Conduct Disorder

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Paige Fisher, Nov 3, 2008.

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  1. Paige Fisher

    Paige Fisher New Member


    I just joined the group. I have a 13 year old who is in a residential care facility for severe depression and suicidal ideation. While there he has been diagnosed with elements of conduct disorder. When I read the literature it's sounds like he has many elements of conduct disorder.

    It's very hard to realize that there is something wrong with your child that you can't necessarily help. He is on several medications and is doing better with the suicidal and depressive thoughts. But it's a little hard to take as a parent to find out your child has conduct disorder. I am a nurse. I remember in nursing class watching a movie with a child with conduct disorder - I remember thinking I would never want to have a child with this disorder. Low and behold I now have a child that has this disorder. We have a pretty normal family - the only thing that fits is that we have had marital discord which we are working on making better for our family (as far as contributing factors). I am not sure if my child has been sexually abused - possible when he was 4 or 5 - but he doesn't remember.

    I am looking for support from this community in how to best help my son. We will continue with a child psychiatrist when he gets out of the residential care facility this month. We have done therapy for several months - to no avail. The residential facility has helped him quite a bit - I am thankful for what they have been able to accomplish with him.

    Thank you for any direction you can give.

  2. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Hello Paige and welcome. You may want to take your last name off for your privacy.

    I had to chuckle about your comment of watching the movie and not wanting a child like that. We must bring on ourselves. I remember thinking as a student going through a pediatric rotation saying" I'll take any medical problem but please don't give me one of those hyperactive one's". The fates laughed. I got the most hyperactive kid most teachers had seen. Now it is my child and I have no choice but to deal with it.

    I have a few questions.
    Was he a normal pregnancy and birth?
    Did he hit the normal growth and development milestones?
    How was his speech and communication as a preschooler?
    Any excessive illnesses?
    Did he have friends? Did he play like his peers?
    How are his academics? Any learning disabilities?
    Does he have hobbies?
    Has he had a thorough evaluation?
    How does he do in school?
    What does his teachers think?
    Any family history of behavior issues, substance abuse, depression etc?

    It must be so frightening to worry about suicidal ideation.

    Hopefully we can share our experiences, make a few suggestions and give you the support you need. Welcome to our corner of the world.
  3. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Many here like the book, The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. I like that book, but for my difficult child the love and logic method works best. Your difficult child is older and that may not work. I have found that the more I learn, the better able to deal with my difficult children (both my son and my husband, lol). Others should be along soon, just hang in there. The teen years are especially hard, and we are not there yet and I do not look forward to it.
  4. Steely

    Steely Active Member


    I can feel your pain. It is horrible being in this situation with our kids.

    I would caution against absorbing too many "labels" at this point that a dr might give you.
    You know your child best, and I have found that many times, doctors want to label a patient, but that those labels are just stickers, placed on a snapshot of a child.

    You know what and who your kiddo really is. The term "conduct disorder" means really nothing - unless it is couple with who that child is.

    Believe in him, his potential, his essence. Just believe, and it will all come together.

  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I want to welcome you and give you some very gentle hugs. It is so hard to have a child who wants to kill himself. No matter what other problems, that one cuts a mom straight through the heart (a dad too).

    I am glad you have gotten some intensive help for your son, and are working on your marriage. Kids like ours are very hard on a marriage.

    The term conduct disorder is only newly being applied to people under 18. So I am not sure how accurate the diagnosis is.

    I know that many, if not all of us have been through a wide range of diagnosis's before the one that most effectively describes our child and how to help them is found. Whatever you do, don't give up. Esp not at his young age.

    Read The Explosive Child. Do what you can to use the techniques with your son and other kids. See what happens.

    What kind of evaluations has your son had? Many here like evaluations by a neuropsychologist. A multidisciplinary evaluation is also a good one (it is the one that was most effective for my son). Either can be found at most children's hospital or major university hospitals.

    I am sure, being a nurse, you know how to keep records of things. Keep track of your son's moods/behaviors when he comes home. For a LONG time keep track. Often we learn about our kids by going over these records.

    We also have a report called a "Parent Report" that is outlined in the FAQ/Board Help forum. It is a way to organize info about your child and family so that any professionals you work with can get a clear picture.

    I do know the way it rips your soul into pieces when you know your child is suicidal. I hope that with medication and help your son and the rest of the family can heal. I know your child may say he hates you for hospitalizing him, but generally this will pass. My son said it numerous times while he was hospitalized, but within just a few years told me it was one of the best things I had done for him. So take heart from that if you can.

