Videotaping difficult child behaviors

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by firehorsewoman, Jul 3, 2012.

  1. Have any of you videotaped your difficult child's behaviors? If so do you use these videos to share with doctors? I am conflicted about this. I have said many times that I am going to videotape my difficult child but then feel like I am violating him somehow if I do. BUT...I just don't think the doctors can appreciate how he behaves without seeing it for themselves.

    Tonight was the first time I have ever videotaped him. He has an intake appointment with a new psychology group and his regular psychiatry appointment both later this week. I want to have something to show them being that he is so quiet and subdued at the psychiatry appointments. I don't know how he will react to the psychology group since it has been a couple years since we have tried that route. When he was much younger he attended a therapy program where they were able to see many of his troubling behaviors. But he was much younger then and not able to hold it together at all.

    difficult child has been on a horrible emotional roller coaster all week long....roller coaster rides are pretty typical for him but this week he was on the big "E" ticket ride. One minute he is climbing on the furniture, singing inappropriate songs, laughing hysterically and the next he is crying his head off and talking nothing but doom and gloom. I really don't know what is more troubling at this point....his:
    >extreme hyperactivity followed by depression
    >very vulgar cursing, yelling and screaming, hitting, throwing things
    > defiance, purposeful annoyance of others
    >saying and singing sexually inappropriate things "I stuck my penis in a hot girl" "My girlfriend (girl from school) has a nice smooth butt and we touch each other's butts all of the time" "Sexy Roberto eating a burrito in a Jacuzzi" many times singing/saying these things while taking his clothes off...several times just today.
    >hysterically crying and telling me things like, his father and I are not his real parents, that we are his foster parents and that his baby photos are fake or pictures of his sister that we are trying to pass off as him. Telling me he hates his stepmother. Telling me that easy child has ruined his life. Telling me that we don't spend enough time with him or do what he wants us to do. Telling me he will behave if other people stop irritating him.
    > saying that he wants to die, saying that he wants someone to kill him
    etc, etc, etc
    All of the above happened in the span of two hours or less. Add in all the time calming him down, talking, hugging and I am worn out.

    I was not able to get much video because during much of the meltdown difficult child was not wearing clothing. But I did capture some of it with him under his blanket. He says that it is embarrassing that I am taping him. He stopped the behaviors after about 5 minutes of video. He told me that he will purposely act calm if I try to videotape him again. I told him that was fine by me. A peaceful solution is all I am asking for and I would rather have peaceful videos of him anyway. Once he figured it out that I was not going to stop videotaping he calmed down. So far so good tonight but I am still conflicted about taping him. It seems so violating in a way. Am I totally messed up about this?
    Lasted edited by : Jul 4, 2012
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I think videotaping him is fine. Ultimately it helps him. If possible, can you set up the camera were he doesn't notice it? I wouldn't stop taping when he gets naked, I would just tip the camera up so you still get the audio even if the visual is just of the top if his head or even the ceiling.
  3. Angela41

    Angela41 New Member

    I think it's fine- no one who sees my son outside of our house can even fathom what I tell them about his behavior at home. It's interesting that your son says that he will "act calm" if you video him- it implies that, at least he believes, he has some control over his actions. I would test that- when he's at the height of an episode, pull out the camera to see if he reigns it in.
  4. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I agree with Angela. It would be interesting to see if he really does suddenly act calm just because you bring the camera out. That implies a LOT of control and purposeful behaviors. I would also be one to test that theory. As for his privacy, if it's strictly to show the professionals and then erased, it's not a violation at all. If you've explained these behaviors and aren't being believed, the help or lack thereof that you're getting is not going to be helpful. You need ACCURATE diagnosing and help that ony visual PROOF can get.
  5. llamafarm

    llamafarm Member

    Great idea on the videotape. I have tried to let my sis ichat during a rage by difficult child, but he always reins it in when he knows she is listening. It does show that he has some self control, but you know, that really doesn't make me feel any better. Thinking of you. This is not easy.
  6. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    We have told difficult child that we were going to do this and that we were going to show the therapist and the psychiatrist exactly what we are dealing with at home, and the few times that we actually pulled out the camera he stops the behavior as soon as he thinks it's on, which drives me crazy.

    I do not feel conflicted about showing it. Obviously, it's not something that I would show to the family on home movie night, but if it would help his therapist and psychiatrist really see what is happening in your home I don't see a problem with it. These professionals have the same privacy regulations as a regular MD does. You can show them what is happening and they must keep it private, unless they feel what they see is an abusive situation, and I am assuming that what you are recording is not you beating the daylights out of him.
  7. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    I recently started a thread saying that we should focus on unsolved problems and not behaviors which are symptoms. The extreme behaviors which you have described so well take place under certain conditions and in the context of lagging skills and unmet concerns. Video taping and even attaching to the behaviors some diagnosis still just describes what your kid is doing. More important is to put these behaviors into a context , specific detail and also get his input as to his concerns

    take a look at the assessment of lagging skills and unsolved problems , not a check list but a guide - try to give as much detail as possible

    Medication can be helpful for hyperactivity, impulsivity , inattention and emotional regulation problems so as to facilitate collaborative problem solving

    video taping - as I said only describes what he is doing and not the underlying factors . The embarressment effect helps us and them to hold things in , but when pushed sometimes they stop caring or are prepared to put up a bigger fight . It is not really solving the problem.

