New and feeling alone

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by crazymoon41, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. crazymoon41

    crazymoon41 New Member

    Hello! I'm new to this forum and so very thankful I found it! I could use all the help or advice anyone would care to share. I'm a stay at home mom of two. My daughter Madison is 9, and she is a wonderful, bright, sensitive, and sweet child. My son Mason is 4, and he is funny, sweet, active, and very bright. Mason is also disruptive, aggressive, violent, destructive, verbally abusive, and bossy.

    Mason has never been easy. He was a difficult pregnancy and delivered 5 wks. early. From the day I brought him home until he was almost 6 mnths. old, he never stopped crying. It wasn't colic, he just wouldn't stop crying. I slept sitting straight up in a chair with him in my arms until he was 4 mnths old. The only thing that seemed to soothe him is when he had a fistful of my hair that he could yank on. When Mason first began to walk, if I had my daughter on my lap, he would push her off. Or bite her, pull her hair. When he was 2 he began hitting and biting myself, my husband, and my daughter. He had uncontrollable tantrums. At 3 he threw a heavy metal cymbal at my daughter hitting her in the eye and requiring stitches. Not too long after he threw a brick at her head missing her by inches. He is now 4 and while the violence isn't quite as bad as it used to be he remains uncontrollable. He has broken mirrors, he spits, screams in your face, says horrible things. He calls his daddy moron, and every day hurts Madison. Madison's friends no longer want to come over to play because Mason threatens to hurt them. The other day he was riping handfuls of my daughter's hair out while we were driving 65 mph down the highway because he was mad that I wouldn't give him what he wanted.

    Most of the time to me Mason is loving, sweet, and funny. I have an easier time with him. It isn't until Maddie comes home from school or my husband comes home from work that the problems really start up. Mason attends nursery school 3 half days a week where he is wonderful. He gets along well with his classmates, and listens to his teachers. Other than being extremely hyper around extended family, he is well behaved twords them. Also Mason refuses to potty train, and exhibits some symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). My brother has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), so I am familiar with the symptoms.

    I am extremely sad for my little boy who just can't seem to help himself. I am sad for my daughter who seems to be fading away. She told me that she is happy until she has to come home after school. Mason's behavior is causing so much havoc in our family and everyone is suffering.

    I have talked to our pediatrician and she blows me off. She keeps talking about time outs and sibling rivalry. I am currently seeking a therapist for Mason but finding someone who specializes in young children has been difficult. Maddie has started counseling through her school.

    I want to thank anyone who takes the time to read this. I know it's a long one. Any advice or similar stories would be greatly appreciated. I'm almost positive Mason has ADHD (my mother, both brothers, aunt, and uncle have it), and probably ODD. Any opinions?
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    While ADHD does tend to run in families, it's a tricky diagnosis. All sorts of kids who should get this diagnosis are missed, and it's given to lots of kids who really are something else... and then, add in all the stuff that tends to go with ADHD, and... it might be a factor, but it might just be symptoms.
    For example:
    - many kids on this board started out with an ADHD diagnosis, and ended up with an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) diagnosis - a totally different world.
    - APDs look exactly like ADHD in terms of symptoms, until you start to dig.
    - things that tend to go with ADHD include, for starters, LDs, Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), APDs, sensory issues
    Note: non-classical APDs aren't usually diagnosed until 7 or 8; language difficulties are caught sooner.
    - any ONE of these are enough to drive a kid totally around the bend, and they may have ALL of them.

    ODD is, in my opinion, a "place-holder diagnosis". It describes problem behaviors quite well... but offers absolutely no solutions. Therefore... the problem is usually something else that hasn't been determined yet. Some doctors will actually use it this way and tell you so... others just toss out the label.

    Neither is a diagnosis to be played with, nor to be self-diagnosed, nor to be diagnosed by anyone but specialists in comprehensive evaluations.

    I'm concerned that the current dr is "blowing you off" over this. You definitely need a comprehensive evaluation. But... those usually take time to get. Meanwhile? I'd be starting with an Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation for sensory and motor skills issues, and an Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) screening for auditory issues including hearing. He's been so difficult right from the get-go. He sounds like he's under perpetual overload, and it doesn't take much to push him over the edge... and the thing that pushes him over the edge is probably not the problem, if you know what I mean... it's just the proverbial straw that broke the camels back?

