Need support regarding my sons


New Member
We have two boys. One just turned 5 and one is 2.5. I feel like my husband and I try so hard to be good parents. We spend a lot of time with our kids and try to be the best parents we can. We love them so much and want the best for them, but we feel like failures. What are we doing wrong? Both of our children have issues and we are at a loss.

Our 5 year old has a lot of anxieties. He is scared of the doctor, dentist, water (swimming lessons), has separation anxiety and so forth.

To describe my 2.5 year old, I would say he is incredibly stubborn, has no patience, is angry and frustrated 75% of the time. For example, almost every time we are in the car he is screaming and crying about something. He screamed when his car fell out of his dump truck, he screams when waffle falls off his fork, he screams when I try to hold his hand in the parking lot, he falls and bangs his head on purpose. He has been like this since he was an infant. He used to scream and stop eating when I was nursing and had let down because he would choke sometimes. I had to watch how I held him walking through door ways because he would get mad so often and would through himself backwards and would sometimes hit his head on the door way. When he learned to sit he would throw himself backwards when he got angry.

I just don't know what we are doing wrong. It affects my husband and me. Today we tried to take my older son to swimming lessons because he said he wanted to go and learn how to swim like his friends. He has really good intentions. He just seems to be scared to death. He won't do anything but sit on the stairs. The director focuses her attention on him the whole time just trying to get him off the stairs. Today I ended up having to take my other son out of the room twice because he got upset and ended up sprawling out on the wet floor. Then on the way home, my youngest son was just crying and screaming in the car and my husband and I ended up getting into an argument because we are just so frustrated and don't know what to do with our boys. My husband thinks maybe we are just being too soft on them. But, we do discipline with timeouts and taking privileges away.

We don't feel like we can talk about it with our friends because they don't have these issues. So I'm just looking for support from people who deal with similar issues.


Welcome! I'm glad you found us. Many of us have stood in your shoes, and we understand the issues you're facing. You're not alone any longer.

I don't think it's helpful to blame yourself for what's going on with your sons. And I'd wager a guess it's not because you're being too soft on them. It sounds to me as if your sons have issues that need an accurate diagnosis and then the proper interventions to help your sons cope.

Sorry for all the questions, but your answers will help us help you. How do your sons do in social settings and with peers? Do they have any speech or developmental delays? Any sensory issues (for example, sensitive to loud noises, seams in clothing, food textures or tastes)? Any mental health issues or substance abuse in the family tree?

In terms of your older son's anxiety, it is real and he's not refusing to participate on purpose. Anxiety is paralyzing. He may have every intention of wanting to learn to swim, but his fear gets in the way of his intentions. Depending on how much his anxiety interferes with daily functioning (and depending on what other issues are present), he may well need therapy and/or medications to help him cope.

One book you should get your hands on is The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. It has helped many of us on this board parent our extra-challening children. There's a thread at the top of this page about how to adapt the techniques to younger children.

Weekends tend to be slow around here, but others will be along soon to offer their advice. Again, welcome.


Well-Known Member
Hi, and welcome. I'm sure you're GREAT parents, but you have kids who show signs of certain disorders. I'd want them assessed by a multi-disciplinary evaluation team. I'm wondering if they have any Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). I'll post an online test you can take for both of your sons. I'm thinking that also a neuropsychologist may be good for your kids--they do intensive testing. Whatever you decide, the earlier you get help, the better the later-on-prognosis. Look at your family tree for hints--any psychiatric or substance abuse problems? Autism, either high or low functioning? "Quirky" relatives? Anxiety over really seemingly silly things are big sensory issues, which go hand and hand with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)--such as fear of change, dislike of loud noises, textures, certain foods--and these kids also tend to parallel play rather than play with other kids. Any speech delays? My son used to bang his head on the wall--he has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified. Nobody here can diagnose. This is just something to consider. I'd get that MDE. Don't rely on your pediatrician or, in my opinion, a non-MD therapist, other than a neuropsychologist, who has training in the brain.


New Member
Thank you so much for your responses. I really appreciate the information although truthfully I feel a little overwhelmed.

Here are some answers to your questions.

