Help! Severe Aggressive/Defiant Behavior! - Page 4 - Mothering Forums
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#91 of 494 Old 10-13-2009, 04:34 PM
 
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Thanks Barbie! It's odd to think that a stranger we've never met is thinking about us, worrying about us, and hoping for the best, but it's also immensely comforting! To think that someone we've never met cares about us shows that wonderful human connection we can have. Having had some less than pleasant experiences (understatement!!!) with humans lately (namely a stranger deciding it would be fun to break into my house, rape me, and cut me up with a knife, possibly also assaulting my baby as well), I definitely need to renew my faith in humanity, and this sort of thing does that for me, so THANKS.
Between that and your daycare experiences, espcially what your little guy went through when he was MY BABY's age, I would not have to wonder how your faith in humanity would be so shaky. PM me if you ever want to just talk with a friend.
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#92 of 494 Old 10-13-2009, 07:12 PM
 
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#93 of 494 Old 10-13-2009, 10:53 PM
 
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To me, exercise and outdoor time are ESSENTIAL for all kids, but especially for "challenging" children with lots of energy (and sometimes anger and aggression). If my son doesn't get several hours of outside time or active play time per day, he is not fun to be around.
THIS!!! Only have a second, but I had to say that my DS had some of the problems that you listed, and when we moved to the country and started homeschooling him, he got 100X better. Tons of outdoor/free time

PM me if you want details. Gotta go

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#94 of 494 Old 10-14-2009, 07:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Ammasmahma:

You said . . . .

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Originally Posted by ammasmahma View Post
When they got home, I tried to talk to her about it, she said, "I can't talk", although she did validate that she was sad that the toy had been taken from her when she was originally playing with it first. I tried to explain to her that my neice is a baby and we need to be gentle with her but it took an hour of crying, hitting me, kicking me, yelling at me, until she finally broke down and relaxed into my arms and finally started to respond to me. I think, should I have pressed it? Should I have left her alone when she asked me to leave the room? Should I have ignored it? Would she remember it if I came to her at a later time to talk about it? I asked if we could talk about it later instead and of course she ignored me so instead, I pressed it and told her we needed to stay in the room until we are both calm and we can talk about what happened. I don't if this is right or not, it doesn't feel completely right but our situation isn't the best either so we have many stresses that complicate things.
I am sorry to hear that you, too, are having a tough time with your daughter. In reading the portion above, I noticed that you are questioning yourself, like I often do (and I assume many/most/all parents do from time to time)--"Was that the right way to handle this? Should I have done something else? Am I making this worse?"

One thing that I've tried with my son when he doesn't want to talk is using puppets. It's so weird because I know he knows the puppet is me talking, but he will talk to the puppet, but not me. I might say, in a silly voice using his zebra puppet, "Hi! You look really mad right now. What's wrong? Can I give you a hug?" and he will say, "My mom is being really rude and won't let me play. She says I have to go to bed, but I don't want to." And then my son and the zebra will have a little conversation. We also sometimes play where one puppet acts out the negative behavior (hitting, throwing something, etc) and the other puppet tells the misbehaving puppet that what he is doing is not ok. My son will often intervene and put the misbehaving puppet in time out. This seems to be very effective.

I don't mean to sound like the parenting expert here when I've been at my wits end until just lately. There have always been some things that work at SOME times, but not others. Lately, I've been pulling out ALL the patience that I can muster. I've also been using a lot from the book "Playful Parenting," which I love. It gives lots of ideas for defusing situations that are about to go from bad (crabby child) to worse (full blown tantruming child).



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She sometimes likes to play with it, like chase, if I get closer to her to try and get her to listen, she laughs and runs like we are playing a game and it's sooo difficult to get her to actually listen to me. She changes the subject, plays, and sometimes will finally respond by saying, "oh" or "ok". I'm not sure what to think at this point. Am I teaching her to just apease me by saying those things? I try to identify what feelings she is going through and she doesn't want anything to do with it.
I think it's very hard for young kids to express their feelings. I think sometimes they just don't know what they are feeling, but they just feel not quite right. They can't always put words to it. I used to expect my son to express what he was feeling, but his therapist said that probably wasn't entirely possible, and I also realized this myself. I think with misbehavior, it's not necessarily important WHY they are doing it, but you have to set a boundary that the child CAN'T do this. The boundary my son's therapist said to set is behavior that hurts (or has the potential to hurt) the child, others, or destroys property. She said all other behaviors, like saying bad words, should just be ignored.

My son recently did a "run away/chase game" when I was trying to put him in time out. His therapist said that I should not chase him. I should just stop, and when he stops, I gently take him back to time out. I am not sure if you're using time out with your daughter or not, and I definitely don't think time outs are some magic thing or that they should be used with all children or in all situations.

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In the past, when I have tried to use creative play, it seems to work much better. Like moving and playing helps her express better. She can't sit still and talk, no way! She has to be moving and doing something, which sometime makes me think she is ignoring me or the situation. She loves dance, paint, clay, drawing, music, hula hoops, digging in the dirt, etc.

If I were to set up art stations like you suggest, the hard part is keeping the house clean and do I make her clean up one station before she can move to the next? Most mothers who have grown children say the one mistake they made is not making the kids clean up after themselves whether they make them or are creative in doing it with them. The moms usually say that they just cleaned up after them and then when they got older, they were slobs.
I think that having lots of positive "time in" with children is SO important, and I am realizing that this is probably a big part of what my son was missing out on. I am a single mom, I work two full time teaching jobs (I teach college-level English), and my son's dad is not involved, so I have very few breaks. I have very little support system. Because of this, I often didn't have the energy to give him the attention and play time that he needed. I've been trying to go to bed earlier (hard because I've been having insomnia due to the crime in May) and let things go (cleaning the house, etc) to play with him more. The more I follow the "Playful Parenting" approach, but also keep boundaries, the better we seem to both be doing.

This is not to say that we might have a massive relapse in another week or two or a month or two later, but for right now, I am optimistic and feel like medication is OFF THE TABLE. Hallelujah! (Of course this is no judgment of those parents who chose to use medication for their children; I am sure some children may really need medication. It's better for a child or parent to be medicated than for both people to feel like they can't stand each other, in my opinion. If I end up having to go that route, I will consider it.)

