Re: Grandson ~ Behavior Question

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by mom_to_3, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. mom_to_3

    mom_to_3 Active Member

    I thought I'd ask you veteran difficult child parents what you thought of this behavior my grandson exhibits. This is part of an email that I got from his pre-k teacher this afternoon. We see similar behaviors at home and wondered how you all would classify this. I find it really "interesting" how a just turned 5 yr. old, holds a grudge and acts on it later.

    ...he was at centers. He was caught throwing some materials and was NOT going to move his clip (until I counted to 10 and even then he was pushing back). Then he dumped out a bowl of dried pasta (because he was still mad...we made him pick it up).
    At lunch, Tina said he dropped his lunch tray--she said it seemed to be ON PURPOSE (can you get over it?) He had to sit by himself and was angry at us. My note.... yes, he will drop food or spill drinks ON PURPOSE if you make him angry. Grrrr.
    This morning his bus did not pick him up, so I took him to school. When I dropped him off and he had gotten out of the car, I said "have a good day!", my window was down and I heard him say when he got to the door, under his breath, "have a bad day" and then looked at me. Today was actually a good morning, and nothing negative went on as it almost always does. In fact, I had just finished whistling Skitta-marink-a-dink-a-dink to him and he was impressed, or at least he led me to believe he was. He couldn't believe I could whistle!
    The other day, I noticed a dark bruise on him and I asked him what happened. In a very monotone voice, looking straight ahead, not at me, he said "don't worry about it, I'm not dead." Okay........

    What do you all think?
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  2. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    Well my overriding thought is that this is an angry child. His anger seems sort of passive aggressive.

    I'm not sure about the "I'm not dead" comment. I certainly would inquire what he might have meant. It seems an odd comment coming from a 5 year old.

    Are you raising this grandchild? difficult child's often act out with- parents, but I find it especially concerning that he is acting out with- his grandma.
  3. mom_to_3

    mom_to_3 Active Member

    Yes, he has been in our home for 6 months. CPS removed him from his dad's house. Up until about a couple of months ago, he was mostly compliant with me. I did have to "work" things to keep him happy and working with me. He didn't do "time outs well and I tried hard not to have to do it because he went ballistic!

    It's interesting............... I raised his mother, our difficult child. She was very much the same way. If you got in her way of doing what she wanted, you could bet there would be a price to pay. This went on most of her life. I was really hard to explain at the time, and it seems like I am making more out of it with our grandson than one should be with a 5 yr. old, but it just sets off big alarms for me.
  4. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I'd be running, not walking to a good therapist. Too much P-A behavior, too much vindictiveness, too much negativity for a typical 5 YO in my opinion. It really does not sound like typical behavior, especially not when a teacher comments on it.

    No matter what, I wish you luck. He's going to be a handful.
  5. mom_to_3

    mom_to_3 Active Member

    Meow bunny, he's already a very big handful! I've had him in therapy since he came with us and he see's a psychiatrist. Something is very wrong with this picture, but I am not able to explain to them so that they understand. His therapist seems to thing that if I do a sticker chart and praise, praise, praise him, he'll get better. He won't work for a sticker chart or praise. He works for whatever is going on in his head, and it's not usually what I have in mind.

    My grandson tells me when I can have a sticker, or when he is happy with my behavior. He believes he is an equal or superior. I actually had to point this out to the therapist yesterday. She totally missed it.

    I am concerned. I don't think anyone knows whats going on, I don't believe the psychiatrist or therapist see anything/
  6. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    I also see some red flags there. The ability to hold onto hostility is troubling. Also his way of seeing himself as your equal. Are you pleased with the therapist? Maybe one that's a little quicker on the uptake, and maybe a male therapist? I hate to say it, but I noticed that the male psychologists and therapists that I took difficult child to were far less likely than similar female therapists to be taken in when he was manipulative, and less likely to encourage the stars and stickers approach (which never worked with my difficult child either). There is a male-male dynamic that is important for difficult children, I think.
  7. mom_to_3

    mom_to_3 Active Member

    I agree with you Katya about the male influence. I tried very hard to get him a male therapist. When he first came to live with us, he was seeing a male therapist. The only problem was that I was driving 60 miles each way. I did do that during the summer, but with my grandson in school now, it's really prohibitive. I had to find a new psychiatrist and therapist and we're limited because my grandson is on medicaid.

    It's funny you mention the male therapist thing. The one my grandson saw told me to have my husband wrestle a bit on the rough side with our grandson. He said it was how boys knew the men were stronger and learned that way to respect older men. Kind of to put them in their place. I don't recall my husband wrestling with our grandson, but he did learn early on not to challenge him. My husband came down hard and swift and got his message across. Boundaries are a very big problem with our grandson.
  8. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    Well I a m glad you have been taking him to a therapist even though she doesnt get it maybe she can tap into his anger. It may have something to do with the Dad situation. I hope the teacher isnt being to "hard" with him. I understand how they need to go with the rules and all that but I wonder if she understands the situation. About the bruise - maybe he got hit by another kid? I believe the "dead" comment was meant to let you know he was ok. Just my take on it. Maybe you could ask the teacher if anyone is bullying him.
  9. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    I am sincerely sorry to say that your grandson sounds a lot like my Rob when he was 5. He was filled with rage and adhd and attachment disorder. In addition to the anger, do any of these symptoms sound familiar?

