I seriously think there is something wrong with my child... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 07-01-2006, 07:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, here's the scenerio...
I'll try to make this as short as possible...
My son is five years old and has had some adjustment problems. He was a VERY easy going baby and toddler. After we moved shortly after he tuned three, we began seeing real anger issues. We have been through three preschools in the last two years, one of which he was kicked out of. After the last preschool we sought counseling, testing, therapy for him. He has been going to play therapy since October and has had vast improvements; but still has issues. For instance today...
We had a fairly normal day. I did have a garage sale this morning; but my dh was home watching the kids while I worked the sale. We went out to lunch and my ds told us he wasn't hungry. We encouraged him to eat a few bites of lunch, but didn't push. After lunch we went to the ceramics shop to pick up some dragons that he had painted earlier and had him paint another sculputure that he had been wanting to paint. He ate some goldfish while we were there and fell asleep on our way home. Well he woke up about ten minutes ago screaming. I went in to see if he was okay and he began screaming not so nice words at me and kicking me (I then spanked him, please don't flame me, I'm trying really hard to be GD; but I was just so shocked by his behavior that I reverted back to my upbringing). So after that I left him alone for a while. He slammed the door a couple of times and threw out some books. I went back in to see if he had a bad dream or something and he was so mad he couldn't do anything but scream.

I have NO idea what I'm dealing with here! One doctor says that he's ADD and needs to be on meds. Our ped. says that she thinks he is just a normal kid.
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#2 of 18 Old 07-01-2006, 07:43 PM
 
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It COULD be normal- hard to tell from just this one instance. I do know that the spanking will escalate it and make it worse whether it's normal or not. You need to take it out of your parenting options now. And you need to explain to him that it's wrong, you shouldn't have done it, and you will NEVER do it again. And don't. He needs to see you model appropriate behavior. If you don't want him to hit, don't hit.

-Angela
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#3 of 18 Old 07-01-2006, 07:52 PM
 
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I realise you have only given one example and its hard to extrapolate from one example, but based on that one example his behavior is screaming "diet" to me. Having goldfish crackers for lunch then waking up screaming seems more dietary than ADD or ADHD.

Some children seem to display very significant behavioral changes in response to certain foods, probably an allergy to that food. Most mainstream doctors will poo poo this idea, but there are many, many parents that insist there is such thing as cerebral allergies and have seen significant behavioral improvement when they identified the culprit and removed it from their child's diet.

Anyway, how would you feel about modifying his diet? There are several good allergenic diets out there that you could try. It would be hard work and take quite a bit of thought and preparation, but it might make some astounding changes in your child.
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#4 of 18 Old 07-01-2006, 07:54 PM
 
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I've seen that type of behavior discussed on a few listservs I've been on. A lot of people recommend a book called "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/006...lance&n=283155

I agree that it might be worth looking into the dietary angle too. One of my cousins used to fly into those types of rages as a child, and when my aunt tested him, he had TONS of allergies and his behavior improved when they were addressed.

Best wishes to you.
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#5 of 18 Old 07-01-2006, 10:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've read The Explosive Child and have instituted some of the strategies used in there. The only thing about that book is that Greene talks about avoiding explosions, but doesn't say really how to handle them once they have begun. According to my son, he had a dream where he was mad at me and then just "got that in" his head.

Dietary changes are pretty difficult with a boy who eats very few things to begin with. I've tried cutting dairy and can do that pretty well. But, cutting down on wheat is pretty daunting. I can find some alternitives; but not for things like bread. And then I have trouble with, what do I make him for breakfast without wheat besides eggs?

I just wish I knew if that was the culprit or not. I feel like I've been treading water so long just not knowing what the problem is exactly.

And, I know that spanking isn't the answer in parenting, and I am doing my best at this point. My parents spanked me and I want better for my kids and I am getting better and better day by day; but it is just really difficult to be surprised like that.

Any other suggestions?
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#6 of 18 Old 07-01-2006, 10:45 PM
 
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I think the Specific Carbohydrate Diet is one of the best diets for overall general health, and although it does avoid many allergens, it isn't a particularly allergenic diet. But you might start there with ideas.

