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My son is almost ten years old and he has major aggression issues. From threatening to throwing and breaking things to attacking me and my parents. I have gone to see every dr I can think of, blood work done (everything came back normal except his thyroid- but apparently at his age thats normal), adjusting and changing meds, changing his diet etc. I am a single mother and I am in crisis mode right now. Can anyone tell me if there are any additional testing I can get done or what specialists I can take him to. I have no idea what to do anymore.

by on Jul. 25, 2013 at 10:15 AM
Replies (21-30):
by Member on Jul. 26, 2013 at 9:19 AM
2 moms liked this

I'm sorry to say this when you're already so stressed, but when my son went through a very bad patch of acting out, it was me who had to figure out what was wrong, figure out how to change his environment to lessen his stress, and me who had to teach him how to develop better coping skills.  No teacher, OT, or therapist really had more insight that I did, or was able to offer the specific help that I believed my son needed.  The psychiatrist is only for diagnosis and medication management, not behavior management--from my experience.  The therapist should be able to help you develop a behavior plan, and work with him on expressing his feelings, but if you haven't already, you should definitely tell her what you need her/him to work on with your son that will help you at home most.  In my experience, I had to do most of the directing and figuring out myself. I've been in your situation where you just are completely at your wits end, so I do understand!  

I'm glad you have respite care; keep being the pain in the neck parent too; get the most from his services that you can!  You are doing a great job--you just have to keep going.  It's hard to realize sometimes that you know your son better than anyone.  With my son, there was never any direct aggression toward people, just frustration and anger where he would throw himself around or tear up his own belongings.  I believe that the anger is triggered by stressors in the environment--a big one for my son was feeling that he wasn't being heard when he was upset.  You have to be a detective and figure out what is triggering it, then you'll be able to address the stressor and remove or change it.  If you keep observing him as he escalates, you'll  soon see the trigger(s).

Good luck, and keep pushing to get your son what he needs! 

by on Jul. 26, 2013 at 9:26 AM

Thank you so much.... Its refreshing to know that other parents have been there. Everyone has been so supportive on this means alot:)

by Hadley on Jul. 26, 2013 at 9:29 AM
2 moms liked this
Keep being that pain in the neck parent and be proud of yourself for being it. I know it's exhausting and takes up all your time, but you are doing a good job and it is an important fight. Hugs.

Quoting novangel03:

Well he only receives 2 hrs of respite a week. I am going through my third service coordinator in 6 months because they have done nothing. So I am trying to get more hours. As for wrap around services...Apparently, it goes through the Mental Health Agency so I cant be getting services through one place and then wrap around from the mental health institute...It doesnt make sense to me. But It seems like I am doing all of the research and being that pain in the neck parent by being so persistant in trying to get him help but still no answers.

by Bronze Member on Jul. 26, 2013 at 10:00 AM
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Exactly what kind of doctors have you taken the child to?

Have you gotten any advice from therapists or psychologists familiar with PDD, as to how to deal with aggression?

What parents have had me often do (based on expert advice as well as what worked) was to restrain the child when he is being aggressive, and to repeat calmly that when they stop hitting (or biting or spitting or whatever), you will let them go.

BEFORE aggression, I'm usually told to do the 'Three R's' - Redirection, Reward, etc.

So when something is happening that will set the child off I am supposed to redirect the child, and this very often works and PREVENTS aggression.

So for example one of the kids would grab matches from the ground and light a fire later.   I would see him eyeing the matches and offer him a cookie, piece of cheese, candy, whatever he valued most.

Now, most people would think that's 'giving the kid his way' or 'rewarding him for being bad', but after repeating it a few times, I could actually just say, ''Hey Jimmy', and the child would focus on me instead of the matches.   You see you have to get at the level the child thinks at, not the way other people think.   And yes, actually, with some of the kids with things like that we would start by restraining them, and then redirect later.   Some kids are not verbal enough, or enough in control of their impulses that they can respond at first to redirection.

So yes, mom taught me how to restrain the child safely so he couldn't hurt himself or others.   Some of the kids, when they got an irresistable urge to do something they knew was bad they'd come up to me and say, 'Hold me', and after a while, I'd be saying, 'You can hold yourself'.