  8. I also vote for videotaping. I think that you can glean a lot of information for the doctors from it. If he calms down it shows some sense of self control - even if it is for a short period of time. If he doesn't calm down it will show other things.

    I also think you should turn the camera up or just video from the shoulders up if he is getting naked. If the camera is pointed at the ceiling I would speak to him in a descriptive manner or describe what he is doing so the doctors know what is happening and aren't just hearing what he is saying.

    Wishing you well.
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hey, I say go for it. It will help with-his diagnosis and treatment.
    I totally understand the violation aspect, but that's not what this is about. It's about allowing professionals to view true behavior in true context. Period.
    It's not for difficult child to understand it at this point.
    YOU are still the parent.
    And tell him to put on boxer shorts because he may be on Candid Camera at any time. If he decides not to, it's not like he wasn't warned.
    Plus, be prepared to run ... in case he tries to take the camera away from you. That's what my difficult child did.
  10. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Depends what your goal is. If you are not getting professionals to understand or support you then do what you need to do to let them see the needs. Once you are developing a relationship with the professionals you can work on underlying causes. Sometimes you need to get that foot in the door. Also there quite a bit of research going on that is using video to help with developing skills. It actually has you edit out the mistakes and shows the individual doing the skill you are working on. I have at times videoed for my own protection show I'm not doing things difficult child is saying or provoking. I only do it after things already are at that point so it is not something that is a trigger in itself.
  11. Perhaps I am confused about what advice you are trying to give me????

    I believe that my son has exhibited extreme behavior since birth. He cried constantly despite good medical work-ups, tried every special baby formula made at the time, Zantac elixir, etc. I spent almost every waking hour carrying him around in a sling that first ex-husband stayed at work as many hours a day as possible just to be away from the situation and would tell me, "Does this kid ever stop crying??!!!" What lagging skills and unmet concerns were causing the extreme behavior then? Or am I totally misunderstanding what you are trying to tell me?

    My point is that my son has had "difficult", "extreme" "difficult child" or whatever behavior issues since birth. An infant's needs are pretty basic and they were being met completely yet he still was very upset most of the time. As his mother I see his problems now as just a more mature version of what I saw when he was an infant.
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    do what you need to do to let them see the needs.

  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    It took me a long time to "get" this. But... just because I did everything I knew, tried everything there was, doesn't mean that I was able to meet difficult child's needs. And... difficult child knows that his needs went unmet... but a small child has no context in which to understand that you were doing everything possible - just the internal gut feel of needs not being met.

    I say this not to make you feel guilty or as though you are a bad mother. YOU, as well as your difficult child, were not able to get what you needed from the medical system - whether that be simply because nobody knew back then, right through to outright malpractice. You did everything you could find to do... and maybe it wasn't enough.

    If your difficult child's early years were so rough, yes, that often carries over. They don't "outgrow" it, but they can often be helped. Try looking into "insecure attachment".
  14. I read the following: and none of the "insecure attachment" types fit what was going on with my son or in my home when he was an infant. When I read about the types of attachment the "secure" type best describes what was going on. I was a stay at home mom for the first year of his life and until I divorced his father and I worked alternating schedules so one of us was always home with the children. His distress for the vast majority of the time (no one is 100% perfect) was responded to consistently, "lovingly" (the catch all term used in the article) and if anything he should have a very secure attachment type. He also reacted like a securely attached child as described in the "Strange Situation."
  15. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I can totally relate to this. It is a hard thing to get across to people who only know my son now and what he says and does. But I can look at what he is saying/doing (which looks at times like a teen bully or "thug") and it is the same thing he did at age 2...sometimes even the same words! (i'm gonna push you down the stairs at age 4 is handled differently at age 15 but for him it is really the same response he has always said). It becomes more difficult to work with due to size and age but it is the same issue.

    That said, for some of my son's issues it is not that he was not taught the appropriate skills, or that he was neglected in terms of trying all I or any teachers/caregivers could is not a criticism of me (or of you in this case) if our children have behavior challenges that are related to "lagging skills".... Some kids just learn differently, are differently wired etc. and need alternative therapies and teaching methods to help learn things that come much more easily to other kids. So, looking at lagging skills is beneficial just because it does not look at the surface behavior, for example, among many skills he needs to learn, my son needs to learn to handle frustration. His frustration tolerance is very very low. So, helping to identify ways to deal with that is important.