For breakfast, maybe roasted chicken (I roast chicken breasts every three days and we have them on hand for snacks and stuff, eaten cold usually) with a banana. Or a banana with goat yogurt. Would he eat that?

I think that dealing with diet is difficult. If you really want to see if its going to work, you kind of have to jump in and do it all the way for a couple weeks. Trying to avoid "most" of something won't really give you a good idea if diet is the problem, since even a tiny bit of something can cause significant behavioral changes. If your gut tells you diet isn't the problem, then maybe it isn't.

The dream is interesting. Sounds like he is having very intense emotions even while sleeping. Can you give us some more examples of problems he is having?

As for dealing with an aggressive, violent child, my style is very hands-on. I think many parents choose to give the child a lot of space when they are aggressive, and I think it just depends on the child which is better for them. For my DD, when she is kicking, swatting, and spitting, I face her outwards with her back to my chest, leaning slightly sideways so that if she headbutts she will get my shoulder, not my face, and then I ride out the hurricane with her. I don't talk but that is only because she seems to find the additional stimuli of talking too intense for her. I would say things like, "You're really ANGRY right now," and "you're safe right now. You're upset but you are safe" if I thought that would help. I try to keep myself safe but let her know whatever she is feeling, we'll get through it. Most parents have different ways of dealing with aggression so hopefully others will have better ideas.

Whatever other people in your child's life are telling you, if YOU feel something is wrong, I think you should trust your gut. No one knows your child like you do.
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#7 of 18 Old 07-01-2006, 10:57 PM
 
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I'm a little out of my range here, but my dd is allergic to wheat. I was VERY intimidated by a gluten free diet, but she didn't leave us any choice. Although she was pretty young when I figured it out (around 10 mo), we saw dramatic shifts in her sleep and daytime behavior when we removed gluten from her diet.

It is much easier than it initially seems to go gluten free! Especially if you frequent your local health food store once in a while. There is an abundance of gluten free flours and baking mixes from which to make pancakes, for example. DD isn't sensitive to oats, thank goodness (they don't contain gluten but are usually cross-contaminated with gluten from being milled with wheat), and we use oat flour as a substitute for wheat in alot of things. Oats are cheap in bulk at our local stores and I run them through the food processor to make flour. There's a lot of great gluten free bread, we use a brown rice bread that is really yummy.

I just wanted to jump in and share our little story so that you wouldn't feel too intimidated by going gluten free, it's so much easier than you'd think.
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#8 of 18 Old 07-01-2006, 11:00 PM
 
