When is it more that normal behavior?

deezee02deezee02 Posts: 1,509Registered Users
Steven will be 4 this week. His behavior keeps getting worse and worse. I am totally at my wits end with him.

We have a schedule that he follows. We talk about when is next and it is very predictable. He does not eat sugary foods or many processed foods at all.

Sleep is about imposable. We have been fighting this with him for 4 years now. I have tried every.single.method out there, but he is still up until 12am every day.

He is constantly defiant, and then thinks it is funny. He breaks his toys from throwing them and does not care, he never ever sits still anymore. I limit the toys he has available at one point to help, but he just takes his bin and dumps it on the floor throwing everything around him. He bounces around the house all day long. He climbs on the top of the couches, pulls on the blinds (tearing them down at times), never ever listens when we tell him to stop. Again, I have tried everything to try to make him stop but it is not happening.

Being with him is exhausting. By the end of the day I am so wore out and over it...but I know, even at 8pm I still have 4 more hours to deal with it.

He rarely naps, or will even do quiet time. He is going all day every day from 8am - midnight. He seems to be regressing back to hitting and pushing and even attempted to bite me today (he was never a biter).

I get him outside to play every morning. This just wires him up more. he is aggressive towards other kids, thus making playdates impossible anymore.

When we do discipline him he laughs and goes right back to what he was doing before. He screams and runs and thrashes around the house.

I feel like a prisoner in my own home. He cannot go to school b/c of his heart condition, my in-laws do not want to watch him anymore b/c of his behavior and all everyone else seems to do is give me advice on what to do...when I tell them I HAVE TRIED THAT, they act like I must not have done it right.

The worst part is he is smart. He has known his ABC's for a year, can count to over 100, can count to 20 in Spanish, and is starting to read and spell...but he cannot comprehend "please sit down to eat" or "stop yelling please use your indoor voice".

So when do you know this is more than just normal behavior?
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Comments

  • cosmicflycosmicfly Posts: 1,814Registered Users
    Wow, that sounds really hard. it sounds like a lot. Why does his heart condition preclude him from attending school- not that school is the answer but at least it would give you a break. Do you think the behavior/ activity level could be exacerbated by his meds?

    Max was (is) really challenging behaviorally. When he was that age (actually still), I found it somewhat helpful to focus on his more positive behaviors. I am so not a charter, but Max and I made a chart with some target behaviors (pick up toys, follow directions, inside voice, gentle touching... that sort of thing). When he exhibited a positive behavior, I would mark a smiley face on the chart. It worked for a while... it didn't completely distinguish the out of control behaviors but it made the good behaviors more frequent.
  • deezee02deezee02 Posts: 1,509Registered Users
    He has a lowered immune system. Until his next surgery is complete, he is considered medically fragile.

    The easiest way to explain it is even having a cold or runny nose makes him non eligible for his heart cath in November, if he does not get that cath, he is not eligible for his surgery, which he needs and will go into heart failure without.

    So we have been told to keep him out of school until it is over.

    His behavior got WAY worse after his last cath in the middle of August. I talked to his cardiologist thinking that may have triggered his behavior. Dr. told me that is not normal and I was letting him call the shots and had to treat him like a normal kid, which is something we already do.

    We have tried the positive chart, actually we still have it, but even going WAY overboard for good behavior is not working.
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  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,259Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I don't think it's unusual for medical fragile kids to have behavior issues. We try to treat them the same as regular kids, but it's impossible. When we've seen kids be acutely ill, it's easy to give them special treatment, to excuse and forgive behaviors that we wouldn't tolerate in medically normal kids.

    Do you belong to any sort of support groups for parents of kids with Steven's condition? It might help to try to find one to get tips and comraderie.

