Manic

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    There are some children staying in the village near us with their mother - not sure why though I suspect there is a story there as it is school time and they all say they are "on holiday". Anyway, be that as it may, they played with J last night and tonight as well - they came up to the house and came inside (a boy about 8 and his two younger sisters). J went absolutely manic - throwing things around, screaming, talking nineteen to the dozen, jumping off walls, really, really excitable. Then had a big tantrum when I said they had to go as it was bedtime... I've seen him get excitable with kids before but nothing quite this manic.
    Strike any chords with anyone? What's it all about?
     
  2. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    Don't know if you are looking for a complicated explanation, but it sounds like too many kids, too little structure in the play, your son was happy to have some playmates and he just got really wound up. I suspect there wasn't a older child (girl, lol!) organizing them into some kind of structured play and imposing some order on it. I know that my kids still act kind of silly when they have a friend over, lacking social skills. Not surprising that he would have a tantrum, it is so hard for kids to disengage and know when and how to stop. Sorry for you all.
     
  3. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes, pepperidge, I suppose it's the developmental thing. One might expect a child of two to behave like this (well, a spirited one) but not one of approaching five. The other kids seemed to take it in their stride, though. It does make me wonder whether it would be a good thing for J to live permanently with his Moroccan cousins, say. He loves to see them but he just gets very excitable and wound - and in Morocco there's no real restraints. The kids are just left to cause mayhem and havoc all over the house until late at night :) Might not be a good recipe for him...
     
  4. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Same as below, my guess: too much going on at once and close to bedtime. Even my easy child will have a fit at night if he is overexcited and tired. In his case, it will not turn into a full blown tantrum. For difficult child: BIG tantrum! difficult child will even start saying nasty things to people around including playmates. Now that I know that about difficult child, I try not to go there anymore. If I can't stop the events, I ask difficult child to go to his cool down spot for a little while. It helps him recharge.
     
  5. MuM_of_OCD_kiddo

    MuM_of_OCD_kiddo New Member

    Malika - yes they do even at 5 yrs old. I had an in-home daycare when my son was young, and I have seen it all, LOL. Especially if it is new for him to have guests of his own - I would not be concernend about it at all, but talk to him about what is ok behavior and what is not, social graces etc.
     
  6. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes, I guess it was the fact that there were three of them.. J has had a few children come to the house but always just one at a time. In general, the presence of children en masse makes him very excited, extremely hyper. I've read something about it in connection to ADHD but I can't remember what now. He threw his mattress to the floor, pushed the bed out, emptied all the toy boxes everywhere - all accompanied by excited screeching and talking... I wasn't surprised by the fit of crying when I told them they had to go and it was time for bed (I managed to stay very calm) but I was rather taken aback by the manic behaviour... I did talk to him a little about it afterwards saying that if he wanted children to play with him when they came over, he had to remain calm, but I don't think this is something he can "control". Yet.
     
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    There may be more than one factor here, and some of them you can control.
    - number of kids
    - length of time together
    - time of day

    In general, we found that more kids required a shorter play-date, and we had to be really careful after supper.
     
  8. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Well, umm, yes... but it doesn't quite happen like that :) These kids are staying a few doors away, J is going to want to play with them tonight if they are outside as usual playing and I really can't stop him. Well, I could but it just wouldn't be worth the fight - the ballistic tantrum (in my description - I just mean he cries and screams) that would go on and on until he collapsed exhausted, angry and spent. The solution would be worse than the problem... Better he plays with them, like last night, and then goes to bed protesting and tired a bit later.
     
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Can you talk to their Mom? As in, agree to set a pre-assigned "be home by" time for her kids - so that you can tell them THEY have to leave because of THEIR curfew... which means that J. might still be upset but it isn't "you" who is the problem?

    This would define an end-time that should hopefully be before J. goes over-the-top.
     
