Can't live like this anymore

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by CactusK, Aug 2, 2010.

  1. CactusK

    CactusK Guest

    Hi. New to the board. Married 13 years with DS age 8 and daughter age 5. DS just completed Learning Disability (LD) testing and their diagnosis was that he is not dyslexia, but most probably has ADHD and also ODD.

    DS is almost always well behaved when not at home, but goes on rampages at home when 1. I say "no" to something or 2. after ingesting soda pop, sno cones or certain candy. (Allergy testing was neg for sugar, corn, food coloring)

    Tonight he trashed the house and almost bit me. By the time husband came home, most of the rampage was over. I took daughter and left in the car. When we came back, DS was playing with the toy I said he couldn't have. husband let him stay up late, have snacks and stories.

    One of our big problems is that husband will not follow thru with ANY consequences with the kids. We have been advised by counselor that we are in for big trouble if we don't get on the same page and be consistent. I am about ready to take my daughter and leave, so she can have a normal life.
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Allergy testing can be very inaccurate. It depends on what is being looked for, and how. True allergies cause a rash and sometimes anaphylaxis. But you can have other sensitivity reactions which cause behavioural problems, and these won't show up on standard scratch tests. Other types of tests which still get used (such as pulse test and some other really weird ones) are not reliable.

    You do need to be on the same page. We have a book we recommend (a lot of books, I guess) called "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene.

    It's a fairly common finding for our kids to be better behaved away from home. It doesn't mean they have control, just that under some circumstances they have some control for a short time.

  3. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    I agree that allergy testing isn't always accurate for this kind of thing.

    Both of my children have problems with gluten and casein (milk). We did do a test not accepted by mainstream medicine that showed this, but the best way is to eliminate a suspected food for a while and see what happens. Ideally, you should then re-introduce it to see what happens then. I could never bring myself to do this, because I knew it would bring such chaos back into our lives.

    Since you see your son has trouble with those foods, I would totally eliminate them for a while and see if it helps. Then you might look for other problem foods.

    You do need to be on the same page, but if there is a food allergy and you get that under control, there might be fewer disagreements anyway.

    My daughter was diagnosis'ed with depression and ODD. I believe they were caused by her food allergies. Now that she doesn't eat them anymore, she is a different kid. She does cheat or make mistakes on her diet sometimes, and then she reverts back to the old difficult child. Now, we know that we can tighten up her diet and in a few days she will be all right again. She was 10 when she started this diet and she is now 14.
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, boy, does that sound familiar! We went for yrs where my husband would give in to our son, just to keep the peace. I was ready to divorce both of them. (Can you divorce a kid?)
    You've GOT to get on the same page. Make a counseling appointment pronto. Make 2 appts, one with-the marriage counselor and the other with-a child psychiatric. Tell them you want to discuss the importance of following through on consequencences, the importance of consistency, and get the doctors to explain to husband how lack of consistency makes these kids crazier. They thrive on routine.
    Then talk about how husband's lack of cooperation disempowers you and makes you feel marginalized and unloved.

    Don't bother with-allergy testing unless it's something severe where you can see hives. The tests aren't that good. Do an elimination diet instead. Do not buy any more junk food, and tell husband you don't want him shopping for groceries unless you are there.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Hi and welcome!! I am sorry you needed to find us, but happy to meet you just the same!!

    It sounds like you have several problems going on. I completely agree that allergy testing can be worthless. I react viciously to a LOT of things outside, esp lilac. A few years ago I had allergy testing done and I reacted to NOTHING but the control stuff. Allergy medications still help me, but the doctor says that MANY people are sensitive to things that don't show on tests. It sounds like you are going to have to keep a lot of the things your child reacts to out of the house. You can try to substitute other things, or make your own versions of what he likes without the things that bother him. I make a LOT of things from scratch, or from homemade mixes and it has made a HUGE difference in my family's life. I can recommend some books if you want to try to make mixes with-o food color, preservatives, corn syrup, whatever. The elimination diet is really the ONLY way to tell if a food is causing a problem.

    School is starting soon. You will likely need a doctor's note to keep your son from having certain foods. For years my youngest could not have dairy, tomatoes, oranges, pineapple, strawberry or artificial sweeteners of any kind. Now he does well with dairy and tomato, but avoids the others (they don't taste good to him, thankfully). I kept dairy free cream cheese and crackers at school, as well as a few packages of snacks/treats and juice boxes that he could have. It has never been a problem as most teachers have small fridges in their rooms. I got one donated for the only teacher that did not have one (first year teaching). My son did not react to corn so I got a microwave popcorn popper and a big bag of popcorn with some seasonings for the class to share whenever they earned it. Cost about $25 total and then thank you did not feel like he was different or deprived.

