New & Desperate for help with my 3y/o's atrocious behavior!!!!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Nixxx, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. Nixxx

    Nixxx New Member

    Hello All!

    I'm a first-time mother of a 3y/o boy and am at my wits end with his behavior! He's recently become a completely different child, and most of the changes began when he was enrolled in Pre-K this September. He wasn't perfect before, but I can't even believe this is MY child anymore. He's becoming increasingly nasty, aggressive, disrespectful and just plain...bad. He's about to be thrown out of his school! He talks back to his teachers as well as his father and I. He's hitting other children, a lot. Just last week at recess he went over to a group of second graders and punched four of them in the face, leaving bruises on some. He talks back, tells the teachers ”I don't care!”. His teacher told him he was pushing her buttons and he asked her which ones he's pushing as how many more could he push. He pulled his pants down in the school hallway in front all the kids, teachers, and especially the principal, who is a nun! He's constantly bad in school and at home now. We've taken toys (so many that he's got NONE left), we've done time-out, yelling, NOTHING WORKS. The principal said she thinks he may have an impulse control problem. I took him to the pediatrician, she found that he had allergies and a sinus/respiratory infection, gave me antibiotics and allergy medications. She told me that his behavior could be because he's not feeling well and not getting restful sleep, to let the infection clear up and see how he behaves. Nothing has changed. I'm afraid they'll try to say he's got adhd and try to medicate him, but he's only three so... I just don't know what happened to my super smart, funny, caring and genuinely happy boy! He learned his alphabet, shapes (square, circle, triangle, rectangle, octagon, trapezoid, hexagon, diamond, etc.), colors, counting and to read, all before he could really speak. He's always been way ahead of others how own age and I was concerned that he'd become bored and distracted if the pace was too slow in his classroom. I chose the school I did because the pre-k class had 3,4 & 5 year olds in it and has a real curriculum, not just playtime all day. I was told that each child would be taught at their own pace and none would be held back to level of the child/children that are just beginning their learning. I see now, that this isn't true. They're learning one new letter of the alphabet per week, as well as other things.,, its not a bad class by any means, but I do think he's bored and causes distractions. I wanted him to learn to socialize, since he's never even attended daycare before. Three first two weeks of school he was fine, better than fine, I was hearing about how great it was that he was so advanced, etc. Well, here we are in November and all anyone talks about us his awful behavior. The teacher said to him ”I keep hearing how smart you are, but I don't see it, you can't even follow directions.” I know she's got to be frustrated with him, he's out of control, I know it. Because of his age, he can't even be skipped up a grade or two to see if having more challenging material will alleviate the boredom and hopefully the behavior.

    I'm so disheartened, I feel horrible and like I'm failing my son. I don't want his behavior to continue, worsen or overshadow what an amazing, funny, loving and big-hearted little boy he really is.
    I don't know what to do anymore!!!!!!!
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Welcome to the board Nixx.

    It's not unusual to see a child's behavior suddenly take on a change for the worst when they attend school for the first time. (new environment, testing boundaries, ideas from other kids behavior, ect) But that is not usually going to be to the extreme you're seeing, not from a child who didn't give you issues before he started school.

    What was his behavior like before school? Was he able to follow rules, sit for a period of time (guessing yes with his skills), did get get along well with other children? Did he get a chance to socialize much with other children outside the home?

    Has anything happened that could be considered disruptive in the home environment? A move, death in the family, relationship breakup, something along those lines that a 3 yr old would have issues processing and could be acting out instead?

    You're not failing your son. You just need to figure out what is going on with him. Have you attempted to calmly sit down and just ask him why he is doing the things he's doing in school, you have to be careful not to get angry at his answers though or if he doesn't know how to verbalize it yet. Sometimes just calmly asking them, like you'd ask them what they had for enough to get you some answers.

    Just because his behavior has gone wonky doesn't necessarily mean there is a major issue. My granddaughter Aubrey went off the deep end when her parents put her into day care at 2 1/2. The sweet angelic little girl at home became the hitter, biter, kicker, food thrower, non nap taker, ect at the daycare. Her parents were stunned and at a loss of what to do. But Aubrey up until that point had only her older cousin Darrin to socialize with. She and Darrin got along fantastic with each other. So when kids at the daycare would take a toy from her, or push her (accident or not) she'd go on the attack because up until that point there had been no lessons on how to react because it hadn't come up. Not following the rules was because up til then mommy and daddy and Nana (me) were boss.......not some stranger she'd never met.

