Born drug positive...wild 3 yr old

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ma2sevn, Sep 26, 2007.

  1. ma2sevn

    ma2sevn New Member

    Hi, I am new here too. We adopted a little girl who was not addicted to drugs at birth but was pos. for meth, crack, alcohol, marijuana and I think cocaine. Dr said she was not addicited and she didnt show any signs like DT's or any withdrawl symtoms. Now she is 3 almost 4. Once she started walking, or maybe a little before I have known she has some difficulties with frustration levels. And she has minor delays but not enough to put her in the deviation scale. So basically she hits milestones at her own time. Talked later, walked a little later, etc, but got there and made up for it!!! But has had rage fits since around 14 mo. when she learned to walk. She didnt get "kicked out" of daycare recently but they were calling for me to come get her almost daily. I wont bore you with all the details., but here are some of our struggles

    running away from us, and laughing (home and in public)
    saying shut up anytime she is denied or she is frustrated
    very demanding
    bent on doing whatever she wants
    hits, kicks
    has to be held in time out sometimes or will run off
    bed time is rough..we have to wear her down
    throws things when angry.( will look right at me and sail whatever things are closest at me or on the floor)
    deliberatly knocks things over or down when angry at me
    almost constantly in motion when not glued to tv
    dosent play alone well, pretty good in group
    Seems to constantly be into something(getting the salt and pepper and pouring them out, throwing or pouring water on the floor, grabbing things and running off to throw them around the house, we are always trying to keep up with whatever she has)

    I hear alot of folks say, and I do believe to a point.."she is only 3" "thats what toddlers do". I have several other kids with disorders and you would think I could peg this one but there are so many is it just her strong willed personality
    and I dont want to focus on the drug exposure. Actually I try not to mention it but here I thought someone might have some expierience or knowledge concerning that aspect. As far as evaluations go, I got her into see my therepist who has difficult child"s herself and she did write the referal for the local childrens part of the SD to see me. Right now the plan is for our Parents As Teachers lady to see her once a month and I have recently enrolled her in a 2.5 hr preschool, 2 x's a week where she is doing good. My thinking there is she has to get used to authority and classroom conformity so if we have some little successes now, we can build on them until we work up to her going to kindergarten. I am trying to gather a paper trail so when I go back to SD I can say, we have tried these.
    I got so much from the post about the book the Exp Child and using it for preschoolers...a lot of great ideas for me. That book and his advice have really helped with our ODD kid. Which this difficult child has observed also...and I see her mimicking some of his actions and I am thinking they are learned.
    Her bio mom has mental health diagnosis and is a user, has 3 other bio siblings, all have issues too.
    It feels good to tell all this to someone, I focus so much on all our other kids and thier issues and just wonder if this little one is just wild and so much of our lives revolve around getting her out of stuff and trying to keep her settled. I guess my question/vent is any info on out of control 3 yr olds. Thanks, Angela
  2. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Hi Angela, it indeed sounds like you have your hands full! It does my heart good to know that there are moms like you out there.

    While we believe in the "she is only three" idea around here, we also believe that mother's intuition trumps all and that if mom suspects something is amiss, she's usually right. If it hasn't already been done, I would want her seen by a pediatric neurologist to rule out seizures, etc. It's not that common but sometimes we have kids coming through that have something along these lines and it usually frustrates assessment by casting a cloudy veil over everything else. I don't normally recommend this as a first stop but her neonatal history also isn't typical.

    It's pretty common for bio-parents with this one's substance abuse history to also have mental health issues they are self medicating for so you'll want to remain open to that very real possibility given the strong genetic connections in mental health. You might also want to to some reading up on Early Onset Childhood Bipolar. There's also an excellent book called The Bipolar Child by Demitri and Janice Papolos.

    The Explosive Child is a great resource--highly recommended if you haven't already read it.

