New Here, Have Questions!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by KellyGirl, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. KellyGirl

    KellyGirl New Member

    Hi, I am new here, and I am so desperate to know if my DS's behavior is normal/typical for his age. My son is almost 4, and has been a difficult child since birth. As in infant, he cried non-stop, and was never a happy baby. He was always constantly irritable. He just wasn't one of those babies who smiled and laughed a lot. :(

    He is still the same. I feel like 95% of our day consists of trying to keep him satisfied. If things aren't like he wants, the whole family is MISERABLE. My 5 year old daughter gets the short end of the stick, because we have to spend a lot of our time trying to keep our son settled. I feel like a horrible parent for saying this, but I've always felt like something was "off" with him. Autism, Aspbergers....something like that has often crossed my mind.

    I've had him evaluated for behavior (he didn't talk until he was 3, and went through speech therapy), but he managed to behave while they were around. The person doing the evaluation said she didn't see any signs of anything but typical behavior. I didn't necessarily agree. If he doesn't get his way, he just EXPLODES!! Nothing really violent, just screaming and tantrums. He isn't physically abusive, other than hitting/kicking at us when he doesn't get his way.

    Typical behaviors for him are:
    -Hitting, screaming (he has speech issues, so most of what he says is hard to understand, so he screams), crying a lot during the day, not able to interact/play with my daughter without a tantrum/screaming about something, VERY picky about food (has to be certain brand of.. lets say..mac n cheese, nuggets), will NOT share, and does not care at all about the other person's feelings. It's like he has NO concept of empathy.

    He can be fine and in a good mood....UNTIL....Then, whatever you are doing is OVER!!!! There is NO negotiating with him at all. It is ALL or nothing with him. You can't make him be in a good mood once he gets started. He stays in a funk for longer than I think is normal. You can't use rewards/prizes/charts, with him at all. He does not care about working to get the reward, just anger when he doesn't get it. For instance, while potty training, I bought a little prize that he wanted. I told him that if he went on the potty, he could have it. I had to endure him crying/screaming/tantrums because I wouldn't just give it to him. He wouldn't accept the fact that all he had to do was use the potty to get it!

    I don't know what to do anymore!! I just love him so much, and I want him to be a HAPPY kid!!! The wonderful times when he is in a great mood are amazing! When he is in a good mood, it's not long before something sets him off.

    Sorry this was so long. I just want to see if this is typical behavior, or not. ANY help would be so much appreciated!!! My husband and I just don't know how to discipline him anymore!

  2. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi Kelly! Welcome to the crowd! It's a great group and you'll find a lot of experience AND strong shoulders!

    In response to what you've written? Get thee to a developmental pediatrician OR get a neuropsychologist done on him. While none of us are doctors and no one would even think to offer a diagnosis here, I'd say that you're probably barking up the right tree with your thoughts along the spectrum. Now don't let that scare you...he really does need to be evaluated in order to set up the right programs to help him out.

    I'd seriously look into Sensory Integration Disorder. He sounds like he's got some serious sensory stuff going on that may definately be affecting his behavior. If all of this is going on, occupational therapy could address a lot of his goings-on.

    I'd normally write more, but I've got all of the demons home for vacation this week and they're driving me up a tree.

    I'll try and hop on again later!

  3. KellyGirl

    KellyGirl New Member

    Thank You Beth!
    I will be making him an appointment with the Pediatrician soon for his checkup. I think I'm going to sit down with her and discuss these issues. She may can give me a referral somewhere. He did have "play therapy" at one point, but the therapist was a bit sporadic in when she'd come by. She seemed to think he was a typical, stubborn little boy. Most people don't get to see the "real" episodes he has.

    He does interact with people fine sometimes. He can be a sweet, loving, great little guy....until he doesn't get his way! Then, it's a different story. I just got a call from his daycare a few minutes ago (never a good thing...HA) and I talked to her about it. She said he talks back to her a lot as well.

    In the meantime, I will look up Sensory Integration Disorder!

    Thanks so much! I'm glad I found this forum!