As for cleaning up, I think it's important that clean-up is always what you do when it's time for play to end. When it's time to go to bed, my son has to clean up all his toys and put everything away. I almost always make this a game by racing him, that I will pick up toys faster, or that I will be able to get ready for bed (wash my face, brush my teeth, etc) before he can clean up his toys. He seriously loves this! Anything that can make it a game is good. I don't think children should think of parents as personal servants, which is a trap I've fallen into myself. Now that my son is four, I am trying to always encourage him to do the things he can do for himself. Cleaning up is something I definitely enforce.

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Originally Posted by ammasmahma View Post
A little history about me, we are attachment parenters for the most part but have been through a separation, a ton of moves, domestic violence from the father and then me reacting to that because I'm triggered since I had abuse in my childhood. Although both her father and I have similar parenting views and compassion for our daughter and want her to have a better life than we had growing up, we can't seem to correct things within ourselves to make that happen. I have realized that I am happiest when with her father and so is our daughter. The only thing, it's only a matter of time before he blows up. We are not together now but are working on co-parenting and are going to do couseling together with the focus being on ourselves individually and on parenting our daughter.
I felt like I had to ask: are you saying your daughter's dad is physically abusive to you, but that you are happiest when you are with him? I know that many victims of domestic violence feel this way, and I worked as a domestic violence counselor (volunteer) for four years, so I do understand the psychology of this, but it is so unhealthy for you and your daughter if I have, in fact, read this correctly. I have also been in abusive relationships, but never with my child, and I will never be in a relationship with someone who would mistreat me in any way now that I have a child. I wish I had had this same respect for myself prior to becoming a mother, but I think this is one gift my son's unexpected arrival has given me.

If your child witnesses violence towards you, do you think that will affect the way she views you and her level of respect towards you? Don't you think this will also affect her future relationships and how she allows herself to be treated as an adult? Do you think that viewing violence will also cause her to act out? I don't mean to sound like I am judging you, because I know it can be extremely hard to leave an abusive relationship, especially when it means being a single mother, but if this is what she's witnessing, I think the first step to improving her behavior is removing yourself and her from this situation. If she is able to see her dad and have him not act out violently against her, then she needs to see him without you present, in my opinion. If he could get treatment/counseling and no longer be violent, not even verbally (screaming, yelling, etc), then maybe it would be an ok situation. Of course I am not in your shoes, and this is just my opinion based on my own personal experiences and training, but if I read your post correctly, and you really are currently experiencing domestic violence in the home with your child, this needs to stop.

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Originally Posted by ammasmahma View Post
There is a lot of healing to do and if you are still triggered from your childhood, that will affect your parenting and your relationship with your youngen so healing yourself is a must.

Does anyone have any advice for my situation too? I'm afraid that if I don't do something now, I will end up ruining her life? I will visit that website recommended above and check out that book. Those sound like great starts.

Thank you for sharing your story with us and thank you to everyone who has already replied. It has been a tearing fearful, hopeful reading for me. I hope everything goes well for you in the future.

P.S. Have you heard of the Explosive Child? Google it. It may help you.
I hope everything goes well for you and your daughter in the future, as well. I hope that if you are currently in a domestic violence situation (something you seemed to mention so nonchalantly, as if it was a minor part of your life) that you can find the strength to get out of that situation. There are lots of resources for women in your situation. Though your abuser may have many wonderful qualities (my son's biological father was just like that---wonderful and loving one minute, and completely crazy the next) domestic violence is so damaging that it really outweighs everything else. If I read your post right and this is still happening, I hope you will get some counseling and help for yourself and your daughter.
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#95 of 494 Old 10-14-2009, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Barbie. I just might take you up on that! Yes, we've had more than our share of crappy experiences with fellow human beings in the last two years. Seriously, when I think about it, I almost can't believe it. I am hoping that I will be coming up on a time period that is so WONDERFUL that I can't believe it! People always say, "You are so strong! You should be proud of yourself!" but I am tired of being strong and constantly fighting. I just want to have some smooth sailing for a while!

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Between that and your daycare experiences, espcially what your little guy went through when he was MY BABY's age, I would not have to wonder how your faith in humanity would be so shaky. PM me if you ever want to just talk with a friend.
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#96 of 494 Old 10-15-2009, 12:50 AM
 
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Bisou - I have read this whole thread and I just have to say you rock! Good for you for standing up for your baby! He is SO lucky to have you for his mother! Many, many hugs to you. You and your little guy have been in prayers. I hope things continue to go well for both of you - you both deserve lots of peace and happiness.
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#97 of 494 Old 10-16-2009, 12:27 AM
 
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Would you consider homeopathy? Send me a PM, I'll help you as best I can.

Consciously mothering 3 girls and 2 boys
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#98 of 494 Old 10-16-2009, 02:52 AM
 
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First of all hugs to you- I had tears in my eyes reading your origanal post because I can relate in a way. My son has had behavioral problems since about the age of 2. He has been diagnosed with many things including bipolar. I too did not want to try meds- but eventually did due to pressure from the school and daycare. He started to develop tics and I was somehow (I don't remember how) led to chiropractic. I had him see a chiro and his tics almost instantly resolved- I decided to homeschool and took him off the meds and then made the mistake of also stopping the chiro. Last year at the age of 9 his behavior was WAY out of control and I ended up resorting to meds again- which actually seemed to make things worse and the tics came back! The tics made me remember the chiro and again as soon as we started with that the tics went away- I again discontinued the meds and am happy to say that after a about a year of chiro and 8 months of half day long outpatient therapy that I finally have a managable child- he still freaks out a bit more then other kids his age but its mostly only verbal and that is a huge improvement. All that to say that if it hasn't already been mentioned you may want to try to find a good chiropractor if you are still uncomfortable with the meds.

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#99 of 494 Old 10-16-2009, 01:08 PM
 
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"The behavioral pediatrician said that it just shows he has awareness of what's socially appropriate and that after holding it in all day, he blows his fuse when he's with me because he feels safe doing so with me.. "

I agree with this.

