havin troubles with my 3 year old boy

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Carey, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. Carey

    Carey crazy mom of two boys

    Hi Everyone-I just found this forum, and I'm so relieved. My son has been disrespecting me, my husband, my sister (takes care of him a great deal) and what bothers me most is the random teasing/tormenting other children. It looks like he's doing it for the sheer pleasure of it. I feel like I've tried everything and I have no idea what to do now. He is super bright and smart, but also very cunning and can be manipulative. I am starting to think there is something really wrong with him...he has more positive qualities than bad, but the tormenting of other children just doesn't sit right with me....any thoughts/advice?:anxious:
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Welcome! I'm sorry you had to find us. I found the only thing that helped improve my daughter's behavior toward other children was to immediately remove her from the situation. We could do this because she is an only child and I'm a stay at home mom. I explained that bullies don't get to play with the other kids or do fun things. I also made her apologize and draw a picture for the victim. Some may not agree with the apology if it's not sincere, but I figure the victim deserved to know that an apology was in order. Besides which, Duckie hates to apologize and so it was further motivation for her not to repeat the behavior.

    I'm not a doctor but I believe controlling, manipulative or taunting behavior doesn't necessarily mean a childhood disorder is at play, but could be a red flag. Do you see anything else going on that causes you concern?
  3. Carey

    Carey crazy mom of two boys

    Thank you so much that is great advice! When we have him apologize he rarely looks the other child in the face, and just quickly says whatever he can to get to go play again. Having to be isolated and then make a picture is great! Then he'll really have to think about how that person is feeling. The situation is a little tough...I run a home daycare. Before doing that, I was a Special Education. teacher and I worked with kids with SED, etc. So I thought I would be able to handle any behavior problems lickety split! Not happening! It really bothers me how he behaves around people. He outsmarts/tricks all kids his age and slightly older, and he'll try to manipulate older kids, who will quickly put him in his place. :) I am starting to think he resents the daycare children, and having to share me and our home. I'm stuck though because I need to bring in $$, but at the same time wanted to raise my kids...so I left teaching and started my own daycare. It is WONDERFUL. ALL the kids are thriving, except sometimes I think my own two boys are suffering...maybe he's acting out with the kids so he can get some one on one attention from me....he's been shoving them, snatching toys away from them, throwing mud in their faces, and once at a birthday party he rode over a child with his own motorized tractor!? The other day while spending time with family he was SO innapropriate with my cousins, aunts, etc. He threw sandals at my cousin's head, was shoving my aunts who are older, into the pool...?? My gut is telling me something isn't right....very poor social skills and seems to enjoy torturing people of any age, and tries to control people. Sorry this was so long!
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I do think that behavior is a red flag and that he should be evaluated. The earlier you catch problems, the easier they are to reverse. I don't believe he is just a brat or a "bad seed."
    How is his development? Does he speak well, make good eye contact, play with toys appropriately, transition well, cuddle with you? Did he cuddle as an infant? Food issues? Are there any psychiatric problems on either side of the family tree? Substance abuse?
    If he is truly mean to others, I would take him for a screening. If he is also delayed in certain areas or "Just strange" I'd take him to a neuropsychologist. Better to be safe than sorry.
    Welcome to the board.
  5. Carey

    Carey crazy mom of two boys

    Hi-thanks so much for the response...yes we have major psychiatric/substance abuse issues on both side of our family. Mostly alcohol abuse, serious anxiety issues, some depression, my husband's family is the same. very worrisome.

    His eye contact is great, he likes hugs and snuggling with me, was a snuggly baby if I cuddled him, but at the same time would be content to sit and play alone for waaaay longer than a normal baby, I thought. Like if I left the room he could care less. Gross and fine motor skills are slightly above average. Can play on the internet indep.,can count by tens, interpret simple graphs, and can recognize words. Lately he's been memorizing documentaries, which actually worries me because when he does that it sounds so robotic, reminded me of a boy I used to work with who had Asperger's. He'll be four in August. He's way advanced academically but socially seems very quirky/innapropriate/at times bullyish. I swear I can't tell if he's doing these things for a reaction, or for the sheer pleasure of tormenting someone...I am terrified that he'll get a negative label when he starts preschool in the fall. (public school...not sure how good it is.) I am so scared that his talents will all be overlooked and he'll be labeled the bad kid. I am very interested in your advice about the neurologist...what would that entail? Have you been through this with your child? Thanks again for your response and welcome...:D
  6. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Yes, I've been through this. The first outwards signs of difficult child being different were that he became fascinated with the alphabet at 18 months and started spelling at 28 months. He could read or memorize anything he saw in print and developed some not typical for preschool age interests.