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Okay rish I'm gonna tell you what works for us...
#1 My dd who is totally bright and normal has moments like this occassionally.
They seemed to become a problem around the time she turned 5 (she is almost 7 now) she too was an awesomely calm babe and toddler.
#2 He may have been over stimulated -sounds like he had a big day and may not have gotten his nap out which can cause my dd to wig out too. She almost always refuses to nap, but if she does take one and doesn't "get it all out" she can be a total pill.
#3 the hard part is when they get in these freak out modes... def. don't spank. Trust me there are moments where I have lost my cool too cause you just think like our parents did that somehow that will make them stop- it doesn't. So I believe you have 2 choices (at least I feel I have 2 choices when it happens) walk away or stay and calm him. If I stay, I always try to maintain a calm voice and just tell her to calm down, I pat on her or brush her hair. anything soothing. I will often sing to her- lullabies and stuff I sang when she was little. Sometimes this does not work and she is just too crazy so I have to walk away... I tell her that if she feels she must scream and yell and be all crazy then I must close her door and let her do so. If she starts it out of her room I have even cradled her up and taken her to her room to calm down. I do always give her the option to stop and stay with us calmly or get it out of her system in her room. Some people may not agree with this but I have a 16 mo. old too and he gets really scared and upset if she starts this crap. So we cannot allow her to break down wherever in the house she chooses. It has taken some time to adjust to just letting her have these break downs, but they are not often and while I would love to be able to reason with her when they start I have learned the hard way that that ain't gonna happen. We are both better off if I just let her have her melt down and talk later.
As far as foods go I cannot say but I know Whales (which are like Goldfish) have MSG in them, cause we used to love them! and can be a problem for some kids, but to say allergy is the issue I cannot. You might better know if these incidents always happen if he has eaten something very processed.
I hope these ideas may give you some help. I feel it may all be part of the age and that he is just gonna be a strong willed kiddo, but he sounds more normal than not to me. Good luck hon! I know it's tough when my dd wigs out so I'll be thinkin of you guys!!
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#9 of 18 Old 07-01-2006, 11:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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His problems deal mostly with anger and aggression, not being able to control his temper and acting inappropriately. He also has some self esteem issues. He tells me sometimes that God didn't make him like other boys because sometimes he doesn't do nice things. Now, I don't know where he came up with that. I NEVER say things like that to him and I assure him that he is like other boys, but that he is just having a tough time right now. He also seems to panic sometimes when we are in crowded places - childrens' concerts, story time at the library, etc. I think this was also part of his problem with the preschool that he got kicked out of, just too many kids doing too many things at once (which worries me about him starting school next year).
He is intensely emotional and sensitive. Things that most kids would feel or process, Noah does it times 10. For example, we had a guest minister at church a few weeks back and he made a comment in the children's sermon about how the kids should enjoy the flowers while they can still smell them because they won't be able to enjoy them after they are gone (dead). It was NOT an appropriate thing to say in a children's sermon, imo, but Noah has been not just questioning death, but going on and on about it, asking who dh and I think will die first in our family. So, whereas it is completely normal to question death at this age, Noah seems to rhuminate (sp?) on it.

He also has real issues with impulse control. He can't seem to keep from "patting" his baby sister on the head, sometimes a little too vigorously. That is just one example.
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#10 of 18 Old 07-01-2006, 11:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ally's mom - how did you find out that your dd was allergic to wheat? Did you have some sort of test done? What was she like awake and sleeping with the allergy and what changes did you see when she was weat free?
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#11 of 18 Old 07-01-2006, 11:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Taterbug - how does your child's meltdowns play out at school, or does she just have them at home?
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#12 of 18 Old 07-02-2006, 12:01 AM
 
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First you should go out and buy some Rescue Remedy. Google it if you don't know what it is. And carry it with you.

Second, you need to get him an OT eval. It sounds like he is having sensory issues that are overwhelming his ability to cope, eat, control anger. Public school will pay for this even if he's not in public school.

Third, it sounds like he isn't eating enough food. Eating goldfish is not a lunch. Before I looked into allergies, I would look into getting more foods into him. Healthy foods. Then I would consider that "he doesn't eat" as perhaps he doesn't eat because.....there could be a lot of reasons, and one of those reasons could be sensory. One could be allergies. One could be metabolic disorder. One could be....fill in the blank. There are lots of reasons. What does he eat? He sounds somewhat hypoglycemic to me: fits with the aggression, the dreams, the waking up in a rage or crying out in his sleep.

You also have to decide in your mind that spanking is not an option. And that there is no excuse for it. I too was spanked several times a day growing up. And I mean with a belt or a broken wooden board. I have spanked my son once to try to get his attention. And it did. But it still wasn't effective beyond that....nor am I proud that I did it.

If you were brought up being spanked, IMO you have to reeducate yourself re what is and what is not acceptable.

I trust mother's intuition WRT something being wrong....but starting with the occam's razor answers is that first place to start....if the situation warrants that approach. This one seems to.

Once you've done these things listed above, if the OT finds nothing, get a second opinion from a private OT. (Your insurance may pay for this.)

And if they find nothing, then I would go to a developmental pediatrician....who can then refer you on to a psychiatrist or a geneticist or an endocrinologist or a nutritionist or an allergist.....or what not.

