Is this normal or could something be wrong? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 01-22-2010, 11:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not sure which forum this would be best in so I thought I'd start here.
DS1 is almost 6. He has these moments where I look at him and think "This is NOT my son". He had another one tonight. He and DS2 were fighting over a toy. I went to take it from them and DS1 screamed at me (his face turned red) and the tantrum escalated from there - yelling at me and trying to hit me. I sent them both to their room (they share) and when DH went back, DS1 was sitting on DS2 pulling his hair and then hit him. (So I was told). DS1 would not talk to DH for anything. About 20 minutes or so later he called me back to talk. He can't explain things except he was mad. But I could tell at that point he was very tired - like it completely wiped him out.
He's had these tantrums before. He'll scream at me, kick and punch at me. Slam doors, etc. Doesn't/can't listen to me. Worries me a lot. It's like a completely different kid. A friend of ours lives with us and commented tonight how DS1 does that. He said he wonders if it's ADHD.
I worry it might be food related but just can't seem to remember to write things down (bad mom, I know). Tonight's tantrum started about 5-10 minutes after dessert. I remember one last year that happened right after he ate an oatmeal cream pie. Was the strangest thing I've ever seen. Like a switch was flipped.
But then he's had them when he hasn't eaten anything specific. He had one in the mall because I took him out of the store to wait outside for DH. Had a complete meltdown. I really felt like I was holding a "special" child. I literally had to hold him like a baby, wrapped and held as tight as I could, and he was still throwing himself around and squirming like crazy. (thank goodness DS2 was behaving and listening at that moment) This went on for about 10 minutes until DH came out.
Now I know that DS2 can also be to blame for them fighting (he can be a real stinker too and has a temper himself). And we don't have a 2nd car so we're homebound a lot. So cabin fever probably doesn't help.

But could there be more to DS1? Could something be off?

We did a blood allergy test last year and it all came back neg. They tested for all kinds of food and everything. (Was just for allergy, not sensitivities). He gets patches of dry itchy skin. He snores. Doesn't always sleep through the night. Still has occasional accidents (mostly when playing though - although he had one while out one day right after eating a sugar cookie with icing and sprinkles - it was at a parade). He says that sometimes he doesn't know he needs to go.

They are both do for their yearly check ups next month. Is there anything I should suggest or mention to the Dr? Anything I need to be or could be doing now? Or is this all normal?
In my heart of hearts I fear there is something wrong. But is it just a fear or mother's intuition? I don't know.

(If this post would be better somewhere else, please let me know)
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#2 of 13 Old 01-23-2010, 12:03 AM
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You don't really say how often this happens. If it's once in awhile, I say it's normal behavior. If it's every day or several times a week, I say maybe something is wrong.

My son threw tantrums like this constantly when he was young. He was tested for everything under the sun, we tried Feingold, counseling, behavior modification, and meds. Nothing helped. He even spent a week in a children's psychiatric hospital when he was 12. He was labeled with ADHD, ODD, and later with possible bipolar disorder.

Turned out he had sleep apnea. He had surgery on his throat and the removal of his adenoids when he was 13 (he'll be 18 next week), and he's been a different kid. It's too bad more than a decade of his life went misdiagnosed, though.
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#3 of 13 Old 01-23-2010, 12:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It's definitely not daily. The fighting brothers are almost daily but not the tantrums. Wild ones like this aren't consistent.

How do they diagnose sleep apnea? I've wondered before if it's all sleep related because he does snore, doesn't sleep through the night (always wakes up and comes to our bed), and kinda sleeps in a funny position - with his head usually tilted way back.
My FIL has to wear one of the cpap masks (is that right?) and DH snores really loud too.
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#4 of 13 Old 01-23-2010, 12:40 AM
 
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Dd1 has the occasional total meltdown, as you describe. She'll be absolutely furious; scream, cry, throw things, slam doors. I usually pin it on being overtired--as when we've had company that throws off the routine (some do, some don't) or if there have been late nights for other reasons--and overstressed. We've had some doozies since her sister was born, though really it's not been bad at all, on balance.

