Help! Severe Aggressive/Defiant Behavior! - Page 7 - Mothering Forums

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#181 of 494 Old 02-18-2010, 08:39 AM
 
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Oh my goodness!!! I want so badly to reply, but I just got up to get a glass of water and my daughter just called out to me, so I need to go check on her (it's 3:30am).

Please, PLEASE try to get some help. I know it's the middle of the night, but if you need to wake someone up to tell them you need them, then please do it. There are a lot of help or crisis lines that you can call as well. I suggest you find their numbers and keep them close for when you need someone to talk to. Often they can put you in the right direction of an appropriate person to talk to, but even if they can't, they're ALWAYS willing to listen.

I can't even imagine what you're going through right now, but I know that no one should be doing it alone. I would be on my way to your house RIGHT NOW if I could...

I'm so sorry that you're going through this. A million hugs from over here. I need to go lay with my daughter now, but I couldn't just go without replying first.
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#182 of 494 Old 02-18-2010, 12:23 PM
 
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mama, I know its hard to accept, really hard but he needs medication. By not medicating him your doing far more harm then good. You don't have to live life like this and neither does your son. You think its hard on you? Think about how he he feels always being so out of control mentally and physically. That in itself is traumatizing. Please give the meds a try, it doesn't have to be forever but you've done what you can and need more help then you can do alone.

Seriously?
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#183 of 494 Old 02-18-2010, 01:02 PM
 
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Ohhh (((((HUGE HUGS))))) mama. As far as the MRSA goes, yes. I would just go the shots or IV route and let the dr know ahead of time that theya re going to need extra staff available to hold him down. As for the psych meds, speak to a psychiatrist and see what they say? They may have some ideas or experiences with this and have some good tips. My DS 2 has huge issues with nasty tasting liquid medicine. We started training him to swallow meds when he was four by starting off with M and M minis. They are tiny and easy to swallow whole, plus if he ends up chewing them they don't taste bad. You might also strongly consider putting him in School on Mondays so you can have a break to do something nice for yourself. you need a break mama!! (((((HUGS)))))

M : proud mama to B (16) : and G (8) and : x 2 :
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#184 of 494 Old 02-18-2010, 04:32 PM
 
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Bisou,

It sounds like a very difficult situation you are in right now. I know you are doing the best that you can. You have tried so many behavioral approaches, and while they work a little bit, they are not sufficient to create behavior that will be safe for you and him in the long term. You know that if the bio-dad has bi-polar, there is an increased chance of him having it. The family history plus current behavior is a pretty strong hint. I am sorry.

Right now you need to get him to take meds for MRSA. And you need him to stop tantruming long enough to get better. If you can't get the meds in him at home, it way well be time to consider hospitalization + psych meds. I know you don't want to do it, but you have tried everything else.

You need to find a solution in the next few years - either to improve his behavior or to stop the escalation of tantrums. You know it will be life threatening for both of you if he is like this as a teenage. I understand you have had bad experiences with meds, but they are improving every year. I really hope you will consider trying meds for him.
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#185 of 494 Old 02-18-2010, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sgmom:

Thanks for your reply. I did call the Childhelp Hotline a week ago or so because things were SO bad with my son I thought I was just going to lose it and explode in rage. It's a non-reporting child abuse hotline, and my son's therapist suggested this as a possible option if my son was raging and I felt like I couldn't handle things. They were kind and somewhat helpful, but we only talked for about five minutes, and then I had several more hours of my son's tantrums to deal with. It wasn't pretty.

Unfortunately, I don't really have anyone else that I know personally to call for help. My friends have children who behave like angels 99% of the time, so they just say things like, "Well, just tell him he has to do x, and make him do it!" and they think it's so easy, like "You just need to put your foot down!" When I try to explain that absolutely doesn't work with my son, they get frustrated with me, like I am asking for advice then not taking it. I know they are trying to be helpful, but they just don't get it as their kids aren't like mine!

My mom is someone I often try to call, but she gets this whole victim complex thing going and will literally say that it's harder for her to listen to me talk about what's going on with my son than it is for me to live it. It just drives me nuts. I know it's upsetting to her; she says there is nothing she can do. This isn't actually true, because giving me emotional support (even if she couldn't solve anything) would be SO helpful. But it's all about how hard this is for HER. Honestly, how can her listening to me talk about being slapped and dealing with 6-8 hours of tantrums be harder than actually dealing with the situation, all by myself? I don't think so.

A few MDC mothers have emailed me and given me their phone numbers, and that has been very kind, but I feel funny calling a complete stranger in the middle of a crisis. I know you all have your own families and things going on in your life, so it just seems odd to call randomly.

I will respond more later. At work!
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#186 of 494 Old 02-18-2010, 05:32 PM
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I had an entire post composed but I guess I forgot to hit "submit reply" and it got lost.

Anyway...OP my heart goes out to you and your son. This has got to be so incredibly difficult.

I know you have him in therapy; has your therapist broached the idea of inpatient treatment at a mental institution? I know it would be difficult for you to be separated from him, but you are really in over your head and it isn't good for EITHER of you to go on like this.

He's four now, but he'll continue to get bigger and stronger and just may end up hurting, maiming or WORSE some innocent person. I know you don't want to have it on your conscience that you could have helped prevent that but chose not to.

Also, please consider giving the kitten away. He or she has not done anything wrong and doesn't deserve to be tortured like this

Best of luck to both of you; you're in my prayers.
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#187 of 494 Old 02-19-2010, 12:49 AM
 
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Bisou, my dear. Poor Mama. I'm gonna tell you a bunch of stuff. Some of it might seem, er, unusual for MDC. Please know that if I sound bossy, it's only because I've been there. I know you read my blog and we corresponded some there, but I have more now.

First point: This is not a discipline issue.

Again: This is not a discipline issue!

One more time: This is NOT a discipline issue.

I know how hard it is (really, really, down in my toenails KNOW), but climb down off that hook you're on.

One small blessing for my DH and I, in raising a severely dysregulated child, is that he is our 4th. We have those other 3 kids (healthy, typically-developing) as evidence that we're not total screw-ups as parents. Not that we haven't spent tons of time believing that we WERE screw-ups and Carter's problems are all our fault, but we did have that evidence.

But I'll say this till the day I die: normal, loving parents, no matter how fallible, CANNOT create this level of dysfunction in their children. It just isn't possible. Even abused children don't usually act out at the level of my DS and yours! You are here, now, and forevermore off the hook. I know that you have made mistakes; so have I. All parents do. Contrary to popular belief, "good" kids are not the result of "good" parents, nor is the opposite true. Kids are born with their own personalities. Do parents matter? Of course, but our power is much more limited than we'd like to believe. Which is why you feel so guilty, but I had to learn to stop taking the blame for Carter's problems, and I had to learn to stop taking credit for my other children's successes. They are themselves.

You hit your kid. The good news is, you don't feel good about it. The bad news is, you now know that you have limits. You're absolutely right; it IS like being trapped in a bad relationship. Well, not LIKE, so much as IS. It's all but impossible to take what we take hour after hour after day after week, month, year, and not snap. You're doing this on your own, God help you, and you don't have the luxury of expecting yourself to handle it "well" (I mean well in a June Cleaverish sort of way) or with some kind of class.

