Thank God I found you!!!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by mightymouse, Feb 8, 2007.

  1. mightymouse

    mightymouse Trying to save the day.

    Let me introduce myself...

    I am the mother of two, a 10 yo daughter and a 3 1/2 yo difficult child DS.

    From birth, I never had any behavior problems with my daughter. When she was hungry, she gave me enough pre-cry grunts and wiggles to let me know long before she resorted to crying. As a crawler and toddler, I merely had to say her name and raise my eyebrows to stop any inappropriate behavior. I thought I was a great parent and had this discipline thing down to a science. Then along came my son...

    From the very beginning, I knew he was different from my daughter. He was very demanding from the day he was born. He went straight into a ticked off scream when he was hungry or uncomfortable. I thought this was normal and I was just blessed with an exceptionally good natured first baby. Somewhere between 6-9 months I started to think his temper was not normal. When he was 10 months old, after observing him for several days my sister said, "Wow. He's going through the terrible two's and he's not even one yet." At 15 months I signed up for a parenting class because by that point I was feeling like a total failure as a parent and didn't know how to handle him. They taught "Love and Logic" which in my opinion was totally useless for a child that age. in my opinion a child needs reasoning skills for that program to be effective and they just don't have them at 15 mos. He has some now, but he is so defiant most of the time that he just doesn't use them. Most children will respond to discipline by someone other than mom or dad, but not him. The first time I realized this was when he had just turned two and a pretty big and burly male friend of mine listened to me try to deal with a temper tantrum for a while and (with my blessing) he stepped in and tried to handle him. He used a firm voice and told him to stop or he would spank him. I was scared for him but it didn't phase my son and he went off on a screaming tirade at my friend!

    I've been waiting and telling myself he would outgrow this behavior, but deep down I've known for a long time that there is something not right with him. Now at 3 1/2 he is just as defiant as ever and I am more stressed than I ever thought a child of my own would make me. He seems to set up situations for the sole purpose of starting a tantrum. For instance, he always goes to bed with a cup of water. Tonight he came out of the bedroom and said he was done with it and wanted to save the rest for tomorrow. He always wants water in the middle of the night so I told him to just put it by his pillow so that it would be there when he wanted it again. A tantrum ensued and he kept screaming for me to take it. I didn't because I knew as soon as I took it, he would scream that he wanted it back. Then if I gave it back to him he would scream for me to put it up and so on. The "I want a bite" game I wrote about in another post is another example of this. As long as everything is going his way and he has control over everything, he is fine and happy and loving. But he does not take "no" well and throws huge tantrums, saying hateful and hurtful things to me during them. Once he calms down, he always appologizes to me and acts as though he is hurt and sad by his own actions. I feel like I am always walking on eggshells with him because I never know which "no" will send him into a tizzy. I also find myself constantly second guessing myself as to how to handle him.

    I discovered ODD a while back and it describes my son to a tee. I know they say it usually is a co-morbid condition, but at this age it's hard to tell if there is anything else going on. in my opinion he is no more hyper or inattentive than a 3 1/2 yo boy should be but only time will tell if he has ADHD. I wonder if it could be BiPolar (BP) and the thought of that scares me to death. He is well adjusted socially and plays well with other children, probably better than most. He is very smart and has a real intrest in letters and words and is already able to sound out and spell a lot of 3 letter words.

    I have been worried about addressing his issues with anyone for a long time because I am afraid they will just blow me off and tell me he's just a normal 3 yo, when I know he is not. I am having my daughter evaluated and her dr's office called today to move up her next appointment. so I told her about my son and asked if he was too young to be evaluated and wound up making him an appointment too.

    There are so many more issues going on here but I will save them for a later date. Sorry this is so long but thank you to any of you who have made it through to the end. I have needed this kind of fellowship with parents of similar children for so long because most of my friends are perfect parents of perfect children and I feel so judged by them.
     
  2. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Hi Mightymouse. I'm glad you found us because I think we can help you.

    We'll talk you through some things that hopefully will give you some relief but first this all sounds familiar enough to me that I am going to recommend you pursue a full multidisciplinary evaluation. There are experts who can tell what's going on at his age and it's a matter of finding them.

    After a few questions I'm going to give you some links so you can do your homework. Please take these as starting points for research and not anything in the way of diagnosis because we're not qualified to do that. I have a son who was a precocious reader (age 2), who has a family history of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and who exhibited behavior difficulties very similar to what you are seeing (lots of no can win no matter what).

