Tag Archives: child psychology

Recommendations From the Psychologist

Today the psychologist recommended my Middle Son switch over to Abilify from his Clonidine ER. She wants his dopamine running. She gave me a rule of thumb: if I get one violent incident per month from him then I need to make the change. She agrees with me on removing milk from his diet, she says I am the second parent in as many days to notice a sort of possession upon the reintroduction of milk in a child like him.

During the session my Oldest Child gave us a rundown of exactly what has happened up to this point with the fourth grade bully on the bus. It seems it started out innocently enough, with tickle chases. But Middle Child does not like to be touched without consent, and to him it would have seemed a torture. So he got some revenge. He hit this big fifth grader hard enough to make him cry, so now this big kid is pretty riled up over the embarrassment and trying to ambush Middle Child every chance he gets. Which explains why he threw my son into the bushes.

I think I have the boys convinced that they need to make a peace offering of cookies. I just hope it works, because although I want my son to be happy, I don´t want to move him over the antipsychotic class of meds.

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Progress, or Detox?

It is the third day since Middle Son gave up milk again.

He was unable to think of any solution to these fits he keeps having, so I told him I would be tickling him when I pick him up and again when we get home.

We call it his ¨medicine¨.

It worked well today. He did lose control later in the evening and began crying a few times, unable to handle his frustration, but I stayed close and helped him address the issue each time-without rescuing him.

I hope to see a major change before a week is out.

Today he saw the skills therapist, to whom I told everything, EVERYTHING, even my own mistakes in handling yesterday´s fit. Oddly enough, he did approve of my technique of throwing a simultaneous fit at myself to demonstrate the absurdity of the fit. Which I know now only escalates the issue. Apparently it works on other children. I am going to make a sign and put it above the kitchen sink. It is only going to say Tickle Him. So I don´t forget what to do if he comes up to me and starts hitting again. I am nearly always at the sink.

He had some processed food for snack this week, cereal bars. Next week he will not, I will go back to baking huge quantities of food on the weekends so he can have his low sugar preservative-dairy-peanut-dye free snacks again. It was nice to have a  weekend off, but it cannot last forever. I wish I were up earlier to make a real breakfast, but I spend so much time in the kitchen already that I think it would just exhaust me.

I am glad he sees the psychologist tomorrow. She is a great resource.

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Middle Son Observes Life

A few days ago my middle son came up to me out of nowhere and said ¨We have had a hard life.¨

I asked him what he meant. He said ¨well, with our dad hitting you all the time.¨

I told him we have a good life now, I gave him a lot of examples. I told him his father didn´t have to be that way, he could have gotten help from doctors.

I told him I should not have stayed one minute when his father started hitting me, but that I knew he could get help and I had hoped he would.

He used to never talk about his father or his feelings or his opinions at all. I hope getting off dairy brings back my little thinker.

I did not remind him that his father used to hit him, too.

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Milk Elimination

So I kept my son off of milk for the most part for about six weeks. This past weekend we reintroduced it. On Monday he kicked a girl on the bus (still counts even if she started it and tried to strangle him) and later that day he punched another little boy in school. Monday night he lied to me about what happened.

Tuesday I finally got the principal on the phone and heard the real story. Tuesday afternoon I had an earnest talk with him about his behaviour, his honesty, and his consequences. He went berserk. He started hitting himself in the head. He talked about wanting to die. He said he would kill himself. He kicked everything around him. He yelled insults at me, called me names, and told me I didn´t love him, and so he didn´t love me. He wouldn´t let me near him for fifteen minutes of this. When I could get by him I held him, I rocked him, I reasoned with him and he came around. He would not use his TheraTapper, and so without his permission I tapped him on the sides of the knees. I got about thirty seconds in before he figured it out and insisted I stop. There was no more fuss after that. I reminded him last night and this morning that his consequences were in place and that the duration would depend on his good behaviour, three days if all went well.

His consequences are no electronics. That´s all. It was for a day, since the school had also given him consequences, but when his fit started, I upped it to three days. Because fits are not allowed. He can earn them back by getting good marks for each school day left this week, which meant he would have it all back on Friday, behaviour permitting.

Tonight when I picked him up he told me he had been good and asked for his privileges. I reminded him it was three days of good behaviour to earn them back and he called me a liar and started kicking my seat, refused to put his seatbelt on, and screamed for all he was worth. He didn´t stop until I threatened to crack an egg on his head and tricked him into thinking I had done so, twice. We made it home, buckled. He was sullen, but he got into the house. He had hit me once in the car so I advised him that he had lost two more days of privileges, and expected good behaviour to earn them back on all five days.

Then he threw a monster fit. I had had enough, so I joined him. Whatever he said, I said, too. I called myself all sorts of names with him. Whatever decibel he went to, I went to as well. Finally he ran into the kitchen and started hitting at me. I held him off with a box of corndogs and when he had rammed his head into that a few times he claimed I hit him with it and really began trying to get at me. So I held him down on the floor and screamed at him that he may not hit me or anyone.