    Those are just my opinions. It will be useful if you can tell us a little more background... is he adopted, for example? how were his developmental milestones? (walking, talking, toilet training, etc.)
  3. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome.
    Sorry to hear of the difficult times with your son (it's clear from what you say that he is your biological son, right?) I do agree that you have to start getting serious help and evaluation - 4 is not too young and this seems clearly more than sibling rivalry. It could be ADHD or it could be ADHD plus other things (often is) or it could be something else. And you may not know for sure for some time or even years.
    It sounds to me like - and really I have no expert opinions, particularly compared to some people on the forum - your son is emotionally below his age. He is very bright intellectually, perhaps, but his social and emotional age is not on the same level. One would not be so surprised at a 2 year old behaving this way. And it is often said that ADHD children, for example, are about a third below their chronological age in terms of maturity.
    I do not know concretely what your next step is, not living in the States, but you need to start getting this taken seriously and getting evaluations and tests underway. Very best of luck.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If this little boy is spitting at you, hitting, kicking, breaking things etc. and the pediatrician chalks it up to sibling rivalry, he has no clue, despite his training, about how normal little boys his age behave. That is way not normal and in my opinion is beyond ADHD. I would take him to a neuropsychologist and skip the therapist. The therapist will implement behavioral changes at home and our kids tend not to respond to regular charts, reward systems, and time outs (most won't even stay in a time out).

    A neuropsychologist will do a complete evaluation on all levels and give you some idea of w hat is wrong and where you should go for help and intervention. ODD is an unhelpful diagnosis that therapists use more than psychiatrists and Neuropsychs (higher level educated professionals). It really means "The child is defiant." Well, we know that, but we don't know why. ODD rarely stands alone. It is usually caused by some other disorder. Neuropsychs can be found at children's hospitals and university hospitals and are probably in my opinion the best diagnosticians for our complicated kids.

    What are the family dynamics like? Is there a father at home or are you a single mom? Could his early health problems be adding to his behavior? How does he play with his same age peers?

    I'm glad you found us, but very sorry that you had to do so. (((Hugs)))!
  5. crazymoon41

    crazymoon41 New Member

    Thank you all so much for giving me some valuable advice. Yes, Mason is my biological son. My husband is in the home and he and I have a very good relationship. We have been together since we were 17 and I'm now 41. (shhhh!) It's the stress of dealing with Mason that has given us an even stronger bond. My family isn't very supportive and in some cases is non existant when it comes to my children. Most of my friends work full time and none have the issues that I am dealing with. I feel embarrassed talking to them about the things that happen in our home. Lately my husband has been working 80 hr. weeks so it has just been me dealing with things. It's unusual for him to be working so much.

    Mason plays very well with children his own age and is very social. Even his nursery school teachers have a hard time believing me about his behavior. Thankfully one of my closest friends is one of the teachers and backs me up. Was he developmentally delayed? Somewhat. He was maybe a couple of months behind in his speech and walking. He is still not consistently potty trained. While Mason is catching up in the height and weight department, he has always been on the low end of the growth chart. Next year Mason will be the appropriate age for kindergarten but under the advice of his nursery school will be returning to them instead. They do not feel he is emotionally mature enough for kindergarten. The one thing that Mason deffinetly cannot do is play by himself. He constantly needs someone to entertain or direct him. My mother says he's just a spoiled brat. Sweet, isn't she?

    He does display some compulsive tendancies. He becomes obsessive about strange things. Example: one day he started to talk about wanting to play miniature golf. Well, we live in the northeast and it was the middle of winter. Trying to explain to him that miniature golf was not an option because of the weather would just set him off. The idea of building his own mini golf course came into his head and that's all he talked about from the time he got up until he went to bed. He began drawing elaborate golf courses every day and throwing massive tantrums when he was told we couldn't build it. This went on for over a month. Now it's a book that one of my daughter's friends brought over. It's a book on collecting Pez dispensers and is geared more towards adult collectors. Mason needs this book and talks about it almost every day. It would be almost funny if it wasn't my life.

    I feel so much guilt. Like I have done something to cause this behavior in him. Finding help has been extremely frustrating and I'm at my wits end. How do others deal with the day to day stress of it? And time outs do not work. Taking things away do not work. Talking in a quiet, calm voice does not work. I have never, ever spanked him but there have been times when I have wanted to. That alone brings me such shame.