With my background in working with ADD, ODD, and otherwise defiant kids, I would advise against putting a child this young on meds. I agree that he has been severly traumatized and sounds to be a sensitive kid who has been greatly affected by these instances. No amount of meds will help him overcome the feelings that he needs to deal with in order to move past the hurt and anger he feels. I have seen countless kids who have lived their life on meds from a young age and underneath continue to be the same angry and hurt small child they were the first time they were put on meds.
I think the play therapy is a great idea! Have you read Playful Parenting?
The time outs seem to not be working. IMO he seems to be acting out with you because he does not have the verbal ability to articulate the extreme anger and hurt he feels. He may feel fear every day at school that he can't trust anyone there to not hurt him like he has been hurt before. You are his safe place. I really like the time in idea. Let him know you love and accept him... that it is okay to be angry and hurt, and that you will help him through it. Once he is calmed down then you can talk with him about better ways to handle it. Is there a certain word he could say when he is starting to feel out of control? It could be a silly or serious word that would let you know he needs a time in. He may also really benefit from being wrestled with in a playful way. Where he can feel powerful by pushing you over and seeing you fall dramatically. Maybe you could get him a punching bag he can take his aggression out on? Does he have plenty of time and space to release his physical energy? Places he can jump, hit things (balls, punching bag), etc. Positive releases of physical energy. His need to get this stuff out of him will not go away. You may be able to suppress it with meds, but it will not cure his feelings. Many kids have told me that their meds only keep them from expressing the anger they still feel inside.
It sounds like you have a very sensitive, feeling, active little boy who feels betrayed and needs to know that he is loved and accepted unconditionally. That does not mean that you are okay with his violence, but he needs to know that you will not remove your love (which he may be feeling during time outs - which then causes him to just act out more cause he does not have the words to express the deep fears he has). You are his safe place. He feels safe letting it all out with you. Love him, hug him, let him know you will get through his pain together with him.
You are an amazing mother. You are searching out the best possible options for your baby, and obviously love him more than anything.
Hugs to you and your sweet baby boy.
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#100 of 494 Old 10-16-2009, 05:45 PM
 
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I read your whole thread. I think you are amazing. I have a little guy who is a year older than yours. He has not had the trauma-inducing things you have talked about in his life, but I just wanted to say that so far, age 4 has been REALLY HARD for all my children. Not that it will be automatically better, but you said upthread somewhere that he didn't seem to be able to discuss all his feelings, and needed to act out physically. This was our experience too. We just didn't have the tantrums that you've described in length.

Hang in there.
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#101 of 494 Old 10-17-2009, 04:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Bisou - I have read this whole thread and I just have to say you rock! Good for you for standing up for your baby! He is SO lucky to have you for his mother! Many, many hugs to you. You and your little guy have been in prayers. I hope things continue to go well for both of you - you both deserve lots of peace and happiness.
Thanks so much! Had a little mommy meltdown two days ago. I just work SOOO hard and it's often hard to be patient. It can be so hard to get us out the door in the morning! I am sure most moms can relate. What kid wants to go to school or daycare instead of stay with mom? (Well, maybe some, but probably not most!) It's not really in his best interest to cooperate! LOL. Anyway, I burst into tears, called my mom, told my son it wasn't his fault, that mommy was just tired, then today I scheduled my first massage in about four months and made it a good one: I scheduled a 90 minute massage, and now I feel like a new woman! Tomorrow I am getting acupuncture, again for the first time in four or five months. Enough putting everything else first: work, parenting, cleaning, the cat box! I need some major rejuvenation. If the way I felt today after this 90 minute massage is any indication, I need to do this way more often and make whatever changes necessary to the budget to make this happen more often.

How many of us parents can relate to that?
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#102 of 494 Old 10-17-2009, 04:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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First of all hugs to you- I had tears in my eyes reading your origanal post because I can relate in a way. My son has had behavioral problems since about the age of 2. He has been diagnosed with many things including bipolar. I too did not want to try meds- but eventually did due to pressure from the school and daycare. He started to develop tics and I was somehow (I don't remember how) led to chiropractic. I had him see a chiro and his tics almost instantly resolved- I decided to homeschool and took him off the meds and then made the mistake of also stopping the chiro. Last year at the age of 9 his behavior was WAY out of control and I ended up resorting to meds again- which actually seemed to make things worse and the tics came back! The tics made me remember the chiro and again as soon as we started with that the tics went away- I again discontinued the meds and am happy to say that after a about a year of chiro and 8 months of half day long outpatient therapy that I finally have a managable child- he still freaks out a bit more then other kids his age but its mostly only verbal and that is a huge improvement. All that to say that if it hasn't already been mentioned you may want to try to find a good chiropractor if you are still uncomfortable with the meds.
That's a good suggestion. I would also consider homeopathy, as the other poster suggested.

I was going to ask how old he is, but it looks like he's around 9-10.

You know, I know some of the behavior problems our kids have are genetic, and some are environmental, but I have to wonder how much of our kids behavioral issues are caused by our society. Most of us live such chaotic lives these days. We no longer have villages or tribes. I guess I think about this more than some people might as a single mom with very little support. I think, "If I lived in a tribe, all of the people would help raise the children, and I wouldn't be totally alone in this!" Perhaps I am oversimplifying things, but with so many parents working and children being raised by daycare providers (some of whom are wonderful, I grant you that) I just think we've gone in a direction that is really unhealthy for human beings. Keep in mind that I am one of those people, as a single mom, who pretty much has to work full time and put her child in childcare, so I am not criticizing anyone who has made the same choice. It's just too bad that our society isn't more family-oriented than it is. How cool would it be if we could bring our kids to the workplace? Tribes people did/do all their work with the kids right there. Maybe I should just go live in a commune!
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#103 of 494 Old 10-17-2009, 05:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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"The behavioral pediatrician said that it just shows he has awareness of what's socially appropriate and that after holding it in all day, he blows his fuse when he's with me because he feels safe doing so with me.. "

I agree with this.