That worked better. Not a technique I like doing, and not recommended. Intimidating children is not how you teach them. I just do not do well with being terrorized. Been there, done that, have PTSD. I don´t use it as an excuse, so he cannot, either. I did the wrong thing. I was worn out and hungry and tired and had just got home from work. I needed a minute to recoup before another fit, and I just did not handle it the way I wanted to. I stopped thinking.

Since he was done I let him up. He went upstairs on my insistence and had a quiet moment. I miss the days where I could roll him in a blanket and carry him to a safe space. He just got too heavy.

I went up and explained to him that he can always be mad at me, and that he can even yell at me, but that his behaviour tonight and yesterday is never going to be acceptable. I asked him if I hit him and he had to admit I did not. I asked him if I had called him a name and he couldn´t think of anything I said that was spiteful to him.

I told him I don´t want to live in a house with all that yelling and meanness. I reminded him that his privileges depend on his behaviour, not on my whim. I had him go over the house rules that are posted on the wall. He pointed out which he violated and which I violated and then I had to forgo dessert, because I did break the rules by yelling. I left his consequences as they stood after that first hit. He has work to do and a weekend to get through.

I never want him to have dairy again. I told him so.

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The Pumpkin Farm

Today we went to gymnastics (Middle Child’s class), came back for lunch. Went to complete a little crafting at a craft show, came back for snack. Went to the pumpkin farm, came back for dinner.

Keeping them out of the house has actually been far easier than I anticipated (no complaints, no fits), but keeping Oldest Child away from Middle Child during computer turns has been impossible. Tomorrow he will be banned from the living room during his brother’s computer time and will have to sit in the kitchen instead. He tried to stay away and could not, he freely admits. He has been scheming how to get onto the computer since he was thirteen months old, so I suppose it is a deeply ingrained habit. The computer is his sun.

Middle Child started his Zoloft today and did better than usual this morning but did exhibit some aggressive frustration when his brother tried to railroad him on the hay bale slide at the pumpkin farm. I put him in time out immediately. He felt bad enough that he apologized to his brother on his own before the time out was finished and argued not at all with me about taking a time out. His brother refused to accept a simple apology, and requested a formal apology card due to the severity of the crime. Middle Child requested paper and a pen, which of course I neglected to anticipate a need for during a pumpkin farm outing. So he instead tried multiple apologies, which his brother did not accept but did allow as acceptable. Later I watched him replicate the scene by himself, as victim, to see what it felt like. So now he knows that people cannot breathe properly with their face down in a pool of corn, and that I meant it truly when I said he can never, ever hold anyone’s face down in anything for any amount of time without risking a horrible consequence. I am grateful that I am vigilant around him.

The pumpkin farm staff knows us. The owner came up and said “Back again this year, eh?” “Every week!” I told him. It’s an exchange we usually have on the second visit each year, so I must be making an impression, if we can have this conversation in the first hour of arrival on the first opening day.

His wife is from a country that I knew a few native words of. My ex had taught me a few words of the local language, years ago. Last year I told her I knew a few words, and mentioned the one my husband taught me to say to children who had big fat faces like my son. She laughed nervously and immediately clapped her hands over her daughter’s ears. So that is how I found out that the children’s father had taught me sexually explicit phrases and misinformed me of their meanings. So embarrassing. I hope she does not hold it against me, that is not the impression I am trying to make. I am one of those people who does not swear or drink or gossip. I don’t want to be known any other way.

I suppose my ex told me those words meant something else so I would not figure out that he was actually talking to his mistress on the phone, instead of the moon-faced man down the road that he told me was calling him every morning. But that was not the first time he had done this. He taught me the incorrect meanings for words in his own native tongue, too. I think so that he could continue to insult me and I would not suspect.

So, even years later he is isolating me, through his gaslighting. The farm owners are lovely people. So are their cousins. My favorite family in town, really. I don’t want them to think of me as the woman who insults women married into their family in their own language. I don’t want to be the lady that people hide their children from.

Today I did not have the hours of whining and complaining that I usually have, and I can only think it is from Zoloft. Middle child told me that he feels calm when he is upstairs by himself on my laptop, watching Minecraft videos. If he can find some channels with decent language and stick to them, he is welcome to spend his turns like that. If Middle Child can figure out how to stay calm, then I am happy for his progress.

Tomorrow we hit another farm, this time for the animals, and go shopping, too. I am tired of my kids shivering through winter and their shoes falling apart six weeks after purchase. I am going to get them some quality things, instead.

