Child Behavior Forum
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Avatar universal

3 year old out of control and destroying a family

My 3 year old son is out of control, and we dont know why! He seems completely hyper from 5am til 8pm, he throws tantrums with no reasoning, and has to be held incase he causes injury to himself both in public at home or anywhere, he bites kicks and hits other children for no reason and shouts at people when we are out aggressively, we have asked our gp's and advice had his diet checked been to see family counsellors, yet no one can tell us what is wrong, we are a family with 2 other children and have a great loving home, but our 3 year old is destroying it, both our 8 year old and 1 year old dont have any behavoiur problems, this has been going on for 18 months, and we have tried e4very thing,discipline, we have tried talking we have tried shouting smacking but nothing works, he just laughs or runs, we are at our wits ends, all we want to know is if our son has a medical problem, or if it is our fault, or if its just the way he is, but i dont know what kind of doctor we need to see in order for us to get a diagnosis. can you advise please
11 Responses
242606 tn?1243786248
This situation warrants an evaluation by a pediatric mental health clinician. It is likely that he displays a biologically-based condition and it might necessitate some treatment via medication. However, in adition, a systematic approach to managing the behavior will be critical, regardless of what else occurs. You could consult with the clinician about such a plan. A sound approach is available in Lynn Clark's wonderful book titled SOS: Help for Parents.
Avatar universal
I'm going through the same thing with my six year old. Tiring. The only thing that works (sometimes) is when put in TimeOut I give him a digital watch or clock for him to look at and tell him when he gets to a 3 (say it's 2:55) then he can get out. Just enough to calm him down. Have you asked you Dr. about ADHD and ODD?
Avatar universal
thank you for the advice, with regards to time out, we normally put him in his room, but he goes wild, smashing things up, throwing things at the door, pulling at the radiator etc, screaming shouting etc, he has even bit himself, hit is head against the wall or floor, i just cant bear to see him like this. he also has a a speech problem (maybe) for example if you asked his name he would always reply "gung gung" yet when he is having a short spell of cooperation he replys "Jamie", he is the same with lots of his vocabulary, its almost as if he wants us to react like we do sometimes, its like he plays us up.  The pressure my wife is under is unbelieveable, he is constantly tugging at her clothes in everything she does, he refuses to be entained,, no matter what whilst she's cooking etc...i can see an accident ready to happen, he cannot be left alone with the other children, he has lashed out at them both ending in tears. when he wants something, he repeats overe and over again til he gets it, sometimes hours.....sometimes he doesnt and it takes the whole day to calm him down. when we are family altogether he his at his worst, or even when he is just with my wife, yet if he just with me i never get any problems. but if my wife is there he wont come near me but more to wind me up i think. could someone tell me what ODD means, i have heard of ADHD. thanks.
Avatar universal
It sounds like you need help now. It just may be a phase. Terrible two's going into Terrible Three's. ODD is Oppositional Defiance Disorder. When you say the word NO they go into a rage. A Temper Tanrum that lasts more than 45 minutes up to a few hours.
My 6 yr old is going through the same thing and is currently taking Risperdal to calm down these rages. He has been diagnosed with Bipolar - Manic Depression. You may want to check out the web site I go to www.bpkids.org There are alot a folks who will give you a prompt response on this disorder or may lead to where you need to go to find help for your child.
Avatar universal
A quick mention of a book for those who have a behavior/oppositional  issue with their child is THE EXPLOSIVE CHILD by Ross Green, Ph.d. Deals with child who are ADHD, ODD, BP and OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder).
Avatar universal
Our 7 year old behaved as your 3 year old did.  We went to a psychologist who told us he just wasn't emotionally mature and to give it time.  Now we have a 7 year old who is having bigger, scarier tantrums and have to go through the whole thing again.  Listen to your instincts!  Don't let someone talk you out of your concerns.
Avatar universal
Your son needs an MRI to check for tumors, etc.  Brain tumors and growth often lead to unexplained violent uncotrollable behaviour.  If this does not reveal anything, you may try antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications.
Avatar universal
My 3yr old acts the same way. His real father has a very bad chemical imbalance and I am going to get my son checked for the same thing. When my son is with my new husband, who is the only dad my kid's know, there is never any problems. When he is with me, I want to pull my hair out some times!! He will hurt himself just to get to me. I don't want my son to have a medical problem, but I am afraid he is going to hurt himself or his sisters. ( they don't act like him) Get your son checked out. Knowing my sons father like I do it only gets worse with time, if left untreated!!
Avatar universal
Some of what you are describing are the symptoms of an essential fatty acid deficiency.  I should know; my son was having out of control behavior, tantrums, rages, hitting, breaking things too.  We started him on Efalex May 1999 and within two weeks these behavior stopped.

Symtpoms of the deficiency are dry itchy skin, excessive thirst, asthma and allergies, vision problems at an early age, dyslexia and dyspraxia, excema and psoriasis, and extreme behavior problems.  If your child has a combination of these symptoms an EFA deficiency could be the problem.  Try reading "The LCP Solution" by Jacqueline Stordy PhD and Malcolm Nicholl.  There have been scientific studies that show an essential fatty acid deficiency can be the cause of behavior problems.  A large percentage of ADHD kids (my son has ADHD) have an essenital fatty acid deficiency.

Clinical characteristics and serum essential fatty acid levels in hyperactive children.

Mitchell EA, Aman MG, Turbott SH, Manku M.