Look, what I'm trying to say is, you're a person. Raising kids like this drives you to the edge and over it again and again and again. You need some substantial help or this will keep happening. I don't mean to be the voice of doom and gloom, but you are not a superhero. I know how it feels; Carter is cussing at me, then punching a dog, then pounding on the door while I'm in the bathroom, then he punches and spits at me, then he's spitting all over the kitchen counters, then cussing some more, then back to the dogs, then screaming at me because I made his soup too hot (or not hot enough, or I gave him too much, or not enough, or the wrong kind, or used the wrong bowl, or he didn't want soup at all), and around and around we go. It's unbelievable how relentless he can be. Some days, I am inexplicably a bottomless reservoir of patience. Some days, I reach my limit and scream back at him within 20 minutes of picking him up from school.

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1) What would you do about the time out situation? Would you just give up on time outs? Nothing seems to be working at ALL. Am I missing something? Some people say I have to stick to time outs, which are not working; others say I need to talk and negotiate, which is also not working. I've tried each method for months to years. We are still doing a points log and have been doing this daily for over a month, but it doesn't seem to motivate him much on most days. I am desperate. I don't know what else I can try. Have I tried everything? Is it just time to give up and resort to #3 below?
The reason that no discipline plans/programs/systems are working is that your DS does not have any ability to control his behavior, no matter how much he may want to do so. He can't do it. He can't negotiate the way some 4 year olds can negotiate because his brain (his physical brain) is not working the way other 4 year old people's brains are working. If you manage to come to an agreement via negotiation, he can't abide by his side of the bargain. His brain is so overloaded with excessive stimuli (both outside of him and coming in through in his senses, but also what's happening independently inside his skull) that he must react. When people are in acute physical pain, they don't sit quietly; they scream and move and try to find help or relief. When a kiddo like yours is having a brain storm, he has to act on it. There's no choice in the matter.

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2) Any thoughts on the MRSA medication issue? Do I just call the doctor and say he's refusing to even try meds, no matter what I do, and just see if he can get antibiotic shots? The idea makes me ill, but I know this can be an extremely serious infection. I don't want to see him with huge abscesses, being held down and screaming while they try to lance them. I feel completely stuck on this!!!! He can't swallow pills and won't even try anything. I know that no matter what I try to do to convince him, he won't try it. It's so upsetting. I don't want him to be hurt or upset, but this needs to be treated.
Yup, get the shots. Yes, it will be unpleasant, but then it will be over, unlike the oral meds with which the unpleasantness will be spread over, what, 10 days? Besides, he likely can't go back to daycare until he's been treated. You don't want to play around with MRSA.

Quote:
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3) If you think that obviously nothing is working behavior-wise, so he needs medication, how would I even get him to take medication? Even writing those words is upsetting to me, but I guess if him NOT taking mental health meds means we are physically assaulting each other, that's not a good situation either. Somehow I have to find a solution!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just know that medications aren't magical and have many serious potential side effects. He's only four years old.
I know how scared you are. We started Carter on meds when he was 4 years old and I won't even try to describe for you here the agony it was for us to make that decision. Ultimately, it's your decision, but I will tell you that from what you've written here, your son has reached the point where this is a medical emergency. You need a pediatric psychiatrist (NOT a psychiatrist who happens to be willing to see children, but a psychiatrist who only treats children; this is very, very important.). Ask your DS's therapist or pediatrician for a recommendation. By making the appointment, you are not committing to use meds, so just do it first thing tomorrow. Then find out where all the pediatric emergency services are in your city. If you're somewhere big, there is probably a pediatric psychiatric ER, but if not than a peds ER usually has a peds psychiatrist on call. Again, you're not committing to hospitalization by going there (we've taken Carter, but we've never admitted him), but you need to know where to go if your DS gets violent such that you feel you can't keep both of you safe.

You'll find a way to get him to take the meds (hard core bribery will usually work if you find just the right prize), but it's usually not a struggle after you've achieved stability. Less than a month after he started on meds (and remember, he was the same age as your DS is now), Carter said to me, "Now that I take my pills, my brain is so much quieter! I don't even care about taking them because it's so peaceful now." He only gives me trouble about taking his meds when he's acutely symptomatic, in which case we spend too much money on the pills he spits across the room, but we manage.

If you think it would be helpful to talk, email or message me and we'll exchange numbers. I know several people have offered that already, and I understand that it's weird to talk to someone you don't know, but really, you NEED to talk to some people who get it, who have been where you are. Your DS's therapist and the peds psych hospital are good places to ask about support groups for parents of kids with severe behavioral differences. And I don't know why others have offered their phone numbers, but the reason *I* do that is because talking to other parents and trying to help in some small way is how I stay sane myself. I don't know how we would survive without our little support group; getting support is so so so good, but giving support is even better, somehow more healing.

Enough? Yes, I think so. Always chattering on, me. Hang in there. It's a hard, hard life, but there IS help. It's shameful how difficult it can be to get that help, but I have no doubt that you will be the badass mama and get your baby everything that he needs to have the best possible life.

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#188 of 494 Old 02-19-2010, 02:14 PM
 
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Just a thought (sorry if it's already been suggested), but have you considered (or have you done) allergy testing on your son? I knew a little boy years ago who was highly medicated for... something. I forget the exact diagnoses, but he was severely hyper-active (ADD, so they said) and his emotions would fly from one direction to the next without ANY warning. Biting, kicking, just MAD. 15 seconds with this kid and you knew something wasn't right

Anyway, as it turned out, he was allergic to dairy! Of all things.

Just throwing it out there, incase no one has mentioned it to you yet.
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#189 of 494 Old 02-22-2010, 07:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, let me see if I can fit in an update for everyone, my MDC angels!!!!!! I did log on a day or two ago and wrote a lengthy response, but then when I went to post I was no longer logged in and lost the post. So frustrating.

Anyway, the last two weeks have been sooooo awful. I can't even believe what has been happening, but I think I am finally getting a break, for at least a few days here.

Here's what's been going on . . . . . .

1) MASSIVE SICKNESS: Two weeks ago I got super sick with some sort of flu and then developed vertigo. I was having about 4-5 hours a night of the room spinning like I was massively drunk and about to pass out. Not fun. The vertigo is still an issue. Some days it takes me almost an hour to be able to walk normally in the morning (without holding on to walls and walking sideways). I know I need to get to the doctor because I've never had this problem before. It seems to be getting slightly better, but not improved enough that I'm not worried about it.

2) CAR ISSUES: Since I was so sick, I was desperate for a break from my son, so I felt I HAD to take him to daycare. One of those days I was too scared to drive, so I asked my friend to take my son to daycare and me to the doctor. She did, but it really stressed her out because she was behind at work, so then I felt guilty for asking. When she brought me home from the doctor (she had driven my car as my son went insane when we tried to get him into her son's carseat, just because it wasn't familiar!), her car wouldn't start, so she hooked it up to my car to jump start it. I didn't realize it, but she had hooked everything up wrong, so the jumper cables burst into flames and it was so scary! Now my headlights won't work on my car and there are a few other problems with different lights coming on and off on the dashboard. Like I have the money to have new car troubles!

3) MORE CAR TROUBLES: That afternoon I didn't have anyone to help me go pick up my son from daycare, so I decided I shouldn't be a baby and should just do it. I backed out of my spot and into my neighbor's car because my depth perception was really off with the dizziness and vertigo. (I thought about taking a cab but didn't want my son to go anywhere without his carseat, and mine is very very hard to install, so I didn't want to remove it from our car.) So, now I am dealing with a possible increase in my insurance.

4) GRANDMA DIED: My last surviving grandparent died on Valentine's Day. Of course this sent my family into turmoil, especially my parents. This has also been a little hard on my son, since he did know his great-grandma. Since he has very little family, he is very attached to the few relatives he does know.