With my background in working with ADD, ODD, and otherwise defiant kids, I would advise against putting a child this young on meds. I agree that he has been severly traumatized and sounds to be a sensitive kid who has been greatly affected by these instances. No amount of meds will help him overcome the feelings that he needs to deal with in order to move past the hurt and anger he feels. I have seen countless kids who have lived their life on meds from a young age and underneath continue to be the same angry and hurt small child they were the first time they were put on meds.
I think the play therapy is a great idea! Have you read Playful Parenting?
The time outs seem to not be working. IMO he seems to be acting out with you because he does not have the verbal ability to articulate the extreme anger and hurt he feels. He may feel fear every day at school that he can't trust anyone there to not hurt him like he has been hurt before. You are his safe place. I really like the time in idea. Let him know you love and accept him... that it is okay to be angry and hurt, and that you will help him through it. Once he is calmed down then you can talk with him about better ways to handle it. Is there a certain word he could say when he is starting to feel out of control? It could be a silly or serious word that would let you know he needs a time in. He may also really benefit from being wrestled with in a playful way. Where he can feel powerful by pushing you over and seeing you fall dramatically. Maybe you could get him a punching bag he can take his aggression out on? Does he have plenty of time and space to release his physical energy? Places he can jump, hit things (balls, punching bag), etc. Positive releases of physical energy. His need to get this stuff out of him will not go away. You may be able to suppress it with meds, but it will not cure his feelings. Many kids have told me that their meds only keep them from expressing the anger they still feel inside.
It sounds like you have a very sensitive, feeling, active little boy who feels betrayed and needs to know that he is loved and accepted unconditionally. That does not mean that you are okay with his violence, but he needs to know that you will not remove your love (which he may be feeling during time outs - which then causes him to just act out more cause he does not have the words to express the deep fears he has). You are his safe place. He feels safe letting it all out with you. Love him, hug him, let him know you will get through his pain together with him.
You are an amazing mother. You are searching out the best possible options for your baby, and obviously love him more than anything.
Hugs to you and your sweet baby boy.
Thanks for your post. I totally agree with all that you've said! I actually have the book "Playful Parenting" right here on my bookshelf, and I've had it for a few years. I just pulled it out a few days ago and started reading it again. I've had a hard time with these intense time outs, as his therapist suggests (or has suggested--she is flexible to changing things around, which is one of her many good points) that I physically restrain him when he won't stay in time out, which is just completely hideous at times, like we are now in this physical battle. Sometimes he will ask me, "Please, mommy, sit with me for my time out!!!" but then I feel like he isn't really having to deal with the consequences of his actions. It's so confusing for me at times.

The book "Transforming the Difficult Child" says that you should not ever give the child positive reinforcement for negative behavior, or any attention at all for the negative behavior. This is in line with what his therapist says as well, but I do admit that it's hard when he seems to want me and want comfort not to give him that comfort. I end up feeling, then, like I am not setting a strong enough boundary, so it's just confusing. There's this disconnect between what I feel like doing and what I think I should do.

I was raised in a fairly abusive environment with severe "spanking." It really should be called beating rather than spanking. I'd have bruises sometimes from the backs of my knees to my mid-back. I have trouble with disciplining my son because I don't want him to feel I don't love him (as I felt as a child), but I also know I can't be overly lenient. Sometimes when I get extremely frustrated with his behavior, I can swing into the opposite extreme of being too harsh, yelling, and not being the parent I want to be.

I feel a lot of guilt because when he was being abused at his daycare at two years of age was when his behavior really got out of control. He would scream, hit me, scratch himself, hit his head on the floor, and rip his clothes off when it was time to go to daycare. It was completely awful. My mother's instinct told me that something was wrong, but my friends just said, "Nothing is wrong. He just doesn't want to go to daycare, but you just have to tell him he has to go because you have to go to work, and that's all there is to it." There were a few times when I got very angry at him for this behavior, and I feel so bad about that looking back. He was completely distraught about having to go and be hurt, but he just couldn't quite tell me. He was only barely two years old at the time. Even then, his verbal skills were quite good, because shortly after this behavior got really intense, he came home one day, screamed and cried as I removed his diaper for a bath, and as I asked "What is wrong, honey?" he said, his exact words, "The teacher hit my penis."

It's so hard that I've been unable to protect him. I feel guilty because it was my decision to move us out of my parents' house back to the city where we live (an hour and a half from where my parents live), which meant I had to put him in daycare. However, we couldn't stay with my parents. We fought constantly, and I was suicidal most of the time we lived there because it was so completely miserable living with them. I checked this daycare out SO thoroughly, dropping in unannounced, stopping parents in the parking lot to interrogate them (how long have your kids been here? do you like it? have any complaints? everyone loved it), etc, but this still happened. The same happened at the place we were recently at, a Waldorf preschool, where he was force-fed. This woman had been a director of Waldorf schools for 20 years. I had heard from many former employees that she was cruel to her employees, but they always said she was fine with the kids. This turned out to not be true. I chose this school primarily because my son was thrilled that they had bunnies and two school cats. He adores animals.

Anyway, I am rambling on, going from one subject to another. There is so much to our story, so much heartbreak, so much emotion.

To get back to the original poster's questions and comments, I do encourage wrestling and rough play (without hurting each other) with my son. We pillow fight, wrestle, play horsey, hit the couch with this big foam bat, and all that sort of thing. His therapist encourages me to find alternative ways for him to get out that energy, so I try to do that, but probably need to do it more. I try to make sure he gets enough exercise (this kid could exercise three hours at day at an intense pace, easily, without being tired at all), enough sleep, and the right foods.

I know he doesn't trust people and he often feels afraid. He is very sensitive and easily gets his feelings hurt by both adults and other kids. Sometimes this leads to crying and other times to anger. I am seeing improvements, slowly but surely. Right now I am glad I didn't try the medication route. It might be on the table later, but it's not now.

I am not sure whether he has a mental illness, but I do know that he's been through way more in his young life, especially in the last two years (the daycare abuse to the genital area, serious attempted break-in when my son and I were home alone, and force-feeding incident at daycare have all happened in less than two years!) than many kids face ever. It makes me angry that he's had to go through so much. It's hard not to blame myself, like "If I wasn't a single mom, he wouldn't have had to go through this." I guess that doesn't help anything or change anything. I just feel so bad that I was unable to protect him. I was unable to keep him safe when he was just an innocent little baby. (Of course no one was ever prosecuted for the abuse. The govt association who investigated said, "Well, no one saw anything." Right, like someone with any brain at all is going to abuse a child with an audience! They told me they wouldn't take the testimony of a child under four. So I said, "So you mean to tell me that someone can abuse a child under four, and as long as no one sees anything, even if the child can say what happened and name the person who did it, then it's just ok?" They responded, "No, we do not take the testimony of a child under four." Wow. Let's hope potential child abusers/molesters don't get wind of that! Can you tell I still have a little anger about this? It's just so wrong.)

