The Children of Rage

Perske Pencil Portraits : 1971-1990

Perske Pencil Portraits : 1971-1990

Internet Mental Health
The 52 most common mental disorders including description, diagnosis, treatment and research findings.The 67 most common psychiatric drugs. Online diagnosis. Links to other mental health sites.

NAMI: National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
Facts About Childhood-Onset Bipolar Disorder, Are there other childhood psychiatric conditions that can co-occur with bipolar disorder?What is the difference between ADHD and COBPD? How is COBPD treated? What about the use of antidepressant drugs?

Diagnostic criteria for 312.34 Intermittent Explosive Disorder
*From: American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 1994.

Tourette Syndrome and Rage
Does TS cause "rage attacks?" Current research suggests that these attacks are not present in those patients who "just" have TS, but are more likely to occur in those who have comorbid ADHD and/or OCD. The international consortium of clinicians and investigators contributing to the CATS database is providing us with more information on how common or unlikely it is to find these '"rage attacks" associated with different disorders in clinic populations. So far, there hasn't been even one case of "rage" associated with anyone whose sole diagnosis was TS.

Michael J. Goldberg, M.D., F.A.A.P.
To better understand and find cures for Autism, CFS / CFIDS and other auto immune diseases.

Alasbimn Journal
Research to support inmune dysfunction theory.


"Road rage" linked to low rewards at home
...the women who did not engage in aggressive driving also had high levels of home responsibility, but reported receiving emotional rewards or recognition for their contributions.

Sugar Doesn't Make Kids Wild
The new meta-analysis attempts to overcome the shortcomings of smaller studies by pooling them into a larger group so that less obvious effects may be brought to light.

KidsPeace Parenting Tips
... What every parent needs to know.
24 Ways You Can Prevent Child Abuse
Seven Standards for Effective Parenting
15 Ways You Can Help Your Kids Through Crisis
What Every Preteen Really Wants You to Know... But May Not Always Tell You

Making Peace -- Tips on Managing Conflict
Self, Home, and Family: Protecting Yourself

Helping Your Children Learn to Manage Conflict
Materials for Adults Working with Kids Ages 5-12

Family Conflict Resolution
Home : Society and Culture : Social Science

The Andrew Project
Designed to assist families with disabled children. Enabling them to seek the resources they need to live successfully within the community

Wrightslaw: The Special Ed Advocate
Up-to-date information about effective advocacy for children with disabilities. Plus free online newsletter.

Advocacy Help
Parent Assertiveness and Advocacy

The Problem With Kids Today
I think it started when Madeline Murray O'Hare complained that she didn't want any prayer in our schools, and we said OK....

From People Who Live it

Attention Deficit Disorders
Dedicated to all parents & teachers of children diagnosed with ADHD.
Sign up for the newsletter.

Welcome to Club Celiac
What is Dermatitis Herpetiformis?
Food Allergy Sites.
Fast Food Restaurants.
For kids that suffer from Gluten intolerance. Please come in, the door is always open.

Brian's Story
Red Dye and What it's All About.

Listen Up
Specializing In Information For The Deaf And Hard Of Hearing.

If you think you are beaten,
you are.
If you think you dare not,
you don't.
If you like to win but think you can't,
It's almost certain that you won't.
Life's battles don't always go to
the stronger woman or man,
But sooner or later,
those who win are those
who think they can.
Author Unknown

There are some good links on this page, please let me know if you have others.


Modern Medicine:
(From: Carol H.)
"Doctor, I have an ear ache."
2000 BC - "Here, eat this root."
1000 BC - "That root is heathen, say this prayer."
1850 AD - "That prayer is superstition, drink this potion."
1940 AD - "That potion is snake oil, swallow this pill."
1985 AD - "That pill is ineffective, take this antibiotic."
2000 AD - "That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root!"


You are here because you searched for The Children of Rage, or were sent this page from someone who cares about you very much.
Please forward this on to all your friends and people who will also find it useful, anyone who has a Child of Rage or works with one, or is related to one, or goes to school with one....
This page is written and maintained by a Mom of a "Traumatic Brain Injury" daughter, not a doctor or a teacher, just a real life Mom who understands our reality. If this page helps one person with one suggestion, it is all worth it!

Remember this:

1. You are not alone.
2. It is not your fault.
3. You must deal with the problem, not the child.
4. Keep a journal.

My daughter was nine years old when I adopted her, twelve years ago. She did things just like many of the children of other Moms I have discussed these issues with in groups. I know the 5 hour restraints, the slew of doctors, the pharmacology. We have had good times and bad times, really bad times that only people dealing with these issues on a daily basis will understand! When they foam at the mouth, head bang, and really, honestly want to hurt you, when you spend the night sitting in bed afraid to go to sleep because you may be murdered, you need help. You are left alone, feeling helpless, hurting, abused, blaming yourself, the diet, the Good Lord, anything that will help you make sense of this and rationalize the situation for your own sanity. You feel alone, tired, anxious, helpless and desperate. You don't get help from the professionals you thought would, your friends stop inviting you and your children to their homes, you can't get a babysitter so you can have time alone, you jump every time the phone rings, people roll their eyes when you try to tell them the difference between a rage and a tantrum so you finally give up and retreat to the cycle of your own abuse...

