4 yo Very Defiant son

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by scoffey, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. scoffey

    scoffey New Member

    First off let me say that it feels good to have found this forum because I know that I will get support from people that understand what I am going through rather than people trying to tell me that my son’s actions are normal “boy” behaviors.

    My son is 4 years old and very violent, disruptive of any activities he is involved in, disobedient, destructive of any property, and openly mouthy towards any adult/person he is around. I recently found a child psychiatrist in my area that would see him, and I am working to get help with his behaviors and some more parenting skills for me but the process seems like I am never going to reach the light at the end of the tunnel. I keep trying to keep up hope but it is hard. That is why I am turning to this group in hopes of finding other parents going through similar things that I will be able to talk to and work through some struggles I am having.

    Ok so a little about me and my family history. I am Bipolar and my dad and all his side of the family have multiple mental health issues. So when I started having behavior issues with my son I was ready or so I though for the long road to dealing with him and finding help for him to ensure that he would have a easier time then I did in school and life. Well to my surprise I had a harder time finding a doctor that would entertain the though that my 4 year old had a problem than I thought I would. I was told that it was normal behaviors, or he was just acting out, or that I needed to be firmer with him. Well I knew that was not the case. But I finally found a doctor and he seems to be trying to help but to me none of the medications that we have tried have helped very much.

    The doctor has diagnosed him with ODD and ADHD with some Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) behaviors. Right now he is one Guanfacine (Tenex) ¾ mg 3 times a day and Methylphenidate (Ritalin)5mg 3 times a day. I was giving him Clonidine .1mg at bed time along with 3mg of melatonian but that was making him worse with sleeping so I stopped giving it to him and he seems to be sleeping a little better (when he does go to sleep). I have tried risperdal and that made him break out with a rash. I am going to ask the doctor about trying mood stabilizers with him when I go back because I don’t think the ADHD route we are taking is working or the right thing.

    Some of his serious daily behaviors are :
    -Breaking his toys until they are completely destroyed and need to be thrown away
    -Throwing toys at the walls or tv in an attempt to break something or put a hole in the wall
    -Throwing tantrums for 30-45 minute where there is no calming him down
    -He will go from sitting and watching tv to yelling and screaming at me in my face for no reason
    -If I tell him “no” for any reason he throws a horriable tantrum and destroys he is room (putting holes in walls, throwing clothes and drawers across room, throwing toys all over and trying to break the window by throwing toys at it)
    -If he has a good day, I will take him to the store to get a prize and he will throw a tantrum at the store and never end up getting anything because I have to drag him out of the store
    -If I take him to the grocery store with me then he knocks stuff off shelves, pushes the basket into the shelves, yells and screams, until I just leave and take him home
    -he tries to hurt our dogs(which I now keep him and the dogs separate) he chases them, or tries to hit or kick them
    -he will try and sneak scissors into his room to cut up things( cut holes in his sheets, cut up posters on his walls or even cut up his DVD movies) I have since hid all sharp objects on top of the fridge
    -He does not sleep at night, he will wake up and scream all night until I come in there, then he will start screaming 5 minutes after I leave, he never tells me what he wants other than he does not want to go to sleep he wants to stay up and play
    -He will come into my room when he thinks I am sleeping and just stand over me(which is scary when you wake up to a child standing looking at you)

    And there are a lot more behaviors that I deal with on a daily basis. I know this was a long intro but today has been an unusually long and bad day so I had a lot on my mind. Thanks a head of time for the support and helping comments.

  2. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi Stacey! Welcome to the crowd...I'm sorry I haven't had a chance to write back (I've started this reply about 10 times and have systematically gotten interrupted! No school today...don't I feel blessed!).

    It truly sounds like your hands are full. It's my personal belief that ADHD and ODD tend to be more symptoms of a more complex issue rather than a diagnosis. Everyone and their brother that doesn't deal with our kids tend to write it off as "he's just a boy or he'll grow out of it" and then when he's 6 or 7 and flipping tables at birthday parties it will naturally progress to what a terrible parent you are and how you're too lenient.

    Personal opinion? If you gut is telling you that something is wrong, you're better off listening to your gut and not a bunch of people that have no clue.

    It might be best if you buzz him to a developmental pediatrician or a neuropsychologist (you'd usually find them at a Childrens or Teaching hospital) and have him evaluated. Sometimes stimulants can adversely effect kids with autistic tendancies or even sensory issues.