    One other thing I have forgotten to mention and I don't know if it's relevant or not. When I was pregnant with Mason I had to have an amnio because I was given a 1 in 15 chance that he had Downs Syndrome. The amnio came back negative.

    Thank you all so much again. You don't know how much lighter I felt after posting last night.
  6. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I agree with the others. You need to start somewhere OTHER THAN the pediatrician and a therapist isn't really going to help much. A neuropsychologist would be the best choice for an assessment but the good ones usually have a waiting list months long. Get on the list but then look for a Child Psychiatrist in the meantime. Your daughter needs relief and soon.

    Insane also has a great idea. Start getting THOROUGH evaluations done by an Occupational Therapist and a Speech-Language Pathologist. They might find some amazing things.....and they might not but you need to get to the bottom of things.

    Also, read the books The Explosive Child by Ross Greene as well as What Your Explosive Child Is Trying To Tell You by Dr. Doug Riley. Between the two, you should find some answers to help.

    {{{{(((HUGS)))}}}} to all of you and welcome to our little corner of the world. Things CAN get better and we will all help in any way we can.
  7. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    You are so not alone in your struggles, and others will come along with words of support, encouragement, and wisdom. We know all about how the reward systems, etc. make things even more thing for the kid to rage over. If I missed it in your post or any replies, I would recommend the Explosive Child book, or What Your Explosive Child is Trying to Tell You. You can get these on your kindle or nook or phone, or from Amazon. No, it's nothing you did that caused your son's difficulties. You have a perfectly typical little girl, right? So you know what you're doing. Kids do good if they can (kind of a mantra of the Explosive Child) and there are things in that book that have helped us with my explosive grandson. It's great to hear that he's doing well in pre-school (my grandson was kicked out of three of them, and has been suspended nine times since he started kindergarten this year).

    I hope you have a good day today. Living with these kids sure highlights what one day a time can really mean, eh?
  8. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Welcome, and your are not alone!
    Like others: Occupational Therapist (OT) and speech first. They are easy to schedule evaluation and might give you some information. Then you need a thorough psychlogical evaluation.
    I agree: forget the therapist until you have a bit more information on the SOURCE of his problems. Behavior is just the consequences/side effect of his issues. You can't treat the behavior if you don't know what causes it (and some therapist will tell you the source or the diagnosis is not all that important. I DON'T believe it for 1 second).
    You don't treat MR, the way you treat Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or the way your treat Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) or the way you treat ADHD, etc. Just like you don't treat a fever caused by a virus the same as a fever caused by bacterial infection. Know what I mean??
    Getting a true understanding of your son's issues will take time.
    Read this forum, it will help you gain some knowledge as well as moral support.
  9. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Just adding my support and I also feel you can probably save yourself some time and frustration by just going and getting the assessments to give yourself a better picture of what is going on. It sounds like you could even investigate if he has some Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)(autism is a wide range and kids can be very severely affected or have more mild characteristics that just make them kind of autistic-like in some ways) ..... traits that can include obsessive thoughts and actions, adhd types of things, immaturity in his social relationships (kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) ARE often is wrong when people say they are not...they tend to need a lot of guidance though), and his troubles with sudden emotional reactions when things are not going as he thinks they should. Kids often do well in a school setting especially when young and when very bright because they have clear cues, often lots of visuals, and good routines that work well with how a child like this thinks and processes information. A neuropsychologist evaluation along with the Occupational Therapist (OT) and Sp. Lang. evaluations will help you sort out if it is ADHD plus other things, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) etc.... Sometimes the diagnosis we get for now (when they are little) at least gets us started with therapies, but it can also change as they grow up so great to get a good baseline now no matter the outcome. Therapists are great for many things, but for kids like this... it is best to first get that big picture so you really know what you are treating. Mental health people tend to think mostly in terms of mental health diagnosis and behavioral programs....neuropsychologist and the others should give you a broader idea as to whether there are developmental issues, emotional, mental health, etc....

    Look forward to getting to know you! Welcome to the club (not one you want to have to join but really good group of people here)
  10. keista

    keista New Member


    I can so relate to this! Fortunately/unfortunately It's been a pretty recent development for DD1 Before she'd get obsessed with stuff, she was chronically bored - translation: she found NOTHING interesting.

