Any advice??

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by julieb, Mar 23, 2008.

  1. julieb

    julieb New Member

    Hi, I am new to this site and I am having issues with my 4 yr old son. In the past month or two I have noticed a major change in him.

    For the most part he is a good and loving boy but lately he has started having "tantrums" as I like to call them. It began that he started to come get into bed with me at night and this lasted for about a week. Then came the I do not want to go to school, and we still argue about that. He only goes to school 3 full days a week and the other two days he stays with his grandmother. Then came the tantrums, anytime he is told no or does not get what he wants he loses control of himself. Ethan throws things, hits things, throws himself on the floor, screams, and the newest addition is he started to spit. He has also been showing alot of aggression towards his sister. He started punching, pinching, and kicking her. You name it he does it to her.

    I try to punish him for this by putting him in a time out, when this happens he loses control of himself and the tantrum begins. I am not sure what to do. I try not to spank and we have used a 3 strikes rule, meaning if you get 3 strikes for doing something wrong you lose something fun. This worked in the begining but is no longer effective.

    I also have problems at bedtime with him, he refuses to go to bed when it is bedtime, he disrupts his sister from going to sleep.

    Any advice here would be wonderful. I am at wits end!!:faint:
  2. neighbor

    neighbor New Member

    I am also a newbie. I am glad you found this site, the people seem to give great advice. "The Explosive Child" book is often a recommended read. Keep posting and you will get answers from more experienced Moms. This reply should get you back on top of todays posts (I think). Best wishes.
  3. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Has anything changed at school? A new student, new teachers, new routine? Is anything different at Grandma's? Any changes in your routine at home? I ask because, even at almost 17, Miss KT still doesn't handle changes well. She also (and has always) stressed herself out about any possible changes in routine that may or may not happen in the upcoming months. Things like starting pre-school, schedule changes when visiting her dad, any change in who was supposed to pick her up just sent her over the edge. I had to become very structured (not easy for me) and remain calm (also not easy) and stay consistent. Unfortunately, with Miss KT, there was no reward great enough to get her to behave and no punishment great enough to make her stop the fit.
  4. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Hi Julie, Welcome!

    I highly recommend getting a copy of The Explosive Child. When traditional parenting doesn't work with a child, parents need to look for other ways and this will give you a strategy that has been successful with many parents here. I will tell you it won't feel right at first but since you aren't having any luck with what you're doing now, give it a good trial. Most of us find we need to be a lot more flexible with these little guys.

    Does he have any other developmental issues such as speech delays?
    What's the family mental health picture look like--any bipolar, anxiety, depression, obsessive compulisve disorder, substance abuse, etc?
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Has he ever been evaluated? Did he ever show any issues before?
  6. julieb

    julieb New Member

    Yes, I myself battle with bi-polar disorder and of course the depression that comes along with it and I also battle Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

    He talks fine and is very smart for his age. Some things he does struggle with is cutting in a straight line, and he has very shaky hand writing. Not sure if that means anything or not because again he is only 4.

    I try to stay on a regular routine because it seems to help me stay in balance as much as it does my children, so when I came across this site I was very excited to see that other moms have these issues as well. I was begining to think I had failed him as a mom and question myself as to where did I go wrong. My daugher who is now 9 yrs old never did this and is a sweet girl. The worst thing she ever did was cut her own her own hair...LOL but she makes Honor & Merit roll ever since 1st grade when she started getting actual grades.

    Ethan's preschool teacher told me that he struggles with his letters and numbers, but when he is at home he knows most of them. He sometimes gets his 9&6s confused and b&ds.

    He has not ever been evaluated before, I for the most part always tried to chalk up his acting crazy as him being a full of energy little boy. I just thought boys are different.

    I also try to be very flexable with him, such as giving him warnings, explaining to him what he does wrong and how it makes people feel. I dont thinkg that spanking him for hitting is going to teach him anything because again "you hit, I hit" what do you learn from that??

    I am just at a breaking point, I am afraid if i do not do something soon it will be out of control and there will be no turning back.........
  7. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    When you say he's very smart for his age, do you mean smart like he catches on quickly, smart like he's reading, smart like he's doing double digit math, or ....?
  8. julieb

    julieb New Member

    :badmood::badmood:When I say he is smart for his age I mean he catches on quickly. I believe he knows right from wrong...............and he just pushes the limits. Today for example.......He hit his dad in the face with a ball and when asked to say he was sorry he threw himself on the floor and started screaming.

    What kind of doctor do you contact in order to have him evaluated??

    Thanks so much everyone for all of the help and advice!!!

  9. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I think the book we recommended will help you help him.