5) MRSA: My son then developed acne-like bumps on his tummy. I took him to the doctor, and they said it was probably MRSA--the antibiotic-resistant form of staph infection. He refused to take the medication and there was a chance he might even have to be hospitalized.

6) CAT ALMOST DIED: Then, on top of all of this (including massive behavior problems with my son), the cat starts vomiting all over. It happened four or five times one day, then she vomited a string, so I thought "Yikes! Good thing she barfed that up. She should be fine now." But when I woke up the next morning, she had vomited another 5-6 times during the night and was really lethargic. It was 8:00 am and I had to be at work and teaching at class at 10:00, but I took her to the vet because I was really worried. Only 20 minutes later they called to say they were rushing her in to emergency surgery. It turned out that she had swallowed some yarn and it was caught in her intestines. They said if I hadn't brought her in, she would've been dead in less than 24 hours. Poor baby! I feel super guilty, and of course having her undergo emergency surgery was stressful. On top of that, it cost me $900 I don't have!!!

7) OTHER MINOR THINGS: In addition to those, I had a few relatively minor things, like my internet not working for 4-5 days, just to add to the overall stress levels. Since I work at home, this is a pretty big deal for me to not have internet service. I often work at night when my son is sleeping, so not having internet access is a problem! I also got a ticket for my registration tags being expired because I didn't change my address after the break-in (so didn't get the notice to renew and didn't even think about it!), fearing that psycho might try to track me down. There are many little things that alone aren't much, but when added on top of my son having a serious infection and behavior problems, me being sick, my cat almost dying, grandma dying, and financial stress, I can't believe I haven't just exploded yet!

The thing that's so hard about this is not being able to have much help because I don't want to expose people to my son, especially since most of my friends are single moms and would have to bring their children along if they were going to help me. It just seems like something that no one should have to endure! I never know what he's going to be like. It's hard not having a hubby to take the car to the DMV to have the plates renewed or to the shop to get the headlights fixed. It's hard that EVERYTHING that has to be done has to be done by me.

Sigh.

On the positive side, my son finally (after two days of begging, pleading, negotiating) agreed to try an antibiotic-laced chocolate milkshake. Before he wouldn't even TRY the meds. I did try sneaking it into something, but he could taste it, and since he knew he was supposed to be taking meds, if I offered him anything out of the ordinary (like "Hey, want a chocolate milkshake?") he would say, "What, are you going to put my medicine in that?" He is just too smart; there's no sneaking things by him. I finally got him to agree to try it though, and he has been drinking chocolate milkshakes twice a day for a few days. He's starting to get sick of it though (I don't blame him!), and I need him to do it at least 10 more times or so.

I also got my internet fixed, and the kitty is home and seems to be recovering reasonably well, so at least I can stop worrying about that.

I've been reading lots of different books (The Explosive Child, The Out-of-Sync Child, and Raising Your Spirited Child), and it's difficult that so many of them suggest even opposing ideas. The Explosive Child, which really sounds a lot like my son when they describe these kids, says that you should try to pre-empt the explosions and prevent them by negotiating, but my son is so irrational at times that there is no negotiating. I have been trying it more and trying a few other ideas, and he is in a more calm state these last few days.

I am trying really hard to get my anger and frustration under control. I've found that in the last few weeks things have been so bad that I've gotten into a habit of being angry and frustrated with him much of the time, and that's not how I want things to be. I need to be a better role model for him.

We have our first appointment with the OT for sensory processing disorder on March 8, and I am really hoping that will help.

I am definitely getting concerned about his self esteem lately too. He will often say that he hates me and I hate him, or that he hates himself. I've never said I hate him or dislike him, and I will often tell him that no matter how mad I am, I always love him and like him, but I don't like being hit, or whatever the behavior is.

Anyway, we were at his therapist's office, and there is a car there that's exactly like ours and it's there every time. He pointed this out, and he said he wondered why this car was always there, and I said, "I don't know; what do you think?" He said, "Well, maybe they have a bad kid too, so they have to come here to Dr. Smith [not her real name] too." I said, "Is that why you think you have to come here?" and he said, "Yep." I was just shocked that he thought he had to come to see his therapist because he thinks he's a bad kid. We first began coming when he was about 2 1/2 or 3, and it was mainly because he'd been abused at his daycare and was acting out towards other kids. I never explained why we went there, and his therapist and I never talked about him when he was there--EVER. It is always just play therapy where we go in and play, totally child-directed, and that's it. Then I go in separately for parent-coaching type appointments where I discuss his behavioral issues or problems during the week, then we try to come up with solutions.

I told him that he doesn't see his therapist because he is a bad kid, but because we've had some scary and bad things happen to us, and she helps families who have had problems like that.

Anyway, so that's my update. I will read the rest of everyone's responses now. I hope you are all having a good week so far. I decided to take the advice someone offered and take my son to school today (Monday), which is a day we usually spend together. I needed more time to myself this week!
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#190 of 494 Old 02-22-2010, 08:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Bisou,

It sounds like a very difficult situation you are in right now. I know you are doing the best that you can. You have tried so many behavioral approaches, and while they work a little bit, they are not sufficient to create behavior that will be safe for you and him in the long term. You know that if the bio-dad has bi-polar, there is an increased chance of him having it. The family history plus current behavior is a pretty strong hint. I am sorry.

Right now you need to get him to take meds for MRSA. And you need him to stop tantruming long enough to get better. If you can't get the meds in him at home, it way well be time to consider hospitalization + psych meds. I know you don't want to do it, but you have tried everything else.

You need to find a solution in the next few years - either to improve his behavior or to stop the escalation of tantrums. You know it will be life threatening for both of you if he is like this as a teenage. I understand you have had bad experiences with meds, but they are improving every year. I really hope you will consider trying meds for him.
Hi Sleepless Mommy:

I did finally get him to take the antibiotics, THANK GOD, and the MRSA is clearing up. Big sigh of relief.

One point of clarification--
I don't know that my son's dad is bipolar. There was definitely something "off" with him, but he was abused so severely as a child that it's hard to know what in his behavior was caused by that and what might be a mental illness. There were times when I wondered if he might have multiple personalities. My son's dad was sexually and physically abused by his parents and even prostituted by his parents as a child and forced to have sex with his sister. It was so terrible that I felt incredibly sorry for him and wanted to help him and show him there were good, loving, trustworthy people in the world. Of course that didn't work. I never would've chosen him to be the father of my child, but since I was 30 and had been told I couldn't have children from the age of 19, I wasn't thinking pregnancy was even a possibility.

Despite all the problems my son has, I feel fortunate that I was able to have a child. I just hope that things get better, not worse, with his behavior.

I guess my feelings about meds have several different components:

1) I am worried about possible side effects, especially for a child so young. I am worried about him not being able to communicate with me effectively about the side effects that he might have.

2) I think I believe, deep down, that giving him medications would be a failure on my part, like I didn't try hard enough or didn't parent him properly, like I gave up. (No judgement of people who have put their children on meds, of course!!!!) I keep thinking I need to try one more thing, one more thing. I do know that his behavior is not good for me or him, but my parents insist that he's "normal" and he only acts this way because he's angry at me for putting him in childcare where he's been abused (or whatever their reason is at the time). Instead of saying that he acts this way with me because he trusts me or whatever, it's that he acts this way with me because he's angry or because I am stressed and he can feel my stress, then acts out. From my parents' perspective, it's always something I am doing wrong. This echoes my own fears about this too, that it's somehow all my fault.

3) I know that children this young aren't often diagnosed, but since he hasn't been diagnosed with anything, and since his therapists/doctors haven't even suggested that they strongly believe he is bipolar or anything else, it makes me more reluctant to medicate him.

