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Difficult behaviour since (before) birth - now 4.5 and still no change


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#1 Bami

Posted 27 November 2012 - 07:10 AM

My third DS is 4.5 years old and really is 'the girl (or in this case, boy) with the curl' personified. When he is good, he is beautiful to be around, when he is bad - he is HORRID. And barely tolerable - even to me, his mum.


My DH and I are firm but fun parents (I hope!) and have  clear boundaries in place regarding what behaviour is expected. We spend a lot of family time together and family is our #1 priority.

Since the birth of DS3 things have been difficult. I have always put it down to 'he's just a baby, it will pass', 'he's just a toddler, it will pass', 'it's the terrible twos.. threes... fours... it will pass'. But this behaviour is constant. It is no phase.

He makes things difficult for my DS1 & 2 as they miss out on a lot because of DS3's behaviour. I try my best to deal with the behaviour in a calm but firm manner. Thank goodness for day care, which he goes to 2 days a week, and preschool (which is now also to 2 days a week) or I just would not have been able to be a good mother to this child.

My husband is now at the end of his patience with DS3 and a few times has confided in me that he just doesn't want to deal with him anymore. I am faced with the possibility of having to separate from my husband (of 12+years) and take DS3 with me if this behaviour continues.

Can someone please tell me where I can start in getting some help - do I just go to a gp and get a referral? I am in a rural location with limited services although I think there is one peadiatrician in town I could go to. Not sure if this is the right course for getting to the bottom of behavioural issues?

It is hard to explain the behaviour to those who don't know DS3, but everyone who knows him understands the extreme difficulty in dealing with behaviour when he is being 'difficult'. One friend of mine has told me that he is the most difficult child she has met (when I was seeking assurance in my parenting ability). He will stubbornly hold onto issues (which to anyone else would not be issues) and there is no distracting or explaining that will resolve an issue. He is incredibly intelligent and has an extensive vocabulary, good sense of humour (when not in his difficult phases) and is very social, particularly with adults.




#2 LovenFire

Posted 27 November 2012 - 09:12 AM

What a tough situation OP.
Perhaps a child psychologist? That may help your DH and yourself too.
I once heard that, if you no longer enjoy your child - it's time to seek professional counseling / guidance.  
All the best OP.

#3 baddmammajamma

Posted 27 November 2012 - 09:12 AM

Hi Bami:

I'm so sorry to hear that things have gotten so bad -- I can just feel the stress in your post.

I don't have enough time right now to type out as thoughtful of a reply as I would like to write, but please see my response to Anni's thread below ("Getting 4.5 DD Assessed"), as the advice is very similar.

What is your closest city of decent size? Are you anywhere near Lismore? If feasible, you might really want to think about seeing a professional in a larger metro area -- as opposed to just going locally, unless, of course, your local paed has experience with developmental paediatrics.

I wonder if you might be able to find a psychologist who, after the initial meeting, would be wiling to do consults with you/your husband via skype or some other form of remote connection. I think that it's very important that both you & your husband get some guidance in how to best mitigate your son's challenging behaviors.

Hang in there & start making some calls as soon as possible to see what type of professional guidance you can line up. Per my other post, your GP is a good place to start for referrals, but also check in on both the Disabilities/Special Needs Board and the NSW State board to see if any other parents have recommendations in your area.

#4 Mrs Lannister

Posted 27 November 2012 - 09:21 AM

He sounds just like my DS who is almost 4. It is only in the last 3 mths that things have started to improve. With my DS I think it is a maturity thing. I don't really have any advice but I can understand completely how you feel

#5 Guest_~Karla~_*

Posted 27 November 2012 - 09:33 AM

He sounds remarkably like my oldest son. DS1 was diagnosed with ASD (now changed to Aspergers) and anxiety when he was 5yo.

Honestly, you need a referral to a GOOD developmental paediatrician for a full assessment. While you're waiting, you may want to explore the FAILSAFE diet - removing all additives and colours and flavour etc from his diet might help (it helps my oldest a lot). It's probably also worth speaking to a local child/family orientated social worker or someone too. They can help you and your husband work on some coping strategies and may be able to offer some insight into your sons behaviour (ie, when my eldest started lying, I found it reassuring when the social worker explained that it was actually age-appropriate for him to start lying at that stage). They will not have enough expertise to deal with your child, but they might be able to help you and your husband cope while you wait to see the paed. It can also be incredibly therapeutic to have a safe place to blurt all those negatives thoughts and feelings out.

