Help me with my five year old, please

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by emilya, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. emilya

    emilya emilya

    Hi, I'm new here. I have three children, two boys, five and two, and one girl, aged four. My five year old son started suffering from night terrors when he was about fifteen months old and this went on forever, it seemed like. When he was two, he started "seeing" things, faces and people looking at him through the windows, and he still insists that he hears people talking to him at night. I still don't know how to feel about this. Now he refuses to go into a room by himself, won't go the the bathroom by himself, has to sleep with his little brother, etc.

    He is also so LOUD! He screams constantly. He gets so mad over everything, and when he gets angry he attacks his little sister. He lives and breathes things like soldiers and cowboys, and he is always striving for some perfect way to fix his "Collection" of plastic toys. Everything to him is a "Collection." He dresses up in vests and camo and walks around with plastic guns, bows and arrows, cowboy hats, boots, and stuff like this every waking moment. He is always changing clothes, he'll wear eight different outfits in an evening. He talks 24 hours a day, even in his sleep, and all he says is stuff like "Hey, see this soldier, he's gonna take down the alien Indians and beat the good buy on the horse..." and blah blah blah! He drives me nuts with this ****! He doesn't play video games, he won't even sit still long enough to watch a TV show. He can't dress himself, brush his teeth, or put on his shoes, and he still pees the bed.

    He is constantly making these noises, I don't know if they're gunshots or what, but it is never ending. When he gets upset about something, like yesterday, for example, my mom had something to do after work and he couldn't visit her, he literally screamed for five hours. It's like he just can't get a grip on himself. He just can't "Get over it." I would say, "Grandma had something she had to do, you will see her tomorrow." he just couldn't get it.

    He also has incredibly vivid dreams and he can't differentiate between them and reality, in fact one day a couple years ago he told everyone his daddy hit him in the head with a hammer, and there was absolutely no changing his mind.

    We are a nuclear family with extended family living nearby, no divorces, drugs, alcohol or problems. I just don't get it, it's just like he's striving for this perfect thing that he sees in his head and it literally drives him crazy, subsequently driving us crazy in the process. Is there some kind of anxiety drug or something that would work? Does someone have a similar story, please?
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Welcome! I'm glad you found us.

    I'm sorry for all the questions, but your answers will help us help you.

    Have you expressed your concerns to the pediatrician? If so, what was the reaction?
    Does he (or did he) have any developmental or speech delays?
    How does he do in school, both "academically" and with peers?
    Any sensory issues (for example, sensitivity to clothing tags, loud noises, food textures)?
    Any mental health issues (anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis) in the family tree?

    Again, welcome.
  3. emilya

    emilya emilya

    When I said something to the pediatrician about anxiety, she looked at me like I was from outer space. They are referring us to a psychiatrist.

    He is left handed, and has a lot of trouble with writing. At school, he has friends and the teachers all say he's good and they think he is funny.

    He doesn't like when we touch him, which is usually the only way to get him to do something, because he always acts like he can't hear you when you talk to him. I could literally scream his name five times and he wouldn't hear me. At night though when he is in bed, he hears everything.

    I forgot to add this the first time, but he remembers everything. He has amazing recall. And he remembers commercials and quotes them word for word all the time.

    He had no speech delays, he was walking when he was eight months old, and could say quite a few words by the time he was one.

    I'm having issues right now with the teacher, because she puts his name on the board for ridiculous stuff like not having his feet to the front and laying his head down on the table. I mean, is school not hard enough? Good grief. If she only knew the hours of screaming and fighting it took for me to even get him there.

    I have an IQ of 163 and had anxiety until I started taking Effexor XR 150 a few years ago. Now I have no problem whatsoever. My dad's family is a walking mass of weird problems, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), hypergraphia, ADHD, all kinds of stuff.

    Hope some of this helps. I kind of understand what my son feels like because I did some of the same stuff when I was little. As dumb as it sounds, all that extra brain power just kind of lets your imagination go nuts. I used to be scared of everything, in fact, I didn't even start driving until just a few years ago. I had major panic attacks over everything. I hope someone out their understands.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Do you have any mental illness (diagnosed or undiagnosed) on either side of the family tree? This sort of vivid dreaming and not telling fantasy from reality are big red flags that in my opinion should not be ignored. I'd go to a Psychiatrist. He could have Asperger's Sydrome (just a guess) combined with some psychiatric problem. If he really does hallucinate, he should get some relief right away. Good luck.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2009
  5. veggiegymrat

    veggiegymrat New Member

    I just have a recommendation-my son sleeps with a fan every night-he can't sleep without it. The white noise helps drown everything else out. Could you try that?
  6. adhdparenting

    adhdparenting mom never taught us this


    I'm guessing these things you're seeing started out small and you put up with them because you thought you could. And now it feels as if there's so much going on there you don't know where to start, right? :)

    That's the way it happens.