    I'm usually free with behavior advice, but I'm hesitant, because I don't know what the medical repercussions might be to letting him cry. I do know that kids of all medical levels will try to rule your house if you let them. I'll be damned if let any kid laugh or bite me though...regardless of medical or neurological conditions. I'd find a safe way to discipline him.
  • Jess the MessJess the Mess Posts: 5,844Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I'm sooooo sorry. My son went through a really difficult phase at 4 that included screaming, hitting, slamming doors, breaking things. It was torture on the whole family. It seemed like absolutely nothing worked. I constantly stressed to him how his behavior was affecting the whole family. How he was hurting my feelings, sister's feelings, step-dad's feelings. I would ask how he would feel if we acted like that towards him. It slowly started to help.

    I am very anti medicating kids but I would maybe take him to a counselor. Someone who he can talk to about his feelings. Someone who is trained to work with kids with his behavioral problems.
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  • deezee02deezee02 Posts: 1,509Registered Users
    RCW - I did belong to a support group on-line, but honestly, I had to leave for a while as hearing of the deaths of kids was getting to be too much. I do want to start meeting the a local group I just found (but they have not had a meeting in a while b/c of summer). Please feel free to give advise, as I can always see if I can modify it to work for him.

    Jess - This is something I am going to bring up at his next well check in Nov. I would love to discuss it earlier, but his pedi is on medical leave and everyone else in the practice gets a little weird around him.

    I think the best way to explain it is that he has NO impulse control what so ever, and endless amounts of energy...which is why the combo is so bad. Part of me wonders if there is an underlying issue as he was on life support for 4 days when he was a week old. Plus he has been on bypass three times during surgeries. Add to that his O2 levels are typically in the 70's and 80's, maybe there might be something neurological going on.
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  • mad scientistmad scientist Posts: 3,530Registered Users
    Well, my just-turned-5-year-old is a handful. We are constantly struggling with the lack of impulse control and the pushing/hitting out of anger and frustration.

    School and structured activities are the key to keeping my little guy happy and well-behaved. He seems to thrive in that "one teacher, many students" setting. I've never heard a peep about bad behaviour from a teacher. And he comes home tired and mellow.

    I could totally see things becoming the way you describe in my household if it was just me, DS and little DD all day, every day. Especially if you feel your hands are tied in terms of being able to discipline him (in my house, discipline has to be quite heavy handed if its going to make an impact so I expect tears, in fact I welcome them because I know it means I'm getting through to him).

    I bet you will see changes in him after the surgery, when he's allowed to attend school or daycare. In the meantime, big big hugs. I hope you can find a way to fit some me-time into your days.
  • redmumredmum Posts: 125Registered Users
    Hi,

    Just wanted to say I am sorry that things are so hard for you both. I am new at this bringing up a boy thing but already see challenges from my 18 month old that I never encountered with my wee girl. I realise yours is a complex situation due to health issues but I keep reading about how boys have a massive hormonal surge around the age of 4, which can have a big affect on behaviour. Just want to offer you support anyway and wish you all the best, it cannot be easy and you must be so exhausted.
  • WileE-DeadWileE-Dead Banned Posts: 24,963Banned Users Curl Neophyte
    I just want to offer (((hugs))) to you.
    I know I could not deal w/ what you are.
    You are very strong...
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  • CGNYCCGNYC Posts: 4,938Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    DZ, did you ever read Sleepless in America? If I can find it, do you want me to send it to you?
  • subbrocksubbrock Posts: 8,212Registered Users
    CGNYC wrote: »
    DZ, did you ever read Sleepless in America? If I can find it, do you want me to send it to you?

    i haven't read the book, but i was going to share that majerle had similar behavaior issues and it was due to the fact that she wasn't getting enough sleep. she doesn't like to go to sleep and quite frankly, i used to think that she didn't need it. there has been a huge difference in her behavior since i discovered that it was directly connected to her lack of sleep.
  • deezee02deezee02 Posts: 1,509Registered Users
    CG, I borrowed it from the library, skimmed it and had to return it before I got a chance to dig into it. If you could find it, that would be great!