Anyway, thanks for the post. It encourages me to keep doing what I've been doing with my son, and MORE OF IT!
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#104 of 494 Old 10-17-2009, 06:08 AM
 
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i just want to pop in with something. it sounds to me like when he's asking you to stay with him in time out, he's asking for connection, he's not asking as a way to get out of the consequences of his actions.

maybe if you look at it differently then that will help you decide what to do.

like, we do time-ins where i sit with my son until he can get his emotions under control. he's almost 5 but he is also a very sensitive kid. it really helps reassure him that i don't dislike _him_ but he needs help and some quiet time getting control.

i am SO so sorry that that happened to your little guy. i can NOT believe that there were no charges pressed, or at least taking away the license of those places.

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#105 of 494 Old 10-17-2009, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i just want to pop in with something. it sounds to me like when he's asking you to stay with him in time out, he's asking for connection, he's not asking as a way to get out of the consequences of his actions.

maybe if you look at it differently then that will help you decide what to do.

like, we do time-ins where i sit with my son until he can get his emotions under control. he's almost 5 but he is also a very sensitive kid. it really helps reassure him that i don't dislike _him_ but he needs help and some quiet time getting control.

i am SO so sorry that that happened to your little guy. i can NOT believe that there were no charges pressed, or at least taking away the license of those places.
Hi PlayaMama:

I agree with you; I've had that same feeling. He is feeling sad and scared, perhaps that he is in trouble or perhaps because he got out of control, or both. I guess my fear is that if he figures out he can hit me, then we just sit and sort of snuggle together, that doesn't seem like a very negative consequence. I have a hard time finding the line between being harsh and giving "punishment" and giving appropriate consequences that make the negative behavior seem less appealing.

How do other parents deal with this, especially those of you who have the more spirited/challenging/difficult/emotional/tempermental/emotionally disregulated (or however you want to define it) children???



Yes, the abuse at the daycare was completely horrifying, and what seemed almost more horrifying was that the government organization (here in Oregon, it's the Department of Human Services, previously Child Protective Services) basically said, "Well, no one saw anything, and the other kids seem to like her, and she said she didn't do anything." WHAT???? Ok, so that makes it ok? Someone at this place ripped the skin off my son's testicles, and my son NAMED the person when I asked who did this. The doctor said there was NO WAY this was an accidental injury. But of course his word doesn't mean anything.

I've tried to let my anger about this go as much as possible, as I wasn't able to do anything about it. I did pursue the idea of suing the organization--it was a large corporately-owned daycare, one that I believe is national--but the lawyer wanted me to try to get my son to talk about it, record it, have him explain it to a child psychologist, and I thought that that might do more harm than good to my son. He got extremely upset if you ever brought it up. For a week afterwards, every time you'd change his diaper, he'd cry and say, "Mommy, the teacher hit my penis and it hurt. That bad teacher hurt me," and I would say, "I know, honey. That was so wrong for her to do. Mommy is so sorry that happened to you," and I would comfort him in whatever way I could. He also told my parents, both of them, the same thing on several occasions when they would change his diaper. We all just could barely keep from sobbing about it. So many things have happened to him, and to me, that just absolutely suck. Sometimes it's hard for me to live in this world and not see everyone as the enemy, or a possible person who could hurt us, but that's not the way I want to live. Thanks to all of you for reminding me that there are GOOD, decent, caring people in the world. None of you have anything to gain from reading this or responding and giving me advice, other than just that you want to help someone, someone who is a complete stranger.


Thanks everyone for your continued support and input.
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#106 of 494 Old 10-17-2009, 10:54 PM
 
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I just came across this article - seems to relate...

http://www.deborahhage.com/articles/childrenbehave.html

This article is intended for adoptive families, with attachment issues, and is pretty judgmental about the biological parents. But the first part of the article, about the thought process of the child is pretty cool.

Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)

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#107 of 494 Old 10-18-2009, 02:03 AM
 
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Bisou I have just read this whole thread and am astonished at what you both have had to overcome in the past several years. Bless you for taking such good care of your child, and give yourself permission to be human. Progress in parenting, not perfection! I hope you find more answers to the questions you have. I pray for peace, healing and health for you both.

And yes, you simply *NEED* to take time to fill up your cup. So the 90 minute massages are NECESSARY. I have an intense dd1 (not a 6 hour tantrumer, just a 1 hour tantrumer) and know that I need self-care breaks to keep functioning. You are not alone in that.


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#108 of 494 Old 10-18-2009, 04:30 AM
 
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Hugs, Bisou.

All of the traumas and abuse that you and your son have been through are so heartbreaking and horrifying.

For what it's worth, I really don't think that your son is mentally ill. He's been so mistreated by his daycare providers! And then the terror of the break-in!

Maybe he just needs more therapy--and more connection time with you--to slowly heal from these traumas he has endured. I think he just needs unconditional love from you. Try to have as much quality time with him as possible.

I think you're doing great, but I hope you won't feel bad if I gently suggest that I think maybe you're being too strict with him. He's only four, afterall, and he's been through a lot. Maybe some of his behaviors are age-appropriate or trauma-appropriate. I'm not saying you should let him hurt you physically, but I don't think punishment is a necessary part of childhood, especially for someone as sensitive and traumatized as your child.

If I were you, I would get rid of the time-outs. From his perspective, you're simply with-holding your love from him during time-outs, love that he desperately needs to heal from his traumas. He needs to know that you love him--even if he can't behave perfectly.

Have you considered consulting a naturopath or an herbalist? I wonder if some gentle herbs would calm him down when he's pushing you over the edge? Valerian or chamomile might help.

Also, you mentioned that you're vegetarian. Would you be willing to add meat to your diet on a trial basis to see if it might help to stabilize his behavior? Some children really need that fat and protein. Animal foods can have a very sacred healing affect. I've seen it firsthand.

Do you think your parents could be being abusive to your son when you're not around? Since they were so abusive to you, I would consider it.

Finally, I would like to share that I've seen firsthand that Risperdal can be both dangerous and ineffective. A family member of mine is on it, and it's ruining her health, and not helping her mental illness. If you google Risperdal, you will find all sorts of horrifying information about the drug.

And that doctor who wants you to give him Risperdal sounds just awful! I wouldn't follow any of her advice. She sounds like a wretched, irresponsible, insensitive doctor.

