Need help AGAIN, 3.5 yo terror! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 08-24-2011, 03:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I had started a thread somewhere about my 3.5 year old DS, but it's been a while since I visited. Back then I was preggo and struggling with some emerging behaviors from him, mostly physically attacking me, throwing things, destroying things, etc. Some had suggested he was dealing with anxiety about the impending birth, etc. Some suggested look into side effects of Singulair (which he has been off of for several months now). Some others suggested to read up on SPD.

 

Well, here we are 4 months pp, and with a beautiful baby girl. DS loves her, he adores her BUT he is still extremely difficult to manage. He DELIGHTS in pestering and harassing me and this results in spitting (constant) in my face, blowing snot, hitting, punching, kicking, jabbing, poking, refusing to do ANYTHING he is asked... you name it. Usually he is laughing the whole time, but sometimes he is screaming a fit (this is new). He also is in failure to thrive category and this summer he has lost even more weight by simply refusing to eat. Today he ate one chip for lunch, and 1/2 sausage link for b-fast. That's it. It is now 5:39 pm.

 

I have tried to not be "controlling" but I find myself needing to control the dangerous stuff that he does. I normally remove him from the room or rediect (rarely works).He doesn't just have an outburst here and there, it can be ALL DAY LONG with him. I am completely at a loss as to how to manage him. I have used every calming technique I can think of only to have a toy hit me in the face. So far he has not hurt the baby (I keep her close at all times) but I think his aggression/anger is mostly at me not her. He wants to get that bad/mean reaction from me and will ramp up bad behavior until he gets it, and then continues after that - like someone who just wants to fight fight fight!  Its crazy. No person can calmly deal with this all day every day and not show a reaction or wish a gypsy band would come through to pick them up.

 

What do you all do when you are attacked by your children over and over? What is an appropriate response that works??

 

 


Christ Lovin' SAHM to JL 11/07, MP 5/95 and Empty Nester to BT and RM 7/89
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#2 of 12 Old 08-27-2011, 07:27 PM
 
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This may sound silly but, have you tried a consistent schedule? I was reluctant to try a schedule for my strong willed child. Schedules did not seem nurturing and free enough for my personality. However, schedules help her behavior tremendously.

It may take patience and time. The schedule I attempt to follow for my three and half year old goes like this:

7:45 wake up...enjoy a cuddle

8:00-11 breakfast, playtime, library or preschool

11:30 lunch quiet play

1 books and nap time or quiet time in her room

3:30 wake up, snack, and play

6:00 dinner

7:00 bath and books

8:00 bedtime

On days where she is on schedule she is happier and does not act out. On other days, like today, where she was off schedule she acted out and had several meltdowns.
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#3 of 12 Old 08-28-2011, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, well we do not have a "schedule" but we do have a routine. I find when I try to stick to any sort of structure, he is more likely to rebel. Here is how our days have been since the baby (and summer with no school runs)

 

9:30 approx wake up time (varies)

 

10:00-11:00 Breakfast (yes it does usually take an hour or more for him to eat even a tiny amount of food, we also play during this time, read books, etc)

 

11:00 Playtime (usually outside while baby naps)

 

2-3 Lunch

 

3-4 Any sort of errands or outings, or back outside to play in our yard

 

4-5 usually quiet time or tv (lately he has watched the movie Bolt nearly every day)

 

5-6 if we did not get out, we try to walk around the block just to get away from the house

 

7-8 Dinner

 

8-10 play, baths, books, etc. Usually asleep by 10 but sometimes it is later.

 

You may comment on how late our schedule is- there are reasons for this. One is that my husband comes home late and usually has stuff to do in the evenings with our teenager (sports) and for DS to see/spend time w/ his father, he has to stay up late. Also, DS was taking a nap until age 3 but it was getting later and later until he was unable to get to bed until like 1 am. Once he was able to sleep later in the morning, he no longer needed a nap. I actually think he could benefit from a quick midday nap now, but he wont take a quick nap - it is at least 2-3 hours, you cannot wake him up once he is asleep. He also won't fall asleep unless he is dead tired - I mean literally staggering across the room.

 

IF he were to get more gross motor exercise, he would probably be a much happier, managable little boy. However, he is behind developmentally (physically his balance just isn't quite there) and with his eating so irregular and the lack of calories, he is always running on empty. When we go to the playground, he chooses to sit and play in the dirt rather than climb the jungle gym. But LATER in the house in the evening where it is safe, he is jumping/climbing/flinging his body around like a gymnast. On the rare occasion he finds another little boy to play with at the park, he has a good chase and is happier than a lark. I wish I could play boy stuff with him but physically I am not up to it any more (at least right now).


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#4 of 12 Old 08-29-2011, 06:53 PM
 
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Well, I would start with food.  I'm sure he's got to have blood sugar issues.  It sounds like everything is a battle, and the food thing is just one more manifestation of that.  (You are in regular contact with a doctor, right?  And ruled out other issues?  What I am about to say is assuming he is totally healthy otherwise...)