I think at this point I am going to see if the OT will help with possible sensory processing disorder issues, but if that doesn't help enough, I think I will have to consider meds. I think I have pretty much tried EVERYTHING.

Sigh.
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#191 of 494 Old 02-22-2010, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Uptown Zoo:

Thanks so much for your detailed response!!!! I didn't realize you were the same person whose blog I read. When I read your blog, I thought, "Geez, this person totally gets it!"

Do you mind me asking if your son has been officially diagnosed with anything?

Also, what changes have the meds brought him? (Feel free to direct me to a particular blog posting if you've already explained that somewhere.)

It's hard having to make these decisions alone, without the support of a partner, especially when the other two main people in my son's life (my parents) are DEAD SET against it. They maintain that he is a "normal, healthy" little boy. He doesn't act like this for them, and they usually have him at least 24-48 hours at a time. I know that sometimes children hold it together around others, but lose it at home, but it's still so baffling.

One thing that might be the reason for his different behavior at their house is that they are on 6 1/2 acres in the forest, and all he does is play outside for hours and hours. It's completely quiet. There's no traffic, no noise, no one bothering him. He doesn't have to go to daycare so mommy can work. He basically gets to do what he wants: run around, dig in the dirt, ride his outside toys, garden. With me, he's in the city, around lots of people and noise. He has to go to daycare where people get in his space, which is hard for him.

More and more I am noticing differences with him.

I am noticing that when children approach him, he seems to misinterpret their intentions in approaching him, nearly every time, as aggression. It's like he can't read their body language at all. He will often hit or push a child as the child approaches like a preemptive strike: I'm gonna hit you before you hit me. Only if the other child is giggling or saying something like "Hey! Do you want to play tag?" will he react (most of the time) in an acceptable manner.

I am also noticing his sensitivities to sounds, like the other day when I was scraping a pan with a metal spatula and he said it "hurt" when I did that. He has also decided he likes being squeezed by me as hard as I can squeeze him.

I do hope the OT can help with some of this, but it sounds like very few parents have found magical answers. I wish there was some way to test the levels of people's brain chemistry, find what's low, then just add the right amount of what's missing, just as you'd add a quart of oil to a car that's low one quart. Wouldn't that be so much easier and comforting? Maybe someday.
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#192 of 494 Old 02-22-2010, 10:10 PM
 
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I am noticing that when children approach him, he seems to misinterpret their intentions in approaching him, nearly every time, as aggression. It's like he can't read their body language at all. He will often hit or push a child as the child approaches like a preemptive strike: I'm gonna hit you before you hit me. Only if the other child is giggling or saying something like "Hey! Do you want to play tag?" will he react (most of the time) in an acceptable manner.

I am also noticing his sensitivities to sounds, like the other day when I was scraping a pan with a metal spatula and he said it "hurt" when I did that. He has also decided he likes being squeezed by me as hard as I can squeeze him.

I do hope the OT can help with some of this, but it sounds like very few parents have found magical answers. I wish there was some way to test the levels of people's brain chemistry, find what's low, then just add the right amount of what's missing, just as you'd add a quart of oil to a car that's low one quart. Wouldn't that be so much easier and comforting? Maybe someday.
That sounds an awful lot like Aspergers Syndrome. My older son has been diagnosed with this and he too has a really difficult time reading social cues and determining intentions from his peers. AS is on the autism spectrum, so consequently sensory issues can also be a big part of the package.That's part of the whole package....just something I wanted to pipe in with. I'd be sure to tell the OT about that.

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#193 of 494 Old 02-23-2010, 01:27 AM
 
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That sounds an awful lot like Aspergers Syndrome. My older son has been diagnosed with this and he too has a really difficult time reading social cues and determining intentions from his peers. AS is on the autism spectrum, so consequently sensory issues can also be a big part of the package.That's part of the whole package....just something I wanted to pipe in with. I'd be sure to tell the OT about that.
This. The more you share, the more he sounds like he may be on the spectrum. In young kids, a lot of the behaviours can look like early onset bipolar - diagnosing young kids is hard.

Have a look at this book, as it does a good job of teasing out the differences of bipolar, asperger's and other issues. There is a section on SPD, asperger's and bipolar, all available on free preview at google books:
http://books.google.com/books?id=DmU...age&q=&f=false

When you have time, this book is a very good read and provided a lot of comfort to me:
http://books.google.com/books?id=kPt...age&q=&f=false

This is another good one:
http://books.google.com/books?id=J5M...age&q=&f=false

The great thing about an ASD diagnosis (trying to find a light in your struggle) is that it is generally better funded than other diagnoses in most jurisdictions. Medications are not used for ASD as such, although they may be used to treat comorbid conditions (ie hyperactivity, depression etc). There are also good therapeutic options available and lots of kids make great progress as they mature and receive appropriate supports.

Here are a whole bunch of google book limited previews on SPD:
http://books.google.com/books?ei=A1i...ssing+disorder

IME, dealing with the sensory stuff really helped the behaviour, temper and meltdowns.

Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.

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#194 of 494 Old 02-23-2010, 10:57 AM
 
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I agree with a more intense therapeutic approach, the multiple traumas you have both been through need addressing, and maybe then you can look into medication if the aggression doesn't decrease. Or if you decide to use medication, a sub-clinical dose, if they can recommend it, might ease some of the agrression long enough to establish a successful plan in therapy. I am not surprised that he takes it out on you, both from an abuse standpoint and the "my mom will always love me" approach, so PLEASE try to get some time for yourself. You are not the cause, and you need to be rested and supported to be healthy. Please post updates and progress!

Mom to two lovely girls, 4 and 3. SAHW/M in need of sleep.
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#195 of 494 Old 02-23-2010, 11:36 AM
 
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Bisou,

Stop thinking that if you try meds, you have failed your son!!!!! SERIOUSLY! I would not have made it as far as your without "caving" by now (I use that term very playfully, in hopes to lighten things a smidge).

But I also believe the time outs are NOT working, the therepy is just not effective enough, and perhaps some different opinions will be extremly helpful. Sometimes, when you are headed done the wrong path, all you need to do is change directions.
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I am so sorry for replying without realizing there were so many updates. Uptownzoo, I agree with your post very much, you make such great points. Bisou, you are a great parent. You didn't cause this behavior in your son, and you are trying so hard to find solutions, you ARE a wonderful mother.

Buuuut, you need a support system. Your parents are toxic, and you need some other options to be there for you in case of emergency or just to vent. Is it possible for you to find an in-home provider for day care, maybe with fewer kids? Is a mother's helper an option? Someone that can be with you and your son in your home that he can be comfortable with so that you can catch a nap or a break?

Hang in there. I know it sounds so cheesy, but I know I keep coming back to this post looking for an update. People care about you, and we want you to succeed.

Mom to two lovely girls, 4 and 3. SAHW/M in need of sleep.
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Couple of new ideas for you since you are local to me... Legacy Emmanuel has a free Collaborative Parenting class/workshop/support group every Monday eve- not sure if kids can attend or not. THey also run 'What About Boys' periodically on an evening, it's a small cost maybe. I have not been, but I hear good things. I think the Collaborative uses a lot of Explosive Parenting ideas.

Emily and Lyla (PDX MDC mamas) run a Connected Parenting class/workshop/support group through Zenana Spa. I have not been, but many in the PDX tribe have and found it helpful (though that is not universal). It should be a sliding scale cost, and timing tends to vary every time around. You can email Lyla about it from their website... they would not be into the points system, as they are more Alfie Kohn/Unconditional Parenting without Punishments or Rewards types. There's also a UP support yahoo group for Portland for that style of parenting.