    Any chance that your kiddo has any speech delays or displays speech that is somehow different than other kids?

    How would you answer these questions about these play behaviors?

    Does/did the child
    a. Favor objects for play that aren’t typically used as toys by their peers (such as wheels, sticks, magnet letters, etc.)?
    b. Seem fascinated or obsessed by objects/topics that aren’t typical for kids of their age (such as numbers, the alphabet, words, math, geography, mechanical things such as air conditioners or vacuum cleaners, things with motors, etc)?
    c. Play “differently” with toys or household objects (such as spin them, line them up in straight lines, set them up in formations, etc.)?
    d. Exhibit weak or unusual pretend play skills (such as acts out memorized scenes from books/films/TV/DVD instead of creating situations and dialogue, moves toy trains around but not pretend to be the engineer/go places/pick up passengers, arranges pretend people or action figures but not create imaginary situations with them or have them interact with each other, etc.)?
    e. Display behaviors and/or routines that seem unusual or quirky?

    What I would recommend in terms of handling him until you have some firm answers is to take the low road. Put aside those things that you think kids his age should be doing--those can wait. Take preventative steps to avoid meltdowns. If eating together inevitably leads to the bite game and a 30 minute tantrum then feed him at a different time or place. If getting him into a coat to run an errand is a sure fire battle then throw on a sweat shirt instead and dash into the store. What you want to do is to temporarily ease things on him (and you!) until you can involve professionals to help determine what is going on, and if so, what to do about it. See the thread at the top of this board about adapting The Explosive Child for younger kids for more help on this.

    Hang in there.
     
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think SRL is setting you on the right track. My own son had an unusual and early interest in letters, numbers and words. He taught himself to read by two, but he was very volatile and difficult and I knew something was wrong. It took forever to get him diagnosed right, but that's another story. Any disorders of any kind in the family tree? With other kids in the family? Does your child know how to interact with other people? How is his eye contact? Any mood disorders or substance abuse in the family?
     
  4. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Welcome Mightymouse, you are definitely not alone anymore. My child was also 3.5 years old when I landed here after realizing she wasn't simply having a phase as her pediatrician insisted. There are many things that can cause these issues and symptoms overlap. The good news is that a lot of the negative behaviors can virtually disappear after effective treatment of the underlying condition. Your signature shows a mood disorder, ADD & possible learning disabilities in your family tree. I'd say you are prudent to start pursuing some answers for your son now.
     
  5. mightymouse

    mightymouse Trying to save the day.

    Thanks for your replies. It helps already to know I have support. As to your questions, here are my answers:

