I need help!! Explosive Child (sorry so long)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by BLUNDIN, Jun 28, 2008.


    BLUNDIN New Member

    :sad-very: My husband and I have know for a while that we need help with our 5 (almost 6) year old son, however it hit me hard (no pun intended) the other night just how much help we need. I am not looking for a diagnosis, just a reality check.

    A few nights ago my son was playing outside when he hurt his brother. He came in the house (following his brother who was telling us what had happened) and proceeded to bully my husband, son and I. I forbid him to go back outside because of his violence. This escalated an already volatile situation and he began to tantrum, scream, punch, hit...

    I took him to the lower level, away from everyone else and held him (restraining him) while he absolutely pummeled me (digging his nails into my face, pulling my hair scratching, biting, kicking, punching, chopping -- he's a very strong child). He was screaming over and over, "Why are you so dumb." Later he was screaming, "I can't stop, I can't stop." I told him to tell the bad side of his brain to go away (he has said before that the bad side of his brain takes over) and he still said, "I can't." This is probably the worst episode we've ever had.

    We went at it for at least 45 minutes before he finally settled down and cuddled with his Dad. This was the first time I had restrained him in this manner and not let him go until he calmed down.

    My son was born 2 months early but was 8 pounds. He wasn't breathing when he was born, so he stayed in the NICU for a couple of weeks. When my son was very young, he cried for hours on end (people said he was colicky) and has hit, bitten, etc., when he got upset. He did have some sensory issues with food textures, sounds, water, etc., that he has since outgrown (mostly). He does still have an issue with bare feet and certain foods. He has not slept through the night in his own bed more than once and occassionally has night terrors where he appears to be awake (but isn't) and is inconsolable.

    My son is very, very bright. So bright that's it's scary sometimes. In preschool he was doing the same homework as my 1st grader. He's a hard worker and very motivated. The things that come out of his mouth blow me away. He has been going to a Montessori school since he was 2. Again, since very young, he's been quick, understood sarcasm and abstract concepts, can put difficult concepts into clear thought, can identify complex feelings in himself, etc.

    He is very popular with both boys and girls, has good social skills, and has experienced no behavioral issues in school. By all accounts from multiple teachers, he is an angel. He is extremely outgoing and talkative. He will go up to children he doesn't know and talk to them; he will also play independently and has a very long attention span (always has).

    At home, he can be very sweet, nurturing, compassionate, loving, affectionate, etc. But when he gets upset he will hit his brother or one of us. He also says things like, I'm going to kill you, cut your eyes out...I don't know where this type of anger comes from. We have cut off all types of violent television and movies.

    He loves all animals; he has never hit any of his friends. In fact, one of his best friends bit him (we have no idea why) and he told the teacher. He always walks away from bullies instead of fighting back, which is exactly what we have taught him. He loves little babies and children younger than him, and is really good at taking care of and nurturing them. Our next door neighbor's son just turned three and my son follows behind him to make sure he's safe when he's outside.

    I don't understand the extreme juxtaposition!

    My husband is buying "The Explosive Child" book and/or DVD today.

    I am on Lamictal and Sertraline currently for depression and was on Effexor when I was pregnant (the doctor said this was fine).

    I'm looking forward to your input. Thank you sooooo much!

  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Hi! I don't think I can be of much help on this one but wanted to welcome you and let you know that others will be along. It is Sat. so things are a little slow at times. My son's experience is a lot different than yours- that doesn't mean I've gotten off light LOL! Anyway, I wouldn't feel comfortable adding anything on this.

    I will say that getting The Explosive Child is a good start. You might want to also post on the Early Childhood forum. And since I know others will ask, what kind of evaluations (if any) have been done for your child already and who (what kind of doctor/therapist) conducted them? Any type of history of what you have tried or not tried already is sometimes helpful- many with the same experiences can chime in pretty easily.

    Again, Welcome!! Hang in there!
  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Barb,
    I'm glad you found us-you will find much support here. I agree getting The Explosive Child is a good start. I would also recommend that he sees a child psychiatrist and a neuro-psychologist, if he hasn't already.

    I'm sorry he is struggling so much, the incident you suffered through today reminds me of when my difficult child was younger. I know it is so wearing, it's very important that you find time to take care of you. Gentle hugs.
  4. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    It may be surprising for you to learn that your son being able to hold it together at school and falls apart when he gets home is not unusual.

    A good place to start looking for answer is the family tree. Neurological disorders tend to be genetic. Is there a family history of ADHD, depression, anxiety, bipolar, etc in the family. How about any undiagnosed behavior problems? Any alcohol or substance abuse?

    Welcome to the site.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Welcome. We can help. For a lot of us, this sounds very familiar. It is not your fault. It is not his fault necessarily, either. You are doing the right things but they are not working because for him, the right way is a different way.

    The book will help, but you need to get him evaluated as well. The neuropsychologist suggestion is one of the best.