 

So, I would stop fighting about the food thing.  Use a small plate, and just put one thing one it.  Two bites, maybe?  And then, sit down and eat your breakfast.  Don't be interesting, and don't talk about food.  Don't say one word about what he is or isn't doing with his food.  When you are done with your breakfast (take about 15 minutes eating, not too fast, not too slow, just nice and easy and steady), clean up your plate and his, and inform him that you are going to go read books on the couch.  Don't argue about whether he ate or not, or if he now wants to, just clean it up and get out of the kitchen.  Repeat at lunch.  If there is nothing else going on, I'm guessing that your absolute ignoring of this food thing will clear it up.

 

Then, any, and every.single. time.  I had an issue with him, he would find himself on his bed.  Period.  End of discussion.  Screaming and carrying on, and HURTING me.  No way.  No deal.  He can come out when he will be nice.  If he comes out yelling, pick him up and take him right back again, only saying, "You may come out when you will be nice to Mama."  Over and over and over and over and over all.day.long. until you don't have to anymore.  He is getting a rise out of you, and you need to eliminate that.  Be completely cool and calm, just pick him up and remove him.  No yelling, no arguing, no explaining.  No deals.  He does what you ask nicely, or he sits on his bed.  You can't be respectful with someone who is always manipulating you.  After he stops acting this way, then you can teach him to nicely frame a request and require he do it.  THEN he can have what he wants most of the time, because you can be sure he will act reasonably with you.  Right now it's just not going to work.

 

I'm not sure how to say this nicely, but I think your son needs evaluated OR you need to get tough and set some very firm boundaries. 

 

*hugs* OP, hope things get better soon.

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#5 of 12 Old 08-30-2011, 03:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Just1More View Post

Well, I would start with food.  I'm sure he's got to have blood sugar issues.  It sounds like everything is a battle, and the food thing is just one more manifestation of that.  (You are in regular contact with a doctor, right?  And ruled out other issues?  What I am about to say is assuming he is totally healthy otherwise...)

 

So, I would stop fighting about the food thing.  Use a small plate, and just put one thing one it.  Two bites, maybe?  And then, sit down and eat your breakfast.  Don't be interesting, and don't talk about food.  Don't say one word about what he is or isn't doing with his food.  When you are done with your breakfast (take about 15 minutes eating, not too fast, not too slow, just nice and easy and steady), clean up your plate and his, and inform him that you are going to go read books on the couch.  Don't argue about whether he ate or not, or if he now wants to, just clean it up and get out of the kitchen.  Repeat at lunch.  If there is nothing else going on, I'm guessing that your absolute ignoring of this food thing will clear it up.

 

Then, any, and every.single. time.  I had an issue with him, he would find himself on his bed.  Period.  End of discussion.  Screaming and carrying on, and HURTING me.  No way.  No deal.  He can come out when he will be nice.  If he comes out yelling, pick him up and take him right back again, only saying, "You may come out when you will be nice to Mama."  Over and over and over and over and over all.day.long. until you don't have to anymore.  He is getting a rise out of you, and you need to eliminate that.  Be completely cool and calm, just pick him up and remove him.  No yelling, no arguing, no explaining.  No deals.  He does what you ask nicely, or he sits on his bed.  You can't be respectful with someone who is always manipulating you.  After he stops acting this way, then you can teach him to nicely frame a request and require he do it.  THEN he can have what he wants most of the time, because you can be sure he will act reasonably with you.  Right now it's just not going to work.

 

I'm not sure how to say this nicely, but I think your son needs evaluated OR you need to get tough and set some very firm boundaries. 

 

*hugs* OP, hope things get better soon.




I agree with all this. Hugs mama.

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#6 of 12 Old 08-30-2011, 09:14 AM
 
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notes2.gif  Woo! Good advice from some of the other posters, taking notes and starting today....

 

Many similar problems with my DS though not quite so severe. And no food issues. I've always had a "we don't argue about food around here" attitude and it works. Make something - put it in  front of him - 20 minutes later, clean it up. No questions, no explanation, no nothing. More often than not, he eats me out of a kitchen. 

 

DS' aggression issues were by far at the worst prior to going gluten/casein free. Have you explored possible food intolerances/allergies? This would explain FTT as well, since a damaged gut doesn't absorb nutrients even when they are being taken in. Especially if your LO has been ill in the last year or two, his gut may not have recovered. Also, some children with allergies naturally avoid foods they are intolerant to - i.e. a child with lactose issues WILL NOT drink a glass of milk when handed one. That may partially explain refusal to eat (though some of it is obviously battle issues). 

