Spitting, hating, hitting . . . what do you do?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by becklit, Jul 13, 2008.

  1. becklit

    becklit Gimme 5

    I am really struggling with my 5 year old difficult child. He recently started seeing a child psychologist but I haven't gotten really any concrete advice on what to do with certain behaviors. I'm on the waiting list for The Explosive Child at my library, but need some advice NOW. I taught elementary school for several years, and thought I was pretty patient and had a pretty firm grasp on how to deal with certain behavior problems until now. I am completely at a loss. Nothing seems to work.

    Have you had the following problems and what did you do about them?

    1) constant spitting--in anger and also for absolutely no reason. In people's faces (even at new baby sister), here, there and everywhere. Disgusting! It's absolutely infuriating to me and I don't know how to get him to stop, or at decrease it's frequency.

    2) saying "I hate you" to everyone in every circumstance. I know this is just a child's way of expressing frustration and anger, but I can't stand it because it is so hurtful and it's an awful example for his two year old brother who has picked up on it.

    3) Hitting. Hitting. Hitting. He'll slug his sister for no reason as she walks by. He takes punches at anyone who crosses him. He has this certain giggle that makes me cringe and shudder every time I hear it because I know it means he is up to something that is going to hurt someone else. He seems to find it highly enjoyable to makes his siblings shriek in pain.

    All of this is CONSTANT and I'm at a loss. I know I probably make it worse because I get so impatient and frustrated with him. I start each day with a new resolve to be totally calm, loving and understanding with him . . . but by the 10th episode of the day I've had it. My voice is no longer quite so sweet and I probably plop him a little to hard onto the "stop- it stool" (our version of time out) and I feel compelled to throw him in his room and lock the door. He is destroying my other children's lives. He disrupts EVERYTHING and has destroyed the visions I once had of how family life is supposed to be. I find it a horrible struggle to stay calm and I'm so frustrated with myself because of it. The joy is gone. The life is being sucked out of me, and I used to be such a happy, positive, and friendly person. Now I don't even want to go out of my house . . . and I don't very much. I used to pride myself on my ability to interact with children and now I'm failing with my own child. My self-esteem is ZERO. Please help. I find myself wanting to escape (permanently) and it scares me. I don't know how long I can hang on.
  2. Joeman

    Joeman New Member

    Hi & Welcome,
    Have you had your difficult child evaluated by a neuropsychologist or developemental pediatrician? My DS who is almost 4 (see diagnoses below) got to a phase where he was sooooo out of control with hitting, spitting, and negative verbal outbursts. He even spit at the developmental pediatrician and hit me and his sisters right in front of the developmental pediatrician. I wish I could say I was able to lovingly talk him out of this behavior and help him calm down but everyting we tried didn't work and we got a lot of conflicting advice from professionals. What did work...putting him on medication at age 3.5, positive behaviorial reinforcement (catching him being 'good') and a swift, non-emotional time out ONLY for the hitting, spitting stuff. In a matter of weeks, the aggressive behavior was down to a much more manageable level and things are looking up (as opposed to feeling hopeless, where I was before). I hope you find some answers and things improve for you soon.
  3. drkw

    drkw New Member

    I have a 5.5 yr old LW who we have struggled with for a while on the constant crying, whining, and hitting. It has escalated recently. He has a language comprehension issue we are helping with but slow. We just completed our neuro psychiatric evaluation but no results for few weeks. He was a complete anger during the 6 hr evaluation. at home he gets agry when he hears no, cannto get his way or what he wants immediately. His 10 yr old sister is frustrutated and I also struggle to keep my cool. Just today the spittign in the face started. We try time outs and they help but he destrys things along hte way, hits, screams. It has made me feel like a complete failure and I cannto tak him anywhere due to my fear of his outbursts. Do we ask for medication? Do I need medication?
  4. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi! Welcome to the board! I've got to say that a neuropsychologist or deveolpmental pediatrician would be key in all of these situations.

    I also agree that an Occupational therapist doing an evaluation would be a great idea too since there could be sensory issues involved. Does your little guy "over-react" to certain smells, tastes, consistancies, "itchy tags", materials, etc.? These could be potential triggers that could either launch a meltdown OR make it worse.

    In a nutshell, he's probably as scared as his reactions just as much or more than you are. The frustration, the anger, and the angst that you're feeling is ABSOLUTELY normal. Don't beat yourself up over it. Running away from home is a normal fantasy for us as well... :) Keep in mind that although you're headed down a "different" road than you had imagined, it can still be rewarding and he may very well learn how to make adaptations.

    Some kids process things differently - once that's been determined - you can learn how to make adaptations on how you communicate with him. Don't worry about making mistakes - you're great parents because you're not willing to bury your heads in the sand...you're asking questions and trying to find out what you can do to help him.

    Regarding medication? Some people do, some people don't. No one on this forum jumps on either bandwagon...some kids need medications. There could be chemical imbalances, developmental issues, etc.

    Again, welcome to the crowd...there's a lot of experience coupled with strong shoulders here!

  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This child needs a neuropsychologist evaluation. It's not your fault, but I don't think his behavior is his fault either. A psychologist who doesn't do any evaluation (like 6-10 hour testing) won't tell you much about what is going on because he won't know. If the psychologist can not diagnose him, and doesn't test him, I would move on to somebody else.

