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Avatar universal

I'm losing sleep.....

This is my first post on MedHelp.  I am a mother of boy/girl twins age 6.  My children were born at 35 weeks and I was in pre-term labor from 25 weeks to 35 weeks.  I took medication to stop my contractions called Terbutaline.  My son was a very calm baby, very patient.  He suffered from acid reflux which at times caused him to be in a fussy mood but nothing over the edge.  At around two years old I started to notice that his behavior change.  He began to get more aggressive with his sister (taking toys out of her hands and anything she had he wanted). Hwas very risky and still is.  Hes really not afraid of much.   However, he was not this way with other children.
When he started kindergarden he was behavioral in class (talking, fooling around during class).  When the class was doing work he would often daydream  and took him a long time to hand in independent work.  Often times he would hand in papers blank.  On our drive to school he became nervous and would vomit about two times a week until school was over.  At home he is very defiant.  He has continuosly become more aggressive with his sister (she will walk by he will push her or kick her.)  He bothers her when she tries to do her own thing.  He does not want to wake up in the morning and is always tired.  He goes to bed early but takes him awhile to fall asleep.  He grinds his teeth at night and moves a lot,  and often calls my name during the night in his sleep "Mommy".  He whines and cries a lot probably more often then the typical 6 year old.  I find him to be alittle immature for his age just comparitively speaking to other children his age.
When he gets in his "moods" often times his whole demeanor will change.  He makes this voice that he clenches teeth and speaks and says things that are mean or that he knows will bother us.  My daughter is so frustrated.  I can see this change in his personality in his eyes and then he confirms it with that different voice he uses. T)his can last anywhere from 10 min to a full day but only at home.   He curses and gets frustrated easily.  I will tell him he will be punished and he does it again to me or my husband.  He does actions or wrong things and if we tell him to stops he does it again on purpose.  He does not portray this behavior at school just home or with family.  He is very outgoing/athletic and very serious when he is in his extracurricular activities.  He does not get caught up with other children are doing and pays attention.  In school his is very talkative.  His teachers report he is doing well in school just at times he is chatty.  His behavior at home causes so much tention at home my husnand and I are st stressed out and in turn our own relationship is threated by it.  Thanks for reading...Any advice, Questions or comments will be appreciated.
Thank you.
11 Responses
189897 tn?1441126518
    I can see from the length of your post how frustrated you are.   There is no doubt that 6 year old boys can be a force of nature.  I was always in awe of my kindergarten/first grade  teachers for their ability to work with the little guys.   And, a bit more information really is needed for accurate help.  But, I can understand given the length of your post, why you didn't get everything in.
   While I agree with Mark about his comments on discipline.  I am not necessarily sure that this is classic misbehavior.   For example, sleep problems can seriously impact a child's behavior, and will cause many of the things that are bothering you.  
       "There is increasing evidence that sleep problems can have a negative effect on children's cognitive, behavioral, and emotional functioning. Dahl (1998) asserts that the rising rates of behavioral and emotional problems in children can be associated with sleep problems. Most young children do not have typical symptoms of sleep loss such as yawning or obvious sleepiness that are observed in adolescents and adults. Rather, children often manifest symptoms that are paradoxical to sleepiness such as irritability, hyperactivity, short attention span, and low tolerance for frustration (Dahl, 1996).  From the link given below.
    If his problems are due to his sleep habits, then discipline is not going to be as effective until the sleep problems are dealt with.   Here is a very inclusive  link to sleep problems.

