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Help! Please....

(15 Posts)
schoolshoeblues Sun 28-Apr-13 07:59:48

Hi there,

Like someone else on this thread, I am having terrible problems with my son who is 3 years 9 months. We are expats and have just moved to a new country. I waited 2 months before I put him into kindergarten, and the school he is at has a healthy loving, nurturing and caring environment.

He is very, very aggressive - biting, kicking, scratching whenever he doesn't get his way. On occasion he will just lash out at us, a teacher, or a child for no reason whatsoever. The school want him assessed. I don't want him labelled, I want to work through these issues with him. He had similar problems in his last school.

We have tried the tough love approach - and to my shame, we also went down the smacking road when we were at our wits end. Of course that just made him worse, and also didn't help with his self esteem or security, particularly in our new environment.

We have now started to just "love" him. When he starts the scary aggressive tantrums, we don't give into his demands, but we hold him and tell him we love him, and to please not do this to us. In just a few days this has had a marked effect on his behaviour, and our control and calmness in these situations, means that when it happens, and it still happens, means there is a greater awareness of a build up.

The one thing I have noticed is that there is great escalation in the naughty aggressive behaviour directly after he has consumed a chocolate biscuit or something with high sugar content, and I'm now beginning to wonder if there is a direct correlation between this and his behaviour.

I want to work on his diet, and i want to do it properly. I'm just wondering if anyone who reads this can guide me, especially if you have had experience with food intolerances. As i said, I am abroad, so any Internet resources or book recommendations, or just general tips would be so so appreciated.

I love my son so much that it hurts. He's a very very smart little boy, with the comedic timing of Ben Stiller, and an affectionate heart so big that when he's not hurting me and others, can overwhelm me and others. This is breaking my heart for him, and the thought that there is something intrinsically wrong is devastating to me. I am hoping against hope, that diet has a main role in his behaviuoral issues, and that anything else is emotional.

Please help x

CreatureRetorts Sun 28-Apr-13 09:39:18

If its something with high sugar content - that's easy to cut out. Just don't buy high sugar snacks and switch to things like bananas, raisins, rice cakes with hummus, pieces of avocado etc?

schoolshoeblues Sun 28-Apr-13 11:53:17

Thanks but he is limited in what he will eat....

DawnOfTheDee Sun 28-Apr-13 11:57:11

I can understand you not wanting him labelled but could you try to look at the assessment that the school has suggested as trying to determine what help he needs.

Whether he does have any further needs or not though looking at his diet is only ever going to be a good thing. Agree with creatureRetorts...simply don't buy (or don't buy as much) high sugar products and start introducing alternatives.

cloudhands Sun 28-Apr-13 12:38:44

I really admire you for making the decision to love your son even when he tantrums, what a wonderful strong mum you are to have gone through all the options and decided that is the best way.

I have heard that avoiding gluten or dairy can improve behavior and there is a diet called 'gaps' that is quite in depth and can have a profound effect on behavior.

As well as dealing with the food issue you might also want to check out Hand in Hand Parenting they have some great ideas about how to set limits in a loving way.

Ineedmorepatience Sun 28-Apr-13 13:10:53

When you say he is limited in what he will eat what do you mean?

What do the school want him assessed for?

I know you dont want a "Label" for him but at the moment he is in danger of being "labelled" as naughty!

Try to think of a label as a signpost, it can point people in the right direction to support your child instead of thinking that he is naughty.

Just my opinion.

good luck smile

schoolshoeblues Sun 28-Apr-13 18:06:42

Thanks all for your replies...

After day one, they were talking about aspergers. Day two they had moved on to ADHD. I told them that you can't diagnose before the age of 5 but they are certain that he has "issues" whilst I agree that there is a problem, I am extremely reticent to assess him where we are given his age. I am sure that they will diagnose something, and I don't want to go down that path as there is still time for him to grow out of it. Diet does seem to have a huge impact and I would rather work on this first.

His eating habits are limited in that he will only eat apples or bananas fruit wise. I can get him to eat broccoli at a push. The rest I blend and mix in with his meal....I can get up to 10 'hidden' veggies in a meal lol.

Yes will start by cutting out high sugar content, will look at your suggestions, cloudhands.

Thanks all.

CabbageHead Tue 30-Apr-13 12:33:48

Hischool check out website... Amazing success stories written by parents with same issues as yourself, you will be amazed at the variety of what sends kids spiralling, I was so surprised. Hope this helps, it's a really informative website.

Goldmandra Tue 30-Apr-13 13:27:45

If this were my child I would be looking very carefully at what I meant by "whenever he doesn't get his way" means.