Mostly, I think that it's something she'll outgrow.

Sooner than later, hopefully.

Mom of two girls.
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#5 of 13 Old 01-23-2010, 01:54 AM
 
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I was thinking he may have a sleep apnea problem as well. I believe to diagnosis it, you need to talk to your doctor, and he'll get you a referral for a sleep study. I'm not quite sure how they do them in kids, in adults you show up at the facility at night, the one I went to was nice, set up like a hotel, didn't feel clinical. They attach a bunch of different sensors to the scalp and other places. Then you can watch TV or read until you fall asleep. They send the results to the doctor (normally a specialist) and then the doctor goes over it with you.
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#6 of 13 Old 01-23-2010, 02:09 AM
 
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We are in a similar situation with our 4 year old- meltdowns, aggression, urine accidents, etc. DD has an appointment with her doctor in a few weeks and I have been keeping a journal of all her "difficult" behaviors. Just to see if there are any patterns.

As far as adhd goes- is he in school? What do his teachers think? What about any babysitters or family members that may watch him? From what I've read (not that I'm an expert in any way), the symptoms/signs of adhd will also occur in a school setting- not just with parents.

Good luck
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#7 of 13 Old 01-23-2010, 02:58 AM
 
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From my very unprofessional opinion that really doesn't sound like ADD/ADHD much at all. What I think may benefit you greatly would be to start a journal. After every episode like this, write down his condition (overly tired, sick, etc.) and what he had eaten the previous 4 hrs. Honestly my first thought was glucose related. I'm hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) and when it drops, it drops fast and I can be just a monster with the snap of a finger. Either way it won't hurt to request a CBC and general workup as well.

DS has pretty much the same sleep habits as your DS, only he's 7. This is a nightly thing with us, and as I type this he's already gotten up for the 1st of up to 5 times tonight and is sleeping on the sofa. We have an air mattress set up in our room for him (our bed was getting too crowded!). He snores, keeps his head at a funny angle, etc. With him it's a 2part problem. Our ds does have allergies, which explain the snoring and the head position thing. The other problem with him is that he's gifted and highly imaginative, so we have nightmares, problems with not turning our minds off, etc. I've noticed if I make sure he's stimulated mentally (and physically) enough during the day he'll only get up maybe once during the night. Honestly sleep apnea never occurred to me, and is something I'll make sure to check out with my ds as well.

I will say though I think at this age some of that is pretty normal too. I know ds can get himself to the point where he just doesn't hear what I say. I could heap punishment upon punishment on him during those times and it wouldn't matter that he'd just lost his DS, his Wii, play time - whatever. I could tell him aliens had landed and he had just turned florescent orange and I don't think it would get through. He gets so worked up that he just doesn't seem to get it, if that makes any sense. Hopefully you can get some answers soon. Even if it turns out to just be the curse of being 6 yrs old, don't ignore that tugging gut feeling that has you worried.

ETA: One thing I did want to mention is that the blood tests for allergies are not conclusive. We had one for each of the kids about 6 months ago. DD's came back with a hard hit on dairy (we'd had no idea, removed it and she's a totally different child!). DS came back with nothing. I *know* he has seasonal allergies to ragweed, his doctor knows it too - all you have to do is take a look at him during the season and it's pathetically obvious! But for whatever reason it just didn't hit on the blood test, and that's not really uncommon. From what I understand the scratch test isn't 100% either, but if you have both of them then it's supposed to be a lot more comprehensive. I'm sure they'd have more specific information in the allergy section.
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#8 of 13 Old 01-23-2010, 12:17 PM
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My son had two sleep studies (one before surgery and another after).

