Tag Archives: Trauma

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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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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Sometimes Plans Can Backfire On You

The skills therapist is mulling over sending my boys to a new hire in his organization, who specializes in trauma. Because she is more familiar with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

They have been seeing him for over a year.

I would hate for them to lose him.

I have asked him to think about teaching them these skills himself.

Tonight Middle Child was tired and became upset over a minor misunderstanding on movie privileges, and I was able to massage it out of him while joking around and telling him stories about when he was a baby.

That was lucky. It doesn’t always work.

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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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Two Weeks of School

This week was a better week for my youngest son. He flew through the first three days of the week with flying colors and then started a fit on Thursday morning. He had a bit of one this morning, too.

But I was expecting it. So I didn’t even badger him for an apology. I will do that and brainstorm with him on solutions for it when he is rested and back in his right mind. Saturday afternoon, I assume, after his nap, he ought to be receptive.

The family meeting this week will be about emergency preparedness. We will practice what to do in emergencies (I yell “Time to go for ice cream!” and we get into the car) and talk about stranger danger. I am keeping a close eye on the kids when they are outside,  because meth addicts have been hanging around the neighborhood. It takes all my self control not to grab the neighbor’s kids and take them home with me. I don’t know why you would host meth addicts and let them smoke up in your bathroom when you have two little kids in the house. Another neighbor is watching and will call the police next time. Right now someone is yelling outside and I think every word is the f word. Please, people, every one of these houses has children, and some of them are listening.

I am going to include social stories for discussion at every family meeting. I really want to follow through with that. The boys need to have their social skills explained to them, and I feel like I rely too much on the psychologist and skills therapist and social skills class and don’t do much at home, because I understand my kids and don’t notice what needs work. Maybe if all the skills become familiar in every environment they will sink in.

Middle Child did tell me that his stomach hurts a bit every morning. We discussed his breakfasts and other things he could eat and then we figured out he does not have tummy issues on weekend mornings. I asked him if he was afraid or nervous about going to school and he scoffed at that. I told him his body might be afraid even if he is not. Then he told me his tummy felt upset whenever he was not home. So perhaps the anxiety is comorbid with the PTSD, too, rather than just the autism, as this one is not autistic. If he is experiencing social anxiety or generalized anxiety or a bit of agoraphobia, then that would actually make sense. I figured out long ago that much of his misbehaviour is due to exhaustion and transitions, and if anxiety is in the mix maybe we can treat it and get some results across the board.

Oldest child will be undergoing hypnosis a week from today in a last ditch effort to avoid anxiety meds. I hope middle child never gets it as bad as Oldest Son, who cannot go up the stairs without me.

The school called me this week, and asked me straight off if my oldest was adopted. Why would it matter? This is the second time they have asked me. They asked me so many questions. I called back and asked them, what’s going on, is he disrupting his class? No, they said, “we are observing at this point”. This is where I have problems, because he is the oldest. He is normal to me, I don’t see what others see when they look at him, I see what I know best, I see my own understanding of children. He is the normal one in my opinion and my neurotypical youngest child is the odd one. I took a look into their files and the old school did not send over his evaluations or his brother’s speech testing. If I get those files transferred maybe the school will cheer up at his IQ. I need the psychologist to administer an IQ test that is pertinent to his age, the old school’s test was not an appropriate one, and they probably have him lower than he is. So he tested bright instead of super bright, or whatever they call it. Neon, I would say.

We were supposed to go to the zoo tomorrow. The kids voted to stay home. I will pitch it again for Sunday and we will see. My father has been after me to bring the kids up to his house to go fishing. I am like my kids. I want to stay home and clean and cook and have no obligations to go anywhere. We are hermits at heart.

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The First Week of School

Mostly went well.

But I have been back to yelling. Which is not where I want to be. Middle son has been missing his naps because of first grade. He is not laid back and pleasant any longer, but prickly and bossy and rude. I held it together for the entire week, only to lose it on Friday and give him a piece of my mind.

He threw fits on mornings Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. The Wednesday fit reduced me to tears and Wednesday evening I told him I couldn’t take it anymore, that the fits would have to stop. He held it in on mornings Thursday and Friday and then had multiple fits on Friday evening, which wore me so thin that I can’t blame myself (though I do). Friday was also the day of the child psychologist appointments. Who, as I left with the boys, told me “I don’t know how you do it.” Which is hard to hear from a trained professional, though it does not phase me coming from laypersons.

The child psychologist said that if this medication is no longer effective that he would have to move to an anti-psychotic. My face must have look alarmed, as she immediately reassured me that this class of drugs gets a bad rap, they are simple and just help the dopamine something etc. A little over my head, as I had done no reading on it. Oldest son she wants on Zoloft, to ease the anxiety.

The baby has been pretty rude of late, too. So this morning we had a meeting at my house. I told the children we had to remember our manners, and reminded them that they used to be known for how politely they spoke. They assured me they remembered how to be polite and I informed them that any sentence delivered impolitely would be ignored by myself. I also told them that the cost of any food they request and then refuse to eat would be taken from their allowance. Because if they ask for it and get it then I expect them to eat it.

These meetings will occur once weekly. I had the first turn, where I gave out compliments of things done well and laid out what needed to change, then each child had a turn. They did not contribute anything, though, and I had hoped that they would. Maybe next time.

Middle child promptly fell asleep after the meeting. Allergy meds, and exhaustion, combined. Perhaps we don’t need to go to the beach, then, if we are so sleepy. I went through the boy’s backpacks after the meeting and found a note about middle son’s behaviour on Friday. He was only there for a few hours before I took him out of school for his appointment. The note said he was off task and laying on the floor a lot. So he was tired before I picked him up. He sleeps ten hours a night, and has a little trouble falling asleep while the sun is out. I am going to move bedtime back a half hour and see if there is an improvement. It would help if he did not wake up an hour before the alarm. It would help even more if he did not wake me up, too… all of which happened on Friday morning.

When he wakes up and has got his bearings I will talk to him about it. He is going to be disappointed but I hope the behaviour is just from being sleepy.

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