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141601 tn?1264732309
3 year old and temper tantrums
my 3 year old son has really bad temper tantrums he kicks bites pinches and scratches people and i know 3 year olds have tantrums but sometimes he will just to it out of the blue one minute he is being so sweet and happy and then all of a sudden he just exsplodes i just don't know what to do. he is in speech therapy and occupational therapy and use to have behavioral therapy but is no longer receiving the behavioral therapy i think he needs it and will probably have him start getting it again. i guess my question is my sons father is bipolar do any of you know if it can be passed on and how early you can detect it.
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117004 tn?1218648744
Bipolar disorder is very genetic as with any mental illness.. My bloodline suffers from chemical depression (chemical imbalance) which leads us to depression and anxiety.  I am aware of my problem now so i can prevent the symptoms.  

Sounds like you are trying to help your son.. What do you do when he has these outbursts?? since he is 3 can you ask him what happened that made him so mad?? will he tell you?  Maybe the 2 of you can work together to see what will help him feel better and cope with stressful situations.  I dont think bipolar disorder can be diagnosed at 3 but it is something that i would definately watch out for if i were you...

Good luck!
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141601 tn?1264732309
well when he has the outburst i ask him whats wrong but he doesn't speak very well he is in speach therapy to help with that he knows some sign language but not enough to actually have a conversation he knows that basic words like eat and drink and sleep and so on.
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Bipolar disorder is usually diagnosed in the late teens or early twenties (I'm a psychology professor) although there's no "rule" that it can't be diagnosed earlier.  Usually the mood patterns of bipolar disorder are fairly stable, lasting 2 weeks or more.  The sudden, random outbursts you mention don't exactly sound like "typical" bipolar disorder, although in a child so young, it would be difficult to say.

However, coupled with the speech and movement delays (you did mention occupational therapy), autism spectrum disorders may be a possibility.  Temper tantrums are quite common with autism, as of course, are the speech delays.  Some form of mental retardation may also be possible.  Don't mean to frighten you, it may not be either of these things.  I'd definately get a full psychological assessment either way.  They can be expensive, but oftentimes large universities with graduate programs in clinical psychology will offer them for free (you'll be assessed by a graduate student supervised by a psychologist).
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141601 tn?1264732309
well my son has already been evaluated for autisim and mental retardation and he is neither one. i also believe the terrible two should be the terrible threes. my son goes to a special school four times a week from 8:30 to 2:30 and has been going there for a little over a year now. he receives ST and OT there as well and has really come a long way. he was also receiving behavioral therapy but the program he was in only saw children till they turned three so we are working on getting someone from my sons school to come out to the house and work with him or have someone go to his school and work with him. I also think some of the tantrums is b/c he can't communicate very well but other times he will be sitting there playing with his cars and all of a sudden with just go and hit someone or headbutt them or something and then he goes back to playing. i just asked about bipolar b/c again his father was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and i wasn't sure if it was genetic.
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I wouldn't be quick to diagnose anything at this point.  I want to suggest that his outburst could be linked to his inablitly to verbally communicate.  As a mother of a 3 year old (and an LMSW) I am over whelmed with the constant questions.  I know when my 3 yr. old gets frustrated it gets loud and messy pretty fast.  I don't believe in the terrible 2's, I think it should be the terrible 3's.If your son is speech delayed, he may be acting out his frustrations with not being able to communicate with you the way he would like on many levels.  And please remember, some of this is very age appropriate.

I know bipolar is the popular childhood diagnosis since the insurance companies have caught on to ADHD, however, I would not be concerned with that until your son is much older.  Typically, you would not see bi-polar type behaviors until adolescence.  I also would turn only to a professional who has interacted with you and your son to offer a diagnosis.  It is important to arm yourself with information and the internet is a valuable way to do this.  If you are still concerned be sure to find an LCSW who specializes in working with toddlers and preschoolers.
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I just wanted to correct something.  The person who identified themselves as a psychology professor said that bi-polar cycles usually last 2 weeks in duration and therefore it didn't sound like bi-polar to them.  In early childhood bi-polar, cycles are frequent and can be day to day.  The research on this is quite extensive so I'm a little surprised that someone whom says that they have a PhD in psychology isn't aware of this research.

On another note, bi-polar is often found in families with autism and vice versa.  Neither disorder is something to be frightened about as there are treatments that help tremendously.
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