    This sounds bad, but I almost would feel better if he had a diagnosis!
  4. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hey Kelly! It doesn't sound bad...a diagnosis at this point would be a breath of fresh air! Remember: most of us go nuts trying to tell the free world the "something isn't right" - then the rest of the free world manages to make us question whether or not we're good parents (or that we're nuts! lol!)! A diagnosis would remove any and all self-doubt. It also allows us to look into the appropriate interventions that will allow our kids to be the most productive people that they can be.

    While you're investigating the sensory stuff, do yourself a favor. Try and keep track of the issues surrounding the outbursts. See if you might begin to see a pattern emerge. It'll help you figure out ways to either try to work around them OR to identify the triggers. It can be a quick scribble in a notebook. Right now, it all seems willful or as you said "when he doesn't get his way". Keep your eyes and ears peeled. Are you noticing that he gets high strung when certain sights, sounds, smells, textures, etc. might be going on? For example: if he fights you putting on a shirt. Right now, in your eyes, he just doesn't want to get dressed so he's having a tantrum. Could there be a tag on the shirt that itches him? Could the material be something that just makes his skin crawl? He may not have the language to explain it, but sensory kids can actually feel pain from an itchy tag or "icky" material.

    Just a thought! Others will pop-in as the night progresses (as will I - it's hit or miss with the Collective being home!).

    Talk soon! And I'm glad we're able to give you a tiny bit of "peace of mind"!

  5. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hello and welcome.
    You must read "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. Your son is explosive (like mine :)) and conventional approaches to discipline do not work so well...
    You are off to a good start because you clearly really love your son and sounds like you are not really blaming him for his behaviour... Getting some evaluation would surely help, if it is one you can trust.
  6. KellyGirl

    KellyGirl New Member

    Thanks so much ladies!
    I honestly feel better knowing I'm not the only one dealing with this stuff!
    I will look into that book! I have bought "1-2-3 magic", "positive discipline"....those books, but while it may work on my daughter, not this little guy!

    I remembered something that he does every day that I'm not sure how to handle. He will NOT use the potty on certain seats. It HAS to be a round toilet seat, or he will NOT attempt to go. The daycare only has 1 toilet with a round seat (the others have that funny "U" shaped seat...he claims it's broken). Is that normal? He would rather use the bathroom in a pull-up than go on that seat!!! It seems every toilet in public is like that, so we have to put a pull-up on him everywhere we go, or he wets his pants.

    He had another episode last night as well. My daughter had a little music concert at her school. He was GREAT during the performance!!! Then, afterwards, he wasn't ready to leave yet, and he just screamed and cried for about 30 minutes until my Mother distracted him with Ice-cream....gee thanks Grandma!!

    I'm going to try and keep track of things that set him off. Maybe there is a pattern I can follow!!

    Thanks for letting me chat about this! Most people just say "oh, well he's just a typical boy".....LOL!!

  7. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    My son with Autism has/had the same type of bathroom issues. Thankfully, a lot of it has been outgrown as he has gotten older. I think your gut instincts that it is on the spectrum is a very good clue. Are you in the USA? If so, contact your school district for a "full and complete evaluation" for special education.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Another vote for:

    1/A neuropsychologist (I liked ours much better than the Developmental Pediatrician...matter of choice, I guess)

    2/I think you are thinking correctly. If he can not transition from one activity to another, if he makes poor eye contact with strangers, if he has any odd quirks...anyhow, I'd call a neuropsychologist.

    Keep us posted!
  9. KellyGirl

    KellyGirl New Member

    Thanks ladies. Yes, we are in the US. He was evaluated at age 3 (he's about to turn 4) for behavior issues. I don't think they got to see the real action though. He has an appointment to be tested for our area preschool this Friday. I might mention these issues to them, and see what I can do. They may be able to point me in the right direction! I certainly imagine that when he is forced to switch activities there, he will have an episode!! Hopefully that won't go unnoticed!

    He doesn't have issues with eye contact though. I think that's why the last evaluation showed he was in "normal" range. They said he was just stubborn! Ugh!

