I'm at a loss on how to help my son - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 08-16-2015, 10:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Exclamation I'm at a loss on how to help my son

I have also posted this in the toddler forum. is that agaisnt any rules?

So first of all a little background. I am a single mom with two boys, my oldest will soon be 5, and my youngest will soon be 3. Their father was an abusive man, I suffered many years through this, when it started happening to my son was the end of it. My oldest has his own set of problems because of the man, such as hoarding food, night terrors, claustrophobia.

The problems I'm having are with my youngest, who has never spent any time alone with his father (I left just as I found out I was pregnant)

My Youngest, D, has a slew of behavioral problems that I dont know how to handle anymore. We were "encouraged" to leave daycare, there are very few people who can handle babysitting him for more than an hour or so.

D, on a good day is sweet and loving, curious and extremely adventurous. Unfortunately our good days are few and far between, and can turn into a bad day in an instant.

Because I am a single mom I have taken parenting courses and had a member of our local health unit coming in every week for a year to help me become the best mom I can be, as well as teaching me all about raising children.

With all of this information at my fingertips, I have exhausted my resources.

He has extreme emotional outbursts that result in him kicking, biting, pinching, hitting himself and others. These outbursts can last up to 40 mins and can be triggered by discipline(we use time outs in my house), change in schedule or routine, too many people, loud noises, separation anxiety, or at times seem to have no trigger at all(these times I assume he's just tired).

These outbursts have always been there, although his experience in daycare, as well as the extreme violence towards himself an others have really sparked questions considering he's at the age where he should be past most of these issues.

As well as these outbursts sleep is scarce. He can take an hour just to fall asleep, and wakes up every 3 hours... To which both his brother and I suffer as well.

Because of these problems, I have reached out to our nurse practitioner for help. She sent us to a behavioral specialist in Ottawa. I was told to give him melatonin at night (he will sleep for 3 hours and wake up, and cannot fall back asleep for hours). The doctor wanted to give him ritalin (I refused. He's barely 3!).

Out of this appointment the doctor confirmed he has a slight speech impediment, and major behavioral problems. He offered no insight or ideas. I was told that he cant help me because he only deals with medication, and if i choose not to medicate I should consider foster care if I can't handle him. His words were "figure out how to survive"

The thing is, I don't want to medicate my baby, and I don't want to just survive. I want to help him learn how to control himself. I'm afraid that he will be refused from school next September because of these problems, specifically that he is still not potty trained (not for lack of trying for the last 6 months) and his separation and social anxiety cause him to attack other people.

Other parents with autistic children have suggested to have him tested for autism(after observing him).



Things we have tried to avoid or calm meltdowns:

counting
reciting abc's
quiet place
distracting
deep breathing
music
baths

none of these help until he is naturally coming out of the fit.
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#2 of 7 Old 08-16-2015, 01:57 PM
 
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Oh, this sounds so hard! Toddlers are trying at the best of times.

I wish I knew exactly what to tell you. I have a few suggestions based on my own experience and a lot of reading, but hopefully others will have more to offer.

1. There could be something going on with food. I would look into elimination diets or "ADHD" type diets like fail safe or fed up. Certain food chemicals can cause major behavior issues.

2. In the U.S. we have Early Intervention and services through the schools. Do you have access to anything like that?

3. The behavioral specialist you saw sucks. Is there any local child/family therapist you could see? Perhaps an OT or someone who can evaluate for sensory processing issues?

4. Your parenting is not to blame, but perhaps some other parenting resources could help. Have you seen anything by Hand in Hand Parenting? AHA Parenting is another good resource. Both of these are very good for helping you handle your emotions and reactions as well. You need to be able to support yourself, too.

5. A few resources for angry, aggressive children are the Kazdin Method and the Explosive Child by Ross Greene.

I hope you find something that helps. This is a great community for support, if nothing else.
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#3 of 7 Old 08-16-2015, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you! Unfortunately for my boys we have dietary complications, They are both severely allergic to zinc so we need to watch what we eat. I am vegetarian, but I do still cook meat for them, all white meats, and we have eliminated nearly all processed foods due to their allergy. They typically eat a healthy raw diet with little added sugars.

There is a local child and youth counseling center I was told to contact, which I will be doing on Monday, unfortunately I was told by all other local services they cant help me as my son is more than they are equipped to handle..

I will definitely look into these resources too! Thank you for mentioning them! I'm definitely up for lots of reading and trying anything different. Our miracle solution could be anywhere!

I'm very happy this is a great community for support, I could definitely use some! There are days when it can be so overwhelming.
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#4 of 7 Old 08-16-2015, 06:12 PM
 
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On the diet front, look up the failsafe diet anyway. There are other chemicals - salicylates and FODMAPS in particular - that can cause major problems but are found in very healthy foods, especially fruits and veggies that are technically fruits. We just did a salicylate elimination diet for my DD. In our case the results were inconclusive, but reading about the diet totally messed with my idea of healthy eating.
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#5 of 7 Old 08-17-2015, 05:09 AM
 
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Does your little one still nap in the afternoon? Would they nap in their car seat or stroller?

Are they getting a good amount of outside play daily?

Do you keep your house dark and quiet (tv off) during sleep times?

Do you have a daily routine? So your child can predict what is going to happen? (even just bedtime...tv off an hour or more prior/snack/bath/story/lights off)

Not that your issues aren't more involved but, lack of sleep and routine could be a cause of some of the tantrums.

You may also request a referral from your doctor to see someone at CHEO.
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#6 of 7 Old 08-17-2015, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, he always naps, and we have a very scheduled routine, we all thrive on routine in my house, so i'm careful to keep it strict, and any changes to our routine are discussed (if possible) days in advance.

Sleep times are always dark and relatively quiet, i trained them to sleep with moderate noise as infants so i could still do chores as they slept. Our problem is mostly with nighttime wakings as he wakes up every 3 hours and cannot fall back asleep..

We also have a large backyard that both boys go out to play in with their friends in our building. Although their friends tend to be a bad influence on my oldest, and my youngest suffers from their pushy and controlling behaviors.

The specialist we saw a few days ago I believe work with CHEO. Unfortunately he was a bit of a jerk...

Thank you for the suggestions! I will go over our routines and see if there is anything that can be tightened up or expanded on
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#7 of 7 Old 09-14-2015, 03:05 PM
 
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I understand

Im so sorry for what you all are going through .. I too have a special needs child with aggression
issues.. I wish i could tell you what would fix this but i too am at a loss. I am trying to find an in home behaviorist . A therapist who specializes in ptsd in children might help .. Please let me know if you found something and if you like i can do the same for you..please take care
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