   One of the other things to think about is the possibility of ADHD.
         "Children diagnosed with ADHD have been shown to have a higher incidence of sleep problems and shorter average sleep duration than children without ADHD (Owens, Maxim, Nobile, McGuinn, & Msall, 2000).   From the same article above.
       And here is another shorter article on sleep problems in children with ADHD -   http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080407160751.htm
    I mention this due to some of the symptoms you mentioned.  His anxiety about school, his daydreaming in class, handing in blank papers, etc. are certainly symptomatic.   I am also the CL for the ADHD forum -  http://www.medhelp.org/forums/ADD---ADHD/show/175 -  and do see certain definite signs. And, of course, punishing a child with ADHD is done very differently then a child who is just misbehaving. However, here again, the sleep problems might be the cause.
    I really need a bit more information.  It sounds like they are in Kindergarten still?  If so, I would suspect that they are among the older children in the class.  And, if so, he should be doing well in class due to his age and innate intelligence.   The question is - what is his concentration like?  Does he need to get directions repeated all the time.  Can he get things done on time (even when he knows the material)?  Is he impulsive?  Maybe pushes other kids without thinking, etc.
   From my own experience in working with ADHD kids - frustration - was always a big signal to me that something was going on.  A long with that comes anxiety.
   Anyway, you may want to read this link on ADHD.  While I have many links I can recommed - this is a pretty good place to start.
  Get back to me either here or on the ADHD site and let me know what you think.
      In the meantime - talk with his pediatrician about his sleep problems.  Does he snore at night?  His pediatrician might even recommend giving him something like melatonin to help him sleep better.

    Dealing with his behavior at home really depends on the causes.   Kids do need to learn other ways to express their anger, anxieties, and frustrations.  There are several good books aimed at the kindergarten to 7 year old child.  These books are meant to be read to them (many times) and practiced (before they get too mad to pay attention) a lot.  If you check out these links you will also find other good titles listed below the books.

       We can give more behavioral suggestions for discipline, but need to know whats going on with him.
        Hope this helps.  Do get back to us and tell us how he is doing in school now.  Best wishes.

5914096 tn?1399918987
This sounds like classic misbehavior.  I'm not exactly sure how you are disciplining him.  But, don't waiver from the discipline, even he engages in the same misbehavior over and over again.

Remember, discipline doesn't change behavior - Your son will change his behavior when he wants to.  Discipline only offers an incentive for behavior change.  Therefore, never give in and never give up disciplining your son simply because he engages in that same behavior again.

