I have a 3.5 yr old boy who has taken to not speaking and I just can't take it anymore.
I have an 18m old girl and about 6 months ago he started imitating her. So whenever ANYTHING happens that isn't his way he cries and says "agua" (water) over and over again. Everyone says it is just regression but it is escalating and doesn't look like regression (we went through that about a year ago) it looks like control.Now he has taken to not speaking. just grunting and going limp.
For example: My son with playing with my daughters sensory blocks he left them arranged on the couch and went to play with other toys. 45 min later my daughter woke up from her nap and decided to rearrange the blocks. He came charging her and pushed her. I tried to get there in time but he pushed her off the couch with such force that she split her lip on the end table and fell on the floor. If it hadn't been for the dog bed she may have concussed. So my daughter is bleeding and crying, my son grabs the blocks and starts playing with them. While holding my daughter I say 'don't play with those you can't hurt your sister like that and then play with her toys. So he starts crying and yelling agua. I am trying to attend to the bleeding, crying baby and hugs and kisses that go along with it but he has grabbed my leg and I can't walk. So at this moment, what do I do?
I attended to my daughter and made sure I didn't have to call the pediatrician. When I go up to him to talk about this, he has gone limp, won't talk, and won't look at me. I try to talk to him but he walks away, If I stop him he cries or refuses to acknowledge me or anything I say. For a while I thought he was listening but he would do it again. I have tried time out...but he needs to be restrained and it is very difficult when I have an injured (physical or emotional) 18M old who wants to be held and restrain my son. I also don't think time out works when I put him in time out 15minutes after the offense. (am I wrong?)
Hours later when I ask him what he wants for lunch he refuses to speak. won't look at me, won't respond. He will grunt but I don't know if the grunts are yes or no. So I make whatever but then he cries because it wasn't what he wanted and it all starts all over again. I ask him what he wants to play...grunts or vocalizations. I ask him what he wants to...well, you get the idea. I understand I am the best rival but I don't know how to do this.
When my husband comes home, they talk and come to agreements all the time. My husband refers to it as 'selective moments of clarity' he also says the non verbal behavior is 'guilt and self hatred'
He isn't autistic. I worked with children with autism (but much older)...I know he isn't autistic.
He has been on antibiotics and I swear this has a lot to do with it...but it doesn't make sense (does it?)
He has been eating less and less...
These all look like control issues to me...how do I deal with this? books to read (that actually provide information)? how do I make him understand that there is power in words and control comes with using his words. How do I juggle the kids?
I should also say I am ISOLATED! I have no family...all my friends live at least 2 hours away and I haven't made any friends in the area...oh yea, I have complex ptsd which makes it very difficult in and of itself. So all in all I have zero support. My husband is great and awesome and does a lot when he's home...but what about 10am on a wednesday?
sorry this is so long I just don't know what to do...other then cry and remove myself when I get angry.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
My life in emoticon...oh, I've said too much
Thank you for your question, I will respond within a few days.
All the best,
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Thank you for writing in. I am sorry you are struggling. Here are my ideas, hopefully, you will find something of use:
The rules/limits/boundaries/family-plan/guidelines/principles of YOUR FAMILY must be made clear. You can do this by writing the principles collectively and putting these up for all to see. You can do this by presenting the family guidelines and reading/reciting this every morning and every night. Once the expectations are really clear, and presented in a moment away from conflict, you will have an easier time referencing them in times of distress.
On pushing his sister for touching his blocks: Quite simply, “Son, when you are done playing with an area, you need to put your toys away; if you leave them out, your sister may play with the toys and change your creation.”
On being physical, especially, with a younger child: “You may not push your sister. It is our job to keep each other safe.”
Building family unity so he has a sense of pride and protection about his sister. Check this article for many ideas about building family unity. I STRONGLY recommend this article for ANYONE with more than one child. http://loveparentingla.com/answers-to-sibling-harmony/
During the moment of crisis, don't address him playing with the blocks. If he displays resistance to your directions (which he did) you have no way to manage that; so you have to compartmentalize. First, address the safety and tend to your daughter's wounds, even if this means ignoring his further trespasses of playing with the blocks after pushing her.
Now, address your expectations of how your family will run. Once your daughter is settled, you return to the blocks and begin to calmly put them away; when he protests, almost matter a faculty you say, "Oh, of course I have to put these away. You were violent to your sister over this toy, so this toy is not an option right now."
Your son going limp, won't talk and won’t look at you: This is to be expected; he feels ashamed and doesn't have the words to express himself and doesn't know how to bridge back to you; he knows he has misbehaved, he know you are upset, he knows he hurt his sister and he is just shutting down. Part of your job (and that of your husband) is to model emotional intelligence so he learns how to recognize and express what he is feeling. Here is a wonderful article from my colleague, a contributor to the Ultimate Parenting Course, and a fellow expert on this forum: the article: http://www.ahaparenting.com/BlogRetrieve.aspx?PostID=112264&A=SearchResult&SearchID=3382048&ObjectID=112264&ObjectType=55
Trying to have rational exchanges with your son regarding lunch, but clearly, he is still in a place of total disconnection. Your husband says, "guilt and self-hatred;" I would say that is pretty heavy-handed analysis and more suitable for an adult than a 3.5 year old.
In moments of emotional upheaval, it is okay to just make a lunch choice for him, serve it, and it is also okay if it is not his preference. Chances are he wouldn’t like it even if it was his first choice because he is so emotionally charged. It is hard for most people to eat when they are upset, young or old.
Yes, I believe the medication can affect his moods and behavior; as well, if he is eating less in general, his nutrition is being affected. Youngsters’ behavior is largely influenced by sleep and nutrition, so I’m sure this is a factor.
Based on what you’ve described, however, I would seek professional help so that someone in your community can navigate other factors in your home that may be contributing to your child's behavior.
Your isolation: it is important that you create support for yourself. Most communities have many opportunities for moms to connect and you can find this by researching online: Mom's Clubs, Mom's Meet-Up, Yahoo groups, YMCA mom's groups, church groups, La Leche League support groups, Attachment Parenting International support groups; Moterhing.com has "find your tribe." It is important that you utilize some of your energy to reach out; you are not the only one who is mothering in isolation. Once you have made a friend or two, you can begin to explore Momma-Trades,
This support will be transformational. Mothering is hard work under the best of circumstances, let alone when you have your own medical diagnosis, and are mothering in isolation.
You are right to make sure the children are safe, and then remove yourself when you are angry.
In general, I would make it a practice to set more limits in your household; be a little more firm and clear with your son about what is acceptable and what won't be tolerated. You are the mother; you are setting the tone for your household. You are allowed to create boundaries even if it isn't your son's first choice. His ability to move past his own frustrations will end up being a gift.
Lastly, I do recommend the Ultimate Parenting Course; it is a project that I put together with 20 experts in the field in video, Skype and audio interviews and a 100-page handbook. I think it will prove helpful over the course of your journey in parroting. There are 8 sections and soon the course will be available as single subjects, so you could start with "conflict" and move though them one at a time.
You have my blessings for health, renewal, and family harmony,
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