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Changes Recommended By The Psychologist and the Psychiatrist

Both boys met with the psychologist today, and the psychiatrist reached me as I was driving away from the appointment. The psychologist said that if the aggression was stemming from anxiety rather than ADHD/PTSD, then the Zoloft would work. Middle Child had mentioned last month that he has anxiety symptoms, and I suppose the psychiatrist remembered when she recommended this change. So the Zoloft is appropriate, and safer, than the Clonidine ER.

The psychiatrist wants the Clonidine to continue. So I am layering them, starting one over the other, and if the Zoloft shows an improvement, I will taper off the Clonidine ER. This way if there is no change then he is still on the Clonidine ER, rather than nothing. I hope it takes.

Today Middle Child talked to me a lot about psycho killers and people who get violent for no reason. He developed a fascination for guns out of nowhere (today!) and apparently has been playing “army” with a new friend. A NEW FRIEND from school, in his class. This could be the cause of his constant triggering, his relapse into aggression. A child who has been traumatized with war scenes and slapped around by a guerrilla fighter of course would be affected by this. I reminded him that playing army is not good for his brain, and asked him to play other pretend games instead. He seems to be in agreement, but I am not sure if I trust him to do it. He has been a bit evasive lately on all matters school, to hide the trouble he is having with it.

Today he was so hyper before bed that I let him run around the building ten times. I think he walked some of those times, but hopefully it helps. Right now he is splashing in the tub. I want it to relax him enough that he can get to sleep on time. Tomorrow is Saturday and we are going to be out having fun all day.

This is how I used to do it, keep him out of the house, always busy, frequently fed. It was exhausting, but it cut down on the fighting and there were no injuries, no bad memories formed of each other. I did this for a few years, and this year I did not have to, thanks to meds. Meds that do not seem to be working right now. The skills therapist told me that sometimes just before a growth spurt hormones can rev up out of control and make the meds seem ineffective, that many parents complain about behaviours that settle back down after a shoe size has increased. I hadn’t known that before.

We made a plan for the weekend, each boy has agreed to leave the other alone during computer turns, which is where I find the frustration escalating. They have to be in separate rooms during computer times. I hope I can get it all done and find time to cook, too, without having to constantly police them. I don’t want any more fits and crying like last weekend over the lack of control and consequences for such behaviour. It’s not fair to be six and to be so upset.

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Notes for the Psychologist on Friday- On Medication

Middle Child has been exhibiting poor impulse control. He spent the weekend without electronic privileges because he could not keep himself from poking or squishing his brother when frustrated. He was very upset about this. Not about the consequences, but about not being able to avoid them, as he felt he had no control.

Sometimes when I pick him up from daycare I can see in his eyes and the tone of his voice that he is triggered. There is an aggression and a stare that is not there most of the time, that had been absent for most of the past year on the Clonidine ER. His thoughts go a mile a minute and he has to get them all out. Thoughts about what he learned at school, things he has deduced in science or art. I don’t know what is triggering him. I don’t know if it is his natural unmedicated ADHD state that I am seeing, or if his PTSD is rearing up and overpowering his meds. Both situations look exactly the same to me.

I left a message for the psychiatrist this morning, she called back and left a message for me that she wanted to put him on an antidepressant, the same that Oldest Child is on with a bit of success, Zoloft. The psychologist had said a few months previous that all we can do after the Clonidine ER stops working is to put him on an antipsychotic. I don’t want to move ahead without understanding what she meant. I meet with her tomorrow.

Today we met with the skills therapist, who I asked to work with Middle Child on identifying escalating emotion so he can learn to cope with those impulses. The therapist threw him some CBT (belly breathing -not helpful with panic attacks), too, as Middle Child did well on talking about how his body lets him know it is overwhelmed (wet palms-serious stuff). My biggest problem with my PTSD was going from zero to sixty in a second flat. I got on a beta blocker and quit caffeine and it is about gone most days. I am just horrified that a six year old who takes in no caffeine is finding himself in the same spot I was in. He is less able to deal with it, treat it, or fight it. Never mind six. He was like this at age three.

When Middle Child is upset or aggressive I am triggered. This morning he had a fit of temper that lasted over twenty minutes. I am tempted at this point to start taking supplements for my adrenals again, just so I can tap into that perfect calm I had last winter. It messes with my memory a bit, but it helps so much with coping with triggers and dealing with angry children that it might be worth it. I bet I can handle it for a few months. I cannot explain what PTSD feels like, physically, except that I can feel it rising, like blood pressure or something. I have been a bit up for a few weeks now. I could try something else. Some vitamin B or St. John’s Wort or something with mild benefits and little side effects. It wouldn’t hurt.

I am just praying that the no dairy diet has some sort of effect. Perhaps I can put off the psychiatrist for two weeks, to decide if the no dairy is beneficial. I would so much rather be able to control his symptoms and issues through diet. I want a magic wand, not complicated chemicals with scary side effects that quit working during the next growth spurt.

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