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<p>I'm really struggling with 4yo ds (turned 4 in may). I keep waiting for him to grow out of the irritating "toddler" stage (or irritating 3yo stage) but he's just.. not. Just seems to be evolving and getting worse. dd (now 6) started becoming noticeably much easier to get along with right around this age. I know, small study with a sample size of 2 ;) He often will hit his siblings or the cats, completely unprovoked. He has literally gone up to the cat while it was eating and stomped on his tail. He'll randomly smack the 20 mo in the car, and when told to stop, he says "but he has a messy face!" (or something equally illogical). And the spitting! Ugh!! He is constantly spitting at people. After hurting another person/cat, his response is often a gleeful "Thats what he gets!" At the slightest correction, or being told no "I won't let you hit your brother" or "No more juice, you can choose water or milk" he freaks out, screams, then immediately comes up with a threat. "then I'll...never eat or drink or sleep again!" but lately its been "Then I'LL KILL YOU!" If I'm approaching him to stop him doing something, he takes off running, laughing like he's having the time of his life. He often will, unprovoked, in a normal mood, just start doing something that seems like its specifically to annoy me or someone else. One thing off the top of my head, I got a diaper ready for his wiggly toddler brother, trifolding the prefold and laying it in the new diaper. Then I go to catch the toddler and carry him to where the diaper is, and 4yo ds has grabbed it off the couch and thrown it on the floor. I feel like I have ZERO authority over. Telling him not to do something/stop doing something is the surest way to guarantee he does it. I know this and can "tiptoe" around him to avoid his landmine triggers, but 6yo dd is especially prone to causing him to escalate. What starts as a mildly annoying sound in the car, once she starts saying "stop it" it turns into this pissing match of her saying "STOP IT!" and him increasing how obnoxious he can be. spitting, hitting, getting louder with the sounds. Its the kind of thing where if she ignored him in the first place, he would have quit on his own within 10 seconds. Wish I could figure out how to convince her to quit antagonizing him. He's exceptionally difficult to take in public. He just walks away from us in stores. Its like he has no idea that there's any reason he should stay near us, or even inform us where he's going. Its very purposeful, like a destination in mind, not just a distracted kid wandering off out of boredom. </p>
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<p>I have no idea what to do, on a day to day basis, to make him easier to live with. I've looked over the symptoms of sensory processing disorder, and though I can identify some sensory seeking and sensory avoiding behaviors, I don't think the label fits. For example, he really hates loud noises, like in the movie theater he had to wear ear plugs, and still was especially stressed out (freaking out and needing to leave) during the previews. the movie wasn't quite as jarring as the previews so he was able to watch the movie. doesn't much like fireworks. hid on the porch with ear muffs while everyone else sat at the end of the driveway. He really likes light touch tickles on his back, face, or palms of his hands. He likes when his dad tickles him when he falls asleep, and it helps keep him calm and still sitting in church. I'm also remembering what he was like around the same age toddler ds is. I could hardly take him to parks, because he would constantly run off. He wanted nothing to do with play ground equipment. toddler ds, while definitely a "toddler" with all the normal toddler things that entails, is so much easier to handle. And he only runs away at the park if he's chasing after a ball or a dog ;)</p>
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<p>Help?! Is this (still) just an age thing he'll grow out of? I have no tools. Literally, NONE, whatsoever, to deal with him.</p>
 

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<p>LilStar - there is no easy answer.</p>
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<p>instead there is a very hard answer. which can be sooo hard to do.</p>
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<p>reading your post and your tone of voice - i just kept thinking in my head this mama needs a bread. she needs some LilStar time. Are you getting any of that? Are you getting any opportunity to do ANYTHING for yourself. in the middle of all this you also have to take care of yourself. </p>
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<p>and please recognise mama handling 3 children so close in age IS a hard thing to do. your hands are full. </p>
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<p>it IS especially tiring when you have a spirited one. and that's one of my fears. spirited ones exhaust you (even with just one by the end of the evening i was EXHAUSTED). and therefore you need more self care. </p>
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<p>yes you are right about SPD. a lot of SPD symptoms are indeed age related symptoms like sensitivity to certain noises or sensory seeking. i think its a common thing for kids to be sensitive to certain sounds. and the movie theater is really really loud. i am not sure if it 'good' loud even for us. definitely skip the Imax for sure. super, super, super loud. </p>
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<p>unfortunately your 4 year old as you say knows his mind. he has a purpose to all he does. he sounds like a really curious kid. </p>
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<p>my dd was a lot like your son. playful parenting worked a  lot. making a joke out of everything. </p>
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<p>another thing that worked was asking for help. would he be willing to help you lay out brother's diaper in the way you would want. </p>
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<p>with a sensitive child like him i think he is playing off your emotions too. </p>
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<p>oooh one thought. i recall dd could never behave if she couldnt get her energy out. if she did not do enough hard play her behaviour would be atrocious. </p>
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<p>btw my dd has always been a free range kid. and she trained me to be a free range mama. one way i would meet my needs too was send her down to the next aisle to bring something specific. if she came back after she found or couldnt find it, she got to try more. otherwise her alone privileges were taken away. i made a lot of boundaries which she knew she had to follow if she wanted to have the freedom to do what she liked. </p>
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<p>sorry mama i dont really have any concrete answers. </p>
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<p>but yes for sure. one day this too shall pass. </p>
 
