It has to go up from here, Right?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by casee, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. casee

    casee New Member


    I am new to this site. I found this site after spending sitting on the couch monitoring my two littlest boys to make sure that no one got injured. This is actually how I spend most of my evenings. Dealing with physical and verbal outbursts and feeling so inadequate and angry.

    Let me introduce myself. I am a 33 year old mother of 4 (1 I gave birth to and 3 who stole my heart when I fell in love with their father and my fiance). I work as a child case manager for a community mental health agency. I spend all day working with children with significant mental health diagnoses that impacts their daily functioning, teaching them coping, social, and emotional management skills as well as supporting their parents in their efforts to manage their children's behavior. My little boy is 5. My fiance has a 5 year old, a 12 year old, and a 14 year old. Our two five year olds are 6 weeks apart. If I and my stepson's mother had carried to term, the boys (as we call them) would have had the same birthday. But we both had preemies. My fiance is a full time student and he works part time too. We are busy needless to say.

    My fiance's five year old is a challenging child. He was just diagnosed with ADHD (but we have known for a long time that he had it). We have, together, started a new therapy program with him that we are hopeful about. He has experienced way more than he should have in his short life. He is a fighter. Has been since the day he was born. He was born 2 1/2 months premature after his mother was ejected from a car through the sun roof in an accident. He spent the first 2 1/2 months of his life in the NICU. I met him right before he turned 2. He had these beautiful blue eyes. They were huge and surrounded by the longest eye lashes I have ever seen. While we try to make our home stable and loving, our home is very different from his mother's and this is hard for him. He only spends limited amounts of time there but he doesn't yet understand why this is the way things have to be and it makes his sad and angry.

    He started kindergarten in the fall. While he loves school, he struggles and we have just started the testing to determine if he is eligible for special education services.

    As far back as I can remember, we have always struggled with his behavior. He is highly active. Never slows down. He is a risk taker. I can remember when he was almost 3 finding him jumping off the top bunk of the bunk beds because simply because he could. And he landed perfectly. He is very athletically inclined and is good at almost every sport he plays. But he loves football and swimming. The funny thing is, he is kind if clumsy in every day activities (like walking). He trips a lot and bumps into things. He is rough and slams everything from toys when playing to forks when eating. He loves his family and makes sure to tell me everyday that he "loves me for his while life".

    But there is a dark side to him. We had a horrible time getting him to sleep, right from the start. He would scream for 2 hours every night before finally passing out. Once we started using Melatonin and got him onto a regular schedule falling asleep got easier but he still does not sleep through the night. He gets up to go to the bathroom and still insists on waking one of us up to tell us. Usually we find him in our room around 3AM trying to get into our bed. His tantrums have always been intense but as he has gotten older, they have gotten more violent. I remember at 3 he was flipping over furniture and kicking and headbutting the wall when we tried to put him in time out. We eventually had to resort to restraining him in order to keep him and our home safe. There is a predictability to these times. He pushes it to the point that we (it is usually me) have to restrain him. Then he fights and screams for a while and then I start to sing to him. His body relaxes and he eventually turns himself into me and cuddles. Then we are usually good for the night. He has also always kicked people. Before he could talk that was how he greeted people, by kicking them in the shins. Then he moved on to kicking people in the privates and laughing. Then it was slapping people across the face. Thankfully, we never went through a biting stage (although there was a time when he bit my finger because he was pretending to be a dog and was completely out of control). I burst into tears and he didn't do that again.

    Recently however, he has become really violent. This weekend, he gave my son a black eye after throwing a toy car at him. Tonight started when I got to daycare to pick them up. The daycare provider (who is wonderful) told me he had been in time out 3 times since 3:00 for hitting my son. I knew I was in trouble. When we got home it was more of the same. He kicked my son twice and gave him another knot on the head by throwing a toy car at him. He had to spend time in time out DURING dinner because he kept putting his fist in my son's face and threatening to punch him. He takes pleasure in hurting others.

    And so I find myself here. Exhausted and overwhelmed and wanting so badly to have a good night and actually enjoy being home with him instead of just trying to survive the night.

    Thanks for listening.
  2. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi there, sounds intense! I certainly know life with a child who has been aggressive since he was little.

    What kinds of assessments out side of school have you done? Have you ever seen a neuropsychologist? there are some parents here who can tell you more about their experiences with developmental coordination disorder and how it relates to adhd. You might find it interesting.

    Does he have any sensory issues? When they are not fighting, do they ever play together, can he play imaginatively (beyond role model from a cartoon or tv or movie kind of imitating...can he do back and forth creating of new ideas?)... what are his interests? Does he ask others about what they like and do?

    What are the issues in school that warranted the school evaluation?

    Many will be along. Welcome and I hope you find some relief knowing that you are not alone.
  3. casee

    casee New Member

    Thanks! He does have sensory issues. His dad and I talk about that a lot actually and have been considering asking his pedi for a referral for a sensory evaluation. We met with the child psychologist on staff at our docs office and are considering a psychiatric evaluation (we are a little reluctant to do medications but are beginning to think about the reality not using them). Other than that we have not had many evaluations done. A lot of the people we have talked to are reluctant to do evaluations or make diagnoses because they feel he is really young.

    As for school, he has trouble visually recognizing things. He can spell his name and recignize the letters in his own name but no other letters. He has the same issue with numbers. His teacher reports that he tries really hard but that it takes so much out of him that he becomes physically exhausted and sometimes they have to intervene and make him stop working on things because he has given it everything he has. He has had some behavioral problems at school as well. He was sent to the principal's office for playing with the light switch in the bathroom and climbing on the toilets, for hitting another kid during a sports game, and for peeing on the wall in the bathroom. He gets purple and yellow (which is his schools behavior system) a lot for "blurting" as he puts it. They are going to be testing his speech and language processing to see if there is an issue there.

    AS far as the sensory stuff, he hates tohave his shirt on or socks. he cannot stand the sensation of being wet and will often change his clothes if there is even the slightest dampness to it. Everything he does is rough. He slams everything. He doesn't respond to pain normally. Small injuries (paper cuts, hang nails) will result in endless crying but major injuries (like smacking his head off of something) he doesn't even acknowledge. He likes to have a blanket around his head when he sleeps and often rubs the silky part of his blanket.

    The two boys do get along at times and they do play together. But it is mainly my son directing the play. My fiance's son does not engage in imaginative play unless my son lays out the plot or idea for him. He really doesn't engage in much that is not related to sports somehow.

    We have started a therapeutic curriculum with him called Helping the Non-compliant Child (HNC) and we are hopeful. The idea is to recognize and praise positive behavior and ignore the negative attempts to get it. We are in the initial stage of learning how to engage in play with him that he can direct and we can recognize and praise the positives. We have been at it for 3 weeks. It is hard to try to point out positives when he is being difficult but I know that it is important to let him know that he is a good kid. I guess that is what I worry about the most - that somehow, with all the negativity, he will come to think that he is the "bad kid" and not the great little boy that I see a lot of the time.
  4. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Welcome to the board. You said that you started the HNC three weeks ago? Have you seen any improvement? If he is working that hard in school to the point that it exhausts him I can understand why he rages at home. He's frustrated and angry. While he's starting to exhibit some of his anger at school, he is doing it at home to the extend that he does because home is...well, home. Everyone there loves him and he knows that you and his father will love him no matter what. The whole "soft place to land" idea, although I have found that that doesn't help me very much.

    Has be been evaluated by a neuropsychologist? That might give you a little more insight into what is really going on. Sensory issues would not be the reason that he has trouble recognizing his letters and numbers. Have you asked the school to evaluate him to see if he needs additional support there?