Good luck. I know how draining it is and how awful you feel when you realise that despite all the love you have for your child, you just really don't like them sometimes. I find Ds1's horridness even harder to cope with because he is such a delightful, thoughtful, lovely little boy when he is in the mood. Sadly, he's not in that mood often though. sad.gif

#6 baddmammajamma

Posted 27 November 2012 - 09:37 AM

Awesome response by my friend Karla. I agree with every word.

Bami, depending on where you are located (and what your nearest city is), I'd be happy to pass along some names of good professionals -- or maybe some of the other parents on EB can help out.

#7 Lalliana

Posted 27 November 2012 - 09:51 AM

I agree with Karla, doing the failsafe diet might help until you are able to see a paed. We are doing that with my 8 year old DSD and it is helping. I got a lot of information from http://fedup.com.au/ which includes things such as shopping lists and recipes. Good luck, I know how frustrating this behaviour can be.

#8 Natttmumm

Posted 27 November 2012 - 09:54 AM

What you describe was like our DD. It was such a tough time. She was "difficult/impossible" from birth until around 4 years when it all changed for us. The only main thing that changed was she started to sleep well - not sure why that happened.

She was a baby that screamed and cried all day (noone would look after her), awake all night, as a toddler she threw spectacular tantrums about everything and when not doing that she was whinging - she was hard work with friends around too - my mothers group and family agreed that was was the hardest baby/ child sad.gif . She never ate well and fussed over every meal and drink...you get the picture. I absolutley drained DH and I and we ended up in many silly arguments just because we were so pushed. We never thought about breaking up but it did damage us which i think is probably still there a bit.

At 3 years old I decided enough was enough and I went to see a child PSYch. I didnt bother getting a referral but just made an appointment and went. After explaining everything to her in depth and an asessment being done it was clear that she was a very intelligent, sensitive etc etc but yes "within the normal range". The main thing that the assessment pointed out was that she was great at daycare - no compliants from there. Her preschool assessment actually said "a delight in the classroom - no issues to report".
How is your son at daycare and preschool. What do they think??

Try to keep the family together as things will settle as he either gets help or gets older. You guys need to stick together if you can even though it is a drain at the moment.

#9 Mumof1OneontheWay

Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:22 AM

Maybe get checked for a food intolerance. Also we have had some success with monthly chiropractic visits. Another suggestion from the chiro was to remove dairy and wheat from diet. You could also see a naturopath for some natural herbs to help.

#10 madmother

Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:33 AM

But a food intolerance from birth???

Seems strange.

I too am another jumping on the get a referral to a good paed. I know developmental paeds are what is recommended, but that being said ours is just a paed and he was wonderful.

Where are you?


#11 Guest_~Karla~_*

Posted 27 November 2012 - 08:20 PM

QUOTE (Mumof1OneontheWay @ 27/11/2012, 10:22 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Maybe get checked for a food intolerance. Also we have had some success with monthly chiropractic visits. Another suggestion from the chiro was to remove dairy and wheat from diet. You could also see a naturopath for some natural herbs to help.


There is no way to "check" for a food intolerance. The only way to diagnose a food intolerance is to remove the food from your diet for at least 2-4 weeks and then re-introduce it. Anyone who says they can check for or diagnose a food intolerance is full of poo. if you're going to look at removing dairy and wheat -especially together - you really need to consult a good dietitian and do it under their close guidance.

OP, I don't think diet will be a miracle cure. But it may just take the edge off until you see the paed. I know my eldest is feral (argumentative, defiant, angry, over-emotional) for 3 days after he has any artificial colours etc. He's still no angel off those things, but the over-reactions are less extreme IYKWIM. He can still be horrible, but we get more nice time with him when we are super-strict about his diet. It also means I try to be more understanding and lenient when we've slipped up, because it's not his fault and I know that now.  



#12 stopthatnow

Posted 28 November 2012 - 09:50 AM

Hi.  I really feel your stress and understand how hard it is dealing with a child that is 'difficult'.  My DS has been diagnosed with GDD, and even though his behaviour could be a part of this diagnosis, I don't feel it is.  I have a background in psychology and social work, and that was my professional opinion original.gif  Firstly, my DS 3 is great at daycare, but at home it was a different story.  He is so extreme in his tantrums and constantly whinging or wanting attention every 10 seconds.  It got to the point where I was afraid to take him out in public!  The whole family has been affected.  My DS 14 has an 'easy' temperament and we just clicked from the minute he was born.  However, DS 3 has a 'difficult' temperament.  I have found the biggest challenge is to work on how to handle this little boy that is so hard to manage and make happy.  I took it personally that I was doing everything wrong by him (and so did his Dad).  However, after all his assessments, I spoke to the professionals and they pointed out that kids with a 'difficult' temperament need a different style of parenting and one that is so different from easy babies.  It is a lot of hard work (and tears) but it is possible and a psychologist or social worker will give you the strategies.  Mainly it is routine and structure with a regular outlet for exercise.  However, this is contingent on a full assessment by a paediatrician to rule out any other underlying causes.

