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chlobo

How Do You Tell The Difference Between Normal Bad Behavior

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We're in the infancy of going gluten free but I have already noticed some changes in behavior. In pains me to think that we sometimes disciplined my daughter for behavior that might have been food induced. But how to do you tell the difference?

Just tonight, DD had this huge tantrum (like I've never heard) about the fact that we wouldn't let her watch Frosty the Snowman because it was late. We told her to pick a shorter video. Needless to say it did not go well and she was screaming & carrying on. Makes me wonder if she didn't get into something.

How do you tell? This is tearing me up. It's so sad.

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Hi!

I am not at all sure I can answer your question. But I certainly know where you're coming from. My son's behavior had been getting progressively worse over the course of the last 3 years. From age 4 to now 7. Parents of "typical" kids would just not believe me when I would say that this otherwise sweet, innocent, wonderful child would throw fits that would last at least 2 hours. He was becoming increasingly violent in his outbursts and was talking about hurting himself or others - he was in an absolutely desparate state. We were constantly on him to "control himself" and he would say "I can't" and we would say of course you can. We were on the very verge of trying to seek out medication for him (we tried counseling - didn't help). Then he decided he wanted to go gluten free (twin sister has confirmed celiac) because he's sick of having stomach aches all the time.

Well, long story short - we have a new son and a totally peaceful happy home! I can not even believe it! This is the first Christmas ever that did not end with him throwing a massive over the top fit and losing it. He was calm, happy, social, making eye contact, I just can't even describe the difference in words - gotta see it to believe it. Anyway, talk about guilt - we've been riding this poor kid for 3 years and it truly was not in his control.

The other half of the story is that we now believe that the Celiac tests that were performed on him 3 years ago and again 2 years ago were false negatives and he is indeed as true a Celiac as his twin. He's now gluten-free - reports that stomach aches are nearly non- existant.

As for the temper - it's pretty much gone. In the last month he has gotten upset in the same manner as before but the big difference that we see is that he can't maintain it. He is able to see the other side and resolve it (more like a typical kid). He's not "stuck" in the behavior anymore. So, I guess I would suggest watching your dd's behavior and noticing, if she's upset and working her way through it and calming down or just ramping up and staying there for a prolonged time.

We had a long talk with DS about the fact that it is okay to get upset, we all get upset - you just need to be able to handle it appropriately. That's what gluten seemed to be standing in the way of.

Good luck!

barb

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We're pretty new at this as well. We have noticed tremendous changes in our 9 yo dd. Her temper was out of control before. A small request to pick up her socks would end with her in her room for the night at 5:00 pm. She still gets worked up but she can seem to hear the warnings now. She stops much, much sooner than ever before. To me, that is the clue between pre and post gluten free. I have celiac as well and when I get glutened my temper just rages. It's the same for her.

Give her some time. It takes a while to get it out of your system and avoid all sources. I would say be very firm and calm and maybe try to offer to sit with her if she's having a hard time. I wouldn't give in if you've said no because you're setting yourself up for trouble.

I felt bad about how we had disciplined her in the past. But I don't linger on it. I was doing the best I could with what I knew. I know better now so I do better! :)

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Once her behavior settles down (give it a couple of months), you'll be able to tell easily whether she's in that "out of control" gluten-induced place or whether she could get ahold of herself if she tried. I know it seems overwhelming now, but it will be obvious to you soon. In fact, I've seen similar behaviors in friends' children, and even persuaded one of them to take her son gluten-free because of it (with wonderful results!).

In my DD (almost seven), sometimes the only sign of a glutening is when hyperactive behaviors start, and she can be MEAN, too. But at the same time, it's almost as if she doesn't want to behave the way she's behaving -- she just can't seem to help herself. When I sense that type of behavior, I instinctively look for the dark allergy circles under her eyes -- and she almost always has them (had them tonight, in fact, and just would not settle down).

I've felt the same guilt you feel about disciplining her when it's the gluten behind the behavior. But my feeling is, my daughter does need to learn to control herself -- even when she's been glutened. I'm a rhymes-with-witch when I've been glutened, but I need to control that, too -- and DD and I have talked about all of this (she can tell when I've been glutened, too).

How old is your DD?

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Thanks for the kind words. She's 4. And since her behavior has likely been influenced by gluten all her life we really don't have a baseline for what "normal" is, you know? She's always been a willful, difficult child and I'm sad to think much of it might have been because of gluten and/or other food allergies and sensitivities. When she's not acting out she is such a wonderful, sweet, smart vivacious kid. Glad we finally figured something out that might help, though.

Once her behavior settles down (give it a couple of months), you'll be able to tell easily whether she's in that "out of control" gluten-induced place or whether she could get ahold of herself if she tried. I know it seems overwhelming now, but it will be obvious to you soon. In fact, I've seen similar behaviors in friends' children, and even persuaded one of them to take her son gluten-free because of it (with wonderful results!).

