At the end of my tether. Am I imagining this?!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DarlingBelle, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. DarlingBelle

    DarlingBelle New Member

    Hello fellow parents,

    I am an American, living in London. I have twins that will be 4 in May. daughter is very laid back, does as she is told most of the time, calm, happy entertaining herself. What I would consider average for a child her age. Her twin brother is the exact opposite. From day 1 here are characteristics about him that we have noticed:

    Fidgits non stop (even in his sleep!) He.does.not.stop.moving
    Loud (has no awareness of tone or volume)
    Tantrums (not what I would call normal 3/4 year old tantrums
    Does not listen (we think this is mainly linked to needing tubes in his ears - which is taking MONTHS to sort on the NHS here in the UK)
    Has a hard time following simple instructions
    Gets frustrated easily - putting on shoes, clothes, etc despite being capable
    Attention seeking/jealous when twin sister gets attention and he feels need to sabotage
    Blurts out (out of nowhere? He can be watching TV and then feel the need to scream out a word totally unrelated? IT scares me to death when he does this! I literally jump out of my skin)
    Has to be told over and over not to do something. It really seems like he just cannot help himself to NOT do something that he is told to stop doing.
    Cannot wait his turn
    Super demanding from the moment he wakes up
    No apathy for other's emotions. ie., if his sister or I am upset/crying - he smiles.
    No sense of danger (he was walking at 10 months old and had broken his arm before 18 months old) He is always climbing, jumping off things, etc.

    Last December we flew to the states to visit my parents for the month. My mother commented on how she wouldn't be surprised if DS was on the Autistic Spectrum. Now, if anything I would suspect ADHD but Autism never crossed my mind. DS is very social for one - which is not something I would characterize with Autism.

    I suppose it would be nice to hear from other parents with either an ADHD child or an Autistic child to see if any of my DS's symptoms match those of your child.

    I put my own career on hold to be a mother to my twins and I find myself wishing things were different. I think about how easy life would have been if I only had my daughter. I envy my friends who have one child - who can take their 4 year old child out in public without the fear of an outbreak, spoiled tantrum and the worry of a child hurting themselves because they aren't listening. I'm in constant stress and worry over my DS. He seems to disrupt the entire day and is a whirlwind of emotional wreckage for our family. The strain of his hyperactivity is affecting both me and my husband. We are at our wits ends.

    I have lost so much faith in the NHS here in the UK. DS has had hearing issues since last Oct. Waiting times for appointments in months and despite the doctors saying his last hearing test showing his hearing has been compromised - nothing has been done. We were given nose spray and a follow up appointment 4 1/2 months later (which is this Saturday). I hate to think that if I bring this separate behavioral issue up to our Dr how long it will actually take for someone to listen to me.

    I feel so frustrated. :(
  2. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hello and welcome to the forum.
    I am British living in France and I understand your frustrations about the UK health system. Some people on the forum have been encouraging me to go back to Britain to get services for my son but I know how much all public services have been put under pressure in recent years and how long the waiting lists are.... :sigh: So you have my understanding over that.
    I'm sorry you are finding things so hard with your son. What makes it all much harder, and more tantalising for you, is that his twin sister is such a little angel in comparison... Plus the extra challenge of having two children rather than one to care for, of course. I can tell you that it DOES get better and that you will find ways of accommodating and learning to live with your son's differences, to the benefit of all. But there's a ways to go before you get there.
    In the UK you can get a private neuro-psychologist evaluation for around 300 or 400 pounds. This is very useful for older children and you may want to find out if it is applicable and possible for a 4 year old. It will give you valuable information.
    My son is 6 and ADHD. He has quite a lot in common with yours - impulsive, tantrums, easily frustrated, attention seeking, demanding, little sense of danger (in some ways, in others he is quite practical and responsible). On the other hand, he has empathy for others and has always been very sensitive to my and others' emotions. Each child is so unique and if I had to write a complete description of my son it would include all sorts of things that were positive as well as this list of difficult things - funny, joyful, affectionate, bright and so on. What positive adjectives would you find for your son? In a way, you do have to start doing this... just looking at the negatives and not accepting them will drive you.... crazy, in very short order! Your son is the way he is and though I know how completely challenging and difficult it is, he has things going on for him that he cannot "help".
    So being positive WITH him is also very important. I can't possibly say via internet whether your son is ADHD, on the autism spectrum or whatever, but these children THRIVE on positive reinforcement and being accepted and loved as they are. Difficult, difficult, I know.
    Please get hold of "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. And others will have more things to say, I am sure...
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Oh, my dearie... welcome to the board, but... sorry you had to find us.