Here are a few things to discuss with your family and friends:

Separating The Child From The Rage
Never Mistake A Rage For A Tantrum
Triggers And Positive Reinforcement At Rage Onset
A Safe Place To Rage
How To Make Your Child Listen To You
Your Journal
The Care And Feeding Of Parents
Video Tapes and Mirrors
The Old Vest
Be Consistent

Why Does My Child Rage?
-Traumatic Brain Injury
-Alphabet Soup
-Outside Stimulus
A. Things you eat and drink.
B. Things you breathe in and/or absorb.
C. Things your body does to you.
D. Things your body reacts to that you don't know you are doing to it.

Separating The Child From The Rage

This child is a human being in trouble, you are helping him. Remove yourself and the way you look at your child so you don't get all wrapped up in hopelessness. You need to be objective, logical, and use your common sense more than anything you learn in a book.

Your child is good. This problem is bad. You are dealing with the problem, it just happens to be in your child's body, which means this is the hardest thing you will ever do in your life.

Lightly hold him and keep giving him hugs and kisses and telling him that he is a good boy and you love him, and that together you will beat this bad mood that has him. Keep telling him you will help him through this. By being on his side and loving him all the time, he will eventually grow to understand that you know the difference between the rage and him. Don't give in to the rage, your getting upset will only fuel him being upset, creating more of a bad situation. If you get angry with him, he will expect that response and even if you try to be supportive at a later time, he knows you will get angry if he pushes hard enough. No matter what... be consistent...even if you are exhausted and every inch of your body hurts and throbs out for relief! You are the adult and no matter what it takes, you must keep your composure.

When he is in a good mood, keep telling him over and over that you love him no matter what, and what a good boy he is. Forget that you feel like a broken record, just do it so much that neither of you notice it anymore. Give him lots of rewards for being such a good boy. Turn everything into a reward. Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool. (My weekly rewards given at my discretion, are not on any time table, and come from the dollar store. Some are just a trip in the car to the local store for a Popsicle!) Give your child a hug and a kiss on the cheek every time he leaves and enters the house. Teach him by example that good touching is given willingly and he does not get touched only when he is in a rage. This sounds so simple but after a few hours of a rage, it is very difficult to look at our children just minutes later and want to really give affection. We are tired and worn out and angry even if we are not showing it, not an easy time to give even more of yourself. We were all probably raised that when someone hurts you, you don't go back to give them another chance. Sorry, but our actions must be adjusted before we can successfully create any behavior modifications in our children. They don't change with an hour a week therapist, they change by learning from us.

List of phrases to use.

Never Mistake A Rage For A Tantrum

Never mistake a rage for a tantrum. Most of the Teachers, Doctors, Therapists and Specialists you are dealing with have a great education, but no first hand day to day experience as full time provider and caregiver to a child of rage. They will give you a lot of great advice for children who are tantruming. There are no set rules for a child in rage. Once your child is old enough to understand the attention he gets during a rage, he may well throw tantrums for the same results. If he knows you get angry with him, this is a learned behavior and he will experiment controlling you to a deeper extent. Try this test, when he is in a rage... if you can distract him with cookies... it's a tantrum. Treat it as such, take away TV privileges for the day, or whatever your family does for cases like this. Never punish a child for a rage. Remember, we are separating the problem from the child. Tell the experts you did distraction tests and if he passed or not. Don't make the child aware of this or he will learn to be a better tantrumer. :)

Triggers And Positive Reinforcement At Rage Onset

Reward him for realizing that a mood is coming on and giving himself a time out. Let him know that he has a choice. Over the years I have tried all kinds of cues when my daughter felt the rage coming on. But it comes fast and once she has it, she does not want to stop it, and forgets all the promises she made about going to her room, or getting on the exercise bike, or coming to me for a hug, or saying the therapists name out loud so I can go to her, or leave her alone... plus a hundred other ideas from the experts I've tried. Now when she feels it coming on in school and she starts the shaking, she leaves her seat in the classroom and goes to her special room to calm down and color! Note: this doesn't work all the time! She might only make it to the hallway before landing on the floor confused and anxiety ridden, knowing that she is losing control and can't do a thing about it. A moment later, there is no turning back. Catching your own rage takes years of practice and won't happen because you beg, deal, order or threaten her. Don't expect your child to rationalize like an adult, she isn't. The child in a rage does not have control of his actions. When not in a rage, they can get angry with themselves over having the rages, thus bringing on another one. Think of the logical, intelligent adult who wakes up some nights with an anxiety attack. This adult didn't want to have an attack, his unconscious mind pulled it out of a hat and the person is not in control. Take this further, if you think your child reacts to memories of his bio father, or pink elephants, or a scene in a movie, you can not tell him not to think about what the supposed memory trigger is. Try this, for the next few minutes DO NOT think about cats. See, you are thinking about cats, or one cat in particular. (OK, forget the cat, we're working here! :) If your specialists keep bringing up bad memories, they are not getting rid of the rage, they are reminding the child to have it. Please, no spam from therapists who think the only way to deal with a problem is to hit it head on. We are talking about children with a problem here, not an adult dealing logically and willingly with past trauma, that must be elsewhere on the web. You can't always see the signs and know when he is about to go into a rage. Some of the warning signs you may catch are; passing gas, shaking, drooling, clenching up of fists, rigidity of arms, legs, neck, zoning out, sudden fast activity, reverting to baby talk and or quick talking, ( subconsciously trying to counter the bad trigger memory) something simple like getting a secondary memory trigger. Your favorite red shirt might remind him of the one someone wore when he was told he was "stupid." You can't possibly know every trigger, and you are certainly not shoving them under his nose on purpose. You don't have ESP. You know your child and the signs that are there before the rage. It's really hard after the rage to calmly sit down and remember every thing the child said, did, saw, etc... just before the rage. Keep a journal of what you can remember and maybe in time one item will keep coming up in the journal and you may actually find your child' s bad memory trigger. Don't count on it though. We are parents looking for revelations, we deserve them and don't often get them.

