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Very emotional boy, sorry its me again...

(99 Posts)
BekkiKay Fri 09-Jan-04 20:43:14

Its my ds1 again. To give you the background - I've always been slightly worried about his behaviour, even from birth.
He has always been very 'difficult', incredibly stubborn, boisterious and highly strung.
For example he'll ask for a choc bar, I'll say no you've just had one. He'll then screw his face up, cry real tears, scream, kick and shout 'I hate you' for about an hour. Its the length of time that he carries things on for that bothers me really.
He is 3 and a half and has about 10 full on tantrums a day.
He gets so upset about the tiniest things and is quite obsessive in his behaviour.
Today a friend at playgroup said that he hated my ds and then he screamed at him not to say 'hate' and then bit him on his arm. It was hard enough to leave a bite mark. I'm mortified by his behaviour and to be honest this is the last straw, I'm thinking that there might be something not quite right about his extreme reactions to everyday situations.
Can anyone offer any help, I'm very worried about him.

Jimjams Fri 09-Jan-04 20:53:40

I have a friend in a similar situation- and she did get some help form the behavioural support team (quite sensible advice as well). However they've now kind of disappeared again. I think she accessed them through her HV but not all HV are very good at referring on for this sort of thing. You could maybe try them though.

Does he bite often, or was that a one off?

Does he hurt himself during tantrums, or is it just screaming? Does he go to nursery- they can often access help and assessing type people and it would be worth asking them what he's like there.

Sorry lots of questions.

BekkiKay Fri 09-Jan-04 21:11:58

He doesn't normally hurt anybody, this is the first time hes bitten anybody.
He is always hurting himself though. He bangs his head in tantrums and has done since he was little.
He goes to a playgroup 5 days a week. I'm not sure about sending him back as it all gets a bit too much for him. I can't imagine him being ready for school in 8 months, I'm thinking that I might have to home school him.
When he first started at playgroup they asked me what I did to control him as they didn't know what to do with him. He would make a mistake with his picture and start throwing himself about. He has improved, but not enough to stop me worrying.
He goes from extreme to another, one week everyone is his best friend and hes very popular and then this....

Jimjams Fri 09-Jan-04 21:28:32

Don't give up on school yet, I thought I would have to home ed as I couldn't imagine how any mainstream school could cope with ds1 but he is now starting his second term and it is all going well (he gets a lot of support- and it is helpful if that can be in place before starting school if you think he will need it).

The tricky thing is where to go for help. You sound worried enough for assessment to be a good idea- even if it is only to put your mind at rest. I wouuld perhaps try your HV first of all- mine has been very good and it was a HV who referred me into the system in the first place. In my area they have a multidiscplinary assessment team and it would be worth asking her whether that exists in your area. Ours was very good, my son attended for 6 weeks and in that time was assessed in a nursery environment and was seen by all the relevant professionals. My son was by far the worst in the group! One child for example had behaviour problems and one had slightly lax joints which meant that his speech was a bit unclear. Children do not need to have severe difficulties to attend these assessments (if they were really severe they would be picked up anyway iyswim), so don;t feel that you would be wasting anyone's time asking if it exists.

if your HV is crap (or even if they are good) it might be worth contacting the specialist HV (or asking your HV to refer you on). These are attached to child development centres and are very good at knowing what sort of assessment etc your child needs. I've seen 2 now and both have been excellent.

As regards the tantrums and his self harming. We have that as well. I just try and stay calm. If he freaks because he's dropped something I just tell him to pick it up and put it in the bin (otherwise he just carries on screaming and hitting himself).

My son used to headbang very badly (enough to get bruises). In his case removing peanuts from the diet stopped this totally within 2 days (seriously). Is there any food item your son craves? (Peanuts are not usually a problem for most kids!) If so I would try removing it for a week and seeing if you notice a difference.

BekkiKay Fri 09-Jan-04 21:32:26

Thanks Jimjams. I'll get onto HV Monday. I'll let you know how things go.