Good luck, Bisou! I really hope for the best for you and your son.
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#109 of 494 Old 10-18-2009, 07:30 AM
 
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Hi, Bisou.
I feel the need to tell you my tale.
My ds, at 4, was very similar to yours. It was "over the top". At age one, 2, and 3, everyone said it was still "age appropriate".
Newly turning 4, it was not necessarily "age appropriate" any more.
I was probably facing a heavy diagnosis for my kid and meds, too.

I lived with a lot of guilt and assumed (correctly) that it was possibly my parenting that had "done this" to my kid.
I became frantic by the middle of his fourth year, and decided I needed to either fix it myself, or accept the med route.
So I went sort of gently Pavlovian on him.
Every minor infraction was met with him being sent to his room "for one two". (He simply had to go to his room and count to two. This was so minor, he did it without protest, mostly)
If he refused to do that, he got grounded from larger things, like his bike.
I grounded him from tv for about two months during the process.
Good behavior was rewarded with a trip to the store for candy.
But "going Pavlovian" worked, sans meds.
And now he's 6 years old, and just angelic. He hasn't thrown a fit in a store, or tried to destroy the house, in years.
I can go out and do stuff with him, and the whole experience is fun for both of us. His previous incessant negativity is gone.
He's now just your basically average bright, sweet, 6 yo. But, omg, it didn't look like it was going to pan out like this at 4.

ETA:
I should also mention, I now have an almost 2 year old now, too. Who I parented in almost the exact same way as I parented my 6 yo. And the 2 yo never tantrums for more than, like, 15 seconds, tops. She's just naturally mellow, and AP'ing "works" for her.
So I, personally, suspect that "spiritedness" (or whatever) is mostly genetic.
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#110 of 494 Old 10-20-2009, 02:24 PM
 
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Bisou,

I agree that your boy is wanting to connect with you when he asks you to stay with him during time out. It probably helps him feel safe, and loved while at the same time being better able to gain control of himself. Love and connection should not be used as a reward. Eventually you want him to learn how to calm himself down and gain self-control on his own, but right now it seems like he needs your help to accomplish that.
Another excellent book that addresses this issue is Unconditional Parenting which I have just recently begun to re-read as I needed a refresher course for my own boys.
Due to my upbringing I tend to have this little voice in the back of my head that tells me that they need punishment and pain in order to "get it". But in reality they learn most from my example. The more I deal gently and compassionately with them they more they treat me and others in that same gentle way. When I listen to my own gut rather than those ridiculous voices in my head that come from my own childhood pain, I find that my natural inclination is to connect, and then correct.
And definately take time to take care of yourself! That is a NEED!
Hugs to you. You are a strong mama. You and your son will get through this together. He will know without a doubt that he is loved. Please try not to beat yourself up about the past. You made the best decisions you could. You are here now. Move forward with love and compassion. Things will continue to get better.
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#111 of 494 Old 10-20-2009, 02:36 PM
 
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That's a good suggestion. I would also consider homeopathy, as the other poster suggested.

I was going to ask how old he is, but it looks like he's around 9-10.

You know, I know some of the behavior problems our kids have are genetic, and some are environmental, but I have to wonder how much of our kids behavioral issues are caused by our society. Most of us live such chaotic lives these days. We no longer have villages or tribes. I guess I think about this more than some people might as a single mom with very little support. I think, "If I lived in a tribe, all of the people would help raise the children, and I wouldn't be totally alone in this!" Perhaps I am oversimplifying things, but with so many parents working and children being raised by daycare providers (some of whom are wonderful, I grant you that) I just think we've gone in a direction that is really unhealthy for human beings. Keep in mind that I am one of those people, as a single mom, who pretty much has to work full time and put her child in childcare, so I am not criticizing anyone who has made the same choice. It's just too bad that our society isn't more family-oriented than it is. How cool would it be if we could bring our kids to the workplace? Tribes people did/do all their work with the kids right there. Maybe I should just go live in a commune!
Can my kids and I come?
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#112 of 494 Old 11-03-2009, 06:15 PM
 
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Been thinking of you guys, and hope all is well. (no news is good news?)
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#113 of 494 Old 11-04-2009, 11:54 PM
 
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OMG...I could not read this thread and not post.

I just can't get over the trauma your son went threw at such a young age. Have you thought about trying craniosacral therapy? I had a horrible birth experience with my first son and while doing the therapy she recreated the birth but made it with a pleasant ending...I am not explaining it well sorry...It is kind of strange to write. When she was working on me, I could really feel the birth again.

Maybe he needs to go back to that time in his life (mentally) and go threw the experience a different way to build better connections in his brain.

typing with one hand sorry I can't write more
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#114 of 494 Old 12-22-2009, 02:43 PM
 
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Hi Bisou,

Found myself thinking of you and your little prince and hoping you are having a very blessed Holiday season.

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#115 of 494 Old 12-23-2009, 07:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Bisou,

Found myself thinking of you and your little prince and hoping you are having a very blessed Holiday season.

Hi Barbie:

Strange, I was just thinking about posting an update over the past few days! I do want to do that and NEED to do that, but it's almost 1:00 am, and I need to hit the sack.

In short, things have been up and down for us. The most distressing thing for me lately has been that our cat died (my beloved cat I'd had for over 16 years!) and we got a new kitty, which my son has started intentionally hurting over the past week or two. I never would've expected this from him in a MILLION years! My son has always been the most gentle and loving child you've ever seen with animals, so surprisingly so, even at a young age, that people have often commented on how extremely wonderful he was with animals. It was a source of great pride for me! I just was soooo proud of his gentleness with animals. He would even chastise the neighbor kids in our old neighborhood when they'd scream at the neighborhood cats or chase them. Those cats hated all of the other kids, except my son!

So, we got this new little kitty. She's five months old, a very adorable Exotic Shorthair (basically a short-haired Persian) and my son was just thrilled about her at first, but then he started getting frustrated with her that she wasn't reacting to him the way he wanted. He wants to carry her around all the time, and she's not into being carried or held much, even by me, so she started hiding under the bed to get away from him, which made him upset. One day I was in the shower, and when I got out, he said, "Mom, you need to put me in time out." "Why?" I asked. He said, "I hurt Lilly (our cat)." I asked him what he did, and he said he pulled her tail and that she yowled. I was SOOOOO upset and angry. The next day he pulled her leg, also while I was in the shower. I can't even begin to explain how distressing this is to me! He then told me that he had hit her and thrown her, and he was sort of laughing about it, like a nervous laughter, I guess. The kitty doesn't appear to be hurt at all at this point, but I don't want her to be physically or emotionally damaged by this, obviously! I don't want her to have pain, even temporarily, or be afraid of us. I don't want her to hide from him. I thought this cat would be a good, happy thing for us when we've had nothing but sadness, fear, and stress over the past six months or so with facing a serious, life-threatening crime, losing our home, and just having our entire lives ripped away from us. It started out so well, and he was so happy to have his new kitty, then suddenly he's hurting her!!! I don't really get it.