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<p>Everything meemee says makes sense.  I will only add that my older son (now 8) has some of that impulsiveness in him.  He seems to be taking longer to outgrow it than other kids. My sample of 2 (ds1 and ds2 who is two years younger) tells me that ds2 had a more "normal" phase of hitting and boundary-testing and running away at parks, etc.  The regular techniques and reminders just didn't work magic on ds1.  He still overreacts and can act impulsive, but at 8 has mellowed a lot. At 4, fuggaboudit... ;)  Four years old is very young, and though he seems older than your toddler, or you are comparing him to a more by-the-book 6yo daughter, he is completely in the thick of a very trying age. </p>
<p>If you suspect sensory-seeking behavior you might look into an occupational therapy evaluation and course of action.  And taking preventive measures any time you can is a good idea (he sits in the cart at the store, or goes on a helpful store mission as suggested, etc.). But for my ds1, we never went to see fireworks until he was about 6, because I thought he'd hate the noise and react badly before that.  He didn't go to a movie in the theater until 7 years old, again because of the noise, intensity, and sitting. And we didn't go to parks without a fence much at that age. We haven't belonged to any synagogue or church or anything so he has not had to sit still through services much. We did not have a pet until he was 7yo, and even now that we have our guinea pig we have to watch carefully because he gets overexcited and squeezes or pets too hard sometimes.   I'm just saying some of what you're expecting seem a bit out of reach for him still.  By all means teach your 6yo some diffusing techniques to help quiet your ds more quickly, maybe with a bit of wink, like you and she are older and you know the secret tricks to handling little brother gently. Maybe there are ways to bring in more routine, or more one-on-one quality time with him... hopefully others will have better advice.  I don't know the answers, he does sound extremely challenging.  And I second any advice to get help with the kids, and get more breaks for yourself if you can.</p>
 

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<p>Yes, LilStar, I agree that you need to create some self care time for yourself.  Pick one thing each day (or every other day if that feels too challenging) that feels at least a little indulgent.  Indulgent to each of us can be different, but it could be as simple as making a cup of tea and sitting the kids in front of the TV and hiding in the spare room for 5 minutes to breathe and sip tea.  (with the door locked ;))  OR, it could be that you take a half day and go to the spa.  (Of course, you won't be doing that EVERY day)  Or take a bath before bed, with aromatherapy candles and bubble bath and soft music.  WHATEVER feels like indulgent "just for me" behavior.</p>
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<p>Next, I invite you to make a list of the specific things your son does that cause you stress (like "Steps on the cat's tail" or "Hits").  </p>
<p>Then make a list of the things you think he "should" be doing instead of those things.  Or, could just be a list of behaviors you'd like to see him exhibit.</p>
<p>Go through the list of things you'd LIKE him to do, and with each item, ask yourself WHEN and WHERE he has displayed those preferred behaviors.</p>
<p>Make notes about the circumstances in which he is meeting your models of behavior and see if you can find a pattern, ANY pattern.  I'd be curious to hear what you may find.  (You can also do this with the stressful behaviors to find patterns as well, but I think for you, for now, you may find more relief by starting with the positive :))</p>
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<p>In addition to this, I would highly recommend finding an outlet for him to spend more time outdoors connecting with nature.  Most of us are very disconnected with nature, as our lifestyles keep us indoors, under artificial light, wearing shoes all the time, etc.  A connection with nature and the earth promotes a balance of energy and connects us to the cycles of the seasons among other things.  Your son sounds like a highly sensitive person (there are more and more showing up all the time) and he may do well getting more in tune with nature.  It could have a calming effect on him :)</p>
<p>This book: <a href="http://www.coyotesguide.com/" target="_blank">http://www.coyotesguide.com/</a> has a directory in the back of organizations all over the world that lead outdoor education experiences and schools.  If this resonates with you, go out and check out the book at your library or local book store.</p>
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<p>Lastly, do you sit with your son and talk with him (when there isn't anything being "triggered" with him or you)?  Have you asked him during a "neutral" time about specific behaviors that you observe in him?  What does he say?  It's SO important when you try this to be in a neutral emotional state and use language that does not blame or point fingers or shame him.  If you'd like to chat about any of this, feel free to contact me :)</p>
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<p>I am sending love to you.  You will all get through this and it will all work out.  That much I know for sure <3</p>
 

