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#151 of 494 Old 01-10-2010, 03:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow! Your son sounds a LOT like my son! He has definitely been extremely out of control for the last year or so, which you probably know since I think you've read a lot of this thread.

My son can get really upset in stressful situations like that too, especially where there are lots of people, though sometimes he does fine.

He definitely loves getting squished, like your son does, and I've even squished him with the exercise ball I have at home, just as a random thing.

So with the OT, are they basically just giving him that sensory input that he seeks, which you then also replicate at home?

Also, is he still on the Risperdal? Did they know he had these sensory issues when he was given Risperdal? I've heard that medication isn't good (or at least not necessary) for kids with sensory disorders?

This is all new to me, so thanks for the info!

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Originally Posted by unschoolinmom View Post
Yes, my son is also sensory-seeking.

Kids with autism can have sensory issues, but kids with SPD aren't always autistic. My two aren't at all. However, because of the diagnosis, they had their hearing checked. It came out fine.

With my son, the OT worked on deep pressure. There is also a "brushing program". He loved it. She would take a big bouncy ball (medicine ball) and lay it on his back while she pressed into it. It soothed him a lot, so I started doing the same with our couch cushions.

Deep pressure is very important for sensory-seeking children. I have tons of videos of my son now and he's still just as active. He was doing cartwheels in the kitchen today, mostly for the impact of it. When he was a baby, he needed to be swaddled tight, hugged tight and tended to be very unaware of personal space. He clung to me a lot and would press his body against mine. He actually still does.

Now, taking him to the mall or other crowded places can pose a problem because it's just overstimulating. He panics, feels out of control and that scares him, so he freaks with tantrums, screaming and crying. What I started to do was let him take his CD player so he could put on his music and block out the sound.

The OT helped him later with the stimulus and though he still has his moments, i.e. the mall during peak season, then I just avoid taking him. He bounces off the walls still, but has more reserve after working with the OT and it's also a lot to do with age.

At your son's age, my son was beyond out of control and was placed on Risperdal. But now at 4 almost 5, he's able to control himself and talk about what scares him.

The OTs are great. They give the child the stimulus they need in a much more controlled setting, while at the same time, teaching them to handle situations that could be stressful with better control.

As for what the therapist thought about the sensitivity to texture, etc. You're right, she was on the opposite side of the spectrum of SPD. My two children are like that. They are yin and yang.

My daughter has SPD but is tactile defensive (what your therapist thought for your son) and my son has SPD but is sensory-seeking (like what your son is displaying).
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#152 of 494 Old 01-10-2010, 04:02 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bisou View Post
Wow! Your son sounds a LOT like my son! He has definitely been extremely out of control for the last year or so, which you probably know since I think you've read a lot of this thread.

My son can get really upset in stressful situations like that too, especially where there are lots of people, though sometimes he does fine.

He definitely loves getting squished, like your son does, and I've even squished him with the exercise ball I have at home, just as a random thing.

So with the OT, are they basically just giving him that sensory input that he seeks, which you then also replicate at home?

Also, is he still on the Risperdal? Did they know he had these sensory issues when he was given Risperdal? I've heard that medication isn't good (or at least not necessary) for kids with sensory disorders?

This is all new to me, so thanks for the info!
Oh yes. The OT will give you exercises to do at home and most likely will recommend those books that also have great exercises. He was diagnosed with SPD when he started the Risperdal. I hated it but he needed it for his aggression (he got kicked out of daycare at 2 years old). The worse part of that medication was that every 6 months he had to get blood work to check his liver as it's known to damage liver function.

Luckily I got him off of it myself with the help of the OT and becoming much more proactive with working with him during off times at home. My daughter never took Risperdal.

DeShanna mommy to at home learnin' dd10/03dust.gif, ds 04/05jammin.gif and new baby ds 12/10boc.gif lovin' dh C )O( You can't find peace, until you find all of your pieces.
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#153 of 494 Old 01-10-2010, 05:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was recommended Risperdal for my son, but I've been fighting it. Actually, even though things can still be pretty bad, his aggression has actually gone WAY down from where it used to be. Does he tantrum and get totally out of control? Yes. Does he still hit or throw things? Yes, sometimes. But he used to try with all his might to hurt me as much as possible, and he doesn't really do that anymore, and neither is he hurting other kids like he was two years ago at 2 1/2. He once literally took grabbed another child by the head and out of NOWHERE (completely unprovoked!!!!) started smashing her head against the wall as hard as possible, slamming it against the wall about 3-4 times as his teachers and I all ran across the room trying to get to him. He was about 2 1/2 at the time, and it was completely horrifying, like what kind of monster am I raising? He used to frequently, also sometimes out of nowhere, slam his head into my face. He split my lip open more than once, gave me at least one black eye, and I am fairly sure he broke my nose.

(SIDE NOTE/QUESTION: Could all that aggression/hitting/head butting be sensory seeking behavior? He started this at around 18 months, and I used to think "Why does he want to hurt me when he is only 18 freaking months old????? He is just a baby!!! This makes no sense!!!!!")

We have come a LONG way since then. I didn't used to do time outs at that age because I wanted to go a more gentle route and talk to him about things, but that totally didn't work. Time outs don't necessarily work either, though it's getting better. This is all a work in progress!

I have been working on the concepts in Transforming Your Difficult Child and he recommends giving your child points/credits for doing a good job in time out (staying put and not screaming during the TO). Right now, this is actually working really well! He seems completely shocked that he could be praised for doing a good job in time out, and the positive bent of that is really affecting him, like instead of being "bad" and in time out, he can be doing a great job and getting praised for being in time out.

Anyway, that's sort of a side note, but my main point was that his aggression has gone WAY down, like maybe 80% reduction, from what it used to be a year or two ago. Now when he hits, which is less than once a week, sometimes only every few weeks, it's relatively mild and more of a symbolic action ("I am MAD!") than something that seems intended to hurt me as much as possible. Whenever I feel completely desperate with his tantrums, screaming, and generally making life miserable, I do try to remember how far we've come and that he has made SOME progress.

He has also had a hard time making friends with other kids (even though he really LIKES other kids and other kids usually like him too). Usually, if a child gets in his space or wants to hug him, he is NOT ok with that and almost views it as an assault. He will even get completely pissed just because another child wants to hug him. He is not generally ok with other kids touching him, though he is fairly touchy with me. However, recently he has made friends with another little girl at school, and I was shocked to see them hugging and playing together, rolling around on the floor, or sitting closely together looking at books. This is some good progress too!

I just want to make sure I recognize the good days as well as the hard days.

That said, what the heck is going on in our society or environment that sooooo many kids are autistic, ADD/ADHD, etc? Some people say that kids are being diagnosed more often now, but I don't remember so many kids having these problems when I was growing up. I know that's a whole different can of worms I am opening, but I can't help but think that there is something going on in our environment (too many chemicals? vaccines???? who knows?) that is causing this for kids.

I did vaccinate my son when he was younger because I thought it was the right thing to do to keep him healthy, but he had a SEVERE reaction to pertussis. That scared me and made me research vaccines more, and then I wished I had read a little more on it in the beginning. It's just hard because for every seemingly reputable article about how vaccines are bad, it seems like there are just as many saying the opposite.

I know I am bringing up lots of different topics here, so sorry for being all over the board, but I am just bringing up everything that's popping up in my mind.

Thanks again for the reply! Love to all my fellow MDC mamas.

~Bisou



Quote:
Originally Posted by unschoolinmom View Post
Oh yes. The OT will give you exercises to do at home and most likely will recommend those books that also have great exercises. He was diagnosed with SPD when he started the Risperdal. I hated it but he needed it for his aggression (he got kicked out of daycare at 2 years old). The worse part of that medication was that every 6 months he had to get blood work to check his liver as it's known to damage liver function.

Luckily I got him off of it myself with the help of the OT and becoming much more proactive with working with him during off times at home. My daughter never took Risperdal.
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#154 of 494 Old 01-11-2010, 02:52 AM
 
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I just finished reading this thread, and what a year you've had, mama! I was so happy to see that things have gotten better and so many people have given you such great information.

Like several others, some of your son's behavior reminds me of my oldest ds, who just turned 7. He was a very intense, high-need baby, who I wore or held most of the time and co-slept with. When he became a toddler he was into *everything* -- I quickly learned to baby-safe my house for my own sanity, including putting a latch on the front screen door because my ds thought it was great fun to push it open and run outside. He was (and still is) big for his age, which made those times when he got too too rough or wild harder to deal with, not least of all because other people expected better behavior from a child who *looked* 3 or 4 but was really only 2. Between about ages 3 and 5 I often felt like "that mom" at the park and playgroups; that was the most frustrating period. He wasn't constantly obnoxious, but he was a bundle of energy, constantly moving from one thing to the next and unable to sit still long enough to finish a meal. It really took all of my energy, focus and patience to keep him on an even keel and not lose my temper (although of course sometimes I did.) I sometimes had to carry him to the car kicking and screaming; he became easily overwhelmed with frustration and no amount of patience or understanding helped much at those times. It was my experience too that he was at his worst around me. My mom told me what many others have said, that he felt safe letting loose around me.

By the time he was 4 I had decided to homeschool him. I was certain he would be diagnosed with ADD or ADHD (at least) and was very opposed to medicating him. I ultimately decided it wasn't of much value to me to know that Dr. X thought he had Disorder Y and chose not to have him evaluated. I decided that if his behavior made homeschooling impossible or began to interfere with our everyday lives to an unacceptable extent, I would revisit the decision, and I still feel it was the right one.