 

This is how my DS works on getting a rise out of me - first he starts spinning in circles and bumping into everything in the house. Since I ignore him, he then says "Mom - look at me. I spin around, bump things, get hurt, break stuff." I ignore him more. So then he begins yelling. I ignore him. So then he starts stomping. I tell him I notice he feels upset, and would he like to go to his room and calm down (sometimes he does) or talk about it? Then when he's sure nothing else will make me mad enough, he starts hitting or biting me, or attempting to hit 7 month DD. That's when he goes on his bed. Unfortunately, this doesn't do much of anything, since his books, etc are in there - we just moved and I haven't gotten things set up the way I want. And DS' ridiculous behavior really upsets DD, and she begins to scream. My babe doesn't actually cry for any other reason than DS' yelling, but when she does, she SCREAMS HER LUNGS OUT. I've never heard a baby yell like that. And then of course, because DD is screaming at unthinkable pitches, DS freaks out, and breaks down crying. Then later when DH gets home from work he's like...headscratch.gif .. You look so upset. Are you mad at me? UGH. dizzy.gif If he only knew.

 

Things are getting gradually better here (our schedule has helped too, which includes 2 outings per day now that we're living in an apartment) but I can relate Mama. Hang in there. hug2.gif


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#7 of 12 Old 08-30-2011, 09:58 AM
 
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Hmmm, I would put him on his bed at the spinning in circles part.  You know where it is going.  Why wait that long?


"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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#8 of 12 Old 08-30-2011, 10:01 AM
 
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Hmmm, I would put him on his bed at the spinning in circles part.  You know where it is going.  Why wait that long?



Typically because I am nursing DD. That's why he does it - he knows I can't physically grab him while I'm feeding her.


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#9 of 12 Old 08-30-2011, 11:32 AM
 
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Typically because I am nursing DD. That's why he does it - he knows I can't physically grab him while I'm feeding her.


Instead of ignoring the spinning in circles could you try to turn it into giving him positive attention?  Like: "oh wow, look how well you're spinning!  Just like a dancer!  Can you do hopping on one leg too?"  It sounds like for sure he's trying to get your attention.  I'm just trying to think of a way you can spin things in a positive way (no pun intended... ha ha ha...).

 


Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#10 of 12 Old 08-30-2011, 04:13 PM
 
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Unfortunately, the positive look on the spinning is what created a never-stop-spinning child. Because I thought he spun so well, he started doing it, and violently, every time I try to nurse DD. As a way to get my attention and distract DD from eating, which also makes his day. I give him as much attention as I possibly can, sometimes at DD's expense, but it's just not enough. He just can't seem to adjust to sharing me.

 

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Instead of ignoring the spinning in circles could you try to turn it into giving him positive attention?  Like: "oh wow, look how well you're spinning!  Just like a dancer!  Can you do hopping on one leg too?"  It sounds like for sure he's trying to get your attention.  I'm just trying to think of a way you can spin things in a positive way (no pun intended... ha ha ha...).

 



 


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#11 of 12 Old 08-30-2011, 05:12 PM
 
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I still say you should shw him that you can so get up.  It'll only take a  few days to prove your point, and the baby is screaming everyday anyway.  Sometimes when our children are expressing a need we still need to set boundaries and help them fill that need in an acceptable way.  His behavior is counter-productive to his true need. 


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#12 of 12 Old 08-31-2011, 09:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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anjsmommy, sounds like we have very similar sons! Maybe its the Ohio air.

 

DS behavior problems appeared almost suddenly about 9 mos ago. Before that, I rarely had to even raise my voice. It was when I started working 2 days per week and he stayed with his g-ma. He was 'betrayed' not only by me leaving for 12 hours at a time, but also by me being pregnant and not able to physically play with him down on the floor anymore. I only worked for 3 months.

 

DS has food allergies (severe dairy & mild peanuts). We have been evaluated for his health, screened for celiac, etc. During 18 months of being super casual about food, he went from 40% in weight to off the charts. The nutritionist at our last appt said we have to be more firm and do "everything we can" to get calories in or he will need a feeding tube. Bribing is the only way to get food into him. It only recently has become a stubbornness thing, he literally has no appetite. If I did what above poster said, he would simply not eat - or not eat enough, ever. In the last week I started omeprazole again, and he has done a little better. But we have an uphill climb with his weight and it has affected his development, physical balance and probably his emotional state.

 

With that said, we also live in a tiny house and he does not have a "bedroom" to put him in for his bad times. His bed is in the playroom and it has no door and he would not stay in it anyway. The baby's crib is in there too. Trying to spend the whole day battling over him staying in there would be just exactly what he would want! He loves that kind of interaction.Not to mention what would I do with the baby? Calm redirection seems to work well when he is in a good state, but rarely during his bad spells. He is like Jekel & Hyde. I have tried being firm with everything he does only to have the situation worsen to this extreme. He just needs so much attention and when he doesnt get it he makes sure everyone else pays!

 

 


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