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At my wits end.

(37 Posts)
TheManicMummy Tue 06-Dec-16 16:06:59

All my 2 year old does is cry, he cries for most of the day. Screams because I tell him no, screams because he's been naughty and goes on time out, hits his younger sister because he's frustrated that he can't put the blocks together. Screams his lungs out because he wants postman pat and then changes his mind literally when I put it on to fireman and screams because postman pat is on.

Screams and throws his food at every meal, rarely eats. Cries for water and then spills it all over the floor on purpose. Screams because he wants his dad and not me. He is so naughty it's unreal and I am at my wits end.

I cannot take one more day of screaming & crying. My one year old daughter gets so left out because I am constantly running around after my son, he's purposely destructive.

I don't know what to do anymore... I actually want to leave home. As awful as that sounds I can't do one more day of screaming.

jellyrolly Tue 06-Dec-16 16:57:33

Very tough for you. Has he had a medical check to rule out anything underlying?

TheManicMummy Tue 06-Dec-16 17:16:37

He's under behaviour therapists at the moment and assessment for ADHD & Autism but I've had a few professionals tell me they think there's nothing wrong with him... which makes me feel like an awful parent.

jellyrolly Tue 06-Dec-16 17:26:42

Oh, you're not an awful parent! My eldest son has adhd and Aspergers, I was always told it was my parenting - I still am. I just say "I'm not saying I'm not a shit parent, but he also has autism." That usually shuts them up. Have you been given any strategies to try to calm him down? Do you have prior knowledge of either of the conditions they are assessing for? You don't need a diagnosis to try some, if they help then you will all benefit.

MazDazzle Tue 06-Dec-16 17:38:53

Can you put him to a childminder to get a break?

My eldest was a very difficult baby/toddler/small child. The behaviour brought out the worst in me and turned me into the type of parent I really didn't want to be. An occupational therapist recommended I read 'The Out of Sync Child'. It helped me realise that my DD has sensory issues. It was a complete revelation. She's 8 now and is finally coming through it. It does get better!

My other daughter is calm, easy going and never had a tantrum in her life. This shows it's nature rather than nurture. Don't eat yourself up. A lot of the time it's the luck of the draw. Every kid is different. They are not a reflection of your parenting abilities.

TheManicMummy Tue 06-Dec-16 18:24:53

I went to an assessment and they said that he could possibly have sensory issues due to his awful relationship with food.. but honestly right now I have no idea how to deal with that.

My brother has non verbal autism, he's 10. He's textbook.. I Deal and cope with him far better than my son? I know what his triggers are, I know how to cope with his meltdowns and I know his routine inside out - which is why it baffles me sometimes that I can be so patient with him yet my own son I can't cope with an hour!?.

There's no chance of a break with a childminder as money is so tight, his dad will come home and let me go shopping on my own as it's too stressful for me to take my DS but I just dread coming home. I have no idea why he cries all day. I have no idea what his triggers are I just feel soo disconnected from him right now

TheManicMummy Tue 06-Dec-16 18:25:46

Thank you for the book recommendation, I will definitely buy it x

jellyrolly Tue 06-Dec-16 20:41:52

Do you want a few sensory diet suggestions? It's okay just to want to vent.

MazDazzle Tue 06-Dec-16 20:49:54

Someone once suggested putting in headphones and listening to music to drown out the screaming/crying.

I never tried it. Instead I got sucked into the drama and arguments! I can see how it would have helped though.

It's tough, I know.

How long until he has a funded place? Will he start playgroup/nursery when he's 3?

MazDazzle Tue 06-Dec-16 20:52:51

Does he have a tablet and headphones? In your circumstances I think you should do whatever it takes to get a bit of peace.

TheManicMummy Tue 06-Dec-16 22:30:17

I will take any suggestions/ tips / anything that helped you mummies. I need to vent but I will try anything right now!

I bought a tablet for him, Amazon kids, for his birthday in October - he can't switch between apps, just gets me to do it for him, which sounds fine but he was will "sam" (fireman sam) and then "pat" (postman pat) and obsessively asked for either one after watching 10 seconds. I've tried teaching him how to switch the programmes himself, he's not interested. I bought the tablet so he can go on the apps and learn not just watch programmes but he will throw it if it's not on "sam" or "pat"... we haven't used the tablet for a while now because if I refuse to switch the programme after doing it 40 times in a row he'll hit me in the face with it. X

Lalunya85 Tue 06-Dec-16 22:46:42

Sounds really hard.

Can I ask what the age gap between your two is? Getting a sibling can be tough. And how old is he exactly. Just turned two or nearly 3?

