New and don't know what else to do

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Soccerwife, Jul 18, 2009.

  1. Soccerwife

    Soccerwife New Member

    I am new here and I have started looking for help because I feel like I can't parent my 3-year-old without it. I feel like I am a horrible parent and I really just don't know what to do. I am really at my wits end with my 3-year-old. He is so moody and will lash out at you if you say or do the wrong thing. He hits me and punches me and doesn't think anything of it. He is constantly deliberately disobeying when you ask him not to do something (and when you ask him to help) and he does things that he knows are wrong but he just doesn't seem to care. I'll ask him not to do something, and then 5 minutes later, he's back to doing the same thing. He incredibly sneaky as well.

    I feel like I have tried everything with him and I don't know what else to do. I put him in time out and sometimes he stays and sometimes he doesn't. And 9 times out of 10, he'll go right back to doing the exact thing I put him in time out for as soon as I let him out. I've tried yelling, I've tried asking nicely, I've tried talking to him about why the behaviors aren't appropriate, I've tried positive reinforcement, I've tried distraction and removing him from the situations - I don't know what else to do. I'm tired and I've even had thoughts of just giving up with him. I know 3-year-olds like to test the waters, but this is far beyond just testing the waters - I really don't think this behavior is normal.

    I really think I need to get my 3-year-old in to see a psychiatrist or something and I wanted to ask your advice to see if you think this even warrants getting help for him. I have been reading up on things and he kind of seems like he may have a combination of ADHD and ODD, but I just don't know.

    I feel like I'm a horrible parent because nothing has worked and I don't know what else to do with him. I have an older son and I feel so badly that all my attention has to go to my youngest because he is making a mess or getting into something or causing drama every which way I turn. Every day I am home alone with my youngest, I just want a break that never seems to come. I can't just put a movie on for him and take a time out because I can't trust that he is going to sit there and watch it. I can't sit and play a game with him because if something goes wrong, pieces go flying and he'll storm off.

    I'm tired and I feel like I can't do it anymore with him. My husband doesn't get it because my 3-year-old acts differently when heis around, and to tell you the truth, my husband is not around enough to really know what I am going through. I have been dreading going home and being around my youngest and it breaks my heart and makes me feel like I am a complete failure because I love him so much, but at the same time, I feel like don't know how to parent him and don't know what else to do.

    Please help!
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, you're not a bad parent. You should probably have him evaluated. Everyone has a professional of choice--mine are NeuroPsychs because they do intensive testing and test for everything and can test even young children. I would not try to diagnose him myself.

    Most of us feel ODD is an unhelpful diagnosis. It rarely stands alone and is triggered by a bigger diagnosis such as a childhood mood disorder or high functioning autism or maybe something else. It is tricky to diagnose a young child, but the earlier he is given help and intervention, the better the outcome. I would go privately and not trust only the school district, however I would call them to test him and see if he qualifies for Early Education. That helped my son a lot.

    How is your son's development? Does he seem unusually sensitive to things like noise, material, light, stimuli? Does forcing him to transition from one activity to anothre cause a meltdown? Does he have any odd behaviors such as repeating what you say to him or what he has heard on television, making odd throat noises, flapping his arms, rocking? Does he hit his head on the wall in frustration or hurt himselsf? Any speech problems? Can he relate well to his same age peers or does he hurt them? Are there any psychiatric problems on either side of his family tree? Any substance abuse?

    This is NOT your fault. Your son was born wired a little bit differently and obviously is not going to respond to normal typical parenting methods. You didn't cause this and you shouldn't beat yourself up over it.

    Welcome to the board. Sorry you had to come, but we will try to give you good suggestions. One book I recommend, while you are waiting for an evaluation (which can take a while to get in) is "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene.
  3. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Welcome, you aren't alone anymore. You are not a bad parent but you do sound frustrated and pushed beyond your limit. You need to speak to your husband, in my humble opinion, and set up some mommy time where he either leaves the house with your 3yo or you go out alone for awhile to recharge your batteries.