    Is he lining up toys or other objects in lines or formations?

    The memorization of things like documentaries, movies, or chunks of books is called echolalia. At first it looks simply like the child is brilliant but it's an early red flag for speech and language processing problems. What happens is that the child memorizes chunks of language in the place of all or part of normal language development. It can cause a lot of problems with social interactions.

    Obviously we're only parents and can't diagnose, but I would urge you not to wait but to see your pediatrician and push for a thorough evaluation, including for Autistic Spectrum Disorders. At this age a developmental pediatrician, Autism Clinic, or pediatric neuropsychologist is usually the best route to go.

    I should mention that the average age for a diagnosis of Asperger's is something like age 6 and part of the reason is that often younger kids just don't fit all of the traits. Many will get along just well enough to get by or look like very difficult, very quirky kids. There's lots of good help out there but you really need to get a grasp on what's going on neurologically to get pointed in the right direction.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2008
  7. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I just thought of one more thing. If I were in your shoes I would put in a call to the office of special education in your public school district, and then follow up with a letter requesting an assessment because that sets legal timelines in motion. This evaluation would be in addition to the private evaluations suggested in the link above, and is totally free to you. The reason I'm suggesting that you take a proactive stance is twofold: first, it will give the school and teachers a heads up that you recognize that there are some issues here and you are a concerned parent. Second, once school starts and teachers begin seeing other children with issues the waiting list for assessment starts and this way you would get a jump on that. Even if the kids aren't having big problems in school there's a lot they can do proactively in areas like social skills which can make huge differences later down the road.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Im thinking Aspergers too. Of course, I don't know, but the echolalia (ability to recall and spit out anything he hears) is a big symptom of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). I would take him to a neuropsychologist.
    My son has high functioning autism. It seems to become more high functioning every year BUT he had tons of early interventions WAY before he was even two. He could read at age two...memorized the words. He would echo back entire programs that he watched. We found out later, though, that he didn't really necessarily understand what he echoed at us. He also had an early fascination with letters/numbers...that is also an early sign.
    Since kids who are Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) can turn out so well and are often so bright, and act out mostly out of frustration, interventions are imperative as early as you can get them. I would go to a neuropsychologist and have him totally evaluated. This is a kid with a lot of potential who can be helped, but you have to get down to the root cause of his behaviors. Of course, since there is mental illness on the family tree...those will also be taken into consideration. Good luck on your journey.
  9. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Hello Carey, and welcome.

    I too see some possible indicators of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and highly recomend a neuropsychologist evaluation.
    A lot of defiant behaviour is caused by frustration:
    - at having to make a transition from one activity to another
    - at sensitivities to sensory matters (noise, lights, smells, textures)
    - from not fully understanding social conventions or expectations and feeling at odds with the world
    - etc.

    The Explosive Child by Ross Greene and The Out of Sync Child by Carol Kranowitz might provide you with some insights and strategies.

  10. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I agree with the others to look into medical issues that may be adding to these behaviors. In the meantime:

    I see so many kids of daycare providers that do have a hard time sharing their home and mom with other kids. It makes it harder for difficult children.

    I don't have a daycare, but my difficult child hates it whenever I invite another kid to join us in any fun - movies, swimming, ect. I love to be able to include several kids in an activity. I thought my kids would like a friend join them but no, they want me to themselves.

    I don't have advise for the day care moments. Maybe another daycare mom will have ideas on how to give those special mom moments without the other kids complaining because you favor your own child. The other kids will get resentful over any special priviledges you show your child and the riff will increase. There has to be a balance somewhere so your child feels like your child but not too seperate that the others grow to hate him.

    With kids around all week long, difficult child looks forward to having you and the house to himself on evenings and weekends. He may need more alone time with you and at home.

    I think most kids do not look others in the eye when apologizing. I do agree that at this age, you are teaching what an apology is and when one is in order, not necessary if they understand how they are suppose to feel. At 3 years old, it will take a lot for him to wish he hadn't done it because he is acting on his feelings and still believes he has the right to do what his body tells him to do when angry or frustrated. I like the idea of drawing a picture. He is not only giving a verbal apology but something material helps both him and the other young person see there is an actual exchange of goodwill.