Easier for someone in person to help you get to the bottom of it usually if such is a available to you.

mv
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#13 of 18 Old 07-02-2006, 12:02 AM
 
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People have been talking about diet and additives and allergens, but you seemed also to notice that there was a problem with him having skipped lunch. In my house, hunger and low blood sugar and a failure to notice it coming on are often a big trigger for anger. So is feeling tired or stressed or overloaded. So is needing to use the toilet and not noticing or not wanting to. Could any of those be contributing do you think? Or other things! It's hard to tell from one example. It would be really useful to keep a behaviour diary: notice when he gets angry and all the direct and contributory factors that could be involved. You can also show this to people you're trying to consult about him.

My ped also told me my son seemed pretty normal. And later she was the first to support us when we sought testing she hadn't recommended. I read somewhere someone writing for medical folks that what distinguishes children who really do have issues that need addressing from those who are just going through a phase is that their PARENTS have long-term, serious concerns about them that do not go away, though the specific issues of most concern may change. If that describes you, then I agree with the pp, listen to your gut, seek out assessments of your son from a variety of medical disciplines (and seek out second opinions too!). Try to get recommendations about who would actually be good to consult from other parents, from your child's dentist, from your ped... not just one person. Sometimes various areas do not necessarily get along, but you should consult both: for example some psychiatrists do not believe in OT, and some doctors don't, but that is no reason not to pursue different areas of intervention and ignore any professional clashes they may have: your first priority is your kid.

I was comparing your ds with mine as I read along. My ds would never be able to paint clay because he has fine motor delays and is a perfectionist and has an incredibly low frustration threshold. So that's something your ds has going for him as a skill, that he can express himself in art. Can that help him express his emotions? And, it is always a pitfall to think other kids may have what your own kid may have, especially based on a brief description, but your son's unwillingness to eat most foods and his insensitivity to hunger and his discomfort in crowds all sound like behaviours my son has because my son has sensory processing disorder. So I would suggest looking around on the net and in books for info on this, and maybe having your son evaluated by an OT. I'm not suggesting this is the whole answer, or even necessarily part of it, but I noticed it. The waking from a dream angry sounds like a good issue for a psych to help you sort out: was your ds already angry at you that day? Dreams can definitely make stuff pop back out, for any of us.

I would never flame you for daring to admit you spanked: we all have moments we aren't proud of as parents. Would it help, though, to work out strategies in advance for dealing with situations like this? And maybe even telling your ds about them? If he is not in control when he is angry, it may help him feel safer to know that other people are.

I so hear you on how difficult it is to deal with a meltdown in process. I don't have any answers for you, but it is our biggest challenge as parents too. Sometimes if we can work out what the main outside contributing factors are -- too much noise and crowding plus frustration about trying to do some motor task plus hunger equals isolate him and feed him! -- then we can help him calm himself enough to rejoin the group. But it is very hard.

Hang in there, I hope you find some answers, fiona
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#14 of 18 Old 07-02-2006, 12:07 AM
 
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great post fiona.

mv
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#15 of 18 Old 07-02-2006, 05:11 AM
 
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ITA with the diet--when you said goldfish and woke up screaming...

DD1 has food allergies. They are "subclinical" in skin prick tests, but within about 10 minutes of eating dairy this week, she was headachy and "felt like killing something" as she describes it. (she's 13). When she was a toddler, the difference between no allergen and allergen was like night and day. One minute she was sweet and rational and easygoing, the next minute, screaming and hitting and completely off the wall. She gets that way with soy, eggwhite, dairy and peanut. Will she keel over from anaphylactic shock? No...it's not that type of reaction. But it *is* an allergy--zyrtec fixes it. She gets a touch asthmatic. But our dietary control is *so* good that until the past week (one accidnetal and one deliberate exposure post negative testing) we never saw much in the way of asthma symptoms. But when your child is coughing and saying they can't breath, you give them a puff of albuterol and a zyrtec and it all resolves, an hour after eating soy.... I don't care what the skin test says.

I babysat a boy, years ago, who was fed peanut butter every day of his life. He was a hellion--really impossible. They learned he was allergic to peanuts. They took him off, and he turned into a completely different kid.

Testing is not an absolute--I know a lot of parents who report behavioral symptoms of allergies, where it is clearly an allergy, and *often* it seems that those reactions don't translate to a wheal on a skin test or a positive RAST.