    Thanks SO much!! I will update!!

  10. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    Mostly saying the same as others:

    sounds like issues with:

    sensory integration - see The Out of Sync Child; needs assessment by Occupational Therapist (OT) specializing in this area if possible. Probably will not be covered by insurance. That helps explain the food picky thing - different textures/tastes/smells plus the round toilet maybe too because of the way it feels when he sits on it if you are expecting him to use it that way.

    oral motor problems - a lot of young kids who are picky eaters actually have oral motor issues. Their brain can't figure out what to do with food that has more than one texture/flavor since different textures and flavors are "processed" in different ways my your mouth/tongue/teeth. If he won't do food that's mixed together (soup, chili, casseroles) plus he is having speech articulation problems then he should be evaluated for this - one for the pediatrician to refer for as that should be covered by insurance

    communication - you can already see what happens when he cannot make himself understood. seriously this may be the biggest reason for a lot of the blow ups. This may sound off the wall but I would look into teaching him/learning sign language to use with him as an aid to communication. He can learn it much faster than you can. A lot of times you can get free/low cost instruction in ASL at your community college.

    trouble with transitions - can you spell "inflexible"? The Explosive Child will help with that. A lot of kids have trouble with transitions who have atypical brain development. I am not in the least surprised that 1-2-3 magic (for normal kids really ought to be the subtitle) is not working. Regardless of the "reason" for this generally speaking similar tactics can be tried to help reduce the difficulty. But a lot of those are hard to use with a 4 yo because he simply doesn't have the brain maturity to understand what you mean when you warn him that he will have to leave in 15 min/10 min/5 min. One of the best things to do - have set routines that you simply don't mess with for the most important parts of his day: rising, meals, bathtime, bedtime, naptime, special time with mom/dad. Rituals around bedtime are very helpful - first we take a bath, then we sing quiet songs or read the same book every night, then we get tucked in - whatever works for you.

    Got to run but hang in there.

  11. KellyGirl

    KellyGirl New Member

    Well, another bad morning. I am so upset!! I've never in my life heard my son say such angry things. He was mad because I wouldn't let him listen to a song over and over again this morning on the way to school. His sister wanted a turn to hear her music, and he just EXPLODED. Kicking my seat, screaming...He also said horrible things to me. I am on the verge of tears right now. He told me he wanted to pull up and tree and hit me, get a pow pow and shoot my eye, push me out of the car....HORRIBLE things!!! I have never ever heard him say such!!!! I have to get him some type of evaluation soon.

    I feel stuck because my husband is a full time student (after the job market forced him out of his long time job...ugh) and we lost our insurance. I did manage to get some insurance assistance for the kids, so I hope they will help with any of this.

    My husbands sister has mental illness, so this terrifies me to the core. I do NOT want my son to be like her!!!!

    On the sensory issue note. I myself have a type of food sensory issue. I am not surprised that he does too. I am beyond picky eating. I have a mild case of "Selective Eating Disorder". Thank goodness my daughter did not inherit that.

    I am just trying to get through my day today. Thanks for letting me talk about this. I feel so alone. None of my friends are dealing with this stuff.

  12. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Ahh Kelly - hugs to you...those episode bite - absolutely bite! Try not to take it personally (like that's soooo easy!)...right now it's how he's telling you "Oh Mummy, daaaarling, I do believe that my preference is for the song that I want to hear". Just document it so that you can discuss it with a professional.

    Unfortunately, these days happen. Just know if your heart that your doing the best you can and HE's doing the best HE can.

    Chin up! We're here for you! :notalone::hangin::hugs:

  13. KellyGirl

    KellyGirl New Member

    Thank you Beth!
    I resorted to crying at work...Ughh!!
    You just don't know how much it means to hear from someone who understands. This is a rough day.

    I did start a notebook, and this morning was my first entry. I am going to try hard to keep up with that.

    When I can calm down, I am calling his Peds. office and talking to his Dr. Maybe she can give me some advice.

    Thank You...REALLY!!!