    SYMPTOMS OF Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)
    • Superficially engaging and "charming" behavior
    • Indiscriminate affection toward strangers
    • Lack of affection with parents on their terms (not cuddly)
    • Little eye contact with parents, on normal terms
    • Persistent nonsense questions and incessant chatter
    • Lying about the obvious (crazy lying)
    • Stealing
    • Destructive behavior to self, others, and material things (accident prone)
    • Abnormal eating patterns
    • No impulse controls (frequently acts hyperactive)
    • Lags in learning
    • Abnormal speech patterns
    • Poor peer relationships
    • Lack of cause-and-effect thinking
    • Lack of conscience
    • Cruelty to animals
    • Preoccupation with fire

  10. mom_to_3

    mom_to_3 Active Member

    SYMPTOMS OF Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)
    Superficially engaging and "charming" behavior - yes
    Indiscriminate affection toward strangers - not physical affection, but very friendly
    Lack of affection with parents on their terms (not cuddly) - no
    Little eye contact with parents, on normal terms - yes at times
    Persistent nonsense questions and incessant chatter - yes
    Lying about the obvious (crazy lying) - yes
    Stealing - I haven't noticed
    Destructive behavior to self, others, and material things (accident prone) - accident prone, sometimes destructive to material things.
    Abnormal eating patterns - he has, but not at our home
    No impulse controls (frequently acts hyperactive) - yes
    Lags in learning - no, very, very smart actually.
    Abnormal speech patterns - not at all
    Poor peer relationships - maybe
    Lack of cause-and-effect thinking - maybe
    Lack of conscience - maybe / yes
    Cruelty to animals - most of the time very nice. My dog likes him. 1 time, I caught him being not so nice.
    Preoccupation with fire - not that I am aware of
  11. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I think you have enough yeses/maybe's there combined with his home life with his dad, that I would find an attachment therapist and get his/her opinion.
  12. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    M23, I don't know how many of those categories you have to say yes to but it might not be a bad idea to take the list and what you wrote to his therapist. It might give the therapist a snapshot of some behaviors to work on to prevent it from going further. Certainly with how chaotic his home life was, it would be easy for him to be on his way to this diagnosis.

    (at the time, Rob had all but 2- his eating and speech patterns were normal)

  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Is there still a plan to return him to his dad this month? does he know that he is going back to his dad? Is he visiting his dad/dad's home?

    You have one angry little boy. There is a LOT to be worried about, in my humble opinion. On the equality with you/adults, is there any chance he is somewhere on the autistic spectrum? In so many many ways my son thought he was my equal in ways the other 2 kids NEVER did. He has gotten past it, but only through learning it himself.

    I really think there are some attachment issues, even if it is not full-blown Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). Before he caem to live with you, he came to Grandma's and was safe and fed an nurtured there. He probably did NOT understand that you were not ALLOWED to keep him or you would have.

    Then things got even worse at his home and he was removed from there. He came to live with you. In some part of his heart or brain he probably thought he was saved forever from his father/stepmother and that way of life.

    Recently the courts at least discussed sending him back to his father. He would know about it - he is very smart and it would be very hard for him NOT to hear you speaking about it.

    THAT probably rocked his world. He thought he was safe, finally, and for good. And then it came up that he might or did have to go back.

    At 5 years old that would be very scary and it would make you very angry. I am sure he doesn't understand courts and "family reunification" and a messed up system that would send a little child back to people who abused/neglected him just because they took a class or ten.I know that most ADULTS (including myself) do NOT understand this system. Just IMAGINE how angry and scared he must be.

    I find that tdocs of the same sex tend to be less easily manipulated by a child. I know my daughter has gotten a couple of male tdocs totally wrapped around ehr finger, and the boys have done so with some female tdocs. This is jusst my opinion, but I do think that a male therapist will be less easily manipulated. But if you cna't fidn one, well, you do the best you can with what you have.

    I am sorry. I know all of this is tough to handle. Sending gentle hugs to all of you.

  14. mom_to_3

    mom_to_3 Active Member

    Grrrrrrrrr! I just lost a nice response I had written. I wish I knew why that happened, and I'd do whatever I could so it didn't happen again.

    I took my grandson to the psychiatrist this morning and relayed to her the problems we've been having and the knowledge of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). The short version............ She was receptive and sympathetic. She explained that she agreed with the fact that he did have a lot of the Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) symptoms, there are no medications to treat Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). We also have to take into account that his bio mom also displayed the same symptoms and so, have to believe this is more of a genetic thing. I agree.

    She did however say, that she could treat symptoms and rx'd Tenex. It is similar to clonidine and is used to treat aggression and outbursts. My difficult child took this. It's been so long ago that I don't really remember how it affected her. Let's just keep our fingers crossed that this makes a difference for him AND us!

    The psychiatrist did comment about the remarkable, and it truly is, change in our grandson's behavior from the first time we brought him in to now. :)

    Thanks ladies!
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  15. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    I am so heartened for you and your little guy to read this. It is great that she took it seriously and is willing to work with you.

    As she said, treating the symptoms is your only recourse at this point. HOWEVER, I was told by Rob's original adoption worker that they found major success treating Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kids with emdr. It's used for trauma and certainly the home lives that create a Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kid are traumatic. If you aren't familiar with this, check out

  16. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    I agree about the EMDR. That is the form of therapy my younger dtr is receiving for her dissociative disorder. She has come a long way in processing the trauma she experienced from living with an abusive older sibling. Also, I have been doing the EMDR too for anxiety issues and it has helped me tremendously.
  17. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Sorry. But I've been out of the loop for a bit. But isn't CPS planning to send grandson back home soon??

    Is it possible that some of this behavior is stemming from the fact that he is being sent back into what was an abusive/neglectful home? I don't know much about Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). It sounds as if there is a foundation for which to at least stay on the alert for it. But I was wondering if grandson isn't just expressing his rage at being sent back home now that he has experienced a normal loving environment. I know CPS was convince his parents / family are all fine and good now, but I doubt seriously that grandson believes a word of it.

    I'm glad therapist is one who listens and values your input. That is always a major plus.