Sweet and Aggressive Three Year Old Son, breaking my heart

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by StayPositive31, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. StayPositive31

    StayPositive31 New Member

    Hi Everyone,

    After having two playdates in one day end because of my son's aggression, I just had to find some support.

    My son is a bright, curious, creative, affectionate, funny, social (or perhaps aspiring to be social), energetic, impulsive, often physically aggressive with other kids, impulsive, and exhausting.

    We are stuck in a heart breaking cycle of isolation because everytime we are around other kids his age or younger, someone gets hurt and we have to leave. He has been evaluated by a developmental pediatrician and a pediatric psychiatrist who both speculate that ADHD and/or sensory processing disorder (hyposensitive) could be eventual diagnosis. He currently has a diagnosis of adjustment disorder with mixed disturbance of emotion and conduct.

    He will be undergoing an Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation and a general evaluaition by the county within the next few weeks. I know we are on the right path to getting services and hopefully improvement is on the way. BUT, he starts preschool in 5 days and I am really worried about the safety of the other kids and the ability of the teachers to prevent and handle his aggression.

    He will always hit if someone takes something from him, which I do not condone but can at least comprehend. It's the seemingly random incidents that trouble me so much. Just today he walked up to a girl at the playground and threw a fistfull of sand right in her eyes. They weren't even playing together, and the poor thing didn't even see him coming.

    I am getting to tired of seeing the look in other parents' eyes when these things happen- pure disgust at both of us. I have become the ultimate helicopter mom because I feel it's my duty to be within an arm's reach at all times (this will obviously not be the case at school).

    I am really just looking for someone to tell me that they have experienced this, and that things got better. And perhaps some advice on how to face the world everyday with all of this going on. I am a social person, as is my son ironically, and we are both bored and lonely because of this.

    Thanks for reading this long post, and thanks in advance for any replies.
  2. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hi StayPositive. Welcome to the forum. I am sorry you are experiencing this and do understand something of your despair. Having this kind of child is a very isolating experience and one meets, unfortunately, a lot of judgement and not much compassion and understanding. In that sense, a diagnosis will probably be your friend.
    From the list of adjectives you give, your son sounds very like mine (who is now five). When he was younger, he was forever hitting other children. He still does, but it is less often and almost always as part of play that is too brusque and rough, rather than in anger or with intent to hurt. So without obviously being able to predict what will happen for your son, I do think there is good reason to hope this will get better. That said, though, I'm afraid social relations are still difficult for my son and he is still held back by his inability to control himself, his great impulsiveness and immaturity in certain situations (he is maturer than his years in other ways). I don't know whether medication helps with these things. We haven't gone down that road yet.
    You have to be dynamic and take action, not hide your head in your sand and think all this will go away because it almost certainly will not though it may well improve a lot. It doesn't sound as if you are doing that.
    I hope others will come to with good (even better :)) advice.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I am thinking that he has some sort of childhood disorder which causes him his odd behavior. This could make him unable to stay in a regular preschool setting. Do you have to send him yet?

    Your son is too young to get a solid diagnosis for sure, but I would sure want to have him evaluated (I like neuropsychs) to get a working diagnosis, one that normally changes with time. At least then you can qualify for services and get early intervention. Do not expect him to outgrow it without help. It sounds pretty extreme. Can you tell us more about him so we can help you better? How was he as an infant? Did he cuddle? Did he sleep well, eat well, cry a lot? Does he live with his two biological parents? Any disruptions in caretakers in his early years? Any abuse? Any delays in talking or eye contact or anything else? Was he adopted, maybe at an older age? Any divorce, new stepparents, siblings? The more you tell us, the better we can help. Symptoms alone don't tell much of a story.

    Welcome to the board, but sorry you had to be here.
  4. StayPositive31

    StayPositive31 New Member

    Hi Midwest Mom,

    Thanks for your reply. My son was a very difficult infant, very unhappy, hard to calm, terrible sleeper, fought naps from birth and only napped for 30 mins at a time (even at two months old!). He was rolling over at 21 DAYS!!, and always had his eyes wide open to the world, and had a very difficult time disengaging from his sorroundings.
    Also, my pregnancy was extremely stressful. My son was healthy all the way through, but one month before I became pregnant, my mother was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer out of the blue, I spent my pregnancy caring for her, and she passed 8 weeks before my son was born (on Mother's Day!). I had postpardum depression, but was able to recover fairly quickly.
    My son has always been a sensory seeker. He started biting at 4 months old and it didn't start to taper off until a few months ago (he turned three in May). He doesn't bite children, but constantly puts his mouth on me, and mouths objects all day long.
    One MAJOR factor worth mentioning is that my husband has ADHD. This is why the docs are heavily leaning toward that for my son. I personally think its a combo of ADHD and sensory seeking issues. He loves loud loud rock music, and will fall asleep in the car with ACDC (or whatever rock song comes on the radio) blaring in the car. It's the only time he will nap!
    The good news is that we have started some behavior modification techniques at home and he is really responding. He earns tickets for good behavior and turns them in for rewards. At home, things run pretty darn smoothly. We are a happy, affectionate household.
    The main problem, of course, is that he is SO unpredictable with other kids and when he does lash out, it can be dangerous. He once attacked his best friend while they were ON TOP of a playground structure, nearly knocking him off. Things are far worse when he is tired. Depsite his outward energy, my son appears to be fighting through fatigue a lot of the time. His eyes will be red around the edges, he'll be clumsy, yawn. I wonder if he's sleeping deeply enough, since he sleeps through the night from 7:30pm to 6:30am.
    I am actually praying for some kind of real diagnosis, so that I can finally stop worrying that it's all my fault. I just want the world to see him for the sweet, snuggly boy that he really is!!
    Thanks again for listening...
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Hmmm... fatigue. Possible ADHD. Possible sensory issues...
    Has he had an Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation? For both motor skills and sensory issues?
    Either, or both, could be a factor, and would contribute to both "overload" and fatigue.