A Safe Place To Rage

Make his room safe for tantrums and let him wear herself out. The best restraint is so loose that the child wears himself out completly but can't run wild in the house. (Way too much attention got for being bad. hmm...) Most, even in rage will stop before there is actual injury. (head banging, throwing himself about physically, etc...) If he is missing the natural instinct to break his own fall, have the tantrums on a mattress on the floor. Try to protect yourself physically during this time. The experts don't understand that when you look at your own black and blues, your emotions are tense at best even when your child is being a perfect angel. We can't help our sore and hurting muscles and bones, but avoiding bruises, cuts, bites and the like is a good idea. If an expert suggests you put the child outside to run off the rage, get a new expert, he is still talking about temper tantrums with you. A raging child can't run around outside without running blindly into the street or twisting an ankle etc... remember, we are talking about a human being out of control... being outside is dangerous. Once you have your safe place, get the child there when the rage starts. You don't need him equating the den or kitchen or your room with the rage. When the child gets old enough to actually reason with, it is a different story. You may find your 3 year old going to his spot when it starts, now there's a cue for you! Your pre-teen may hate the rage spot and get even madder when you bring him there. This is a wonderful sign for you, he is aware that he does not want to rage and does not want to go there. When the child is old enough to reason well when not in a rage, he will understand that the safety of that place is fine. Whatever you do, do not reinforce the belief that rages can happen everywhere, you will not allow that. It is hard enough to have one room with holes in the walls and torn apart, the family should not have to live in a whole house like that. It will just remind you all of the rages all the time. Rage free zones are not triggers. Also, don't acknowledge anything you don't want repeated, like wallpaper peeling, and urinating in the closet. You bring it up and punish him, he'll just keep doing it. He is fighting back against the rage when he is not in one, the only way he knows how. He wants to shock you and test you. If he fells bad about it later or not, that doesn't matter.. you punish him and he is learning from your actions. The bigger deal you make over a bad behavior only reinforces the behavior. This is one way an expert can do a lot of damage in an hour. Think of the anti-smoking campaigns, who is the childless idiot who thought of that, to keep telling kids not to do something? Of course they want to try it now! Every parent knows the fastest way to get a kid to do something is to tell him not to!

How To Make Your Child Listen To You

Children don't hear what you tell them! Every parent has that, "I feel like I'm talking to a stone wall" problem. You are not alone. There is only one way to make your child listen to you. Tell him, "I can't wait to tell Nana how good you are today!" He will hear this because it involves him and someone other than you. Think of this as the old line, "Wait 'til your father gets home." It works on the same principle of bringing in a third party and grabbing the child's attention. Now you have to follow through on your promise and actually make the phone call. Be sure to let them overhear (only) good stuff. Actually talk or pretend you are talking to someone on the phone in the other room and tell them what a good boy you have and how he did this or that today.

In dealing with a positive reinforcement technique of parenting, never make threats or shame him in front of others. Only let him hear the good stuff. Keep the nasty comments to yourself until you are out of the house and away from him! If he is school age, you can use your own phone when alone. Don't try to fool yourself for one moment... if he is in the house, he can hear you! He is not sleeping because you think he is, he may be zombie-fied in front of the TV but he still has ears, they can cross the yard and be under that open window while you are still talking and reaching for the juice. Every time you say a bad word about the child, you are making your problem worse. Comments you make without thinking now will be misinterpreted in his mind and stick like one of those round sticky plant things on his brain. We all know people who were raised being asked if they were stupid. WORDS HURT! Please be careful, we want our children to listen to us but we don't want them to take our pain to their heart. I have a set house rule for all of my daughter's specialists... only call me between 7:30 and 3:00 during school days. If they have to call and she is anywhere on the property, I talk gibberish until they finally catch on and ask, "Oh, you can't talk?" I'll answer yes and no questions only and mix them up with the latest news on my garden. This may all seem extreme but do you want to raise a child who sneaks down stairs and picks up extensions because they feel that is the only way to hear the truth about themselves... which is always bad? Remember that old rule, "Never say anything about someone if you can't say something nice?" Well, use that in your own home too. You wouldn't tell your best friend that she is driving you crazy ten times a day.

Your Journal

If you are new to this situation, be sure to keep entries in your journal of any bruises or damage the child does to himself and others, when the rages happen etc... There is a very strong possibility that some well intentioned adult, teacher, clergy, nurse, or someone could turn you into the state authorities for child abuse. They don't know the background on the child and there is no reason why you should tell every person in the world your problems, it biases outsiders against the child even if they only see the little angel side. Then they will treat him differently like they are expecting a problem. Your child will learn to not disappoint them! Having the written records and giving a photocopy to your medical doctor can be a wonderful thing if the police are suddenly standing at your door. You could be restraining your child outside to keep him from running into the street and the passing motorist feels it is his duty to report you without having any facts about the situation at all. A member of your own family could decide that it is in your best interest to lose the child to the state because you are tired and complaining. These scenarios may seem silly to you, but they really do happen. Reading this web page at home or joining support groups locally and on the web are one thing, being really honest with your therapist could lead to something being written in your file that was never ment to be shared with outsiders. A good therapist knows how you feel, don't voice it. If he or she tells you how you feel and suggests that you get some time for yourself, this is one expert worth keeping! Well, if you didn't feel alone enough before, sorry to make you feel worse!