Jimjams Fri 09-Jan-04 21:33:52

Good luck and don't let her fob you off.

Beccarollover Fri 09-Jan-04 22:29:27

Bekki, Ive talked to you about this before and you know Ive had concerns about DD's behaviour - I spoke to my HV and she referred me to a, erm what did she call herself - "community nurse that specialised in behaviour" she talked to me on the phone and is coming out to see my next week - i think this kind of help is more support during sleep problems, behavioural difficulties where she will talk about discipline, reward charts and the like and work with me to come up with a plan - it sounds like you might have already exhausted these options. Your HV might have a better suggestion than mine did!

BekkiKay Sat 10-Jan-04 09:10:12

I will have to contact HV through gritted teeth. I know what they will be thinking as soon as I tell them. They'll give me the same look at some of the playgroup leaders do.
I tried everything to bring him up to be intelligent, happy and calm; but none of this has any effect on him. I don't know how I've raised such a hyperactive child since I'm so shy and calm myself.
I think mentally I've exhausted every option. Thers not a parenting technique that I haven't tried or considered.
Now I have two children it has become more obvious to me that ds1 is difficult. I thought all babies screamed as much as ds1 did and it has been a lovely surprise to have a content baby second time around.
I have tried watching his diet but its difficult to take things off him because he is obsessed with food. But I'm considering taking dairy off him and seeing how that goes, I know its highly unlikely to be the cause but its the only one we haven't tried.
Becca you said that she showed you a star chart and things like that, but these wouldn't be of any help at all.

TBH I'm also concerned over my own mental health if this goes on much longer. At a nativity play he nearly had me in tears with his behaviour and yesterday I just felt really saddened and disapointed. At the moment he can get himself in such a state that I just go blank as there are no options left and no way out of the situation. But again its not constant and sometimes we can have a good day, but they are rare.

Thanks for the advice everyone.

Jimjams Sat 10-Jan-04 10:06:12

Bekki- this does not sound to me like you are doing anything wrong. What food does he obsess over? Often children obsess over food that is no good for them. My son used to *only* (and I mean only) eat bread and cheerios. Taking him off gluten made a world of difference (but admittedly isn;t that easy- although easier than it used to be- especially if you shop in Sainsbury's).

Can I suggest that rather than take him off dairy you take him off milk- avoid even tiny bits of milk such as that found in milk chocolate, and avoid words like caseinates in ingredient lists.

I do not think you are doing anything wrong. The tantrums sound a bit too excessive to me. You ned to get past the HV (if they are no good) and find someone who understands. I know my friend found the behaviour support team helpful. There can be a lot of support from professionals who understand rather than judge. It can be very helpful just to be told that you are doing the right things.

Jimjams Sat 10-Jan-04 10:11:58

BTW if milk is a problem you would probably see a change in days and certainly within 3 weeks so you don't have to try very long. Often if food is a problem there can be an initial period of a couple of days where the behaviour is 10 x worse than normal- then it all settles down. An initial bad reaction is a good sign as it shows something is going on.

Jimjams Sat 10-Jan-04 10:18:01

Just to give an example. By the time he was 6 my cousin's son had been expelled from 2 schools. She took him off gluten and reduced his milk intake. He sat on the floor turning in circles screaming for 2 days, then began to improve.

Now at 10 he is still gluten free although has some milk, and has just won several scholarships to some very good public schools.

My son's reactions to be taken off the foods were not so extreme!

coppertop Sat 10-Jan-04 10:32:05

Bekki - I agree with the advice to contact your HV and see what they have to say. Don't let them fob you off with things like "Well all children have tantrums". Is there any way that you could perhaps record one of these tantrums (on video or maybe even just an audio cassette)? This would show what was really going on. I think a lot of us have been through the experience of trying to convince professionals thatsomething is 'wrong', while the child in question sits next to you looking like an absolute little angel.

