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please help me to like my son.(43 Posts)
After some kind words on the MH board, I was advised to post here. Thanks in advance for taking the time to read.
It's taken me 6 attempts to just write the title. I absolutely hate myself for feeling this way, and i love him with all my heart, but i just don't like my 6yo ds.
For a long time i have suspected he has some form of adhd/add or other type of problem. He moves constantly, tries to take over every situation and has recently gone back to having screaming tantrums when he doesn't things don't go his way. He can concentrate for long periods of time if he is interested in something but then he will become obsessed with it to the point where he could probably take an a'level on said subject! However, if the subject doesn't grab his attention straight away, then he zones out instantly and has that glassy stare. I also have a 4yo dd who is such an angel child that ds's behaviour seems even more extreme!
In the last 6 months (although we had a brief spell of it when he was 3) he has developed anxieties. Before christmas he washed his hands literally until his skin peeled off. We managed to get past that (mostly due to pain) and now, rather than wash his hands, he askes for constant reassurance. Are my hands ok? Are my feett ok? Am i alright? My arm just brushed against the wall what will happen? This is not just once a day, this is at most, every half an hour. If we're eating it could be after every mouthful, especially if he's using his hands to eat. (Sandwiches and crisps are a nightmare). I took him to the doctors regarding his anxiety and doc said said i just need to reassure him, dont make a big deal out of it, just say yes you're fine and then carry on with whatever i'm doing.
This is really dragging me down. I spend all day waiting for bedtime and then remember bedtime is often as bad. Sometimes 2 and a half hours of crying because i wont let him on the sofa bed or because he's scared (i do believe he's genuinely scared) so i sit and read in his room while he tries to fall asleep but he just wants to chat with me so i get cross and that winds him up further! When i finally think we're getting somewhere, a little voice pops up with am i ok? It makes my heart ache to think of him saying it but at the time it just makesme want to scream.
As i said, i have taken him to the doctors about his behaviour and i've also asked teachers over the years (before the anxiety got this extreme). I even asked his yr1 teacher last year if she thought there was anything wrong with him
Dealing with all of that unsupported must be an absolute nightmare!
Poor little mite, and poor you. I'd exect I'd want to throttle my son too if it were me, with no support, not explanation and absolutely no idea what to do about it.
Posted too soon!
Teacher said, it is not my job to tell you that!! I thought that the school contacted parents if they thought there could be a problem, and as he's in yr2 now i'm presuming they don't suspect anything which makes me feel even more like a terrible parent as i'm using the fact that i think my son has an illness for his awful behaviour and my attitude towards him. He does save his anxiety for home though as he says he'll feel silly asking a teacher if he's alright but he does worry at school, he says he knowhe can ask at home and he's safe here- melts my heart!
Sorry its such a long post but i don't know where to turn! I do love him with all my heart, just not all that he comes with.
How difficult for you all banana, it certainly does sound like there is something going on with your ds that needs investigating.
Can you go to a different GP and ask for a referral either to a developmental paediatrician or to CAMHS.
Did school say anything when you asked them. Maybe you should go and see the SENCO too.
Be kind to yourself and keep coming on here.
From tomorrow, write a diary or record and then transrcipt every comment, behaviour and things that worry you about him.
Ideally, you would do an ABC chart 'Antecedent - What comes before the behaviour, Behaviour - what the behaviour is, and Consequence - what happens next after the behaviour i.e what does he do or you do that ends it.
Has your doctor done anything? If not, it sounds to me as if he needs an urgent referral to CAMHS. What does the teacher say?
Sorry x posted about school.
They sound a bit rubbish if they think it is not their job to help you and your ds
Thanks for answering starlight. As we speak i thought he was asleep but he's just come in the room and asked me to smell his hands, asked if his feet were ok and asked if he was ok! Just don't know how to get help for him and feel like i should soldier on as i've been told he's ok and just an immature boy so often!
By recording incidences and then submitting them to your GP, you cannot be ignored. You have also started to build up a picture for whoever you are referred to, as well as potentially find a pattern in what triggers his behaviour and what you do that makes it better, or worse, in order to try and help him.
agree with the idea of getting a referral to camhs.
You are trying to support your son under very stressful circumstances. your feelings are understandable.
keep posting for support.
Doctor has previously said if the behaviour continues then he may benefit from counselling but when the behaviour got worse he said i was just to say yes you're ok and carry on! I said that he'd previously discussed counselling but he said it's not necessary, he'll be fine. My doctor is usually fantastic, he refers straight away for anything medical, but i've never had any experience with him and MH issues to know how hot he is on that. I feel like i should go back to him (no others in the surgery, only him...known him since i was little) and just say i want to be referred- am i allowed to do this? Also who do i contact first at school? I am going to request a meeting with teacher for friday- is it her i should speak to? Or go straight to head? I haven't previously spoken to her about my adhd/add suspicions but she doea know about the hand washing as he had to have cream put on and it was fairly evident what he was doing!
