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Feel awful, no idea how to cope

(32 Posts)
halia Sun 31-Aug-08 19:44:13

I've psoted before about DS behaviuor issues, we're sitll finding it incredibly difficult to discipline him and its really getting to me. But before I go into that lets get the biggie out of the way - I smacked him today - now everyone can fall over thmeselves telling me I'm an awful mum etc.

DS is nearly 31/2, he is VERY strong and active we're waiting for results of ed psych but suggestions so far have been about ultra sensitive combined with hyperactiveness. He also has a language delay and intolerances /associated health problems.

HIs behavuor can be lovely but is frequently unbearable. He still wakes up in the night so we are functioning on 31/2 years of broken nights plus dealing with his SN and my own health problem. OH works VERY long hours and can't cut down at all.

Today DS has done: swimming, football, visit to aviary, 2 hrs play in playground, visit to wildlife garden and play in maze with cousin, paddling pool in back garden, traintrack set up and play with OH, drawing and painting with me.

By 6pm I was, as always, exhausted, I had an attack yesterday which normally means I've been overdoing things but i didn't get a chance to rest as DS had me up at 1am and 3am again last night.

So after his usual TV program to help him calm down a little bit (its the only way to get him to sit still) I took him up to bed at 6.45. He screamed, kicked, hit me in the face etc so I rolled him in a blanket (trick I invented to restrian him safely so I can carry him). I have to lock the bedroom door while I get him undressed and ready for bed otherwise he runs away. But then he calms down a bit and wants his bedtime stories.... I was worn out but trying to read him his three stories as usual but he just wouldn't sit still, he climbed on me, kicked me, hit me, jumped on me etc etc.

He wasn't deliberatly trying to hurt me (although he can do that at times) but he just can't get the idea of being gentle or careful. I just lost it... he just kept hurting me and I was on my own and so tired and trying to be a nice mum and read him stoies because if he doesn't get his stories he is even worse and won't go to sleep - I know that rituals calm him down and he needs me to do them for him.... but he wouldn't stop and he wouldn't stop whinging and shouting and he wouldn't say sorry.

So I smacked him............. and now I feel crap. I KNOW I have a temper and I KNOW that I dont' deal well with beign 'got at' I also know that a 3 yr old isn't doing it on purpose but I can't think that... noise drives me up the wall when he just goes on and on and on I get more and more wound up until I literally can't think striaght. Its the same when someone /something hurts me. Its like I loose all adult ability to think about stuff and just react like a hurt animal I've been known to bite my own hand hard enough to bleed when noises won't stop.

But i dont' know what to do.... its easy to say just put him somewhere safe and walk away but I'd spend all my time doing that. He's still in his cot (large cotbed) because I HAVE to have somewhere safe for timeouts as he won't stay in a timeout zone.

He's getting dangerous as well, he's grown sneaky and last week I caught him after he'd got out onto the road by pulling a chair over to open the door (using both hands for latch and handle) and then opening the front gate.

I usually bike everywhere with him but i'm having to stop because he can undo the seat belt thingie and he stands up in the seat and tries to climb out.

Nothing stops him, and nothing seems to register as dangerous. He constantly hurts himself and I live in fear of what he will figure out how to do to get out of things next. He can undo his carseat restraint, use keys to open padlocks and can climb ANYTHING! He pushed my bike forward one day so he could climb onto the seat, then onto the handlebars and reach for the circular saw on a shelf 7ft off the ground.

I've smacked him twice before. That time he ran into the road, and one time he sent me and the bike into the path of a lorry by climbing up in his seat and putting his hands over my eyes.

I just dont' know how to deal with both of these situations - when he wont' STOP moving and whinging/shouting and when he does soemthing dangerous - not the first time he doe sit but when he's done it twice before, we've told him its dangerous, done timeout etc and he STILL goes and does it again.

How can I keep him safe from himself and from me?

MogTheForgetfulCat Sun 31-Aug-08 20:15:41

I'm so sorry, I have no advice, I just wanted to send you my sympathies. It sounds like you are dealing with an incredibly trying situation - I understand a little of where you are coming from, as my DS1 (2.6) is a horror at the moment, hitting me in the face over the most trivial things, moaning, screaming, pushing his baby brother over, and it is incredibly hard to just keep going with the calm mummy thing ("I do not hit you; you do not hit me") that I KNOW is the right way to deal with it (shouting at him just winds him up and makes him worse) under such an onslaught. I, too, find noise very hard to take - it goes right into me and makes rational thought very difficult.