Lastly, I am in town, I have a spirited child, and I would be happy to hang out with you and provide a viewpoint of someone who doesn't have an angelic child and who has tantrums and drama and anger. But, said child of mine may or may not wish to play with yours- he's at the age of wanting to pick his own company and not be dragged around by mom's ideas. I'm willing to try, though. I'm free in the late afternoons, let me know. Jill
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#198 of 494 Old 02-24-2010, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am so sorry for replying without realizing there were so many updates. Uptownzoo, I agree with your post very much, you make such great points. Bisou, you are a great parent. You didn't cause this behavior in your son, and you are trying so hard to find solutions, you ARE a wonderful mother.

Buuuut, you need a support system. Your parents are toxic, and you need some other options to be there for you in case of emergency or just to vent. Is it possible for you to find an in-home provider for day care, maybe with fewer kids? Is a mother's helper an option? Someone that can be with you and your son in your home that he can be comfortable with so that you can catch a nap or a break?

Hang in there. I know it sounds so cheesy, but I know I keep coming back to this post looking for an update. People care about you, and we want you to succeed.
Hi MissNO and my other MDC pals:

So NOT cheesy at all! You have no idea how much you've all meant to me. Just knowing that if I am having a hard time I can come here and post and people will actually listen and respond sometimes seems like a miracle. I don't even know any of you people! It definitely renews my faith in humanity to know that a bunch of strangers on the internet would think about me and my son and want to help us. Thank you sooooooo much.

My parents are toxic = agreed! Lately my mom has been suggesting that I should basically give up my son to live with them and I can have him on weekends. It's so ridiculous to me that she doesn't think being basically abandoned by me would be harmful to him. Come on! The last thing my son needs is for me to abandon him to live with his grandparents. What kind of message would that send?

As far as the childcare situation goes, I do have him in a small in-home preschool/daycare. Sometimes it's only him and one other child. Actually this is pretty hard for him because he's really bored, and he's 2 1/2 years older than the child he spends the most time with. He's been asking to go somewhere where there are more children.

Now for some GOOD NEWS! We've actually had a good day or two in the last few days!

After we had our last really bad incident where I completely lost my cool with him we are now trying a new approach to time out, which is sitting on his bed and even looking at a book. I decided that I HATE having to be in a physical confrontation with him trying to force him, physically, to stay in time out. However, I still feel like he needs to have some consequences if he hits me or throws something at me. So we had a talk and we came up with this plan that he could sit on his bed. If he doesn't stay on his bed, he will have to do a time out the old way. We've tried this twice. The first time he pretty much stayed on his bed. Yesterday he was more angry and resistant, so I put him on his bed and closed the door, then he came out of the bedroom. I reminded him that if he didn't stay on the bed, I'd have to hold him in the chair, and that he and I had agreed that he would do time outs on his bed. He went back into the room, and I put him on the bed. When I closed the door, he said "Mom, can you set the timer for four minutes?" in a calm, sweet voice. I said yes, and he stayed in there! When I went in, he was lying there calming reading a book, and we didn't have any other incidents for the rest of the day!

Now of course I don't think that our problems are magically solved. I know if he is really in one of his rages, this might not work at all. I am hopeful that this will be effective enough that we can use it at least the majority of the time. We will see. I am trying to be hopeful whenever/wherever I can.

He was at his best this morning, even trying to calm me down when I was feeling frazzled about being late, trying to get him to school, me to an appointment, and give him and the cat their multiple medications! (Antibiotics for him, lots of stuff for the kitty post-surgery.) He kept saying, "It's ok mom. I can help you. Everything is ok!" and trying to help me in any way he could. He was totally cooperative and sweet.

I've also been trying to catch him when he starts to go into a fit. For example, if I say, "We need to go to the store," and he says, "But I want to go to the park!" and starts screaming and yelling, I've been saying, "WAIT! Let's talk about this," and then I try to negotiate or explain to avoid the conflict. Before I'd often say, "No, we need to go to the store. We can't go to the park right now." No matter how kindly I said this or tried to explain why we needed to go to the store, seeing me dig my heels in, in a sense, only made him explode.

I keep trying and trying to modify my behavior to calm him, but I also don't want to be totally trying to pacify him at all times and let him control everything. It's a hard balance. It takes SO MUCH ENERGY to be constantly thinking, constantly planning diversions, constantly trying to be funny and entertaining. I have been feeling on the verge of just dropping dead in my tracks lately. (And I also haven't made my weekly acupuncture appointment in a few weeks, and I am noticing how much I really need that! It really keeps my stress down!)

On the autism issue, I've discussed that with his therapist, and she doesn't see it. When I've read descriptions of Aspergers, maybe one or two things sound like him, but the rest don't. For example, he does seem to be aware of people's emotions, and while smart, he doesn't have that "genius" element that many Aspergers kids do. He also is very good with his motor skills. I suppose he could be on the very end of the spectrum? I don't know enough about how autism works.

I started making a list of behaviors and characteristics that I will bring to the OT and to his therapist. I've discussed some of these things with his therapist, but not all. When I've read about sensory processing disorder, a lot of those children have the same kinds of problems with transitions and new situations. They also often have problems with other children. I am hoping the OT will be able to help me sort all this out!!!! I am still trying to remain hopeful.

Here is the list I am compiling for the OT who will be looking at the sensory processing stuff. Let me know if you see anything here that pops out at you! I know lots of you have children dealing with these issues, so I really appreciate the info you've all given me. If it wasn't for an MDC mom who mentioned sensory processing disorder (SPD), I would've never even thought to look into that! I think he has definite SP issues, now that I am aware of it, and I've been looking for ways to give him what he needs in his "sensory diet" as much as possible. Lately it's been a lot of squeezing, bear hugs, and tossing him onto the bed. He loves that!

Ok, here's the list:

Hates having his teeth brushed. I had to hold him down to brush his teeth (because he absolutely wouldn't cooperate), twice a day, for almost two years. He now will open his mouth for me, but it's still very difficult because he won't sit still, bites the toothbrush, or won't keep his mouth open long enough.

Hates having hair brushed. Will run around the house or wiggle around to avoid having hair brushed.

Likes being squeezed/squished. Likes bear hugs, wrestling, being squished between pillows.

Loves spinning (himself or on merry-go-rounds or swings), swinging, being thrown in the air, being thrown onto the bed. Likes being upside down. Will often lie upside down on the couch or bed.

Loves fast, spinning rides that would scare many/most children his age. At amusement park, he would love to ride roller coasters and other intense rides. Actually had a ride operator comment that he had seen kids twice my son’s age crying on the ride (in fear), and he couldn’t believe that my son loved the ride so much!

Loves climbing, jumping, and all high-intensity movement.

Is very high energy. Isn't tired after hours and hours of intense exercise (e.g. hiking straight uphill for an hour). Isn't tired when most children his age would be tired! Needs lots of outside time daily, at least 1-2 hours is the very minimum. The less outside time and physical activity he has, the worse his behavior is.

Dislikes long sleeved shirts, but will wear them. Prefers short-sleeved shirts even when cold. Often gets upset about how his socks feel.

Reacts strongly to loud sounds. Has to wear sound-blocking headphones if I vacuum or use the blender. The other day when I was using a metal spatula to scrape baked on food off a metal tray, he said the sound "hurt" him.