Our main problem was that DS had no obvious symptoms related to sleep apnea. He didn't snore, is slim, and his adenoids were already removed once when he was 4yo (they grew back). I only started suspecting it because he begain complaining of RLS symptoms. I have RLS and PLMD, and was diagnosed with borderline apnea myself, though I also am slim and do not snore. My mother has severe sleep apnea....she had a UPPP and also has to use a CPAP.

It still took me some time to convince any doctor to to a sleep study on my son. They kept telling me that people with ADHD have sleep problems. I kept telling them that people with sleep problems appear to have ADHD. Anyway, it finally all worked out.
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#9 of 13 Old 01-23-2010, 04:38 PM
 
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Moved to The Childhood Years

 

 

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#10 of 13 Old 01-23-2010, 05:33 PM
 
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It could be sensory-related. My middle DD has huge meltdowns and out-of-control behavior and it is totally linked to her "sensory diet". Check out "The Out-Of-Sync Child" from the library or borrow from a friend and see if your son fits any of the criteria for sensory seeking, avoiding or processing issues. When we figured it out about our DD, it made things better really quickly. We not only could explain her behavior, but could help her learn how to control it. Good luck!!

Sarah, unschooling musician mama to Ella (12/24/00) , Aurora (1/31/04) and Hazel (1/30/07) (agenesis of the corpus colosum, large interhemispheric cyst, macrocephaly, shunt). homeschool.gif bfolderchild.gif familybed1.gifguitar.gif
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#11 of 13 Old 01-23-2010, 10:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mysonshine View Post
It's definitely not daily. The fighting brothers are almost daily but not the tantrums. Wild ones like this aren't consistent.

How do they diagnose sleep apnea? I've wondered before if it's all sleep related because he does snore, doesn't sleep through the night (always wakes up and comes to our bed), and kinda sleeps in a funny position - with his head usually tilted way back.
My FIL has to wear one of the cpap masks (is that right?) and DH snores really loud too.
This all points strongly to apnea, the sleep problems and family history. The other possibility that struck me was blood sugar issues, you could ask the Dr to do a glucose tolerance test.

FWIW, I wouldn't think ADHD, since it isn't a constant. ADHD doesn't come and go, it is always there.

Timmy's Mommy WARNINGyslexic typing with help of preschooler, beware of typos
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#12 of 13 Old 01-23-2010, 10:43 PM
 
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i don't know anything at all about sleep apnea.
i do know that what you described sounds like how my ds1 can get. He just turned 8 and I have been dealing with extreme tantrums from him for years and years. He will also fall on the floor and cry loudly over the littlest things.
I finally realized that his issue is wheat, and/or gluten. Because you said you saw this happen immediately after eating an oatmeal pie, it makes me wonder if that is your ds's issue, too.
I have had a REALLY hard time going totally gluten free for him, but I am now 100% sure that his behavior issues are directly related to his eating wheat and so as much as I can, I have him avoid it. I didnt realize what a huge difference it made until one day a few weeks after cutting out wheat- I had noticed an improvement in his issues and then one day, all of sudden, he had an awful day, falling on the floor crying multiple times, screaming tantrums, etc. I thought, hmm, it must NOT have been the wheat, as he has eaten none. Then, in the evening of this horribly trying day, I went to get the sandwich buns and discovered he had gotten into them before I woke up and eaten several buns. SO now I know for sure it IS the wheat. Maybe you could eliminate it and see if you see the improvements we have. Good luck!

Mama to 3 boys 

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#13 of 13 Old 01-23-2010, 11:05 PM
 
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My dd is 5 and after a year of dealing with tatrums like that and violent behavior we realized that she has a dairy allergy. Any kind of dairy product made with cow or soy milk sends her into these tantrums. I discovered this after reading the book "Is This My Child?" by Doris Rapp. This book showed me that behavior is a big part of food allergies in children. Dd also suffered from chronic urinary tract infections and once we removed the dairy from her diet she has not had an infection since. Good luck, I've been there too.

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