new here - worn out and at my wits end

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by miche, Feb 26, 2007.

  1. miche

    miche New Member

    Hi. I'm Michelle 36 year old, married 5 years to HS sweetheart. I have 2 children, ages 3.5 and 9 months. My 3.5 year old is driving us all crazy. She hasn't been diagnosed with anything yet, but something is wrong I think.

    She is so angry all the time. She hits, kicks, bites, and scratches if she doesn't get what she wants. She is hitting her teacher and friends at preschool. She is hitting me and completely losing all control when I put her in timeout. She yells at me (and husband) and talks back constantly. She screams "no!" at her teachers when they ask her to do something. She NEVER looks me in the eye when I am talking to her (if she is in trouble)and sometimes I swear she ignores me completely. She does things to deliberatlely hurt people, her sister, her classmates, me. From small things like knocking over a tower that her friend just built, to biting her sister for no apparent reason.

    We have seen these problems since I was pg with daughter#2, but they have only gotten worse over time. She was in a VERY NEGATIVE preschool for 18 months, with an idiot teacher who treated all of the kids like little adults. She is very intelligent, moved up from the 2's to the 4's within one year because of this. I think that only hurt her behavior. She was barely 3 and in a 4-5 year old classroom. No wonder she was acting out, right?

    Anyway, Dr. says I am overanalyzing her behavior-- that she is just acting out because of a new sibling, new school, and I need to be calm (yea, right) and give her time. What do you guys think? I have another dr. appointment tomorrow and I think I might insist that they evaluate her.
     
  2. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Hi Michelle, I'm glad you found us. These are hard times in the life of a mother as most of us here know all too well.

    I'm a little rushed for time but if you could answer some additional questions that would help us give you better direction.

    1) What's the family history look like? Any anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), bipolar, other mental health issues?

    2) You mentioned she was very bright--could you give use a better idea of what that looks like in her? Is that bright as in her parents have invested a lot of time in teaching her the alphabet, colors, and numbers and she picked up on that quickly or bright as in she started reading when she was 2 or bright as in she has unusual academic-type interests for a child of her age?

    3) Is there anything different about her speech--either delays or talking like an adult?

    4) Does she have any oversensitivities such as to light, sound, rooms full of people, foods, etc?

    5) What are her sleep patterns like?

    I hope we can give you some good direction. In the meantime do pick up a copy of Ross Greene's book The Explosive Child and read the thread about it at the top of this board.
     
  3. miche

    miche New Member

    Here's some more details --

    1) What's the family history look like? Any anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), bipolar, other mental health issues?

    On my side of the family, there is no history of any mental health issues at all. husband likes to clean, but I wouldn't call it Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Aside from mother in law who is taking something for anxiety, that's it, but we truly think her need for medication is attention-seeking, and there is nothing really wrong. This anxiety illness is brand new for her. Last week it was something else.

    My 3.5 year old was a very fussy baby, had acid reflux and threw up and cried for 7 months before finally outgrowing it.

    2) You mentioned she was very bright--could you give use a better idea of what that looks like in her? Is that bright as in her parents have invested a lot of time in teaching her the alphabet, colors, and numbers and she picked up on that quickly or bright as in she started reading when she was 2 or bright as in she has unusual academic-type interests for a child of her age?

    She is very verbal. Speaks and articulates incredibly well. Spoke in complete 5-6 word sentences by about 13 months or so. Starting to read a little now at age 3, can count as high as she needs to, great at puzzles, We haven't really worked on anything with her other than through play. She picks up things very quickly. All of her preschool teachers have said that she is about 2 years above level. She has, however, recently started to boycott circle time at preschool. She has been getting up and running around at circle time rather than sitting. This is new for her.

    3) Is there anything different about her speech--either delays or talking like an adult?

    Talks like an adult.

    4) Does she have any oversensitivities such as to light, sound, rooms full of people, foods, etc?

    She doesn't have any oversentitivities that I have discovered.

    5) What are her sleep patterns like?

    She HATES to nap. That has been a problem in daycare since she was 2.5 and now preschool. She refuses to lay down and rest. At home she will lay in her bed or on the couch and 'rest' but only if she's watching a movie or has alot of books. She hasn't napped at home in over a year. Occasionally she will nap at school. But they don't allow her to read or color at naptime, so laying down on a cot quietly for any length of time is a challenge. Bedtime is normally ok because she doesn't nap, but she gets up too early and then is very tired. She sleeps about 10 hours a night, usually right through.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  4. SuzyfromTexas

    SuzyfromTexas New Member

    Michelle,

    Sounds similar to my son although we never had many problems in a school setting and still don't.