Thanks so much for your kind words so far
Oh you poor thing, and your poor ds.
My ds (5yo) has sporadic periods of anxiety, though not to the same level. I kind of see where your GP is coming from in that sometimes playing something down can be actually reassuring to a child, whereas sometimes by giving lots and lots of reassurance it can actually fuel an obsession. Eg my ds went through a long phase of huge anxiety about toilets and toilet training. We tried many tactics over the course of a year, and eventually realised that the most successful approach was a matter-of-fact no-nonsense one. The more we tried to give him reassurance, the more strategies he came up with to avoid using the toilet (hated the pipes, scared of the flush, wrong seat colour, wrong seat shape, scared it would overflow, scared it would block, etc etc). The more we reassured him on each point, the more he would get us engaged with the obsession.
Sorry, long-winded, but I spose I'm trying to say that, although of course it's totally understandable and natural for you to reassure him every time, perhaps this is providing more fuel for him. Have you tried saying once, quite brusquely (but not unkindly) "ds you're fine. Now, have you seen this xyz in this book here" or something similar - ie distract him immediately with somehting you know he really does love.
Other thing you could try re bedtime - start a gradual countdown with him of how long you're going to spend in his room, and reward him each time he accepts you doing this. Ie
day 1 - stay till he falls asleep
day 2 - stay for 1 hour
day 3 - 50 mins
day 4 - 30 mins
etc until he accepts a simple bedtime, story, kiss, goodnight, and you leave the room. At each step, tell him clearly beforehand how long you're going to stay, what you're going to do, and that if he accepts this, he'll get tokens or something towards his favourite game/computer game/whatever. No punishment if he doesn't manage it, but just doesn't build up the tokens. Stay very calm and kind on it all, but don't negotiate. If he screams and cries and kicks when you leave, just take him back to bed calmly and say "ok we'll try again tomorrow, and maybe you'll get a token then".
Part of his anxiety might be about not knowing what is coming, not knowing what to expect and therefore fear about how to deal with it.
The above might be a day-to-day strategy which might or might not work, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't go back and try and get more support for him - I would definitely do so, as the cause of his anxiety is the key thing (whether a behavioural/neurological condition, or a MH one). And even if you successfully deal with the current obsession, if he has such obsessive tendancies it'll just get transferred to soemthing else unless you and he are given proper support.
The other thing to bear in mind is that he might have such obsessive nature for his whole life, but the important thing is that an obsession isn't harmful to him, and doesn't interfere with normal functioning and a 'normal' life.
Sorry this is very long! HTH though.
Is your HV any good? I know not all are, mine was fab and continued to support me for a couple of years after ds started school, she was instrumental in us getting referred for assessment.
As well as doing what is suggested above, if you want to explore doing something more pro-active with ds you could have a look at this workbook
Please keep posting, this place is a lifeline for many of us
Banana, so sorry you are having to deal with this on your own. Ds1 was very similar at that age and we were in a similar position to you. He suffers from severe anxiety and asks similar questions to your ds constantly, as well as compulsively washing his hands and being worried he might have come into contact with something that will harm him (in his case he worries about being poisoned or catching illnesses) The "Am I OK?" and "Will I be alright?" questions are endless. He also has screaming tantrums and obsessive interests. It's exhausting.
His school also refused to agree there was a problem, until the end of year two, just as they handed him over to juniors - when he would no longer be their problem so-to-speak. Up until that point they insisted he was absolutely fine at school, with no concerns and all of a sudden at the end of the school year they suddenly said they felt he needed some assessment.
Is there another GP at the practice you could go and see for a second opinion?
You've had some great advice already about keeping a diary. We bought a big A4 diary and just jotted down the day's happening at the end of every evening, but these days you could just as easily keep a log on a computer.
I would also type up some background notes about your ds in general, what the pregnancy and birth were like, how he was as a baby, any concerns back then, developmental milestones etc, along with a bit of family history. This is useful, as every single medical practitioner you see will want you to repeat this information.
Then write a list of all your concerns and go to see a different GP if possible and take it with you, along with the diary. It might help to book a double appointment, as then you won't feel as rushed and under pressure.
It's hard to know whether you need a mental health or developmental assessment really, without knowing if he has always had issues, or it's something that has developed and perhaps snowballed over time. If you feel it's something developmental I would ask for a referral to whoever does developmental assessments in your area, so either a developmental paediatrician or CAMHS dependent on your local health trust. Alternatively, push for a CAMHS assessment if you feel the root of it all may be the anxiety, rather than anything developmental.