One thing that really helped me, of which I was reminded again by moms who mentioned SPD, was reading "Raising Your Spirited Child" by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. I thought it might be a bit of a warm-and-fuzzy approach because it focuses on avoiding triggers -- just like for children who need lots of physical contact, or become quickly overwhelmed in crowds; in fact these are some of the examples -- and understanding how to notice warning signs. It also helps you (the parent) figure out your own level of "spiritedness" and discusses how that might help or hinder your relationship with your child. Some of the characteristics of spiritedness include energy, intensity, and sensitivity. The book includes a really helpful section on introverts vs. extroverts and how they have different needs. For example, I learned that while I'm an introvert (meaning I need time to myself to recharge my batteries), my ds is an extrovert (meaning he needs to be around other people to recharge his batteries). Either personality type can learn to increase their comfort level in situations that make them uncomfortable (i.e., an introvert participating more in school or an extrovert playing quietly in his room) *but* they really need to be able to spend some time in their comfort zone every day in order to feel good. Realizing this made a huge difference, because I now recognize the need for myself to have alone time, or my ds to play with others.

Time outs usually did not work with him, because I had to sit there next to him and make sure he stayed. I quickly decided it wasn't worth the trouble most of the time and instead focused my energy on having him "atone" -- if he hurt someone, he needed to make them feel better; if he made a mess, he needed to help clean it up.

I am certainly not saying that this book solved all my problems; however it was reassuring to realize there were other kids who had a meltdown if their favorite shirt was in the laundry, or refused a bedtime story if the one he wanted to hear was unavailable. Most importantly, it helped me understand that *I am not responsible for his reactions*. I used to take it very personally when he got upset, and really wanted him to be happy all the time. It seems in retrospect that this often made him more negative, and when I learned to avoid trigger situations and work *with* his spiritedness rather than trying to *make* him do things, we got along a lot better and he was a lot more pleasant to live with. It made the tantrums easier to deal with because they became a lot less frequent.

He still has tons of energy, and daily physical activity is an absolute must for him. Especially when he has been sitting for awhile, when he gets up he is like a whirlwind. He walks back and forth while telling me things, sometimes seeming like he is acting out his story. He is constantly touching things to explore them, running his hands along the wall, drumming on the table, tapping his toes. At mealtimes he sits, then stands, then sits, then leans back in his chair, then puts his legs and bottom off to one side of the chair, then the other, and so on until he's done eating. When he was still doing this at age 4 my dh was worried and thought this was very weird, that we shouldn't allow it (ha-ha!). I was unwilling to spend mealtimes fighting with ds and refused to try to *make* him sit, preferring to focus instead on the "biggies." He still does this, and the only rule I made is that he has to take bites over his plate and clean up any mess he makes. It's working pretty well, and I think everyone feels better just accepting the way he is and not letting his need for movement -- which really is a small thing, in the scheme of things -- bother us or disturb our mealtimes.

Ds has become a kind, loving child who occasionally still has his moments -- don't we all? Things have really gotten better as he's gotten older. I know I am more relaxed in general because I have been a mother for awhile. Again, looking back, I realize that during the most difficult times I was working part-time, and while I'm certainly not passing judgement on employed mothers, it's been much easier to deal with my LOs since I started staying home full-time. It's been my experience that children really need clear expectations and consistent consequences, and of course that's easiest when you're with them most of the time. When you have to work, you have to work, though, and I think that makes it even more important to be consistent in the limited time you have together. I don't necessarily mean punishment, because I think it's very easy to become overly punitive in all of one's dealings with a child and want to punish over every little thing. However, natural consequences are a great teacher, such as getting scratched or bitten by a cat after they wouldn't stop pestering it, or having their favorite shirt not get washed because it was left on the floor instead of being put in the hamper. There are probably lots of better examples...

I had another thought: might your ds enjoy helping you make dinner and do whatever other chores you need to do in the evening? My kids always act up when they need attention. Sometimes just including them in what I'm doing is enough to defuse the situation.

Anyway good luck! I wrote a much longer message than I intended but hopefully there is something useful for you. I hope everything keeps getting better!
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#155 of 494 Old 01-12-2010, 11:58 AM
 
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Hi Bisou,

I have been following your thread but not posting until today. I'm really proud of you. That's really all I wanted to say. It isnt easy to "defy" what the medical community/"experts" are telling you. However, you followed your motherly instincts like you did when you persevered with nursing. You worked through hell for the first 6 months bc you knew it was the best thing for you son. You didnt just put him on medication (not that I am categorically rejecting the notion of medication bc yes, sometimes, RARELY, it IS necessary) bc the powers that be recommended it. You havent had a lot of support and yet you've managed to do what a lot of mothers would not have had the determination and vision and confidence to do. I applaud you for that.

I was at one time a while back, going to message and ask about whether you vaxed your son and whether your son ever had any reactions but I see you've mentioned that he had a severe reaction to pertussis. I think that is probably relevant but you'll never probably get any medical professional to validate that theory.

I am also so so sorry that your son was abused by his daycare provider and that you've had so many stressful situations early in his young life. Surely that stuff is all relevant too. I think these types of issues are so multifactorial, not that I am an expert, but it just makes sense to me.

It warmed my heart to read your recent posts about the improvements in your son's behaviour. You have worked really hard. You should be so proud of yourself.

I just wanted to send you a hug and say that for what it's worth, I am impressed with your fortitude and strength.

Sincerely,

Heartandhands
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#156 of 494 Old 01-13-2010, 08:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Milky Muse:

Wow! What a great post! Finally, someone who writes as much as I do.

Your son does sound very similar to my son in a lot of ways, and I've definitely had many of the same struggles and frustrations that you've had.

You mentioned that you didn't have your son evaluated for anything, but now that I know more about SPD, it sounds like your son could have some of the sensory seeking behaviors that can be part of the disorder for some kids. I am not an expert by any means, as this is all new for us, but one thing that sounds positive to me about SPD is that they don't generally medicate for this, but instead use occupational therapy, teaching you and your child techniques to calm him/her down. My son's therapist has recommended that he be referred for evaluation, so hopefully this will help us!

You mentioned staying home with your children, and I wish I didn't have to work! Unfortunately, I am a single mom. My son's dad took off during the pregnancy, and he doesn't pay any child support because I just don't want that negative influence in my son's life. He hasn't done a single thing for us, and I don't want my son going through the pain of being constantly disappointed by someone who doesn't really give a crap.

I've thought a LOT lately about how I wished I could be a stay-at-home mom, but there's just no way that's even close to possible. I guess I need to get out there and start dating! LOL.

The book you recommended is on my list of books to buy when I get paid next, so I am definitely going to check it out! Thanks for the recommendation and the detailed explanation.

I have tried things like having my son help with dinner, but sometimes that can be a really frustrating experience as he will get food ALL OVER everything--counters, cabinets, floors, walls--because he isn't listening that he can't take the whisk out and wave it around or hit it roughly on the side of the bowl, flicking stuff everywhere. I try to be patient, I really do, but his high level of energy and wildness makes it hard for us to do those sorts of things unless he's in a calmer mode because he just drives me CRAZY.

We have had a few better days this week now that I am trying to implement the ideas in the book Transforming Your Difficult Child. The other day we were going to our car (parked in the big underground garage in our building) and my son was over looking at his bike. I said, "Come on! Let's go!" and he immediately came over to the car (something he usually doesn't do), and got immediately into his carseat (something he ALSO usually doesn't do), and then sat very very calmly, actually completely still (again, not a normal thing), and he said, "Look, mom, I am being calm! I am earning my points!" It was sooo cute!

There are always ups and downs with him. I just hope we will start to get more UPS than downs in the coming weeks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MilkyMuse View Post
I just finished reading this thread, and what a year you've had, mama! I was so happy to see that things have gotten better and so many people have given you such great information.

Like several others, some of your son's behavior reminds me of my oldest ds, who just turned 7. He was a very intense, high-need baby, who I wore or held most of the time and co-slept with. When he became a toddler he was into *everything* -- I quickly learned to baby-safe my house for my own sanity, including putting a latch on the front screen door because my ds thought it was great fun to push it open and run outside. He was (and still is) big for his age, which made those times when he got too too rough or wild harder to deal with, not least of all because other people expected better behavior from a child who *looked* 3 or 4 but was really only 2. Between about ages 3 and 5 I often felt like "that mom" at the park and playgroups; that was the most frustrating period. He wasn't constantly obnoxious, but he was a bundle of energy, constantly moving from one thing to the next and unable to sit still long enough to finish a meal. It really took all of my energy, focus and patience to keep him on an even keel and not lose my temper (although of course sometimes I did.) I sometimes had to carry him to the car kicking and screaming; he became easily overwhelmed with frustration and no amount of patience or understanding helped much at those times. It was my experience too that he was at his worst around me. My mom told me what many others have said, that he felt safe letting loose around me.

By the time he was 4 I had decided to homeschool him. I was certain he would be diagnosed with ADD or ADHD (at least) and was very opposed to medicating him. I ultimately decided it wasn't of much value to me to know that Dr. X thought he had Disorder Y and chose not to have him evaluated. I decided that if his behavior made homeschooling impossible or began to interfere with our everyday lives to an unacceptable extent, I would revisit the decision, and I still feel it was the right one.