The Care And Feeding Of Parents

I would like to mention something that you don't have time for and don't care about anymore... you! If you are a single Mom, or Dad, or Foster Parent, or Adoptive Parent... get out of the house! You can't take the two by four out of your child's eye if there is a splinter in yours. Please don't write and tell me you have no one to watch the kids for a few hours or an overnight. I have talked to so many Moms who have resigned themselves to that and won't listen to anyone trying to help them. Guess what, you are a wonderful person or you wouldn't be here right now! You are not just your title, you are a real live human being doing the best you can. You deserve more than abuse and walking on egg shells in your own home. I know, you have forgotten how to be "normal" like everyone else in the world. Get over it. You are more normal than you know! If you have no support, go find it. Look for a support group for parents of special kids. Go to the local church and ask the clergy person if he or she knows of any other mothers of special kids, or even a retired couple who may have had these experiences. Find someone and cut a deal. Be careful to get to know the other person first. Ask for advice and see if they are on the same wavelength as you are, or are open to follow your rules with your children. (Always remember the consistency aspect!) The old "I'll watch yours one day, you watch mine the next" works for me. This can give you 1/2 a weekend to leave the house. Please do just that, don't stay home catching up on the laundry, really do go out. You can walk a mall, or have a picnic, or do one of a hundred things without breaking the bank. If you have the means and a significant other, go to a hotel and sit in the hot tub. Don't feel guilty. Yeah, I know you will, if you admit it or not, but shake it off and enjoy yourself!

Video Tapes and Mirrors

Video tape his rage. When in a good mood, force him to watch the tape with you while you hug and kiss him and give him positive strokes. This went a long, long way in separating my good girl from the girl on the screen. What started as me restraining her to watch the screen ended with her telling me that she didn't like that kid very much and she was so glad that I loved her. Afterwards she would shut down when she saw the video camera coming out of the bag. Of course I got the threats and all, but I assured her calmly that it is coming out if she doesn't sit quietly and behave. It won't stop the rage, but it will help a lot. You have to be alert enough to see the warning signs and take action before the rage takes over so you can still get through to them. (Sounds easier than it is.) Be warned that many rages will look like tantrums on the video tape, to the expert who is not ready to admit your child has a problem. If you want to show this tape to an expert, be sure to also show yourself trying to distract the child, with no results. Leave the whole hour or five hours of film intact so he will see that this is no tantrum over another child taking his favorite toy away. You will also have the extra added bonus of seeing yourself during this time of stress, the wonderful, or the horrible truth.

Put big mirrors in his room, now that he has seen the boy on the tv screen, he won't like it when he sees himself in the mirror with the same looks. Be advised that you should buy cheap, replaceable mirrors. When you are in his room, pause, look at yourself in the mirror and give yourself the biggest smile in the world. Kids learn by seeing. I guarantee that when you are out of the room he will do the same thing and smile into the mirror. Work on his self image. Most Children of Rage don't have any.

The Old Vest

If your child of rage is really young, don't depend on logic and promises. Most experts want you to get him to admit the rage at the onset and most children of rage simply don't have the ability to show good judgement in their actions, or use concept thinking. Try this, tie a mans tie with a low loose knot, or use an old vest, or soft scarf. Hang it over the door handle. Tell him the minute he feels the mood coming on, ( remember, he isn't bad, the mood is.) to put it over his head and you will know that he needs lots of hugs and kisses. He will abuse this for awhile to get the hugs. You have to be consistent, he will try to slip you up when you are tired or stressed. Your child is being given the chance to exert some control in his life. (Think about an adult who feels out of control of his life... imagine how much harder it is on a child. They don't have the reasoning ability we do. Think of a man standing in the middle of his destroyed home after a hurricane. He is working and concentrating so hard on fixing a broken BBQ grill, as if it will solve everything. Action and a sense of control, no matter how feeble, will keep him from going over the deep end.) OK, once he knows he can have the hugs anytime, instead of only when in a rage, he will no longer equate misbehaving with attention. Many of us have trouble showing affection, like we discussed, this gives your child the ability to let you know what he needs. He knows.

Be Consistent

FIND THE METHOD THAT WORKS WITH YOUR GOOD CHILD AND STICK WITH IT! It might be something on this list or not... but BE CONSISTENT! Written in stone house rules will work, but you have to get through the lengthy testing period. If you give in, you start over and over again. No good! If it's the video camera, the vest, or whatever... STICK WITH IT! Your child is going to grow up trying to live up to what the people around him expect of him. Do you want him to try to live up to being a good boy, or someone who is always getting into trouble because that is what he is. The problem is not the child, they are two different things. Be Consistent. Be Consistent. Be Consistent. Be Consistent. Be Consistent. Be Consistent. Be Consistent. Be Consistent. Be Consistent. Be Consistent. Be Consistent. Be Consistent. Be Consistent.

Memo from a youth: Things they want you to know.