My mom, who always blames EVERYTHING on me, said that he was probably jealous of the attention she was getting, but I purposefully DON'T give her lots of attention when he is awake because I didn't want to cause any problems. I spend most of my time petting and playing with her when he's asleep or when he's not here.

I think his problem is that she isn't playing with him the way he wants her to, so he's angry. I also think that he gets frustrated with her because he gets in trouble for picking her up too much and getting her out from under the bed when she's gone there to hide. Sometimes I have to tell him that if he picks her up again (for the 20th time!) or bothers her under the bed (where she is going to hide from him, obviously) that he will have a time out. I think he might resent her because of this, like the new baby sister who's getting him in trouble. I have no idea. Just randomly hypothesizing.

Things have calmed down with that over the last week, but I've just been DEVASTATED about the thought that I might have to get rid of her. I don't want her to be hurt! I don't want him to be hurting her! But I also fear what it would do him to have the cat removed because he was hurting her. I'd like to see him be successful (stop hurting the cat) rather than have to take her away because he can't act appropriately, but I don't want to put the cat at risk to give him that chance.

He always was so extremely wonderful with animals. Cats, even those we didn't know, loved him so much that people called him the Cat Whisperer! Our neighbor's cats where we used to live would come running when they'd see our car just because they loved my son. It's just devastating to me to think "WHAT IS WRONG WITH HIM?"

His therapist said that she didn't think we needed to get rid of the cat just yet. I went into her office two days after this started (without my son, of course) and I was crying so hard for the first five minutes that I couldn't even talk. She was just sitting there looking at me like "Wow! What is going on???" She said she hopes that she doesn't regret this, but that she thought I should see if I can help him work this through and NOT hurt the cat.

I've been talking to him about how the cat will want to be around him more if he's gentle and doesn't chase her and pick her up all the time. He has been better over the last few days, and now the cat is lying down next to him while he's playing, but I am just so nervous every time I have to be away from them, like what is he capable of doing????? It just makes me sick to my stomach. I don't want her to get hurt, and I don't want him to hurt her, or to want to hurt her, or have the experience of hurting her. That is just so unhealthy and so sick. It just makes me ill. I don't want to think that he's a monster---hurting an innocent kitten!

I tried locking her in the bathroom with me when I took a shower after the second time he hurt her (I thought the first time was a fluke and wouldn't happen again after we talked about it so much), but he just screamed and cried and pounded on the door, and I was worried that someone was going to call and complain. (We live in an apartment building where noise travels easily.)

Ugh. So much for the quick update, huh? I started writing and it just poured out like a flash flood. I guess it needed to be discussed.

You all have been such a great support system for me, so thank you. I am a single mom, and I really have VERY little support.

The last time my son was totally out of control and I was feeling like I was going to literally (I mean LITERALLY!) lose my mind, I called my mom for support, and she said, SHE was going to lose it because it was so hard for her! She then said she wanted to kill herself because she couldn't handle how hard my life was (What???? my life is so hard for YOU now you're going to kill yourself????), and that it was harder for her to hear about what was going on with my son than it was for me to live it! I swear, if I was raped, this woman would say it was harder for her to hear about me being raped than for me to be raped!!!! I understand that as a mother and grandmother, it's hard for her to see us in distress and to see her grandson having serious problems, but come on---it's not harder for her than it is for me to actually LIVE this. Please. Get a grip!

The conversation ended when my mom suggested, as she's done several times, that if I can't handle my son maybe I should just find him a nice, loving family. YES, she suggested I give him up for adoption. I promptly hung up on her. She's done this several times, and each time she's said this, I've told her "DO NOT EVER, EVER, SAY THAT TO ME AGAIN!" The thing is that she loves my son beyond belief, and if I ever did think I wanted to give him up for adoption, something I would NEVER DO IN A MILLION YEARS, I know for a fact with 100% certainty that my parents would fight tooth and nail to adopt him. Heck, maybe that's what she's going for. I don't know. But it's just the ultimate cruel thing to say when someone has been having a full on battle for 3-4+ hours, alone, with an out of control child. It's such an insult, such a huge slap in the face, like it would be better for him to live with someone else than with me, like the pain of him being given away by his mom when he's old enough to know exactly what's going on would be a better choice for him than staying with me. And why? Because I don't love him or don't want him????? NO. Because I am about to lose my mind when he's been hitting, screaming, biting, and being out of control for hours on end.

I have only a few friends at this point, none who are very close, and I don't feel comfortable calling them to say that my son is out of control, hitting, biting, hurting the cat, etc. I don't think people know how to handle that.

I did find out that there was a child abuse prevention hotline that parents could call if they were feeling overwhelmed with an out-of-control child, and I might try that the next time he gets that way instead of calling my mom, which obviously is not a good choice. Apparently they are non-reporting, so they don't turn people in for calling. I am not suggesting that I am hurting my son, but sometimes after hours of this behavior I am just soooo at my wits' end that I feel like I am going to snap. I was beaten by my parents, so when I am extremely frustrated, angry, and just frazzled beyond belief, those aggressive tendencies want to come out----screaming, absolutely no patience, physically dragging him to time out----the opposite of how I want to act!!!! I just get to the point where I am like "WHAT IS GOING TO MAKE YOU STOP! I WANT YOU TO STOP!!!!!! NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I feel like nothing I am doing is working.

Next time I feel like that I am going to call the hotline and hope it's helpful.

I know this all sounds so awful and negative, and I don't want it to be that way. Actually, after my last postings, I REALLY tried to just suck up all my strength and patience, and my son did much better for a while.

I know some of you will say that this is just further evidence that he is mentally ill (bipolar has been the most common suggestion) and that he needs medication. I have not ruled that out, but I am not ready to go there yet. I have seen improvement in him overall, which is why this whole situation with the cat was SOOO upsetting. He seems like he wants to get a reaction out of me, so it seems like that is part of it too.

