Hello, new here

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Lindsay3480, Mar 14, 2008.

  1. Lindsay3480

    Lindsay3480 New Member

    Hi everyone. I just found this board this morning, and feel like I may get some good information here! I'm Lindsay, and I have 3 sons who are 5, 3, and 16 months. The 3 year old, Dylan, is the one I am most concerned about. One minute he is being all sweet and loving, and the next he is aggressive and mean. Since he was around 1 or so, he started getting aggrivated rather easily, showing his temper by smacking me when I was holding him or screaming at the top of his lungs. I feel the screaming now isn't quite as bad, but the physical violence has gotten worse. He hits with open and closed fists, throws toys or other objects at us, spits, tells us to shut up, etc. He goes to preschool, and earlier on in the school year, they asked if they could move him from the 3 year old room into the 4-5 year old room because he was "stalking" (their word) and bothering a little girl in his class because he liked her too much - trying to hug her, pick her up, make her play with him, etc., and when they tried to discourage it, he apparently turned the aggression onto the child, eventually, in his words , "spanking" her on the playground because she was "looking at him", and eventually I got a call that he had pushed her off of the jungle gym. So they figured that maybe in an older class, where he would be the little one (he was much bigger than this little girl), he wouldn't be as likely to be aggressive. It worked for a while, but now I am starting to get reports that he is telling his teacher no/not listening very well to instruction, that he gets very angry because the other kids won't play with him which leads to him either hitting them or throwing toys. Last night he told me that one of his teachers "yelled at him on the bench". I asked why, and he told me because he hit 2 kids. He sees nothing wrong with what he does, and instead thinks those who discipline him (us, teachers, etc.) are "bad". He will walk over to our 16 month old and hit him in the head with a toy (does that quite often) for no reason, often hard enough to leave a bump, push him down, drag him around. He also bullies his 5 year old brother, often throwing toys at him, going up and smacking or hitting him in the back, legs, head, where ever, again often times for no apparent reason, just because he feels like it. He has spit in my face, at people, and on the ground when he is angry. I tried doing this one technique, 123 magic, that MY therapist suggested, and putting him in the corner for timeout. He will not stay, and acts as if it is some kind of game, giggling at me and trying to run from me. At her suggestion, I tried to passively restrain him in the corner by sitting him in my lap, his back to me, and holding him. That resulted in him biting me, throwing his head back and subsequently butting me in the face (but once I learned to anticipate that, his head would hit my shoulder instead), spitting on me, trying to scratch me, screaming, etc. We now just put him in his room, where he will throw a fit, telling us to shut up, that we're bad, etc.

    He is rather reckless - more than once, he has hurt himself after he climbed onto his dresser and jumped from it to his bed. He has run smack into our entertainment center, giving him a nasty bruise on his cheek. He has taken corners too fast and hit his head. He seems to fear nothing. Except for bugs. We have an awful time at night getting him to bed because he is convinced there are bugs in his room. He totally freaks out every night, screaming about the bugs...even with his light on! And trust me, there are NO bugs!

    Anyway, sorry for the novel here. Once I started typing, I just couldn't stop! We are at such a loss, it is putting a lot of strain on our whole family. I dread the days he is out of school, just because from the moment he gets up until the time he goes to bed, he is getting into something, being mean, etc. But, what is so baffling, is that, like I said in the beginning, he can be sooooo sweet and charming at times, when he wants to be I guess, laughing, playing, he is VERY affectionate, wanting kisses and hugs. It's like one extreme to the other. I dunno!
  2. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Hi Lindsay, I'm glad you found us. We've had plenty of experience with difficult little darlin's so you're in the right place.

    First off, I would advise you to take the low road with this little guy until you've had time to do your homework, and if indicated, get any evaluations done on him. I agree that this is beyond typical 3 year old boy and it's a good age to search for answers. For now, set aside all the discipline that you're trying to do. Since it's not sinking in, there's no sense in frustrating yourself and escalating him. Do your best to keep him safe and keep others safe and let the rest go for now. Up the level of babyproofing if needed, supervise constantly, don't leave him alone with sibs, turn a deaf ear to sassy language, etc. Trust me when I say a few months of easing expectations won't set him behind in the long run. I'd also put a total ban on programming with aggression or violence (tv, dvd, computer, etc.). If the fear of bugs is causing you and/or him to lose sleep, then find him anohter place to sleep. (I'd maybe get a spray bottle of water and pretend it's bug repellent first though). In a nutshell, do what you need to do to make your life easier for now.

    You will want to pick up a copy of the book The Explosive Child by Ross Greene and also read the thread about the book at the top of this board.

    Can you tell us a little more about him outside the aggressive part:
    1) Any family history of mental health/neurological issues: bipolar, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (or strong tendencies), substance abuse, Autism, etc.
    2) Any speech delays or differences or does he ignore his name when its spoken?
    3) As for the reckless--does he seek out anything in particular--swinging, spinning, pressure, pain, etc?
    4) Any unusual play behaviors or obsessions--lining up toys in straight lines or formations, quirky collections, interests or skills beyond his years?
    5) How's the sleep? (his, not yours)

    Hang in there, hopefully we can get you some help.
  3. Lindsay3480

    Lindsay3480 New Member

    Thanks for responding so soon! Okay, to answer your questions:

    1) Any family history of mental health/neurological issues: bipolar, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (or strong tendencies), substance abuse, Autism, etc. Family history...let's see. I think I tend to have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) tendencies on occasion. My 5 year old has Selective Mutism. My 2 sisters both suffer from anxiety, one of them sometimes depression. My dad died by suicide in 2005. On my dad's side, he had 2 relatives that also died that way. We definately seem to have anxiety issues coming from practically all aspects of extended family.