    I'm curious as to when your daughter potty trained assuming she is potty trained now. Did you have any problems with this? Although mine trained around 3, he was very resistant and strong willed about it.

    Also, I found Dr. Greene's book helpful for my son. You also mentioned an evaluation with a doctor. I would suggest an evaluation by a developmental psychologist or child psychologist who specializes in assessments for children.

    Reading this thread gave me lots of support and useful information.
     
  5. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Welcome!!! Sorry you had to find us but most of us have been there done that.
    I would get the book SRL suggested!!!
    I would document everything you have tried, behavior modifications, her moods her triggers- if you can see them- her ups and downs, any thing that seems out of the ordinary, I would video her if possible. Journal her days also, just brief notes so you have documentation. You would be amazed how much you will forget in a year or two!!! Thi will help so you dont get flustered at meetings and you will be able to stand your ground and back up your reasons with examples.
    In the future you will most likely do a parent report if you do get into a Psychiatrist or nuero-evaluation, I think Fran has a example of a great one under FAQ.

    It mat be nothing, she may grow out of it... who knows. But you are still struggling right now and she is still a handfull and you still deserve for your pediatrician to listen and respect what you are saying. Go the pediatrician with your list and examples and anything else you can.

    We had to go through 5 peds. before we found one that would listen!!! There truly comes a point in your life when you realize in your heart that there is something wrong with your child and only you will know that... it is a hard thing to accept and sometimes it is hard to get others to accept, but when you do know this, nothing will stop you from getting the help your child needs.
    Good luck we are here for you
     
  6. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Michelle, before I forget, if your last name is included in your board nickname, please make a change in name for privacy sake.

    Based on everything you've mentioned here, I do recommend you push your doctor for a recommendation. The typical route that pediatricians go for when children are displaying these sorts of behavioral issues are to refer to counselors, therapists, regular child psychologists, and/or child psychiatrists. You don't want to go any of those routes. What you want is a multidisciplary evaluation that includes an evaluation by a developmental and behavioral pediatrician or a pediatric neuropsychologist. Doctors are pretty reluctant to make these referals but I'm going to give you some help with that later

    We are all just parents here so take everything we say as parental advice and not medical, diagnostic etc. There could be a lot of things going on here but the fact that there are issues both in preschool and at home suggests that this is more than a passing phase to me. The place I'd recommend you start your research is a condition called Asperger's Syndrome which is at the high end of the Autistic Spectrum. Children with AS are almost always missed by doctors when they are very young and as a result their problems tend to get worse because the adults in their lives don't understand them +/or their unique needs. They frequently are very bright, talk like adults from a young age, and display some serious behavioral issues. Some of them will appear pretty social but as they mature have difficulty interacting appropriately. I have a child who fell short of meeting the diagnostic criteria for AS but I was glad to have even that much to go on because it has helped me enormously in helping him.

    http://www.aspergersyndrome.org/

    Again, I want to emphasize that this is just a starting point for your research and after looking around you may decide you need to look in a different direction. If there's any hint that a child might fall in the region of the spectrum we usually suggest parents look there first because it's easier to sort out than the other disorders.
     
  7. miche

    miche New Member

    She was pretty typical with potty training, I think. Once we stopped trying she just did it herself. Completely trained by 2.5 years old, one or two accidents a week for the first few weeks in underwear then all okay.
     
  8. miche

    miche New Member

    I'm familiar with Asperger's because one of my students has that diagnosis and we've been made aware of it. I read the links and am pretty sure that my difficult child doesn't fall there. She does have friends, and is able to make friends. Also, the part about the avoiding eye contact, that's just with me when I'm trying to correct her. The rest doesn't really sound like her. I'll keep researching, though.
     
  9. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Keep researching then. Two things I will mention about AS: one, I've rarely met up with a parent of a 3 year old who at first glance feels their child fits the description. Second, it's a very elusive diagnosis for a young child because it's fairly common for some of the traits to show up later as the child spends more time out in the world and away from home/parent. Children who are outgoing 3 year olds may start to flounder when the social demands are greater at age 6. Or kids with good eye contact at 2 may develop eye contact problems at age 4. It's a tough one to nail down.

