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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,<br><br>
I'm at the end of my rope and hit an all-time low with parenting yesterday. My 4.5 yr ds is INTENSE. I mean all the time. He is quick to melt-down. He is quick to fly into a rage. He is quick to be mean and try to emotionally hurt me. He is tough. He has always been like this.<br><br>
There was nothing that could happen yesterday that would work for him. He woke up in the morning looking for a hat for his playmobil guy (for those of you in the know, you realize it is the size of a finger nail! and it could be anywhere in this house). When I told him calmly that I would help him look for it when I stopped nursing, he had tantrum #1. While looking for it, I had the audacity to ask him what it looked like, tantrum #2. I asked him if he wanted vanilla or banana yogurt, tantrum #3 and on and on. Needless to say, the day ended with a tantrum because I asked him to remove his muddy boots, so he sent him to bed w/out a bath or stories.<br><br>
HIs first response to almost any question is NO, said in a very angry rageful way. He is very impatient, needless to say. He tantrums when he cannot find something. When he is frustrated. When he is the LEAST bit uncomfortable. When the tshirt he wants to wear is in the wash. When he wants carrots and we don't have any. I will explain to him that I would love to give him a carrot, but we are out and will be sure to buy some the next time we shop. I feel that at his age, he should be able to understand this, but it seems like he cannot. He melts down. He often tells me he hates me or that he's never going to be my friend or that he wants a new mommy or that he'll never play with me again or, the latest, that he's going to cut my head off.<br><br>
His brother and sister are fed-up (even at 6 and 2.5 yos). He ruins almost anything fun we try to do together as a family. As a result, we don't do as much and my 6 yo recognizes this. When dh is home, he spends virutally %100 of his time "caring" for this 4 yo and I take care of the other 3. My 4 yo is a fulltime job. He literally sucks the life from this family. I'm worried about the family dynamic here.<br><br>
He may be saying these things b/c he knows they push my buttons and this maybe all 4 yo display this kind of behavior from time to time. But this is virtually all the time. I have 3 other kids who do not behave this way and am around other children of the same age and I don't think what I see in my son is "normal." I have a gut feeling that there is something just not right.<br><br>
I have tried everything. I have sought medical attention and gotten nowhere. I've talked w/friends who all see a well-bhaved little boy. Mental illness runs in my family and my husband thinks we should take him to see a pschiatrist. On the other hand, It has been suggested that he is gifted--where do I go from there?<br><br>
My heart breaks for this little boy who seems to be struggling with...something...everyday. I want to help him and don't know how. I'm also just so tired...4 kids under 6 has been tough w/no family w/in 1000 miles, having moved here only 2 years ago. Hubby in a stressful job w/travel...<br><br>
PLEASE let me know if you have any insight on how to parent this child. Any books, websites etc. I really need your help.<br><br>
thanks,.
 