  10. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes, good idea. In fact, I did ask the children last night to say that they had to go home so that J would accept it - and they did, but then, being children, immediately (and provocatively) reappeared again... Let's see what happens. Things usually go a different way than the way we imagine, don't they? :)
     
  11. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Although not a direct response to your post, I want to add that it was absolutely crazy to me in raising my second generation that parents in the neighborhood didn't have bedtimes or "come in the house times" or "only play in your yard" rules. Back in the day, lol, all kids had limited play after dinner. It made life so much harder when the kids were fed, bathed and set to do a pre-bedtime activity and the darn doorbell rang with excited ready to play friends. Ugh! DDD
     
  12. MuM_of_OCD_kiddo

    MuM_of_OCD_kiddo New Member

    I would send them outside to play, weather and daylight permitting [not sure how late it was] - allow him to take one toy outside for suitable outside play - and let them run it off, holler and scream and play hard. While tired kids tend to blow up easier, they also tend to be too tired to keep it up for a long time, especially if you have a solid bed/evening routine already in place...
     
  13. keista

    keista New Member

    DDD and Mum together bring up a good point. Fortunately for us, the kids my kids play with all have solid routines, but they don't usually coincide with ours.

    I do allow for some leeway, but if it doesn't work, then I reinforce my own rules. For example, DD2's bff calls the house CONSTANTLY. This is fine, but it has started interfering with our evening routine - 7pm desert followed by homework, followed by grooming and bedtime. So now, NO calls after 7pm. Sometimes DD2 gets upset, and other times she's relieved because she wants to stick to her schedule.

    Part of the problem with these other kids is that they are on "holiday" so they may not have bedtimes or curfews. They have to be told of your rules and must learn to respect them. After all, all kids are narcissists until taught otherwise.

    So, when you set that "good bye" time, make sure it leaves enough room for J to decompress before bed.
     
  14. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Well... J is in bed and I'm feeling somewhat shattered - having cold/flu doesn't help!
    We ran into the children and their mother on the way back from school. I asked if she would come and get them at 8 - no problem. J was much less manic than yesterday but still doing what he does - wanting to climb everywhere, jump off walls, racing round, etc. I would have liked to have been able to leave them to it (not so that I could have "me time" - I've had that all day - but so as not to cramp their style; I grew up playing outside with other kids and without adults so I feel it's a good and learning experience for them. But he is just too excitable with these children and the village, all set into a hillside, is full of high walls, steep precipes, etc. J wanted to make a hut and somehow found some work tools that people had left out at the back of the church, where people don't usually go. He took out all the sharp objects to play with and when I took them from him, he started shouting and crying, and being rude to me... I honestly don't find this way of talking to adults "acceptable" but nothing stops J doing it... the impulsiveness? Consequences and punishment make no difference. I talked to him afterwards about how I do not like it. He calmed down when I found safe household objects they could use to play with and they spent the rest of the time playing reasonably peaceably outside while I sat in attendance... I do now feel it's probably not safe to leave him unsupervised. At 8 their mother came as promised and J accepted their departure with a minimum of fuss, had a quick bath, then supper and is now sound asleep. The hyperactivity I can deal with - though of course it's difficult. The rudeness and defiance when his will is thwarted is much more problematic for me. When he was being abusive towards me tonight, I suddenly saw something that is nothing to do with me or what has happened between us - his biological father? Mother? It wasn't a four year old boy but like a surly, aggressive adult who cannot accept not having his way... then, two minutes later, it's all disappeared again and he is this sweet, innocent little boy asking nicely if he can have some string to play with... And of course I get annoyed with him when he talks like that because it's not okay for him to think it's acceptable.
    Oy vey! I fear this is going to get harder. We have an appointment with the neuro-psychologist tomorrow morning, as it happens...
     
  15. keista

    keista New Member

    Oy vey is right.

    I'm glad you're seeing a neuropsychologist tomorrow. I've always gotten the feeling that there's more than ADHD going on with J, but couldn't identify anything other than that through your posts. These posts however do bring in a new dimension.

