Back in the difficult child days

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Josie, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    Here is a little background for those that don't know her story. A was a difficult child from the time she was about 3 until she was 10. Her diagnosis was ODD and Depression.

    We tried her on Lexapro which worked at first, but kept needing to be increased. We were looking at adding Seroquel to help her control her violent tendencies.

    Then, we discovered she had gluten intolerance. When we eliminated that and milk, she turned into a regular kid. We could discipline her like the books say we should and she responded like they say she would. We were able to take her off all medications and she was mostly fine. She had episodes here and there where I was pretty sure she had eaten something she shouldn't, but she got back on her diet and was again fine. A joy to be around, in fact.

    Until now. She has clearly been off her diet for a while and has that whole ODD thing going on again. I have found food in her room that she brought in.

    During the break, we set up some expectations that would need to be met daily by her. Bringing her dirty dishes down, keeping her clothes off the floor and in her room, getting up on time. Hardly demanding. Those have been the rules all along, but we were going to get serious about consequences. Meaning, if she did those things, she could have her phone and computer the next day. We also said she needed to give us her phone at night. This was to keep her from staying up too late and contributing to her problem getting up. We typed up the rules and showed her and she threw it down and said it wasn't going to happen. We have done this in the past and she accepted it, but the new ODD A is not going to.

    She's been up in her room ever since, except to go to school. I am not even sure what she is eating. Either she is not eating or she is eating something she shouldn't which will only make this situation worse.

    Even before we showed her the rules, she was staying up in her room and looking at me with hate in her eyes if I tried to talk to her. Even asking about her day brought that look to her face.

    I feel like I am watching her spiral down and there is nothing I can do. We might consider medicine if this goes on too long, but I'm not sure a psychiatrist would just give a defiant teen medications. And if they did, I am not convinced they would work, since her problem is a food intolerance. We all know it is not an easy path to get the right medication anyway.

    My biggest concern is that even taking all of her privileges doesn't phase her. I think she cares, but she is so determined to win that she isn't giving in. She even looks bad to me. She's still showering and wearing makeup but her whole expression is just different.

    We are taking her to family therapy on Monday, more as a consequence than anything else. Since she is choosing to be mentally ill (by getting off her diet), she has to go to therapy. I don't really expect it to help because nothing helped before until she got on that diet.

    She just turned 15.

    So, the classic question, what do you do with a defiant child?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi. Welcome back...sorry you had to come back.

    One thing I don't like about diets is the probability that kids won't comply when they are older and we can't make them. They're going to want to eat and probably to eat what other teens eat (sigh).

    At her age, however, if she is suddenly changing, rather than her diet, I'd be thinking about drug use. Has she changed her friends? Have her grades gone down? I think it's worthwhile to give her a surprise drug test, although that isn't always accurate. My teen started using drugs at twelve and I had no never occurred to me that SHE would get involved in drugs. But she did. And it wasn't until she was off of them and told me that I realized how close she had been to dying. I think this is something you'll have to think about. Staying in her room all the time to me could be sign of depression, but could also be a red flag for drug use. She could have smoked pot or taken other drugs on the way home from school or even in her room and not want to be around you when she's high.

    (((Hugz))) and good luck.
  3. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    I've thought about drugs, too. She rides home on a small van where pot smoking would be noticed. She could be taking pills, but she doesn't have friends at her school that she sees out of school. I would think if she were doing drugs with them, she would want to be seeing them after school, too. She has friends from middle school that she sees, but again, I would think she would be desperate to see them to get her drugs and she isn't. She gets all A's in school, so far.

    I have searched her room and backpack and not found drugs, but have found forbidden foods.

    So while I know I can't totally rule out drugs, it seems that her diet choices are a far more likely cause. I know it sounds hard to believe and I probably wouldn't believe it myself if I hadn't experienced it firsthand. When I had some gluten by mistake one time, I turned into a bipolar-like person for several weeks. Another time, I cried over everything for weeks when that is not normal for me.

    I know I can't make her stop eating those foods if she is determined, unless I don't let her leave the house, even for school. Even then, she eventually has to learn what happens when she does and better she learn it here than later. It is like a bipolar person who feels better and then goes off their medications. It is just so hard to watch and so difficult to live with.