    Two other areas to look into, again both difficult to recognize in young kids or borderline kids.

    Even if none of this rings a bell, I still think you ought to push for the evaluation.
     
  10. miche

    miche New Member

    I checked those others -- they don't seem to fit either. I will see our regular pediatrician tomorrow, and I'm taking difficult child with me. Hopefully he will give me a referral.
     
  11. SuzyfromTexas

    SuzyfromTexas New Member

    SRL and Michelle,

    My child fell short of the diagnostic label for AS and NLD, as well, but sure seems to have some of the same behavioral issues.

    Michelle, I will say this about my son....He is social and will choose to be around kids over anything else of interest, but sometimes struggles with wanting to control playtime or "control the situation". He also acts hyper or silly sometimes (ADHD'ish behavior) when playing with other kids. So, the social interaction element is difficult to recognize.

    Also, after we had the neuropsychologist evaluation I discovered that there was a "significant" discrepancy between his verbal IQ (very high) and visual memory and visual perceptual. Although he scored above average on either visual memory or visual perceptual (I don't remember which), it's the difference that needs to be examined. Like SRL, I think knowing this will help us in the long run.

    3 1/2 may be too young for the IQ testing (I don't know). Also, she may outgrow alot of this behavior. (Alex has improved in many areas).

    I'm still struggling with this....
     
  12. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Suzy, this is why I think a professional opinion added together with parent research and observation is very valuable. I was a careful observer but there were things I missed. Fine motor skills for example--my son could write legible letters by his third birthday and write sentences with ease 6 months later. I figured that made for good fine motor skills as did his preschool teacher but the developmental pediatrician had him do one simple series of movements and saw very clearly what I missed. I never would have pegged him in the direction the doctor did but a few months after the diagnosis I began seeing more clearly why the doctor made the call he did. Recognizing that something was "amiss" and taking the first steps with my pediatrician opened up a lot of doors I never dreamed I'd be looking down!
     
  13. miche

    miche New Member

    I was at the doctor today - for the baby. She hasn't slept for more than 15 minutes at a time for 2 days. I don't know how I"m functioning without sleep for so long... Anyway, the baby has an ear infection so she should be better within a day or so.

    Talked to the pediatrician about difficult child's appointment tomorrow, and he suggested having a few sessions with the child psychologist who shares his office space. So that's a sign that he is definitely willing to listen to me! I'll update tomorrow after the visit.
     
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think SRL is giving you excellent advice. As the mom of a child on the spectrum, I my son also loved letters, numbers, any sort of rote memorizing and learned to read at two. He still speaks like a "Little Professor." His eye contact was never that bad, and, as a toddler, he did not seem to do poorly socially. BUT kids that age don't really interact. They run after each other and laugh. My son did that. As he got older, he didn't interact in a normal way. He has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified and is doing great because of all his early interventions. I agree--don't try to diagnose yourself or read and diagnose and say "He has this, but not that." Take him for a MDE ASAP and at least your'll have a "working diagnosis." (a first diagnosis. that is subject to change as he gets older). High functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)/Aspergers is often missed until the child is nearly a teen. All ASers are different so comparing yours to another doesn't work. If it's not that, well, at least you have some direction if you have a MDE and can get some help. I wouldn't go the psycology, behavioral therapist, pediatrician route either. They simply do not know about child disorders. Hugs to you. Lots of luck.
     
  15. miche

    miche New Member

    All of you say to go for a MDE. How do you go about doing this? My insurance won't cover it unless I have a referral, so isn't my pediatrician the first step? I also don't want to spend all the time and money and stress on an MDE if it really isn't necessary?

    My husband is really against all of this, he thinks we are going to traumatize our child completely if we let a team of specialists analyze her. How do I really know if that is the route for me to take?
     
  16. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Michelle, you need to do what feels right to you as a parent. All we're doing is passing along the best advice we know based on the behaviors you are describing and past experiences from our own children and the many families who have come through these boards. Take what works for you and leave the rest.

    Children rarely have a hard time with specialists evaluating them. It's the parents that have a hard time for a whole variety of reasons. Most kids cruise through the process without much in the way of problems at all. Most *parents* are traumatized.