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One of my best tools is to disengage. My ds throws a fit & I shrug & walk away. I do not react emotionally to his bad behavior.<br>
I think the other advice you've received is good, too. Do your older kids go somewhere, like mothers day out or to visit a grandparent? My mil watches my ds one day a week so he & I can get a break from each other. Its good for all of us.
 

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<p>Been a busy few days, finally have a chance to get back to this thread. </p>
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<p>One thing I've realized and been chewing on (still don't know where to go with it!) is how he is somewhat like ME as a child, specifically with the independence-seeking type things. I used to be the type of kid who would be "sneaky". Help myself to treats without the thought even crossing my mind that I should need permission. In fact, if there was something that my mom would inconsistently attempt to enforce "you need to ask first" rules on (computer use) I would literally be thinking, haha, yeah right, no way. Thinking she was absolutely nuts to expect me to ask first. I  used to assume my attitude was mostly because my mom was lazy about being consistent and I just got in the habit of doing whatever I wanted. but now I got one just like me.. and I feel like there have been things I've been pretty darn consistent about that are disregarded just as "haha, yeah right, whatever mom" as when my mom told me i needed to ask before using the computer! Maybe we're just born this way ;) I don't necessarily consider his super-independent tendencies to be a "problem" (I mean, I wish he'd at least come when called in public..) its more of an aspect of his personality. I was quite pleased the morning when I jumped out of bed to see what he was getting into and found him spreading some peanut butter on bread! I feared something much less innocent :)</p>
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<p>One thing that has worked well to settle him down from a tantrum, but doesn't always work in the scenario, is having him live out the fantasy of what it is he wants and telling me about it. Like one time he was upset we were leaving the mall. We'd  had fun! He said "I don't want to go to any house. OR ANY APARTMENT!!!!" (like he's covering his bases, making sure not to leave any loopholes, lol) so I say, "what about a castle?" "No, not any house, or apartment, or castle. I just want to live at a mall!" So we played along a little bit, oh yeah, where will you sleep? He seemed stumped, so I helped him by reminding him they have bed stores! So I kept bringing up different things for him to answer creatively. What about our cats, can they come? Where will we get our mail? Where will you take a bath? Where will you put your toys so no one tries to buy them? He was distracted enough talking about how cool (or challenging!) it would be living in a mall that he didn't need to scream about the fact that we were, indeed, going home. Its getting more difficult to playfully distract him like that, since these days he's just turning violent, spitting, and making death threats. There's a neighbor kid he plays (or played) with a lot, I've babysat after school a good bit, who has horrible behavior. I mean, I've been completely stunned by how he is. ds loves him :/ I do wonder how much of our problems is due to a bad influence. The good part of this is we did just move this weekend, so they won' t be playing daily anymore.</p>
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<p>He has had a TON of outdoor play. He and dd and some friends "free range" quite a bit in the nice weather. Our (old) yard is adjacent to a cul de sac full of kids. They play in our yard which is almost forest like, ride bikes in the cul de sac, or just chill out in the grass playing with random toys the kids bring out.</p>
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<p>I've been trying to recognize which scenarios bring out the best in him.</p>
<p>-removing at least one of his siblings.(on errands) Whether because the attention is less divided, or just the dynamics of 2 vs 3, doesn't seem to matter which sibling is home with the other parent, its just easier. It does seem like he bullies the baby less without big sis around, and that he's antagonized by "innocent" things that big sis does less when the baby isn't around. </p>
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<p>-doing something really fun! if we take a trip to great wolf lodge, or an amusement park, it really is just nothing but magical family fun. Not even melt downs from being over tired from doing too much. Nope! We can cram in as much fun and action all day long and pass out at the end of the day with happy contended kids! He loves great wold lodge sooo much. </p>
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<p>-he and dd can play really well with playmobil sets for a decent stretch. I tend to only get those out if they're willing to play it behind a shut door or if baby is napping. They played great today. It ended when there was a squabble about something or other, which is pretty much to be expected eventually. But had to have been a good 20 min at least of good play together. </p>
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<p>-legos.. I love getting a new set and building it with him!</p>
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<p><span style="line-height:1.231;"> At this point.. I'd be thrilled if I could just get him to quit spitting at everyone, and hitting the baby. Like last night, at the park, they'd been on the slide together and I don't know exactly how it happened (I believe accident) the little one landed less than gracefully and was walking to me crying. Then ds runs up to him and pushes him down! wtf? I just cannot wrap my head around that kind of unprovoked assault. I do know that he was hungry though</span></p>
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<p><span style="line-height:1.231;">I tried to talk to him a little when he was in a calm mood. He mentioned something about how earlier, big sis spit on his sandwich (she totally didn't, but he decided she did and then refused to eat it) and I tried to get some conversation flowing. I said something like, "oh yeah? That really bothers you when she spits! its gross, isnt it?" and then I lead to, "what about when you spit?"...asked him why. just calmly answered "I spit at her because I hate her". One thing that I think really triggers him is that dd just won't. let. him. be. It drives me up the wall. "here let me show you how to do that!" or he'll say something that it, basically, false (whether its a blatant lie, imaginary, poor recollection of events) and she talks over him beginning with the word "actually..." this happens a lot in the car, with us all crammed into a small space talking. If he says something untrue/wrong.. she won't leave it alone! </span></p>
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<p><span style="line-height:1.231;">one more month till school starts. first year of full time school for dd (1st grade) and ds will have m/w/f preschool for 3.5 hours. he went last year so this wont be new. i can't wait!</span></p>
 