    This behavior with the friends sounds *almost* like son would act when friends came over. He wouldn't get into such intense behaviors as throwing things, but he would be so excited, and so beside himself that he did everything and anything EXCEPT play with his friends. It would take a lot of redirection on my part to get him to play. Once he did, it went pretty well.

    Your choice of words struck me as well. Superficially, mania and hyperactivity look similar, but only superficially. Of course this is my opinion and perspective from watching my own DD1. Describing her on this forum, everyone was asking if she's ADHD. Her own psychiatrist pulled out an ADHD questionnaire after the last appointment because DD1 just wouldn't settle down. psychiatrist had never seen that behavior, and I've never complained of it. I am seeing it more and more as mania. ADHD has been ruled out with various tests and assessments.

    You're learning right alongside J. I'm learning right along side mine. (really wish there were instruction manuals for all of them)
     
  16. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hi Keista. Thanks for your support. I think the "other" thing that is going on with J is what they call ODD - it was that that first brought me to this site. Learning skills to deal with this has made it better and more manageable. But the behaviour is still there on occasion. I'm afraid it is that classic combination of ADHD and ODD... the two are intertwined, of course, because of the lack of impulse control. That's my gut feeling and my gut feelings are usually sound. The structure of school obviously suits him and he doesn't "act out" like that there - from what I've read, that's quite a common story. The thing about J - and many people now have remarked on it - is that he has this potential. It's like you can always find a way to reach him, to make him behave better (like being able to redirect him tonight after the tools) and I see from his play that he is like a mix of good social skills and poor ones, if that makes any sense... He is still too hasty, takes things from children without asking, is often quite bossy (again typical I know), and doesn't know when he is being "too much" for other kids. On the other hand, he is also quite often considerate with them in other ways, quite empathetic. So it's all an odd mixture, as I've said before.
    Just as a PS to this, I see a real pattern in myself... when things are calm with J, I am probably quite a good mother. When he acts out or up or whatever we say, it touches off this real stress in me - I over-dramatise things myself. I am aware of it and have got better. But it's like I too am swinging between calm mummy and upset mummy... And then it passes and I live to fight another day. But in the moment my emotions feel very vivid and I feel this sense of despair or fear... Which doesn't help the situation but really how do you deal with a 4 year old who, when annoyed tonight, said to one of the other children : "Hit her!" (meaning me) Totally out of order. I was very cross, made him apologise and he calmed down but this is what the troughs are like with this child. And I'm honestly not the best person to deal with it, but this is the hand that fate has dealt us both... I suspect I would find ANY 4 year old challenging on occasion, to be honest. And this one of course just is more challenging than most...
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011
  17. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    Malika,

    Do you know whether your son might have been exposed to alcohol in utero? Sounds like there might be a possibility of fetal alcohol effects. You can read up on it, but it can definitely give rise to a pattern of ADHD like behavior, emotional dysregulation (trouble reining in emotions like anger, frustration, etc), knowing what is "correct" behavior but being unable to rein in impulsiveness, etc.

    I say this because it is worth considering instead of or in addition to serious mental health disorders (like bipolar, etc).

    All I can say is that medication has helped a fair amount with my youngest, though was not easy to figure out, and we are seeing signs of progress as he matures. One thing I have been told here and elsewhere, and it probably applies to your son, is that developmentally he might be 1/2 to 2/3 of his chronological. Try thinking of him as a 2 or 3 year old--doesn't make the behavior any easier to tolerate, but might help put it in perspective.
     