1. How do they do in social settings?

They both seem to do pretty well at school. I think that the 2.5 yr old parallel plays, but that is pretty normal at his age. His teachers have never said anything about his behavior. Once I said that he was acting up quite a bit at home and she said he was doing fine at school. On his progress report everything was marked okay.

Our older child (just turned 5) does have some social issues at school. He is very quiet compared to at home. Lately, he has cried a few times when I dropped him off. His teachers say it is harder on me than him. He loves to have friends over and to go to friends' houses he just doesn't like school.

2. Speech or developmental delays?

Our 2.5 year old has speech delays. I had him assessed at 18 months because I was concerned about his lack of expressive speech and he was accepted into early intervention, but they let him go after 6 months into the program because they said they could tell I was working with him quite a bit and also because he is in preschool 8 hours a week. He will be reevaluated when he turned 3 in August.

He did regress at 9 months and stopped sitting up. His motor skills were delayed, but he caught up by 15 months. He had a battery of tests during that time and nothing came back positive. We did go to an Occupational Therapist (OT) and that helped quite a bit. She commented on how strong willed he was and said (in a nice way) that we will have some troubles with him because he was so head strong.

Our 5 year old doesn't seem to have any developmental delays.

3. Sensory issues?

Our 2.5 year old seems pretty bothered by the sun when he is in the car. He will scream and say "my eyes!!!". Other than that, he just isn't that excited to eat. He was born in the 50th percentile and got down to the 3-5th percentile when he was around 9 months. He is a very thin kid. I think he is back to 10-15%. He just doesn't care to eat. It doesn't seem that food textures bother him. He doesn't seem upset when he eats.

Our 5 year old doesn't seem to have any sensory issues other than the anxieties I mentioned. He is a good eater, doesn't mind loud noise, or clothes.

I've read a little about autism and from what I've read it doesn't seem to fit. They both interact quite a bit with everyone. They both laugh and play. They definitely respond to their names, they look you in the eyes, they love being around people and so forth.

Thanks again for any suggestions or even just support. I truly appreciate it!


Active Member
My 2.5 year old is on the autism spectrum and at first I didn't believe it because he does look you in the eyes and is cuddly. And our pediatrician said there was no way difficult child 2 could be autistic. difficult child 2 was running by 10 months, but his verbal just isn't there. So, we were referred to early intervention. They came out and did an assement and gave us stuff to work on. It just didn't seem to fit to me, so I contacted the autism specialist. I thought I'd go and she would tell me that there was no way difficult child 2 could be autistic. She saw things that I had completely missed. For example, difficult child 2 will look me in the eyes and other family members, but not anyone else. When he respondes to his name he looks in your general direction, but not right at you. He expects me to read his mind. He will want candy and go stand next to it, but he won't ask for it. Then when he has waited a few min. he gets frustrated enough to tantrum. difficult child 2 also loses words. And, his class at church he plays by himself. No they don't have any problems with him because he goes and plays by himself in a corner. He isn't taking toys away and pushing his friends over for toys like the other 2 year olds. He also toe walked and head banged. And I thought I was just going to her to rule out the autism diagnosis. I think sometimes parents are to close to see the symptoms. It would be worth looking into. Can't hurt.

Oh the early intervention took us much more seriously after the diagnosis of autism. Now difficult child 2 is getting a speach therapist coming out and is on the waiting list for social skills classes and the waiting list for the autism preschool. There is a year long waiting list for that here.


Well-Known Member
KIds with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified *do* act animated and respond to their names. I'd still look into it because the higher functioning autism is often caught when the kids are older, and then they missed the very important early intervenions. I'd take the little one to a developmental pediatrician. The older one, I'd take to a neuropsychologist. Thinking "this is will go away" unfortunately usually backfires and gets worse as the child hits school age. My son has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified and had all the early interventions, even though we couldn't get a diagnosis. until 11--we insisted he get the interventions because we suspected in spite of the professionals who said "ADHD" and "bipolar" (both were wrong). Take the childbrain assessment test. That is fairly accurate if you are honest in your answers. My son's differences became more glaring the older he got. I'm also posting a link for early onset bipolar. Do you have mood disorders or substance abuse in the family? "Quirky" relatives that don't seem to "get it?" My motto is it's better to be safe than sorry Parents are not good diagnosticians because we want to see our kids as "normal." Hugs!