    MS - I know he needs structure, and I try to get as much in as possible, but with 2 kids and household stuff, it is hard to stay on him to work on an activity. I have to limit him to one crayon when coloring or he throws them. I have to give him one worksheet at a time, and he is done with it within 1 min and wants another. He gets mad playing with playdoh when it does not do exactly what he wants it to do. He wants to do everything himself, but gets so frustrated when it does not work the way he wants it to or he cannot do it.
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  • curly_keltiecurly_keltie Posts: 791Registered Users
    (in my house, discipline has to be quite heavy handed if its going to make an impact so I expect tears, in fact I welcome them because I know it means I'm getting through to him).

    DS just turned 4 last month and I too have to be pretty heavy handed in disciplining him...but it seems to work. Like subrock's DD, my DS NEEDS a good amount of sleep or he can be pretty beasty during the day.

    I am so sorry to hear that you are having a hard time with your son. I cannot really think of any advice that hasn't already been given, but if something pops into my head I will be sure to post.

    Please keep us updated. We're here to help and support you.
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  • mad scientistmad scientist Posts: 3,530Registered Users
    deezee02 wrote: »
    MS - I know he needs structure, and I try to get as much in as possible, but with 2 kids and household stuff, it is hard to stay on him to work on an activity. I have to limit him to one crayon when coloring or he throws them. I have to give him one worksheet at a time, and he is done with it within 1 min and wants another. He gets mad playing with playdoh when it does not do exactly what he wants it to do. He wants to do everything himself, but gets so frustrated when it does not work the way he wants it to or he cannot do it.

    I find it very hard to maintain a structured environment at home, especially with two kids with very different needs, so I totally get it. Hang in there. It sounds like you know what DS needs, but right now you are in a holding pattern waiting for his surgery. It will get better.

    Is it possible to send DD to Grandma's so that you can give DS some one-on-one time? At age 4, DS was getting into puzzles and playdoh and board games - nice activities to develop focus - but with a busy 2 year old that needed to be kept out of the way, it was near impossible for me to ever really sit down with him. And these activities were too frustrating for him to do alone.
  • TrenellTrenell Posts: 3,562Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Isaiah just turned 4 this week. (I'm am recovering from his birthday party that just ended about an hour ago :)

    And yes, his behavior has been getting to be a bit much. Not completely horrible, but I'm not used to him being a handful.

    I read some where that between 4-5 kids lose their damn minds
  • curly_keltiecurly_keltie Posts: 791Registered Users
    Trenell wrote: »
    I read some where that between 4-5 kids lose their damn minds

    Mine lost his between 3-4 years old. I am LOVING 4 compared to the roller coaster ride of my DS being 3.
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  • CynaminbearCynaminbear Posts: 4,476Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I've heard that a certain series of books on child development is really good. They have one for every year, so this one would be Your Four Year Old, Wild and Wonderful (yes, that's the full title, very appropriate).
    Would you consider giving him a calcium supplement, if he already isn't getting one? Some boys really are go, go, go. I think I started having Mom-time with my kids when they were around 4 or 5. It seemed like that's when my oldest was acting similarly and was the best way for us to have time, just the two of us. However, I'm betting he's getting that kind of time after the baby goes to bed.
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  • spiderlashes5000spiderlashes5000 Posts: 17,898Registered Users Curl Virtuoso
    Have you taken him to a specialist -- child psychologist, behaviorist, social worker, etc.?

    From almost 3 to almost 5, my daughter was a real handful. She didn't bite or hit or throw tantrums but she has extremely hyper and hardheaded (wouldn't listen) and fearless.

    I took her to a child psychologist to rule out any kind of diagnosis. Once I was assured there was nothing clinically wrong w/ her I was able to just say OK and deal w/ her the way parents have always dealt w/ bad little hardheaded kids. LOL

  • WileE-DeadWileE-Dead Banned Posts: 24,963Banned Users Curl Neophyte
    extremely hyper and hardheaded (wouldn't listen) and fearless.
    I thought that was normal? :lol:
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  • spiderlashes5000spiderlashes5000 Posts: 17,898Registered Users Curl Virtuoso
    extremely hyper and hardheaded (wouldn't listen) and fearless.
    I thought that was normal? :lol:

    I thought so too. But then she got dicked out of daycare. Then another daycare. Then an inhome daycare! I was like WTF, this is *not* normal!

