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Parenting is no easy feat, which likely doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone. However, nothing compares to the feeling a parent gets when something is ‘off’ with their little one, yet they can’t figure out why that is.

Around the time that my son turned three years old, he went from being the sweetest little boy in the world to being an outright monster. At first, I couldn’t help but think that maybe it was something that was causing him stress. So, I worked diligently to ensure all of his needs were being met 100%, yet he only seemed to get angrier.

Finally, after about a three-week stint of his anger, my frustration, and everything in between, I buckled. He seemed fine other than his behavior, so I started at the psychologist’s office. They checked everything out and deemed my son completely fine. I was happy to hear that, but now, I was back to square one. Finally, I took him to his pediatrician and asked them to take a look, to make sure everything was okay.

For the next two years, we were back and forth from our home to the doctor’s office, to therapy sessions, and everything in between and I was beginning to feel like nothing would ever fix or make my child feel better. However, after all of that time, my doctor figured it out: my son had chronic sinusitis.

I had no idea that this was even a thing, and while he had had plenty of sinus infections, the doctor didn’t think much about it. And despite all of the rounds of anti-biotics, I was giving my child he had never gotten better from his sinus infections. Put simply, he had been suffering from a sinus infection for going on two years, even when there were no obvious symptoms.

The reason I bring all of this up is that as a parent, I never in a million years imagined (until it became clear) that my child could be ill and that their hidden illness could be causing them to seem like a different person. I mean, could you imagine having headaches all of the time, not sleeping as you should, not breathing as well as you could, and having your food always taste strange? Even worse, is that because my baby was so young, he couldn’t express that he was sick. He just knew he didn’t feel well.

So, the next time your child begins acting out before you assume they are just acting bad, remember that 99.9% of the time when a child acts out with rage, there is a legitimate cause that they are unable and unequipped to explain to you. So, take it easy on them, and try to figure out what it is. It’s likely that they just don’t feel well, but much like my little one, your little one might be trying to communicate something to you, that you just don’t understand.