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<p>I love how you entertained the idea of living in the mall! :)  How fun!  That's a great tactic for distraction.  Kids LOVE to use their imagination.  The questions are great that make them think of things on their own (without us telling them our own ideas) even if their ideas are illogical or crazy sounding ;)</p>
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<p>It sounds like you are feeling a bit calmer around the situation.  YAY!</p>
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<p>When big sis interrupts/corrects him, do you intervene?  Maybe addressing that with her in his presence, asking her to ask him if he would like feedback or correction first before she "tells him how it is".  Also, suggesting to big sis that we each have our own way of looking at things and we each have our own ideas and opinions and that they are all allowed and OK.  Ask her to consider that she sometimes has ideas that other people don't agree with and it doesn't make her ideas wrong, only different.  And how boring would it be if we all were exactly the same??  There wouldn't be any fun in telling our friends stuff, cuz they would already have thought of it, of course, cuz they think EXACTLY like us.  Playing with a group wouldn't be as fun cuz everyone would have only ONE idea (the same one). There wouldn't be room for creativity, art would all look alike, etc.</p>
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<p>Ask him how he would like big sis to respond to him and tell him to address her directly (in a respectful manner, or he must start again).  Give him examples if it is hard for him, for example, "You could say something like, When you interrupt or tell me that my ideas aren't right, I feel sad and angry.  I would like it if you would just listen to me and not correct me..."  This allows the children to begin to learn how to handle their own disputes with one another, and how to use language that doesn't need to escalate.</p>
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<p>Most importantly, remember that you are doing fine :)  We all just do the best that we can in any moment, including our children.  And every event/conflict is an opportunity for learning and growth and strengthening our relationships with one another.  It's not always fun, but it's always a learning opportunity <3</p>
 

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<p>Ooh!  I thought of something else!! :)</p>
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<p>There are children's books that address behavior issues and how they affect those around us, hitting, spitting, etc.  There are some good ones out there.  I would recommend visiting your local library and asking the librarian in the children's section (if there is one) for some recommendations.  Browse through some and choose the ones that align most with the values of your family.  Then take them home and read them together.  Leave time for discussion and asking questions of each other.</p>
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<p>Keep us updated :)</p>
 

