I'm a mom. I have an almost 5-yr old little boy and a 2 1/2 yr old little girl. Both are precious, of course. Smart, funny, beautiful. They are both very creative, can entertain themselves, are great sleepers, and picky eaters (ok so are 90% of kids!), and watch very little TV.
Jack has always had issues with his temper. He would have a COMPLETE melt down if he missed running to the mailbox to greet the mailman (I'm talking HORRIBLE screaming and crying...and of course the mailman always came right at nap time!) If he didn't get to play with his little buddy next door, again- MAJOR melt down.
These outrageous reactions would happen everywhere - at the beach, at grandpa's house, on play dates, and at school. School was the biggest problem. He's been going 2-5 half days a week since he was 18 months old, and has been thru 4 different schools. At every school, he ended up spending many days in the office because he couldn't control himself.
Our County stepped in to observe him in class, suggest "behavior modification techniques" (ooh- stickers! now I'll behave!) and try to "help" by placing him in a special school. Long story short - the county didn't accomplish anything. Stickers, charts, etc. didn't help Jack correct his behavior. It was almost like it was BEYOND his control. He couldn't stop himself from having these breakdowns. He tested normally in everything - language, intelligence, etc. This problem was un-defined by their tests.
Finally, I really started to look at what else could be causing these issues. He obviously wasn't growing out of it, and he was about to get kicked out of his 4th school. We had just experienced an exceptionally difficult weekend with Jack - he cried and wailed for almost 48 hours straight - he COULD NOT stop. He was physically unable to stop himself from crying. I made a connection - on Friday, he had 2 icees at a school festival - basically ice with a bunch of colored syrup. I did a little research on-line and discovered that Food Coloring effects a lot of kids this same way - major behavior problems.
Two weeks after the icee incident, he had birthday cake at a party - frosting was SO colored even his BM was bright green for 2 days. And - again - he had horrible behavior for 2 days. So, I made a decission. ELIMINATE as much artificial food coloring as possible from his diet. I replaced his Flintstone's chewable vitamins with Yummi bears (no artificial coloring), threw out the bright blue Spiderman toothpaste and bought some Tom's of Maine, started buying different toaster sticks and pancakes for his breakfast (lots of waffles have yellow food dyes), and stopped making some of the usual treats - crescent rolls, chocolate brownies, etc. All of our snacks, cookies, mac 'n cheese, etc are now dye-free.
Jack has had very few behavior problems since this new diet began. He got 5 days in a row of good behavior at school, he says "yes mam" and "yes sir" with more frequency, shrugs and says "whatever" more than gets upset, helps with his little sister whenever I ask, and just...relaxes. He cuddles with me more, he sleeps better, he WANTS to engage with his friends more.
Now, he may have also turned a corner due to the fact that he is also taking Tae Kwan Doe, and spending lots more one-on-one time with his Daddy. But I am really excited to finally see consistent behavior improvements, and I really think it has to do with eliminating food coloring in his diet.
I keep thinking back to how the little suckers in my purse for those tough moments in the grocery store, or the frozen popsicles on had every day in the summer, or how even the healthy things - like brushing his teeth with blue toothpaste or chewing his daily dye-filled vitamin - could have been preventing him from controlling his emotions. I wish, oh how I wish, that any one of his doctors had said at some point "you may consider changing his diet - beyond reducing his sugar intake or adding more vegetables. There are TOXINS that could be effecting your son".
For now, I'm sticking with this diet as much as possible. It's not that hard to follow...in fact today we made some delicious Pupkin bread that he devoured faster than he would have a piece of cake! So to all you moms out there who have a child who sometimes just CAN'T seem to control himself, talk to your doctor about Food dyes and the possible connection. And try eliminating them from your child's diet! What's the worse thing that could happen? You'll be eating a little healthier.
I love you, Jack. You are such a smart, funny, caring, handsome little man who makes me smile every day. I will do everything I can to help you be the happiest little man you can be :)
There are a lot of great websites out there...I'll add a few of the ones that helped me later.