We get help and advice from a group called the Early Years Inclusion Service, who have assessed ds1 at home and at playgroup and have been able to advise the staff there about different activities and techniques to try.

We are waiting for a full assessment at the Child Development Unit and have been told that they now try to carry out the full assessment in just one week instead of 6 weeks. This would speed up the whole process and also take some of the strain off you in trying to get to the hospital/centre each time.

shrub Sat 10-Jan-04 10:41:41

sounds similar at times to my ds1 (nearly 4) - I( I also have very placid ds2) he was the loudest and very challanging baby and still is that I have ever heard. looking back I think it even affected us moving out of the area last year because I felt so inadequate as a mother - when I use to take the dog out for a walk i would get about 3 people on average saying "oh i heard him crying and shouting last night" normally they would be tutting pensioners who I now have to remind myself their children were probable smacked and given brandy in their milk to make them behave! At the time I use to scuttle back home and cry. The last straw was when my ex best friends husband called him a screamer in front of everyone at my husbands workplace (of course their ds was so quiet and 'good' because of their superior parenting!!. We have made a new start and I'm so glad we did. we changed nursery (he only goes 3 mornings as he gets overtired) and a wonderful experienced teacher who has taught me about communication with my ds (see www.cnvc.org) and has shown me there is no such thing as a naughty child - they are trying to make sense of the world and are testing you for boundries. She has stressed the importance of really engaging and playing with him to improve speech and how he plays with others so he can begin to articulate how he feels rather than headbang (i was told to ignore it or even walk out of room as an audience encourages it more). avoiding tantrums by preparing him for what is happening at each stage that day giving warnings that it will soon be time to tidy up for example and a short explanation why in a calm way of why we need to tidy up because we could fall over the train track and hurt ourselves or break the track - if you get a 'no' say you can make a new one in the morning then help him tidy up if you still get a "no' make it into a game 'the tickle monster is coming to help you tidy up !' and praise him how happy you are. it has been very hard work changing the whole way i talk to him but over 3 months i am seeing a changed boy. he has taught me so much though - he has held up a mirror to my own behaviour and forced me to ask myself whats really important, who my friends are what can i do to make a difference. theres 2 books i read when i felt completely alone which helped 'the indigo children' (which puts forward the theory that all these highly strung sensitive and challanging children are actually genuises who are trying to make sense of a world full disapproving ignorant people!) and 'how to raiise your spirited child' they made me look at my ds behaviour differently instead of telling people he is difficult i tell them he is 'assertive', 'strong', 'dynamic', 'spirited' these are all wonderful qualities he will have to help him get on in the world when he is an adult, being 'quiet' , 'shy' and 'good' didn't get me very far! I have tried to channel his temperment into activities where he will be accepted. for example we go to a 'musikgarten' (montessori) singing class every week where he can sing at the top of his voice and be himself, we have bought him lots of musical instruments (tamborines, bells, drums) as this is helping learn more vocabulary and gives rhythm to his breathing when he gets too highly strung.i read somewhere its not just about looking after your child, its teaching them how to look after themselves. i have also been giving him fish oils called 'morepa' from 'healthyandessential.co.uk strawberry flavour which i pierce the capsule and put in his juice each morning. just think to yourself what type of child Einstein must have been (who didn't speak until he was 3 or read and write until he was10 )and what his poor mum must have gone through!! when we are having one of those days i put him in the bath even 3 times in one day to displace the tantrum and help him calm down but most of the time we are now enjoying each others company - it can and will get better!

shrub Sat 10-Jan-04 15:13:34

just to make my posting really long just remembered i took my ds1 to a cranial osteopath for head banging as i was told he was doing this to relieve stress-sometimes caused by difficult birth (in our case 37 hours and retained placenta) i don't know how it works but it definately did something, the practitioner used minute manipulations of the head and my ds1 fell asleep in his arms which was a complete shock to me as he was a stranger to my ds, it was as if he surrendered all that stress away. he then went home and slept 5 hours and did so for the next 3 sessions very spooky! cost about £20 per session recommended by the nursery.