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<p>This child is a mystery to me. Yesterday was great. I wouldn't say he was "perfect" because no person, child or adult, is ever going to be "perfect". But he was normal. He didn't attack anyone. He didn't spit even one time (that is a *huge* thing to go a whole day without spitting) he was polite, and pleasant to be around. If he started heading downhill, it was easy to steer him back by taking him aside and spending some 1 on 1 time with him. He didn't make threats!</p>
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<p>Today, not so much! Its like he has been looking for opportunities to hurt people, or just get me and his dad upset. Back to the unprovoked attacks. Needing to half carry  half drag him from a room *very carefully* dodging his flailing limbs and gnashing teeth! Its like I have two different kids. I'd really like to see the one I had yesterday more often! He's a really cool kid! Its so hard to describe him. It really seems like its two different kids. If the nice version of him is there, everything's fine and he responds to me and I can handle him. If the psycho version of him is active, I have no authority. There is NOTHING I can do. He will be completely oppositional about absolutely everything. All there is to do is wait for him to transition back to normal. I have no idea what even triggers him. Sometimes he wakes up in a good mood, sometimes he wakes up determined to make everyone around him miserable. </p>
 

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Have you thought to track what he is eating daily and noting his behavior along with it? This is a frequent suggestion when consulting with a generalist or pediatrician on SPD. My LO is the same age as your boy, born May 09, and he is on the spectrum and was diagnosed with "mild" SPD. Diet change rid him of most symptoms of SPD, and made him an altogether more pleasant child to be around. There has been no more spitting, hair yanking, shin kicking, dog slapping, or gut punching since we changed his diet. That isn't to say he doesn't have a meltdown or hours-long WhineFest; he had a meltdown this morning when I asked if he would like to see a movie this afternoon, and he inexplicably (to my mind, because he loves seeing movies at the theater) ran from the room, shrieking. However, he no longer resorts to punching us in our mouths to express his dissatisfaction with not being the boss, not having ice cream for every meal, having to wash between his toes, or whatever other banality of life might tick him off. ;0)<br><br>
Do you have a regular schedule in your home? I was so child-centered with my first and for the first year of LO's life, that a schedule was totally abhorrent to me. Being a good mother meant being in tune with following my babies' internal schedule! It worked just fine for my serene oldest boy, but LO has proved to be a spicier variety of pickle, to say the least. We have to keep a firm (not concrete) schedule and inform him of most things ahead of time so he doesn't throw a rod over surprises, but there are certain things we HAVE to spring on him, like eating at a restaurant or going to the bookstore. (Apparently, movies now fall into that category.) Can a different or stricter schedule help with your little guy?<br><br>
Good luck! I've cried bitter tears myself over some if the same behaviors and wondered what I was doing wrong, and why I wasn't the mom my LO needed. That diet change really took the pressure off of me, and I learned not to waste time on kicking my own behind. Had I been more analytical and less emotional when approaching the problem, I'd have likely figured out the food intolerance problem a lot sooner!
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>blessedbyblues</strong> <a href="/community/t/1387704/4yo-making-family-life-miserable#post_17429778"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Have you thought to track what he is eating daily and noting his behavior along with it?</div>
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<p>Ugh. I've thought about it alright. And then tried to scrub the idea from my brain because I'm so scared of making big changes like that! Its work! But I'm starting to worry that we're going to have to "go there". When he was an infant, he had the worst systemic yeast infection. He was a home birth, and the only abx exposure he had was when I used eye drops myself for an eye infection when he was 4 weeks. Who knows if that is connected, but it was SO BAD. Worst, caked on disgusting cradle cap. yeast behind his ears, bright red in his neck, in his mouth, arm pits, belly button, behind his knees, between his toes, and the diaper rash!!! oh it was awful. bloody sores. We went to the ped multiple times. we used lotrimin, nystatin, GSE, gentian violet, vinegar, went to a naturopath and followed her recommendations, and nothing could kick it. He also spit up TONS (think bath towels, not burp cloths.. it was horrible) but was gaining weight well and not fussy. I did an elimination diet then.. no gluten, no dairy, no soy.. about 2 months or so. Some time during that, he went on diflucan. his spit up did not decrease on the diet. OH. He also would get weird full body rashes. His knees would break out if he crawled on the carpet with no pants. The elimination diet did make the rashes go away. the diflucan kicked the yeast... finally.. I convinced myself that he wasn't legit allergic to any of that stuff, its just that with the yeast taking over his body, he was overreacting to things that he ordinarily wouldn't. He continued to be "a puker" until I think 2 or so. He'd puke if he cried too much (think left with a babysitter and not happy about it) and would also randomly wake in the middle of the night, puke, and go back to sleep. Also, any illness at all would make him pukey. slightest fever no matter the cause? puke. chickenpox? puke. He's outgrown that. He does quite often have pretty soft stools/diarreah. couple times a month maybe? Otherwise, he's extremely healthy, never gets sick! I cannot remember the last time this kid has had a runny nose. The flu can knock the rest of the family on our butts, he'll get a low grade fever, nap for an hour on the couch, then get up full of energy fever free and thats IT!</p>
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<p>Anyway.. back to diet. I'm so overwhelmed by the idea because there's so many options! gluten free? dairy free? both? feingold? (i looked into feingold but was pretty irritated that you had to pay to get the full information on what to avoid) And how quickly should i expect to see changes? i dont want to have to stick to it for 6 weeks before noticing a difference. i loathe the thought of asking preschool to accommodate something that is more of an "experiment" than legitimately an allergy.. though she is very nice and I'm sure she would. (they provide a daily snack and if its anyone's birthday, cupcakes with colored icing) If I try to eliminate something, should I worry about cross contamination? I know celiacs or people with "real" allergies have to be very careful about cross contamination, but for a minor behavior altering sensitivity, does it matter? It would be a whole lot easier if i could just avoid blatant "ingredients" and not think about contamination..</p>
 