Sexual Development.

Why Does My Child Rage?

Every child and set of circumstances are different, there are no two cases alike. This makes the cause of Rage almost impossible to diagnose. Here are a few possibilities:

1. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Previously called "Traumatic Head Injury", a term still in use by many experts and school systems.
The Federal designation is "Organic Mental Illness and Mental Retardation" (20 C.F.R. 416.924)
You would think this would be a simple diagnosis but consider the following:

A) Your child is adopted or foster, he was thrown out of a window by a bio parent. You have all the paperwork and ex-rays, there is no doubt that this child has a problem. Don't relax yet… this child has a history of abuse and mental illness symptoms that overlap into so many possibilities that when you try to get two or three labels to work with, you end up with ten. "Reactive Attachment Disorder" is the poster child for rages, perhaps this is on your sheet. Fine, now you have something to call by name and deal with. Chances are, your expert has never dealt with RAD or TBI and thinks you are a kook, know-nothing distraught Mom, who can't handle her kid. Ouch! That hurts!!!!!!!! (More about this later.)

B) Your child is bio and there is no way he has suffered any brain injury. Sorry, nothing is so black and white on this page! Don't get nervous now, but remember the time he fell down the stairs when he was two? Remember how he cried and later seemed fine? You must remember that tumble at the age of 3 off of the back deck. Kids are so resilient, don't they bounce well? How about that time Betsy's daughter picked up your new born and shook her like a doll, talking baby talk and oohing and awing all over her. Wasn't that cute? Oh, and don't forget the whack on the corner of the coffee table? He did it 3 or 4 times before you duct taped the towel around the corner! Little kids can't stop what they are doing and say, "Excuse me, Mother, I appear to have a funny feeling right here, which wasn't present this morning before my unfortunate little incident." In all actuality, children just take and react to how they feel. They don't know if something is "wrong" or not. Don't we all know the child in the back of the schoolroom squinting to see the board? He doesn't know he needs glasses, he thinks everyone squints. I didn't know everyone did not have the ring in their ears that I had, until I found out in my teens by accident during a doctors appointment. We have all had multiple falls and whacks and brain traumas, it's just part of growing up as a healthy and active human being. Some of us got the wrong pressure, in the wrong place, at the wrong time in our development. Our parents did nothing wrong, you have done nothing wrong. I doubt any one of us has every scalpel plate exactly where it is supposed to be! With as little as we know about the human brain, don't discount this possibility. Also, don't get all upset over it, remember to keep dealing with your child's problem, not the child. If you are afraid to tell anyone that someone you know hit him hard enough in the head to send him into a wall… at least deal with the fact that something may be out of place.

2. Alphabet Soup

Here is where you get into the ADD, ADHD…XYZ and on down the line. Check the link over on the left up by the top for lists of symptoms on various mental illnesses. This is the be honest section of our program. Not every child that has every diagnosis has every symptom to go with the label. If rage isn't part of the symptom list, skip it and go to the next one. Start with what you know for a fact about your child. Keep in mind the terrible two's, the teen angst, the know-it-all stage, the poor me stage, and all the normal growing up grief… they are not symptoms. Also, don't put your own personality onto your child's list. Just because you get angry every time widgets show up, doesn't mean that your child does, he could be reacting to your mood. Keep your child's age in mind, is he wiser than his years, or dumber than dirt? No matter how smart your ten year old is, he is still only 10 years old. Try to logically and systematically, on paper, decide if his bio age and mental age are even closely related. Remove your expectations from the list. Remember your Mom telling you, "You were never like that as a child!" Well, this is your child, not hers. Don't fall into the trap of mistaking apples and oranges comparisons as symptoms. Maybe at 10 you read books daily and your 10 year old thinks reading is tantamount to child abuse. Could there be a physical or mental reason why he is not comfortable reading a book, maybe even something he is not aware of? Or is this child just not interested due to his personality? Don't write down that he has no concentration to read if he can study a carburetor in a car and manual for hours. We all concentrate better on something we are interested in than something we are not. Compare your child to his generation, not ours. They are audio/visual hurry up brain reacting creatures who don't sit on the porch and play cards for hours. We (for the most part) didn't learn to be stressed out and anxious until we got to dating age, these kids learned from birth. Are any of your child's symptoms learned behaviors from a sibling? They learn from everyone around them, not just their parents. If older brother runs everywhere, younger brother will too. Being really objective is harder than it sounds… isn't it?! Your experts are thinking all these things, but not saying them out loud, they don't want you to get all defensive on them.
Once your list is done and you have what you, the person who knows him best, think is an accurate list of symptoms… go back over the list one item at a time thinking of one blood relative at a time. Put Aunt Lisa's name next to the traits that she shares with your child, and down the line. Don't forget to include your own traits and be honest!!! Is that tendency to screech when upset something that he learned from you since birth? (This is your list, I promise not to peek!)
When you are done and have the list of possible alphabet soup that matches your child, read everything you can get your hands on regarding that mental illness. No expert will take you seriously if you don't know your stuff, can't quote, and talk calmly and intelligently on the subject. You are not prepping for a psychology degree, but you do need to become an expert on anything relating to your child. Now you are prepared to start being a strong advocate for your child, instead of someone seen as an hysterical parent who cannot handle the job.