    They likely won't be able to catch this one for some time yet (usually age 7 or 8), but keep your eyes out for auditory processing problems. These can also really add to fatigue... and to lots of misunderstandings. Not all APDs involve language processing. Sometimes the problem can be things like background noise... and given how "quiet" most 3 year olds are... (NOT), if he has some form of Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) that involves auditory figure ground, then being around other rowdy kids could quickly push him into overload.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would be considering taking him for an evaluation so you at least have some direction. in my opinion sounds like more than ADHD to me. Obviously, if he is ever dangerous to other children that is a problem. For me, if this were my kid, I'd have my eyes out for any form of autistic spectrum disorder. The sensory issues are a red flag there as were his early unsettled behavior and inability to sleep. Sounds too familiar to me! :) Some kids are depressed too, but I think your son sounds complicated and a good early evaluation (I prefer neuropsychs) is not out of order in my opinion. You are NOT a bad parent and didn't cause this. Sounds like he was born wired differently...and more sensitive to stimuli and high strung. Early intervention is the key, but you do need some sort of working diagnosis to get any. I'd hate to see him in trouble once he starts school...for maybe hurting other kids. Has he had any delays? Any strange quirks besides the mouthing? My son used to suck his shirt so badly that it was soaked halfway down his body...

    Good luck!
  7. chloedancer

    chloedancer New Member

    How is his speech? Also, how did you ppd affect bonding? You may need to teach him social responses
  8. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Welcome! it's not your fault! So many people sit and judge, yet they don't know everything that you're doing...the Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation is a great step...the idea that sensory integration is an issue sounds pretty insightful at this time. There are a lot of things on the market that may help him "step back" a little bit - we found a weighted blanket really helped a lot...stress balls, worry stones, etc. as they got a little older really helped too!

    Keep up the good work...it really seems like you're on board with seeking out the problem and attacking it like a true Warrior Mom!

    We're here for you :) Beth
  9. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Yes! I have been in your exact shoes. Big difference being that he has never had a real friend. Lots of playmates but his social skills are very disordered. He desperately wants friends and tries hard though! I remember bawling at a playground the first time my son took turns on a slide and there were no moms coming up to me to complain about him. I still go thru that and he is 15!
    Along with your other evaluations I might suggest a long shot.....when my son has sudden behaviors it is usually linked to simple seizures. You can't see them but they hit his emotional centers among other things and to him whatever is around must have caused the feeling. We did lots of Occupational Therapist (OT) to help regulate how hard and soft he throws and many sessions even now to learn how to play with others.
    I agree it is likely a combo thing or symptoms that fall under an umbrella diagnosis like autism spectrum or childhood bipolar or? ???. Keep good journals of sleep and behaviors esp what he was doing before and after. Note if any sounds or smells happened etc. Triggers for my son can be hunger, pain, noises, social misunderstandings, change in routines, and a huge one is transitions from one thing to another. You I'm sure already have a pretty good list, LOL.
    welcome, you are for sure not alone!
  10. cindic01

    cindic01 New Member

    It sounds like you are describing my son at that age. We went to many doctors and got three very different diagnosis. I resorted to a dietician and homeopathic remedies as well and here is what I can tell you worked for us. I took my son off as much sugar and highly processed foods as possible. I also read a book about HSP, or the Highly Sensitive Person as I came to realize he had almost no sensory filter. What this means, is bright light, someone brushing against him, loud, sudden sound was intolerable to him. While it is annoying for the rest of us, for him it caused over the top reactions which seemed to make no sense. I took my son to Occupational Therapist (OT) at age 4 and it was amazing what they did with him. They put him in an environment where he could run and play on an inflatable surface, and he was unable to calm, pace or soothe himself. Overstimulated. They then put a weighted vest on him, (like the Xray aprons you wear at the dentist) and he immediately was able to rest. My son was not able to participate in organized sports as it was too stimulating and overwhelming, and we had to keep the lights in his room somewhat dim, and in many other ways manage his environment (socks with no seam in the toe, t-shirts with no tags or worn inside out). Now he is 19 and is an extremely talented artist. He was accepted to one of the top 2 schools in the world, graduated with straight A's from HS and was the president of a club he started in HS. He is caring, fun, talented, smart, charismatic and adored by many. He still chews his nails as coping is difficult, but he knows what the triggers are and works to self soothe. Please know, the worst things you can do are to baby him because of his limitations or to discipline him because of them. I was firm in my expectations but also helped him find real world solutions to his unique challenges. He does not see himself as handicapped at all, and just accepts this as part of him. Hope this helps.
  11. Justmegirl

    Justmegirl New Member

    Wow. I have no advice, as I just found this board today and signed up, and typed up my own introduction to MY sweet and aggressive 3 yr old son, but I just wanted to let you know that I completely understand what you are feeling. My son is very much the same in many ways. The parts of your post that got me crying were the judgement by other parents part, and the troubling aspect of the seemingly random acts of aggression toward other children. I am VERY new to this journey, but I wanted to give you some (((hugs)))...