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Posted by laura on March 16, 2000 at 20:29:41:

In Reply to: 3 yr. old son severe temper tantrums/ screaming posted by Sarah on January 29, 2000 at 19:08:14:

We started taking our son, at age 3, to a psychiatrist for reasons just as you discribed. We seriously considered putting him into foster care it was so bad. She told us we had to change our method of relating to him. She did not make any diagnosis.

Fast forward to grade school. Kindergarten and 1st grade were good "school" years for him but at home he continued the tantrums and became more violent - hitting, throwing, slamming, etc. Taking him to the store with me was sheer hell, he'd grab the grocery cart and take off running into people, pulling stuff off the shelves, running away from me. At school he was getting bored however and teachers and psychiatrist alike agreed he was gifted - or at least very bright. Still no diagnosis. Quit theray - didn't help.

2nd grade was hell. The teacher (and a very GOOD teacher) hated him and he spent many hours in the hall - the only was she could deal with him. He was the class clown. Totally disruptive. Many parent/teacher conferences later the teacher finally agreed with us that he would do better to skip 3rd grade thinking maybe his bordom was the problem.

4th grade was great. He and his very lienient teacher hit it off. But still at home he was as defiant as ever. Still tantrums, hitting , etc. Back to therapy - new doctor. She said as long as he wasn't hurting himself - let him have his tantrum. Okay - here's what happened: (age 7) started out throwing pencils at his 14 yr old sister and me. Sent him to his room. He barricaded the hall with boxes from the closet, closed his bedroom door, pushed his dresser in front of it and climbed out his window. For the next hour he threw dirt then mud at the picture window, threw dirt in my car, dumped my box of grocery coupons in a hole in the dirt he'd dug, with a brick pounded holes in the garage door, with a gardening tool pounded holes in the picnic table, dumped the charcoal grill over spilling contents on patio, rolled the A-frame swing off the porch, busted a small patio table, smashed the birdfeeded, ran in the house, grabbed poop from the cat pan and put it in the sink and with the stopper down filled the basin with water, and what did I do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Why? Because I was doing what the psychiatrist told me to do. When he was ready to come in I told him to take off his filthy clothes - which he did - then, in his underwear, I made him go back outside. I calmly told him to clean up the mess. I knew without clothes he wouldn't run off but he begged me to let him put them on until I did. He made a meager attempt at cleaning but I ended up doing it. At therapy the next week, the psychiatrist said I could have been arrested for child abuse for making him go outside in his underwear!!!

After about 3 years (off and on) of therapy we got no answers. He was never officially tested for ADD or ADHD because his teachers said he got his work done therefore that ruled out attention deficit. I begged for Ritalin, to at least try it. No way. We finally ran across ODD in a reference book and told the doctor THIS IS WHAT HE HAS! She said, maybe. She wouldn't diagnosis it. She retired and we never went back to therapy.

Age 11 now, 7th grade. Never ending defiance and tantrums at home, but nearly an angel in school - until this year. Last year - straight A's. This year he seems not to care. He's repeatedly in detention (mostly for tardys and we live next to the school). In choir he's had more "marks" posted next to his name for misbehaving than the whole rest of the class combined. All his teachers have issues with him for misconduct. Mostly it's goofing off and not turning in his homework (thing is he does it but loses it). I think it's because he's bored again but he's too immature to consider advancing him another grade - plus he doesn't want to.

Until this year he had no friends. This year he mentions some names, but no one ever comes over.

I don't know what to tell you other than it doesn't get better without good intervention. We were unfortunate to not get the help we needed. We gave up. He's a good kid really, he's just has misdirected energy. We still live in hell. Everyday is trying with him. We all fight constantly. But one thing we've noticed is after a good tantrum, maybe lasting a half hour to an hour, he'll suddenly just get over it and he's just as sweet as pie. It's really weird. It's like night and day. But any little thing might set him off - everything is a potenial time bomb.
He scares me sometimes how explosive his anger can get.

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