    What you are describing is consistent with the behavior of a child with severe ADHD. Many doctors do NOT know what severe ADHD looks like and often suspect Aspergers or autism. I am NOT by any means saying he has ADHD, only that it's reasonable to get him assessed.

    This LOUD aspect always makes me suspect ADHD. :)

    It's safe to assume that things will get continue to accelerate until you get him proper treatment. Because hormones usually increase this level of hyperactivity. And can turn to aggression quickly.

    This difficulty differentiating between fact and fiction is also common in children with ADHD. This is another reason to filter his media intake for age-appropriate and non-violent content.

    When you get him assessed I hope you will also have him checked for dyslexia.

    This snorting you're describing may be a slight tic he has picked up. That is not uncommon in kids with ADHD also.

    I'm going to guess by what you're saying that his extreme hyperactivity is getting to him too. He can probably tell that you're exhausted from him. He just can't stop this on his own.

    Please schedule an appointment to get him assessed. This will NOT go away on it's own. If you think you're exhausted now, imagine what another year of strength, hormones, and anger will yield.

    No amount of begging, talking, bribing, or bargaining will solve his behavior. It's going to take something different.

    Call his school and ask for three suggestions. Do the same with your family pediatrician. Say you want someone who can determine if he has ADHD.

    Assessment is a process of elimination. This is a good thing to focus on. It can take a month to complete that process and can take another month for medications to stabilize if you go that route.

    It's the MOST frustrating thing in the world when you don't know what to do. Be resolute in your commitment to not yell or hit. Focus on his assessment.

    Otherwise I see big school problems ahead.

    This soldier fascination is not uncommon for a 5 yr old. He talks about that to the exclusion of all else because he doesn't know how else to communicate.

    He does not groom himself because he needs to be taught these things first. You can learn how to teach him to do this things easily with a few new skills.

    I'm really sorry you're struggling. You absolutely CAN get this at least 25% better fast. And a LOT more if you get some help.

    Hope this helps a little bit anyway to see the pieces more clearly.

    Sending you patience and diligence,
  7. emilya

    emilya emilya

    Actually, the only way we got him to stop sleeping with us was to let him watch movies at night. It also helps him when he wakes up-it catches his attention before he has time to flip out. People can say what they want about TV's in kids rooms-I think it's a lifesaver.
  8. emilya

    emilya emilya

    We have an appointment with a learning center to have him assessed for ADHD, dyslexia, etc., and an appointment with a child psychiatrist to have him assessed for everything else. Thanks for all the input, it really makes me feel like I'm not alone.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm glad you are seeing a psychiatrist. in my opinion hallucinations mean there's more going on than ADHD. ADHD is usually the first, rarely the last, diagnosis. for our kids. There are possible signs of a mood disorder and/or autistic spectrum/Aspergers as well as ADHD. Five year olds are all different. I say this as a mom who has raised five kids way past five ;) Many five year olds can communicate quite well. It's best to evaluate your boy and see what's going on, and keep an open mind about it--don't get locked into thinking "it has to be ADHD." Have him evaluated for everything. Do not, in my opinion, insist that he has ADHD. In my layman's opinion, I think you should let the professional determine what to test for. Trust me, I've been through many tests and diagnoses for both me and my son.There is much it could be. ADHD/autistic spectrum disorder/early onset bipolar all mimic each other, but need different treatment plans and definitely different medications. And with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) you need interventions. My Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son is also very loud. It is not exclusive to ADHD. They can't STAND noise, but they MAKE Good luck at your appointment.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2009
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    He's still very young, I don't necessarily see that what you describe are necessarily hallucinations.

    Because what you describe, was me at that age. And older. I was still getting what I called "waking nightmares" into my teens. I must have been awake because I can still remember them so vividly. I would swear I had seen someone standing in the hallway with the light on, for example. And I remember getting out of bed one night to sit by the window ( I can still remember the feel of the night breeze on my skin) as I watched couples in old-fashioned clothing dancing silently on the lawn below. Those were not the really bad nightmares - the ones I remember were waking and wanting to scream, but no sound would come out. Being terrified to move because the shadows had re-shaped themselves into faces that were peeing round the door at me, watching to see me close my eyes, at which point tey would rush over and attack me, I was sure of it.