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((HUGS)) mama. How very difficult for you and your family. A few things come to mind that may help.. If you don't feel they apply to your situation, just skip over.<br><br>
1. what kind of discipline are you using? Maybe he needs more defined boundaries and stricter rules. I'm not talking about spanking here.. maybe time outs, being told "NO", do you/your partner actually follow thru with concequences? I'm not trying to blame you as the parent -and believe me, I know what it is like to have a special needs child and have everyone tell you that the kid just needs a good whack. However, I've had to sit down and take a good look at my own habits of a parent in the past, which includes often just letting the whiny/crying/yelling kid have their own way too many times because I'm busy with baby/cooking/telephone, etc. Remember - YOU are the parent.<br><br>
2. diet.. does your son's diet include high fructose corn syrup, aspartame and/or other processed foods? Maybe try cutting those out altogether. If you have already banned those products from your home, he may still have a food intolerance that is causing stress for him, which is being manifest as bad behaviour.<br><br>
3. outdoors with other kids. I can imagine that with four kids and hubby away on travel that it might be hard to arrange playdates and get outside. Getting to run around and exercise might help him release some energy (and the fresh air may help you relieve some stress too.)<br><br>
(((HUGS))) again.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you so much for replying. I'm feeling marginally better now (vs when I posted), but still sad. I am very consistent w/my discipline b/c early on I realized you couldn't give an inch or he would capitalize on it. I have, unfortunately, resorted to yelling alot lately, almost screaming at times b/c he can be so exasperating. This morning I had a meeting w/the landscaper and he needed an apple so desperately that he practically imploded (mind you, this was about 30 minutes after breakfast). My 2 yo also wanted an apple and when I explained that I needed about 10 minutes to finish w/the landscaper, the 2 yo understood but my 4 yo screamed NO and had a complete tantrum. It was embarassing to say the least.<br><br>
He does eat a very prestine diet. Nothing chemical or artificial (unless it's halloween or Grandma is in town (which is about 2x/year), low sugar, about 90% organic. We eat diverse grains, grass fed meat/milk. Farm fresh eggs...He doesn't eat fruits or vegetables, except for carrots, apples and occasionally sweet potatoes which is a huge problem for us, since we eat tons at this house. I have often thought that he is just hungry, but everyone says don't cook a special meal--if he's hungry, he'll eat the veggies/fruit. But, he doesn't/hasn't. He'd rather starve than eat even mashed potatoes or grapes. I cannot see myself preparing a pasta meal for him everynight (and then that's all the other kids will want too). I often douse his veggies w/extra butter, bacon fat and/or salt to get him more interested...but he won't even try and tantrums at the suggestion. We try to encourage good eating behavior at the table and applaud when someone tries something new (even if they don't like it). He won't participate in that game.<br><br>
He has been tested for allergies (none) and I'm not sure the best path for determining other food sensitivities. Right now, he is sensitive to everything. He also used to have extreme excema that completely went away when I stopped bfing...maybe we're just not a good match in any respect.<br><br>
I agree--it's hard to get outside w/4 kids in the middle of a MN winter and this week has been particularly rainy, so it's been especially trying.<br><br>
Any other ideas are welcome. Thanks for the support
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2"> This is tough and I'm sorry you are going through this. MidfulBirth said it perfect. Does your husband discipline him like you? I see some daddy's that work alot and are not as hard on their kiddos as mama. Which they are more intimidating so...Not that this is your situation. My husband was in the military so discipline is in his blood. While we don't resort to spanking, we take care of business. I still think your situation is hard because you have other children to take care of and no family around. I feel you girl! Same here, but only have one kiddo. I'm sorry I am not much help. Just hope you're doing ok. Being a parent is so hard sometimes. I did hear a story of a boy that was acting out like this in a grandmothers house. She put him facing the corner and he did not stay so she came behind him and held him there. She told him when he was done throwing a fit and ready to listen he could come out. Finally after 15 minutes she let him out and he got the picture. But Grandmas are crazy like that. I think I was told this at the park. The doc told me to ignore tantrums as if they do not exist then they will realize they can't do that. I don't know because I have never had to try it. Seems Legit. Anyway, take care.
 

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Mine is intense too, almost the same age, DS1 gets way too passionate about everything and out of control, just like DH did as a kid. Also oversensitive to crowds and activity, just like me. DH turned out well once he finally got some self-control, MIL had to punish him a lot as a kid to keep him on track. I find it's best if I just detach and ignore as much as I can when he's tantruming, analyze and tell him "Yes I hear you want ___, and you're very upset because you need [sleep, real food, some quiet time, something to do, somewhere to run and yell], let's fix that right now."<br><br>
Very frustrating sometimes aren't they. Sometimes I think I must be screwing him up or something. It's just how he is and he's going to turn out fine. Some days or at least hours he's a very kind, careful, generous, smart kid, so I focus on that and try to bring him back to that.
 

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could there be some kind of issue with sensory stuff ? I only ask because it is looking like our intense, defiant 5 yo may have some sensory issues and it is explaining a LOT about her behaviour.<br><br>
That sounds really, really hard mama. (((hugs))) to you and your whole family.
 