BekkiKay Sat 10-Jan-04 16:04:08

Shrubs- yES HE SOUNDS JUST LIKE MY DS1. These are all tactics that we have tried. Apart from putting him in a bath 3 times a day, now thats a distraction method!
I understand that yes 3 year olds have tantrums and they get upset easily but to the point where food will fall of his fork and he will hit himself its just too much.
Everyday is a battle and I just thank God that I have as much patience as I do.

I've had enough of peoples judgements and pointless opinions. Some people just like to hear the sound of their own voice. If people don't see anything wrong with my ds they wil say 'your just making things up', 'or hes only 3'. If he does show his true colours I will hear 'oh you need to smack him', 'you should send him to his room', but what it boils down to - is people don't think that I'm a good enough mother to judge my own childs behaviour. This is groundless and just wrong. I work tirelessly to ensure ds is happy but when nothing is working then yes I will ask for advice. So perhaps this is normal for some peoples children but not for my son, as I endevour to provide as stable and happy environment as is possible.
Jimjams- He obsesses about all food. Mainly margarine and anything sugary. I have walked into the kitchen and found him sitting like pooh bear with honey pot and golden syrup on several occasions. I will cut out his milk from tomorrow, it'll give me chance to think about what actually contains milk first.
Coppertop- This is exactly what I'm worried about. The problem is I'm very shy and I become blank when faced with HV, I might start just nodding and agreeing. I can't imagine running to get the camcorder in the middle of a tantrum what would ds think I was doing? Thats made me smile. But yes its avery good idea.
That reminds me-when HV came round to look over ds2, ds1 threw a MAJOR tantrum, it lasted the entire 20 minutes she was there and for half an hour later. To me this was just another tantrum and I listened to his problem (there was nothing I could do) and answered him, then I left him to thrash around and hit himself. The HV looked worried and asked me whether this was a regular accurance and I just assumed that she was watching and judging me over how I responded, so I just kept on smiling and trying to get the conversation back on track. But every now and again HV would stop and say hes getting very loud, is he hitting himself? Pointless intrusive comments and I quickly shoved her out the door. But that validated my own concerns.
Also at the nativity play the leader asked me to walk him over by himself so he didn't 'kick anybody', that was the comment that made me nearly cry for him. I mean why would he do that? I get the feeling that playgroup aren't telling me everything that goes on. On Monday I'm staying with him at playgroup, I don't care how much the leaders protest. And then I'm calling the dreaded HV. Thanks for listening to me go on, its a relief to tell someone tbh.

BekkiKay Sat 10-Jan-04 16:06:04

Thanks Shrubs. That sounds interesting, I don't think he had any problem during birth but sometimes when I wash his hair I massage his head and he often falls asleep. But then again so would I.

BekkiKay Sat 10-Jan-04 16:06:16

Thanks Shrubs. That sounds interesting, I don't think he had any problem during birth but sometimes when I wash his hair I massage his head and he often falls asleep. But then again so would I.

BekkiKay Sat 10-Jan-04 16:07:06

Thanks Shrubs. That sounds interesting, I don't think he had any problem during birth but sometimes when I wash his hair I massage his head and he often falls asleep. But then again so would I.

BekkiKay Sat 10-Jan-04 16:07:25

Ooops!

elena2 Sat 10-Jan-04 16:17:44

No advice Bekki but sympathy hugs (((()))) for how you're feeling.

You sound far more patient and understanding with ds1 than a lot of others would be in your place, including me. He is very lucky to have such a wonderful mummy who obviously loves him so much, good luck in getting the help you need.

coppertop Sat 10-Jan-04 17:17:47

Glad I was able to make you smile, Bekki.

