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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10643
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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I have a 6 yr old son. My question is should he see someone.

Customer Question

I have a 6 yr old son. My question is should he see someone. I will start from the beginning. He used to hit himself in the face, but that has stopped. He hits my stepson who is also 6.He sprayed pestiside in my stepsons eyes and said he dont know why he did it.(ive also caught him hitting other kids.( we have been married and living together over 5 years). I have asked if he disliked my wife and step son, and he says he loves them. so i am confused. He is sneaky and i catch him whispering mean things to people. But when he comes talks to me he acts like the sweet boy i know he can be. He has also started making things up. saying that my wifes is floating towards him with knives, saying she steals his toys and breaks them. He is getting in trouble at school as well, he will not do work there and has been in trouble mutilple times.He goes to his grandparents on the weekends and he was having issues listening there as well, but they said he is acting better now. also he was having a problem constantly have feces in his pants untill just recently and would also hide soiled underwear in his room. I ask him things and he always says i dont know or he doesnt remember. Its almost like he cant think on his own If he hears someone else say something he will stick with that answer. Now his father has passed away three years ago, but wasn't his life. I took him to his GP and they said he had an adjustment disorder. BUt again that was 3 years ago. He was having issues before his father died where he didnt talk he would just stare at people although he would speak to me. It seems he has hit all milestones on time. This is causing alot of tension in the family and im just not sure if a counselor is the right thing to do or if he just has an attitude problem and is "normal" because he is only 6 years old?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

*This website DOES NOT constitute treatment and only provides information and advice in a Q&A format. For treatment (therapy and/or medications) you must go to a licensed professional in your area. Please note that anything said here is not private or confidential, as this is a public forum.

Hello and thank you for using JustAnswer. I am very sorry that your son is behaving in this way, I can understand how distressing this can be and why you want him to get the help he needs. Your son definitely does not have an Adjustment Disorder as those typically only last for 6 months at most. What your son is displaying appears to be a Conduct Disorder which is purposeful behavior of violence, deceit, and overall not following the rules consistently. This is definitely not normal 6 year old behavior and I would highly recommend that he be seen by both a psychologist for therapy and possibly a psychiatrist as well. The psychiatrist would not be because I think your son needs medication immediately, but because some of what you described sounds like there could be an ADHD element here and an individual with ADHD tends to have a higher propensity for Conduct Disorders. So a psychiatrist would at least be able to rule out ADHD and then you can just focus on the Conduct Disorder. Here is a good link of a Conduct Disorder if you would like more information on the subject.

http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/mental-health-conduct-disorder

The other possibility could be Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) which can also be linked to ADHD (50 percent of children with ODD have a co-occurring ADHD disorder) as well where the child displays behavior of frequent defiance, temper tantrums, anger, and vindictiveness mostly towards authority figures, but can be present towards peers as well. I am leaning towards Conduct Disorder though because it sounds like your son being more purposeful and manipulative with his behavior than one would see in ODD as ODD is more of a serious over-reaction to negative stimuli. Either way though the treatment is near identical for both ODD and a Conduct Disorder so the diagnosis may not matter in the end.

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

I hope this answers your question and gives you some guidance on this issue. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns as I am happy to assist and support you regarding this issue.

*Please do not forget to leave a positive rating at the top of the page so that I can get credit for helping you. Thank you, ***** ***** appreciate it.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My wife doesn't want therapy and doesn't think he needs it. Or suggested we go to get a handle on things and be a team on how to handle the situation. Any other suggestions.
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

Unfortunately no matter which type of mental health disorder your son has, he requires intense therapy as his behavior is definitely problematic and will only worsen. Changing your parenting structure will most likely not be enough for him, so I would urge you to reconsider therapy. If your son had a heart issue you would not question taking him to a cardiologist, well this is a behavioral issue and I would strongly urge you to take him to see a mental health professional for treatment.

Now if you truly want to go about this alone than what you can try to do with him is a form of narrative therapy and role-playing. Here you will read to him stories and books with moral ending and messages and then you want to relay these moral messages to him and his daily life so that it applies to him. In addition, try to role-play where you and him play the aggressor and the victim so that he can learn empathy more and start to realize the impact of his behavior. Here are a few narrative therapy books I often use as examples:

"Stand in My Shoes: Kids Learning About Empathy" by Somson

"What If Everybody Did That?" by Javernick

"My Mouth Is a Volcano! " by Cook

"I Just Don't Like the Sound of No! My Story About Accepting No for an Answer and Disagreeing the Right Way!" by Cook

"I Just Want to Do It My Way!: My Story About Staying on Task and Asking for Help " by Cook

"Cool Down and Work Through Anger" by Meiners

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Could chronic ear infections cause this behavior? That's all I wanted to ask and then I go rate
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

No chronic ear infections will have no impact on this behavior; it is completely independent of the problematic behavior your son displays

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

I hope this answers your question and gives you some guidance on this issue. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns as I am happy to assist and support you regarding this issue.

*Please do not forget to leave a positive rating at the top of the page so that I can get credit for helping you. Thank you, ***** ***** appreciate it.