    Keep us informed as how your evaluations go and what help you do find. As you can see, I am not knowledgeable on the medical side but do like to give input on the behavior side. I like to hear how others deal with behaviors because it gives me ideas on how to deal with my children's behaviors.
  11. Carey

    Carey crazy mom of two boys

    Hello! Thanks so much for your thoughts...I really am starting to think that having to share everything with all the other kids is taking a toll on my little guy. All weekend when it was just me and my two boys he was a normal, happy, three year old, following directions, being sweet and cuddly, etc. I totally agree with you. I feel so bad about how they feeling and so torn. Why couldn't my hubby make more $$ so I wouldn't have to bring in any! ha ha!! In a perfect world, right? Well I think I need to brainstorm with my sister (runs daycare with me) some ideas on how to create some special mommy time for him and his brother throughout the day. My two year old is also voicing his serious obection to having the other kids around in aggressive ways. I think I have made a major error, I've always wanted to try to make sure I don't favor my own kids over the others, but I think in the process I've actually favored them over my own kids!! I just wanted so desperately to NOT make the other kids feel left out, etc. Now I see that when I'm interacting with my own boys, a few of the daycare kids try to get me away from them....kind of disturbing...like they don't want me to be with my boys and will act-out, "need" to go potty, need help with something, etc. the minute I finally get some one on one time with my guys...

    Thank you so much for you thoughts. Greatly appreciate any more advice you cou give....how are your kids doing? I love how us parents can be a support for one another. This is so great, I feel so much better just being a part of this board. :D
  12. Carey

    Carey crazy mom of two boys

    I've checked out some of the symtpoms of Asperger's, think he may have it...should I just call my easy child and get him evaluated? I am just so sick of them always making me feel like I'm overreacting, you know? because at time he acts completely normal, and people think I;m a nut-job I think. But alot of those behaviors I described to you are alarming! I told my therapist about them and he feels it more of conduct disorder...so confused!
  13. Carey

    Carey crazy mom of two boys

    Thank you so much! I am so going to order those books.....I am feeling so overwhelmed right now. You had alot of great insight, thank you.
  14. Carey

    Carey crazy mom of two boys

    I agree with you on the Asperger's. My therapist thinks it's more conduct disorder...I see him with my husband to work out our marital issues. We're having issues seeing eye to wyw on most things, now this. I think my H is in denial.....arguing to me that it's nothing, he just needs to get put in his place by bigger, toughter kids in school. I do not agree....he can be very explosive and he's very big and strong....God help me.
  15. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    See his primary care physician or pediatrician and push for the kind of evaluation mentioned in the patientscare link above.

    If the therapist is already suggesting conduct disorder for a diagnosis in a 3 year old, personally I'd tell him to stick with marriage counseling and go elsewhere for advice on difficult child.
  16. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Absolutely! Conduct disorders are not diagnosis'd until adulthood.

    Definitely look into the neuropsychologist evaluation. Most children's hospitals and learning universities have them.

    Another suggestion I have in the meantime is to check out the book "Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. It is not a cure-all, but it is very helpful.

    Welcome to the board, by the way. Oh, and if you did a signature, it would help us remember to whom we are speaking. Click on "user CP" and it will guide you through it.
  17. Carey

    Carey crazy mom of two boys

    Thank you so much! I was trying to figure out how to do the signature thing, and I couldn't...so I was going to ask one of you to help me...thanks. :) I'll do it ASAP.

    Yes I am SO hoping conduct disorder is not what's happening here. I'm going to look into a nueropsych evaluation. I'll let you know what happens...

    he had such a great weekend behavior-wise, when no daycare kids were here...I am going to get that book...

  18. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Big Bad Kitty, actually a few years ago they released the DSM IV test revision and in that updated version that is currently in use, they removed the teen age from the CD diagnosis. We occasionally see preschoolers come through here with that diagnosis and we always, always, always tell parents not to give that report to school districts or their pediatrician and to seek out a new in depth evaluation with a reputable diagnostician. You want someone who is going to dig in and find out the reasons behind the behavior and a CD diagnosis doesn't do that or give adults working with the child any direction whatsoever.
  19. Carey

    Carey crazy mom of two boys

    I agree, CD can be diagnosed in kids....well I have a list of names of therapists we'll be choosing one soon for our little guy. Some of the behavior mods I've been doing at home have been working, but that will only last like a week till he tires of it...I'll let you all know how we make out at the therapist...should I tell him of my concerns for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or PD or just let him come to his own conclusions?
  20. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I would tell them your concerns.

    I would hit the roof if someone gave my child a diagnosis of CD at age 3. I'd also be moving on. Basically it shouts "behavioral problem" without giving any medical or neurological reasons for those behaviors. Think of the implications in school for a child starting out with that for kindergarten entry.

    You don't want to go there. Find a diagnostician who will do a thorough job.