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Ten Year Old's Severe Emotional And Behavioral Problems

Question:

Hello! I really hope I get a response from my question as i am now fearful of my 10 year old boy. My son has had anti social problems since he was about four years old. It is however possible they started before that but I would explain away by saying he was too young to understand his actions.

Jamie started school at four. He had speech and language problems which were explained away by hearing problems not being picked up early enough. Gromits solved the problem and speech and language helped with speech problems.

Jamie would often get into disagreements with other children and end up scratching their faces. This behavior continued for a year and a half. Jamie had few friends and was picked on and teased constantly. I changed his school a year and a half later when he started to really withdraw into himself and refuse to participate in any games because he felt he was terrible at them and everyone else was better. He would get very very upset even if it was a game at home with his younger sister when he was not winning. For him to lose would result in a tantrum.

The new school helped but problems still persisted in and out of the classroom. Jamie had severe tantrums where he would hit him self, throw things and run away from teachers when confronted about any bad behavior. Bad behavior issues might be not getting on the computer first, not being picked to help the teacher.

Jamie at around age 7 started to like football but the training in school started to turn sour when Jamie started to use some swear words when he got frustrated. It was about this time that I got him assessed for autism and other neurological disorders. Jamie was assessed by three different doctors at a clinic but not in a social situation. No diagnosis was given. Problems at school had escalated and I was constantly down the school to talk them through with the staff. Jamie was at this stage, hitting and kicking walls, doors and crying hysterically when the slightest problems would occur. This could be a disagreement with another child. Children not letting him play with them. A lot of the time it would just be Jamie feeling he was being treated unfairly.

I sought help from a mental health practitioner that helped work with myself and Jamie in and out of the school environment. This really helped and a praise and reward scheme was set up at home and school. Slowly Jamie self confidence was restored and his behavior improved. Jamie was given a safe place he could go at school to calm down and reflect when he was stressed. The crying hysterically seemed to decrease also.

When Jamie was eight and a half we moved to Spain and he attended a Spanish school. I expected problems as this was going to be a huge transition for both my children. Jamie is now after a year and a half almost fluent in Spanish and is excellent in the subjects of science and math. J amie enjoys computer games, football and is absolutely brilliant at chess, quite often beating adults. The problem again is his behavior, he is often aggressive with other children lashing out, resulting in kicks, punches and scratches to the face. He has returned to his old behavior in almost every aspect.

Jamie scares me now as he is now saying he has feelings that myself, my husband and my daughter might die and he may in some way be responsible but he can’t say why. He has got quite upset on two occasions resulting in a severe panic attack and fainted. This started one night when he was sleeping and said he saw blue flashing light in front of his eyes. He complained of pains in his chest and fast heart beat. His heart was actually really hammering in his chest.

Jamie has just recently complained of hearing voices but can’t say what it is they are saying or where they come from. Jamie has ignored and deliberately insulted teachers on many occasions. Jamie just this evening cried hysterically because his football team lost. That was after screaming and shouting at the TV that it wasn’t fair. Jamie seems to have a very low pain threshold often crying hysterically when he is hurt. This how ever does not happen in a football match when the ball has sometimes hit him hard in the stomach, face. This I can’t explain and it seems odd when his response is so different at all other times.

Jamie does appear to suffer from depression and is very pessimistic. I also fight both of these but my husband is the opposite. Please, I hope you can help and suggest how we can best move forwards for a better, happier life for my son.

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Answer:

It goes without saying that Jamie is a very troubled boy. You report that, very early in his life, he had hearing, speech and language problems. You state something about “Gromits” but, I have no idea what that is. In any case, starting school with those types of problems had to impact his self esteem even though he was only four years old. I can’t help but assume that he continues to have hearing problems. That has to impact his current behavioral and mood problems. It may also account for why other kids tease him.

On an encouraging level, you sought help from a mental health professional who worked with both you and Jamie and it seems to have been successful. You should keep that in mind. What I am saying is that you, Jamie and his  father need family therapy and Jamie needs behavioral therapy for himself and with a child psychologist.

Jamie needs the correct type of assessment done by a clinical psychologist who can diagnose what is wrong with Jamie. Based on that, the correct course of therapy will be started. It is surprising, even shocking, that the people who assessed him in the past found nothing wrong. Perhaps, what they meant was that there was no autism or neurological disorder. However, there are many other types of problems and they should have referred him for other types of testing. It is clear that Jamie has serious problems.

I am guessing that when Jamie says he fears that his family may die and that it would be his fault, he does not mean that he would hurt you but that he is too much for all of you. However, this is another reason for doing a proper assessment including looking into the “voices” he complains about.

You need to start the process of helping him now, before he becomes an adolescent. Then, his problems may worsen. Remember, Jamie is hurting badly and is crying out for help.

Best of Luck

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