    She is just very strongwilled. But I wanted to rule out ADD/ADHD. And demon possession! LOL (Yes, someone actully suggested that.:?)

  • Butterfly_CurlzButterfly_Curlz Posts: 955Registered Users
    subbrock wrote: »
    CGNYC wrote: »
    DZ, did you ever read Sleepless in America? If I can find it, do you want me to send it to you?

    i haven't read the book, but i was going to share that majerle had similar behavaior issues and it was due to the fact that she wasn't getting enough sleep. she doesn't like to go to sleep and quite frankly, i used to think that she didn't need it. there has been a huge difference in her behavior since i discovered that it was directly connected to her lack of sleep.

    I would strongly suggest looking into lack of sleep, sleep apnea (especially since you stated your child was born w/medical issues). My son is 3 yrs old & was an angel until about a wk before he turned 3. His behavior isn't all "bad" (& note I use this term for lack of a better word) but he has moments where he is normally the most polite, respectful (saying bless you, thank you, etc.) the majority of the time however there are many times where he's literally bouncing off the walls, having a tantrum for no apparent reason, throws toys, chairs (really scary moment one night), not willing to go to bed before 11pm, midnight or sometimes later, refuses to take naps, etc.

    He was born w/laryngomalasia (meaning his throat never fully developed) so he is still mainly formula fed despite being able to eat mashed potatoes, yogurt, and occassionally spaghetti o's. Anyway we recently found out he had sleep apnea & after talking to a specialist (the head of the sleep apnea dept at walter reed) he stated that while sleep deprived adults "fall out" anywhere anytime of day, in children sleep deprivation presents as hyperactivity and "acting out behaviorally" as well as aggression. Therefore he advised us to get the matter adressed as soon as possible (usually meaning having the child's tonsils removed) before he was mislabeled as ADHD or a "behavior problem" in school.

    Please take this suggestion seriously and look into this. The last thing anyone wants is to have their child placed on medications they do not need or eventually having problems in school that can effect their entire life that could have been avoided.
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  • deezee02deezee02 Posts: 1,509Registered Users
    subbrock wrote: »
    CGNYC wrote: »
    DZ, did you ever read Sleepless in America? If I can find it, do you want me to send it to you?

    i haven't read the book, but i was going to share that majerle had similar behavaior issues and it was due to the fact that she wasn't getting enough sleep. she doesn't like to go to sleep and quite frankly, i used to think that she didn't need it. there has been a huge difference in her behavior since i discovered that it was directly connected to her lack of sleep.

    I would strongly suggest looking into lack of sleep, sleep apnea (especially since you stated your child was born w/medical issues). My son is 3 yrs old & was an angel until about a wk before he turned 3. His behavior isn't all "bad" (& note I use this term for lack of a better word) but he has moments where he is normally the most polite, respectful (saying bless you, thank you, etc.) the majority of the time however there are many times where he's literally bouncing off the walls, having a tantrum for no apparent reason, throws toys, chairs (really scary moment one night), not willing to go to bed before 11pm, midnight or sometimes later, refuses to take naps, etc.

    He was born w/laryngomalasia (meaning his throat never fully developed) so he is still mainly formula fed despite being able to eat mashed potatoes, yogurt, and occassionally spaghetti o's. Anyway we recently found out he had sleep apnea & after talking to a specialist (the head of the sleep apnea dept at walter reed) he stated that while sleep deprived adults "fall out" anywhere anytime of day, in children sleep deprivation presents as hyperactivity and "acting out behaviorally" as well as aggression. Therefore he advised us to get the matter adressed as soon as possible (usually meaning having the child's tonsils removed) before he was mislabeled as ADHD or a "behavior problem" in school.

    Please take this suggestion seriously and look into this. The last thing anyone wants is to have their child placed on medications they do not need or eventually having problems in school that can effect their entire life that could have been avoided.

    He has already been tested for Apnea, and has been on an O2 monitor overnight many times...no Apnea
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