Defiant child @ home, in school...outbursts!


New Member
Hi. I am new here. I am a mother of 4 young children. (12, 6, 3, 1). I am also a full time college student & will finally graduate this may with- my bachelor's degree... Right now, my life has become very difficult because of my six year old who is in school for the 1st time ever in Kindergarten! His behavior problems began about 3 yrs ago with- simple temper tamtrums etc.. Then his eating habits changed completely. He went to eating breakfast foods, peanut butter/jelly, yougurt & applesauce, thats it! And still eats like this... BUT his behavior with listening to rules, following rules & being nice have gotten out of control both at home and in school. His school is pretty much fed up because he has to be secluded from the class alot during lunch & recess because he has hurt some children and now at home he lashes out at everyone. He has even bit his two brother's! He now is saying things like: I am going to kill you when you are asleep and I hate you..(?) to me and my husband! I just don't know what to do because when he's not like this, he's the most loving boy in the world.. I just want my baby boy back. I don't know what's wrong with- him & I want to help him SO bad and don't know where to begin.... Please anyone, give me advice. I want peace at home, for our family, and for my son!


Heather, welcome. I'm glad you found us.

While we can't diagnose over the internet, we can point you in the right direction. It sounds like a lot is going on with your little guy, and the best thing to do is get an evaluation. We often recommend a multidisciplinary evaluation at a university or children's hospital. You might need a referral from your pediatrician for this kind of evaluation so you might want to start there. Don't let the pediatrician send you to a psychologist or talk you out of the evaluation. You really need to know what's going on so you can put the proper interventions into place.

Again, welcome and good luck.


New Member
Sorry to here you are having promblems.they sound similar to mine when my difficult child is not on medications.i would get him to your pediatrician.right away and get him evaulated.and dont give up


Well-Known Member
Hi, Heather. Wow. Well, first off, I recommend a multi-disciplinary evaluation to see why he is acting out and why it came on suddenly. You can get one at a children's or university hospital. None of us can really diagnose him. His behavior points to many possibilities, but I doubt he is being defiant just to upset you. Most likely, he is suffering from a psychiatric or neurological problem that needs intervention, not discipline. medications can help, but that depends on what the problem is. My son did worse on medications so it's individual. I strongly do NOT recommend a pediatrician. They simply don't know enough about childhood behavior and what causes it to be helpful. I also don't recommend just a psycologist--I think a team of experts is best for now. Good luck :smile:


New Member
welcome, heather.

sounds like you guys are having a tough time. is he in half day or full day kindergarten?

i have a couple of suggestions for you. first the evaluations already mentioned are a must. if you can't get a full multidisciplinary evaluation get a neurospych done by a qualified psychiatrist/psychologist. this is a specialty so make sure they are properly qualified.

second ask the school to evaluate him, but do not rely on them to provide a diagnosis. they are not qualified to do this. ask for complete testing & for a behavior plan to be put in place after they do an FBA...functional behavior analysis. this means he would be observed in various setting at school...classroom, lunch room, PE, & playground. they will observe him for triggers & make suggestions on how incidents should be handled & give the teacher suggestion for reducing his stress.

do a Parent Report: take this document with-you when you set up evaluation appts. save it to disc & keep it current. also start a 3ring binder to keep all evaluation info, letters to the school, etc, in one place.

the most recommended book on this board is THE EXPLOSIVE CHILD by ross green, ph.d. it's an excellent book & gives you a different way to deal with-the behaviors.

i know this sounds like a lot of things to accomplish but just take one thing at a time. don't overwhelm yourself.

take a close look at the family. any history of of behavior issues, adhd, bipolar, etc.? it gives you a good jumping off spot for doing our own research. by the way, relatives don't need a formal diagnosis for you to consider what might be going on with-your son. family lore is fine.

check out homepage. you should find information on the various disorders you will see mentioned here. start reading & see if anything fits.

hang in. you're not alone in this.


Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Just adding in my welcome-you've already received good advice. I'm glad you found us as you will find much support here!


New Member
Hi Heather and welcome, sorry you had to find us but glad you did.

I can't add any other advice to what's already been added, just know you're not alone in this, we've all been there in some form. Hope you get some answers soon.
~gentle hugs~


New Member
I just want to thank everyone for the great advice. I have called my pediatrician and he recs me to call a local psychiatrist, is this enough and how do I know who to choose? He really didn't rec anyone. Also, my son's school is about ready to give up on him. The teacher had me in tears basically trying to blame his "issues" on myslef and my husband!! My son is in a private school right now & I know (as an educator myself) that they do not have to provide assistance for children with- special needs like the public schools do, but if anyone knows what they are responisble to provide, please let me know asap. I am extremely frustrated with- this whole situtaion because my son is very unhappy and I do not like seeing him like this at all! He is SO loving and gentle and really wants to be that way all the time, I can see that ya know? Thats why I want to get him asap!! Thanks again for everyone's help.