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I'm so sorry you have such a hard situation to deal with. I am paying attention to a few things that stand out in your post.<br><br>
1. This is not a "phase". Your son is like this all the time.<br><br>
2. Your gut instinct is that something is wrong.<br><br>
You write that you have sought medical attention and didn't get anywhere. I think I might try a second opinion. You could also x-post this with special needs. There are a lot of experienced parents over there who know their way around the medical community and they might be able to help. They might at least ask you some questions that would get you closer to understanding what is going on.<br><br>
Again, obviously I have never met you or your son and I probably wouldn't know if there was something more serious going on if I did. But you think there is. That's the most important thing I'm hearing here. You need some help and that group might be able to get it for you. I think there are some MN folks on there.
 

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Hugs to you. I can try to relate and imagine your situation, since my ds1 has always been the intense one, ds2 the "regular" one... DS1 has always been a squeaky wheel, getting impatient right away when he "needs" something, demanding a lot of my attention. At age 4.5 we were probably at the peak of our frustration with him. Sounds like my son is milder than your son, though, (he doesn't really tantrum -just has brief whining or hitting fits). and even I have wondered if I should have him evaluated... for something.??<br>
He's 5.5 now and has matured a good deal and noticeably mellowed this past year. I'm going to agree with the pp who said follow your gut if you think there might be something going on that you need professional help with. I wish I knew how to go about doing that, hopefully someone else will have info for you. And I'll just suggest one book that I read but didn't exactly fit for me - but might for you. If you haven't seen "The Explosive Child", it's worth a look.
 

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I recently read a thread here on MDC where moms posted about how difficult their 4 yr. old boys were. Something about testosterone levels doubling during the 4th yr. I write this to offer some hope... his behavior might mellow out as he matures! My dd was incredibly intense up until her 3rd yr, since then, we've experienced a slow change to more normal, acceptable behavior and reactions.
 

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ds2 is the same way. when he's iin a mood...look out. its frustrating to be sure. we have to pick and choose our battles with him. he has to go out everyday to some place he can run around and he has to be in bed on time or he gets really cranky. we always keep snacks in the car because if hes hungry he'll have a meltdown. i know a lot of his behavior is his<br>
age and i keep telling myself that it will get better over time<br><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><i>Posted via Mobile Device</i></span>
 

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The eating issues, low frustration tolerance, inflexibility, sensitivity to the way things feel are all pointing to something. I don't think this is a discipline issue or a nutrition issue. Sensory Processing Disorder comes to mind, but there's lot of other things that could also fit the bill.<br><br>
You might try reading The Explosive Child (by Greene, I think). It talks about how to work with children who are chronically inflexible and easily melt down.<br><br>
An evaluation for sensory issues might also be worth looking into.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I have often thought about there being a sensory disorder of some kind. As a toddler, he was always falling down, often backwards (like a scuba diver off a boat). He can almost never sit on a picnic bench or other seat w/out a back, becaus most certainly, he will fall backwards. We have also realized we can really just do ONE thing per day. In other words, a trip to the park followed by an errand to the grocery store is way too much for him, for most days. This obviously makes it nearly impossible to get anything done.<br><br>
He does like outdoor activity and is a runner. He can seriously run for miles, even at 3 he was running a 1 1/2 miles at a stretch. In the winter, he often runs the circle around our first floor over, over.<br><br>
Daddy is pretty good with the discipline too. The main problem is that if we disciplined him for his behavior, we would be doing it 24 hours/day. So, we have to pick and choose the worst of the behaviors and deal w/those. The other kids get upset b/c he "gets away" with things they cannot... So the story goes.<br><br>
I'll post on the MN board and see if I cannot get some local guidance. Thanks for your help...and keep the suggestions coming!
 

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My ds1 has always been very sensitive/explosive. I didn't realize until I read your post that he is much better now. The peak hit at age 4. I remember thinking this was the WORST age ever! Now, he is about 4.75 and things are looking up. I also suspect he is gifted and have heard that this is common for gifted kids. You can check out this article about Overexcitablilities in gifted kids and see if he may fit into any of these categories: <a href="http://www.sengifted.org/articles_social/Lind_OverexcitabilityAndTheGifted.shtml" target="_blank">http://www.sengifted.org/articles_so...heGifted.shtml</a><br><br>
I would also check out The Explosive Child and The Highly Sensitive Child<br><br>
When we were having a hard time after ds turned 4, I noticed one thing that really helped him. I started letting him have more responsibilities, more like "big kid" jobs. I will never forget the time I let him make his own sandwich. He got to pick out whatever he wanted and get everything out, put it together, put everything away, even pour his own milk. Maybe other people start stuff like this earlier, but I hadn't. He was SO PROUD of himself, he beamed. After that, I would ask him to pour a milk for him and his brother. Something in him changed when both he and I realized that he could do these things. Ever since, when he gets into these funky ruts, I come up with some fantastic job that only a big kid can do, and it really gives him a boost.<br><br>
I have no idea if this would work with your ds or maybe you're already doing these things, but it helped us.
 