    Many parents around here have used Melatonin safely and successfully for helping children fall asleep. It's a homeopathic and most parents never see any side effects so you might want to give that a try. GNC is said to carry a children's liquid version.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I adopted a drug exposed little boy. You do have to take it into consideration. First of all, if Birthmom did drunks, she didn't exactly say "no" to alcohol during her pregnancy. Ingesting alcohol in pregnancy can cause the very serious fetal alcohol syndrome. It used to be known only as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) with the children having dysmorphic features, but it has morphed and we now know that alcohol affected kids have worse problems than even those exposed to cocaine, and it doesn't always show physically nor does it indicate mental retardation, as once thought. That can't be ruled out. Then, our kids inherit genes from their biol parents. If the birthmom abused drugs (like our son's also did) it is unrealistic not to think she had other mental or neurological disorders which she could have passed on to the child. Common are bipolar disorder and autism spectrum disorder (our son is on the Spectrum). Also, drug affected children are far more likely to have forms of autism. Did you get your child at birth? If he has had several homes before yours, or was abused in his home of birth, he could also have attachment problems. We were lucky--our son's birthmom dumped him in the hospital and never returned so he only lived with one very loving foster family. They suspected ADHD, but it was far more than that. The older he got, the more apparent it became that he was different. He was defiant as a toddler, but not when he got older--then he was just "quirky." Although he was above average, he coudn't perform in school. He is fourteen now and the dearest child on earth, but he is very quirky and, in spite of his normal IQ, for various reasons will need some help as an adult, which is fine with us. These adopted kids who are drug exposed are very tricky to diagnose and often defy any diagnosis. The best advice I can give you, because it took so long to sort out our son, is to see a neuropsychologist or even a specialist used to seeing kids who are drug and alcohol exposed. Have him completely evaluated and get him into interventions. Early intervention made my child the productive young man he is today.Without them, he would be a mess. The diagnosis doesn't matter right now--the interventions do.As he ages, keep having him evaluated because he will change and more will come out, and you can help him to the max the more you know. Your child is not your normal, average "acting out" child. You likely have a limited history on him and he had a very traumatic in utero experience with all those chemicals. The doctors feel my son may be on the autism spectrum because his birthmom did drugs during her pregnancy. We are lucky that he doesn't have worse. I wish you luck and hope you realize this is a long journey with no easy answers.
    One last thing: I have four other kids (three adopted, but NOT special needs adoption). Three years olds don't act that way. They are usually easy to shop with and, while sometimes hyper, easy to redirect. Most don't say "no" or "shut up" after being reprimanded. There is a problem when a child is just a whirlwind of energy and defiance.
  4. ma2sevn

    ma2sevn New Member

    Thank you both....I feel better hearing from your expeirience. We were able to get her at birth (2 days old) and that has been wonderful of course, but you are right, I at least have all her OUT of utero history. I never even thought of bi polar....I was focusing on ADHD. Course I know these issues often over lap each other. Bio mom did tell me the baby (our daughter) had it rough in said she was emotionally worked up alot and drugging and carrying on. I have heard the theory of how kids literally "stew" in adrenaline for 9 months cause mom is in fight or flight most all the time. I was prepared for attachment work and I kept her skin to skin right from the get go. She is a great little girl. ANd she can be so sweet and funny and preciuos. I think she is smart and her delays seem to catch up and then she is fine. But her frustration tolerance is almost zero. This new preschool is honest and encouraging...a great mix. They tell me the truth but also remind me of how well she is doing. I called our dr today to get our referal for a peds nero and behavior specialist. So we are on our way. And tonight it was easier at bedtime. Didnt let her nap long today and even though she was moodier, kept her awake. She finailly fell asleep about 30 min ago. Which is great for her.
    You guys are right...I knew to trust my gut. It is just encouraging to talk to other moms about things. Thanks again, Angela
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    in my opinion you still need to see a neuropsychologist considering "uneven" develoopment (delayed and catches up--my son did that too--but, in the big picture, he stayed behind his peers). This child is too complicated for a behavior-oriented therapist and it doesn't sound like the issues are attachment oriented. But they could well be drug affected/alcohol affected related. Also, she could have autistic tendencies. Only a neuropsychologist or Developmental pediatrician (hopefully experienced with drug exposed children) could really see if that stuff is going on. And I do think he would do better in an early education setting for "at risk" children than a regular preschool. My son went to Headstart in the morning and Early Ed in the afternoon. He appeared to be on target in kindergarten, but that didn't last. I'd be very diligent with this child because of his in utero history and his birthparent's genetics. Lots can be going on and behavior therapy isn't really enough. Good luck again :wink:
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Nice to meet you. Sorry you have need to be here with us, but we love to have you around.

    ADHD is mild compared to what you may be in for. Make sure bipolar is tested for and ruled out before you trial any medications that are not mood stabilizers. NO SSRI's, antidepressants of any kind, or stimulants.

    These medications can send anyonewith bipolar into a positive whirlwind of cycling, and it can be very difficult and very long to get them stable. It is much easier to stabilize first, then add oter medications as needed.

    I wish I had known this before we saw a doctor for my oldest.

    I know you are probably NOT looking at medications right now, but do keep this in mind.

    Your gut instincts as a MOM are the best tool you have to help your child. Ignore any and ALL advice that is contrary to your gut, not matter WHO gives it. Family, friends, therapists, doctors, YOU know your child best. YOU are there 24/7, since birth. "experts" spend a few minutes with your child. So follow your instincts.

    I do think your child needs a full nad complete multidisciplinary evaluation, and you need to start a parent report. The archives have a whole lot of info on these to make it easy(er) to accomplish.