I'm at the end of my tether with my adopted DS and don't know what to do!! He's 4, but not at school yet and has always displayed some odd behaviour which we put down to the disruption of being adopted by us at 18 months, but now we're thinking it's more than that.
He used to be a sweet child who was active and enjoyed a routine, but recently the behaviour is so bad I'm not wanting to go out of the house. Today I tried a football club with him and had to walk out half way through as he just wouldn't join in or follow the instructions. It's embarrassing!
Main behaviour problems are:
Running off - he does it anywhere we go, shops, restaurants, play group, down the street. He sees no danger in it at all, but at least stops for roads... I have been in a shopping centre where he ran off and kept going. We held back to see what he did and he didn't look back! He is a fast runner and if you have bags etc. it can be quite challenging catching him. The other day I took him to play group and when we were going he just disappeared. He had gone back to the room because he wanted to play with something specific, even though we were downstairs and on our way out the door.
Tantrums - these are getting more violent recently and start when he is told no, or asked to do something he doesn't want to do. This happens at nursery (he goes 2 days a week), and the creche at the gym which I go twice a week for 1 hour at a time. He seems to have a good reason why he started the tantrum, but it soon escalates to furniture/toy throwing. We have been asked to collect him from both places as he's a danger to himself and others. I work a few days a week and it's my respite, so if I can't take him to nursery, I am screwed!!!
Relationships - he cannot seem to make relationships with other children. He plays alongside them, but doesn't seem to want to interact or talk to them. He refuses to tell me the names of the other children at nursery, it's like he doesn't care what their names are. He also doesn't like some of our family members who are quite abrupt with him - old schoolers maybe? He just tries to get away from them.
Development - he was a late talker, again we put this down to adoption, he was incredibly late to potty train and was defiant that he wasn't going to do it. He is not interested in writing and can't hold a pencil properly - he goes to school in September and I'm petrified he'll be the lowest achiever! He can't count correctly past 14, refuses to say 15!! It's just strange.
Anyway, this is not an exhaustive list of his behaviours, just a few, but how do you cope with it? I feel like I wish I could get away from him sometimes. I am not going to try anything new as it's too difficult and I end up having to apologise all of the time. Other people's kids aren't like this, so I feel isolated.... Any strategies would be most welcome.
I think you should go and see your GP for a referral to a developmental paediatrician. An assessment may turn up something. If it doesn't they will be able to point you in the right direction to get some help with his behaviour. Drs may not be keen to give a diagnosis at this stage but, if you have an idea what you are dealing with, you may be able to tap into local support groups. We belong to the local ADHD support group and have parents come whose children don't yet have a diagnosis.
Ds1 has ADHD and at a conference I attended not long after he was diagnosed it was said that a high proportion of adopted children have ADHD. At that time (about 11 years ago) I knew nothing about adoption but now, having several friends who have adopted, I wonder if attachment problems and the disruption to early life cause similar symptoms. These are just my musings and have no scientific basis.
I found four a very difficult age and the worst time for tantrums. Ds1 had the terrible twos at four and, of course, was faster, bigger and stronger than a two year old so much more difficult to manage. He went to school at 4 years 10 months and was so much easier by then.
not sure the school would agree He is now almost 19 and just starting the teenaged rebellion
I do hope you can get some help.
Maybe post on the adoption board as well, there are parents there who also have to deal with very challenging behaviour from their dc's.
Hi Jinty64, we are seeing the GP tomorrow, though she wasn't that keen to see us and just wanted to refer to Health Visitor. I know it's not just my bad parenting that's caused this and the adoption disruption was so minimal for him, he literally went from hospital to foster carers to us in the space of 18 months. His foster carer was great and took him to loads of groups etc.
I think the main factor I have been thinking about is the amount of crap his birth mum ate and drank during pregnancy. She was a smoker too, but just didn't look after herself very well. She lived on Coke (drink) and didn't have regular meals, so this might have had an effect on his brain development.
We really love our son, he is a lovely little boy at times, I am fearing for the short- and long-term as I am petrified nursery will expel him, even though I pay bloody good money for it!! If I lose that, I have to give up work and I would be so isolated if I didn't have that contact with other people who don't think of me as DS's mum.
Today the other parents at the football club wouldn't even look at me when he was misbehaving. I could have done with some support, but instead they probably looked down their noses at me. I think it's the embarrassment which is the hardest and even though I try to do the right thing all the time, I end up in tears.