    My strategy in the past is to not cut her any slack and take away privileges for non-compliance and ugly attitude, so she gets herself together to get them back, but we've taken everything and she isn't budging. And I'm concerned that taking everything feeds the depression, but we can't just let her have her privileges back for nothing.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Drug use was one of the things that seems very possible in my mind also. She likely won't respond well to the demand that she comply with the test - and that shouldn't matter a single bit. If she is negative it does NOT mean that she is "drug free" because things like "skittling" (taking large doses of OTC medications containing dextromethorphan) do not show up. I strongly urge you to buy a home test kit and mail the sample off rather than trusting the lab your doctor will use. MOST docs do NOT know how to truly understand drug testing and the results, regardless of what they say. My pain doctor explained them to me - docs who rx these medications regularly are the ones who truly understand them. My family doctor proved to me how clueless most docs are. She is a very well read doctor, and thought she understood the tests. But what her lab tested for, and the results they came up with, are not possible. The same happened to me at our local hospital - exept that they did a test that gave a false positive for meth because I had phenergan in my system. My pain doctor says it is actually common and most meth tests give false positives more than real ones. Talk about soemthing SCARY! After reading a letter my pain doctor sent the family doctor was able to see that the tests were giving the wrong answers, but it really shocked her - and scared her. (This doctor is one of the most down to earth, understanding realistic docs I have ever known and for it to scare her says a whole lot.)

    It is IMPORTANT to use a lab that primarily does drug tests if you want the real results. They know how to identify a false positive and how to counteract all the things that teens do to try to fool the tests. Even my pain doctor mails the samples out because the labs in our big cities don't specialize in those tests.

    My other thought is that the food is causing this. I think this may be the truth. If true, she needs to have her eyes opened up to what these foods do in her body. For your difficult child these foods ARE drugs. They are mind-altering substances and this shows in her behavior. You cannot get her to "buy in" to this diet if she looks at it like a diet. If she, and you, look at those foods as drugs it sheds a whole new light on things. She can argue, but MANY things can be food or drugs. For me, papaya and avocados are dangerous drugs. I cannot handle some of the chemicals that other people enjoy in these foods. I get very hot, my face turns bright red, and if I have eaten more than just a small taste I feel like I am choking. I may go and pick wild greens to make a salad but I am NOT going to pick leaves from a belladonna plant because it would make me sick, possibly give me hallucinations and possibly kill me. JUST like a drug. If I were to take speed it is likely I would be very awake and would have problems like shaky hands - and if I drink too much coffee or soda I get the same results.

    Lots of magazines and journals and even medical info tells you which foods to eat to cure this problem or reduce that one. So food is medicine (drugs) for a LOT of people - and they are for your daughter also. If she can learn to see this, she can see more of WHY she needs to not "take" them. If she cannot, well, you and husband might consider using some of the same sanctions that you would impose for drug use. No money for ANYTHING. No going anywhere with-o an adult to chaperone her. No phone or internet use. Even strip her possessions to the bare minimum so that you can be sure she has no contraband in her room.

    Yes, it may seem extreme. Her reaction to those food is pretty extreme too. This is the only way that I can see that you might have a chance to really make her see and accept the limits she needs to ahve in her diet. A way to help her learn to resist temptation.
  5. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    I am as convinced it is the food as it is possible to be without following her around constantly. I think it is like a drug for her, in the way it affects her. I just don't know what I can do to get her to stop since she can get it at school.

    If it were drugs, I could drug test her and send her off to rehab or an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or something if she didn't stop. That isn't an option here, so I have to treat her like she is just a defiant child, I think. Because, even if diet caused it, that is what she is.

    Normally, I would tell people with ODD to look for the cause and when that is corrected, the ODD might go away. In her case, we know the cause but it is out of our control.

    She could get so out of control that she will turn to drugs, but I don't think that has happened yet.

    I can only hope she pulls herself together and starts staying on her diet before she makes things even worse. In the past, I would have waited it out and thought she would get over it, but since I found that food in her room, I think it is more than a one time incident.

    We may have to go back to the psychiatrist again for her. She was the worst ever though when we forgot to give her a dose of Lexapro. Very violent and I had the psychiatric hospital # taped to my cabinet in case I needed it for months after that. I hate to think we are going back to that kind of thing happening if she doesn't take her medications. I can't see her cooperating with that idea anyway.

    It is so sad because she just turned 15. We were thinking she would be getting her permit and learning to drive. Instead, she is up in her room, isolated from friends and family, and snarling at anyone that tries to reach out to her.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011