BTW.. you first likely culprit is dairy, but wheat, soy, egg, peanut, tree nuts and corn are also highly suspect. Look at what he eats... change it.

We switched from wheat to brown rice and quinoa, for example. Go with simple prep and you can have good, healthy meals without allergens--once you're in the habit it's not hard.

Jenrose, Mama to DD1, born 1993, DD2, born 2005, and DS1, Jan. 2012. Babywearing, cosleeping, homebirthing mom with fibromyalgia and hashimotos.  DD2 has a rare chromosome disorder. 

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#16 of 18 Old 07-02-2006, 05:14 AM
 
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Oh, and although tests say I'm not allergic to milk, I notice that while some cheeses and most yogurts are "fine"... there are some cheeses and most unfermented dairy products that are NOT fine. Some of the cheeses actually hurt my mouth if I put them in. This mouth-hurting will lead a lot of kids to avoid foods. I'm not "clinically" allergic to the food, but I'm still not going to eat it because it hurts. The tests *do* say that I'm allergic to a lot of other things...

Jenrose, Mama to DD1, born 1993, DD2, born 2005, and DS1, Jan. 2012. Babywearing, cosleeping, homebirthing mom with fibromyalgia and hashimotos.  DD2 has a rare chromosome disorder. 

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#17 of 18 Old 07-02-2006, 05:16 AM
 
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Breakfast=Piece of fruit, bowl of cream of rice (no dairy), and I add extra virgin coconut oil to the baby's bowl for calories. Or it might be a piece of leftover chicken and a piece of fruit.

I just had to go off wheat. It is *hard*... but not impossible.

Jenrose, Mama to DD1, born 1993, DD2, born 2005, and DS1, Jan. 2012. Babywearing, cosleeping, homebirthing mom with fibromyalgia and hashimotos.  DD2 has a rare chromosome disorder. 

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#18 of 18 Old 07-02-2006, 11:31 AM
 
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Quote:
Dietary changes are pretty difficult with a boy who eats very few things to begin with. I've tried cutting dairy and can do that pretty well. But, cutting down on wheat is pretty daunting. I can find some alternitives; but not for things like bread. And then I have trouble with, what do I make him for breakfast without wheat besides eggs?
We have BTDT with eating very few things. My DD is an exceedingly picky eater and until now would consistently have a repertoire of maybe 2 or 3 foods she'd eat. (We have done GFCF and are now on SCD.) GFCF bread is actually not hard to make. It's not like wheat bread where you have to knead it a bunch of times and wait for it to rise and it's a major multi-hour hassle. I used to make the GFCF bread just by dumping it all in a bowl, stirring, pouring into a bread pan, and baking. It's not too much harder than making a cake mix (although you do have to let the yeast-containing ones recipes rise before you bake them). The prep time including cleanup, as long as I had all the ingredients on hand, was under 15 minutes. This site has some good recipes: http://allergies.about.com/od/recipesg/

There's one brand of buckwheat waffles that is gluten free that I used to buy at the healthfood store and DD liked those for breakfast. A few brands of cereal are also GF. When I was doing GF, I would eat a cereal called "rice and shine" that was like rice grits. DD would eat an organic Corn Pops kind of a cereal.

When we found out we had to switch to SCD (52 food allergies from a blood test plus markers of severe yeast), I was especially scared because it does not allow ANY grains and cuts out potatoes also. She was only eating GFCF bread and potato chips. Nothing else. But we survived. The first week was tough and she didn't eat much for a couple of days, but then she started being willing to eat more foods and now has a really healthy diet. Her ASD symptoms have improved too. Her breakfasts these days are a few turkey nuggets and an apple. Sometimes we make dried banana chips into little cookies with pecan butter or pumpkin butter in the middle, and she really loves those.

I really do believe that nutritional therapy is worth a try. If you visit a natural health practitioner, they might be willing to run some kind of blood test for you. We took DD in for a full blood draw because we needed other tests too, but our new doctor said she has a blood allergy test that only requires a finger prick. Just so you know there are options out there.
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