14 month old screams literally all day

Kenesha - posted on 11/25/2013 ( 9 moms have responded )

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My 14 month old stepson lives with us fulltime. He has always seemed to have an anxiety disorder, his mother used drugs while pregnant. In the past few months he has begun screaming when I Tell anything, whether it be yes or no. He falls to the floor like the world has ended and screams for about 10 to 15 minutes at a time while banging his head on either the floor or corner of wall face first. He also pinches his stomach, leaving bruised, or pulls his hair out. This has now begun to happen everywhere. He bit an 8 month old baby at daycare, right under the eye and almost made him bleed, he has also bitten me and the dog that hard. He is an only child, he gets my attention all day cause I'm h9me with him, he only goes to daycare 2 days a week for half of a day. His behavior is just overwhelming to me and I'm not sure how to handle it. Time out used to work but now he chews paint off of the wall, yes I'm serious. So timeout is getting hard to do. HELP!!

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Danicia - posted on 11/27/2013

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I worked with educationally/mentally challenged children/teens with aggressive tendencies for a couple years and he sounds like he is demonstrating concerning behavior that needs to be tested for issues. unfortunately with him being so young, I'm not sure how accurate the tests would be for him. I know that you can find foam helmets (thick foam) to help with the headbanging so he doesn't damage himself further. at his age, I just gotta say I'm sorry you're having to go through this. is his negative behavior exhibited when he has an audience or regardless of if you are watching or ignoring/out of the room? if he stops without the attention, you could use that to your advantage by walking away. when/if he follows you and he is calm, thank him for his good behavior, give him a hug, etc. (lots of positive reinforcement can help) of calmly coming to you and then repeat what has set him off in a softer delivery. At his age i'm curious if he may be striking out because he is wanting some form of physical touch/restraint. hear me out now- we had kids where I worked that they would get overstimulated and lash out. to help them calm down, some of them their plan said to give them a hug or a weighted blanket, some of the plans recommended a calming motion (sometimes as simple as a hand on the shoulder or holding/rubbing their hand in yours). the physical touch/restraint/pressure would help them refocus and stay calm by focusing on what you were doing vs what was working them up, a distraction from the overwhelming scenario.
long story short, I would recommend seeing if ignoring certain behaviors will curb them. Focus on positive behavior reinforcement. when he is calm, bring out some stuffed animals and work on "nice touch, mean touch" to start hopefully decrease the aggression towards others/self. watch what sets him off and try to figure out his hot buttons to see how to approach them differently and/or make them easier for him to handle. even though it's EXHAUSTING to handle such a tough child, especially while pregnant, the quicker you can start mapping out what makes him tick, the better on you and him and definitely something you want to figure out to the best of your ability before your baby is born. I wish you luck!

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Danicia - posted on 11/28/2013

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on the stuffed animals, i'm not saying to have him play with them himself moreover sitting down with him and just talking through "nice vs mean touch". for instance, "mr. teddy likes when I give him hugs and nicely pat him- that's nice. can you hug mr teddy nice? good job! mr teddy likes nice touch!" etc. you are helping him learn through play and gives him positive interaction with you.
it does sound like he is trying to communicate and just doesn't have the right tools to do so effectively. from the list you mentioned of triggers, it almost sounds like he is vying for your attention and interaction/ fun things to do. when you say he gets upset when the door is passed, sounds like he wants to play outside (not always possible). playing with the dog, sounds like he wants interaction with someone.
he is only 14 months, the likelihood of him just lashing in anger constantly is slim. it is easy for kids his age to get angry when they can't communicate, he just needs help learning a better form of communication and way to respond to what frustrates him. trying to find resources in your area like Chrissy said would probably help you and him out a lot. wish you luck!

Cc - posted on 11/28/2013

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Oh, and that doctor sounds like he is trying to take the easy way out, blaming it on teeth. Find a new one who is willing to put work into this...the baby deserves better!

Cc - posted on 11/28/2013

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Wow, you are dealing with a lot and I give you tons of respect for handling it. I did a little research because I never heard much about children whose moms used meth while pregnant. This document was informative, but I'm sure you also did your research by now. http://www.ohsu.edu/marc/ORPostAdoptionR...
The symptoms of hypersensitivity to certain stimuli does sound similar to children with autism. As one mom mentioned earlier, positive reinforcement works very well with the population. Find something he really likes....a toy, a song, a short video, and every time he acts appropriately when his father comes home, let him have it or see it. I also think the soft helmet idea sounds great. Chances are the behaviors will not get better anytime soon as he is too young for most diagnoses or treatments. Control may be your priority right now, especially since you have a new baby coming soon. Children who exhibit self-injurious behavior require a LOT of attention and right now keeping him from hurting himself very badly is something you and his father will have to do.
In the meantime, I would start researching organizations that service children with disabilities or behavioral issues and start seeking services, if possible. There are organizations that service children with developmental disabilities that sometimes send specialists to the house to help teach the children positive behaviors and give mom a break.
I wish you and your family the best of luck...

Kenesha - posted on 11/27/2013

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He does not like to be held or restrained, he even hates being held close. That causes screaming. He doesn't play with stuffed animals, in fact he barely plays with his millions of toys at all unless its small enough to throw at you. Leaving the room makes him act so much worse, never better. Most of the time that's the reason he throws these "fits". When one of us leaves the room, he sees me doing anything in the kitchen, I simply say no, if we walk past the front door but don't open it, the dog won't play with him, when his daddy comes home. There am ongoing list and pretty much anything and everything causes this behavior. I've been told he's trying to communicate? But this in no way seems like communication, seems like pure anger.

Kenesha - posted on 11/26/2013

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He thinks its just a phase, he's never really been around children all too much, and with this one we did not find out the baby was his til he was 3months old and by 4 months we had full custody. It all went so fast. I just have researched and it says that when mothers used meth while pregnant that it can cause toddlers to have anxiety, depression, and many behavioral disorders. I'll take him to cooks children's and start from there.

Angie - posted on 11/26/2013

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Ugh! I can't imagine being pregnant and dealing with this little one. I'm sorry. It has to be absolutely exhausting. Do you have a children's hospital near you? I'm not sure where you live. But I would maybe start there. Or go back to the original office and tell them you want to see someone else. Just make sure that you are very descriptive and detailed when talking to them about it. I do agree that teething can cause some crazy stuff, but given his history I would agree that it could be something else! Trust your instincts. You guys are his only advocates and as hard as it may be you have to be the one to keep pressing them to explore different options than just teeth or ears. I'm sorry I can't be of more help. Its so hard at his age too because they can't communicate very well.
Not sure if this article gives you any ideas as far as dealing with it differently http://www.babycenter.com/0_tantrums_115...
But it does say at the end that if they are hurting themselves or others that you should talk to the DR about it. I would for sure go back. What does his Father say about all of this?

Kenesha - posted on 11/26/2013

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Oh I've taken him to the doctor, had his ears tested, everything. The doctor always says its his teeth, but don't think so, he has 9 teeth and never acted this way for any of them. It makes it even harder seeing as I'm pregnant too. Would y0u know what kind of specialist I would need to take him to?

Angie - posted on 11/26/2013

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Wow poor thing. With Behavior like that I would seriously consider bring him into see a DR. Which I'm sure you probably have already done, but now he is actually causing himself and others physical harm and that has to be dealt with. I'm sure there is something that they can do to help him. I'm sorry that you are going through this. It has to be extremely difficult especially dealing with it all day long. Hoping that he can get some help very soon!

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