In my DD (almost seven), sometimes the only sign of a glutening is when hyperactive behaviors start, and she can be MEAN, too. But at the same time, it's almost as if she doesn't want to behave the way she's behaving -- she just can't seem to help herself. When I sense that type of behavior, I instinctively look for the dark allergy circles under her eyes -- and she almost always has them (had them tonight, in fact, and just would not settle down).

I've felt the same guilt you feel about disciplining her when it's the gluten behind the behavior. But my feeling is, my daughter does need to learn to control herself -- even when she's been glutened. I'm a rhymes-with-witch when I've been glutened, but I need to control that, too -- and DD and I have talked about all of this (she can tell when I've been glutened, too).

How old is your DD?

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My 13-year-old daughter has had celiac for almost 4 years, and myself for three. Its a hard road, this food causes behavior health thing, a road that can be hard others to understand as well. First of all, it will become more obvious over time. I could tell the best after about a year after diagnosis. As she has become a teenager, it is harder to tell since the hormones and because she keeps things to herself. Usually, I just sense it, when behavior interferes with everyday functioning, when I can see it in her face -- bags, pupils, and a certain type of hyper-ness/depression that has a different look to it. But I find it hard to tell the reaction in myself, because my reactions are so delayed, and I have problems with many foods. There were years, where I was concerned about this a lot -- knowing the difference -- but it can drive you crazy. Really, in many ways, you need to respond similar to her no matter what the cause, because the world will. Also, because she'll never be free of having accidental gluten reactions, and she will have to learn how to manage, accept, talk about, and deal with the behaviors and emotions no matter what the cause. It's nice to think it is always obvious, and that we can just "wait" until the reaction is over. But we also have to deal with who we are and how it affects others, no matter what. Focus on helping her get the tools to manage the behavior and emotions as much as possible. At the same time, keep doing the best to take care of the health issue (no gluten), and trust that most of the time you will know. Even if the blame is food, there's one person having a reaction, who is angry and talking, and going for a walk, and another who lets that anger take control and become aggressive physically or verbally. Keep it up!

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Oh, also, I bet in a year, your child will no longer be difficult. It was amazing for us, she changed like night and day, it was really amazing...

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I'm not sure this is something easy to explain as much as experience....

Its like describing a piece of music or art work.. words only describe so much and the subtleties are lost ....

From my personal experience and what others tell me is perhaps a starting point...

One way I feel is like i'm in a strange in-body-outa body experience... I don't mean I'm looking down from the ceiling or anything but that I'm very detached and introverted to the point of being 'in another world'...

Things happen around me ... and I'm aware of them but they seem detatched, like watching it on a movie...

Often I say things i don't mean to say.... though they are often what I mean..(this is the adult perspective)...

For instance I once told my boss "I can't see the point trying to explain this technically because you will not understand it" ....

Now... I actually meant that.... and it was true but it is self evidently not the best way to put it and a somewhat career limiting statement..

The problem was I knew this..I just couldn't help it... its like trying to switch channels on the TV when the batteries on the remote are going... or the volume is on full and the damned thing won't turn down...

The thing is I often end up being mean but as a "LEAVE ME ALONE!!!!!!" (yes the caps are deliberate) ... its not that I WANT to be mean... I just don't have the patience .. one thing I really don't want when I feel like this is ATTENTION .... but its catch-22 "Are you OK??" "Is something wrong??"

"No please just leave me alone"

But ... the problem is :

"No please just leave me alone" tends to actually have the inverse effect!!! So don't get me wrong .. I do try... but I get tired of keeping trying and each "No please just leave me alone" just getting more questions wen the last thing I want to do is communicate with ANYONE....

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My parents dragged me to so many shrinks I can't even remember them all. I kept saying the same thing. "Its like I get so mad, Im out of control to myself. I cant stop screaming and yelling. You keep telling me to think before I say something, but I really can't! My brain is going a thousand miles a minute but its so foggy at the same time. The first time Im thinking about what Im saying is as Im hearing it come out of my mouth. It doesnt go, 1. brain form words, 2. brain realize what words I will say 3. mouth say words. It goes more like 1. Brain form words 2. Mouth say words. 3. Brain realize what words are being said." I really just felt out of control. For me, it wasnt about learning how to control what Im screaming, it was about learning that I can't control what Im saying, so I need to go be by myself, and my family needs to understand that when Im screaming "Leave me alone!!" Thats what I really need and we can talk later when I have more self control. Im not excussing my behaivor, Im saying that I know Im having a self control issue so let me be while I regain it.

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In a few months when you can start telling the difference, you should also start teaching her how to deal with gluten-induced behavior problems. When I've been glutened, I know I need to think three times before I say anything. My first reaction is to get mad at people bothering me and there are many times when I just want to yell at coworkers. That's obviously a terrible career move, so I've got this internal timer going that makes me count to five, smile, and be nice about things I don't want to be nice about.

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