I can really sympathise with the feelings of frustration when people refuse to take your concerns seriously. When I tried to explain to people that ds1 seemed somehow different to other babies/children of his age, their replies made me want to scream:

Me: "He doesn't speak."
Them: "He's just shy/slow/bright/lazy."

Me: "He has HUGE tantrums if he thinks something isn't quite right."
Them: "That's what they all do at that age" or "It's just a boy thing" or "He needs more discipline". (I bet you've heard those too!)

You feel like shaking them and saying "Just LOOK at him!" but of course you have to hold back. Grrr! Even when we were told by the Paediatrician that ds1 is autistic, my family still looked at me as though I were making it all up. I think they thought it was some kind of attention-seeking.

Anyway, lots of luck with the HV. That previous home visit where she witnessed the behaviour might be all the evidence you need to convince her. Good luck.

Jimjams Sat 10-Jan-04 17:49:55

Bekkikay- Your HV may be able to help. Some are good- so do try them first. The troube is - as described by coppertop- if they brush off your concerns.

Don;t worry about other people's opinions. Grow crocodile hide. My four and a half year old is unable to speak so has massive tantrums (he self harms as well during them- although people will say "he won't hurt himself" to which I reply- "have you seen the bruises?" ) And yet although he is unable to speak, and although I think it is obvious within 2 seconds of meeting him that there is something different about him, people still don't see it. They still think "oh bad parent" - it's easier for them to think that.

And yet despite being such a bad parent I never get those looks when I'm with ds2. Hmmm wonder why that is ..... Don't let them get to you.

On the subject of food. DS1 hass just started stealing food and I am sure he must have had something yesterday. He has screamed since 12.30am this morning. Screamed until 2.30 am when he finally took my hand and placed it on his pyjama label- it must have been annoying him- as soon as I cut it out he went to sleep. He's now spent the day screaming, wet himself and pooed himself. Oh yes he has eaten something most certainly.

BekkiKay Sat 10-Jan-04 20:59:23

Does he often go and take food Jimjams?
Ds1 is a one for doing that.
Brilliant advice again, thanks.

Another question I have is about clumsiness.
How much is normal?
Today he has knocked over three drinks and I've lost count of how many times he has fallen over. Again, I know hes 3 but he doesn't seem at all co-ordinated and hes covered in bruises, scratches from falling.
Tbh sometimes I make things up about his bruises as I can never remember how he caused each one. Was it falling off the chair? Falling over his own feet? Sometimes, infact most of the time I'm baffled as to where his newest additions come from. I was hoping that he would grow out of it.
Sorry so many concerns. They must be valid concerns because I'm not neurotic over ds2. Yet.

Jimjams Sat 10-Jan-04 22:06:32

He's only just started stealing food so I'm not very good at remembering to hide the gluten food.

I don't know what's normal really as ds1 is dyspraxic! DS2 isn't but is a bit cack handed. IN ds1's case as well as the clumsiness he has difficulty organising his motor moevements, so for example until he was about 4 if you told him to lie down from standing he would end up on his front kind of kneeling- it took him ages to work out how to lie down. Also he has great difficulty learning things like how to drink out of a cup.

mention his clumisness to the HV- aslo mention if he does anything like walk on his toes.

Trifle Sun 11-Jan-04 08:28:08

A friend of mine has an extremely difficult child, now nearly aged 4. She has spent years taking him to behavioural psycologists, psyciatrists, doctors etc etc to be repeatedly told that her child was just fussy and nothing wrong with him. He started a new nursery about a year ago (after it was agreed he should leave the previous one as they couldnt control him) and thankfully the new nursery had staff qualified in child psycology and have confirmed that he has special needs. As he goes there every morning they are the best people to judge whether his behaviour is normal compared to other children his age. His mother is relieved that he has at last been statmented and she wasnt going mad all these years and he can now have the support he needs when he goes to school. It seems that perhaps the staff in your ds1's playgroup are perhaps not trained in this aspect of child behaviour but would probably be the best people for a HV or other professionals to talk to about his daily behaviour.

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