Two things really calmed things down for us with my son (nearly 3):
A) being toilet trained
B) language

I think him being more in control of his needs has made him a lot calmer and less likely to explode. We still have daily throwing of toys though, but it's less severe and I can usually stop it before it escalates and rarely have to physically remove him from the situation as words seem to suddenly be more effective.

Try not to shout (I know, it's so easy to say), just raise your voice but don't lose your cool. The more you manage that, the easier your days will hopefully be. Or at the very least you won't feel the guilt at the end of the day.

Good luck.

TheManicMummy Wed 07-Dec-16 08:31:23

My son was born on 5th oct '14 and my daughter 5th oct '15 ... so they're 2 & 1 now. We have started potty training, he's quite good at it and enjoys it, always claps once he's done a wee. But he's slightly obsessed with it, he will squeeze the tiniest bit of wee out and clap and make me flush it saying "bye bye wee wee" but then he'll go back to the potty straight away and try again straining himself.

His speech is much better than it was, he was extremely delayed but he's picking it up now. He can communicate what he wants but when he has the screaming fits I can't get one word out of him, for hours, apart from crying "daddy"

jellyrolly Wed 07-Dec-16 19:44:17

I would try and work my way through a sensory diet, keep notes or photos in case you ever feel you need more help when he is older. This is a comprehensive list with ideas for all ages so not all will be useful now:

www.ot-innovations.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/sensory_diet_checklist_2007pdf.pdf

If there is any input that calms him down a bit then you might find a little bit of respite. At that age, my son was happier naked or in a bath, not for a purpose which just brought out his oppositional defiance, but just for the feel of it.

You could try ear defenders (but don't do what I do and wear them yourself grin.)

Try to remember he doesn't have the skills to achieve what he needs to do, rather than focusing on the behaviour that is a result of that. He might not be able to switch between tasks or allow for flexibility of outcomes. So while the tablet was a great idea, perhaps he doesn't have the necessary skills to go with that just yet. If watching a screen calms him, let him be calm for yours and his own sanity, it's not bad parenting. You will be able to catch your breath.

It's sometimes worth going back a stage or more, so even though he is still very little, if he can't put something like Duplo together, what would you give a younger child? You could take them away and try plain blocks, or something with velcro that will do the sticking for him.

I have used backward chaining a lot for my son. There is an article here:

www.verywell.com/backward-chaining-3105608 Ignore the fact that it is aimed at special needs, if a technique works it works. So at his age, you might build something except for the last part and ask him to do it. He might respond to the confidence that will give him.

As far as eating goes, if you haven't already, ask your gp to refer you to an OT to check he has proper muscle tone and mobility around his mouth and throat. They can check he is developing the eating skills he needs. If these aren't in place it can be terrifying for a child, the fear of choking is overwhelming - and can affect their whole day. If he hasn't developed something as you would expect, they will be able to give you exercises or equipment to help.

I would also say even at two, it's helpful to validate his feelings. So if he is angry you can name that feeling for him. It doesn't mean you are condoning his behaviour. If he screams and throws food, you can still say "I can see you are really mad." without it being permission to do it.

You can see now why I asked if you wanted any suggestions, I do go on and on and on.

TheManicMummy Wed 07-Dec-16 20:59:36

Thank you for all these suggestions, I will definitely start putting them in place! Honestly you've been far more helpful than any professional we've dealt with! Just a "ah he seems to have sensory issues, well review in February and take it from there" which in all isn't helpful at all when your ripping your hair out!

I do have ear defenders so I'll definitely give them a try... he has a thing with hats also, always has to have a hat on his head, if it falls off it can totally ruin his day, does this sound typical of sensory processing disorder? He's obsessive with taking hats anywhere he goes, it's usually a toy hard hat but ordinary hats will do. X

Lalunya85 Wed 07-Dec-16 21:51:15

I'm not a professional but I think it can be really hard to tell at this young age what is a "normal" developmental stage, and what behaviours require more attention.

DS went through a phase of lining up toy cars. Every day, for ages, and it went on for weeks and weeks. It made me wonder whether there was something going on, and I kept looking for early signs of autism etc. If you look hard enough, you will find them.

He's older now, and I don't worry about his behaviour anymore (at least not in that way).

I really don't want to downplay your oconcerns though, and you sound like you have all the right professionals involved already who will hopefully be able to help in the long run if something is going on (even if they are being slow).

I just wanted to say that there is a really broad range of what is normal and what is concerning. "normal" doesn't make it any less challenging sometimes. But remember he is still a baby really, only two years old which is young still for potty training and language. Early days. And a difficult stage for him emotionally, having been 'replaced' and as the baby of the family.

