PTSD In a Five Year Old

The psychologist has seen middle child twice since he regressed. The dose has been doubled, he is tired, and she says she cannot see any difference between his behaviour today, last week, and while unmedicated. The cause of this, however, in her opinion, is more ominous than what I thought it to be. I had assumed it was an acclimation to the medication, but his doctor believes it to be triggers. We have had some anniversaries lately, and she believes there is another cause, as well. My son does not like to talk about what upsets him, and I do not blame him. So I have started tapping the sides of his knees when he is upset, and next session with her we will try EMDR, in my presence, since he will still not allow her to do it with him, and he no longer allows her to tap him, either. 

The only thing I can think it to be is that his friend at daycare has either stopped going, or has rejected him. I want him to tell me himself, as he is upset by suggestions. I am patient. I am deflecting all his attempts to fight with me (it took a half hour to get him to drop the issue of not eating donuts before dinner), I refuse to be his instrument of punishment, I will not contribute to his pain, nor give it flesh. His harsh words and his temper fits are met with humor, consequences if necessary, and set discussion times if I cannot avoid it. I am going to read him books about sharing secrets, being upset, friendships, and see if I get any insight this week.

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9 responses to “PTSD In a Five Year Old

  1. Children with PTSD are a real challenge. At any age, and particularly so young.
    My thoughts are with you.

  2. My eight year old is suffering with PTSD after a two month period when he was sexually abused by his older stepbrother. Even with my limited psychology education in nursing school twenty years ago, I knew he had PTSD before his therapist diagnosed him. He diagnosis is recent, and therapist is still tip toeing around how to deal with his outbursts on the bad days. I never what know what is going to trigger a reaction. May I ask what other ways you have been encouraged to deal with his behavior? It is difficult to watch him struggle with his emotions and I feel so helpless in working through it with him. Although he trusted me and our relationship was strong enough to disclose his abuse, he shuts me and the rest of the world out…

    • This article has been helpful: http://www.lianalowenstein.com/articlesODDKuban.pdf

      I find tapping, a slow, arrhythhmic beat simultaneously on both sides of his knees to slow and halt his outbursts the most effectively. It is supposed to reset the nervous system. I have used the Wilbarger technique in conjunction with joint compressions, and had some good results. I would really suggest EMDR, I am working towards that, and my son has not yet allowed it, with his trust issues. It’s hard, and you are not alone. Just keep trying different things, and mix the medical with the therapeutic.

    • I have since read Parenting the Hurt Child and I really recommend it.

  3. it sounds like he has a good and knowledgeable doctor. I admire your strength and your love for your child.

  4. Yes, it is a balancing act to address the behaviour without worsening him overall. I am just glad I have been able to keep him at home and in therapies. I hope I can always do it this way.

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