One thing that really helped me, of which I was reminded again by moms who mentioned SPD, was reading "Raising Your Spirited Child" by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. I thought it might be a bit of a warm-and-fuzzy approach because it focuses on avoiding triggers -- just like for children who need lots of physical contact, or become quickly overwhelmed in crowds; in fact these are some of the examples -- and understanding how to notice warning signs. It also helps you (the parent) figure out your own level of "spiritedness" and discusses how that might help or hinder your relationship with your child. Some of the characteristics of spiritedness include energy, intensity, and sensitivity. The book includes a really helpful section on introverts vs. extroverts and how they have different needs. For example, I learned that while I'm an introvert (meaning I need time to myself to recharge my batteries), my ds is an extrovert (meaning he needs to be around other people to recharge his batteries). Either personality type can learn to increase their comfort level in situations that make them uncomfortable (i.e., an introvert participating more in school or an extrovert playing quietly in his room) *but* they really need to be able to spend some time in their comfort zone every day in order to feel good. Realizing this made a huge difference, because I now recognize the need for myself to have alone time, or my ds to play with others.

Time outs usually did not work with him, because I had to sit there next to him and make sure he stayed. I quickly decided it wasn't worth the trouble most of the time and instead focused my energy on having him "atone" -- if he hurt someone, he needed to make them feel better; if he made a mess, he needed to help clean it up.

I am certainly not saying that this book solved all my problems; however it was reassuring to realize there were other kids who had a meltdown if their favorite shirt was in the laundry, or refused a bedtime story if the one he wanted to hear was unavailable. Most importantly, it helped me understand that *I am not responsible for his reactions*. I used to take it very personally when he got upset, and really wanted him to be happy all the time. It seems in retrospect that this often made him more negative, and when I learned to avoid trigger situations and work *with* his spiritedness rather than trying to *make* him do things, we got along a lot better and he was a lot more pleasant to live with. It made the tantrums easier to deal with because they became a lot less frequent.

He still has tons of energy, and daily physical activity is an absolute must for him. Especially when he has been sitting for awhile, when he gets up he is like a whirlwind. He walks back and forth while telling me things, sometimes seeming like he is acting out his story. He is constantly touching things to explore them, running his hands along the wall, drumming on the table, tapping his toes. At mealtimes he sits, then stands, then sits, then leans back in his chair, then puts his legs and bottom off to one side of the chair, then the other, and so on until he's done eating. When he was still doing this at age 4 my dh was worried and thought this was very weird, that we shouldn't allow it (ha-ha!). I was unwilling to spend mealtimes fighting with ds and refused to try to *make* him sit, preferring to focus instead on the "biggies." He still does this, and the only rule I made is that he has to take bites over his plate and clean up any mess he makes. It's working pretty well, and I think everyone feels better just accepting the way he is and not letting his need for movement -- which really is a small thing, in the scheme of things -- bother us or disturb our mealtimes.

Ds has become a kind, loving child who occasionally still has his moments -- don't we all? Things have really gotten better as he's gotten older. I know I am more relaxed in general because I have been a mother for awhile. Again, looking back, I realize that during the most difficult times I was working part-time, and while I'm certainly not passing judgement on employed mothers, it's been much easier to deal with my LOs since I started staying home full-time. It's been my experience that children really need clear expectations and consistent consequences, and of course that's easiest when you're with them most of the time. When you have to work, you have to work, though, and I think that makes it even more important to be consistent in the limited time you have together. I don't necessarily mean punishment, because I think it's very easy to become overly punitive in all of one's dealings with a child and want to punish over every little thing. However, natural consequences are a great teacher, such as getting scratched or bitten by a cat after they wouldn't stop pestering it, or having their favorite shirt not get washed because it was left on the floor instead of being put in the hamper. There are probably lots of better examples...

I had another thought: might your ds enjoy helping you make dinner and do whatever other chores you need to do in the evening? My kids always act up when they need attention. Sometimes just including them in what I'm doing is enough to defuse the situation.

Anyway good luck! I wrote a much longer message than I intended but hopefully there is something useful for you. I hope everything keeps getting better!
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#157 of 494 Old 01-13-2010, 08:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Ms Heartsandhands:

Thanks for posting and for reading my thread. I appreciate it.

I have definitely resisted medication for my son, though, like you, I think it can be needed in some situations, and I definitely don't want to be critical of mamas who've chosen that for their children. Believe me, there are moments when I've been very close, and there might be a chance that I will consider it again, but ONLY when everything else has been considered.

My son's therapist seemed a little relieved today, to be honest, that we might have some more things to add to our tool bag to help my son. Like you mentioned, he's been through A LOT in the last two years. It's hard for me not to feel guilty about it because I was the one who wanted to move back to Portland and out of my parents' house which was located in a small Washington town with nothing to do. It was a toxic environment with my parents constantly criticizing me and fighting with me, so I know intellectually that it HAD to be done, but sometimes I just think "If we hadn't moved, he wouldn't have been abused, and we wouldn't have experienced that break-in and all the resulting trauma." But I know that some of those things could happen anywhere. I guess I just feel especially guilty about the daycare abuse, like I should have prevented that somehow, but this was a big chain daycare (not my first choice, but very clean, bright, and heavily monitored, or so it seemed), the only one I could get him into because everywhere else had 1-2 year wait lists. When I think about all that he's been though in the past two years, all that WE'VE been through, it's really just baffling.

I do worry about the vaccinations. I know that people of my generation had those as kids and it doesn't seem like we had many problems with it, but it seems like LOTS of kids have problems that weren't as common when I was growing up. Is it the huge increase in vaccinations? I don't know. My son definitely had a crazy reaction to pertussis, with insane fevers and shaking almost to the point of seizures. I didn't think about this as causing behavioral issues, but definitely didn't think it was good for him!

The other thing that I don't know if I've mentioned is that I was taking Wellbutrin when I was first pregnant with my son because I didn't know I was pregnant for almost the first three months. I was told I couldn't have children, and after years of never getting pregnant, I didn't think it would ever happen. I was also taking antibiotics on a daily basis for a skin condition I have, so I often think about how those medications might have impacted my son's developing brain. Again, GUILT. I know I wasn't aware I was pregnant, and these medications are supposedly "safe" (whatever!), but I still feel really bad about that.

I know that beating myself up about things doesn't help anything, and the best thing I can do is just go from here and do my best to help my son.

I am in the process of looking at kindergartens for my son next year (yikes! scary!), and this is a hard process. Where we live, you can either go to the neighborhood school or you can request a transfer to another school and then be chosen through a lottery. There are also a few charter schools, including a fairly new public Waldorf charter school, and they all have their own lottery systems, so there are lots of options. The Waldorf school is smaller and more intimate, but there is also a really cool arts-focused elementary school that I am looking at. Definitely lots to think about! I want my son to have a positive first educational experience, but I also know it might be hard to know what the school is REALLY like until my son is attending there. Wish me luck on that!!!

Ok, off to do some actual work now!



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Hi Bisou,

I have been following your thread but not posting until today. I'm really proud of you. That's really all I wanted to say. It isnt easy to "defy" what the medical community/"experts" are telling you. However, you followed your motherly instincts like you did when you persevered with nursing. You worked through hell for the first 6 months bc you knew it was the best thing for you son. You didnt just put him on medication (not that I am categorically rejecting the notion of medication bc yes, sometimes, RARELY, it IS necessary) bc the powers that be recommended it. You havent had a lot of support and yet you've managed to do what a lot of mothers would not have had the determination and vision and confidence to do. I applaud you for that.

I was at one time a while back, going to message and ask about whether you vaxed your son and whether your son ever had any reactions but I see you've mentioned that he had a severe reaction to pertussis. I think that is probably relevant but you'll never probably get any medical professional to validate that theory.

I am also so so sorry that your son was abused by his daycare provider and that you've had so many stressful situations early in his young life. Surely that stuff is all relevant too. I think these types of issues are so multifactorial, not that I am an expert, but it just makes sense to me.

It warmed my heart to read your recent posts about the improvements in your son's behaviour. You have worked really hard. You should be so proud of yourself.

I just wanted to send you a hug and say that for what it's worth, I am impressed with your fortitude and strength.

Sincerely,

Heartandhands
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I am a single mother of a 4-year-old son with extreme behavioral problems, and I am desperate for your help as I am not liking what the medical community is offering us (medication, of course).


I am at my wit's end, but I love my son and want things to change. I don't want to put him on this medication. It seems like there MUST be another way, but I am physically and emotionally exhausted, and nothing I do seems to be working. Has anyone else dealt with severe behavioral problems? If so, what did you do? HELP!!!!!!
Bisou.. I see that you are in my hometown, and oddly I think I remember talking to you a few years ago when you were very carefully looking for childcare... anyway...

My son is the same age and much of this is true for me too, thought maybe to a lesser extent, and I don't know why other than that i can tell *something* is bugging him- lack of inner peace or ablility to regulate or something, and always has seemed to. It's worst with me- others will tell me they see nothing like how I tell things. I don't discount early day care experiences- while we had no abuse like yours, we did have loss of familiarity (immense caregiver changeover at one facility) which did have a lasting impact. I'm not sure how to overcome that, some kids are obviously real sensitive. Sometimes I think just having preschool- at a good place- has a major impact on his life that I don't love.