    Sheila is right when she says there can be a number of different causes. Keep her list in mind, but also add to it - Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in some form. Asperger's springs to mind, but nothing can be diagnosed by us on this site because that's not how it works. You can't get a diagnosis without getting a relevant expert to do a thorough assessment.

    Something to think about and to maybe check out informally - look for the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) questionnaire on www.childbrain.com and see how it scores for your son. Remember, this cannot be considered diagnostic. However, you can print out the result and take it to a medical appointment for your son and see what they say. At least it shows the person you're seeing, the sort of things about your son that concern you.

    YOu say about your son, "He will go up to children he doesn't know and talk to them; he will also play independently and has a very long attention span (always has)" and that he has good social skills. I must point out that at age 5 (almost 6) you still can't be sure, because we all define "social skills" differently. Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids, Aspie kids etc are not always withdrawn or socially clumsy. But they CAN be outgoing and socially inappropriate. difficult child 3 and easy child 2/difficult child 2 would go up to a total stranger and tell our entire family history. If I had a drinking or drug problem, the entire town would know.

    When difficult child 3 was aged 5, he had a number of friends who would come round for play-dates. He had friends who sought him out because they liked him and got on well with him. But as he got older, the social gulf between him and his peers widened.

    We had family & friends insistent there was nothing wrong with him, but it's been getting increasingly obvious that he has difficulties to overcome.

    However, what hasn't changed for difficult child 3 - he is bright. Very bright. Scarily so. Anything technical - he knows exactly how it works at the first contact. In a family of technically-minded, intelligent people, this kid stands out as a beacon.

    Example: I asked husband to put on a batch of bread dough so I could make pizza for him today. He asked what recipe; I said to use the same one I use for a standard white loaf and to use the dough setting on the bread machine.
    I finally got home an hour later just as the dough finished. It didn't look right. husband said, "That's because difficult child 3 showed me that we had a specific pizza dough setting on this, so that's what I used."
    husband showed me. To get to the pizza dough setting, I had to bypass a few more buttons; it was like finding one of those hidden "easter eggs" on a DVD. Not immediately obvious at all.
    So how did difficult child 3 know about it? He NEVER uses the bread machine! But not only did he know, but he was alert enough to realise what his father was doing, and then come and step in to help him do it even better.

    husband is a computer troubleshooter at his work. But he is being eclipsed by his younger son. difficult child 3 now asks questions husband can't answer. And then will find the answers husband has difficulty even understanding.

    There can be positive sides to having a difficult child!

  6. ML

    ML Guest

    I just wanted to welcome you to the group. big hugs!! ML
  7. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Welcome. Your boy sounds like all of our little difficult children at that age. You are not alone.

    I think I may start with getting him a psychological workup and testing to rule out various diagnosis. It sounds like he has some sensory issues, and a really high IQ - but sometimes - like in our case - my son had an extremely high verbal IQ, but only an average Performance IQ. Which is A Non Verbal Learning Disorder. The doctors explained that this can cause an amazing amount of frustration for a child. They can think about what they want to do, but they cannot make it actually happen the way they envisioned it. Like riding a bike, or building a lego tower. It also meant that it put him on the cusp of being slightly Aspergers. Once I was able to understand more of how his mind worked, it helped everyone give him the resources he needed. Later he also was diagnosis with bi-polar, but not until he was 12ish - and that is not something one can be tested for - but only comes as a diagnosis after time has passed of the same behaviors being repeated over and over again.

    Good luck - and feel free to keep posting with your questions.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. Long time Warrior Mom here.
    First of all, although you say you aren't looking for a diagnosis., in my opinion you need one. This isn't typical behavior (as you know) and there are many kids who can hold it together in school but it takes so much work to do so that it all comes out in one blast at home. This is common in kids with mood disorders--you suffer depression and are on Lamictal--a mood disorder may be going on here. Maybe something else. These things tend to be genetic. Any other psychiatric, neurological or substance abuse issues on either side of the family tree? These are all clues.
    I suggest you take this child for a neuropsychologist evaluation. I found them much more helpful than just going to a regular psychologist or therapist or even psychiatrist. The earlier you find the reason for the behavior (the disorder causing it) the better the prognosis for the longterm. Since he was a preemie who had problems at birth, certainly that could have caused something to misfire too. Other possible problems--Asperger's Syndrome, early onset bipolar, lots more.
    Good luck and schedule a neuropsychologist evaluation (it usually takes a few months to get in because they're good!)
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi, and welcome.
    You've already gotten some great info here. Just wanted to add my "hello."
  10. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Adding my welcome!
  11. Christy

    Christy New Member


    I understand and have been in your situation with the violent episodes and the need for restraint. I understand not wanting to jump to a diagnosis but would suggest that you consider a thorough psychological evaluation to get information that may help your son. Even if medication is suggested, you do not need to take this suggestion. There may be behavioral interventions as well. You will find the explosive child book helpful and any testing and information you can get will also be to your benefit.

    Good Luck