    My difficult child... like all sorts of kids on this board... started with a ADHD diagnosis and... many of them either end up with a whole laundry list of dxes (like mine), or... are something else, and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)/Aspie isn't an uncommon landing place.

    Having lived around both? He doesn't sound "just" ADHD to me.
    BUT... I also know that hearing and/or auditory processing issues are also a huge behaviour trigger.
    He may even have both, but you can't even really test for the APDs until they are about 7.

    The restless sleep - not uncommon in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)/Aspie... but also not uncommon as a side effect of extreme mental fatigue, and fighting mentally to "hear", to "understand" or even to figure out what is going on around you... can cause that (we've been there done that).

    Any chance of an Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation? especially for sensory processing issues, but might as well look at motor skills too... for example, some kids are fantastic athletes but have fine-motor issues, which complicates a lot of things in life (personal care, school work...)

    And then... if you can, try learning about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids - especially the "high-functioning" ones - they can have normal or above intellegence, but not cope as well with the day-to-day demands of life. There ARE things that help. Try using some of them... the approaches that work for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)/Aspie kids create no disadvantages for an NT (neurotypical) kid, but are a huge benefit to the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)/Aspie kid.
  4. buddy

    buddy New Member

    While my son probably has more issues that you wouldn't have to concern yourself with, I could use most of what you write to describe him at that age. My son did not speak much longer that two word sentences and he was quite aggressive in addition.

    But he has always been quite interested in being social, just not successful most of the time. He did best playing next to or near others but if he had to cooperate or share ideas he couldn't do that. He could share sometimes, like a pile of legos....but if each was making their own creation.

    Does your son play with other kids cooperatively or more chase kinds of games or side by side kinds of play? Does he want things to go his way and only his way?

    Of course empathy and sympathy are just emerging in early childhood but it is true that kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have a harder time seeing others' perspectives. They are often quite loving but may need step by step teaching , or cues to learn about what to say and do with others.

    If you could afford a private evaluation that may be a way to get some answers sooner.

    Above all, trust your instincts. No matter the diagnosis, finding ways to match your parenting to his learning style can be a huge help. Having strict routines, giving directions step by step with visual cues, create opportunities to practice behaviors you want to develop......etc......

    The explosive child book is a good start, also What Your Explosive Child Is Trying To Tell You by Doug Riley. I would look online for parenting ideas for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) because it works well for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), adhd, mental health conditions, etc.

    Welcome to the board. Glad you found us!
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I am mostly on board here with buddy. Your child has a lot of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) traits. I would get him evaluated so he can get help early. If you can afford it, you probably would do better going private for testing, however in the US we also have long waiting lists for the kind of evaluations we are talking about. There are a lot of parents who want to know what is wrong with their children and not enough neuropsychs who do evaluations. And many professionals, even in mental health or neurology, really don't know how to sort out the different disorders.

    Since i've been on this board, I have noticed that in the US and Canada it is easier to get a diagnosis than in Europe. I'm sure there are cultural reasons for that. So whatever you are told, I would take all the help you are offered and run with it. Your son will probably will be unlikely to respond to "normal" parenting methods and you'll have to see what works for him. These differently wired kids are real challenges. There are rewards too, if you use interventions and hang in there. But they can be exhausting and worrying, especially before you have a professional plan (and often a school plan as well, once school starts).

    One last word: Your son isn't having "spoiled" tantrums. He's not spoiled. He is probably overstimulated by a lot of people or lights or loud noise and has meltdowns when he is out. For my son, we just stopped taking him out when we could. One of us would stay home with him. In time, he learned to be out and be fine with it. He is nineteen now and many of his old troubling behaviors are way gone. But it took a lot of time and work both on our part and mostly on his. He is now the sweetest young adult you could meet and although some adults with differently wired brains act out and even tantrum, not all do. My son has not had a meltdown for so many years that I couildn't tell you the last time. It could happen to your son too.

    I wish you luck. I'm glad to "meet" you too, although I'm sorry you had to come here.
  6. DarlingBelle

    DarlingBelle New Member

    Thank you for your responses so far.

    Malika, your response really struck a chord with me. For the last 3 years I have been so beaten down with DS's behavior that I didn't realize that I no longer even focus on the positive anymore. I find it hard to praise him even. I always pictured myself as a certain kind of mommy and feel that I having a child with this type of behavior makes it very hard to be the mom I thought I would always be. My patience is so thin now. And, he is only 4. Of course, he does have positive qualities. He's a beautiful child. He smiles constantly and is charming. He is imaginative with his fave toys (trains), he loves to sing, is super affectionate - hugging and kissing and he is a bright boy. I must not lose sight of the wonderful things about him. I have indeed focused on how different and more difficult he has been compared to his twin sister - while I know it natural, it isn't necessarily fair.