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Hugs to you...this sounds like you've done everything you should have and are still dealing with struggle for you and for him. I agree with Girlprof...I'd seek a second opinion to try to give you all some relief. I've worked with children this age for about 15 years, and parental gut feelings are usually right on.<br><br>
Your husband talked about letting him see a psychiatrist. If you can find one who specializes only in working with children, and who can try to encorporate a developmental approach to things (rather than diagnosis & straight to some medication or something), this may be a good bet. Honestly, he very well may be gifted, but this doesn't help him deal with his difficulty when things aren't just so. I do know many children who become remarkably happier with higher expectations, greater challenges, etc. But in the meantime if you could figure out not just if it is sensory issues or whatever, but what to do about it, he'll likely be much happier too.<br><br>
Four year old boys are hard, it's true. But what's happening seems to be affecting your whole family more than one member generally can, if that makes sense.<br><br>
You sound like an awesome mom....way more thoughtful and able to put things in place than I am. Best wishes to you....
 

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Discussion Starter #16
He does like "helping" and getting more responsibilities and I do need to be better about "letting" him do more. Today was another horrible day where he melted down b/c I had the audacity to ask him to practice the piano w/me (he does Suzuki). We play tons of fun games and he basically runs the practice session, but getting him to the piano is aweful. I'm not going to even tell you what I said to him today about it--I am just terrible these days (daughter has ear infection and baby is up all night...)<br><br>
I talked again to my ped (who is also a friend from college) about this and she thinks this is just normal behavior. Another friend, who is a high school English teacher (w/a degree in psychology), suggested it might be ODD (oppisitional defiant disorder?). Anyone familiar with that?<br><br>
We are going to take him to see a therapist or psychiatrist or someone like that as soon as we can find the right person. If mental illness did not run in the family, I don't think I'd be so worried.<br><br>
PLEASE keep sending me your thoughts. You have no idea how much they help on a day like today.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Believe me, it is not easy. He actually really loves the teacher which helps, so he "behaves" moderately well in the lessons. Practicing is a whole other story which usually starts with him melting down and me yelling. We've tried sticker charts, special prizes for practicing, outings etc. and nothing has worked.<br><br>
As far as the performances are concerned, he really does love those. He likes dressing up and performing in front of the audience. Problems occur while he is waiting to perform or afterwards when he has to wait until the recital is over. He literally turns into a big blob on his chair and melts down. It is embarassing to say the least--especially b/c 5 minutes earleir he was playing on stage and all smiles.<br><br>
After this a.m., I'm not so sure that I an do this with him anymore. I am literally ruining music for him forever b/c of my badgering him/yelling for him to practice. I'm worried, of course that his older sister and younger brother will be in Suzuki next year and he'll feel left out. It seems like I cannot do anything without ruining one of my children...
 

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I agree that a lot of his behavior sounds like there could be some sensory stuff going on. I have a 7yo with sensory processing disorder, and before I even read the other posts I was thinking that a lot of his behaviors seemed similar to my DS. He is not a tantrum thrower, per se, but little things like not eating fruits/veggies (despite being offered constantly)- eating rigid pasta diet, having intense energy for running, etc...but mainly just being constantly oppositional, stubborn, and "ruining" things for everyone else in the family- yep, we're familiar with that over here!!!<br><br>
I think it would be worth getting an evaluation done, at least then you could rule it out at best. HUGS mama, dealing with our higher needs kids can be very trying. Loving them through it is sometimes harder than it seems!!
 

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I highly recommend "Raising Your Spirited Child". I'm only part way through it, but it's already made a big difference in our lives.
 
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