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: SRL</div><div class="ubbcode-body">
    Any chance that your kiddo has any speech delays or displays speech that is somehow different than other kids?
    <span style="color: #6600CC">Actually, just the opposite. He spoke early as did my daughter. He spoke in complete sentences before age 2, not perfect speech, but strangers could understand him and every time we left the house someone would comment on how well he talked.</span>
    How would you answer these questions about these play behaviors?
    Does/did the child
    a. Favor objects for play that aren’t typically used as toys by their peers (such as wheels, sticks, magnet letters, etc.)?
    <span style="color: #6600CC">No. He will play with just about anything he can get his hands on, but definitely does not favor non-toy objects.</span>
    b. Seem fascinated or obsessed by objects/topics that aren’t typical for kids of their age (such as numbers, the alphabet, words, math, geography, mechanical things such as air conditioners or vacuum cleaners, things with motors, etc)?
    <span style="color: #6600CC">Not particularly. He is very interested in letters and is getting the concept of word formation. This started when he got the LeapFrog frige magnets for his 3rd birthday and then the LeapFrog Word Whammer for Christmas. He is not obsessed with it though. He will play alone with them for about 15 minutes at a time or longer if I am playing with him. He sees words everywhere and asks about them and comes up with a couple of words a day and asks me how to spell them. </span>
    c. Play “differently” with toys or household objects (such as spin them, line them up in straight lines, set them up in formations, etc.)?
    <span style="color: #6600CC">Some. He will line up his cars from end to end or side to side. Sometimes this is for a reason (he takes a monster truck to jump them :smile: ) or sometimes not. At Christmas time, we told him to put his gifts in a pile over by the fireplace after he opened them. He put them in a line heading out into the middle of the living room floor and was not open to doing anything else with them. When we were finally able to convince him that the line was too long, he started a second one rather than move them into a pile. Typical. It has to be his idea. Also, last week I gave him M&M's a couple of times, and he either lined them up or arranged them in a circle and then counted them.</span>
    d. Exhibit weak or unusual pretend play skills (such as acts out memorized scenes from books/films/TV/DVD instead of creating situations and dialogue, moves toy trains around but not pretend to be the engineer/go places/pick up passengers, arranges pretend people or action figures but not create imaginary situations with them or have them interact with each other, etc.)?
    <span style="color: #6600CC">Doesn't act out but does memorize short bits of dialogue from TV or movies. He plays with a doll house (hey, it was his sister's and he loves it :smirk: ) and acts out situations with it. He loves to draw and when he's done with a picture he will tell you what it is. Unless it is a stick figure, I don't think he plans on what he draws but always comes up with a label for the finished product that it actually looks like. A few days ago I asked him to draw a person. He drew a stick figure and then drew some vertical lines over her face. I asked him why he drew the lines and he said it was her hair. I asked him why it was in her face and he said because she just got out of the shower. :smile: I don't think immagination is a problem and needless to say, that drawing is now dated, titled, and on the refrigerator. Oh, and he has been making pictures out of clouds since he could talk, and I can always see the same object in the same cloud he is talking about.</span>
    e. Display behaviors and/or routines that seem unusual or quirky?
    <span style="color: #6600CC">Other than the meltdowns, no.</span>
    Take preventative steps to avoid meltdowns.
    <span style="color: #6600CC">One of the things that I know helps prevent meltdowns is avoiding hunger and being tired but this is so hard to do. He thinks snacks should be a full meal and has a meltdown when he is told he can't have more. He acts as if naptime and bedtime are a life sentence in prison. If he takes a nap, no matter how short, he is up all hour of the night and if he doesn't he becomes a bear in the afternoon. I just don't know what kind of daily schedule to have him on.</span>
    If eating together inevitably leads to the bite game and a 30 minute tantrum then feed him at a different time or place.
    <span style="color: #6600CC">About the only thing I could do is eat when he's not around and although that might be great for my figure because I would rarely eat, it's just not practical.</span>
    If getting him into a coat to run an errand is a sure fire battle then throw on a sweat shirt instead and dash into the store.
    <span style="color: #6600CC">Coats are not a problem because he does not like the cold. But clothing in general, what to wear and when to get dressed have been known to cause meltdowns. It's a control issue for him. I do choose my battles, though. I bought him two blanket sleepers and he loved them so much he wore them all day and night for two days. Then he decided he didn't like them and refuses to wear them anymore. I thought about giving them away, but sure as I do he will decide he likes them again and ask to wear them and when I tell him we do not have them anymore he will have an excuse to have a meltdown for several days, weeks, or months to come at bedtime.</span>
    See the thread at the top of this board about adapting The Explosive Child for younger kids for more help on this.
    <span style="color: #6600CC"> After seeing this suggestion in several threads, I am going to look for it this weekend. I hope it is an ADD friendly book!</span> </div></div>
    Someone else asked about my son's interaction with other people. He interacts well with adults unless he is mad and then he either just ignores them or screams at them, depending on how mad. He plays really well with other children, I think better than most. Another question was about eye contact. He makes good eye contact and it isn't a problem. When he is throwing a fit, I wish it wasn't so good because it looks like he is about to spit fire from his eyes. And yes, as my signature shows, there are mood disorders in the family history, mainly depression on my side of the family. His dad treats us as "if I ignore it, it will go away" (his words, great guy :mad: ) so we don't talk much. I do know he talked about his own anger issues in the past, although I never saw it, and he actually checked himself into a hospital for it at one point. He also has a nephew who is the same age as my son who has some defiance issues of his own that have gotten him kicked out of daycare. I am thinking about asking him or his mom more about his childhood but am struggling with asking in a way that doesn't seem accusitory so that I will get an honest answer.

    My appointment for him next week is with a phychologist who seems to do very thorough evaluations on children. Is this the right approach? What exactly is a multidisciplinary evaluation? Thanks so much for the support for getting him evaluated. Because of my own disability situation, I am dreading people telling me it is "just a phase" when I know it is not. I really like my pediatrician dr, though, and I think he will be supportive as he has been in the past so I need to quit worrying about it and plow forward, full steam ahead!
     
  6. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Thanks for the additional info. That helps.