On the other hand, the type of discipline you are using or how you are implementing it might be ineffective.  Since you did not furnish this info, it is difficult to tell if this is the case.
Avatar universal
I know my husband and I  have very different styles of discipline.  My husband is so agressive because even when he tries to just talk to him or calm him or put him in his room to calm and then talk nothing works and it makes him sp frustrated.  I on the other hand dismiss alot because i feel nothing works.  What is a good way to discipline this type of behavior.  When I was a child i was very much like this and my mother used to hit me and put me in my room and yell but i know that never worded that is made me want to be worse to punish her back.  I try to take him to a seperate room talk to him or take a toy away.
189897 tn?1441126518
   Just saw your post after I posted mine.  Yes, your conflicting styles of punishment (behavioral modification) is not working and probably confusing the situation.  I am kind of tapped out after my long post so won't be getting back to you right away.   Mark has very good ideas on the consistency of punishment (its pretty classic behavioral modification after all), so hopefully, he will be also responding.  I will get back to you later on.
Avatar universal
He is currently in the 1st grade.  Last year he had to be prompted in class.  He would often hand in blank papers because he said he didn't understand.  This year his writing skills/reading have improved greatly and he lives that attention he gets in school and at home for acting and doing well in school.  He does not hit or touch other children impulsively only his twin sister or my husband.  I'm just confused that if he had ADHD how come these behaviors at home are very different from school.  I would think that they would be for the most part pretty consistent .  Wen he found that voice with the client hug of his teeth we know the bad stuff is coming.  He purposely says things that he knows is annoying  and everything he does during the episodes really frustrates us.  
189897 tn?1441126518
      You are correct.  Kids with ADHD cannot turn it on or off.  Kids with ADD however can often slip by unnoticed.  But if the anxiety and frustration are not there - then hopefully that is also not the case.  So if I understand you correctly he is having no problems at school (except for being chatty which is not unusual)?
       By the way - when is his birthday?
       I also would like to know what frustrates him?  It is really important to know the triggers to his actions.  Sometimes the triggers can be avoided.  Sometimes knowing that a trigger is coming it can be headed off.  And knowing what sets him off - what frustrates him- will also help figure out what is going on.
      Unless I hear differently, I will assume that perhaps his sleeping problems are contributing to his emotional functioning.  Hopefully, that can be addressed.  But, I certainly would make sure that everything at school is going as good as you think it is.
      And yes, it is amazing but sharp kids can quickly pick up on what annoys parents.  It is not unusual for them to say - oh, that doesn't bother me (when it does) and then watch as the parents scramble to try something new
    OK, discipline wise - you and your husband have to be on the same page.  The standard is that to change behavior you have to be immediate, consistent, and fair.  A timeout which lasts in his case about 6 min. would be appropriate.  Pick some particular thing he does and follow through - again and again and again.  Experts say it takes about 3 weeks  of consistent, immediate reinforcement to change behavior.   A very good book on this method of behavioral change is  "SOS Help for Parents," by Lynn Clark.   If both you and your husband read and follow this book - you will see changes.
   Don't forget that he is also competing for attention with his sister.  It is not a fair fight.  At this age, a little girl is usually so much easier to deal with.  So make sure that his frustrations are not due to lack of attention.  Another good reason to get the books I mentioned above and read to just him - as a special time.   He does need to be taught how to handle his anger.
   For the rest of this post I am going to quote a post I wrote sometime ago to a parent with a similar problem.  A lot of it applies - I think.
    " I am sure that at school he gets told "no" and apparently doesn't throw tantrums.  So, he does have the ability to control himself.  Unfortunately, he has kind of "learned" that his tantrums work for him.  This is not that unusual for smart kids.  Fortunately, they can usually pretty quickly figure out when things are not going there way - and try something else.  
   And a 6 year old boy can be a force of nature.  I always thought my kindergarten/first grade teachers were absolute Saints for dealing with them.  
    Oh, do you have any younger kids (say around 2 or 3)?  Sometimes these things start as attention getting and escalate.  If so, there are a few additional things you can do.
So - do realize that possibly that some of the things you want him to do maybe aren't real easy for a 6 year old.  So cut back just a bit (not a lot) on the do's and don't list.  Try and redirect when possible.
  But mainly don't, "spend a large portion of my day saying "the way you are acting is why we aren't (insert whatever activity here)" and he doesn't seem to get that... "  Talking to him just will not work.  And talking to him when he is having a tantrum - won't work.
   The rule is that when he starts a tantrum - he gets a short timeout.  And the timeout does not start until the tantrum stops.  He will go nuts for a while.  Just keep repeating - "as soon as you choose to stop your tantrum, the timeout will start and 2 min later you can ..."   Do not try to reason with him or talk with him while he is yelling.  You are just playing into his hands.
  Essentially, the rules for behavior modification are that there must be immediate, short, consistent consequences.   Do not expect overnight miracles.  It has taken him awhile to get to this point and it will take a while to relearn control.  But he will.