My son struggled with that transition and it definitely contributed to some of his most difficult behaviours. I remember having to remind myself that he was only a baby, because compared to his newborn sister he seemed all grown up (at the age of 20 months!). In hindsight, I was definitely expecting too much of him.

Sorry, this got very long. I identify with your situation, perhaps it shows smile

jellyrolly Wed 07-Dec-16 22:47:37

And having sensory issues doesn't equal being autistic either. One of my sons is autistic and the other has sensory issues but no signs of autism. They don't impact on his life in a big way at all, more that he will make choices that he knows work for him.

He might like the feel of hats because he needs a bit more proprioceptive input, if that's the case it might help to look at something like a Lycra sheet at night, some people like weighted blankets and clothes. My son would live in skin tight base layers like a ninja. Anything to give that little squeeze. He might prefer sleeping on the floor for a better night's sleep.

You've probably heard the term seeker in sensory processing when a child seeks pressure, it could be that with the hat. It sounds like he has identified a good self strategy already.

He could be experiencing some auditory processing problems which are lessened by covering his ears. Or he might just be enjoying the echoey noise inside a hard hat. If you can see what else is going on when he seems to want the hat the most, that might show a pattern.

I would pursue an OT referral though as you have flagged up possible eating and hearing anomalies. Not necessarily problems but still worth investigating. Does he insist on a hat for eating?

WombOfOnesOwn Tue 13-Dec-16 00:10:30

You've given a child a tablet that he can't operate and requires you to help him with. It seems like you've built a rod for your own back here.

Goodbye, screens. Hello, enriching physical activity. Spend more time outside. There's your miracle cure.

TheManicMummy Tue 13-Dec-16 13:36:46

He doesn't like it outside. He screams and cries to go home, he won't walk, he doesn't want to sit in the pram. I gave him a tablet in order for him to learn and interact. It was definitely not an easy choice.

There is no "miracle cure" we do messy play activities at home to try and keep him stimulated but often he doesn't like the feel and has crying fits.

Lalunya85 Tue 13-Dec-16 22:13:46

OP don't worry about that really insensitive comment by womb. I'm sure if it was as simple as "a little fresh air" you wouldn't be posting here.

How are you getting on by the way?

TheManicMummy Wed 14-Dec-16 10:36:19

I wish it was that simple to be honest! We have had a good few days, he's been happy and laughing and playing nicely and eating. But we have days like these and then he has his meltdowns. So as much as I'm enjoying it I'm more waiting for the storm after the calm.

I'm popping down to his nursery today, he starts in January so I'm just going to hand in some forms and getting him introduced to the teachers. So all in all this week is a good week! I'm hoping he enjoys nursery. It means me and my daughter get to spend some quality time together while he's at nursery, I'm sure she could do with the one to one time.

Nursery are aware of the concerns and they are going to keep a close eye on him and give me updates every two weeks which is really reassuring xxx

Chickpearocker Wed 14-Dec-16 10:48:19

Thanks for posting manicmummy I'm sure this post resonates with a lot of people out there. I have a 2 yr old and am going through similar although not as extreme as yours, glad you will be getting a break xx

TheManicMummy Wed 14-Dec-16 15:58:28

It's so tough, I don't think a lot of people like to post about these things. I don't feel any shame for feeling this way. I'm finding it bloody difficult right now and I'm sure a lot of people are too. It would be easier if we all talked about it so we don't feel soo alone x

Lalunya85 Wed 14-Dec-16 16:29:21

I'm sure that difficult days will come, but it's so good that he can have good days where he engages and enjoys himself. Try to hang on to that when things get tough. You need to make sure you preserve your energies somehow.

Spending time with your baby one on one will be great, and hopefully will give you the break you need.

TheManicMummy Wed 14-Dec-16 23:30:33

He has good and bad days, but the bad days can last for weeks and the good days are far and few between unfortunately.

It's so hard because when he is like this I just think "oh he's a normal child, he just has his little tantrum episodes" and then he changes. He cries and screams all day because he can't cope, he hits and kicks and is nasty to his sister and me. He wakes up in the night consistently screaming.

I just wish I knew what was wrong so I could handle his bad days better, sometimes I feel so under prepared. I don't know what to do with him when he's like that. When he screams and cries I try to hug him to calm him down but he screams more and hits me. I try to sing and dance to him to distract him but he'll just get worse and worse... in the end I have to leave him to his crying as we haven't found a method to calm him down? It hurts to watch him like that, but I'm so powerless?

Does anyone have any techniques of calming their children down? I find he becomes calm quickly after he loses control he is more manageable, if he loses control and it goes on for too long and he can't control his screaming fits it can last all day, the next day's will be affected also? Xxxx sorry it's long, but thank you for reading xxxx

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