3. Outside Stimulus

Let's say that your child fits none of the TBI or Alphabet Soup descriptions. Your child is perfect in every way except for the rages. Does that mean there are no rages? According to some experts it does. We as parents know different. Something is making your child rage and if you fall into this section, you are in for the fight of your life. Very few experts will acknowledge any of the following and you will have to experiment and test and keep very strict journals!

A) Things you eat and drink.
B) Things you breathe in and/or absorb.
C) Things your body does to you.
D) Things your body reacts to that you don't know you are doing to it.

If nothing else, your child will love the extra attention he gets, you will be calmer because you have a purpose and a goal to work towards, and you will be able to eliminate things as you go along. You will learn more about the brain, body, chemicals, pollution and the environment than you ever thought possible. Please remember that you are not alone! You are about to start a process which will take months and almost everyone you know will think you are a loony bird seeing monsters behind every closet door. Experts will tell you it is "normal" for a child to have temper tantrums. If you know for a fact that it is a rage, get an expert who deals with this, not just someone with a diploma. (More about this later.)

A. Things you eat and drink

1) Chocolate

2) Caffeine

3) Food Dye

B. Things you breathe in and/or absorb

1) Lead Poisoning

Lead Poisoning and Your Children. Now, there are five words you don't want to hear in the same sentence! Don't think that because you live outside of the city, or in a new home, you don't have to worry about this. "The long term effects of lead in a child can be severe. They include learning disabilities, decreased growth, hyperactivity, impaired hearing, and even brain damage." There is lead everywhere, even in your zip code. Why is lead so toxic? "The body mistakes lead for calcium when ingested. The lead then attaches to and disrupts enzymes essential to the functioning of the brain and other cells. The body never decomposes the lead into another, more easily tolerated substance, because lead is an element."
SYMPTOMS OF LEAD POISONING: Headaches - Irritability - Abdominal Pain - Vomiting - Anemia - Weight Loss - Poor Attention Span - Noticeable Learning Difficulty - Slowed Speech Development - Hyperactivity. EFFECTS OF LEAD POISONING: Reading and Learning Disabilities - Speech and Language Handicaps - Lowered I.Q. - Neurological Deficits - Behavior Problems - Mental Retardation - Kidney Disease - Heart Disease - Stroke - Death. Long term exposure to small amounts of lead may cause brain damage in children who do not show any symptoms.

2) Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome

There is work being done at the government level to change this name because many feel that the name trivializes the degree of impairment. Since this made the news in the 1980's, children are being diagnosed into whatever category their main symptoms seemed to fall under, even if they didn't really fit, or they are given several different diagnoses to try to cover the range of symptoms. In the June publication from Chemical Injury Information Network… Pesticides and Aggression " Children with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) have abnormal thyroid levels. Furthermore, irritability and aggressive behavior are linked to thyroid hormone levels."" The human body can defend itself against poisons to some degree, but Dr. Porter and his colleagues describe ways in which low-level mixtures of pesticides and fertilizer might get past the body's defenses:
The body is prepared to protect itself against poisons taken by mouth. The liver begins to produce enzymes that try to break down fat-soluble chemicals. However, if a poison enters through the lungs or the skin, the body does not offer the same kind of defenses. Furthermore, the body's ability to put up defenses may be compromised by taking certain medications (e.g., antibiotics), or by receiving "pulses" of toxins rather than a steady dose. "
"If you've got a pregnant mom, for example, in day 20 when the fetus's neural tube is closing and she gets an exposure, she hasn't had enough time to induce her defenses. Her thyroid level goes up or goes down, the hormone crosses the placenta and can permanently alter the developmental pattern of the fetus's brain. And then the pulse dose is gone, you have no detection, mom doesn't even know she's pregnant, and you may have an offspring that is neurologically compromised and wonder, 'How did this happen?'"
Do you live near a superfund site? How good is your air, ground and water? Check the EPA zip code link on the left, higher up on this page. You may be amazed at what is going on in your area, or where you used to live, or where Nana lives, or where your day care or school is located.
If your child has Neuro-Immune Dysfunction, like Cheryl's son has, parts of his immune system are underactive and parts are overactive. This causes the bloodflow in his brain to shut down in different areas. It effects his moods, cognition, behavior, etc… They are finding many abnormalities in the immune system and evidence of background viral activation. On a Neuro Spect scan, you can see the bloodflow in the temporal lobes. The right side is social skills and the left is auditory processing and language.

And... Smelly Stuff

Many Moms have seen marked decreases in their children's rages by eliminating certain smelly stuff in the home and at school. Try getting rid of perfume, magic markers, Sharpie pens, air fresheners, your husbands socks, (only kidding) cleaning fluids, glues, solvents, and anything else that makes your nose wrinkle on first contact. These chemicals may be triggering a response in the section of your child's brain that is not able to process two things at once. If he is doing great, you may want to re-introduce each item one at a time, a few days apart and see where the culprit lies. If he rages after each exposure to item xyz, tell your Doctor. Don't expect him to believe you, he won't. Just keep this item away from your child and try exposure again in a year or two. If your child was fine all week and just raged, ask if anyone in the neighborhood had an exterminator in, or see if any chemicals were used around the home that were not there a few days ago. Use natural products to reduce stress on your child's immune system. You can ask your Doctor to check for any viral activity if you think this may be your problem. You may want to look for an Environmental Allergist if your home tests are coming up really positive, he will be better able to deal with the situation since he does it all the time.