Seems to often have difficulty interpreting other children's intentions, especially when they approach him. If a child approaches him suddenly, moving quickly towards him, he will often hit or push the child. Seems to interpret other child's actions as aggressive. Will often say, "I NEED SPACE!" but will hit if other child doesn't listen. Recently we were at a pharmacy waiting for a prescription, and a small child (around 1 year old or younger) approached him and possibly grabbed his leg. He very roughly kicked the child away from him, knocking him to the ground, to the horror of everyone watching (me included!). If a child is giggling, this seems to go over well with him, and he seems to understand this is a friendly approach. He also sometimes responds positively to children asking him something, like "Hey, wanna go play tag?" as they approach. If a child approaches without giggling or saying something friendly, that child may be hit or pushed.

Likes children and wants to "make friends" but has difficulty doing so. He does want to play with other children but has extreme difficulty doing so, especially with children his age or younger. Often it might start out well then disintegrate into arguing or even physical confrontation (pushing, shoving, hitting). If the other child shows any disagreement or opposes his plans or acts in even a minor confrontational way, he will often overreact and become very confrontational. He has a hard time working out problems with kids, and once they've made him mad, there is pretty much no resolving it. He much prefers older children.

Has extreme difficulty with transitions of any kind or any change in plans, even if it might be something that I think he would enjoy. Has difficulty with leaving me to stay with grandparents on the weekend, then has a hard time leaving grandparents to come home to me. Has a hard time being dropped off at preschool, but then also has a hard time leaving preschool and will often tantrum when I put him in the car. He has tantrums (including hitting and other aggressive behavior) when I pick him up from preschool 60-70% of the time. It isn't that he wants to stay there, but he just is really out of sorts most of the time. I am not sure if this is due to the difficulty of "keeping it together" all day or not.

Is very advanced in his verbal skills and in his motor skills. Could ride a bike without training wheels before age 4. Was running at 9 months. Was eating with a fork and spoon as an infant and very skillfully uses silverware now. Can shoot baskets and kick/throw a ball with great accuracy. Uses advanced vocabulary and complex sentences.

Gets easily frustrated, even though his skill level is fairly high. Gets very frustrated with dressing himself. Prefers me to dress him even though he is capable of doing it. Won't brush his own teeth.

Often chews and sucks on things. He may chew or suck on his fingers, the end of his sleeve, something he's carrying (like a backpack strap), the belt on the coat I am wearing, etc. He does this especially when he seems tense or nervous. For example, when I recently took him to see a children's play for the first time, he was very excited, but chewed on his fingers and hands the entire time.

Has extreme difficulty with new situations, especially if they involve lots of unfamiliar people and activity. I tried to take him to a gymnastics class, and he absolutely couldn't handle it. He really wanted to try it and would love jumping on the trampoline and doing all those tricks, but he was too overwhelmed and scared, even after we returned to the class several times, and I was very encouraging and calm.

Doesn't seem to hear me if he is listening to something else, like the TV. I don't think he is simply ignoring me. I will often have to turn off the TV before I can get his attention.

Sometimes seems to have difficulty getting a good night's sleep. Has lots of nightmares. Screams and moans a lot at times when he's asleep. Sometimes he wakes up, and it's very hard to settle him down.

Usually doesn’t sleep more than 8 hours a night, sometimes only sleeps 6-7 hours. If he has a nap at school, he will have difficulty falling asleep until very late (11pm or later) because his energy level is just too high. If he goes to bed early, say 6:00pm, he will often wake up for the day at 2:00-3:00 am and not be ready to sleep again until 8pm that night. He will often complain about being tired and be cranky as though he must be tired, but rarely is his energy level also low.

Does seem to respond to the emotions of others, but not always appropriately. For example, when I am hurt, he will sometimes laugh, though other times he appears concerned and will try to help by bringing me an ice pack or hugging me.

Will often slam his head or body into me fairly hard, like ramming my back or torso with his head. He often does this when he needs attention, but this also seems to be a possible sensory-seeking behavior. Starting around 12-18 months, when we’d be lying on the bed, he used to throw himself backwards and slam his head into my face/head. He gave me many split lips and black eyes because I wouldn’t see it coming. At the time I interpreted this as aggression, but now I am thinking it might have been sensory-seeking behavior, as it would often come out of nowhere and he wouldn’t seem angry.


Sooooo, that's the update. I hope the next one is as upbeat! I really relish these happy/good days. This is what I thought parenting would be like! Not perfect, definitely exhausting, but fun a good majority of the time. So far, unfortunately, that's not what I've had. I am not giving up hope that things won't somehow get better. I am hoping that the OT will help.

Love you guys! Thanks so much for your continued support!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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#199 of 494 Old 02-24-2010, 06:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Bisou,

Stop thinking that if you try meds, you have failed your son!!!!! SERIOUSLY! I would not have made it as far as your without "caving" by now (I use that term very playfully, in hopes to lighten things a smidge).

But I also believe the time outs are NOT working, the therepy is just not effective enough, and perhaps some different opinions will be extremly helpful. Sometimes, when you are headed done the wrong path, all you need to do is change directions.
Still have meds on the back burner. Just want to try one or two more things to see if I can improve his behavior ENOUGH to be bearable!

I've had a good day or two with him, and when I have these days, it just makes me not want to give up! But I also realize we've had a long-standing pattern of behavior here, and that in another day or two, I probably will be back in hell again. At least I occasionally have a chance to breathe, though!

Meds are still hard for me to accept. Another poster said that if my son needed insulin for diabetes, I wouldn't feel bad about that. Yes, this is true. However, there's one difference in that analogy. In that case, my son could be tested with a test that would definitively show he had diabetes. Insulin would then be administered, and again, a test could show that he was then within the proper levels in his blood. It's so much more cut and dried. With mental health, it's more akin to saying, "Well, your child appears to have some problem with his health, so let's give him insulin and see if that works. Oh. Oops! That made it worse! Well, maybe he has high blood pressure? Let's try a med for that. Uh oh again! I guess that was a bad choice. Maybe a cholesterol med would work?" It's all just trial and error. That's a big part of what scares me. If they could test his blood, say he was low in serotonin, or whatever, medicate him, then say he was within normal levels, I'd feel so much better with that! Of course I know that's not the reality. It just scares me to have my son experimented with to find the right med or dose.

I do want to say that I definitely believe that some people need meds for mental health and should take them. I don't look down on people who take meds for themselves or choose to give them to their kids. I do think we're WAY over-medicated in this society, and I think that our overuse of TVs, computers, and video games are probably the cause of a lot of hyperactivity and attention problems in our kids, but I think it's up to each person to decide what's right for themselves and their kids when it comes to medication. I just wanted to be clear that I am in no way critical of anyone who's chosen medication!!!

I may very well be joining the ranks of people whose kids are on medication if we can't get his behavior greatly improved in the next few months or so, depending on how things are going.
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#200 of 494 Old 02-24-2010, 06:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Couple of new ideas for you since you are local to me... Legacy Emmanuel has a free Collaborative Parenting class/workshop/support group every Monday eve- not sure if kids can attend or not. THey also run 'What About Boys' periodically on an evening, it's a small cost maybe. I have not been, but I hear good things. I think the Collaborative uses a lot of Explosive Parenting ideas.

Emily and Lyla (PDX MDC mamas) run a Connected Parenting class/workshop/support group through Zenana Spa. I have not been, but many in the PDX tribe have and found it helpful (though that is not universal). It should be a sliding scale cost, and timing tends to vary every time around. You can email Lyla about it from their website... they would not be into the points system, as they are more Alfie Kohn/Unconditional Parenting without Punishments or Rewards types. There's also a UP support yahoo group for Portland for that style of parenting.