I am looking forward to him going to school, but dread the constant conversations we're going to have because he's done X, Y & Z in the day. I'm just at a loss and know I'm not the only one going through something similar, but where are these people? Are they locked in their houses like me because we daren't go out???
I completely relate Clarebabes, my son is 4 and acting in exact same manner, albeit no throwing and tantrums these days, just a bit of an attitude.. It's absolutely humiliating, I dread having to collect him from Nursery because he just ignores every request and is as stubborn as a mule. I too feel very judged.
I have spoken with health visitors, pre school teachers, Dr's and the head teacher - they all told me my son is exceptionally bright and very artistic. They felt he just channelled his thoughts differently and was a little immature and testosterone fuelled in the communication department. The health visitor encouraged me to avoid the GP as they would label him and she (and the teachers) just felt he was a typical little boy but a bit more gung ho than the norm. But this diagnosis doesn't help at all when chasing him down the street!
I'd like to add that, upon reading this thread I did wonder about pregnancy diet of mother too; when I was pregnant I had to have a small procedure which lead to a spinal issue and migraines caused by fluid levels on brain. The cure? (advocated by medical professionals!!) - drink coke because I didn't want to be popping pills. It worked for the headaches but I have often pondered the impact on my son and regret not just dealing with the pain. Everyone says I'm paranoid but I really believe my Son is a little "different" because of my pregnancy diet.
But I digress, you're not on your own here. There are plenty of others struggling and as my DS nears 5 years he seems to be calming ever so slightly....perhaps that may give you some reassurance! Afterall, you rarely see parents chasing their 30 year old down the road ;-) There is a light at the end of the tunnel
Oh dear, well, I am so sad today and this is going to sound mega selfish, but my mother-in-law was going to look after DS while we went on a ski holiday... This includes my 15yr old DD. Anyway, today she has said to my husband that she doesn't think she'll be able to cope, so we can't go.
This is gutting because this was me being able to get away for a bit. If we don't go, I won't get any respite from this behaviour and can't relax. He's had a terrible day with my in laws, so it's just not going to happen.
Has anyone tried any homoeopathy at all to calm the child down? Yes, we're in the system for assessment for ADHD etc. but how long does that take? I know this is no quick fix, but I don't know what else to do
Feel thoroughly pissed off to be honest and cannot see the end to this....
I don't think you sound selfish at all. It is very, very difficult bringing up a child with sn's whatever they may be and I'm not surprised that you are disappointed not to get your break. My mother couldn't manage ds1 for more than a couple of hours on her own when he was younger. He was 11 before he ever slept over anywhere. Do you have any other family that could share care even just to let you have a weekend/couple of days away?
Do you have any input from social services now? My friend gets respite care for her adopted dc but had to push very hard for it and they were older than your ds when they got it.
I don't know what your financial situation is but could you look for a childminder that takes children with special needs instead of nursery. That way you could work and would be less likely to be called to collect him and they may provide some respite care. Obviously you would have to pay for this at the moment but you could speak to Citizens Advice about claiming disability living allowance for him. You don't need a diagnosis to claim.
Clarebabes, I went to a conference last Thursday on Foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) and many adopted and fostered children have this in varying degrees.
It doesn't matter how quickly the babies went from birth mum to a loving foster/adoptive home, if alcohol was consumed a lot during pregnancy there may well be related problems.
The conference was for education staff, hopefully when your little one goes to school it will be an understanding and supportive one, whether or not he had a diagnosis of anything.
Thanks to all of the positive and helpful replies you've given me. It's amazing but this week I have a different child!! We knew he was particularly badly behaved on a Friday so looked into what he was eating/drinking on a Thursday. He was being given milkshakes made from Nesquick powder by my mother-in-law, plus he'd been having chocolatey cereal in the morning every day which was turning him into what only can be described as a walking ADHD symptom list!!
We immediately cut out any sugary foods, biscuits, cereals, milkshake, cake, sweets of any description and he is a delight. We have none of the not listening, not concentrating, having to say things 10 times, no running off, not holds hands etc. He might have a hyper-sensitivity to sugar due to the amount his birth mum consumed in pregnancy, who knows?
I know it's not going to work in every case, but it could help others... My husband and I have stopped arguing and I feel like it's going to be OK. We've decided to go on a family sunny holiday instead of skiing now, so hopefully we'll all have a good time. Just need to get him through nursery for the next few weeks without incident.
Coco Pops should be banned though, they are 35% sugar and aimed at kids.
Join the discussion
Please login first.