Here is a good article on 'difficult' temperaments for anyone interested -
http://www.oh-pin.org/articles/pex-01-stra...r-parenting.pdf

Edited by stopthatnow, 28 November 2012 - 09:58 AM.


#13 Freddie'sMum

Posted 28 November 2012 - 10:01 AM

OP - your son sounds exactly like my DD#2 - now aged 5 years old.

She has also been an incredibly difficult child for both DH & I.

We are going to do the Triple-P parenting course next year because we are both at our wits end.  Aside from getting your LO checked by a good paed - I went onto the Triple P website and you can do their courses from home (by email - I think).

Anyhow, I feel and understand your frustration.  Miss-5 is very clever but oh my God - is she hard work.

Best wishes.



#14 amabanana

Posted 28 November 2012 - 10:24 AM

I agree with PPs that say try the Failsafe diet and visit a good paed/psych.  DD5 was difficult from birth so I can really understand where you are coming from on that one.  We put off getting professional help for many reasons but after seeing many of BMJs posts we decided this year to get DD assessed.  The result has been a diagnosis and although no one wants to have a child with letters its been unbelievably great to a)get DD help (OT and pysch)  b) get us (and her teachers) to understand that she is the way she is and that modifying our expectiations are just as important as her working on her behavior, c) that she is a lot smarter than any of use knew and d) that I'm not a neurotic, ineffective parent!  Everyone is MUCH happier.
Doing the Failsafe diet was hard but we were able to work out that DD reacts to a particular food additive and now we (even DD) avoid it like the plague.  It is a common additive so removing it from her diet has meant a huge reduction in violent emotional outbursts to the point where we only really see it when she accidentally eats something she shouldn't.  

Good luck OP.

#15 Natttmumm

Posted 30 November 2012 - 02:34 PM

Quick question - what is his sleep like. DD1 slept so poorly and was such a rat bag until the sleep sorted out. DD2 has been so easy until she stopped sleeping well at around 2.5yrs and she also became very difficult. Turns out she has sleep apnoea and doesnt sleep well at all so shes always tired and cranky.

Just a thought - check out his sleeping

#16 loulou_b

Posted 11 December 2012 - 03:35 PM

See if you can do  Triple P course.
The NSW gov funds these so they are free and as far as I know they are run in most large rural centres as well as metro areas.

QUOTE
My DH and I are firm but fun parents (I hope!) and have clear boundaries in place regarding what behaviour is expected. We spend a lot of family time together and family is our #1 priority.


I felt like this too, but after I did the course I saw a few holes in our approach.  I foolowed some of the advice on behaviour issues and it did work, now I just have to be consistent!  I'm not saying it's a miracle fix, because it's not, but the course made me see what I was dong well and what I needed to work on.  

I'd try something like this first and then go and see a paed if, after a month or so of extra effort, there was little to no change.

families nsw

#17 Bami

Posted 29 December 2012 - 09:19 AM

Thanks for the replies.

At preschool he tries hard but will still tell the teachers to 'be quite - your voice is annoying me!' etc. He has his good/bad days. He starts school next year so it will be interesting to see how he goes... he will need a firm teacher with clear boundaries!

I will look at diet. He doesn't eat a whole lot really and is small for his age, although my DS1 is too. His daily diet would be something like: Breakfast - cereal like great start, or 2x weetbix with honey and full cream milk, Morning tea - apple (or whatever other fruit is avail), vanilla yoghurt, Lunch - Peanut butter sandwhich, a small treat like homemade cooking - not everyday, afternoon tea he will get some fruit or a carrot from the fridge, drinks water all day - for a treat he might have a glass of milk or on rare occassions some juice, for night we have the night meal whatever that may be. My hubby is a great cook so it is usually something delicious - tikka masala, pasta, sometimes standard meat & 4 veg. He will pick through and we need to come down hard on him to ensure he has some of his veggies etc.

His sleep is excellent now. He sometimes finds it a little hard to go off at night but will stay in his bed. He sleeps right through now which is fantastic, and is the only one of my boys who doesn't wet overnight.

I am in a rural area and services are not great. I could travel 2hrs to access a good paed.

He is very stubborn and intelligent and I think these traits fuel his behaviour a bit.






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