    What I am certain would have helped me at the time, was being given a reading lamp by my bed. The reason - light made the shadows go away. These night terrors were made of shadows and light dissolved them completely.

    During the day it all seemed so silly. It was only when it was time to go to sleep, that I got anxious. Often going to sleep I was still confident I'd be fine. Waking in the dark after sleep was my problem.

    Looking back now, I wonder if I was fully awake. I also know now, that a HUGE proportion of this was due to a very high IQ plus an extremely vivid imagination. Not always a good combination in childhood.

    I also have children who are on the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) scale, which is also connected to high IQ in the family. I hd kids who had bad nightmares and who also sleepwalked (some of them).

    I made sure my kids had bedlamps. If they were too young, they had a nightlight. My parents wanted me to "grow out of it" and didn't want to spoil me. It was a "no frills" upbringing and I have some fairly horrible memories, even though I shouldn't have. I also have memories that go back to before I was a year old. Other things I remember (often at family reunions) have amazed my family, because until I mention them, they don't recall. And it's about them, so why had they forgotten?

    What you describe could still fit neatly into an Asperger's umbrella, or maybe simply a very bright child with a good imagination and maybe just some sensory issues & Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) besides (not quite Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), but some traits).

    However, I do think taking him to see a psychiatrist is perhaps a good step. But I would also see an Occupational Therapist (OT) and a neuropsychologist, as a priority.

    A very young child with vivid dreams, especially what I called "waking nightmares" where you partly wake but your brain is still dreaming, will have difficulty distinguishing dream from reality. also, I've found this happens again to me later in life when I've been really, really tired.

    Hallucinations are something different. If he is clearly hallucinating during the day ("Look at that pig flying past! It's a pretty pink colour and it just waved to me.") then you could have a problem. But even then, with such a young child you have Occupational Therapist (OT) be sure it's not just imagination.

    It is said that a kid with Asperger's doesn't have an imagination. I can tell you - not so. difficult child 3 is fully on the autism spectrum, but has written stories and poems for school. One story I remember he wrote, was about a family of bats having an adventure one night. He wrote it from the point of view of one of the bats. He is particularly good at dialogue.

    The noises he makes - it could be part of a role-playing game he's constantly got going, or it could be noises that are part of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), or it could be both.

    It's also possible to have Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) with other things, including ADHD. There are so many possibilities.

    While you're waiting to find out exactly what is going on, get your hands on "The Explosive Child" and try to use it to help you handle him more effectivley and with less stress all round.

    Good luck, I hope you get some useful answers for him.

    Une huge tip I will sahre with you - remember the purpose of punishment. It is not to take revenge or exact retribution for crimes committed. Punishment is supposed to prevent recurrence and to teach a lesson. But if your child is not 'getting' the message and if the behaviour is recurring, then change what you are doing because it just isn't working. For example, if he trashes his room because of a rage, chances are he simply can't control himself while raging (a common problem at 5). So step 1, try to prevent a rage and step 2), take measures to protect people and property but otherwise, natural consequences only. For example, if he broke his chest of drawers then he has to do without until they're fixed. A kid who chews gum and sticks it under the table will not be allowed to have any more gum, until he can show that he can be responsible with it. Rewards work better - you reward good behaviour by praise or some other way (not food, not money). Even if you have to work hard to find something good that he's doing. And never take anything back, for a sudden transgression. Or make anything conditional. So to praise a kid you would say, "I'm so happy to see you playing quietly." You do not say, "Look how quietly you're playing. If only you could be like that ALL the time," because you have just totally devalued your praise and turned it into a criticism. The child wiull only hear the negative and you have just chastised the child while he is being good.

    It's something we often do, purely out of frustration with them, but we need to be constantly mentally alert and be careful to not undermine our own good efforts.

    The book helps.

  11. emilya

    emilya emilya

    Thank you so much, Marguerite-I thought I was the only one with these dreams. I know how my son feels because I did the exact same thing when I was a child. I have an IQ of 163 and I was plagued with vivid dreams, I still don't know which of my "memories" from childhood are real and which are not. I was scared beyond all limits of reason most of my life-only it started at dark. When the sun started going down I could feel myself tensing for a battle. Even more recently when I was pregnant and my hormones were crazy, at sundown I would start having panic attacks.

    My son and I have a few things in common with this, but be it from a gender issue or what-I handled it a lot different when I was little.

    I just so appreciate someone else out there having these vivid dreams and talking about it.