Something not right with my 7 yr old but no one knows what.

Hi, I am new here and looking for advice about my 7 year old son (7 in June). 

I have felt for a long time that something isn't quite right, he was a very difficult baby, cried lots, hard to settle, difficult withe feeding and slept very little. He is our second (and last) child and our first born was quite a settled baby so kept thinking that we had been spoiled with her and that it was just different second time round. 

 As he grew he never seemed to quite meet his milestones at the appropriate age. He was late to walk, talk, potty train etc but always got there eventually. He continued to be difficult, very unsettled and as he got to 18 months he had extreme tantrums which seemed more severe and more frequent than other children of the same age. Again we thought he was just strong willed etc and would grow out of it. However they continued.  When he started nursery we noticed that his interests were unusual, becoming obsessive over batteries, soap and recycling items but again't put it down to just him and thought he'd grow out of it. 

All of this continued. He's 7 now and still has frequent tantrums or meltdowns in various situations, especially in shops, theme parks and other days out, when visiting, especially when there are lots of people in the house. Even at home he is often unsettled, he is aggressive towards his sister verbally ando physically and often shouts at us and other family members too. He often refuses to do as he is asked, or will do things his way. If I ask him to get dressed he will (often after delaying it) but will put his top on backwards, or will refuse to wear socks, it's like everything has to be on his terms. He will happily play with other children (although this is quite a recent thing) but again only if he's in charge of the game, and if they refuse he becomes aggressive, or if he's at school when this happens he becomes upset that they are no longer his friend. 

 At school he is described as having perfect behaviour and school have no concerns other than he isn't progressing well.  They tell us that he's doing okay ( though at one point we were told his progress had stopped all together) but according to his report, he is well below average in everything other than his reading, even for effort he is below average. He hates going to school, he complains every morning that he hates it yet when he's there he's fine. 

 At home he just seems full of something, I know that sounds strange but it's the only way I can describe him. Like he's full of energy or anxiety I can't work out which.  He tells me he's excited, the other day he was crying because he wanted a sleepover at Nans house. He was adamant he wanted to stay on Monday night. So we arranged it and on Sunday told him he could sleep over the following night just as he'd wanted. He went into complete meltdown saying that he wanted a sleepover, I explained that he was having one and he replied I want one tonight. I left him for a while then went back and asked why he was crying when he was having exactly what he wanted and he said I don't know why I just feel excited inside. 

 He's under the educational psychologist for 18 months who has just moved the referral onto the CCAT asking them to assess him too. But he keeps saying that he's only done this because things haven't improved, he doesn't really think there's cause for concern and he doesn't really fit any type of disorder such as asd or ADHD.  

 I'm so sorry I've written an essay!! I just don't know where to turn next. I have a feeling that when he is assessed nothing will be picked up and we'll be back to square one. I'm in turmoil, part of me wants to treat him as though he has asd or something else but when experts are saying there's probably nothing wrong I can't help but see his behaviour as him being awkward and nasty. Deep down I do think something is going on, he is such a lovely little boy, his behaviour is very difficult to manage though.  

  • Your post sounds a lot like my nephew who is 8.  My sister in law is now pushing for a referral, as the older he gets, the more he is struggling and acting out.  He still models good behaviour at school though.

    I would start a diary of all your concerns, maybe video some of his behaviour at home so that you have something to review and discuss when you get his assessment.

  • Thank you both for your replies. Sorry your nephew is having similar difficulties Ninjamouse, hope your sister in law is able to get something sorted. 

     Thank you for the recommendation recombinantsocks I'll have a look see if I can find it. 

     We've questions ourselves over and over and were reluctant to ask for referral in the hope that he would grow out of it or that things would improve. I couldn't take much more one day and booked a gp appointment who advised me to push at school for an inclusion support referral (as school had already expressed concern regarding his lack of progress but told me it wasnt their job to refer it was gp!). 

    We came to the conclusion that we've tried the telling off, naughty step, thinking chair, time in, losing it with him and really shouting, talking to him etc etc and none of it has worked. Our 12 yr old daughter had the same parenting (albeit of course slightly different as she is the oldest) and is sensible, achieving very highly at school, of course cheeky etc sometimes but on the whole well balanced (apart from being fed up of her brother attacking her). We've wondered if because of this we compare the two and he's just different to her, I feel like we've explored all possibilities! But it always comes back to the same thing. He seems different to his peers in many ways. He's not really into anything (other than collecting soap and placing buckets of water around the house as hand washing stations as he calls them!), the firm boundaries we set don't seem to make things any better. I did a parenting course at school a while back and the only thing that has worked from that is us trying to understand the behaviour rather than classing it as naughty, though as I mentioned before thats difficult sometimes when we're in limbo over whether there is something going on or if he is just naughty. I'm kind of feeling like I need to treat his outbursts etc as something that he can't control or I'm failing him as a parent, yet I'm scared to do this because if it just him wanting his own way etc then I feel like I'm failing him because I'm allowing him to use that behaviour to get what he wants if that makes sense.  

    I'll definitely watch it and see if it shed any light. Thank you

  • My son too is 7 and was recently diagnosed. My husband and felt as though something wasn't quite right. The school wouldn't listen to us and kept telling us irpt was something he would grow out of. If in your heart you feel something isn't right you have to keep fighting for your son no matter what eventually someone will listen to you. You are not alone

  • Hi

    Your son sounds very alike my son. He is 11.

    We have recently been seen by CAMHS and are awaiting a Clinician appointment.

    My son was late walking and potty training, and the "terrible 2's" started at 18 months and I don't think they ever went away.

    We have looked into symptoms my son shows and we believe he may have PDA, he has all the symptoms of it, he wants to be in control, and if plans change without him knowing, this causes meltdowns. He has extremely high anxiety levels, and like your son, he is happy if things with friends are under his rules. His behaviour in school is excellent though he is struggling with maths.

    We don't have nay issues with his behaviour, tantrums or meltdowns outwith the house, he controls his anxirty to the poibt he is close to breakdown until we ge home, and then meltdown commences, where he will become a Jekyll and Hyde character, shouting abuse and his Dad and I. How he hates us, wants to live with another family, I'm a crap Mum, his Dad is horrible, we are selfish...." The list goes on. VERY hurtful having your 11 year old who is otherwise a loving, gentle and senstive soul shout these nasty horrible things to you. Meltdowns can last 30 mins to 3 hours.

    Simple things like getting dressed take him an age, he hates being asked to do things like get dressed, shower etc, as he wants to do it in his own time. That is what PDA is all about.

    We also did the Parenting class, but it made things worse for us.

    I feel your pain.

    Angela