IMO only of course... if time-outs (however intended) don't work, then don't do them! He likely *knows* what he's doing is not good stuff, he just has an overriding need or something inspiring him otherwise (no impulse control?). I remember being a kid much like my own child, though I didn't hit/spit... but I had the feelings, and I just desperately wanted someone to understand, be nice, and HELP me... only now, I still don't understand or know how to help so all I can do is BE THERE with my son. ALso, you talk a lot about rewards and withholding rewards- I know that would confuse and stress my child, and if I were the child, I would rebel against the whole thing and/or greatly despise it. But if that and the time-outs DO seem to help you, then you have the right tools for you!

I try to not put energy into correcting everything, and put energy into something positive between us- I think he gets me down then I get him down a lot- hard to break that cycle, especially by myself. I try to imagine the times it works do help, and realize that I can't always control the times that it doesn't work. BTW, I have RYSC- it made me feel good that there were other spirited children far and wide, but I didn't find that I wanted to apply most of the practical stuff... just liked the initial theory. Since we are in the same town, I'll lend you if you want

Likewise, we can't do things like playdates cause he will snub the entire idea, I don't even get to meet potential mama-friends with his attitude. He loves other people- I actually believe that many of the issues would be nonexistent in a true tribe of many people.. funy how you yourself said that! but I don't have it and thus the cycle of not being able to find one because of him.

My child is needy and anxious and unable to control himself and it comes out violent- I don't think that makes him angry exactly and I don't worry as much about the act of hitting as what's behind it- what he feels, how his mind works. I'd just about been ready to do counseling or an evaluation but worried what all they could possibly recommend.
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#159 of 494 Old 01-14-2010, 04:37 AM
 
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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.

Bisou
sounds to me like he's upset that the new cat isn't just like the old cat... replacing an older, mellower pet who knew you with a kitten and all- kittens don't always want to be still!

i also forgot to say earlier... i remember reading somewhere that if you were attached when your child was a baby, you wouldn't be butting heads when they were a preschooler. guess again. i was attached and we most certainly DO butt heads.
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#160 of 494 Old 01-14-2010, 04:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know what to do. My son pulled our cat's tail again this morning REALLY HARD until she just let out this shriek. I was in the kitchen, and she was on one of the dining chairs (right by me), and everything was fine, we were having a good morning, and he just did that out of nowhere. He tried to say it was an accident, but he said he pulled her tail (and I don't see how that could be an accident), so I put him into time out immediately.

The time out was awful and since he wouldn't stay in time out and was throwing things at me and hitting things, I had to restrain him (which is what his therapist and the book, Transforming Your Difficult Child, recommends if they won't stay in time out) while he screamed and wiped snot all over my arms and spit on me.

The cat seems fine and tried to play with him after his time out was over, but how long do I let this go on? He hasn't caused her any major damage, but I also don't think having him periodically hurt the cat is good for either the cat or my son, nor do I want to get to the point where he causes her a major injury!!!! The idea of taking her back to the breeder is completely devastating to me because I just adore this cat. But of course I don't want her to be hurt. I don't know where to draw the line!!!! I also feel like taking the cat back because he's being "bad" would be really harmful for my son. Not that I'd explain it that way, but he's smart and would know it's because he's been hurting her. I guess some people would see this as a natural consequence. I am just completely lost about what to do. I hate having to make all these decisions myself. I am just so completely depressed about his behavior.

I know my son would be sad about it and doesn't understand that he wouldn't see her again. It just seems like everything is so night and day with him. One day she's his favorite thing ever, then suddenly he just hurts her for no reason, just out of nowhere. He said he pulled her tail because he didn't want her on the dining chair, but he wasn't going to sit there or anything. He just didn't want her on there. It makes no sense. Everything was fine with us this morning and with the cat. We were going to go outside and ride his bike before school, which is a happy thing for him. I just don't understand it. I don't know what to do. I am just devastated.
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#161 of 494 Old 01-14-2010, 04:50 PM
 
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Bisou, when I saw you had a knew post, I was really hoping for a posative one. I really wish I could give you a nice big hug right now.

Have you explained to your son that if he hurts the cat again, she will have to go back to her live with her "mommy" (or however you would word it..) If so, what does he say to you? And if not, I would seriously consider trying this road. I understand you love the kitten, but her safety is at risk, and perhaps her introiduction so soon after the death of the first cat with everything else hes dealing with was just to much for him to handle?
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#162 of 494 Old 01-15-2010, 12:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Barbie and all:

Yes, we've had a few good days, and now we're back to a really bad one.

I guess my questions are as follows--

How many times of mildly/moderately hurting the cat (pulling her tail, pushing her roughly off a chair or whatever, pulling her leg) is too many? It seems so hard to figure this out! Like maybe 1-2 times is ok, but is 3-4 times NOT ok? WHERE DO I DRAW THE LINE? I don't know how to answer this question. So far she hasn't had any lasting problems, but of course I don't want to get it to that point!!!!!!!

I have made it EXTREMELY clear to my son that this is not acceptable. I think one of the most upsetting things for me, aside from the cat being hurt, is that my son was always the MOST GENTLE kid I'd ever seen around animals. It was one of the things that made me the most proud of him. People were just so impressed by his kindness with animals. I just don't get what is going on now.

I've made it very clear that if he continues doing this, the cat will go back to where she came from (the breeder). Sometimes he says "Good. I don't want her" but this seems to be when he's upset because he's gotten in trouble because of the cat. Most of the time when everything is fine, he says he doesn't want the cat to go.

It just makes me feel like something is really really wrong with my son, and it's just so upsetting, like what's he going to be like when he's older?

Have any of you had problems with your children/child being mean to animals, and how have you handled this?

Now, I know an animal and a person are obviously not the same thing, but I just keep thinking that what if this was a baby sister or brother that he was being mean to? I know sometimes kids have problems with jealousy with new siblings. Obviously I wouldn't get rid of the new baby. I realize that an animal and a baby aren't the same and that the emotional stakes aren't as high. I don't know. I am just confused. I don't know when enough is enough. I don't want to jump the gun on this, but I also don't want her to be hurt. Also, as I mentioned before, I know that if I took her back, my son would realize it was because he was hurting her, and I don't want him to feel like he failed and was so awful that the cat had to leave. Of course I wouldn't verbalize it in those terms, but he would be aware of that.

Ideally, I want to see my son STOP this behavior and be successful in acting appropriately towards the cat so the cat isn't hurt and we are all happy. I just wish sometimes we could have the ideal happen. Sometimes it feels like it's always the worst case scenario for me.

I know he would really be very upset about this and would want another pet or would want her back. I just don't know why he is doing this. I am just completely upset, baffled, and confused.

I also feel bad because I told the breeder how WONDERFUL he was with pets and really talked him up, which was all true! I feel awful now going back and saying, "Well, you know how I said he was so wonderful with pets? Actually, he's not being so great and is hurting the cat, and I need you to take her back." It just makes me feel like a failure of a mother who's raising a monster of a child. I know the cat's well being and keeping my son's behavior under control comes first, but it's still humiliating.

Also, this definitely isn't MY cat, and I've actually made a point of saying she's HIS cat or OUR cat (at least). I haven't given him any responsibilities, like feeding her or cleaning the cat box, so there aren't any resentments there. The only thing I can see is that she doesn't do what he wants when he wants, so he gets frustrated with her and hurts her. It seems like he also occasionally acts out by hurting her when he's mad at me. For example, this morning I was getting our stuff ready for work/school, making lunch, etc, and that's when he hurt her, though it was just suddenly. I think he literally pulled her off the dining chair by her tail, which just makes me sick to my stomach. I don't know if he doesn't understand how bad this can really hurt her or what, but it's so upsetting.

I know for a lot of you it's just clear cut, like "Just take the cat back!" But emotionally it's not that clear cut for me. I am a single mom who spends all of my time alone or with my son, and it's SO nice to have her around when I am working alone at home or when my son is at his grandparents'. I've really become attached to her, especially after just losing my cat of 16 years. I am just completely TORN. Advice?????

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Bisou, when I saw you had a knew post, I was really hoping for a posative one. I really wish I could give you a nice big hug right now.

Have you explained to your son that if he hurts the cat again, she will have to go back to her live with her "mommy" (or however you would word it..) If so, what does he say to you? And if not, I would seriously consider trying this road. I understand you love the kitten, but her safety is at risk, and perhaps her introiduction so soon after the death of the first cat with everything else hes dealing with was just to much for him to handle?
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#163 of 494 Old 01-15-2010, 12:29 PM
 
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Two parts of your post jumped out at me. I quoted them and am bolding my responses.

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Also, as I mentioned before, I know that if I took her back, my son would realize it was because he was hurting her, and I don't want him to feel like he failed and was so awful that the cat had to leave. Of course I wouldn't verbalize it in those terms, but he would be aware of that. This is the whole point. It is important for children to learn WHY their behavior is unacceptable, and that there are consequences for their actions. You know this, as you have implemented time-outs as a form of consequence for his actions. This would just be another lesson learned.