    You may want to go to the User CP and do a signature, like at the bottom of this post. It helps us keep track of who is who.
  6. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Hello Paige, and welcome.

    It is very hard when you have a child with ideas of suicide. I too am very glad that you're getting intensive help and support for your son AND that you're working on your marriage. Also glad that the medications combination seems to be working for him.

    You've received some good advice from others about notes, parent report, and not getting too hung up on diagnosis but on finding the right interventions for your child.

    I just wanted to add my welcome and send many gentle hugs. You've found a wonderful and supportive group here.

  7. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Hi and welcome to the site!

    Make sure that you are taking time for yourself too. The stress of dealing with this in your life is hard on a marriage and hard on you too. Take care of yourself.
  8. Star*

    Star* call 911


    Welcome -

    My son too has been in and out of NUMEROUS facilities. It sickens me to remember and think about the things in life that this disease has taken from him, and from us as a family. I gave up many years ago trying to figure out the why of how it happened or even how it did. I can't change it so we just do the best we can to move forward and put things in place to assist our son.

    At 18 my son has done over 13 RTCs, hospitals, dozens of therapists, counselors, and has in some cases suffered abuse at the hands of staff. I too kept thinking the 50 mile one way trip to a good therapist for 5 years was a waste - but we went two times a week and finally at 18 my son said "ENOUGH, no more." We had no choice. Oddly enough a month later of his own volition made an appointment at mental health and is now seeing a therapist of his own choice. I do not believe she's any where near the calibre of the man we were seeing, but the choice was his and he made one to help himself.

    He was diagnosis with Severe PTSD, Severe ADD and Conduct Disorder in the extreme. (The Lord help me NOW kind). He also has suffered from depression his whole life so I think that is genetic (on his bio fathers side of course). Eventually if you allow them to make mistakes and suffer consequences no matter HOW hard it hurts you? I think the board would show that those of us who allowed our kids to fall - eventually made "some" headway. Nothing to change the DSM for - but to us? Huge.

    If you have any Residential Treatment Center (RTC) questions - we're here.

    Hugs for your pain -
    Hang in there
  9. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Paige! I am glad you found us and look forward to getting to know you.
  10. Paige,

    I wanted to extend a welcome to you as well! Sorry you have to be here, but you have definitely found a wonderful spot to land with a great bunch of people.

  11. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Welcome aboard. The CD "family" is the most valuable resource you can find to save your sanity make sure that you have the information
    needed to help your child. Most of us live a roller coaster life and when we are on "top" we are able to help the family on the downside. DDD
  12. Paige Fisher

    Paige Fisher New Member

    Hello everyone,

    I want to thank everyone that welcomed me to the group. Some had many questions, which I will try to answer. My son is coming home in two weeks. I am excited and nervous at the same time.

    I wanted to let everyone know I set my account up to receive e-mails once a week - so if I don't get back to you soon it's because of the way I receive emails.

    I had a normal pregnancy and delivery. The only thing that happened during my pregnancy was that my husband and I fought verbally a lot. Not a pleasant time. Our marriage is much better now in that respect. My son hit the normal milestones - except he never did crawl correctly. He pulled himself along the floor with his arms. He had problems with speech with pronunciation. He had speech therapy during grammar school for two years. He hasn't had any excessive illnesses. He had lots of friends until we moved. He was in 4th grade then he had trouble making friends. When he started 6th grade his old best friend and him hooked up again. He played normal with his peers as best I could tell. He was diagnosed with ADHD in first grade - he took medicine for two years which seemed to help. Then he seemed to grow out of the hyperactivity. His Dad was recently diagnosed with ADHD too. His hobbies include motorcycle riding, sports - soccer and basketball, and collecting cards. My son is curently undergoing a thorough evaluation - we will find out the results this Wednesday. He failed half of 7th grade and has been at the residential care facility since July of this year - I haven't received any information about his grades from the school yet. His teachers last year saw a kid who was struggling and having a hard time emotionally. Depression runs mostly on my son's dad's side of the family. Anxiety runs on my side of the family.