Is this when he's decided he wants something and it applies to everything he fancies?

Is it when he is expecting to get something because that is what he has been told or what usually happens and then he doesn't get it?

Is it when he wants to finish something he's doing but you can't give him time?

Does it happen more when he's in, or been in, loud, busy, bright, unfamiliar or unpredictable environments?

Is it because he can't sit quietly for long enough to do something that is being asked of him?

When he is tantruming is it simply because he is totally overwhelmed and is lashing out randomly or is there a goal he is trying to achieve by doing it?

Try to calmly thinks through what has triggered his behaviour and whether the same behaviour appears in certain sets of circumstances.

If your DS has a developmental disorder you won't do him any favours by preventing him having access to support early on. It makes a difference to children's outcomes. The younger they are diagnosed the better for them and children can be diagnosed a lot younger than 5.

I don't know what country you are in but, in the UK, there has to be a lot of hard evidence from several sources in order for a child to get a diagnosis. Have you looked into the system in the country where you are? If it is similar you won't do harm by allowing him to be assessed. If he doesn't have a disorder he won't get a diagnosis.

I do have to say that the school sound less than helpful. Amateur diagnosing like that just sends parents into a panic and you can't assess children properly in the first couple of days anywhere. They need to be settled and familiar to the staff before any behaviour can be viewed as significant.

Please try to keep an open mind for your DS's benefit.

MaryRobinson Tue 30-Apr-13 14:05:22

Has the bad behavior started since you've moved or were the problems evident in the UK too?
Is the nursery in a language that he speaks?
I second the hand in Hand or Unconsitonal Parenting approach. FWIW I can understand your reticence to get pushed down the labeling route- I asked our nursery to recommend a SALT for DD3, aged just 3 at the time. She said not to do it, because it would get her down streamed throughout her school life.

Nicknamegrief Tue 30-Apr-13 14:14:49


Your daughter would not be down streamed for life because she saw a SLT at the age of three. I would personally question any nursery that suggested that and hope that if your child needs to see and SLT you have pursued it.

As a former SLT and the mother of two children who have had SLT this has never been my experience. There are lots of reasons a child may need SLT support with and only a few of them relate to learning difficulties.

flossymuldoon Tue 30-Apr-13 14:19:34

You have moved abroad. Apart from you, his whole world has changed. Everything is new, unfamiliar, things taste and smell different, and to a small child that is pretty scary. I think that may the root of your problem.

I have an adopted DS. When he came to us he lost everything that was familiar to him. His house was different, different caregivers, every activity was in a different environment than previousley, the food was different, different bed, bedroom, nursery etc. All he had that was familiar was his toys and clothes, and his clothes still smelled the same but only because i used the same washing powder as the foster carers.

His behaviour for the first 9 -10 months was very bad. Hitting, biting, spitting, kicking. He was hurting because his world had changed and feeling scared and insecure. We knew this behaviour would happen as most children with such a huge change need an adjustment period.

It sounds to me like that's what your DS is going through as the only difference between your situation and mine is that your DSs parents are still the same. Tough love won't help him. He just needs you to be as patient, loving, nurturing and to feel like you understand what he is feeling. Pile on the love and keep his world as small as possible until he feels secure and less overwhelmed by everything.

Forget any assessments until you have given him time to adjust. There is no harm in looking at his diet - but i have a hunch that this is a red herring.

MaryRobinson Tue 30-Apr-13 14:50:23

NickNameGrief, yes you would think so, but if you were in a new country, without a full grasp of the language nor a full understanding of how things really, as opposed to should, work, What would you do. We are also not in the UK.
Thankfully the issue has resolved itself.

Nicknamegrief Wed 01-May-13 13:26:35

Mary Robinson- Given my background probably questioned the comment, but I can imagine that if I didn't have this background probably not.

The power child professionals can have over parents is scary at times. I truly believe that I was a lot better in dealing with families once I had my own as I could see it from parents points of views too. It is also my experience that parents generally should be listened to and generally are better at identifying problems and solutions.

I am glad that it has resolved though.

Am currently in the UK but have been abroad with my children, it can be hard dealing with issues in another language. I know how I have felt at times. Am very glad to not have the language issues to deal with at the moment.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 01-May-13 19:02:53

Schoolshoes my DD is 8 now and though she was never agressive she did have a lot of problems at the age of 3 and 4....I also noticed her reactions to sugar and additives and we cut ALL processed foods. Not only biscuits but bread and anything that has been "altered" in some way.

It's VAST the difference between how she was and how she is. She occasionally eats some rubbish at a party and we always see this in her behaviour. We make all our own bread and make sure she eats whole foods only.

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