    These seem to be short lived obsessions. Oh heck yeah, they can be a real PITA, but I found the only real way to get rid of them is to fuel them. Build a miniature golf course in the living room with plastic cups, borrow that book from the library and go to a thrift store and find some .05 pez dispensers. Whatever it is, try to find ways to "satisfy" his desire. For normal kids this is called spoiling them, for kids that have these kind of obsessive (also called perseveration) issues, it just keeping them and yourself from going insane. As he gets older, you can spend more time giving him the "logical" explanations and he can more assist in finding the compromise solutions that will "fix" whatever he is craving. Yeah, I think craving is a good way to describe it.

    To that end, I've got hundreds of yards of fabric, dozens of different colored threads, pounds of fiberfill, so many hanks of lanyards I can't count, umpteen rolls of duct tape, cases of tic tacs. The list just goes on and on. This past summer, DD1 was stuck with one foot firmly obsessed with items or activities, and one foot firmly not being able to decide which activity she was truly interested in. Not a fun summer for any of us.
  11. Aurora

    Aurora New Member

    Hi-I am new here too. I am a former Special Education teacher with a specialty in Learning and Behavioral Disorders. I have experience peripherally with CD and defiant behavior, in class and with friends but only recently have I admitted to myself that I need to learn more about it due to problems with my child.

    I thought Autistic Spectrum Disorder also, when reading you're post, probably Asperger's type. That I do have lots of experience in.My son, 27, has AS (originally misdiagnosed ADHD). My daughter, 4yo is diagnosis Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) not otherwise specified. She is the one with defiant and angry behaviors.

    What made me think Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is that problems with infants is often sensory. He may have needed the movement afforded by being held by you (among other sensory needs), especially if he is now very hyperkinetic (it could be a sensory need for vestibularand proprioceptive input you are seeing). There are some behaviors that are sensory in nature that look aggressive, particularly proprioceptive. An example is "crashing" where a child crashes into or throws himself on people for the input of pressure on his joints.

    In addition obsessive type behaviors in both adherence too routines and obsessing over interests are Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) markers. People with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) often have poor emotional modulation. They are not neccessarily always aloof. Their social deficits can be of other kinds, such as theory of mind (knowing what others are thinking) and trouble making friends due to other Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) traits, even though they want desperately to. This could be more evident as they age and other kids start to make progress in social skills faster than the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) child. Theory of mind can lead to lots of dififculty figuring out what people want which can lead to anger issues. Auditoy or lanuage processing difficulties can also lead to not understanding what is expected of them also.

    I agree that you need a comprehensive work up. A developmental pediatrician is another type doctor you can look for.

    I haven't gotten very far in researching conduct and defiance disorders, but what I have found is pretty much the same as I was taught 25 years ago, that difficulties are a combination of temperment or vulnerabilities in the child not mixing well with parenting style discipline techniques or other environmental factors. Or as my proessor put it, "There is no childthat wouldn't flourish in SOME kind of environment, there are no parents (short of criminal neglect or abuse) that wouldn't do fine with some types of children, but there are some temperments in children that do not flourish with some parentings styles. That doesn't mean that you or anyone here CAUSED the problems, but it does give you the power to help youe son improve and get back on trackby finding out what he needs and what will help him flourish.

    If it helps any, I have a MS in LBD and a gorgeous cherubic little four year old girl that threatens to stab me in the eye or **** on me. (her words).

  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    AFter reading about Mason's obsessions, plan, and actual roadmap to doing it, count me in as one who thinks you should look into Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). That can make children seem very defiant and difficult when they are actually wired differently. There is a difference beween playing one-on-one and parrell play. My son used to love to have the kids chase him and he was quite popular in kindergarden because of his energy and laughter. But as he got older it became apparent that he did not understand how to have a give and take conversation and he would monologue ad nauseum about his obsessive interests (which change, but are always there).

    Look into a neuropsychologist :) And good luck.
  13. crazymoon41

    crazymoon41 New Member

    OMG! You are all so awesome! Lots to think about and disgest. This is the first time I have ever really discussed my son's problems at length with anyone other than close family and his pediatrician.

    One further question. Do any of you go through a "honeymoon" period with you child? We sometimes go weeks and some times as long as a month without any issues. Is this normal? I think this is some of the reason I have been having such a hard time really digging in my heels and demanding help. It also seems that the more activity, especially outdoor activity, helps with his behavior tremendously.

    As I am writing this Mason is having a tickle fight with his daddy. I love to hear my son laugh.
  14. keista

    keista New Member

    Yeah, this can be very normal. Especially if you're dealing with sensory stuff or transition stuff and stuff that you have no idea what is causing his problems.