    Schedule an appointment with your pediatrician to ask for a referral. Prepare in advance by listing symptoms, examples, family history, etc. Many peds will want to refer you for behavioral help through a counselor or psychologist or for medication help through a child psychiatrist. Stress that because of the family history you want a thorough evaluation done--either through a developmental pediatrician or a pediatric neuropsychologist. Record a video clip of him in full tantrum mode if you think your doctor will resist referring you.

    Because of the shaky hands and handwriting issues, I also think you will want to have him evaluated by a pediatric occupational therapist.

    How's his behavior at preschool?
    How does he do with other children?

    There's a parent input/report which will help you put together the data you will need for the evaluation process.
  10. julieb

    julieb New Member

    He is very good at school. There was only a few issues since he started school, one being that he was asked to do something that he did not want to do so he just stood there and refused to do anything, the other was throwing sand at another child. He is very good with other kids except when it comes to his sister. He plays very well with her but when she does not give him what he wants the tantrums begin and he starts to hit, kick, etc.

    It seems that he acts this way at home but restrains himself at school??

    I will follow up with the doctor to see what they think

    Thanks for helping me see there is hope out there
  11. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Mine also held it together at school but had trouble at home. It's not that uncommon.
  12. julieb

    julieb New Member

    So what are some of the things you did to teach self control at home?
  13. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    There was no straight path to teaching self control--it was a process of learning what his neurological differences were through evaluation and research, changing what we could to help him cope with struggling areas, providing training when it was needed (ie social skills), parenting with a great deal of flexibility, and giving him developmental time to let it all sink in.

    Kids who hold it together at school but not at home sometimes are having problems with the school environment but not letting it show. Mine would get a big dose of sensory overload of experience a big frustration or disappointment and not let it show a bit. But he might explode the moment he stepped into the van after school. Adaptations and flexibility were critical here: Through an Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation we learned that swinging was really helping him so we set up a spinning swing in the basement and that's the first thing he'd head for.
  14. tee2

    tee2 New Member

    You mentioned that he is very bright, and that he has been saying he didn't want to go to school. Have they started anything different at school? Anything that might cause him to feel frustrated? Sometimes a bright child with a weakness, or even an Learning Disability (LD) of some kind, will get very frustrated when the weakness starts coming into play at school. You mentioned a shaky hand -- have they been concentrating on handwriting more lately at school, or something that might be a little harder for him than he's used to? Or, the reverse, could he be bored at school? I know my oldest was a classic GT/Learning Disability (LD) kid, but the school didn't recognize it because she did OK at school and was well behaved at school. But, at home, she was out of control and miserable. In hindsight, her "Learning Disability (LD)" issues (still not diagnosed or recognized by the school, but still giving her problems) were a major source of frustration for her -- she was so used to everything being easy for her that when it wasn't, she couldn't deal with it. (She's also a perfectionist). Just some thoughts!
  15. julieb

    julieb New Member

    At school they have not been doing anything new, and once he is there and gets started everything seems to go ok. It is just getting him up and ready and then when he first gets there he has a hard time getting started and has gone thru times that he cries.

    I do not get to pick him up at school because I am at work so his grandfather picks him up drops him off each day, and then he has time to run and play. There are alot of times after school that he is very angry and other days he is ok until we get home at night and get into our nightly routine. He then loses control of himself.

    I have asked his teachers, and the director of the pre-school and they say he is a good, loving boy who just struggles with getting started. They also told me that he usually only paints. He does not like to do any other activites.

    I have heard that karate is good and maybe I should put him in that. It would help him learn self control and displine, any thoughts??

    I have started a reward program here at home for every day that he has a good day he gets a star, and once he reaches 5 stars he gets to pick out a prize. For each bad day he has he gets an X. Monday was a bad day, Tuesday was a good day, and today we are having an in between day. What should I do about inbetween days? Any suggestions?
  16. Lulu

    Lulu New Member

    Welcome! I have a 4yo who has defiance issues, too. So trying AND tiring. I am reading the Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child and he uses a reward system too, but with other steps prelimary to it. I've just started the book, so I can't say much about it yet, but the idea he has of breaking down expected behaviors into little increments and then shaping them through reward sounds promising. You might want to pick that one up for a skim.

    I would say (just out of my own experience, not because I'm an expert) that rewarding (or throwing out) the entire day may be too much. Why not just pick one behavior you want to improve and have a reward chart for that for a week?

    Glad to have you here, but sorry that you had to seek us out.
  17. tee2

    tee2 New Member

    I'll second the idea that a reward for the entire day might be too much. When difficult child 1 was young, I remember trying this. I thought I'd keep it simple and give her a chance to get 2 stickers each day -- 1 for no screaming and 1 for being generally pleasant. She loved the idea. Well, it was too much to expect. She rarely was able to get both stickers for the day, so it didn't do any good (no positive reinforcement there)!

    So, it's probably better to have a chart of several things, including ones you're pretty sure he can get a reward for, so he can see and feel some reward each day!