    Finding substitutes that the kids like is a HUGE help with food problems. If dairy is a problem (it often is, and can be hard to pinpoint because dairy is in SO many things), Tofutti makes some AWESOME products. We like the tofutti cream cheese better than regular except for cooking. Tofutti ice cream sandwiches are INCREDIBLY - I had to fight to keep everyone else in the house from eating them (including ME)! Stores like Whole Foods even have candies that he may be able to eat.

    If he likes lemonade it is easy to make from scratch. 1 cup lemon juice and 1 cup sugar with water to make 1/2 gallon. You can use artificial sweeteners and use less or more of the juice and sugar if you like. My kids like this better than fruit punch or whatever. So do their classmates, and it is MUCH cheaper than buying punch for a class.

    The problem with your husband is not so easily solved. The counselor is right that this will end up creating a HUGE problem as the kids grow up. Parents MUST present a united front if the kids are to grow up with-o a LOT of problems.

    Many, if not most of us have been there. It took YEARS to get it through to my husband that he HAD to support me the way I supported him. I once described it like a dam. The child is the water rushing at the dam doing all it can to get out and cause havoc and destruction. The destruction would be the bad behavior and the ruin of our entire family. I was the one who set the rules and enforced them and did the various appointments, etc... I NEEDED him to support me. I was a wall standing there containing the constant pushing of the water. He was the support that helped me stay in place. Unless I could depend on him to shore me up and provide a second line of defense to keep the difficult child stuff in check, the dam would fall and the entire family would end up in ruins.

    It was graphic enough to let him SEE how his giving in was hurting not just my feelings but our entire family, including his relationship with me.

    I also had him read "Parenting with Love and Logic" by Fay and Cline. It made more sense to him, and to a lot of my friends' hubbies, than most other parenting books. It is pretty no-nonsense and stresses the use of natural and logical consequences while preserving the loving bond between parent and child. For us it was the book that let us get on the same page speaking the same language. Men and women approach parenting very differently, in my opinion, so this was crucial for us.

    Do you think there is more going on with your child than just the inconsistent parenting? We don't put much value in an ODD diagnosis because it doesn't really tell you anything. ODD means the child is badly behaved. It gives NO insight into why the child is doing what he is doing. Almost every single difficult child here has had an ODD diagnosis, regardless of whether their problems were caused by bipolar disorder, an autism spectrum disorder (Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)), a medical problem, an allergy, or past trauma or something else. I recommend having your child tested by a neuropsychologist if you think there are any problems besides the parenting issue.

    How was your son's development? Does he have friends? Does he line up his toys rather than playing with them in an imaginary way? Why does he have the rages/tantrums (best guess)? These are a few of the questions that can help you figure out if testing is needed.

    I hope some of this helps. You can learn more about Love and Logic at - they have many books and even some free items on the site. The books can be ordered through the website or found at the library, bookstores, etc...
  6. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    If you can control his diet, I would limit him to the very basics and see what happens:

    1. Fruits (fresh or all-natural frozen)
    2. Vegetables (fresh or all-natural frozen)
    3. Rice (plain or cooked in all-natural broth)
    4. Lean meats and poultry
    5. Gluten free and caesin free all-natural cereal
    6. Gluten free and caesin free treats

    If you can get him to stay on this limited, all natural diet for a month, you may be shocked at the improvement. You will need to get all 'forbidden' foods out of the house.

    If that sounds way too hard, then try eliminating 1 targeted food every 3-4 weeks (that's how we did it). The top 3 are gluten (found in wheat/barley/rye/oats) and caesin (found in all dairy products) and all artificial ingredients. You need to become very good at reading labels as those 3 are in almost everything.

    Both of my boys were able to decrease their medications significantly and showed incredible improvement when we modified their diet.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    The diet JJJ suggests is a good start, but it is still a long way from an elimination diet. You can cut back a lot, before you go the whole way. And you still might see a lot of improvement without having to get too drastic.

    There is a big difference between allergy and sensitivity. Allergy is mediated in the body through B-lymphocytes which trigger mast cells to release histamine. These are the potentially life-thretening reactions, although it also includes hives and hay fever. Sensitivities, on the other hand, are different and much more complex. They can be a toxicity reaction, they can be a part of the body reacting to a particular chemical which is causing problems. For example, I am allergic to some antibiotics (they cause throat swelling and hives) but I have sensitivity reactions to NSAIDS (they cause stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhoea). When talking to doctors it is important to be correct in your terminology.