I don't know the answer to your question, sorry. I'm scared I'll be writing a post like this in a year's time sad

lottiejenkins Sun 31-Aug-08 20:26:18

I think you need to go to your gp and tell him/her what you have just posted here and ask for some help. Hugs for you xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

TotalChaos Sun 31-Aug-08 20:28:38

DS (4.5) had severely delayed speech/language when he was your DS age and slept badly (not going to bed till 2a.m at times). It is very wearing having the sleep issues in addition to all the other worries about development etc, and very understandable that you might snap especialyl when physically pressured. Try not to feel guilty - we all have a breaking point. Sounds like you need more time to yourself, but it's hard if your partner has to work long hours.

TBH DS's sense of safety has been pretty OK for his age though so I've not really got experience dealing with that aspect. Main things that springs to mind is whether you might need to use reins for him - maybe those backpack type ones when out near busy roads.

Is your DS being seen by a paediatrician at all?

TotalChaos Sun 31-Aug-08 20:30:15

you might get more answers from ladies who have been through similar if you repost this on the special needs board.

Janni Sun 31-Aug-08 20:49:23

I would not DREAM of having a go at you for losing it. You sound like you are doing an amazing job, with a VERY demaning child. I have a 3 year old DD whom I find challenging, but when I read YOUR description of what you're up against, I feel blessed.

What cries out to me from your post is that you are doing too much, on your own. Please please focus on getting some respite. Your OH, Homestart, relatives, friends, Contact-a-Family, some paid childcare in your home....anything so that you do not feel so exhausted, because exhaustion is usually at the root of parental misbehaviour grin

TotalChaos Sun 31-Aug-08 20:50:24

wise words from Janni. Also if he's not had his hearing tested, get that checked.

Tryharder Sun 31-Aug-08 22:37:01

I would add, don't worry about the smacking. I smacked DS1 the other day for spitting at me. I doubt he'll be scarred for life and I wouldnt imagine yours will be either.

Does your son go to a nursery or a daycare? If your son is diagnosed with having special needs, he may qualify for council funding to have a one to one assistant to attend nursery with him. I have a friend with a special needs child and there\s quite a lot of help available but no tells you about it and you have to fight for everything.

Also, when you listed today's activities, I was amazed. My son doesnt do all that in a week! Do you think your son is perhaps getting a little bit overtired at all his activity and this could be impacting adversely on his behaviour.

But you sound like you are doing really well and you are managing much better than I ever could. Your son is a lucky boy to have a mum that obviously cares so much about him. Good luck with finding the help you need.

TotalChaos Mon 01-Sep-08 09:30:18

bumping for the daytime crew

justaboutagrownup Mon 01-Sep-08 09:39:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mamadiva Mon 01-Sep-08 09:57:15

Hi Halia I just wanted to come on and give you some support, I haven't been through this but my brother had ADHD and used to get up to all sorts when he was that age, my mum took a nervous breakdown at one point it got so bad.

No one can jdge you for smacking your son none of us know how you felt and how bad it was at the time, as long as you didn't hit him unreasonably hard then you aren't doing much harm don't worry about.

Does he go to nursery? It would give you both some time away from each other.

Re the carseat thing my brother done this too constantly undoing it so my mum had to get one of the high back booster seats for him it wasn't ideal or reccommended but better that than jumping around the car!

Also about the story thing at bedtime we used to read him 2 books then put on a story tape for him and give him the read along book to go with it, obviously all children are different but I'm just trying to think what worked for my mum.

Your son is lucky to have a mum like you who cares so much about him even in the tough times, it's what being a parent is all about

Mumarch Mon 01-Sep-08 10:59:28

Does smacking 'work' for him? ie bring him up short? It can do this and I don't disapprove, because I have used it myself when I got tired of being used as a punchbag. I think you are doing very well, his list of activities is amazing! Try and get someone else to look after him for a while, if you can - so you can rest. You must think of your own health.

HonoriaGlossop Mon 01-Sep-08 11:12:04

Agree with Janni - there is help out there, don't try to manage on your own, there won't be a medal on offer grin Ask your GP or HV for advice, or go to your local Children's Centre (maybe based at local primary school) and they will know how to help you.

Also agree with tryharder that it seems possible he may be over-stimulated. Clearly you want to keep him occupied because he seems to need that, being as active as he is; but what you describe is a HUGE amount of stimulation for a 3 yr old.