Lastly, I am in town, I have a spirited child, and I would be happy to hang out with you and provide a viewpoint of someone who doesn't have an angelic child and who has tantrums and drama and anger. But, said child of mine may or may not wish to play with yours- he's at the age of wanting to pick his own company and not be dragged around by mom's ideas. I'm willing to try, though. I'm free in the late afternoons, let me know. Jill
Thanks for the local resources! I will definitely check that out.

How old is your son? You can PM me if you'd like.
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#201 of 494 Old 02-24-2010, 06:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This. The more you share, the more he sounds like he may be on the spectrum. In young kids, a lot of the behaviours can look like early onset bipolar - diagnosing young kids is hard.
Hi Joensally:

Thanks so much for all this info!!! I have copied all the links and will be looking into this.

Man, when I am done, I will have an entire library of books about parenting, discipline, and special needs!

I already feel embarrassed when anyone comes over because, geez, it looks like I have some major problems!

Here's just a small glimpse at my bookshelf:
  • Transforming the Difficult Child
  • The Explosive Child
  • The Challenging Child
  • The Discipline Book
  • Playful Parenting
  • The Out of Sync Child
  • The Kadzin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child
  • The No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers
  • Raising the Spirited Child

I won't even list the 100 books on MY personal self-help list!!!

Basically, if you were in my house and didn't know me, you'd think I had some serious problems!

Well, to be fair, maybe I do.
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#202 of 494 Old 02-24-2010, 08:10 PM
 
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Have you tried melatonin for sleep? A lot of this may be exacerbated by lack of sleep. Melatonin is natural (well, the supplement is a synthetic version of what our bodies naturally produce) and is widely used and regarded as safe in children. It comes in many forms, including a very mild tasting liquid - my kids take .5 mL, which represents a dosage of 1.5 mg, every night diluted in a tiny bit of water and my son has SPD and is VERY particular about what he'll put in his mouth.

As for spectrum. First, I'm not saying he's on the spectrum, but he does demonstrate some characteristics and a counsellor is not qualified to rule it in or out. Also, it's a spectrum so he could have PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified), where there's defininely PDD but it's more subtle and hard to tease out as spectrum vs something else. Spectrum also frequently co-occurs with other things a lot of the time - so, say, spectrum plus ADHD. Most kids on the spectrum also have SPD.

As for the intelligence piece, many individuals with asperger's are highly intelligent, but you can have asperger's and average IQ. You can also be physically adept, funny, empathetic and a bunch of other things that the stereotype says you can't be.

Spectrum is a tough one - my son is not on the spectrum, but is often mistaken as such. He has many spectrum-like behaviours and proclivities, but just doesn't meet the criteria. I have read extensively on the topic at this point, and each individual is so different.

Someone here recommended the Oasis Guide to Asperger's Syndrome, and it's a great book.

I am glad you're finding strategies that work. Discipline really does mean to teach, and doesn't mean compliance or quick fixes. Have faith that he always means to do his best. If you look at it this way, and you look at misbehaviour as a child being overwhelmed and unable to control himself, sitting down to help him re-centre is actually discipline - you are coaching him on behaviours that calm him and allow him to make better choices in the future.

Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.

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#203 of 494 Old 02-24-2010, 08:12 PM
 
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Hi Joensally:

Thanks so much for all this info!!! I have copied all the links and will be looking into this.

Man, when I am done, I will have an entire library of books about parenting, discipline, and special needs!

I already feel embarrassed when anyone comes over because, geez, it looks like I have some major problems!

Here's just a small glimpse at my bookshelf:
  • Transforming the Difficult Child
  • The Explosive Child
  • The Challenging Child
  • The Discipline Book
  • Playful Parenting
  • The Out of Sync Child
  • The Kadzin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child
  • The No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers
  • Raising the Spirited Child

I won't even list the 100 books on MY personal self-help list!!!

Basically, if you were in my house and didn't know me, you'd think I had some serious problems!

Well, to be fair, maybe I do.


I keep those kinds of books in my bedroom .

I'm pretty sure all of my links included extensive previews of the books so you may end up not needing to buy them. Kids with SNs are expensive, so any cost savings is a good thing!

Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.

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#204 of 494 Old 02-24-2010, 09:36 PM
 
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Have faith that he always means to do his best.
Thank you for this. I lose sight of this idea so often, and fall back on yelling, and we all know how well that works!

Bisou, one good day is a start. Even if it is followed by two weeks of not so good, you had those hours of calm and happiness. I really like how your son can focus on himself and really articulate his needs. The timer comment is classic, he sounds like an interesting kid.

Mom to two lovely girls, 4 and 3. SAHW/M in need of sleep.
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#205 of 494 Old 02-25-2010, 03:37 AM
 
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As far as discipline goes, I began with attachment parenting and was very committed to the idea. I breastfed him for two years and didn't put him in childcare until he was two years old. We co-slept and still do. I didn't circumcise him because I felt it was unnecessary and violent. I felt like I was doing everything "right" and that he would be a happy, healthy, loving child. I wanted to show him nothing but love and kindness, which is very different from what I got as a child.
Going back to your original post, it sounds like you did everything "right" but yet you haven't mentioned his vaccination status. Having researched for several years now on the issue of neurological damage caused by vaccines, was just wondering if this was even a possibility in your sons case or not. Are you able to elaborate on his vaccination status: vaxed on schedule? non-vaxed? partially or selectively? delayed? etc. (any vaccines for you during pregnancy or breastfeeding?)

Read a great book about a year ago called When Your Doctor is Wrong, Hepatitis B Vaccine and Autism

Described her sons struggles with sensory processing disorder in great detail (and why she believes it began with the Hep B shot at birth and was exacerbated with subsequent shots)

Just another angle to consider in your long journey towards finding healing for your son. I'm also a fan of Dr Moulden as well.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." -Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
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#206 of 494 Old 02-26-2010, 12:04 PM
 
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I didn't have time to read all the responses to see if you got this information or not, but I couldn't read your post and not reply. I have a friend who's son at 4 years old was a milder version of your son. I found some resources for her and wanted to share them with you. First is THINK: KIDS http://www.thinkkids.org/ these guys have tons of experience with agressive kids at the time I found it I believe they were advocating no drugs, but I'm not positive... anyway... they are experts in this so better than a local doc who only sees a few cases of this ever in his life... the other is Alfie Kohn http://www.alfiekohn.org/index.php he offers books and talks and is probly avail for consultation for a fee.

Hope one of these is helpful.
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#207 of 494 Old 03-01-2010, 02:37 AM
 
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Thanks for the local resources! I will definitely check that out.

How old is your son? You can PM me if you'd like.
He is 5. I will say that very much around his birthday he took a bit of a step up in maturity- but that it doesn't erase many other issues. It's very tiring, his mind is SO ACTIVE and he hates that I can't/don't want to always keep up with him. One thing that has been good for him (cause I'm sure you don't have enough ideas!) is yoga- Believe Movement Studio up here in NoPo has family yoga on wknds for $5 adult, $2 child. I know we need all the positive activities we can, otherwise it turns into the 'beat up the parents' party.
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#208 of 494 Old 03-03-2010, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I didn't have time to read all the responses to see if you got this information or not, but I couldn't read your post and not reply. I have a friend who's son at 4 years old was a milder version of your son. I found some resources for her and wanted to share them with you. First is THINK: KIDS http://www.thinkkids.org/ these guys have tons of experience with agressive kids at the time I found it I believe they were advocating no drugs, but I'm not positive... anyway... they are experts in this so better than a local doc who only sees a few cases of this ever in his life... the other is Alfie Kohn http://www.alfiekohn.org/index.php he offers books and talks and is probly avail for consultation for a fee.