    You need to be as attentive to the good times as the bad, so when something goes wrong, you can think back and say "Hmmmmm we did something similar last week but it all went well. What are the differences?"
    And honestly, the difference can be REALLY subtle.

    Ex scenario 1: Would you like some ice cream? Yes, I want vanilla! Sorry I only have chocolate. Tantrum ensues.
    Ex scenario 2: I've got chocolate ice cream, would you like some? Yeah, OK or Nah, I don't like chocolate. All is well.

    Seems really simple but in the first scenario, the child was offered ice cream. In the child's mind he already was envisioning eating vanilla ice cream so nothing else would do. Second scenario the child knows right off the bat that there is only chocolate. Sounds simplistic but subtleties like this can make HUGE differences with 'our' kids.
  15. Aurora

    Aurora New Member

    I know that behavior is extremely variable in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). I am very active on forums there and many speak about it and often. It is well known in the field, yet I am balking at going for another evaluation for my daughter because we already have the diagnosis, and support because of it. I fear her going in on one of her "great" days and them saying (like the school that cannot handle her did the first time she went in) "oh look how perfect she is! What is wrong with you that you want this totally wonderful child diagnosis?!? Now she has a SEIT or push in therapists most of the time she is in school. When I was teaching I could see most of the students swinging from absolutely lovely to out of control. I agree that it can be things that seem minor to us or that we overlook. Once I had to leave MY class in the middle of the day to go to my son's classroom in another school on the other side of the city because his idiot teacher threw his string away and no one could control him. I simply reached down and took the string out of the waste basket and handed it to him and he was miraculously transformed. I then :censored2:ed them out for making me drive across town to do it!

    Long honeymoons are heartbreaking because they always end and no matter how much we know they haven't been "cured" or misdiagnosed, deep down inside we are hoping they have.

    Regarding obsessions -Many or most people that have an opinion on the matter consider both Bill Gates and Albert Einstein (and often Isaac Newton also)to be "Aspies". Look at how their over focus and obsessions changed the world! I was lucky that the little information I got when my son was diagnosis (about a month after DSM IV came out, when DS was in fourth grade) was the statement that if they found their niche their chances of being highly successful was greater than that of their NT peers, but that one can never make them in the image we want them to be. A few years later I took a parenting course, and one thing that really stood out to me was the the idea "listen first, talk later". In other words, don't initially try to get them interested in what you are, or say. First learn their world.

    Because if these idea I always tried to get interested in DS's obsessions. I stood in line for hours when the Star Wars prequels were released. I played "Stupid Mario Brothers" (don't tell him I called them that!) I slogged through creeks looking for fossils. I watched anime' and read whatever he was reading so I could discuss it with him. His interest in video games led him to be interested in all forms of anime. which led to an interest in all things Japanese (especially girls!). A Japanese girlfriend invited him home with her :sushi:so he traveled there and stayed the summer. He stayed the next summer too. He broke up with her but met a Chinese girl there who also had an interest in travel and languages. He changed his major from computer art (animation) to linguistics. He got his MS in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), lived in Singapore and learned to play Chinese instruments (he had played guitar very well and was in bands here in the states in HS) played in a classical Chinese Orchastra, taught two years in Taiwan,:teacher: traveled extensively, studied Asian Religions, mountain climbed, surfed, performed in seven countries. He returned home when he broke up with his girlfriend after five years (at least a year of being heartbroken and blind sided :brokemyheart:) He is now teaching in the states (an hour from here), ESL, inner city, with refugee families and children (he actually has full time public school position and two PNP agency positions). He says himself that it was my support of growth through his series of obsessions that led him where he is today. I don't think that he could have overcome the Huge obstacles :warrior: he did if he wasn't so incredibly driven and strong willed. (or obsessed!)

    Obsessions aren't all positive. But many times you can use them to make positives - finding others with similar interests to make friends, relating to your child yourself, expanding them into more socially acceptable versions of the same obsession, etc. Make lemonade!

    Your mileage may vary.
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Our difficult children ("gifts from God) tend to cycle and have good and bad weeks. On the good weeks we think "Oh, I was imagining it." I don't have to say what we think during the bad

    They may get better as they get older. My Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son is pretty even-keel most of the time. It was not like that when he was younger. But he is now eighteen.