NOT inject the horse serum under my skin because of the risks involved

When I was in fifth grade I went through it and it involved at least a hundred pricks in one day..it SUCKED..I actually broke down and cried and thats when they stopped...I still have some scars from some of the stuff I am allergic to.

I also have concerns about the ingrediants in the serum they use for those pricks..

If you want to do allergy testing (which is great, allergies can effect a lot of different things) I would highly recommend finding an allergist with the allergic-o-matic machine thing..that isn't what it is called though..LOL
post #32 of 48
Can I *ever* relate to your situation. My dd from the age of 3 was like that. I read everything I could get my hands on (including almost every book mentioned in this thread) We also went to therapists, parenting classes, alopathic doctors, a play therapist and a behaviorist. We even had her blood tested when she was 3, because I would not believe that it was just our parenting.

In January of 2002, we went to the behaviorist, and he wanted to put her on medication. I burst into tears and told him not in a million years. Two days later we went to a nautropath and she said she thought dd had food sensitivities. We had her tested, and she came up with several things. We went on a 6 week elimination diet and within 5 days, she was a different person. We have since added back the different foods one by one and have determined that wheat and refined sugars are the culprits. Staying off those foods makes a world of difference for her (and us) It's nice to be able to really enjoy my sweet dd.

I live in Vancouver, WA and I know of some really good np doctors if you're interested.

Also, one of the best parenting books I have ever read is "Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline" I highly recommend it to anyone. It can change your life (even how you deal with adults).

Good luck, and hang in there. I know how hard it is.


Fogot to mention. Generally, a blood test only picks up food allergies (asthma, skin rashes etc) not food sensitives.
post #33 of 48
Thread Starter 

really good np doctors....

Yes, please let me know who you have found.

Sometimes I get caught up in how painfully difficult it is to parent my dd & don't realize how difficult it must be for her too!

Our ped. referred us to a child psychologist with a PhD. I wanted a psychiatrist, but he said this man is excellent.

After the appt. I went to the car to grab the diaper bag for my 4 month old. When I returned dh said that dd had been rattling the doorknob, upon being asked to stop she immediately did it again and went on to lick the glass of the door up as far as she could reach (on her tip toes) all the way to the bottom and then stood in one place and licked in circles. My dh said that for the first time he just sat back and watched her...wanted to see what she would do without our rush to get her to stop. As she was licking in circles he eventually cleared his throat and she finally stopped. WHAT IS THAT?!

She is an otherwise very articulate, mature 5 year old...except when it comes to oral issues. It must be a compulsion. I nursed her until she was 2.5 years old and then weaned her because I was ill and down to 82 lbs. I needed medication. However, I regretted it from the moment I agreed to do it. Do you think she wasn't ready to wean & that is why she continues to put (almost) everything in her mouth? If that is the reason, is there anything I can do to help her?

Thank you.
post #34 of 48
angels mama my heart goes out to you. My almost 6 years old has her moments as well as it is trying. I find that it goes in phases we are just getting out of a bad time after the school break. It is so hard. And by the way I am a psychotherapist!
Anyway hang in there and believe in her.

Do you think there is anything going on in connection with the new baby.?
Not that you have not thought of that.

Good luck try to get some sleep and be her advocate.
post #35 of 48
Thread Starter 

spirited child as big sister

Originally posted by modmom
Do you think there is anything going on in connection with the new baby.?
I have thought about that a great deal. DD has always been spirited (my mom says she's hyperactive). It was much easier for me to avoid the triggers when she was an only child. So I think was has changed the most since having our baby is that those triggers are not as successfully avoided. She is a very loving, kind, sweet, affectionate, caring big sister. However, her intensity & energy seem to overwhelm her at times & she does things with the baby that she knows are not safe. That is certainly a situation that leads to stress. I try to talk to her before she gets out of control, but that often doesn't work. Also when baby falls asleep I will go to dd & in very soft voices ask her to use soft voices so baby will sleep longer & she & I will have more time to do things together. She always agrees, but 30 seconds later she will race around the corner & SCREAM, "boo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" in an effort to surprise me. Then baby is awake (but exhausted), I am annoyed and dd feels sad because she didn't 'mean' to.

I think we wre hoping she would outgrow the oral fixation and the difficulty sleeping. However, those issues are even more pronounced as she is older. Chewing up books and licking doors is very unusual behavior for a 5 yr old (but would not be for a 2 or 3 yr old). She simply never stopped putting things in her mouth. She honestly does it about as much now as when she was 1 or 2. I think especially for my dh the contrast between dd #1 & dd #2 makes things more stressful and urgent. Our baby is very calm.

Hope that wasn't too long.

Have a great day.
post #36 of 48
{{{{{{{{Angelsmama}}}}}}}} You sound like a very good and thoughtful mama. Hang in there and keep looking for what works. My dd does not have an oral fixation, but my neice does, and I sometimes wonder if it was because she did not get enough sucking time in as a baby/small child. And, no kidding, my sister and BIL bought her a teething ring and it did seem to help. I would be a little leery of the possible embarrassment factor, but dn seemed to feel it helped her in spite of being slightly sheepish when she told me what it was for (I found it in the fridge and asked if it was for their new baby).

My own dd, OTOH, has other compulsions, such as rubbing her face in circles with her fingers and thumb-twiddling. I think she uses it to release stress. I know that being who she is has got to be stressful. Like your dd, she is just simply not capable of being quiet even if she knows she should and wants to. She is getting better and can do it sometimes now, but not always. The constant reprimands from adults to "be quiet", "stop doing that", "don't make that noise", "don't jump up and down/jiggle/bark like a dog", etc., etc. must frustrate her no end. I have yet to find a way to help her deal so she doesn't have to use her compulsive behavior to let off steam.