I know for a lot of you it's just clear cut, like "Just take the cat back!" But emotionally it's not that clear cut for me. I am a single mom who spends all of my time alone or with my son, and it's SO nice to have her around when I am working alone at home or when my son is at his grandparents'. I've really become attached to her, especially after just losing my cat of 16 years. I think that this might possibly be clouding your judgement on the situation. You said that cat is not YOURS, but your sons and yours, BUT, you don't want to get rid of her because youve grown attached and are lonely. Those are valid feelings, especially given your situation. But the cats safety and your sons mental health are what are priority right now, and for some reason, this new little kitten is NOT in your sons best interest. I am just completely TORN. Advice?????
I hope you don't find my responses harsh. I tried to word them delicatly, yet firmly and to the point. I wish for NOTHING MORE then to be able to help you and your son through all this tormoil. You have endoured such hardships your entire life. BOTH OF YOU. I just really feel deep down that the cat needs to be taken out of the picture for now. A pet can be reintroduced later, once you have established the issues your son is having with THIS pet. It may be just as simple as she ISNT the pet who has just passed away, and that is why he is mean to her. I know you said he is extremly good at verbalizing, but is it possible that even YOU forget that he is still only 4? Take away al the trauma he has been through, and he is still just a very small child learning impulse control and emotions. Add to that the trauma AND Possible sensory issue, and you have a very unique situation.

I would like to add that I always had a cat when I was younger. We got him when I was about your sons age, maybe a little older. He was already a year old when we got him, and he wasn’t a lap cat by any stretch. I would hold him as much as I could until he would scratch me with his back claws and I couldn’t hold him anymore. Then he would attack my ankles. This went on for YEARS. My mother would scold me all the time to “stop torturing the cat!”. I am sure I even yanked his tail a few times because he would NOT let me hold him or whatever (He just wasn’t an affectionate cat, and then I probably sealed the deal by antagonizing him all the time) I am happy to report that I am not a serial killer, I do not enjoy harming animals, and am repulsed when I hear a news story of neglected animals or tortured ones. I had a cat of my very own from the time I was 20 til right before I had my first son. (She now lives at my moms) I do not miss not having a cat anymore, as I am way to busy, but I am not an animal hater by any stretch. Just wanted to give you a little hope that your sons behavior right now might not "mean" anything at all.
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#164 of 494 Old 01-20-2010, 06:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Barbie and all:

Thanks for the reply. Sorry I haven't replied sooner. It's been a busy time.

My son has once again calmed down with the cat situation and is treating her appropriately. Both my therapist and my son's therapist think that his behavior with the cat isn't something to be concerned about right now. I don't know that I agree, but I am putting the decision on the back burner for right now. She is going to get spayed tomorrow, so I hope I will be able to get him to leave her alone during the recovery period. If not, I may have to devise some sort of lock to keep him out of the laundry room where she will be sequestered.

I've realized that he is doing this to the cat to get my attention, once he realized it gave him a HUGE reaction. He hasn't hurt her in the past few days at all and has been really wonderful with her, but he will imitate her little squeek/yowl sound and then say, "Mommy, I just pulled her tail," with a smile on his face when I know he hasn't done that, then he looks to me for some huge blow up of a reaction. I have just sort of ignored it, and I think he's now realizing that he's not going to get this big reaction from that.

The book Transforming Your Difficult Child says that to children parents are like this big complicated toy with lots of flashing lights and sounds and expressions and that most of the time kids get a much more "interesting" reaction from bad behavior than from good. I think this is such a good point and something I am trying to be really aware of! When I first thought about this, I thought that was such a crazy concept. Why would a child want a bunch of negative energy? (I know this is a very common concept in psychology, especially with kids, but it just seemed weird to me as a parent.) But I see now that this is exactly what my son does. If I am exhausted and lying like a dead body on the couch while he plays on the carpet at my feet, and if I don't get up and play after a few requests, he's going to do something big and bad to get my attention. Somehow I need to figure out how to be less exhausted (maybe meth is a good option? JUST KIDDING!!!!) but I haven't hit on any magic solution there. I know he needs more energy from me, but more positive energy. I think all kinds of parents don't give as exciting of a reaction for good things. You say, "Please go and brush your teeth," and if they do this, many parents (not all, but many) might not even react much, or may just say, "Good job!" in a mildly enthusiastic tone. However, if a child doesn't do something and you've asked him/her ten times, or is doing something really awful, eventually, you might blow, which is like a 10 on the intensity scale compared to the 0-2 response of the "Good job." I need to work on upping the intensity of the positive feedback. THIS KID LIKES INTENSE. He's intense and also likes intense! This also seems to fit with the sensory-seeking issues.

A while back, when he'd do something I liked or wanted him to do, I'd run in and almost scream, "You did it! GOOOOOD JOB!" then pick him up and jump up and down and spin him around frantically, and he just loved it. This is the kind of reaction he wants. The problem is that my son needs the energy of about 3-4 adults, and I am one adult with very limited energy. When he was a baby (from 6 months to 2 years), we lived with my parents, and he would exhaust all three of us every single day. He needed us to dance with him for 2-3 hours to get him to sleep (holding him and singing and dancing), otherwise he would just scream and cry and never sleep.

I feel like I have aged visually 15 years in just the last four years. I am so tired. Sometimes I think I should just quit my job and go join a commune somewhere, stop working so hard and just take care of my son. That's another conversation for another time.

Today was a good day. He listened. He helped me do dishes and actually did a great job and made the process faster, not slower, which is a big improvement! We had no time outs, no hurting the cat.

I even saw him make a really good decision today when it came to emotional control!
We had given the cat a bath, and I put a towel on the couch for her to lie on since she was still a bit damp. He didn't want her on the couch, for some reason, and kept taking her off, taking the towel, etc. He was very upset about her being on the couch. I tried to help him work through it, but he was just getting more and more mad. We were about in the time-out zone, when he decided he was going into the bedroom to have some space. I said, very neutrally, "That's a great idea! Maybe you can have some space to yourself and read some books, and then come out when you feel better." I was very nice, even though he was super pissed and I had been pissed, and I offered to cover him with a blanket and was nurturing. (I wouldn't have done this if he hit me or something, but he had just been verbally angry.) I then closed the door and left. He came out in about 10-15 minutes and was totally fine with the cat being on the couch. It was great! I later complimented him on how he handled that and how he avoided a big tantrum and time out. He seemed really proud! If only I could have more of these moments!!!!!

I just wish I could somehow increase my patience. I used to be SOOO patient, but now, not so much. It's like my patience is running on empty. I just keep holding on to hope that this will get better.

We won't be able to get in to see the sensory processing disorder specialists until March, but once we do that, I am hoping that will really help! I will keep everyone posted.

~Bisou
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#165 of 494 Old 01-26-2010, 12:56 PM
 
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Just hoping you know you are being thought of, even from the other side of the country.
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#166 of 494 Old 01-29-2010, 08:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Barbie:

Thanks. That means a lot! We're back in a good/better phase with my son, so I tend to post less. Whenever things are really bad (which can be often, unfortunately!) this is one of my few outlets.

I have decided to keep the kitty, for now. She had to get spayed, which I was really worried about since he had been rough with her. I was worried that he could really hurt her if she was recovering from surgery!!! But since she was almost 8 months old, I couldn't wait any longer. She was going to go into heat any time. Thankfully, my son has been completely wonderful with her. I told him he couldn't pick her up until the vet said it was ok, and he hasn't tried once. He has been a wonderful caretaker, extremely gentle to her and looking out for her (like making sure she doesn't jump down from high furniture and calling me to come get her). THIS is the little boy I know, at least when it comes to animals. I have been really building him up, telling him he is "such a GOOD owner" and how great it is that he is keeping the kitty safe, and I think he is feeling really good about himself for how he's acting with her.

We've still been working on the point/credit system outlined in the book Transforming the Difficult Child, and I think it's working REALLY well. He's been getting more and more points every day. Last night he was on this cleaning spree where he was just picking up all his toys, emptying the garbage, helping with dishes, putting dirty clothes in the laundry, and wiping counters down with a sponge, ALL ON HIS OWN! I started to think perhaps my REAL son had been abducted by aliens and replaced with this one, and wow, those poor aliens!!! Just kidding.

I have also been focusing on really getting a decent amount of sleep. I've been going to sleep when my son does, even if the house is a mess and I have work to do. I used to stay up for several hours, working until I collapsed, and I just had absolutely NO energy. I've only been going to bed at the same time as my son for a few days, and I am already noticing a HUGE difference. I think this is really helping my patience. When I am exhausted, I have NO patience, and I need an endless supply with this child. In order to avoid meltdowns, I have to be super creative, smart, and energetic. I have to be funny and entertaining. It's freaking exhausting. But having hours and hours of massive tantrums is MORE exhausting.

Anyway, thanks for checking in. I just keep hoping that we have fewer ups and downs and more consistent ups. I hope as he gets older that he will be able to regulate his emotions more. I know it might not work out that way, but I can hope! He has been doing a good job, at times, of going into his room and taking a time out HIMSELF before he gets himself in trouble. When I see him starting to blow, sometimes he decides to go in there, and sometimes I encourage him, and it works at times at letting him cool down, lay on the bed, read some books, and just have some space. I am hoping to get him to move more in this direction. This sort of intervention was absolutely impossible with him in the past, so this is a HUGE change.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

~Bisou
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#167 of 494 Old 01-30-2010, 11:17 PM
 
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Just wanted to quickly post the suggestion that you have your son evaluated for sensory processig disorder (also known as sensory integration disorder). Some of his behaviors could be interpreted as seeking certain types of sensory stimulation, and often kids who are under-responsive to sensory input can be out of control physically and get very aggressive seeking physical sensations (pressure, vestibular stimulation, etc.). Also, have you tried any sort of dietary changes, such as a gluten or dairy free diet, FAILSAFE, Feingold, etc.? Often food intolerances can cause behavior issues. I have a friend whose son gets totally out of control if he has dairy or food dye. Another has a daughter who acts autistic if she gets exposed to any gluten.