    Most of us here take a strong stand that we'd far rather spend the time, money and effort to get a thorough evaluation when the child is young. If it turns out the doctors aren't concerned then all you are out is money. If you decide not to evaluated and down the road realize there definitely was something going on what you've missed is critical intervention time. Some interventions are far more effective when the child is young and the brain still developing at a rapid rate. The other danger point is that the symptoms worsen and then all you and eventually the school are left with "behavioral" reasons. Neurologically typical children of your daughter's age who are raised in loving, stable families rarely exhibit behaviors that you describe on a regular, ongoing basis:

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: miche</div><div class="ubbcode-body">She is so angry all the time. She hits, kicks, bites, and scratches if she doesn't get what she wants. She is hitting her teacher and friends at preschool. She is hitting me and completely losing all control when I put her in timeout. She yells at me (and husband) and talks back constantly. She screams "no!" at her teachers when they ask her to do something. She NEVER looks me in the eye when I am talking to her (if she is in trouble)and sometimes I swear she ignores me completely. She does things to deliberatlely hurt people, her sister, her classmates, me. From small things like knocking over a tower that her friend just built, to biting her sister for no apparent reason. </div></div>

    If you decide you want to pursue a talking with your doctor about an MDE, let us know and we can give you more info on that. If you need to take smaller steps and just see the psychologist first, then do what you feel is right.

    Either way, you will want to give The Explosive Child a look. What I found out through that book and the experience of implementing it is that my authoritarian parenting style wasn't a good match for a a child of my difficult child's temperament.
     
  17. miche

    miche New Member

    I ordered "The Explosive Child" yesterday from Amazon.com. I also have a book called "Your Defiant Child" that I bought last week at the book store. I'm reading both. You're right..I guess this is harder for us as parents than it is for our kids...
     
  18. miche

    miche New Member

    I took difficult child to the pediatrician today. She's had 2 really good days, both at school and at home (one outburst at home). We spoke for about 30 minutes, and he is pretty convinced that her behavior is due to stress. Stress of the baby, stress of school, negative school environment, expectations put upon her that are too high, both from school and home. He thinks that because she is so articulate everyone is forgetting that she is only 3 and treating her and talking to her and expecting her to act as if she was much older. As for the issues at school, he thinks it is because she hasn't found her place there yet, and needs more adjustment time. He asked me to give her two more weeks, and if things don't improve with patience and time (and the new school)then he will give me a referral for the next step.

    For right now, I'm going to give it more patience and time. He did say that when she has her "outbursts" that I should simply tell her that she needs to cool down and then to pretty much ignore her until she does. Not try to talk to her or anything until the tantrum is over. Do you guys agree with this? I did order The Explosive Child and am reading another book as well. Being a mother is so hard....
     
  19. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    It kind of depends on what is wrong with your child...
    We tried so many different types of behavior modifications... try what you feel comfortable with. But you really need to be consistant and so does husband.
    We found because our difficult child has auditory issues and becomes overwhelmed with too much talk, we have to be very to the point, direct, not much talk.

    "Kiki you may come to the table now" I say it slow give her time... wait... say it again...wait ... say it a 3rd time very slow at her level.... wait... then guide her to the table and say let's go to the table, or I asked you to go to the table, It is time to go to the table. I don't get mad and after a few days she was actually listening a lot better for being as oppisitional as she is.

    Just a suggestion...

    Some use charts, rewards, timeouts etc. These things didn't work for us... And sometimes when she is cycling she can't listen and I have to help her more, redirect, hold her, let her know she is not a bad girl.

    Hang in there you will find something sooner or later that will help or work.
    As far as an evaluation... start researching them read about them on the archives, read others experiences to get yourself comfortable with the idea and what to expect. Keep asking questions...
     
  20. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Most of us here didn't find the answers we needed to help our children until we had a thorough understanding of their issues through assessment and research and until we'd found the right strategies (school setting, The Explosive Child, therapies, etc.) so we're probably not the best crowd to ask your question of!

    It's of course reasonable to give it a few weeks as your dr suggests but we'd also mention that ups and downs are always part of life with kids, not just challenging ones. You should also factor into your observations that any time you implement a behavior program like TEC, if it works it's common for there to be an initial period where the child responds well. If there's an underlying neurological issue, this improvement is usually only temporary.

    How is she doing in the new preschool? Is she happy and wanting to go back? Reluctant? What is her teacher reporting?

    How did she do when the baby arrived? All kids struggle when a new little one is brought home but most of them rebound quite quickly.

    How does she do with transitions such as leaving home and going to the library or stopping an activity?
     
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