Hope one of these is helpful.
Hi Sfreed:

Thanks for the info. I will definitely look into this! Though sometimes all the information seems overwhelming, I am of the school of "the more I know, the better," and I just try to take one suggestion/idea at a time (except when it comes to books, and then I buy all 5-6 suggested and read them all at once! )

It's always good to hear something I haven't heard of before.

Thanks again!

~Bisou
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#209 of 494 Old 03-03-2010, 06:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Have you tried melatonin for sleep? A lot of this may be exacerbated by lack of sleep. Melatonin is natural (well, the supplement is a synthetic version of what our bodies naturally produce) and is widely used and regarded as safe in children. It comes in many forms, including a very mild tasting liquid - my kids take .5 mL, which represents a dosage of 1.5 mg, every night diluted in a tiny bit of water and my son has SPD and is VERY particular about what he'll put in his mouth.

As for spectrum. First, I'm not saying he's on the spectrum, but he does demonstrate some characteristics and a counsellor is not qualified to rule it in or out. Also, it's a spectrum so he could have PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified), where there's defininely PDD but it's more subtle and hard to tease out as spectrum vs something else. Spectrum also frequently co-occurs with other things a lot of the time - so, say, spectrum plus ADHD. Most kids on the spectrum also have SPD.

As for the intelligence piece, many individuals with asperger's are highly intelligent, but you can have asperger's and average IQ. You can also be physically adept, funny, empathetic and a bunch of other things that the stereotype says you can't be.

Spectrum is a tough one - my son is not on the spectrum, but is often mistaken as such. He has many spectrum-like behaviours and proclivities, but just doesn't meet the criteria. I have read extensively on the topic at this point, and each individual is so different.

Someone here recommended the Oasis Guide to Asperger's Syndrome, and it's a great book.

I am glad you're finding strategies that work. Discipline really does mean to teach, and doesn't mean compliance or quick fixes. Have faith that he always means to do his best. If you look at it this way, and you look at misbehaviour as a child being overwhelmed and unable to control himself, sitting down to help him re-centre is actually discipline - you are coaching him on behaviours that calm him and allow him to make better choices in the future.
Thanks for your great post! I never cease to be amazed at how knowledgeable MDC moms are. Really! It's just amazing how well read and researched everyone is--and so articulate too. As a college teacher (and one who teaches writing and research), it's really a breath of fresh air.
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#210 of 494 Old 03-03-2010, 08:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello all my MDC pals:

So, my son and I have been having a few good days! I am not much of a religious person, but the word HALLELUJAH seems to fit.

It hasn't been perfect, of course, but I have been trying a lot more negotiation and we've been using the more gentle time out approach.

When he starts raging and screaming or if he does something he's not supposed to do (injure or try to injure me in some way, break things, throw things, etc), he has to go to the room and get on the bed and have a time out. He is still resisting this a lot of the time, but he's starting to like it, I think. He lies on the bed and I even let him look at books because this seems to calm him. I always have these conflicted feelings, like "I shouldn't let him look at books. That's like playing! This is supposed to be a punishment!" but then I keep trying to go back to the idea that the most important thing is getting him to calm down and not continue this behavior. I keep trying to hold on to that.

The nice thing about this new method is that it is removing me from having to deal with his rage, hitting, etc. The other day he was in the bedroom with the door closed and I was quietly and calmly cooking dinner. It was so nice! It gave me some breathing room and allowed me to calm down.

I always wanted to approach my parenting/discipline with a gentle touch, but when my son's behavior only got worse and worse and more and more aggressive, I was told by friends and professionals (therapists) that it was my gentle approach that caused his aggressive behavior. I thought, "Well, what I am doing obviously isn't working, so they must be right!" I went with the hardcore time out approach, time out at ALL costs. I was told that if I didn't make him stay in time out and hold him there, and that if I ever gave up, my son would surely be in the criminal justice system by the time he was 12, or even younger!

Now I know the improvement of the last few days isn't perfection or permanent, and I am sure we will have bad days ahead of us. But I do have to say that I feel, somehow, like we might be moving in a better direction.

The other day he got extremely angry because I turned off a TV show that he wasn't supposed to watch. He absolutely exploded. But, then I watched him go into the bedroom and SLAM the door so hard it shook the walls. I had to go into the bedroom a few minutes later, and he was lying on the bed, quietly reading a book. When I entered the room (I had to get something from out of there; we share a bedroom), he blew again and absolutely screamed at the top of his lungs, "GET OUT RIGHT NOW! I HATE YOU!" etc etc etc. I said, "Ok, I just needed to get this, but you don't need to scream at me." I have to admit that the screaming and slamming the door did anger me and seem inappropriate. I really wanted to crack down and put him in a time out the way we used to do it because I was angry and thought his behavior was so disrespectful and over the top. It really took every cell of my being to say, "Ok, so it's not good that he slammed the door and screamed at me in a disrespectful way, but he is basically putting himself in a time out and trying to calm down. That is a GOOD thing." So I just let him be, and he emerged a bit later calmed down!

It's so hard trying to find the balance between working with your child and being a wishy-washy pushover. I constantly worry about that. Am I being strict enough? Am I teaching him that it's ok to scream at me and say awful things to me and there will be no consequences?

But then I go back to the thought that it's better for him to scream and yell and then go into his bedroom to calm down than for him to hit me, bite me, spit on me, and for me to then lose it and scream at him, or even worse, yank him around or even hit him.

I was raised in a family where even an inappropriate facial expression (rolling the eyes, for example, or one that conveyed sarcasm or a lack of respect) could result in a massive beating. We were "spanked" (e.g. beaten until bruised, often from the backs of the knees to mid-back) for any transgression. If, after the "spanking," we walked too loudly ("stomped" in a rebellious fashion, according to dear old dad, showing defiance) when going to our rooms in tears, we would be brought out again for another round of spankings. It's hard to come from that background and try to be reasonable, especially with the explosive/aggressive/stubborn son that I have.

It's also hard when I have to try to reconcile my feelings/experiences with the opinions of friends, family, therapists, doctors, and the million books I've read, all of whom/which offer different ideas and approaches. It's so incredibly difficult!

But I am not giving up yet.

Unfortunately, I just found out my son and I will have to move again, for the second time in a year, because the person who owns our apartment is getting foreclosed. (Not exactly sure how to word that!) We moved in May/June 2009 because someone who lived across the street from us (but someone I'd never talked to) decided to break into our home to rape me and assault me with a box cutter. Thankfully he was unable to get in, but my son and I endured 30 minutes of complete fear and terror waiting for the police to arrive as he tried to break the door down.

Having to move again has definitely triggered me, making me feel unsafe again. Right now we live on the 11th floor of a high rise, which feels very safe and secure. I know the move will be very hard for both of us, and I am upset to know my poor boy will be living in his FOURTH home in about 3 years or so. We need some security. My son really has a hard time with changes, and I hate moving too, so this is hard. But I need to just accept that this is what it is and just move forward and try to be positive!

Anyway, overall, things are improving right now. Yesterday we had our first day in about five days that he didn't need a time out. In the previous three-four days, he had a time out on his bed, but stayed in there and maybe only had one or two in a day (as opposed to our usual HOURS and HOURS of time outs!), so this is a big improvement. I have to think about that and focus on that!

Thanks to all of my MDC angels for being there for me and my son!
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