I hope the results from the Ed Psych are helpful. If not offered it is worth asking for a Paed assessment; sounds like it would be worth having his processing skills assessed; it can make children seem very 'hard to reach' if they have problems processing 'aurally' - they hear, but can't process in quite the right way. I'm not an expert on this BTW so not trying to say he has this, only that I've met some children with this sort of issue and it wouldn't seem out of the realms of possibility for your ds to be affected and it's worth asking about. Paed/OT/Physio can I think be helpful with strategies for getting through to kids like your ds so I would certainly ask for all the help you can get.

And remember, he WILL grow and mature and won't always be 3. You sound like you are coping so well BTW.

TotalChaos Mon 01-Sep-08 19:00:15


roseability Mon 01-Sep-08 19:44:21

Do not beat yourself up about the smacking. All mums lose their temper in much less trying circumstances than yours.

I lost it with my DS today over a silly potty training blip blush

You MUST get a break

kt14 Mon 01-Sep-08 19:49:35

I'd make some notes on everything you're concerned about, go to the GP and ask for a referral to your developmental pediatrician if you're not already seeing one. Don't be fobbed off, it might be something which can be helped considerably by medication or by the right therapy, or just be a hideous phase he soon grows out of. Either way, you need to know.

It sounds unbearably hard for you to have to go through all of that every day, don't beat yourself up at all about the smacking, everyone has their limits. I know all about the unbearable noise issue, DS2 is currently at the shrieking phase and it's like a drill in my head!

pagwatch Mon 01-Sep-08 20:03:50

my DS has asd and he was violent and did the no sleeping thing. Once you become sleep deprived it is very difficult to then cope during the day.
I found melatonin and nothing to eat or drink after six pm changed his sleeping habits for the better.
You also need to actively find support.
TB brutally h I got absoloutely fuck all help until I found it myself. I kept being ref'd to people who could try and find out what was causing his poor sleep, agression etc etc but after that I just went home to cope with him again.
Unless you have a child who does not feel pain, does not respond to typical parenting and who can hurt you it is impossible to understand the guilt, the fear and the exhaustion.
I would find a good ed psych, a nursery and get some melatonin.
BTW DS2 is 11 now and is fabulous and less trouble than his sibs - so try and hang in there.
best wishes

halia Mon 01-Sep-08 21:12:48

thanks for all the messages, it nearly made me cry again to realise people wouldn't judge me.

He is at nursery f/t now (I work p/t) so that I can get a break in the mornings. I'm trying to remind myself that even if I drop him off at 8.30am and dont' have to leave for work til 12pm I've actually been up since 5/6am with full on activity and probably up in the night with him so its OK to just try and relax or have a nap.

pagwatch I'm really interested in the melatonin, he does look tired most of the time. We've tried not doing activities in case it was overtiring him but he just gets worse. Its like he has too much nervous and physical energy and he is incapable of being calm mentlaly or emotionally unless that physical energy is burned off. The issue is fidnign ways for him to burn off the energy when we're exhausted and to find places that are safe for him and dont' invovle other children too much as his social skills degenerate rapidly when he is overhyped. It is as far as I can tell something to do with processing, he gets to a point and he just can't deal with things going on around him so he goes mental or shuts off completly.

I'm keeping a log and trying to figure out which activities work best for him.

Mumarch, yes the smack did work. Nothing else had got through to him, he seemed to be almost stuck in a loop of flailing and yelling, the smack shocke dhim but then it was like awareness came back into his eyes. He was very cross with me and cried a bit - I apologised and he came over for a hug and we were actually able to talk a little bit about how Mummy was sorry and that he was sorry for hurting me too. Then he was lovely and sweet and curled up for a story and bed. I always said I would never ever ever smack/hit a child. I dont' want to but I am scared because in all three situations it 'worked' in the sense that he stopped the dangerous/hurtful behaviuor and managed to come back to himself so we could deal with it more reasonably.

We are seeing someone about him (ed psych team) but at the weekend I just felt I couldnt' cope. Its so hard sometimes trying to explain to people with more normal/ average kids whats its like.

Thank you all again.

justaboutagrownup Tue 02-Sep-08 06:34:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

madmarriedNika Tue 02-Sep-08 11:06:58

Halia- firstly I just wanted to send you all my sympathies, I really do believe you are doing an amazing job with a very challenging little boy. I really hope the Ed Psych helps and if not you do keep seeking help, as his behaiour is certainly more challenging than most 3yo boys.