Do keep posting on here, there are lots of people with similar stories and you will get plenty of support.
Meant to add about the bedtime idea - talk to him during the day about the plan and what you're going to do so it isn't sprung on him. Could also try making him really involved in it so he's more likely to want to succeed - eg asking him what his best reward would be, or how many days he'd like to try it over.
Also thining about the 'am I ok' thing, I wonder if he also gets reassurance from asking the same question and getting the same answer (ie comfort from the familiarity), as well as (or even ^rather than^) wanting reassurance he'll actually be ok?
I don't often comment on posts but felt moved to say my two penny worth. It sounds a bit like an ocd type of thing with the hand washing and need for constant reassurance. If it is then reassurance can make the problem worse - they feel better when you reassure them but it is short lived so feel worse and then ask for more reassurance so it becomes a vicious circle of needing more reassurance. Please ask for a referral to camhs as you need help to develop strategies to support him. Use a diary to show gp how many times he is asking for reassurance even in one evening and that it is not working. Really hope you can get a referral.
Sorry, cross posted a bit there - having a conversation with dh about my ds1 while I'm typing.
This might help you with getting your GP to refer. If you disagree with his opinion, you can apparently tell them to refer you to another GP for a second opinion.
Thanks polter. Book sucessfully purchased! I must say i haven't seen a HV since he started school. Even when at clinic with dd they seemed to be done with him! So not sure i'd even be able to find one now as dd is 4 and in reception class! Love the flowers too! (Much needed- thank you)
Bialy, thanks for your sound words, hope your ds is doing well. As advised by the doctor i always answer yes you're fine, eat your tea or here's a picture or would you like to help me etc etc. The more you give my ds the more he needs. (I was using the softly, softly approach before docs appointment and was definately fueling the fire so to speak). It still seems to be getting worse though and it's getting harder and harder to say it calmly.
Bedtime is a total different story. I have been doing similar steps to yours since he was 2! We had a sleep specialist round who was fantastic and that was when my suspicions about him started. He's nevr in his life gone to bed nicely! Even as a baby. I have done the structured routine and it just doesnt help. Especially telling him how long i'm going to be there for....this just seems to make him panic and then gets wound up and we're back to square one again!
Hi again Bananas. Glad you found your way down here
Keeping a diary of behaviours will give you evidence to speak to the GP about. What you are describing appears to me to be an ASD (probably aspergers) fuleed by anxiety and OCD - exactly what my son has and which was totally overlooked / ignored by school and he not not diagnosed until age 15.
If school don't see a problem (or more likely choose to ignore what they are seeing) you may find your best route for an assessment and CAMHS referral is via your GP. If school will admit that they too have difficulties with him then you should insist that he is seen by an Educational Psychologist.
As I mentioned before - support costs schools money - so don't always assume that school is working in your child's best interests - sadly they don't always do so.
Thanks very much for directing me over here AtoZ! Can't believe how many lovely people have offered advice and support!
I'm sorry you didn't get a diagnosis until your ds was 15! I don't think i'd last that long to be honest!
I'm not sure school will say there's a problem with him as i am sure he saves most of it for home. I am often told he is a silly boy and gets in trouble for not sitting still or not listening but he doesn't show his anxiety at school and can get on with work and engage well with others if he's interested!
Thank you so much to everyone who has posted! You're helping me to believe there is a problem to solve and that i'm just not a mean old bitch who cant cope with her son. Thank you all.
You have lots of great advice here, may I offer just one more thing to directly address the title of your op?
Get a pack of post its to add to your diary and everytime your DS does something positive, funny, affectionate towards dd write that down too. Praise him at the time, and every night as part of your bedtime routine praise him again for the good things he's done. And then keep the post its in a big pile in a private place where you can read over them when you're feeling down.
You need to do everything else as well, but just from your title, you need to also reconnect with the good bits. Sure, it's the bad bits that need dealing with, but the good bits are still there.
While you're at it, you might want to do the odd post it for yourself too. You're doing great. ((hugs))
What a super idea Wilson. I'll definately do that. I praised him for super behaviour in supermarket last week and let him chose a book so hopefully that boosted him a bit. I do need to try and not sound so surprised when i praise him though! I am very excited to try it out tomorrow, and thanks for the hugs. Don't often get those!
You're not a mean old bitch who can't cope. Youre a loving mum who is fed up of not knowing how to best help her son. The problem most likely has a medical name, and CAMHS will find it for you.
School nurse worth a call if you don't have a health visitor. Often same office base too.
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