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    Do you have questions about celiac disease or the gluten-free diet?

Nic

Trouble With Behavior?

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Last year before my son was diagnosed, his behavior was herendous. He was sick all the time and just could not stop himself from having tantrums or just not following rules. I knew that being sick all the time was causing him to be angry and that Celiac on a whole can cause behavior problems. He has now been gluten free for a year. His behavior has improved tremendously. But, occassionally, he still gets sick with his stomach. Constipation is his main symptom and the doc said that his body is still healing and that is why we still get the constipation sometimes. But when we do, his behavior starts up all over again. My sister watches him during the day and brings him back and forth to a part time pre k. He is giving both my sister and his teacher a run for their money on these bad days. Does anyone else ever have this problem too? I know that the bahavior follows the constipation pattern. I understand that he doesn't feel well and that he is probably very angry and upset. Any advise on how to get him to understand that even though he is not feeling well, he still has to behave?

Nicole

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How old is your little guy? My son just turned 3. We started him on a gluten-free diet at the begining of March. His behavior is just awful if he has gluten. We made the mistake of giving him quaker rice cake minis........WOW did we have a wild week. He had the mother-of-all-tantrums in Target (can you say mortified??), and we had to leave Applebee's during dinner one night. We're out and about with our kids all of the time, and I can honestly tell you that nothing like that had EVER happened with him. We were stunned to see him behave like that. What's most upsetting about seeing him like that is knowing that's not his disposition and it's the byproduct of his belly hurting. I completely understand your frustration and emotion.

I understand that he doesn't feel well and that he is probably very angry and upset. Any advise on how to get him to understand that even though he is not feeling well, he still has to behave?

My husband and I ask ourselves something to this effect all the time. Zachary's behavior isn't out of control, but there's yelling,throwing and irritability at times for no apparent reason. How do you explain to a 3 or 4 year old that their belly hurts, you can't fix it and they need to use words to convey that message versus actions?

The teacher part of me constantly reinforces using language and trying to attach a word/phrase to the emotion or action. This isn't always easy because you could be either mortified, ready to blow a gasket or somewhere inbetween!! :) Developmentally, kids at this age don't think in abstract terms so a tummy ache may be difficult for them to explain because it could be pain, nausea, cramping, gas, etc. It's not like falling and scraping your knee. Have you tried any type of behavior modification like a chart with stars, stickers or happy faces for good/appropriate behavior? He can earn a reward of some sort after getting a certain number of stars, etc. If he understands the concept, and all kids understand a reward on some level, these types of charts can be very effective. I hope this helped.

--Kristy

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