    The concept is talked about a lot in the Ross Greene materials....but it has limits. For many of us our kids are so complex and have so many issues and just saying to work on the individual skills is easy to say, not easy to really find methods to do. Compromise with a child who has severe neurological deficits is not easy. And these skills are for many of us, not the only cause of behavior problems. The sensory integration issues and cognitive limitations/differences also play a huge part. There are also for some of our kids neurological complications that cause behaviors. Analyzing the lagging skills and learning to not rely on consequence behavior plans is a great tool but not the only tool for many of us.

    In your case....and also touching on the attachment piece (not saying that is an issue for you at all, just thinking out loud), it sounds from your posts like your baby had a rough early time (the crying and your needing to comfort intensively). There are people (not as often written about but mentioned here and there) who develop trust issues/personality issues because for whatever reason they were uncomfortable and even if it was clear why (like a preemie who had to go thru many procedures and could not yet be held) or often for those who it was hard to tell why (fussy or colicky babies) their brains just couldn't calm and we dont know why even with the most loving care. It is simply a piece to be aware of because there is nothing that could have or can be done now about what happened back then. For most people that just happens and they have no issues, but maybe if there is a predisposition due to being a "differently wired" child or a sensitive child or a genetic predisposition to something or??? (again just throwing out random ideas, not specific to you) it could be a piece of the puzzle. Once our children have issues that make it hard to connect (like I would rock my son and he would suddenly bite me or pull my hair, just when I thought we were having a nice bonding moment, uggg) it takes planned thought and purposeful choices that are sometimes not what a typical parent would/could do. Instead of putting my son in a time out for that, I held him more. he had to be around me more, to learn that I wont leave him and he can rely on me to try to help even if it does not relieve all of his discomfort. (that was when he was little, it looks different now). It may be totally different and not apply to you, I am just sharing a different take on how attachment can be impacted but it doesn't mean that the child is unattached or you are unattached in any way, just that there may be a piece that is affected in there somewhere. No one's fault, just how the story plays out for some of us and something to look at. It may not apply to your case at all, it did for my son, he had a long history of pain due to a brain mass which was not relieved for a long time. (He also had the more classic issue of going to foster care and having his birth parents' rights terminated too so for him it was a good guess to look at attachment as one piece of the puzzle).

    Forgive me if you already talked about this, but has he ever had a sensory integration evaluation? I was just thinking that if he had those issues as baby, it could be that he was uncomfortable in ways that would not be typical for a doctor to treat. If he felt pain or itching or any discomfort in a more extreme way than is typical or needed intensive help to integrate and calm his neurological system, that could be still going on but look differently now. Just another thought.

    Anyway, I stand by my statement that you should do what you need to do to get people to understand your challenges and to get help. It is not easy for sure!
  16. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    forgive me for saying this....but all this talk about lagging skills and how to "fix" them is like moving a mountain when you are talking about an unstable child.

    and from the description, it sounds like some ultra rapid cycling is going on, for whatever reason. and it seems to me that hypersexuality is a big giant red flag for only a handful of childhood issues....none of which are "just" classified as a lagging skill.

    firehorse, i would videotape. i would videotape naked if i had to and not think twice. your post seems to imply that there is some significant issue going on and it would be very hard to quantify it to a professional if you have a compliant, easy child "in office" kind of kid. it seems to me that any good psychiatrist will have a pretty clear idea of how to proceed if you can get them to watch the tape of what you descibed in your post (i've had various doctors over the years willing to look at a cellphone--cant think of one who was willing to pop in a vhs), and in my unprofessional opinion, a stimulant like adderall alone is playing with fire. i know if it were me, i would move to trial off the adderall for the summer (the strattera is more of a wean and would require more effort but would be probably worth it as well) and get a baseline OFF current medications and go from scratch. not saying a stimulant wont be necessary down the line, but in very many cases where there are certain underlying psychiatric conditions it can have extremely adverse reactions that you may not see if combined with other medications.

    i feel for you--i think that the endless waiting for an appointment is appalling in this world. kids in this boat need help yesterday, not 5 months down the road. i hope the time flies by for you ;-)
  17. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    oh--just in case i wasnt clear....(lmao, because i was no where near clarity on this point--i tend to assume people know what im thinking even when i dont say it out loud!)

    stimulant can cause manic-like symptoms that generally disappear after d/c of medications. it could be strictly medication induced.
  18. buddy

    buddy New Member

    *Like* yup, much better said, thanks. (time and a place for lagging skills work, right? there are some medical things that do need to be addressed for sure)
  19. We had our appointments yesterday and today. I did not show the videotapes to the psychiatrists and tdocs. They were able to gather enough info from me as well as during their assessment of my son. Will post a separate update thread very soon.