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#168 of 494 Old 01-31-2010, 04:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Pookietooth (interesting name, by the way!)~

If you had been able to read the thread (I know---it's LOOOONNGGG!), you'd see that sensory processing disorder was suggested by someone else, and I did follow up on that. The initial screening by my son's therapist showed a marked difference in his sensory processing, so we are now on the long wait list at the occupational therapist.

Thanks for pointing that out though! A few people mentioned it, and it was never something I'd heard of before, so I appreciate everyone's help with this!!!

~Bisou
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#169 of 494 Old 02-05-2010, 04:54 AM
 
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Oops, sorry I didn't read all the posts. Glad they are working on that soon, hope it helps. Also, diet can help that if there are sensitivities, speaking from experience here.

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#170 of 494 Old 02-06-2010, 07:11 PM
 
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I have a friend with a son who is exactly like your son. Her son is 10 or 11 now. The problem you will/could face down the line is puberty makes these issues *so* much worse and he will be bigger and stronger.

My friend has had her son on the drugs you've mentioned and all types of therapies. She had to come a SAHM. The school sends him home when he was out of control.

He is such a GREAT kid when he isn't melting down. When he is melting down, he honestly doesn't care or doesn't comprehend the damage it does in one way or another.


My oldest is bipolar and severe OCD plus anxiety (general and social). We didn't SEE it until he was 12. Puberty kicked it into high gear. Before we thought maybe he was just spoiled, being an only, oldest grandchild ect... And for him, it really wasn't too bad. Until he hit 12.
He threw an (old school LOL) TV at us once when he couldn't get home *right now* (because he was overly anxious and couldn't control it). And then threw a bicycle. And then my freshly folded laundry. Plus anything else he could easily get to. It was terrible.
We had him on a lot of different drugs, trying to find the right combo. Sadly, they made him gain weight (over 100#'s in 2 years), which fueled the depression. Plus they made him feel sluggish.
He is off of the drugs now. I wish a doctor would prescribe him xanax, for when the attacks hit extremely hard (for 6m he wouldn't leave the house, and on and off for a year, he didn't leave his bedroom except for the bathroom and to eat).
He has gotten his bi-polar mostly under control, but his anxieties are still something he is trying to work out. He has severe social and general anxiety.

I know you are dead set against trying the meds, but your son can always go off... drugs really helped my son through a few extremely rough years.
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#171 of 494 Old 02-07-2010, 03:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Pookietooth and everyone:

No problem about not reading the whole thread. It's a long one! We have our appointment with an occupational therapist in March, so I am hoping that will be helpful for us.

I also finally looked into the Feingold Diet, and from what I've read, my son and I have already been eating following those guidelines, more or less. We eat a 90% organic vegetarian diet and don't eat anything with artificial colorings, flavorings, or sweeteners. Also, I haven't noticed anything with wheat or dairy. His moods never really seem to correlate with anything he's eaten, unless he's simply hungry. That can definitely bring on a meltdown. Being tired or hungry are two of the worst, but I know this is an issue for many children.

I have thought about keeping a daily log of his activities, diet, mood, and tantrums (what sets them off, what resolves them, if anything), but that seems like a lot to add to my already insane list of things I have to do each day.

We hit another patch of really bad days this last week, especially last Sunday and Monday. He hit me pretty bad both days, and this is something he hasn't done for a while, at least not THIS bad. He slapped me so hard I saw stars on Sunday. This kid is very strong for his age and has great motor skills, so he is able to aim and strike with extreme accuracy, which isn't so great for me when he's in one of those moods.

I have been sticking with the prescribed time out program, but on Monday, he was in time out for almost 6-7 hours, off and on. He would be in time out, get out of time out, then immediately do something else and go right back into time out. I kept asking him to calm down, and he was just screaming and sobbing, "I CAN'T. I CAN'T. I NEED HELP. I NEED HELP." I felt so bad for him and he was just begging me to sit with him, but so many of the books say that if you give a child positive attention (sitting with him in time out, giving him attention) for negative behavior, the negative behavior will continue. This is something I didn't agree with before and I was very sold on attachment parenting, but when his behavior continued to get worse, I decided my AP practices maybe weren't working.

But unfortunately the rigid time out thing isn't working either, most of the time. Whenever I have to put him in time out, things escalate, but I keep being told by therapists, books, and others that I just need to stick it out, be strong, and "make him mind." I am told that if I give in, I will only increase his bad behavior.

It's all so confusing. When I follow my instincts, it doesn't work, and when I follow what's recommended, that doesn't work either. Or some things work great one day then not the next.

Now I am thinking about re-considering the time out approach. Maybe I should sit with him and try to help him calm down. To her credit, my son's therapist (when I described the situation to her) did recommend that perhaps I should try to calm him down by sitting with him and that helping him calm down was more important and more beneficial for him than being rigid about it. One thing I do like about her is that she always modifies her approach to try to find something that works.

All that said, I am starting to think maybe I won't be able to affect his behavior enough to make a significant change. Maybe medication will be needed, though I am not totally ready to accept that yet. The side effects scare me. Not knowing what it could do to his brain, giving him yet another thing to deal with on top of what he's already dealing with, scares me.

It's very hard. It's very lonely, especially as a single mom. I haven't had a date in over 5 years (since before I was pregnant). I can't spend time with my friends with my son because he often causes major problems with my friends' children, and we have to leave. I don't have much time to socialize when he's at my parents' because I need to work during that time. Sometimes I feel like I'm trapped in a terrible situation from which there is no escape. I keep trying to find ways to eke out a tiny bit of happiness for myself, and I am not giving up yet.

Thanks everyone, as usual, for everything. You all have been my lifeline!!!!
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#172 of 494 Old 02-07-2010, 03:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi GracieLynn:

I have so much sympathy for parents in situations like yours. I can totally sympathize. It's so incredibly difficult. It just seems like there are no good answers, especially when dealing with behavioral problems or possible mental illness in kids. If I could have one magical wish, it would be for some amazing blood test or brain scan that could give a definite answer and let us know what our children were deficient in or allergic to or whatever so we would know exactly what to do to treat them.

I had a dear friend named Erin who was schizophrenic. The schizophrenia came on suddenly, in her mid to late 20s, and she quickly went downhill. I saw my once-brilliant friend, a college professor and novelist, suddenly afraid to eat around me because she feared I had poisoned her food. They put her on every kind of medication possible trying to find one that would work. One made her gain 40 pounds in a matter of weeks. Another made her drool uncontrollably. Another make her shake uncontrollably. And the worst of it was that they'd make her aware of her surroundings just enough to know that she was a) crazy and b) having these terrible, humiliating (to her) side effects. It was absolutely awful watching her go through that. She finally couldn't handle it anymore and took her own life.

I've also had my own experiences with mental health drugs. I've suffered from depression off and on since my teen years, and I've tried several different anti-depressants. I haven't taken any in the last five years or so, and I have turned to acupuncture and Chinese medicine instead, which has been very effective for me. But I had several bad experiences with the anti-depressants I tried, including worsened depression, anxiety when I'd never had anxiety before, weight gain, shaking, uncontrollable yawing along with shaking, memory/thinking problems, and those lovely electric feeling "zaps" that people talk about with some medications. On top of all that, I usually didn't feel that great and still felt pretty depressed!

These experiences make me worried to give something like this to my son. It's not something I take lightly AT ALL.

This is not to be critical of any parent who has chosen to give their child medication. It might be something I have to consider down the road. I am just not there yet.
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#173 of 494 Old 02-07-2010, 11:46 AM
 
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No advice or anything useful just a .
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#174 of 494 Old 02-08-2010, 03:36 PM
 
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Hey, there was an article in the most recent "Brain, Child" magazine that sounds somewhat similar to your story. It's not online now, but it's called "Love with Teeth." The author's blog is http://nopointsforstyle.blogspot.com/. It might make you feel like you're not the only person in the world going through this.
"Nobody who is living this hard, hard life of raising a child who is extremely volatile (whatever it ends up being officially called: autism, a mental illness, or any of the alphabet soup diagnoses: ADHD, SPD, ODD, OCD, etc.) is doing it gracefully! Yes, I'm sure some do better than others. I'm one of the "others" in some circles, part of the "some" in others. We all are. It's a hard life. I'd like to see every one of us give ourselves a break, because we do the best we can."

Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007
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#175 of 494 Old 02-09-2010, 09:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi MamaJen and all:

Thanks for the article. I will definitely check it out. I've been extremely sick with some sort of flu for the past three days, and it's been really hard. I've had a constant temp around 101-102, and I have no one to help me. My son REALLY acts out when I am sick or under the weather at all (even tired). I had to keep him home with me yesterday because I don't have childcare on Mondays, and it was very hard. I desperately needed sleep, but if I ever started to dose a bit on the couch while he was playing at my feet, he'd just scream "WAKE UP" in my ear. Then he started moving furniture, scratching our wood floors. I was telling him to stop, but he wouldn't listen, and I was SOOOOO sick and barely able to move that I just couldn't handle it.

Being a sick single mom is really the WORST.

I decided to take him to daycare today so I could rest, but of course he didn't want to go. He said, "If you take me I am going to punch Ethan* in the face. I am going to kill Ethan." (*Ethan is not the child's real name.) Ethan is only two years old. My son kept talking about how much he hates Ethan and how he was going to be mean to him and hurt him if he had to go to school.