This will sound completely off the wall but do you have any pets? My DS is borderline hyperactive, and also very sensitive, but we have a dog and a cat and they are the most calming influence on him, and also taught him to be gentle (so luckily he is good now with his little sister). We have very tolerant pets- both seem to sit there will be pinched, poked etc. but of course after a while get fed up and walk away- which DS doesn't like- so this has taught he if he wants them to stay he has to be nice, calm & gentle (ok animal cruelty lobby about to bombard me!!). In addition he has responsibility for brushing the dog, helping hold lead on walks and feeding our fish- and he seems to respond very well to such roles.

Do you use music at home much? Again I'm going to sound a bit of a wacko here but I firmly believe music can help turn a tense home into a relaxed one. Use classical music to soothe, and upbeat nursery ryhmes to dance to and bring a smile to their faces.

I completely agree with Justabout's views on smacking, and although for some they may sound controversial I really believe in some cases smacks are required to break a nasty cycle- but again this must never be a pre-planned normal disciplining measure.
How does your DS react to threats of withdrawing toys or restrictions on next days activities? I rightly or wrongly if my (3.4yr old) DS really misbehaves inform him that boys who push/kick etc. cannot go on buses/trains or to the park, so we won't be able to do those things tomorrow/later. But again I am lucky that my DS is not as hard work as yours, and he will listen to my explanations for why some behaviours are wrong and seem to act one them fortunately.

It also sounds like your DS is very smart and if his hyperactivity can be calmed and he can channel his energy into creative/mathematical etc. activities he will excel- but I don't know much about this that is just my gut feeling- hopefully your Ed Psych can help you.

I think you are doing a fantastic job under very difficult circumstances. Be gentle on yourself.

Frangipani74 Tue 02-Sep-08 14:01:11

Wow you really are being dragged through it at the moment. I hope your ed psych team are being helpful, in my experience as a teacher some are more helpful than others. Make sure that they give you some clear strategies that you feel will help you deal consistently with difficult behaviour.

Contact Home Start, they might be able to give you a bit of support and respite.

I like you have never been a fan of smacking, although I wouldn't for a moment critcise you for doing it the few times that you have - you sound like you are under an unbearable amount of pressure. Smacking may work in the short term, but you need to think about how your son perceives it, how will effect your relationship in the long run, and if you were to come to rely on it as a way of maintaining order - what will you do when he reaches 14, 15 etc, smack harder?

Don't beat yourself up about it, get as much help as you can.

pagwatch Tue 02-Sep-08 14:54:08


I do recognise entirely that physical restlessness/ emotionally tired thing!

We got my boy a trampoline which helped him burn up energy safely ( an activity I could watch whilst drinking a nice cup of coffee grin).

The otherthing I read up on which sounded like clap trap but which helped DS2 was deep pressure. He has always been skitish IYSWIN - like hes a bit wired. And he seeks out physical activities which highten that excitable/ticklish/giggly thing ( really hard to describe but I am trying smile).
A fantastic physio taught nme to find ways to rub him - like massage - but with strong measured pressure. It can be really comforting and grounding.
Maybe see if he will let you give him a massage before sleep. But deep pressure not light as light pressure is stimulating. You can just do it over jammies, not with oils and things.
I used to call it the sandwich game which made DS2 tolerate it. We would play that he was bread and I was covering him with thick stodgy jam.
This worked so well for us that we have found that DS2 can find lying under cushions etc really comforting.

Honestly I know it sounds really odd. But your DS sounds like mine and , done regularly this really helped.
It might be worth trying .
If it does help you might want to investigate sensory issues more.

You think I am barking now don't you grin - but frankly after two years of no sleep I was prepared to try anything and this helped.

pagwatch Tue 02-Sep-08 14:55:17


any sign of that mumsnet mob yet?

onepieceoflollipop Tue 02-Sep-08 15:02:39

halia I haven't any personal experience of this. I would like to say however that it sounds as if you are under immense pressure and have really been doing your absolute best for your ds in a very selfless way.

I hope that you get the support and advice you need. I have just been shouting at my 4 year old who has no sns but is very trying at the moment. I was crying about that and I then came on here and realised that others have more stressful situations to deal with.

justaboutagrownup Tue 02-Sep-08 15:02:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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