    Sometimes when we see answers to the questions I asked it gives us really clear cut direction in which to send a parent. Your answers didn't provide that clear direction but I'm going to send you in a direction to do some research. As I said, I have a child who was very much as you described at this age, with the only significant difference in our answers being mine was reading well by this age and his interest in the alphabet was very obsessive. At that age, we were seeing huge behavioral issues but problems in subtle areas of speech, social interaction, and eye contact were still to come.

    Precocious reading can be attributed to giftedness but it can also also be a sign of a disorder called Hyperlexia which has some kinship to Autism. By "kinship" I mean sometimes individuals with Hyperlexia also have a comorbid diagnosis of one of the Autistic Spectrum Disorders, usually higher functioning along the spectrum. Sometimes they ride the fence diagnostically of the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)'s. Sometimes they only display traits of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)'s (usually these are more high functioning individuals). Sometimes they are highly gifted adults who might have looked sort of spectrumy as kids but left a lot of those traits behind as they developed. Because of the spectrum nature of the disorder(s) it is extremely hard to pick up in young children who are atypical or who ride the fence diagnostically. The one red flag that usually sends parents looking for early help is speech delay but kids with Asperger's Syndrome or NonVerbal Learning Disability don't have the speech delay (usually more advanced adult sounding speech) so they are almost always missed. If they are more outgoing (such as mine) it makes it even less likely they'll be picked up--outgoing doesn't equate social appropriateness.

    Even though all of your answers aren't pointing in that direction, that's where I'd start looking. You may find it doesn't ring a bell at all but at least it will give you a starting place to do your homework.

    This is a site for Asperger's Syndrome,the highest functioning of the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)'s. See if anything there sounds familiar for your son or anyone else in the close biological family.

    http://www.aspergersyndrome.org/

    If you have an appointment with a psychologist, I'd go ahead and keep it at this point. You will want to check into his/her qualifications--we've found parents get far better results with a specialty called neuropsychology. And, most importantly, our experience here is that if mom suspects something is amiss she's usually right so put your warrior mom hat on and keep it there until you are satisfied with the answers and your child is on the path to forward progress.
     
  7. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    One more thing, you might make it easier on yourself if you just feed him when he's hungry, whether it fits your timing for snacks or meals. We adults have an expectation of meals by the clock. Not all young children have that same internal mechanism. One of mine went through a period where he consumed about 75% of his calories for the day by noon. My difficult child was totally explosive when he was hungry and often was asking for supper at 4 pm. When I finally gave up the fight and fed him when he was hungry things went much better. These are the kinds of issues you want to look for where minor adjustments on your part can make big improvements in preventing meltdowns.
     
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I agree that it may be a good idea to keep an eye out for Aspergers Syndrome. My son could read at two and had a deep interest in letters, numbers, anything that he could memorize. I thought he was a genuis...lol. These kids are often extremely smart, speak early, but have social deficits (this is hard to see in a younger child, and the diagnosis itself is hard to get this young). I recommend reading some Tony Attwooud books to see if anything rings a bell. More than that, I recommend a multi-disciplinary evaulation at a children's or university hospital. You can then get a "working diagnosis" (at his age, any diagnosis. is likely to change with age), and start the proper interventions that will make you and your child happier :smile: Good luck.
     
  9. HangingByAThread

    HangingByAThread New Member

    I don't know if this will help you but my son is 5 and has adha and odd but at about 3 1/2 I started what we call "feet off the floor time" it took a while but it was something that was not a nap but made them stop for a while and calm down i feel it really works it gives me some time to take a nap (right next to him or at least in the same room) or do some housework or this sit on the computer but it just made him take some time for him and he had 2 choices he could sit and look at books or he could pick a movie and like I said it took some time but now it's second nature for him and I feel he really likes it I don't know if it would help in your situation but you could even sit and read or color just something that does not require moving around a lot. just something to think about
     
  10. Just keep swimming

    Just keep swimming New Member

    Welcome to this wonderful place, I pray you will find it as helpful to you as it has me.

    Alot of what you wrote about, I can totally relate. I had two "easy child" children by birth then adopted our difficult child at birth. I, too, knew she was DIFFERENT from birth. She screamed (was NOT just a fussy baby) and was unsoothable. We tried everything imaginable. I, too, took parenting classes, thinking I was losing my mommy touch. After a few weeks of classes, I stopped going as they were talking about things that did not relate to our difficult children issues at all.

    Anyways, just wanted to welcome you and please post any concerns our milestones here, we are a very understanding group!

    Hugs of welcome,
    Vickie
     
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