I am just so sick that I had to take him, and I also didn't think it was good to encourage his threatening behavior. On the way down to the car, he was hitting me in the legs, kicking and hitting everything we walked by, and screaming "I HATE YOU" the entire way to the car. It was not fun.

I wish my parents would be able to help me with my son when I am so sick like this, but they both work. The only way to have them help me would be for them to take a day off work. I wish they would though. I really really need help. I am just desperate for help today, for someone to just come take my son so I can rest.

Mushka--Thanks for the hug. I need it!

~Bisou
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#176 of 494 Old 02-09-2010, 10:08 PM
 
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I am just so sick that I had to take him, and I also didn't think it was good to encourage his threatening behavior. On the way down to the car, he was hitting me in the legs, kicking and hitting everything we walked by, and screaming "I HATE YOU" the entire way to the car. It was not fun.
Goodness! I wish I had time to read this entire thread. It sounds like you've had a rough go lately!

I just wanted to ask how you handled this situation. Did you stop and get down to his level to validate his feelings? Or did you continue walking, dragging him the whole way? The only reason I bring it up is because this REALLY sounds like a child who needs to be heard. Granted I could be way off base, not reading this thread. Or maybe you already tried it and got nowhere?

I really wish I could help more... 9 pages of replies though is quite something though!! There are some really great people here.
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#177 of 494 Old 02-11-2010, 08:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Sgmom:

To be honest, yes, I was sort of pulling him along as he was kicking and screaming and hitting me, and perhaps this wasn't the best approach. I had already talked to him a bunch in our apartment about how he had to go to school because mommy was really sick and needed to rest, and he just wasn't having it. He isn't the most understanding kid.

I don't quite get why he gets so angry when I am sick. I don't know if it's because he's scared or what. But he is very demanding and he does get very angry if I am sick or tired and don't have the energy to react to him the way he wants. I'd love to cuddle with him on the couch and give him attention that way when I am sick or tired, but he really wants me to be playing with him on the floor or wrestling or doing something really active, and as sick as I am right now, that's just not an option.

Thankfully, after much begging and crying on my part, my parents came down last night to pick up my son and take him to their house so I could recover. This is a big hardship for them since they both work, so they are both having to take time off work to help me with my son.

It's hard because several of my friends did offer help since I've been so sick, but my son is so awful with their kids (aggressive towards them and hurting them at times), so I feel like I don't want to put them into that sort of situation when they are just trying to help me out. Having single parent friends is great because they understand what I am going through, but sometimes it seems like it would be handy to have some childless friends who liked kids who'd want to take my son to the mall or to the children's museum or something. My son really has a hard time with children who are younger, even by a few months. He really prefers older children, like 6 or 7 years old, but he is only 4. Do any other people with children who have difficulties notice this with their children liking older kids? I wonder why this is?

I hope everyone has a great Valentine's Day. I will be spending mine in bed (hopefully) recovering from this awful flu!!!
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#178 of 494 Old 02-12-2010, 03:12 AM
 
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I'm so sorry you are going through this. I am no expert in the field of psychiatry or psychology, but I was wondering if you looked into getting treated for depression or PTSD? Could you do that along with getting the treatment for your son? I read in a few studies that sometimes treating the mother's depression can help with the child's behavior (this is in no way blaming you at all). It sounds like you both have gone through so much trauma in the last two years. That along with the lack of emotional support, job stress, and fatigue can really send a person over the edge.

I don't want to make light of what you are going through. You both have gone through a lot. Your son could very well need medication. I really hope not. I'm just wondering if you treat yourself, you could get into a better place mentally for both you and your son.

I hope you don't take offense with anything I've mentioned. I'm just hoping I can offer some help. You sound like a great mother who is giving every once of herself for her child.

Take care of yourself and please let us know how things are going for you. I really hope things get better for you and your son.

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#179 of 494 Old 02-12-2010, 03:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm so sorry you are going through this. I am no expert in the field of psychiatry or psychology, but I was wondering if you looked into getting treated for depression or PTSD? Could you do that along with getting the treatment for your son? I read in a few studies that sometimes treating the mother's depression can help with the child's behavior (this is in no way blaming you at all). It sounds like you both have gone through so much trauma in the last two years. That along with the lack of emotional support, job stress, and fatigue can really send a person over the edge.

I don't want to make light of what you are going through. You both have gone through a lot. Your son could very well need medication. I really hope not. I'm just wondering if you treat yourself, you could get into a better place mentally for both you and your son.

I hope you don't take offense with anything I've mentioned. I'm just hoping I can offer some help. You sound like a great mother who is giving every once of herself for her child.

Take care of yourself and please let us know how things are going for you. I really hope things get better for you and your son.
Hi Boopie:

No offense taken at all. I appreciate your concern and suggestions!

Yes, I am having therapy for depression (though it's not as big of an issue for me as it has been in years past) and PTSD. I actually have two therapists for me and one for my son! I also have acupuncture for stress and to prevent the recurrence of depression.

I don't feel particularly depressed most of the time, though I do have my moments. My main problem right now is being stressed, overwhelmed, and unsure of what to do about my son's behavioral issues. I just keep trying to move forward and we are looking into new treatments for him, particularly occupational therapy, to see if this will help him with possible sensory processing disorder, which is a new thing we are exploring.

Thanks for your post! I really do want to consider all angles, so even though people sometimes mention things I am already doing or have already tried, people also often mention new things that I haven't heard of or tried, so that's really helpful for us. I really appreciate it!
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#180 of 494 Old 02-18-2010, 06:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Warning: This is long. I've had a VERY bad day today. Very bad. I guess I just need to vent.

I guess there are two main (disorganized, scattered throughout the post) issues here, intertwined:

1) My son's violence has increased in the past week or so. I am at a breaking point. Neither time outs nor the gentler approach (time ins, talking, negotiating) are working at all. I don't know what to do.

2) Today my son was diagnosed with MRSA--medication resistant staph--and I can't get him to take the medication. This was expected as he has NEVER willingly taken any medication, no matter what I've tried. I don't know what to do.


It seems lately that we haven't gone more than a day or two of decent days without then heading back into many many bad days. My son is very sensitive to stress and drama in his life and going on around him, so anything that happens seems to set him off. The problem is that we always seem to have things happening, crazy things, things that don't happen to most people (like the break-in situation).

This week my son was already acting up. Things are worst on Sundays and Mondays, which are the two days I have at home with him. Neither one of us go to school/work on those days. I am always optimistic, thinking we will have fun and go to the park, go to the zoo, the children's museum, etc, but he often says he wants to stay at home. This would be fine except that when we stay at home, all he does is cause MASSIVE trauma--hitting, screaming, tantrums, out of control--all day, and he just ends up in time out after time out because he is completely and 100% out of control. This is how our lovely week started. I try all sorts of things (diversion, exercise, being silly, having him punch pillows, wrestling, etc etc etc) to keep things under control, but it just never seems to work for me, or it might work for 20-30 minutes, but then it's all over and we're into hell.

So, on to the related (but also different) issue. . . . .

Yesterday I noticed some bumps on his tummy that looked like acne, almost, but sort of odd. They were very red and had white tops, like a whitehead. In the morning he had two or three, and in the afternoon, he had five or six, so I was a little concerned that it was spreading. He didn't have a temp, but I called the doctor anyway, and they said it could be staph infection and made an appointment for him to be seen today.

Usually I don't tell him he's going to the doctor until about 20-30 minutes prior to the appointment because he freaks out about the doctor. He doesn't want to get on the scale (screams and cries), doesn't want to have anyone touch him or look at him. It's not even a fear of shots. He just hates the entire thing. So he knew that he was going to the doctor today because he had heard me on the phone, and ALL DAY (until the appointment at 3:00pm) he screamed and cried about not wanting to go to the doctor's appt. He was screaming things like, "I don't want to go! I hate you!" which is his new theme lately ("I hate you"). I was really kind, sympathetic, and understanding and said, "I know you're scared, but it will be ok. You won't be getting any shots. It won't be a big deal. She will just look at your tummy and probably say it's fine." I tried and tried to convince him it would be ok, to empathize with his feelings (I know you're scared. I will be right there with you. It will be ok), and to make him feel better. I even tried pretending I was the doctor and he was the patient and we acted out how it would go. He'd laugh for about two minutes, then immediately start screaming again. I told him it was important, that he had to go to get it checked out and make sure he was healthy. Nothing was working. I tried REALLY hard for hours.

His anger and frustration escalated into violence towards me, and he started hitting, punching, kicking, etc, like just coming up to me and hitting me or punching me in the back because he was angry. So, following what my son's therapist has taught and what most people have said is required with a kid like this, I put him in time out, or tried to. These days he will never go to time out, so I have to physically pull/drag/carry him to time out. Carrying him to time out is dangerous and almost ensures that I will be slapped or punched in the face. Since he is so disregulated emotionally, he won't stay in time out either, which means I am supposed to do a restrained time out, holding him in a chair. While I hold him in the chair with his arms wrapped around him, standing behind him, he thrashes, says I am hurting him (even though I try to hold him as carefully as possible) and he tries to bite me, spit on me, or hit me with his head if I get close enough. Excuse my language, but it's f-ing miserable. Just miserable. He will even intentionally pee his pants at times. When I let him go to the bathroom, he will refuse to go and/or lock himself in the bathroom, and then when he's back in time out, he will say he has to pee. It becomes a power struggle. It's just absolutely terrible.