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<p>then lets start simple.</p>
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<p>behaviour problems can be linked to gluten dairy and dyes. could you start with that and try it for 3 weeks and see. </p>
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<p>you'll be surprised how much that can hamper ur life. his life too. </p>
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<p>and then keep a food log and see how it goes. i think you have to do it for 3 weeks before it leaves the system. </p>
 

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Discussion Starter #14
<p>My SIL pointed something out that I'm surprised I never pieced together myself. Whether thisis the cause of a lot of his behavior.. no idea.. but its a piece of the puzzle. He seems to have a lot of anxiety. When he was a "puker" as a toddler, there were plenty of times that seemed to have no apparent cause, but often it did seem to be caused by anxiety. A new thing stressing him out lately: the lot next to our house is under construction, which is including some big bulldozers! One was VERY close to the house and he freaked out. He ran outside, hid behind the car, was beside himself with terror that "the builders are going to break the house" Its very hard to convince him that they definitely are not! Another thing was we were at a mini family amusement park/farm, and we were talking about the train ride and everyone was excited! He was all set, until it was time to board, and he *Freaked out*. Trying to convince him to get on the train was like trying to give a cat a bath. He was afraid it was going to go over water. I assured him it wouldn't. He did happily go on it later, after I took the other kids on it and could confirm, definitely not on water. If I take him to play group at someone else's house (vs a more neutral place, like a park, which is fine) if its not someone he's fully used to, he will not just go play! He clings to me. Wants me to hold him. Just won't open up. So outside his usual personality! It feels really inconsistent too, because he does gymnastics class (just started this summer) and has never had any problem whatsoever going off and participating.  Now that the seed has been planted, I think of so many little things about him that point right back to him being a really anxious kid! And now I'm wondering, is this a completely separate thing to deal with, or is this the "root" of some of his challenging behaviors, in some way?</p>
 