    2) Any speech delays or differences or does he ignore his name when its spoken? No, he actually speaks very well. He responds well to his name also.

    3) As for the reckless--does he seek out anything in particular--swinging, spinning, pressure, pain, etc? I can't really think of anything that jumps out at me. He will sometimes smack himself in the head though...

    4) Any unusual play behaviors or obsessions--lining up toys in straight lines or formations, quirky collections, interests or skills beyond his years? Not that I've noticed. Oh, well, not really play behaviors, but he will pee in his room on occasion, just for the heck of it...he's peed on his toys, next to his bed. He is potty trained too, so that's not the issue. He also likes to use his hair for a napkin, always wiping his hands in his hair. Needless to say, he gets quite a few baths in the course of the week!

    5) How's the sleep? (his, not yours) He is very very difficult to get to bed most nights. Unless he has had an extremely tiring day, he could easily be up pretty late. One time, he came in our room around 2 am wanting me to help him put on his tigger costume... Anyway, once he finally does go to sleep, he usually sleeps pretty well. There was a period of him waking every night, usually sometime around 1-2 am it seems, and he would be screaming and crying for one of us, and wanting to sleep in our room. There will still occasionally be nights like this. Usually in the morning, he is relatively easy to get up and ready for school...sometimes, he even wakes up before it is time, even if he didn't go to bed till late the night before. His big thing right now is with the bugs he keeps claiming to see...I like the idea of a squirt bottle, but he would take the top off and dump the water all over the place. That's another thing he does...he likes to fill up a cup or take a bottled water, and dump it, either on the floor, his bed, his dresser, etc. But maybe, if I told him it was special bug spray, he would leave the top on.
  4. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Given the family history and the behaviors you are seeing, I'd advise you to see your pediatrician and ask for a referal for further evaluation. I'll warn you ahead of time that in this situation they usually refer to a behavioral therapist and that's not what you want. You want a multidisciplinary evaluation, starting with a developmental pediatrician or pediatric neuropsychologist. We also like to see the little ones get speech/language and occupational therapy evaluations, even if you aren't seeing anything because even the most observant parents can miss what they aren't trained in.

    We obviously aren't diagnosticians here but we can give you some sites to explore. Given the anxiety, selective mutism, and oc tendencies you might want to start here:

    Oasis, on Asperger's Syndrome--see if this rings a bell for anyone in the immediate and extended family

    Sensory Integration Disorder--this can cause kids a lot of problems, including reckless and/or ADHD-like behaviors

    Make that a Magical Bug Spray and leave the water out. :) It's pretty typical for a 3 year old to like to water play. Mine would brush his teeth in the toilet if we forgot to latch the bathroom door.

    If none of this rings a bell, we can give you some other links but this is the easiest to start with.

    I'm also thinking it would be good to have him evaluated by the school district to see if he qualifies for early childhood preschool. I've heard a lot of positive reports from parents with challenging kids, even when the kids are bright and have good speech skills. Are you familiar with the process?
  5. JulienSam

    JulienSam New Member

    Welcome, Lindsay!

    I'm relatively new here myself, and have found that everyone has good information and support to share.

    My almost 5 yr old can have similar behaviors to your 3 yr old -- turn from sweet to aggressive/angry in no time flat. SRL's recommendation of The Explosive Child is a great one and the adaptations posted for younger kids really help.

    No other advice to give since we're pretty new here as well, but just know you're not alone...


  6. barbie

    barbie MOM of 3

    LOL. I dont mean to laugh but he sounds what we refer to (in my house) as a stitch. LILO AND STITCH. My son Eric is the same way, last week, he was kicked out of two daycares almost a third, two on the first day, and the last one, I talked to the lady and explained but shes had experience with kids who have behavior issues. Eric is diagnosed though, he has been officially diagnosed as ADHD, developmental delays, speech delays, social and cognitive delays, multiple food allergies, outdoor allergies, asthma, eczema, and GERD.

    The first thing or advice and really the only thing I can say is get a good pediatrician, and by good I mean one who listens while she is looking at you, not looking through you, one where you dont have to scream to be heard. Although if that is what it takes, do it, fight for each little thing, there is no little details, cause with our kids no detail is little. Nothing is everything, and everything is nothing.

    With Eric we have had a go of it, we have been through pediatricians where I had to pitch a fit to be heard, and others who I assume preferred to look at me, than to listen to what I had to say. I finally feel kinda sorta now, and im on shakey ground that I do have something to hold on to, the anxiety kills me everytime I go to work, I wait for the phone to ring. Eric's IEP (Indiviual Education Plan) should be starting in 10 days once transportation is arranged, and his new daycare administrator says her daughter (who is on a mission trip to jamaica) likes a challenge, and she will have one in Eric with a slight break in the mornings for his school classes.

  7. Lulu

    Lulu New Member

    Lindsay, hello and welcome! I second the recommendation to pick up Greene's The Explosive Child. These ladies who've been around the block will know the right questions to ask you. I'm still fairly new, but can say I share your frustrations with not knowing how to deal with the little buggers!!