    I agree with MWM's advice on reading The Explosive Child; it was very helpful for my family.

    I think I would pursue an evaluation if for no other reason than your mommy-gut is telling you there is an issue. A neuropsychologist is a good option but there are also child psychiatrists and developmental pediatricians to have him evaluated.
  4. Soccerwife

    Soccerwife New Member

    Thanks so much for your responses - it definitely helps to know that I'm not alone in this, because it's all I've been feeling for as long as I can remember. Thanks for your suggestions regarding "The Explosive Child" - it sounds like it will be a really good book for me to read and gain some insight into what is going on with my son.

    Midwest Mom - here are my answers to your questions:

    How is your son's development? My son is completely normal developmental wise and I would say he is even a little advanced physically (size and motor skills).

    Does he seem unusually sensitive to things like noise, material, light, stimuli? No - not that I have noticed.

    Does forcing him to transition from one activity to another cause a meltdown? It really depends on the situation. In a sense, he kind of does this himself, as he loses interest quickly in various activities.

    Does he have any odd behaviors such as repeating what you say to him or what he has heard on television, making odd throat noises, flapping his arms, rocking? He does like to repeat things he hears from movies and shows that he really likes, but the extent to which he does these things doesn't strike me as abnormal in any way. His older brother was diagnosed with having a chronic vocal tic, so I am aware of the abnormal side of these behaviors.

    Does he hit his head on the wall in frustration or hurt himself? No

    Any speech problems? Well, being that he is only 3, it can be difficult to understand him at times, but nothing that I view as abnormal for a little guy his age.

    Can he relate well to his same age peers or does he hurt them? He seems to get along with kids at his daycare pretty well, but he can get really upset very quickly if someone takes a toy from him or if someone is bugging him or if something doesn't go his way.

    Are there any psychiatric problems on either side of his family tree? Any substance abuse? I was adopted, and I don't know anything about my biological family. I have suffered from depression and anxiety (both in high school and presently), and am getting the help I need for it. I really don't know about psychiatric issues on my husband's side, as his family isn't big into talking about things like that. I do suspect that a number of his family members do suffer from depression. There have been problems with alcohol in his family, but I am not aware of anything beyond that.

    I did talk to my husband tonight and I am going to bring my son to a mental health professional to see if there is something we can do. I don't know that I am really interested in necessarily getting a diagnosis for my son. I guess I am most interested in figuring out ways to understand him more and be a better parent to him and not be so frustrated over his behaviors that he potentially has little to no control over.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, it's hard to give advice about what to do if he hasn't been evaluated to see if he is the way he is due to some disorder. And it is also hard to understand a differently-wired child if he isn't evaluated and if his behavior is not explained to you by a professional (I prefer NeuroPsychs). Even with his good development, which is a positive thing, you are having problems with him. If it were me, I'd do the neuropsychologist anyway, rather than just a mental health professional who probably doesn't know how to run tests. There is nothing wrong with a label--it gets your child and yourself help. And it's the right kind of help, IF the diagnosis is right. The earlier kids with issues get interventions and help outside of our parental skills (because most of our kids will not respond to traditional parenting methods) the better the overall prognosis. Untreated disorders can get worse with time unless the child gets help. In hindsight with my son, I wish I'd actually been more proactive. Of course it is your choice. Although I'm just a Mom, Aspergers jumps out at me as a possibility. At the very least, a thorough evaluation won't hurt him and may help a lot.
    I wish you great luck, regardless of what you decide to do.
  6. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    First off - WELCOME!

    The speech problems should be addressed right away. Contact the school district - they should be able to provide speech therapy - sometimes even in the home.

    I suggest you try to video tape your son's behavior so your husband can see what is going on when he is not there.
    I also think it is time for some specific time off for mom - a few times a week for you to go off and do your own thing. You need the break and you will be better able to deal with your son if you get it.

    I am glad husband agreed to an evaluation.

    Have you tried 1, 2, 3 Magic? There is a book with that title that shows you how to change little ones behavior with this method.