Kinda amazing how that works.   They need a lot of practice, but it can work.

Also if your little guy is getting so upset as he is hitting or biting himself or others I'd suggest maybe the right medications are not being used or his condition has changed as he grows up and thus he needs a medication change.

I've seen kids go from incredibly violent to happy and interested and focusing on mom, dad, and caregivers.   Kinda amazing ,and not always easy to fd which medication helps.   It's not always just using more medication. These kids don't need to be sedated they need help dealing with the huge cascade of sensory input they get, that they can't process all at once.

Also consider some frustration can be due to inability to communicate what one wants to say, so sign language and pictures/symbols books can help.

by Bronze Member on Jul. 26, 2013 at 10:10 AM


They usually have a realistic idea of what is going to work, but refer you to someone who can actually show you how to do it.

As far as figuring out WHAT triggers the aggression and exactly the nuances of how to work it out, absolutely, it's the person who is around them day to day that has the best handle on that.   A method only gives a general framework, there's still an immense amount of creativity and familiarity involved in success.

As an example the therapist wasn't familiar with what set the child off - she could offer a lot of ideas based on her experience and the feedback she got from parents, but an awful lot is up to the parents of the individual.

Quoting BethB111:

...The psychiatrist is only for diagnosis and medication management, not behavior management--from my experience.....


by Platinum Member on Jul. 26, 2013 at 10:26 AM
Read the explosive child by ross greene. He has a great path to follow to help you help your child. Typical parenting does not work with our kids. The more rigid and demanding u r with your son; the more rigid and demanding his behavior will b with you.
The more you try to control- the more resistance you will get.
You beed to find a way to parent him effectively- that will help teach him skills that are lacking.
Fighting with him alienates and pushes away. Working together to solve problems and avoid meltdowns is the way to build happy, effective positive parenting.

by on Jul. 26, 2013 at 10:50 AM

I actually just bought that book and am in the midst of reading it:)

by Bronze Member on Jul. 26, 2013 at 12:11 PM

I don't look at it so much as 'must have my way' as 'has no idea how to wait, be flexible, etc.

I look at it more as rigidity of thinking than being spoiled or willful.   

In other words it's as if his ability to be flexible, to wait, to apply a rule to himself when he's in a given situation, is at a much younger age.   That, to me, is a neurological thing, and not a choice.  So it's to me as if you are dealing with a younger child (like a 2 year old) just in that one particular area, where as the rest of him - his verbal ability, his physicality, his intelligence, is more advanced.

I think it's very important to develop it in stages, and yes, I do think medication helps with that.   I didn't used to think that, but I have seen that change too many times, so now I can't pretend that it doesn't help.

But I do think that if a child is violent they do need to be stopped from harming others.   And what doesn't hurt all that much from a ten year old might hurt pretty bad with a 14 year old who's bigger and stronger.   So it is important.

With most of the kids I worked with restraining them when they were trying to hurt themselves or others was a very important part of stopping this.   

And this isn't about wrestling them down and crushing them and hurting them.   It's about preventing their blows from hurting someone.   There's a huge difference.   One of the people I worked with would just smack the kids, and he was discharged  - pronto.   It's a skill one has to be taught.   To restrain without putting pressure on the child.

One of the 'children' I helped with was six foot four and weighed over 200 lbs, I watched his mom restrain him when he wanted to bolt out the door.   

I just sat there with my mouth hanging open.   The child was touch sensitive, too, but she was able to do that without panicking him and without him getting out the door, despite being nowhere near his size.

Quoting novangel03:

Believe me I am doing everything I possibly can to figure out what is going on. My son and I are very close and we talk about everything. But it always comes down to him not getting his way and him trying to tell me what to do and when to do it. How do I get around that? He thinks that he will get his way if he hurts me or my mother but I refuse to give in to him.

by Darby on Jul. 26, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Hugs and good luck mama!

by Bronze Member on Jul. 26, 2013 at 8:43 PM

Try modeling using feeling words like when your in traffic say, "this makes me so angry or this is so frustrating."  He may pick it up and be able to use the strategy.  My four year old does it of course he still does melt down also.  I am reading a book that suggest not when they are in the meltdown to suggest to them to "use their words" because they are so overwhelmed at the time that they do not have the words just then.

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