3) Building Materials

A Study Finds Toxic Air In Portable Classrooms, Carcinogen exposure may affect 2 million kids. ``We know that growing children often show a greater sensitivity to harmful chemicals than adults,'' he said.
Portable classrooms are made of plastics and other synthetic materials that ``outgas'' toxic compounds. The report follows an announcement by a Santa Clarita toxicologist who found high quantities of arsenic, benzene and phenol -- all associated with modern building materials -- in the blood and urine of students who attended school in portable classrooms in Saugus, in Los Angeles County.
``Air from some of the Saugus classrooms had formaldehyde levels of 13 parts per billion,'' said Walker. ``The cancer threshold risk for outdoor air established by the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment is less than one part per billion.''
Just because a structure is new does not mean it is safe. Many people get ill from the air in a newly carpeted room. Perhaps something your child is exposed to is setting off his rages, maybe he does belong in the above section, "Alphabet Soup" and some of these other factors are making him worse.

C. Things your body does to you
(This is all assuming that your child has regular physicals and blood tests and nothing has turned up positive.)

1) Ear Aches

That ear ache your child had before the rage… could pain be triggering his reaction in the only way his brain knows how? Ear problems are so common in children, could something be going on that you are both not aware of? Apply this to eye strain and sinus problems as well, same idea… a problem that the child is not aware of, triggering the rage.

2) Tooth Aches

If your child is young, check every tooth, wiggle gently and tap to see if he gets a reaction resembling ear ache pain. Did his hand go up to his ear instead of his mouth? Have your older child do this himself, or his dentist or orthodontist check him over. Every nerve in your body is attached to your brain. If your brain can't handle the impulses, is suddenly hit with two items trying to take up the same space at the same time… you have conflict. Rage is a lack of ability to deal with this conflict.
Does the child's jaw pop when he opens it to far? Have you ruled out TMJ which also sends messages to the brain? What about braces? Did the rages get worse after they were put on? Take the time to closely examine all the parts of your child's head, including the scalp.

3) Head Aches

If your child is old enough to tell you when he has a headache, be very specific writing exactly where it is and how it feels in your journal. You may find that he has a certain type of headache all the time, or two types. You may be able to record enough steady information that the doctor can tell you what is causing it. I believe that head aches and rages are related more than modern medicine has looked into. The young child does not know that he is having a headache, he is just reacting. If he is old enough to tell you that a headache is coming on, lay him on the couch with you and put an ice bag on the back of his neck. Give him kisses on the head to make it all better. Make this real quality time and after about 15 minutes, be sure he gets up very slowly. Distract him with quiet conversations, other than the headache he just had. The blood going from your neck up into your head sometimes gets to quick and fast, that is the pounding you feel. The ice shrinks the vessels and blood flow back down to normal size and the pounding stops. If it is a sinus headache - above, behind and below the eyes, or an MSG headache with the hit in the face with a frying pan feeling… alternate the ice bag between the back of the neck and the front of the face.

4) Spine Injury

This suggestion follows the same line of thinking as the three above. When the spine is injured, something is knocked out of whack or there is some swelling. There could be pressure on a nerve that is radiating out to some other part of the body. Our body has such a huge nervous system sending messages all over the place at the same time... just one little spine problem that you can't see, could send a child into a rage. Your child has a short circuit somewhere in his brain for whatever reason, and it will react to this new nerve impulse. When you stub your toe it hurts, right? Tell me where it hurts. Think harder. In a hurry you bump into the coffee table and keep running only to find the bruise later and have no idea where it came from. Your brain knew about the injury but it was to busy dealing with the other important matter of the moment. The child who skins his knee outside, walks into the house, waits to find you and then starts crying. Is he using your pity? No! His mind registered to find Mom first, he needed her. When that job was done, he was available to feel the pain and reacted to it. Why does "kissing something and making it all better" work? You are interrupting the pain signal to the brain with another signal for it to deal with. You are also giving the child positive strokes on a conscious level. You are double teaming his nervous system and conscious mind, giving his total brain something else to gnaw on for a moment. Sometimes just breaking the pain signal will be enough to send the brain running in another direction that it is needed more in. Spend some quality time with your child and give him a nice backrub. Feel anything out of alignment? Does he feel pain and squirm when you touch certain places? Did he fall down some stairs as a baby and had a bruise on his back but it went away? You get the picture… ask around for references for a good Chiropractor in your area. He will give your child a good exam, take exrays and you will know for sure if there is a problem. Some "Regular Doctors" still don't believe in Chiropractors, don't fall into that trap. Think of it as religion, we have lots of different ones, and some of them think they have the only true one. If "Children of Rage" was a clear cut problem like a hangnail, we would all have the same solution. We do not.

5) Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Yeah, I know, your 12 year old daughter who just started having rages, or they got worse last year couldn't possibly have "PMS." She's your little baby, not a woman. Women who think they have PMS are just using that as an excuse to be really nasty when they want to be. Quick… what's your favorite PMS joke?! Have we got all that out of our system now? Great! Premenstrual Syndrome, sometimes referred to as Late Luteal Phase Dysphoric Disorder, have symptoms including: Nervousness and irritability - Emotional instability - Headaches - Bloating, constipation, diarrhea or other digestive disturbances. Watch for " feeling suddenly sad, tearful, irritable, or angry persistent and marked anger or irritability marked anxiety, tension, feelings of being "keyed up," or "on edge" decreased interest in usual activities, e.g., work, friends, hobbies easy fatigability or marked lack of energy subjective sense of difficulty in concentrating marked change in appetite, overeating, or specific food cravings hypersomnia or insomnia other physical symptoms, such as breast tenderness or swelling, headaches, joint or muscle pain, a sensation of "bloating", weight gain." Perhaps your daughter is dealing with this new found physical problem as well as something that was setting off rages before this. Keep a calendar and mark her menstrual cycle as well as her rages. This may be the straw that broke the camel's back, so to say.

6) Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) "is not the same as Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) because it causes a considerable interference with usual work, school, social, and relationship activities. PMS is characterized by short term mood changes, in contrast, PMDD is generally more severe and has different symptoms." Because of the symptoms, this is often diagnosed incorrectly as clinical depression. You will need to keep a very detailed calendar on your daughter. If every 28 days on T-10 (T minus 10 days before the start of her period) she is in the Principals office getting detention… well, you do the math. She can hold it together for 18 days a month but not the other 10 or so? If your calendar is on the mark for six months, go and see your psychiatrist and gynecologist with copies of your report. If either thinks you are crazy, get a second opinion. Your daughter may still rage at other times of the month, this could be only one problem she is having. A study in January of 1998 from The New England Journal of Medicine states that there "demonstrates clearly a relationship between biology and behavior." If only 3 % of the women have this problem, and a certain percent of that have other problems added to the mix… this just isn't something every Doctor sees every day like the common cold. How many grown women have committed suicide, thrown their children out of windows, or killed someone because of this problem? How many pre-teen girls are caught in this trap with no hope of recovery unless identified and helped? Remember, this is biological!

7) Interictal Dysphoric Disorder

According to Crime Times: Research Reviews and Information on Biological Causes of Criminal, Violent, and Psychopathic Behavior… " The researchers note that the symptoms of severe PMS are identical to the symptoms of a well-known epileptic phenomenon known as "Interictal Dysphoric Disorder." Symptoms of both disorders include extreme mood swings, anxiety, a lack of energy, insomnia or hypersomnia, and pain, appearing in an intermittent pattern, together with "a heightened irritability that ranges from increased temper to explosive rage." Unless your experts have ESP, I doubt they would consider this for a diagnosis, they might not even be aware of it.

8) Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (G.E.R.D.)

What causes Acid Reflux Disease Symptoms? "The esophagus is the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. In the lower part of the esophagus, about where it connects with the stomach, is a muscular ring called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This normally acts as a valve, preventing stomach acid from passing back into the esophagus." What Other Factors Contribute to GERD? According to The National Institute of Health, "Certain foods and beverages, including chocolate, peppermint, fried or fatty foods, coffee, or alcoholic beverages, may weaken the LES causing reflux and heartburn." Does your child in rage have horrible breath, gas, and stomach pain? My friend Lisa's daughter did and her gastroenterologist assured her that the child is neither "crazy" nor a "behavior problem." Since this can feel like an anxiety attack, could your child be waking up with this, not understand, and start to rage? It is more of a problem when laying down, so this is a possibility worth considering if you see other symptoms during the daytime. Night rages must be caused by something physical since the child is asleep and has no conscious stimulus. (The pari-menopausal woman who wakes in a night sweat is having a physical reaction in her body. It is biological, not psychological. )

D. Things your body reacts to that you don't know you are doing to it

1) Hypoglycemia

Does your child eat around the clock? Does he have up and down moods like a roller coaster? Can you set your clock by the times he comes in and grabs a snack? The human body knows when it needs food. This is so obvious with children, especially when, "He is always bad before suppertime" or "No matter how much he eats at lunch, he is telling me he is starving an hour later." Now fill in your own comments, any of this sound familiar? Yes, some of it is just growing up, some of it is just replacing needed building blocks for the growing body. Hypoglycemia is a different ballgame. Remember all the hoopla about it in the 1970's? Well, just because it isn't the media's topic of the month doesn't mean it went away and no one has been infected since then. If your child's brain is screaming out for something, those signals could be crossing, crashing, overlapping and causing a rage. "Hypoglycemia is a condition of abnormally low blood sugar (glucose). Insulin shock is a term for extensive hypoglycemia that results in unconsciousness.
Hypoglycemia can occur as an idiopathic (without known cause) condition. In this case, people who are not diabetic and who do not have other known causes of hypoglycemia experience symptoms of the disorder. Hypoglycemia can occur because of an insulin-secreting tumor of the pancreas, liver disease, or as a response to the ingestion of alcohol. Hypoglycemia occurs in adults, infants, and children. The incidence is approximately 1 out of 1000 people.
Symptoms: fatigue - general discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling (malaise) - nervousness -irritability - trembling - headache - hunger - cold sweats - rapid heart rate - blurry or double vision - confusion - convulsions - coma." Where this may not cause rage in itself, mixed with something else, you could have the answer to your rage trigger.

Skills To Teach Your Children

Coming soon:

A list of physical triggers observed in children of rage, with no head trauma diagnosis, by their own Moms... including chocolate, dyes, food items, cleaning fluids and more.

Diagnosis and labels.

The difference between disorders.

How to, and not to, deal with the school system.

When to look for a new therapist, when you have the right one .

The slew of experts you do and do not want in your life.

The law and how it pertains to your child's rights.

Please bookmark this page and check back!

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