  18. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hi pepperidge. I have no way of knowing - and never will - whether J was exposed to alcohol in utero. To be very blunt, if his biological mother was a prostitute, it is possible. If not, it is unlikely. From the little I have read of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) it would seem to lead to greater developmental damage than J has and is there not also some facial characteristics that go with it? I think there is no reason to suppose that he has manic depression - my use of the phrase "manic" was perhaps ill-chosen... He is a child who is subject to very intense emotions, whether of happiness or of sadness, but I see that as just part of his character. I was like that too as a child. What I think he does need are really firm boundaries, given in a certain, clear form. I have not perhaps been as good as that as someone else might - it is also something men are better at, in general, I think? I did notice yesterday that when I started telling him what he must do - clothes off, into the bath, etc - in a very clear tone of voice (not authoritarian, just authoritative), he really seemed to like that and respond to it. All of this journey is about trial and error, discovery, learning on the job, isn't it?
    We had our neuro-psychological exam yesterday. I think it is possibly different to the kind of thing that you are all talking about, because this was short - just an hour and a half - and seemed to test only his intelligence and various skills. The psychologist did say that she would not be able to tell me whether he had ADHD at the end of it, although interestingly she had worked for a while in a specialist ADHD unit. She said to me (how often have I heard this :) ) that J seemed to concentrate better than the hyperactive kids she had known - that said, the last part of the test was kind of impossible, with him saying he wanted to go play, refusing to answer questions except under repeated prompting, rolling about on the floor, etc. She did manage to get him to answer most of the questions. She said she couldn't give any analysis now before she had written the report but from my complete outsider's perspective, I would say that he is clearly intelligent (very good at seeing the relationships between things, in quite a sophisticated way) but seems to have some real problems with basic skills such as reproducing the colours and patterns on a cube, etc. I'm not quite sure what this will tell us! Perhaps early indications of troubles such as dyslexia.
    Yesterday was okay again - we spent the day at the local lake, where J made friends with two boys of similar age and seemed to have a very happy time with them. Interestingly their mother was not French (East European, I think) and left her boys alone to play - this would not happen with French parents, who would be constantly calling out to their children to do this or not do that... Then later joined by a friend and her older son, whom J kind of worships... after we left them he went into a big crying fit (he was tired, always a trigger) about wanting to have friends to live with him, other children to play with at the house. This is a very regular complaint with him... Then another big crying fit because he wanted to play with the children in the village and I said no, it was bedtime... once we were back in the house, he seemed to calm down quickly and happily did some puzzles and we played a quick game before bed...
    You have to be such a strong parent with this child... I have to dig down deep to find resources in myself that I don't necessarily think I have naturally... constant struggle to remain firm with the limits in the face of his constant demands to do things his way, to do what he wants (and yet really he wants the structure in place, wants to go to bed rather than playing out at all hours, etc). He is affectionate, funny and creative and those qualities perhaps save me from feeling total despair... :)
     
  19. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    Malika,

    There is full blown Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and then is fetal alcohol effects. Facial features can be present but often it would take a skilled developmental pediatrician with lots of experience to do the measurements. And there is not necessarily huge developmental impacts. It is worth keeping in mind as an alternative to a major mental health disorder like bipoilar. Some of the learning issues may be caused by some alchohol or exposure, or not.

    You are right that a lot of these diagnosis have overlapping symptoms. I think the diagnosis (diagnosis) is really not so important as to focus on what exactly are the symptoms or issues and whether any of them can be improved by medicine.

    There is another diagnosis being talked about by professionals called emotional dysregulation disorder. I think certainly my youngest fits that--he has such a hard time modulating feelings of anger, frustration etc. I think that his in utero alchohol exposure is a major contributing factor. That and his impulsiveness. We see progress but it is slow.

    One thing that I have learned with him is that he is pretty black and white (and no, he isn't on the spectrum). If we give an inch one night then that just opens up the door the next night for negotiation etc. You said it was a constant struggle and it is. I think this kids need more structure and routine than we ourselves need. The more structure and routine you can build in (like for us, it is always bath before tv in the evening for example) the less prone they are to negotiation and thus anger etc.

    We had a therapist once who likened it to slot machines. They play you like slot machines all the time, hoping that the 1 time out of a million you will give in to whatever they are asking for. So don't be a slot machine....

    I think you will have to resign yourself to lots of temper tantrums and continual testing. He needs you to be that structure and boundary and model for emotional regulation. It truly s@cks sometimes.
     
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