    Good luck and keep us posted :)
  6. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    First of all, try not to feel guilty about wanting to escape. I have had fantasies of my difficult child never being born. I think it is normal... they can cause so much stress and hurt. Getting him evaluated would be a good idea. But know that therapy can be effective even before you pin point what really is wrong through the psychiatric evaluation.
    Just to give an example: 4 months, I was crying almost every night because of difficult child and the chaos he was creating. husband and I knew we needed help, difficult child needed help! We are still waiting for the psychiatric evaluation, but having a partial diagnosis (see my signature) has helped in a way. We know, it is confirmed by professional that we, as parents, are not the problem and we need to persue our journey to help him. On my end, it was important to hear that... cause the constant yelling (both on my end and difficult child's) is no good for self esteem as you know.
    We started behavioral therapy 2 months ago and that has helped a lot. The therapist had a hard time finding a diagnosis she was confortable with (she admits ODD is only "good for now", "we'll do with it" and she added anxiety as well) but through talking with me and difficult child she has given small tips. Let me tell you, at first I did not believe in those small tips (how can something so small, change such big outbursts?) but decided to trust her and try to follow as best as I could. Well, 2 months later, I see results. Even my husband who is home only on the weekend is happy with the changes. Those changes are REALLY small, my difficult child is still a difficult child but it gives hope and if we keep following the advise, nuturing those small changes, etc. I'm confident, our family life will only become more peaceful overtime. Maybe google behavioral therapy in your area or ask your pediatrician. Ask all the help you can, don't hesitate and don't wait (the process is soooooooo slow).
    I myself have to work on my temper and the therapist does help me in that as well, learn not to react too strongly to difficult child's meltdown.
    You have found a great place and this forum will also become part of your "getting help solution".
  7. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hello becklit. I echo ktllc's sentiments - your frustration/despair are completely understandable. Like ktllc, I too feel a little less despairing than I did some months ago (when I too was having fantasies about asking my son's adopted father to take him because I felt I could not cope). I think a LOT of that is to do with being informed. I am much more informed now than I was then - still a long way to go, the learning never stops - and this has led to feeling more confident and less isolated with it.
    An important phrase for me in what you say is "I get so impatient and frustrated with him". Again, completely understandable and personally been there done that (and still go there on a regular basis...) But as you doubtless know, such reactions seem to make these children much worse and one gets hooked into very negative cycles of communication. Something is at the basis of your son's anger and aggression... is it neurological, emotional, a combination? What plans are in place for further evaluations and diagnoses?
    You also have other small children and your energies must be very depleted for dealing with your difficult son. Is your husband supportive? How does your son get on at school? The more you can tell us, the more people here can offer help, advice and just support. Please take a breather and don't panic... there is light at the end of the tunnel.
  8. april1974

    april1974 New Member

    Welcome....try not to beat yourself up....it's really hard to parent a child who can be difficult...I know I've felt the same feelings as you...my vision of what our family would like isn't exactly going to plan...it's been challenging to say the least. I hear in your voice that point of giving up....because we love our kids but it's hard when they make life difficult and they can be unbearable to be around. that feeling of wanting to escape I can really sympathize with....I would have daydreams of the old days when it was just my husband & daughter, I would sometimes think...I wish we were still a family of 3 or daydreaming of not having twins. It is really tiring and the constant stress on our lives takes it's toll. I figure the amount of stress I've felt over this past year I'm due for a heart attack by age 40!

    My advice is get a referal to a specialist so you can start dealing with the issues now while he's still young.

    Spitting: my son E went through a very bad spell of spitting and it was so gross...he did at school and I got phone calls regarding his behaviour....I would get soooo mad...I finally told him "it's ok to spit, but not on people..if you are going to spit you can go spit in the toilet" Thank goodness he eventually stopped. From what I read it's one of those things that boys tend to do and the best way to deal with it is ignore it and the bigger deal you make of it the worse it get's....sigh....but boys can't be boys in school and I better not start down that road. I get that it's not ok to spit on people...but it's normal for boys to spit... I say ignore it unless he spits on somebody.

    I hate you: My M does that, he will say I hate you and you are stupid....so frustrating...I always say "how would you feel if I said I hate you to you?" he says "I wouldn't like it" I say "ok then don't say it to me" or I'll say "if you hate me, you can leave and go live somewhere else, find a new family" usually he gets upset and says "I don't want to live somewhere else" I'm probably doing it all wrong but I find it upsetting when he says this....alot of times when he says that I just say "that's fine...but I love you" I know I'm not very consistant.

    Hitting: My M has had a rough school year...he's will hit unprovoked and it's frustrating...knock on wood since school has been out he has gotten better and we have put in a reward system for him...since he went the last 2wks of school with no hitting he got to go see Cars2. I'm trying to sort out the "normal" boy hitting between him & his brother and the aggressive non-normal behaviour. It's hard. Alot of "normal" siblings find happiness in making their siblings squeal....I know of many many many kids who tormented their siblings and they were very normal kids.....not saying it's ok...but your not alone and doesn't make him abnormal.