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<p>I didn't read all of the replies, but he sounds sooooo similar to my almost 3.5-year-old.  I keep wondering when he will get "easier" too-when he was 1, it was kind of age appropriate to not listen to a darn thing I said and to hit when he was mad, etc., but now it is just getting a little ridiculous....and if I'm honest, a little embarrassing for me! </p>
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<p>I can't keep treats of any kind in the house, because he will literally climb the cabinets to find them, then run and hide with them.  If I tell him no or try to take it away, he will literally shove as much in his mouth as he can and run away laughing.  In the car, he gets bored and starts kicking/hitting his sister and just laughs and does it more when we tell him to stop.  He will follow my 6-year-old around doing whatever it is that annoys her the most while she cries for him to stop (and eventually this leads to her getting mean too and it goes downhill from there).  I fold laundry, he unfolds it.  Again, age appropriate for a 1-year-old, not so much for a 3.5 year old who knows better, but he will just throw it onto the floor over and over again while he looks for my reaction.  Gah!</p>
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<p>Sometimes, he is the sweetest, cuddliest little guy ever, and lord knows that I adore him all the time...but he tries my patience sooo much.  He climbs like a monkey, if I tell him to be quiet he will scream as loud as he can, he gives sweet little kisses, and he is hilarious, he is so smart and loves to build and put things together and play...and requires a lot of effort and patience and attention, which I just sometimes run out of. </p>
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<p>I think it's just personality-by all accounts, his father was much the same way.  Hopefully he will grow out of some of these behaviors, or at least be more cognizant of the consequences, but his sister is pretty stubborn, as are his dad and I, and I have a feeling this is just him to some degree.  I certainly don't want kids who are obedient little angels with no personality, but it would be nice to be able to walk out of the room without anyone screaming behind me because he took the opportunity to jump all over her, or to keep ice cream in the freezer without finding him on a chair munching it every 3 seconds. </p>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>LiLStar</strong> <a href="/community/t/1387704/4yo-making-family-life-miserable#post_17422086"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Telling him not to do something/stop doing something is the surest way to guarantee he does it. I know this and can "tiptoe" around him to avoid his landmine triggers, but 6yo dd is especially prone to causing him to escalate. What starts as a mildly annoying sound in the car, once she starts saying "stop it" it turns into this pissing match of her saying "STOP IT!" and him increasing how obnoxious he can be. spitting, hitting, getting louder with the sounds. Its the kind of thing where if she ignored him in the first place, he would have quit on his own within 10 seconds. Wish I could figure out how to convince her to quit antagonizing him.</div>
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<p>This part is exactly 100% like my kids...they are 3 and 6 and this happens about 100 times a day and usually ends up with all of us in tears.  I really struggle with this, because it's not fair to my 6-year-old daughter.  I think I expect too much of her, more than is age appropriate.  If it's hard for *me*, the adult to deal with ds's behavior, surely it is even harder for a young kid, but I know I take it out on her sometimes because it's easier to get her to listen then him.   </p>
 

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<p>I'm reading through this thread so fast and with so much excitement because this sounds EXACTLY like my almost 4 yo! I've had to stop typing this <span style="text-decoration:line-through;">twice</span> four times to rescue the baby from mauling. The noise and food sensitivity, the influence from older, rougher kids, the awesome/demon dynamic... I think they may be soul brothers. We're a real food, no tv, playful parenting, nonviolent communicating family and this still exists so I think it really is just certain kids. (and I mention that not because I think I'm the awesomest mom, but because a lot of the things often pointed out as triggers have been removed from our daily life)  Hope to read better through everything and participate more coherently in this convo soon :) Hugs to you Lilstar-- I get where you're coming from.</p>
 

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<p>Wow, like others my 4 yo (also born in May) sounds SO similar. Split personality depending on what side of the bed they wake up on, odd clinginess and fears/anxiety occurring only in particular instances quite at odds with the normal outgoing personality, trouble with hitting, spitting, etc; laughing at requests, running off in stores, and maybe even some of the pukiness as a kid but otherwise generally really resilient. We're very close and I'm generally very patient (try to do a lot of playful parenting, which does seem to help) but there are times when you just need them to listen!</p>
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<p>I've never really thought about SPD but he does seem to get overwhelmed kind of easily. We just got back from a 2 week vacay where he got to meet my (large) extended family for the first time and he coped with it all pretty well but it was definitely a lot for him to take in, being raised in an only child, raided by mom, dad and my mom on occasion (ie. no daycare or really other kids or adults to interact with save trips to the store or whatever). His 6 year old cousin TOTALLY did the antagonistic thing with him (similar to how you describe your 6 yo), and it's frustrating because I feel like although I want to be sensitive to his needs, he does need to learn how to deal with others that are not mom-who-caters-to-his-very-specific-personlity-whims or whatever.</p>
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<p>His infancy and early toddler occurred during a pretty rough patch in my marriage and there was a lot of yelling and tension, so I guiltily wonder how much of that he internalized and how to remedy it if possible. He's had nightmares and even night terrors from a very early age, before he could even tell us what was happening.</p>
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<p>Any recc's or tips will be much appreciated. I'm considering taking him with me to see a TCM practitioner to see if that could help balance things out some.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #19
At the advice of my mom, I have an appt to consult with a Bach flower remedies practitioner. Apparently I was quite the terror myself, but became a different child with a custom flower essence blend. So, trying that! I don't know what tcm stands for..
 

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<p>TCM = traditional chinese medicine</p>
 
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