So many possibilities..

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Rexy, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. Rexy

    Rexy New Member

    Hi all, I've just come across this forum and am hoping to get a bit of feedback on my step son, or even just a bit of support. I can't find many support forums which seems bad considering the amount of troubled children out there.

    Backstory - difficult child lived with his Mum and Dad (my now fiancee) for the first 18 months of his life. I don't think there was much maternal bonding at all. At 18 months, his mother assaulted his Dad, and difficult child and Dad left. My DF was a solo dad until difficult child was 3 years old, when I came on the scene. At this point he had long (hour plus) tantrums and very clingy to Dad. Started toilet training at 2.5 years. I fell pregnant not long after we got together and 5 months ago our daughter came into the world.
    I know that thats a lot of change for a small boy to handle but I think his problems are deeper than that.
    He has tantrums that can last 3+ hours, where he just screams and cries and destroys everything in his path. During them he rubs his legs together until they are raw and the skin breaks, resulting in huge scabs all over his legs. Lately he has been headbanging and punching/slapping himself or scratching himself til he bleeds.
    He still is not completely toilet trained, he wets at least once a day and will soil himself and sit in it for hours without caring. We now have a reward box where he gets a little toy if he goes poos in the toilet. It is the only thing that stops me from spending all day scrubbing nappies and undies! He still wears nappies at night, as he has no interest in night training. We tried for a while, but he never grasped the concept of getting up to go toilet, and us waking him up and taking him just resulted in a screaming kid in the middle of the night.
    He also gets agressive very quickly. I have been punched, kicked, scratched til bleeding, had things thrown at me. My daughter has had toys thrown at her. My DF has been punched repeatedly in the head for saying that difficult child could not play on the playground because it was raining. He 'punishes' his cousins for doing something minor by hitting them. Pushes kids at daycare over for no reason.
    He whines and whinges constantly, for anything and everything. If he is told no, then it escalates into a tantrum. Even if I say "you can't have sugar on your cornflakes because we don't have any' and then show him the empty container, he cannot comprehend anything other than me being "mean".
    He doesn't understand or respond to consequences. I told him yesterday that we would not go to the park because he scratched the paint on my car and he just said 'but I want to' over and over and over. No matter how many times I explain the reasoning, he doesn't get it.
    His social skills are also behind where they should be. He cannot cope with sharing and still has a 'I saw it, its mine' approach to everything. He very rarely plays with other kids, and if he does, its chasing. He will not play on the playground at the park if even one other kid is on it. He stares at older kids and then follows them, which the older kids find unnerving and odd. If he is showing someone something, he just stands there with his tongue hanging out and grunts, holding out his toy or whatever. He babbles quite a lot and still uses baby talk frequently, but also can structure a paragraph.
    He cannot follow a 2 or 3 park command, and cannot draw anything close to a person, or copy a letter/square, which most 4.5 year olds can do. Cannot accept responsibility for a mistake and blames everything else (if he trips, he punches the ground).
    Most concerning though is that last week he tried to make our pet rabbit bounce and fly. As you can imagine, the rabbit was left severely injured and had to be put down. difficult child cried about this but seemed more concerned that now he didnt have a rabbit and when could he get a new one. That night and the next day, he described exactly how he did it and what injuries were caused. His daycare teacher said he had been bragging about it and 'was really getting off on it'.

    It frustrates me when I see his 2 year old cousins passing milestones like toilet training with ease and we are still struggling at nearly 5. It has taken me nearly a year of pushing to get mental health input, as everyone else thought it was a parenting issue. Well, 3 parenting courses down and I'm still pulling my hair out. I cannot leave him alone with the baby for a second, and he gets so demanding that between his and Gremlin, nothing gets done around the house, and DF comes home grumpy cause the house is still a mess.

    I'm thinking there might be a bit of conduct or attachment disorder going on, does anyone else have any ideas? We should be seeing Child Mental Health in the next few weeks.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there and welcome to the board (although sorry you had to come).

    You can't compare this child to his cousins. Sounds like he was probably born differently wired (autistic spectrum?) and the many changes in his young life did not help. I don't know what country you are in, therefore I'm not sure who to tell you to take him to, but he needs a complete evaluation. In the US we often used neuropsychs.

    This is NOT a bad, defiant boy out to make you all miserable. This boy has issues that need addressing and first you need to find out if he has a childhood disorder. I'm thinking that a pediatrician is not trained well enough to give you good need a different sort of professional who can test him.

    I have a son on the autism spectrum and you could be describing him at that age. Your stepson needs serious interventions. Once he gets help, he should be able to settle down. In the meantime, you'd better keep an eye on your daughter because he WILL meltdown and conventional parenting won't work for him. He is going to need tons and tons of time and help and a professional who understands him, regardless of what is wrong. Did bio. mom drink or use drugs while pregnant? That's huge.

    Others will come along.
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    This won't likely be a "mental health" problem either.
    The best place to start is to get a comprehensive evaluation... a REALLY comprehensive evaluation.

    While you're going through the process of getting there (it takes a while, unfortunately), have you ever read the book "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene?
  4. Rexy

    Rexy New Member

    We are in New Zealand, child mental health here includes neuropsychologist, and covers Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), autism, intellectual disability, mental disorders, adhd etc. Its definitely an improvement from the " i love sticker charts" psychologist we've had.
    As far as I can tell there was no smoking or drinking during his time in the womb, though she did drink a lot of energy drinks.
    I've just found a couple of excerpts of The Explosive Child to read through while I track down the book :)
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Your difficult child is probably not a one-diagnosis kid. Lots of us on this board have those...
    Some of what you list on your sig... could be attachment related, especially given what you know about his first three years. But there may well be other things... spectrum or MI, for example.

    Skip conduct disorder and/or ODD... those describe a behavior problem, but there is no way to address it. SO often, the behavior issues are the result of something else (or multiples).