    It took Aubrey a few months to settle in and adjust. My daughter wanted to remove her but I told her to wait and see if she could manage the transition on her own. Several months later daycare had no more issues out of her that was out of character for her peer group.

    In answer to why she refused to take naps......Aubrey said cuz she's not a baby and didn't take naps at home.......her answers were similar to other things and were logical when viewed through a almost 3 yr old's eyes. Not necessarily right by any means, just it made sense to her. Talking with her helped. It just took time.

    If the behavior doesn't begin to wain after some more time or talking to him ect, then maybe you could have him evaled to see if it is something else. But it's strange to see a child that was basically well behaved do a complete turn around suddenly. That is usually environmental, not always, but usually.

    All 3 of mine passed through the awful transition to school and back to their normal dispositions after a period of time.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there and welcome to the board.

    I am going to assume (I know I could be wrong so I need your clarification) that there were some "red flags" even before he started school and that perhaps the stimulation of all those kids just made it come out in all of it's glory (sarcasm here).

    Can you tell us a bit about his early development? I had two kids who were very early to memorize shapes, states, the alphabet, one even taught himself to read by sight at age two. The latter still loves to memorize things and he is eighteen and he has an amazing memory for many things, often not important ones. Ok, here come the questions. The more you tell us, the easier it will be for us to offer some supportive feedback and advice:

    1/How was his early development besides memorizing shapes, etc. Did he like to cuddle? Did he make strong eye contact with everyone, including strangers? How are his motor skills? Does he engage in a lot of imaginative play with toys or does he sort of take them apart, ignore them, or line them up? How does he react to transitions? Can he start and stop an activity without getting anxious? Does he ever repeat almost verbatim what you say to him, what he hears on TV, etc? Does he understand how to relate to his same age peers or does he sort of play beside them or just get in their faces and put them off? What triggers hitting or defiance?

    2/Are there any psychiatric problems on either side of his genetic family tree? Any substance abuse? Is he living with both biological parents? If not, did he have any early disruptions or chaos in his life?

    Please know that this is NOT your fault and I am not trying to find out if you caused him to be this way. You did not. He is probably just wired differently and life is harder for him, but not due to yourself. I suggest getting him evaluated, although he is young. There are places that tentatively diagnose young children...the diagnosis usually changes as the child gets older, but it's a start...a way to get your foot in the door for help. Any early help is good help and can make a huge difference in the longterm.

    Welcome to the board. You will get more responses from some very smart and kind people.
  4. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi Nixx, I second what both posts said, and certainly agree with midwest mom, it will be helpful for you to share some early developmental history. There are many of us here who have kids who share similar behaviors to your son. You are not alone. My son took the evaluation books off the table and ran across another nearby conference table and threw them in the basket during his first neuropsychologist evaluation at age 4.2! Yeah, by then a kid in preschool had to go to the hospital with a bloody face from a block Q threw at him. It feels terrible when people see your child as a "naughty" kid. Impulse control??? yes, probably. but that does not necessarily mean adhd. There are many reasons for impulse control issues. He could have sensory integration issues, developmental issues, mental health issues, etc. And none of those means he is IQ/ability impaired.

    I would add to midwest mom's questions regarding play... if he does "imaginative" it a copy of what he sees on tv or in movies or what other kids do, or can he take what one kid suggests, then expand on it, then let the other child modify, or add or just have the characters take turns etc.

    Sometimes play can look imaginative but is really scripted.

    These questions may seem odd, but each of us here has some areas that we are better versed in. Your answers will help those of us who can relate to share with you better. It is not judgement at all, and if you dont know, that is fine too.

    Start calling now for an evaluation. Even if you decide you dont need it, it can take time so best to start. Many of us like to have neuropsychological testing done (neuropsychologist). It is a comprehensive evaluation that can help identify issues and tell differences between different diagnosis. They give ideas for how the child learns and how they process information in the world. This information will help you and your doctor to decide on treatment. It may not be medicine, may be ordering occupational therapy or a therapeutic program (my son went to a specialized preschool paid for by his insurance).

    This is not an unusual story in the world, dont be afraid, you are not not not alone.
  5. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Welcome to our forum. You're among parent who understand what you're going through--we know it's tough.

    I agree with the others that there are red flags and that a visit to your pediatrician to ask for a referral for an evaluation is in order. In addition, I also think it would be a good idea to contact the school district and request an evaluation through them. Early intervention preschool may be something you want to look at as they'll focus on the social skills and have structure in place to help children become successful in a classroom environment.

    Are his interests typical for a child of his age?
    Does he like to line up toys or other household objects?