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Parenting Toddlers (1-5) Community
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Avatar universal

Negativism in 4 year old

Hi
I need some help in determining whether my 4 year old has some emotional or processing disorder, or is merely a grumpy guy.  
First, his older brother, who is a very large, charismatic personality does indeed have complex learning disorders coupled with high intelligence and possible mood disorder.  His uncle, my brother, is bi polar.
Ben has grown up in a chaotic household as we struggle to get a hold of and manage the older boy. It has caused stress in our marriage which we are trying to manage presently.  He worships  his brother and wants to be like him.
Ben doesn't seem to have the same learning problems -- he can identify letters, etc. His communication is behind however and he has fine and gross motor delays as well.
He is remarkably stubborn and emotional.  He takes a stance of anger and unhappiness as a guise - really -- it feels pretend -- he has admitted he feels powerful that way.  He  has a huge huge temper and tries to control lots of situations by refusing to comply, e.g. stopping on a walk and sitting down, storming out when he doesn't get what he wants.
When he is angry he tells me how much he doesn't like me, doesn't love me, does destructive things -- throws a toy, a book, pours water on the stroller, glares at me.  At the same time, he wants a hug in the middle of it and says he misses me when I pick him up from camp. He is very very attached to me and shows it in many ways. He screams if he doesn't sleep in our bed, throws a fit if I won't go with him to the potty when asked, refuses most self care --wants to stay a baby it seems.
When he yells or has a tantrum, I try and ignore it or give him better words ("you are angry..you can say this stinks" ) and he just screams over me repeatedly.  When it becomes hugely inconvenient or dangerous I do give a spanking on the tush after a count -- that threat is the ONLY thing that sometimes makes him comply.

Huge emotions. Provocative behavior. There is no reasoning with him  -- he will cut off his nose to spite his face, so to speak. You just have to wait until he chills out.  You really can't converse with him about stuff.
So it's like two year old behavior but with a four year old.
On the other hand, again, he does seem to be liked by some of his peers -- plays alone and with friends, rich imagination, looks at books, etc.

Does this look like a mood disorder? What kind of behavioral plan can I use? At wit's end.
Thanks!
5 Responses
535822 tn?1443976780
The child isnt the Problem its the enviroment that is and the Way you are dealing with all the situation s at home, reading your Post it sounds as if you need to have some Family counciling, on how to cope , your older son needs some one to one counciling also.
Avatar universal
That sounds rather judgemental, not knowing all of the facts at all. Perhaps it would be helpful if you asked questions to clarify things. Maybe you were trying to be helpful..I will assume so.
My older son is in counseling, on meds, in a special school, in OT, well-loved and loving.  He is also a very high-demand child.  Children are not all  the same.  He is lovely in many ways and we really enjoy him, but he can act as if he has Opposition Disorder at times, manic at times.  He also has sensory integration disorder, auditory processing disorder, dyslexia, failure to grow, had reflux that kept him and us up for 3 years 5x a night.  So to say we are not coping appropriately, or imply that, is assuming a lot.  He has a folder several inches thick with consults and analysis!  I have gotten him in the best school in my area for gifted/disabled children and fought to get the city to fund it (and won).  I feel like I have a masters in neurodevelopment, child development and nutrition for the amount I have read. I have a background in psychology, a degree in law.  This bright child,walled in by disabilities, would be challenging for anyone.  One psychiatrist is suggesting he may be bipolar.
Now, my second son, has been born (3.5 years after the first) into the family that currently exists. One in which my older son demands huge amounts of our attention and time and management (behavioral and otherwise).  Setting boundaries on his needs, and ours, making room for #2, all of this has been a work in progress.  The older boy is extremely popular,loud, imaginative, charismatic and energetic and he doesn't have a big awareness of others needs and feelings.  Ben has grown up with him as a big brother -- a wonderful fun brother, but one against which he has to struggle to define himself, naturally.  Now it looks like he may have some issues, different from his brothers. That is what I wrote about. They are subtler and harder to piece out in this kind of environment.
My husband, as would most people I imagine, has been overwhelmed by the emotional demands involved.  That I admit to the repercussions of special needs children in a family is not to say that we are particularly troubled - it says that I am aware of the dynamics and trying to manage them.  Presently, he sees a therapist, I do, and we do, plus the older one. We independently support the therapy community it seems. Again, do not mistake this for pathology - it is trying to figure out how to maintain romance and intimacy, cultivate individuality and confidence in children, care for children with high intelligence, emotional issues and disabilities and work, thank you very much. Not easy. I was writing here, not to get a simplistic statement, but a look at Ben's behavior to see if someone recognizes it as something familiar or indicative.
535822 tn?1443976780
In your first Post you did not give any facts that you were getting help and counseling,and if you reread your own Post it doesnt give any indication of this.I still think that counseling is the way to go and I stand by my first judgemental Post that thats what is needed.,by all of you.
Avatar universal
Back at you sweetie --counseling, I mean.  Lots of anger here.
This is not what is called on for a forum in which parents ask each other for information about similar experiences and insights -- aggressive, bitter, judgemental stabs. This is not the Jerry Springer show.
I am reporting you to the site and hopefully you will be banned.
535822 tn?1443976780
On rereading my Posts here I owe everyone concerned and who reads them an Apology, this person was looking for help and answers I failed to do what she requested, and my replies do indeed sound short and Judgemental.If you would care to post your question again I will allow others on MedHelp to assist you.
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