    I used to counsel people who had health problems. I had one woman tell me she as allergic to water, she never told me exactly what she meant but since the human body is 75% water, that would be quite a problem. unsurvivable, it it actually were possible. Possibly what she meant, was she found she had problems if she drank water that was not thoroughly filtered. She may have had a problem with the fluoride we put in our water in Australia. Or the chlorine commonly used in town water to sterilise it. Some of the sensitivity reactions I've been told of, labelled as "allergies" (they were not) include such vague symptoms as "having a funny feeling" to apparent catatonic state but the person was able to see and hear everything. Just unable to respond. Frankly, it sounded like hysteria to me in one case (I knew the woman quite well - she was a drama queen and was also unable to be specific but was clearly enjoying the drama of her story). Doctors who think you are exaggerating will switch off and not pay attention, if you use the wrong terminology to maker it sound more serious. It's like work colleagues saying they have flu, when it's really just a bad cold. We do tend to use the stronger terms to get people to take us seriously, but with doctors it can backfire. It's a habit we get into, often we use the terms other people around us use - but here, we need to inform ourselves and to be detailed and accurate. If you don't know the terms, then don't use anything technical. Just say, "When my child eats X, Y happens."
    Like the woman who told me she was allergic to water - what she should have said was, "When I have a drink of water, J happens." It opens the door for someone to ask for more detailed information, to ask if the water is cold, if it is warm, if it is from the tap or a bottle, if it is filtered or if it is the standard chemical cocktail. Also how often there have been problems, if there is a link to quantity - you see how complex it can be.

    So never generalise to a doctor. Say you have a problem, describe the problem, then let the expert give his educated opinion on it. Then when you see another doctor, you don't say, "I have X disease," you say, "Dr So-and-so said I have X disease." That way if the next doctor wants to challenge it, it isn't you he's challenging, but the other doctor. It saves you having to be the met in the sandwich.

    Whatever you do diet-wise, whatever you observe - write it down. Keep a diary, it will help. Because if you try to hold it all in your head, you will go crazy and seem obsessive. it's hard to avoid. So write it down so you can still have a life, even while trying to do a very difficult parenting job.

  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Good delineation between sensitvity and allergies, Marg.

    I wonder if your "allergic to water" friend may have been allergic to the glass she was drinking out of or the soap used to wash it? I guess you'll never know.
    Odd, to assume it's the water ... I'd be buying up bottles of different brands and doing home experimentation ...
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    The problem is, Terry, is when you get the combination of someone who is desperate for answers with an alternative doctor or naturopath ho is determined to make some milage out of the "catastrophic" reaction. I remember that person - I couldn't get a sensible answer out of her, except that she had been told by her doctor that she was allergic to water. When I said, "You can't survive like that!" her reaction was, "Well, duh - that's why my life is such a mess."
    It could well have been some trace chemical. Or maybe something else she had ingested some time earlier, and she made a wrong connection. it is so difficult to work out what is the cause and what is now, when what we ingest each day is a complex combination of natural and synthetic chemicals, and we MUST have something, we can't go without completely.

    Also important to emphasise - don't assume all problem foods are artificial and processed. When we talk about chemical sensitivities and food sensitivities, we include naturally-occurring chemicals. Gluten is one well-known example. You find it in wheat, among other foods. Another common natural sensitivity chemical is salicylate. You find it in a lot of herbs, spices and almost all fruit & vegetables, even the healthy home-grown ones. It's related to aspirin which was first found (or similar chemicals) in willow bark, which for thousands of years had been used to treat aches, pains and fever. Modern aspirin as first extracted from willow bark, then the drug companies found out how to make it. What the drug companies now make is a lot more gentle to the stomach, than willow bark tea. I remember a tour of the drug company Roche, where they showed us how they sample natural plants and animals (usually stuff like seaweed, jellyfish or whatever) and test it to see if there's anything possibly therapeutic in it. Very rarely they find something new and wonderful, then they analyse it and synthesise it. It takes a lot of work, but that is how we still get some amazing new drugs on the market. The laborious effort is paid off when they make the occasional new discovery. They also sample in areas where local herb lore indicates a possible product.

    The thing is - anything that has a possible therapeutic effect, is also likely to have side effects for someone else. You can't have something work in one case but be perfectly safe in all other cases. For example, suppose there is a new pill to take if you have high blood pressure. It's a marvellous new pill, it brings your blood pressure down well with no other problems. But it's not a good idea to give this pill to someone who has normal blood pressure, or low blood pressure. For them, it could send their blood pressure dangerously low and lead to dizziness and fainting. For such a person, there are bad side effects.

    So if ever someone tries to sell you a pill which cures everything but has no side effects, run. Chances are it is a brilliant pill for making someone ELSE very rich...