New Member

Does this local psychiatrist have experience with children?

My son was evaluated by a psychologist with a PhD who specializes in assessments or neuropsychological evaluations for kids only. I think that by specializing in assessments she had the necessary experience and knew what to look for. Also, he was evaluated/tested for a total of 7-8 hours (broken up throughout the week) and I was interviewed by her for about one hour alone before his evaluation. My husband and I then were given an after evaluation interview which lasted about 2 hours.

I just want to give you an idea of what I think is an appropriate evaluation. I hear stories that children see a psychologist or psychiatrist for an hour and a diagnosis is given. This, in my opinion, would not be appropriate.

I'm still learning on this thread and certainly do not have all the answers. In fact the more I learn the more confused I become sometimes. Anyway, just wanted to share our experience.


Active Member
I agree with Suzy....there needs to be a comprehensive evaluation that includes testing. This is the only way to get a thorough and complete diagnosis. In my opinion I would also be extremely wary if the first thing the psychiatrist wants to do is place your son on a stimulant like rhitalin. Many times, this can make behavior worse, unless the child has just a solo diagnosis of ADD.

As far as the schooling, private schools have absolutely no obligation to help our special needs kids. In my experience they tended to the more judgemental and the least helpful of my schooling options, and the public schools more helpful and responsive. It also sounds like your little guy is really unhappy there, and perhaps the environment is not what he needs. He might need a school that has a smaller class size, or has a teacher with experience in dealing with special needs kids I know it is hard to pull him out of a school, but if it is really not the right place for him, than he will continue to misbehave - and on the flip side things will improve if the environment is more conducive to his temperament.

Good luck, I was there, and it is so hard, especially when they are so young and you feel so inept in knowing how to help, but you will figure it all out. Hang in there!


New Member
I would check your nearest children's hospital. They usually have the best. You want either a child psychiatrist with the MD or a child neuropsychologist. Make sure they specialize in children. Kids present differently than adults. Not a doctor myself, but alot of what you are describing sounds like my son and he was diagnosis'd bipolar. I always suggest The Bipolar Child book by Demetri and Janice Papolos. They also have a website. When I got this book and read the first few chapters I was surprised how much I could have written myself. I hope you find some answers soon.


Well-Known Member
Welcome! I am happy for you to be graduating - that will give you some more time to relax. I should be finished in Decmeber - phew/whew!

I would for sure contact your pediatrician again and tell him/her that you are hearing perhaps you should contact a neuropsychologist before a psychiatrist. See what he says.
I think the reason alot of us say a neuropsychologist is because there are many more tests that seem to be performed when going to a neuropsychologist than with a psychiatrist. Alot of times psychiatrists seem to jump to conclusions - and I will not speak for others on the board, but I was not comfortable with psychiatrist diagnosis'ing within an hour of meeting my difficult child. It happens almost every time.

Yes, a private school is obligated to follow an IEP if it is already in place. The local private school I looked into here was willing to evaluate and everything, but said it would be better if difficult child entered the school with an IEP in place. Not sure exactly why. You could call the school district and see what you should do for evaluations at the private school.


I just want to correct one point from a previous post. Private schools are not under the same federal regulations as public schools and do not have to follow IEPs. If a student is not meeting the standards set by a private school, unfortunately, that school can dismiss the student in spite of having special needs. Each private school can determine its own standards for admission and continued enrollment. We have faced this issue with my difficult child 1, who attends a private school. He is not a behavior problem, but the school has told us if he receives grades below a C, he will not be guaranteed a place for next year. It is completely up to their discretion. Sad but true.


Also wanted to add: While a child psychiatrist may ultimately end up being the doctor who treats your child, you will get a better picture of diagnosis through a multidisciplinary or neuropsychological evaluation at a university or children's hospital. A psychiatrist can diagnosis mood issues (anxiety, depression, mood disorder), but may miss Autistic Spectrum Disorder. A psychiatrist isn't trained to do extensive testing that can distinguish whether ADHD, learning disabilities or Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is playing into your difficult child's challenges. However, if you can't locate a neuropsychologist, you could start with the psychiatrist and ask for a referral to a neuropsycholoigst for testing.