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2 1/2 yr old throwing tantrums and hurting children in daycare

I am having real problems with my 2 1/2 year old sons behaviour, in particular whilst he is at the daycare centre he attends.He is our first child. I returned to work when he was 4mths old and he was looked after by members of my family in a home environment until he was 2. During that time he mostly mixed with children older than himself, but not regularly, and never with large groups of children. He has had tantrums since he learned to walk at 11mths, but they were manageable. When he turned two I put him into a private nursery full time, as I was worried that he wasn't mixing with children his own age. He also spoke very little and didn't show an interest in books. Since he started at nursery his speech has developed but still isnt as good as many of the other children his age. He knows numbers and some shapes now. The main problem is that about 6 weeks after he started at the nursery his tantrum started to increase. He throws tantrums, sometimes for no apparent reason and during a tantrum he throws chairs and other things in any direction he chooses. About two months ago the nursery reported that he has started biting and hitting the other children, sometimes quite badly. Most times itis for no apparent reason. He's also started biting me and his dad and hitting us if we say no or he cant have his own way. We do not hit him as we think it will encourage him to hit back.The nursery staff all say his behaviour is not the terrible twos, it is abnormal.Hes like a split personality, one minute okay and the next just angry and upset. Canu give me some tips and advice please?
9 Responses
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It may appear that your son's behavior comes out of the blue, so to speak, but it actually does not. If the resources are available, arrange for a behavioral specialist to observe your son in the classroom. This will help illuminate the pattern. On the behavior management front, utilize time out immediately when any form of aggressive behavior occurs. When tantrums are simply noisy, but not aggressive, it is best to ignore them. You might also consider a developmental evaluation to ascertain your son's status in the various spheres of development, particularly in light of the fact that he may be displaying some delay in some areas of development.
Avatar universal
Kyle (now 7 1/2) did the same thing when he stared kindergarten and had no developmental problems or behavior problems until then.  He was having tantrums complete with hitting, scratching, spitting, etc.  He would hit and scratch other kids.  We tried everything under the sun but the only thing that helped was the addition of essential fatty acids to this diet.  We use a product called Efalex.  His tantrums stopped after only two weeks.  Symptoms of an essential fatty acid deficiency are vision problems, dry itchy skin, frequent thirst, dyslexia, dyspraxia, and behavior problems.  

There have been a few scientific studies done on Omega-3 fatty acids and how they relate to behavior problems, and the best one was done at Purdue University and used Efalex. Apparently some kids with behavior problems have an essential fatty acid deficiency, and getting at least 490 mg DHA is the key to improvement.  You have to give the correct balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids in order for the DHA to work properly.  Zinc and B-6 also helps with absorption (but you have to give all the B-vitamins in order for B-6 to do its job.  Kyle takes 25 mg zinc and 50 mg B-complex every day, along with his Efalex and an extra 100 mg DHA.  I also give him 250 mg C as an antioxidant to promote clearer thinking.

To learn more about essential fatty acids, you can read "The LCP Solution" by Jacqueline Stordy and Malcolm Nicholl or go to lcpsolution.com

Stress and immaturity can also play a key here.  Maybe he simply cannot stand the constant barage of input into his nervous system from all of those kids.  We moved Kyle from his first school (20 students in kindergarten) to a private Christian school that only takes ADHD kids.  There are only 5 in his class and he is doing much better - fewer distractions.  I am not trying to indicate that your child is ADHD, just that a setting with a large number of kids may not be what he needs right now. If he does not have the tantrums at home then the day care may be the problem.  We had Kyle in a large daycare for a few weeks when he was younger and he hated it, and moved him into a private home care setting with fewer kids.  Again it was much better for him.

Avatar universal
Thanks for your advice. I have consulted my Health visitor, and they have been to the nursery to observe him. They have now refered him to the Paediatric Assessment Unit at the local hospital, as they agree his behaviour is extreme (although did not suggest any reason for it. I am waiting to receive an appointment date. I think that the move to a nursery with a large group of children was probably upsetting for him, though I think removing him from there just yet would not do him any good, as he is now showing the aggressive behaviour with me and his daddy at home to (though if the paediatrician feels that this type of environment is not suiting him and that he would do better in a smaller group of children I would move him). Until the appointment I think thatI need to find an effective way of disciplining him which works at home and at nursery - sitting him in a chair to calm down works at home most of the time, as does ignoring him during a tantrum, but in the nursery environment it is not very effective becuase of the noise and commotion, and there isn't anywhere to place him out of the room which is safe to leave him. The nursery are being very good. They give me updates every day and keep a diary; and although his violence is becoming quite bad on occasions they are doing their best to help and try to discipline him according to the advice of the health visitor. James does play with the other children, when he wants to, but can just turn on them all of a sudden. The nursery say if he is outside and he sees, for example, a trike that he wants to play on he will shout the childs name and scream, and attempt to take it off him. Even if they move him away he keeps going back to the item until he gets it, or they have to go inside. When he does this he scares the other children. I do not know much about how children are supposed to behave anbd whether this is normal, butit is very upsetting and worrying. One thing I am interested in is the diet aspect mentioned in one reply - I am keeping a food diary and a daily diary for my son and will take it to the appointment. Also my son has no trouble eating or sleeping - he goes to bed at 8pm every night and sleep right through, and he falls to sleep on his own. Whilst he runs, more often than walks, I wouldn't call him 'hyperactive'. The nursery say his attention span is short but it is getting better ( he played with the toy farm for 20 minutes the other day). Could he still have ADHD or something similar even though he sleeps well?
Avatar universal
just like to say thanks bcollie for your advice. it seems to make a lot of sense. I was amazed when you mentioned that children wiith blue eyes and blond hair seem to be prone to behavoiur disorders. My son has blue eyes and blond hair. He gets dry skin and excema, and is also thirsty a lot of the time. I have read that Dairy products can make excema worse, but I wasn't aware that it may affect behaviour too.
Avatar universal
Kyle has no sleep problems at all, even though some kids with disorders do.  So that is no indication that there is not a problem.  But the problem can be caused by anything - finding the solution is time consuming but worth it if you get improvement.

Most doctors think that diet does not affect behavior.  Scientific studies done in the 70's and 80"s show that SOME kids are affected.  Most doctors think that sugar does not impact behavior, but give my Kyle some candy, let him eat anything with dairy, artificial dyes or corn syrup, and a few hours later he is either bouncing off the walls, crying uncontrollably, or gets very upset and has a tantrum.  Kids with blonde hair and blue eyes seem to have a genetic disposition to food sensitivities, allegies, asthma, and hyperactivity.  Kyle has blonde hair and blue eyes.  

If you want more info go to Conductdisorders.com.  The Discussion Boards there are excellent, and even though we are no subsitute for treatment from a doctor, we have been at this for a few years can offer information, support, and advice.

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