   I would also look into buying "Cool down and work through anger" or "When I feel angry". This is part of a series of books aimed at 4 to 7 year olds and meant to be read to them at night (several times) and then practiced.  Kids do need to be taught how to deal with anger.  You do not try and use these techniques while he is screaming.  But once he stops or later on in the day - you can refer back to them or pull the books back out.
You can find them here -  http://www.amazon.com/Cool-Through-Anger-Learning-Along/dp/1575423464/ref=pd_sim_b_5"
    I would have your husband read all of our posts.  If you both are united in your approach - you will see a difference.   This will work, but do keep in mind that some of what he is doing may be because of things outside his ability to easily change - so do kind of pick and choose what you want to change.
    Oh, reminds me.  Also take the time to notice when he goes "off".  Is it usually later in the day? More during school days when he can't sleep in? Does he get good lunches?
   Sorry for being so long winded, but its the least I can do after your first post.  Hope this helps.  Let me know how things go.
Avatar universal
First, I would like to Thank you for your advice.  Your so thourough and caring and  I was not expecting this kind of treatment.  Its much appreciated. My son's birthday is May 12th, 2007. He was born at 35 weeks.  The things that frustrate him are:  If he is unable to do something to perfection.  If he plays a video game he expects to win evertime and if he dosent he tantrums.  He has a spelling test he got one wrong and he thought about it all weekend.  When hes tired getting him to do anything is a chore.  just leaving the house in the morning for school is a problem he makes me upset most days before school and then i take that to work with me.  He probably spends most of his days on the weeknds whining/crying or getting in trouble.. He gets so much attention from my husband and I.  My husband plays sports with him alot and they go places together.  I spend time reading with him talking at night (thats the best time to talk to him.)  I take him places he wishes to go.  I often feel like my husband and I spend too much time with him and he dosent realy know how to play independantly and often time it shard to get things done that Moms and Dads have to do.  Then I feel like my daughter gets the shaft becasue she is good.  I spend alot of time with her but I feel like she has to get annoyed by him all day and put up with our moods due to his behavior. I feel guilty.  
189897 tn?1441126518
     Thank you for the added information.  It helps.  
     Birthdate wise, I just wanted to make sure that he was not one of the youngest kids in his class as that has its own set of problems.   So he is fine there.
     I do think that at least part of the problem is his sleep habits in that they may be making everything much worse.  In the link I sent you - http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/475305_1 - if you start reading on page 4 they give lots of good ways to help the child sleep at night.  I would certainly try those before going any kind of medication route.    And if this can be effectively dealt with, then getting him going for school will be so much easier.    You also might want to try getting him up about 20 min earlier so that nothing gets rushed.  I know my own child was not and never has been a morning person.  He just moves real slow.  We kind of got around that by getting him up earlier on school days and letting him move slowly.    But definitely concentrate on the ideas for getting him to bed in a way that facilitates a good nights sleep.
   The next thing to do is for you and your husband to agree on how to deal with him so that you both are consistent.
    The books I recommended reading to him should also help.  He really does need to learn how to deal with his frustrations.  Poor guy might be a perfectionist (I hope not).   This is a link to a post that we wrote in 2010.  It has a lot of wonderful ideas from Specialmom on dealing with your emotions.  I do think they will be helpful.   http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Child-Behavior/Anger--frustration-mangement-for-my-5-year-old/show/1410486
     The weekends are going to be tougher to deal with for awhile.  If they have any indoor basketball leagues for his age group - I would certainly look into that.   Definitely get him signed up for soccer and maybe baseball.  He needs to get out of the house!  Perhaps look into play dates of taking him and a friend to the zoo, etc.  I know its nasty weather back there now - but plan ahead.
   If there is nothing else going on with him - these things should make a difference!   Please keep us posted.  I know I have given you enough reading material to keep you busy for awhile (Oh, speaking of that, one parent mentioned that she had downloaded the kids books to her Ereader and they started reading those right away.)
  Any other questions - just ask! and let us know what works best.  I am really curious how or what will work for his sleep problems.  Best wishes and good luck.

189897 tn?1441126518
   Just ran across another really good link while helping another parent.  Its about Anger Overload and has some very good techniques for dealing with it.
   The link is - http://www.chadd.org/Portals/0/AM/Images/Understading/AUG01AngerOverloadinChildren-DiagnosticandTreatmentIssues.pdf
Avatar universal
He does play soccer and his behavior is just as bad there but we persist even if we have to stand on the field while they are practicing to keep him from just running rampant and running over the coach. Thank you so much for the helpful suggestions Playdates are out of the question until his behavior comes under a little control I fear he may hurt someone he hits alot at school

189897 tn?1441126518
   Actually, the playdates and sports activity suggestions were for Mommyoftwins as her child is in a different spot then yours.  What is similar though is the trouble sleeping and the problems that brings.  That is why I suggested you look at this article which gives ways to help kids sleep.
- if you start reading on page 4 they give lots of good ways to help the child sleep at night
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