I discovered the food sensitivities when she was just two, so she has had a much toned-down response to her spiritedness than she might otherwise have gotten. I will also note that she loves, loves, loves to do really odd things (like licking a door) just to get a response. For instance, she used to lick me, which elicits a primitive response I can't even explain. I am completely repulsed/horrified, and. . . I can't put it into words. Suffice it to say, my knee jerk response was to smack her. Yikes! She, of course, was entranced with her ability to get such an fascinating response. I have no idea if that is the case with your dd, but I thought I'd throw it out there anyway.

You were asking earlier why the need for an elimination diet, as opposed to allergy testing. I think mfm hit it on the head by saying that food *sensitivities* can't be tested for. Am I right in thinking that naturopaths can test for them by doing a hair analysis, though? I'm not sure about that, I just think I remember hearing or reading about that somewhere.
post #37 of 48
np doctors in vancouver/portland area

In Vancouver, there is a wonderful, caring woman named Lori Brown. She works at Natural Family Medicine in Cascade Park (360) 882-1339.

If you'd rather stay in Portland, there is a woman named Rita Bettenburg. She works at the Natural Childbirth Family Clinic. (503) 252-8125. (She did the testing for our dd until we found Lori in Vancouver)

Both use non-invasive testing for food sensitivities. It is done by testing the electomagnetic field in the body. As weird/woo-woo as it sounds, I know of several people that have had it done and it works. (including my dd) Sometimes though, foods will show up that may not be the cause of the problem. For our dd, rye, oats and walnuts showed up, but they don't seem to contribute to her behavior. That's where the elimination diet comes in. When you add one food back at a time, you can really tell which ones are the culprits.

Even though dd is much, much better when abstaining from the foods, she still cycles through phases that are not pleasant to live through. Avoiding those foods at those times makes it much easier.

As for your dd licking the glass.... I agree with sofiamomma. Sometimes I think kids do stuff like that just to get a reaction. (Whether it be a positive reaction or a negative one.)

My heart goes out to you. I *know* how trying it can be.

Good luck, and please keep me posted.

post #38 of 48
Thread Starter 

doing ii to get a reactions

Originally posted by Sofiamomma
I will also note that she loves, loves, loves to do really odd things (like licking a door) just to get a response.
Good point. However, my dd usually does it when she is alone (and I find evidence of it later) or when she is oblivious to us. There are other things she seems to do to get a reaction, but unfortunately the oral issues are not in that category.

About a year and half ago she was biting her nails & I gave her a pacifier (which she was not interested in as a baby/toddler as she was nursing) and she really enjoyed it. She found it again the other day and had it in her mouth. (Such a strange sight.) I told her that she could have it in her mouth as long as we didn't have company. She asked why & I explained that others would find it inappropriate for a 5 yr old to have a 'binky'. She accepted that. Maybe I should remind her to use it more often. However, I would still like to understand 'why'. I feel like there is something wrong with my girl.

Thank you for all the insight.

Best Wishes.
post #39 of 48
Thread Starter 

dh thinks np dr's are quacks

Originally posted by mfm
np doctors in vancouver/portland area

Both use non-invasive testing for food sensitivities. It is done by testing the electomagnetic field in the body. As weird/woo-woo as it sounds, I know of several people that have had it done and it works. (including my dd) Sometimes though, foods will show up that may not be the cause of the problem. For our dd, rye, oats and walnuts showed up, but they don't seem to contribute to her behavior. That's where the elimination diet comes in. When you add one food back at a time, you can really tell which ones are the culprits.
Now I just need to convince my dh. Unfortunately, he would be more likely to put dd on medication than pay for "testing the electomagnetic field in the body". I, on the other hand, refuse to put her on meds. I think what we'll do is try elminating gluten & dairy to see if that is helpful. How long does it need to be out of their system to know if that is the culpret?

Thank you!
post #40 of 48
Now I just need to convince my dh
I completely understand. It is pretty weird to think how they're testing. If I hadn't known someone who had had success, I would not have been very willing either. Even then, I was thinking 'woo-woo stuff' the whole time. But, I figured, what have I got to lose?

How long does it need to be out of their system to know if that is the culpret?
I guess that's dependent on the individual. For us, we saw a remarkable change in 5 days. I said to my 7 yr old dd that I noticed a difference, and asked her if she had noticed. She told me yes. When I asked her to put it into words, she said "My body and my brain feel better."

The thinking behind the food sensitivities is called the 'bucket theory'. Each time the child eats a food to which they are sensitive, a bucket starts filling. When the bucket gets full, it overflows. For us that was demonstated as wild rages. Biting, scratching, hitting, kicking, throwing potted plants, etc. Once, when she was 3 yrs old, she picked up one of our solid wood kitchen chairs, put it over her head, and threw it. I remember talking to her after that incident and saying that she needed to get a handle on her anger. She looked me in the eyes, started crying and said "I can't stop it" That's when I started seeking help. I *knew* something was not right, and I wasn't going to just believe that it was solely our parenting.

I will do some research on the oral thing. It may just be who she is. Instead of being tactile, she uses her mouth to explore. We all have our different ways...

She's so lucky to have you as a mom. Some mom's wouldn't take the time of day to try to figure out what is going on.

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