Wow. I am just going on and on. Thanks for listening to me, dear readers.

I know I probably need to look at his diet more. He's eating a lot more refined foods than he should due to our overly stressful, busy, hectic lifestyle. I work almost two full-time jobs on top of being full-time single mom, and in order to keep him out of full-time daycare, I do a lot of work at night when he's asleep, often losing precious hours of sleep. I know somehow we need to find more balance. There are so many things I could do better. Sigh.

I am also thinking about trying some alternative medicine, like acupuncture or acupressure and naturopathic medicine. I want to exhaust all avenues before I try hardcore chemical medications. It's just so scary to me. What are the long-term consequences for his brain if he takes these meds? I know there are consequences to what's going on now too.

He's awake, so have to go. Sleep disturbances and nightmares are another problem he's been having, especially since the break-in attempt we had in May. We're both suffering because of that.

Merry Christmas to everyone, and thanks so much for your continued support.

With love,
Bisou
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#116 of 494 Old 12-23-2009, 09:30 AM
 
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Havent had time to read entire thread, but skimmed most.. I read a wonderful book called "Raising Our Children Raising Ourselves" it mentions how time outs are NOT good and tells why. Talks about how kids that do bad things actually need to be loved afterwards instead of punished so that they know that they are still loved and in doing so they are able to resolve their issues much quicker. It talks about tantrums... I'm probably doing a bad job at explaining it well, but this book was NOT written for children with mental disorders, just normal parenting book for everyone!! I think it might have some good things in it you can use, its wonderful.

ETA: I found the book and posted a link, author is Naomi Aldort

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." -Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
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#117 of 494 Old 12-23-2009, 02:48 PM
 
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I noticed you have listed your location (I dont rememeber seeing it before) and unfortunatly, you couldn't be any further away from me then if you were in Japan! I would love to be part of your support system, even if its just through MDC or email.

Maybe the fact that your cat is YOUR CAT and is not responding to him the way your other cat used to is extra frustrating for him?

Your mom doesnt sound like a very good support system for you (How could she say all this trauma is YOUR FAULT?). Im sorry you dont have any friends that can be a better shoulder for you to lean on. Hopefully the hotline will be a better outlet for you when you are at your lowest and need a friendly ear to vent too.

Wishing you and your son a very Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year filled with new beginings and a CLEAN SLATE!
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#118 of 494 Old 12-23-2009, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by newmum35 View Post
Havent had time to read entire thread, but skimmed most.. I read a wonderful book called "Raising Our Children Raising Ourselves" it mentions how time outs are NOT good and tells why. Talks about how kids that do bad things actually need to be loved afterwards instead of punished so that they know that they are still loved and in doing so they are able to resolve their issues much quicker. It talks about tantrums... I'm probably doing a bad job at explaining it well, but this book was NOT written for children with mental disorders, just normal parenting book for everyone!! I think it might have some good things in it you can use, its wonderful.

ETA: I found the book and posted a link, author is Naomi Aldort
Thanks for that information! I am always on the lookout for new books and have bought several that other MDC moms have suggested. A behavioral pediatrician has suggested my son may have a problem/disorder that needs regulating, but I am not completely convinced. I know when I can stay completely calm and patient with him, he does MUCH better, but I am a single mom who works SOOOOO much, and he is SOOOOOO challenging that I just can't be the perfect parent I want to be all the time.

I used to be totally against time outs and would just talk to him about his behavior instead. In theory, I don't like the idea of time outs. But it became somewhat clear that he needed some kind of more serious punishment because if I talked to him about things, he would just keep doing what he wasn't supposed to be doing over and over and over. I've also tried distraction and "playful parenting" (from a book of the same name), and it works ok on the good days and is worthless on the bad days. Having the patience of a saint works fairly well, but on those days when I am exhausted and just beyond stressed and I have to tell him ten million times not to do this or that, and especially when he is being aggressive towards me, that's when I lose it.

Today has been a nice day! We went to his therapist for play therapy this morning, had a nice breakfast at a restaurant where he charmed the servers and cook (told our waitress "Thanks for the great service!" LOL), and are now at home getting ready to cook an apple pie together. These days are what I thought parenting would be like most of the time. Has he been perfectly well behaved today and listened to everything? No, but that's not what I expect from him either. Usually, though, his behavior is WAY off the charts.

Anyway, I am rambling again. Thanks for your reply!
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#119 of 494 Old 12-23-2009, 06:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I noticed you have listed your location (I dont rememeber seeing it before) and unfortunatly, you couldn't be any further away from me then if you were in Japan! I would love to be part of your support system, even if its just through MDC or email.

Maybe the fact that your cat is YOUR CAT and is not responding to him the way your other cat used to is extra frustrating for him?

Your mom doesnt sound like a very good support system for you (How could she say all this trauma is YOUR FAULT?). Im sorry you dont have any friends that can be a better shoulder for you to lean on. Hopefully the hotline will be a better outlet for you when you are at your lowest and need a friendly ear to vent too.

Wishing you and your son a very Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year filled with new beginings and a CLEAN SLATE!
Thanks so much Barbie! I may take you up on the email buddy offer!

I am going to cuddle with my son now in bed, which he has requested. THESE are the moments that I cherish! Unfortunately, I see a lot of his dad in him. His dad (who has never met him) could be the sweetest, kindest, most affectionate person, then out of the blue he would just be a completely psycho, cruel person. It scares me to think that my son could have these same tendencies. I don't know if that's typical of bipolar disorder or not. My son's dad was SEVERELY abused (raped by his dad, forced to have sex with siblings, prostituted by his parents as a child----HORRIBLE stuff), so that always explained his crazy behavior, and of course, made me put up with things I shouldn't have because I wanted to prove to him that he was a lovable person and that there were people (ME!) who could be trusted and who would love him. Yeah, that's a whole different story! I know my son's father's trauma caused a lot of his horrible behavior, but I have to wonder if both my son and his dad don't have something wrong with their wiring. That said, my son has had his share of trauma too!

Alright, off to cuddle. Merry Christmas to everyone!

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#120 of 494 Old 12-27-2009, 10:33 AM
 
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O.M.G Bisou!!! How do you stay sane?!?!?!?!

Hope you had a wonderful holiday! Look forward to another pleansent update!
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