This study compared 48 hyperactive children with 49 age-and-sex-matched controls. Significantly more hyperactive children had auditory, visual, language, reading, and learning difficulties, and the birth weight of hyperactive children was significantly lower than that of controls (3,058 and 3,410 g, respectively; p less than 0.01). In addition, significantly more hyperactive children had frequent coughs and colds, polydypsia, polyuria, and a serious illness or accident in the past year than controls, but there was no increase in asthma, eczema, or other allergies. Serum essential fatty acid (EFA) levels were measured in 44 hyperactive subjects and 45 controls. The levels of docasahexaenoic, dihomogammalinolenic, and arachidonic acids were significantly lower in hyperactive children than controls (docosahexaenoic: 41.6 and 49.5 micrograms/ml serum respectively, p = 0.045; dihomogammolinolenic: 34.9 and 41.3 micrograms/ml serum, p = 0.007; arachidonic: 127.1 and 147.0 micrograms/ml serum, p = 0.027). These findings have possible therapeutic and diagnostic implications, but further research is needed to attempt to replicate these differences.

Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Burgess JR, Stevens L, Zhang W, Peck L.

Department of Foods and Nutrition, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-1264, USA. ***@****

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the diagnosis used to describe children who are inattentive, impulsive, and hyperactive. ADHD is a widespread condition that is of public health concern. In most children with ADHD the cause is unknown, but is thought to be biological and multifactorial. Several previous studies indicated that some physical symptoms reported in ADHD are similar to symptoms observed in essential fatty acid (EFA) deficiency in animals and humans deprived of EFAs. We reported previously that a subgroup of ADHD subjects reporting many symptoms indicative of EFA deficiency (L-ADHD) had significantly lower proportions of plasma arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid than did ADHD subjects with few such symptoms or control subjects. In another study using contrast analysis of the plasma polar lipid data, subjects with lower compositions of total n-3 fatty acids had significantly more behavioral problems, temper tantrums, and learning, health, and sleep problems than did those with high proportions of n-3 fatty acids. The reasons for the lower proportions of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) in these children are not clear; however, factors involving fatty acid intake, conversion of EFAs to LCPUFA products, and enhanced metabolism are discussed. The relation between LCPUFA status and the behavior problems that the children exhibited is also unclear. We are currently testing this relation in a double-blind, placebo-controlled intervention in a population of children with clinically diagnosed ADHD who exhibit symptoms of EFA deficiency.

Plasmalogens, phospholipase A2, and docosahexaenoic acid turnover in brain tissue.

Farooqu AA, Horrocks LA.

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry The Ohio State University, Columbus 43210, USA.

Plasmalogens are glycerophospholipids of neural membranes containing vinyl ether bonds. Their synthetic pathway is located in peroxisomes and endoplasmic reticulum. The rate-limiting enzymes are in the peroxisomes and are induced by docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Plasmalogens often contain arachidonic acid (AA) or DHA at the sn-2 position of the glycerol moiety. The receptor-mediated hydrolysis of plasmalogens by cytosolic plasmalogen-selective phospholipase A2 generates AA or DHA and lysoplasmalogens. AA is metabolized to eicosanoids. The mechanism of signaling with DHA is not known. The plasmalogen-selective phospholipase A2 differs from other intracellular phospholipases A2 in molecular mass, kinetic properties, substrate specificity, and response to glycosaminoglycans, gangliosides, and sialoglycoproteins. A major portion of [3H]DHA incorporated into neural membranes is found at the sn-2 position of ethanolamine glycerophospholipids. Studies with a mutant cell line defective in plasmalogen biosynthesis indicate that the incorporation of DHA is reduced in this RAW 264.7 cell line by 50%. In contrast, the incorporation of AA remains unaffected. This is reversed completely when the growth medium is supplemented with sn-1-hexadecylglycerol, suggesting that DHA can be selectively targeted for incorporation into plasmalogens. We suggest that deficiencies of DHA and plasmalogens in peroxisomal disorders, Alzheimer's disease (AD), depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) may be responsible for abnormal signal transduction associated with learning disability, cognitive deficit, and visual dysfunction. These abnormalities in the signal-transduction process can be partially corrected by supplementation with a diet enriched with DHA
Avatar universal
My son started the tantrums at 2-but not all day.  Usually it was when he didn't get his way.  He was(is) very active and I started documenting his behaviors,at home,day care and then first and second grade.  At middle of second grade, I had a specialists do ADHD eval..yep he was- but then behaviors started.  The Dr. couldn't handle those, so he sent me to psychiatrists.  She and I have been working together for 4 yrs. now. We've tried every med in the book, some several times.  With all this documentation, my son has finally been dx as bipolar and ADHD.  Start early and try to be as consistent as possible.  Unfortunately, my husband has had a hard time with this, as well as my daughter, so it has been hard to do it the right way.  Find a dr. you are comfortable with and that is willing to work with you..this makes all the difference in the world.  Remember..you are the parent and you know your child!!Good luck!!
Avatar universal
A related discussion, Out of control children was started.
Popular Resources
Fearing autism, many parents aren't vaccinating their kids. Can doctors reverse this dangerous trend?
Is a gluten-free diet right for you?
We answer your top questions about the flu vaccine.
Learn which over-the-counter medicines are safe for you and your baby
Yummy eats that will keep your child healthy and happy
Healing home remedies for common ailments