    You might even want to consider having him tested for food allergies. Kids with sensory issues may have problems handling certain foods, textures (I call it itchy tag syndrome), sounds, smells etc. which could fuel outbursts.

    I would recommend that you read The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. There's a thread at the top of this forum that helps you adapt it to smaller children. It's a light read and could help you carve a slightly easier path.

    Make sure you stop by here often. There's a lot of knowledge floating around and a lot of experience to boot. We're careful to lend an ear or a shoulder for whatever is going on.

  3. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I agree with Beth. My son was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD when he was your son's age. Now that he is 12 and symptoms are progressing, our psychiatrist is positive that my difficult child is actually on the autism spectrum. My son has problems with certain smells, textures, and noises. Most of his behaviors are his reaction to "stimulus overload" which is not apparent to me but is at a level to bother him. A neuropsychologist might be your best bet and a full sensory evaluation by an Occupational Therapist (OT) might also be helpful. The behaviors you have described sound all too familiar to me. My difficult child is high-functioning but has a lot of sensory issues and also doesn't deal well with frustration, changes, and social situations. Also, my son definitely has the ADHD as well and reacts very negatively to stimulants. He has been on a non-stimulant medication for this that has worked wonders.

    I hope this has been of some help to you. You definitely need more thorough evaluations than a psychiatrist typically does. Good luck and keep us posted.

    Welcome to the "family" here.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If you have a bunch of mental health issues in your family, I would go with your gut and have him evaluated. I have a spectrum kid...am not sure I see that in the symptoms you are describing. At any rate, I'd definitely take him to a neuropsychologist or a Child Psychiatrist. I have a child on the high functioning autism spectrum, and I really think you are looking at something different...perhaps a foreshadowing of early onset bipolar or another psychiatric disorder. You didn't say what else is on the family tree.
    Of course none of us know for sure and you have to decide for yourself what is best for your child. However, as I'm sure you know, psychiatric problems are hereditary. I have a mood disorder and anxiety disorder (well, see my signature :) ) and sadly I passed almost everything along to my one biological son.
    Welcome aboard and come here often!
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011
  5. diane561

    diane561 New Member

    Dear Stacy,
    I your story sounds very familiar. My son was so violent from the age of two. I remember his very first meltdown-he threw a fork at my head, and he was still in diapers. He rocked back and forth screaming for about 20 minutes. That was the first of many.
    They diagnosed him with bipolar disorder. He is now ten and continues to have many angry episodes on a daily baisis although early intervention has curbed his meltdowns. I would be really wary of putting him on adhd medication. If he is bipolar, the ritalin will make his condition so much worse. I think mood stabilizers is a great idea-this is more than adhd. Read the Bipolar Child. See if your son fits the criteria they have in the book for bipolar disorder. Staying calm has been the real trick in all of this. No matter how wild his outbursts are, staying calm and waiting it out has worked well for us. Never take the advice of anyone who tells you need to be firmer. This disorder looks so much like "Spoiled child syndrome"-only when you've lived it do you know. Good luck-where in Florida are you?

  6. joneshockey

    joneshockey Guest

    I can totally relate to what you are going through with your 4 year old son~ you are NOT alone...I also have been down this road too (not all that long ago). The only advice that I can give you is to continue to fight for your child as long as it takes... and know that you have found an AWESOME group of people here that will support you in any way that they can.
  7. Stacey -

    I have a similar diagnosis recently with my almost 6 yo son - and he just started tenex. And I am taking him off it... he is experiencing side effects and I am not happy with that.

    I just started reading different messages on these boards and it is a little scary how medicated kids are...

    It is difficult but staying calm is a huge help with us...

    God bless you!
  8. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Welcome, I'm glad that you found us.

    I also would suggest taking him to a developmental pediatrician or pediatric neuropsychologist for a complete evaluation. I say this because we've seen kids come through whose doctors have gone the short route and landed at ADHD and not looked any further and you really want as much data as possible early on.

    If he's not sleeping you also may want to talk to your doctor about a sleep study, and possibly an EEG to check for seizures. Both lack of sleep and undiagnosed seizures can have huge impacts on behaviors.

    A good book for you to check out would be "What Your Explosive Child Is Trying to Tell You: Discovering the Pathway from Symptoms to Solutions" by Dr. Douglas Riley