New here :-)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gafirewife, Aug 17, 2009.

  1. gafirewife

    gafirewife New Member

    Hello everyone! My name is Heather, and I just found this board yesterday. I literally had to turn off my computer last night so I would stop reading and go to sleep. Just reading all of your posts helps me to feel like I'm not the only one going through the trials and tribulations that come along with raising a "slightly different" child.

    Just a bit of an intro... I have a daughter who is four, and while she hasn't been evaluated or diagnosed with a conduct disorder, I feel that she definitely has behavioral issues. We've been dealing with out-of-control behavior for over a year now, which I chalked up to "normal" childhood defiance. As time has gone on, however, I'm coming to realize that it's probably a bit more than that. It has now come to the point where our entire household is walking on eggshells to avoid upsetting her, because she becomes extremely hateful and violent when she gets upset. She can be a very sweet girl, but as of late, she's become more aggressive more of the time, lashing out at her brother and sister even when not provoked. She also has what I suspect is social anxiety, which we've been working on. She hasn't had any behavioral issues at school, but the resource counselor there referred us to a child psychologist when I called and spoke with her about the situation. She said that sometimes anxiety can lead to behavioral problems, and it would be best to have her evaluated and treated, if necessary, by a professional.

    Anyway, we scheduled her an appointment, but can't get in until mid-October. Do any of you have any advice on just getting through this until we can see a professional? I picked up "The Explosive Child" this morning, and I'm sure that will be a good resource. But any ideas from other parents who have been through the same thing would be helpful as well! My main focus right now is just to keep her and her siblings safe until we can get her the professional help that I suspect she needs.

  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi, Heather.
    Actually, the first thing I'd do is sit down and write what sets her off and try to control that the best I could for now (like "The Explosive Child.") Don't get into it with her over little things.
    If you don't have an appointment with a neuropsychologist, I strongly advise getting one. They are fantastic diagnosticians and most likely she has some disorder that is making her hard to deal with (ODD-like, but ODD is not normally a stand alone symptom). Does she seem sensitive to sound, light, touch, changes? Can she transition from one activity to another with no problem? Does she have good eye contact with you and strangers? Can she relate well to her same age peers? Any speech or motor delays? Any quirky behaviors, compulsions? Does she play with toys normally or in odd ways or not at all?

    Are there any psychiatric problems or substance abuse on either side of the family tree?
    Are you raising her alone? Any family help? How was she as an infant/toddler?

    Welcome to the board. Others will come along too.
  3. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Hi and welcome. I think you are on the right track. Have her evaluated and see if therapy or medication might be appropriate. Of course, since she is very young, medication may not be given at this time, but it is possible it could come into the picture shortly.

    Also, since she is young, physicians might hesitate to create a diagnosis. This is nothing to overly concern yourself with and in fact may be a good thing. However, they may start to get formulate a diagnosis. They might have a suspected diagnosis. This gives you time to help your child.

    Is your daughter hyperactive? Impulsive? Does she rage?

    Have you looked into literature about ADD or ADHD? This is probably the most common diagnosis given to young children.

    When our daughter was young, we bought this tape (there is a good book with- the same title) called 123 Magic, that I thought was GREAT! It really HELPED her/us. I would highly recommend it, along with the one you have already purchased.

    You might want to take your daughter to a nutritionist or go to the library and see if you can find an appropriate book on the subject. Certain vitamins are said to help with ADD symptoms...but figuring out a dosage for a young child is really tricky. Fish Oil is said to help "calm" the brain and they now have those in the gummy variety for children. You might check the label to see if a child as young as yours can take them. They also have gummy multi vitamins.

    I really like that you are protecting siblings from drama due to this situation. Also, make sure you nurture your relationship with your husband. Make sure the two of you don't get into arguments over the very least...not in front ofyour daughter or the kids.

    As best as you are able, take time for your self and take time to be with your husband along once in awhile. Perhaps a once a week "date night." Even if it is just for an hour or two...husbands and wives need time alone together and this is perhaps even more important when there are extra stressors.

    Wishing you well.
  4. gafirewife

    gafirewife New Member

    Thank you both so much for the warm welcome!

    To answer your questions... My daughter does not seem sensitive to many sensory changes, although she does complain that things are too loud sometimes. She did have a speech delay, but it was later found that fluid in her ears was not allowing her to hear and after surgery to correct that, she has made great strides in her language development. At this point, she is pretty much on track with others her age. As far as motor development, she reached almost all of her milestones at the right age, although she was a late walker, not starting until 16 months.

