By the time our son was 2 years old we knew for sure that something was different with him. He was the colicky baby, the baby who didn't sleep through the night until he was 18 months old. He threw awful temper tantrums where we would literally hold him to keep him from hurting himself or other people. Our son would get so angry at the littlest things and he would scream, cry, kick, throw things and tell us that he wanted to kill himself or go live somewhere else. If he was doing something he liked it was almost impossible to get him to switch over to coming to dinner or getting ready for school. Every day was a constant battle. Nothing worked with him. You couldn't take things away or bribe him...that would only make it worse.
My husband and I spent a lot of one on one time with him thinking he just needed more of our attention. I spent many nights crying after he was tucked into bed wondering how we messed up with him when our other two children were just fine. We were exhausted and frustrated and took him to two different counselors...both told me I was overreacting because there was no way a child at this age could be doing and saying the things he was. Our pediatrician has been fantastic and knew that medication wasn't the answer.
When he started 4 year old kindergarten, I was very concerned that his challenging behaviors would occur at school. I had numerous meetings with his teacher...she assured me that my son was one of the smartest and most well-behaved boys in the class. This feedback blew our minds...that’s when we really began to think it was our parenting that was causing this.
Then I came across the book The Explosive Child. When I read the first four pages I started crying and called my husband at work because someone finally knew what we were going through. We knew that our son knew that what he was doing was wrong because a few hours after an outburst he would come to us crying and telling us he was sorry and that he loved us but just couldn't help it. I read the book in two days and we began trying out some of the strategies. Although we are far from perfect, the challenging behaviors are becoming less intense and we are able to head off some of the behaviors before it happens. Thank you Dr. Greene for giving us some hope and helping this family of 6 to try and have a normal life again instead of walking on egg shells around our 6 year old.