    MidwestMom - when I used the word 'spoiled' I should have expanded on that. I fear him having what will appear to the outside world as 'spoiled tantrums'. I use to be one of those people that frowned and snarled at parents who had children who behaved badly in public saying, 'My child would never be allowed to do that.' And now I have one of those children ;)

    Will definitely check out the book recommendation and mention to husband about getting DS evaluated.
  7. DarlingBelle

    DarlingBelle New Member

    ooh, one of you asked if he plays well with others. Usually he does okay but according to his nursery teacher he doesn't share well. He is like that at home. I have watched him at nursery and he seems to get aggressive towards other children and territorial with toys. I've not seen him to that extent at home with his sister but, maybe this is because they play with different things are rarely fight over toys.
  8. buddy

    buddy New Member

    That is quite common for kids on the spectrum (though for other conditions too, so just saying, it would be worth checking out)....
    It sounds like he struggles when the play does not go as he had it planned in his mind. That's not selfish or rude for some kids, it's that they don't develop the rules for taking turns, sharing, back and forth play without specific teaching.

    Your gut is right to check things out, in my humble opinion. Mama knows best.....oh, you're in the UK, .so Mumsy knows best? (help me ...i lived there a few months but don't remember)
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    DarlingBelle, oh, I know how it looks to other people. Trust me. I used to be afraid somebody would call CPS on me when I tried to pick up my son who was writhing on the floor and screaming as if I was killing him. Thankfully, this was before everyone had a cell Nobody could just dial 9-1-1. Making it worse, in my case, my son is adopted and I'm white and he's black. I wonder if anyone thought I was trying to kidnap this poor little boy as he yelled, "HELLLLLLLLLLLLLP!" at the top of his lungs.

    It certainly was NOT pretty and did not make a good impression on others!
  10. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Mwm,.yes! Not only dial 911 but video tape it! Q (also a Trans racial adoption) would yell stop hitting me as loud as he could, usually as he was hitting ME. (echolalia....I had said that to him so.....)
  11. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Brings to mind how dad of one of easy child's former team mate told how he loathed to go to supermarket with his stepdaughter (older sister of easy child's team mate) after picking her up from fay-care, when she was in certain age. She was a spirited lass and if she didn't get what she wanted she wasn't shy to put up the performance. Screaming: "No, don't! You are not my daddy! Help me!" does have a lot more effect, when a screamer is your average Scandinavian blond roundfaced little girl and 'not-daddy' is very clearly an Arab... He had to explain the situation few times to security guards and once someone even did call the police. I can easily believe that was super uncomfortable.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    LOLOL! OMG! Cameras on the phones. You and I would have gone viral on YouTube and talked about on the news for the faces of abusive parents!!!!! Yikes!!!!

    Tooooooooo funny. LMAO.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Suz, lolol on that little actress :)

    However, my son wasn't acting!! He was really distressed because I'm guessing all the commotion and sensory stuff in a busy mall. He'd run ahead of me screaming and I'd panic and chase him, so that didnt' look too hot either. I could feel people staring at me! Then when I caught him, he'd go dead weight and fall to the ground (he was always big) and start screaming for help. He was not very verbal and that was all he could say. If he had said "You're not my mommy!" then I think the security guards would have called the It probably did look like an abduction when I carried him out as he kicked, slapped and bit me...lolol. One of the negatives about interracial adoption....hehe. In retrospect I can laugh, but at the time I'd be crying.

    I learned to always carry the adoption certificate with me!!!!
  14. DarlingBelle

    DarlingBelle New Member

    So sorry it has been a while since I have popped by here. My father lost his cancer battle this month so I flew to America last month to take care of him the last 2 weeks of his life. It has been a very sad month.

    Update on my little boy. We finally got an appointment for him to get tubes in his ears and his adenoids removed. The appointment is the end of July. A real shame we have been battling this last October. 10 months of him not being able to hear properly. That is the Uk's NHS system for you. Now I wish I had gone private.

    Not much has changed with his behavior since I last posted. He does seem a little less demanding. But the hyperactivity is still tough. I am dreading the 6 week summer holidays and desperately getting a list of activities to keep him and his twin entertained. Once his ear op has is completed, I will see if his behaviour changes much and go from there....