    She does have good eye contact with people that she is comfortable around (like family and the couple of close friends she has) but she is very anxious, for lack of a better word, around others. She doesn't play well with kids in her class, usually preferring to play alone. We have noticed that she will generally find one person to "latch" onto in a situation (i.e. school) and usually feels safe and comfortable with that person. This is where I am thinking she may have a bit of social anxiety. She had many more problems in her preschool last year, not eating or using the restroom at all while she was there. She seems to have made some progress throughout the past few months to the point where she can at least function in a school setting, although still doesn't interact much with her peers.

    As I said in my initial post, she hasn't had any behavioral problems at school at this point. At home, however, we have noticed a lot of problems with transition. She doesn't seem to "change gears" very well, often becoming frustrated or angry when asked to do so. She doesn't seem any more hyperactive than most other kids her age, she can sit and focus on an activity of her choosing for a good length of time. However, I don't know much about ADHD, so I will definitely try to do some research on that and see if any of the symptoms sound like her. She does have a big problem with controlling her anger, and at least once a day does fly into a rage, usually over something seemingly insignificant. These rages usually involve violence (mostly towards her siblings or pets that happen to be around) and a lot of hateful yelling towards everyone. Most of the times, these fits last for at least half an hour, during which point no one can really talk and get through to her.

    There is a history of mental health problems on both sides of the family tree. I have been diagnosed with social anxiety, and my mom's side of the family all suffer from either bipolar disorder or depression (although those both seem to have skipped me). Her biological father's history is a bit sketchy. I do know that he was diagnosed with ADHD and was also placed in a psychiatric facility for several months when he was 7, due to severe behavioral problems and a violent attack towards another student at school (from what I can gather, he was "trying to kill the other student") Her father also has bipolar disorder. I'm not sure about the rest of his family's medical history, but I do know that both his mother and father, as well as both of his siblings do have substance abuse problems. I never saw any in him, though.

    I am raising her with my second husband, who has been in the picture since before she was 2. Her biological father just recently signed over his rights to both girls, after being mostly absent for the past 3 years. My husband now is a great father, but we do disagree on how to discipline. His parents used spanking as the main form of discipline and he seems to think that this is the best approach. I tend to think that there are better ways, but after trying everything (including spanking), I am at my wit's end. She tends to behave slightly better for him, but she still has issues when he is around.

    Okay, sorry for that being so long! Lots of information! I really do appreciate all of the tips, I know that they will be useful in the next few weeks, just trying to get through this stressful time until we can get her evaluated and see if there really is anything going on.

  5. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Hi gafirewife. Welcome to our forum. A few more questions for you:

    1) When she plays, does she often line up toys or other objects in straight lines or formations?
    2) What are her interests like--are they typical of girls her age?
    3) Cognitively/academically is she on track?

    When we see kids described with the kinds of issues you are describing, we encourage parents to research Autistic Spectrum Disorders. The higher functioning spectrum disorders (such as Asperger's Syndrome) are often very difficult to pick up in young children, even by their pediatricians. Since you've mentioned social anxiety, not changing gears well, along with behavioral issues and a family history of anxiety, I think there's enough here to warrant an evaluation. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)'s are often the last thing most parents think of when they come looking for help here because so often when we think of Autism we think of classic Autism.

    Here are some links that you can look through to see if anything rings a bell.


    Starting with a pediatrician

    Sensory Integration
  6. gafirewife

    gafirewife New Member

    SRL - I haven't noticed that she lines things up or puts them in formation when she plays. However, she is a VERY organized child. She is extremely particular about how things should be, which is reflected in everything, from how she cleans her room to how she gets dressed and it does even carry over into her play. When things aren't exactly the way they should be, she gets very frustrated and it often leads to a fit.

    While she does have some interests that other girls her age have (baby dolls, dress up), she is also very tom-boyish. She tends to be more into things like Spiderman and cars than "girly" things. But they do seem to be on target for what other kids her age are into.

    Her speech and motor skills at this point seem to be pretty equal to those of her peers. She seems able to fully understand everything going on around her, but sometimes it does seem like it takes her a bit longer to process what people say to her or when we ask her to do something. Kind of like she's playing it back to herself in her head. Not sure if that's significant, but it is something that we've noticed. Academically, she also seems on track with her peers. She's not significantly above or beyond where I would expect a 4-year-old to be. Another thing I forgot to add is that sometimes when she gets very upset, she kind of shuts down. This doesn't happen often, but when it does, she will isolate herself and not talk to anyone for usually half an hour or more. Most of the time, though, she gets upset and lashes out instead of shutting down.

    I haven't researched much into Asperger's or any other Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)'s, so I will definitely look into those. Thank you all so much for all of the tips and info you've given me so far! This is a great board for support and information!