I have reached a point this week to where I feel like NOTHING is working, at all. When my son was younger, I was all about attachment parenting. I believed in "time ins" instead of time outs and would sit on the couch and talk to my son about his behavior. This is what I believed was a gentler, kinder approach, and what I wanted to do, but his behavior continued to get worse and worse. When he was finally at the point of bashing other children's heads into the wall unprovoked, I sought professional help. I was told that part of my son's behavior problems were caused by my laid back approach to discipline and that I hadn't given him serious enough consequences. I was told I needed to give him time outs and make him stay in time out, to hold him (if he wouldn't stay) until he was completely exhausted and had "burned out" all of that terrible aggressive energy. I have held him in time out for hours at a time. IT'S NOT WORKING.

I have also tried talking, problem solving, trying to calm him down, to sympathize, to be loving, kind. I've tried avoiding what causes these meltdowns, but sometimes it can't be avoided. For example, he can't NOT go to preschool because I have to work. He can't NOT go to the doctor when he has a problem that needs looking at. As parents, we all know that there are things that must be done.

None of these approaches are working, and I am just completely at a loss. Occasionally I get optimistic and get this burst of energy and just think I can do this, but I don't know if I can anymore. I don't know what to do. I feel like I am trapped in an abusive relationship, and I want to break up and leave, but I can't. I know he is a child, but it's still incredibly difficult being hit, kicked, spit on, and slapped, sometimes multiple times per day, along with being told that I am hated, he wishes I would die, and I am ugly and fat. It's just terrible. I know it's terrible for him too. But when I found out I was pregnant, I was so excited, as I had always wanted to be a mother and was told I was infertile. It seemed like an amazing, wonderful gift had been given to me. That things have turned out this way (at least so far) seems so incredibly unfair, especially since I am dealing with this completely alone.

So, today I was putting him in time out for hitting me, and he was refusing. He was in the bedroom and I decided to kneel down and tell him just to come to time out and it would be short and easy, and then he would be done, no big deal, and as I was explaining this is a calm and loving manner, he just slapped me on the face as hard as he could.

And, God forgive me, I slapped him right back.

I feel like crap for doing this. (I would use a stronger word, but I don't think it's allowed.) I feel like the worst person on the planet and a terrible mother. It just came out of me in an instant. All the anger that has been boiling inside just burst out of me, and I lost control. I just couldn't take it anymore.

Of course I believe this is 100000% wrong. I was raised by violent parents, so sometimes I feel like it's just stored away in me. I was spanked/beaten until black and blue (called "spanking"), slapped, and told that I should have never been born. I never wanted to be anything but loving and patient with my son, but he makes it SO hard to be the kind of parent I want to be. It's honestly like living in hell.

I realize now that I am getting at my breaking point more and more regularly. I am yelling, losing my temper. I think it's because I truly feel like I have tried everything, including trying time outs for more than a year, consistently, EVERY TIME he did something that hurt me, himself, or others, or seriously damaged property, and while I've seen a slight improvement in behavior, it's not what it should be. His behavior is still bad enough to be completely unbearable. I am so sick of living like this. I am so sick of thinking, optimistically, every time, "I have the whole day off with my son today! I wonder what fun things we can do?" only to have our "fun activity" be a 6-8 hour physical fight.

My son's therapist and a friend of mine, who is also a therapist, (along with countless parenting books, including Transforming Your Difficult Child, which was recommended by many people) told me that if I would just stick with time outs and be consistent (putting him in time out every time and keeping him there if he was resisting or continuing to do the same behaviors) he might really fight it and it might even get worse for a few weeks, but then things would be so much better, even amazingly better. It's not happening. I am really at a loss about what to do. I absolutely HATE being in a physical confrontation with him, restraining him. It sucks. It feels like we are in a physical battle. But I've been told that if I don't do this, he will only get worse. I've tried other approaches, and they don't work either, and I feel like I can't just ignore his behavior if he's hitting, punching, slapping, and kicking me. He's only four. What about when he's eight or ten? He will be bigger than me! (I am only 5'2".)

After the entire violent blow-up between the two of us, of course I was really distraught and crying. I told him I was very sorry, that it wasn't ok for mommy to hit him, but that it ALSO wasn't ok for him to hit mommy. We hugged and cuddled. Later, I asked him what mommy should do when he hits me since he didn't like time outs and that didn't seem to be working for us. He said I should just tell him to stop. I said, "Well, but if you've already hit mommy, I can't tell you to stop, because you've already done it, so what should happen?" We came up with a plan that if he did something he shouldn't, what if mommy told him to go to his room and sit on his bed for a time out? He smiled and seemed to like that idea. I said, "What if you were really mad, what would you do?" He didn't know, so I asked him if he could hit the windows or throw his toys? He said no. I said, "What about if you hit your bed or pillows and kicked your legs?" He said yeah, and I agreed that this would be a good way to deal with being mad. We then practiced him pretend "hitting" me and him getting sent to sit on his bed, and he did it. We practiced him being angry and hitting his pillows and bed. But then later in the evening, when he, once again, hit me, I told him to go to his bed and he wouldn't. I've tried sending him to his room before, but it's never worked. (FYI, it's feet away from me, not upstairs or downstairs, or far away, and very brightly lit and safe feeling.)

So, back to today, he was diagnosed with MRSA--the medication-resistant form of staph infection. His doctor said that he needed antibiotics, and if it wasn't treated, he would likely develop huge abscesses that would have to be lanced, and it would be painful and even dangerous. MRSA can be deadly.

Of course with my son, NOTHING is easy. When he was younger (age two onward, after I stopped breastfeeding), I could slip most medication into a bottle of soymilk. (Once we weaned, he BEGGED me not to take away his bottles and was so devastated not to be able to nurse anymore that I felt sorry for him and let him continue to have that comfort. I only stopped because I needed medication for a serious skin disease I have, and I waited so long to stop BF that I had to have extensive surgery and almost skin grafts!)

Now, there is no way to get medication into him. He was prescribed an antibiotic liquid. I did try to slip it into a drink he was having, but he could taste it and asked me what was going on. I told him that the medication was in his drink and explained that he needed to take the medication and that I would help him. He started screaming in anger that he would NOT take the medication. I told him I knew that it was really hard, but that mommy would help him, and we'd try whatever we needed to try (sugar, honey, hot chocolate, chocolate syrup, whatever!) to help him get it down. I decided to give him a spoonful of sugar, the medicine, then some chocolate soymilk. Of course I was thinking this is terrible for him to be eating straight sugar, but I was desperate. He wouldn't even try a tiny drop of the medicine. He just screamed and cried and said "I am not doing it!"

I tried to convince him gently, and again said that I would help him and we would do it together, but he refused. I begged and pleaded and said I was worried about him getting worse if he didn't take it. He refused. I said if he didn't take it, he would probably have to have antibiotic shots at the doctor's office. I didn't say this to be mean, but hoping that he would realize that it may very well be either take the medicine, or get shots. I told him I didn't want him to have to get shots, so please let me help him take the medicine. No go.

I've been thinking that his behavior has been so unbearable lately that maybe I need to see about medication for him to help with his behavioral problems, but now I wonder how that would even be possible.

I've tried (begged, pleaded, offered any kind of treat you can imagine) to get him to take medication before when he's had a high fever or has been in pain with a sore throat when he is sick. He can be sobbing in pain with the worst sore throat you can imagine, and he wouldn't even try to take Tylenol or anything.

Of course I could try to force him to take the medication, but aside from the ugliness of that scenario (holding him down and forcing it into his mouth? no thanks), it wouldn't work anyway, as he'd just spit it out or vomit.

So, I have questions:

1) What would you do about the time out situation? Would you just give up on time outs? Nothing seems to be working at ALL. Am I missing something? Some people say I have to stick to time outs, which are not working; others say I need to talk and negotiate, which is also not working. I've tried each method for months to years. We are still doing a points log and have been doing this daily for over a month, but it doesn't seem to motivate him much on most days. I am desperate. I don't know what else I can try. Have I tried everything? Is it just time to give up and resort to #3 below?

2) Any thoughts on the MRSA medication issue? Do I just call the doctor and say he's refusing to even try meds, no matter what I do, and just see if he can get antibiotic shots? The idea makes me ill, but I know this can be an extremely serious infection. I don't want to see him with huge abscesses, being held down and screaming while they try to lance them. I feel completely stuck on this!!!! He can't swallow pills and won't even try anything. I know that no matter what I try to do to convince him, he won't try it. It's so upsetting. I don't want him to be hurt or upset, but this needs to be treated.

3) If you think that obviously nothing is working behavior-wise, so he needs medication, how would I even get him to take medication? Even writing those words is upsetting to me, but I guess if him NOT taking mental health meds means we are physically assaulting each other, that's not a good situation either. Somehow I have to find a solution!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just know that medications aren't magical and have many serious potential side effects. He's only four years old.

I am just scared, sad, overwhelmed, and feeling like crap. And I really don't have anyone to talk to about this, at least not anyone I know. A couple of you have emailed me privately with your phone numbers, but it seems very odd to call a complete stranger with an emotional crisis. I just don't know how long I can go without some help here. Some people have suggested respite care, but I already have him in childcare 4-5 days a week, so it's not like I am with him 24/7. I just need more emotional support than anything else.

Ok, I guess I am more than done. I apologize for my disorganized ramblings. I am just too tired to go through and edit this into something that makes better logical sense!
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