    My son is doing better with the suicidal thinking and depression. The medications they put him on have helped him tremendously. It's the conduct disorder that scares me now. I know a lot of you said to not put too much on a label. I appreciate that information. I see some of the characteristics of conduct disorder in my child though. I saw a lot of behavior that was not normal before he went to the residential facility. He was non-stop picking on his sister. Sometimes he would get a smile on his face when he would pick on her. The facility has seen how he picks on the other kids - they have worked with him on this and so have we. He has come home a lot on the week-ends and has shown improvement towards his sister. That is just one element of his disorder. This Wednesday we will get the results of the full evaluation they did for him at the residential treatment facility. Basically this is to find out what he qualifies for on an Individual Education Plan at School. But this evaluation included many aspects - psychological, language processing, learning abilities, etc.

    I will get the book the Explosive Child and see what it has to say.

    I am very thankful to know there are support groups out there. I cried when I read some of your responses. It has been a tough road. Very much so a roller coaster ride - with the highs and lows. I feel I often try to take on the burden. My husband has ADHD too which makes it hard. It's nice to know I have a soft place to fall when I need help from others that have gone through the same problems. Thanks.

  13. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Chiming in late here but want to extend my welcome and hugs for the situation you are in. I too have a spouse with ADHD and a possible mood disorder. It makes parenting DOUBLY difficult, in my opinion. Even my kids now see that dad has a hard time with attending to conversations and with his mood. But I also want to say that there is always hope. I've been in some pretty dark places in this marriage, but through a ton of patience, hard work, and the right medications, things are turning around.

    Hang in there. Your son is lucky to have you in his life. There a lot of kids with problems like ours who aren't so fortunate to have a family that is willing to fight for them as hard as we all have to for our kids.
  14. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Welcome Paige,
    Sorry I'm late joining the chat, but I wanted to extend my welcome too. You've been coping with so much, but it sounds like you have a good handle on it in terms of both evaluation for your son, and working to help your own life and marriage. That's pretty awesome!

    My difficult child has had a number of diagnoses, among which have been early onset bipolar and conduct disorder. He definitely has elements of both. It is wrenching to live with and watch the process of someone with these behaviors and attitudes. You've had some very good advice and suggestions so far, and if I may add one more, I would suggest the book 'Before It's Too Late' by Stanton Samenow. He discusses elements of conduct disorder in kids, and his book is very common sense oriented.

    I hope you will keep posting as your difficult child prepares to come home; transition time can be a challenge, and we will be here for you.

    Warm wishes and hugs!
  15. tbone

    tbone tough luv is tough

    Need advice.My 16 y/o son has been in and out of legal system for almost 2 years/trouble in school,extremely defiant to anyone that tries to give him structure.before being put in res facility would be verbally and physically abuse to anyone who crossed him.stayed gone 1 month dealing narcotics for older woman before police found him.has punched holes in wall,detroyed property and stole presciption medications from me.attempeted to strangle me to death and my mother and his older sister pried his hands off of me.i reported it to police and he said he had to do it to get me off of him/i went to jail/1 month later he had his sister put in jail/all charges were dropped.since he has been in the res facility he has overdosed 3 time and has been in numerous fights/he will be getting out in 4 weeks and i think if he snaps again and does not get his way he will have me put in jail again.considering giving up parental rights.he has not been on any mes for this.need advice and help:sad-very:
  16. tbone

    tbone tough luv is tough

    Hello everyone.Well i think i have got my answers to my sons delimma.A few nights ago i was speaking with him on the phone at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) he is at and saw his true colors come out again. About half way through the conversation he told me he had to do 5 days of ISS at school for borrowing a quarter from another studen {i am sure there is more to this story than what he is telling me} but the counsler overheard it and he {my son} started getting his explosive attitude again and for the next 5 min he called the counsler every name in the book/he was told to be quite but he just got worse,eventhough he was told that his PO would be notifed,that just feuled him more. I have mad a decision to call the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and tell them he is not ready to get out in 3 weeks and if they could not controll him there is no way I would be able to either.For wonce I know I am making the right choice.Thank all of you for being so helpful.I hope I can help someone else as much as you all have helped me. God Bless :anxious:
  17. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Welcome to our corner of the world. One thing to remember is that almost every kid has some elements of CD in them. Does that mean your son is "normal?" No, but it means he could have the ADHD, even ODD and who knows what else but not necessarily CD. If he does have CD, believe it or not, there is hope.

    ODD and CD kids grow up. They see they have choices of what their life will be like and frequently choose the high road. Sometimes it takes the right medications for any other conditions, sometimes it is therapy; frequently, it is a combination of the two. Sometimes it really is just maturity.

    Many of us have had to let our kids hit rock bottom (their definition of rock bottom, not ours) before seeing that there are better ways of doing things. That was definitely the case with my daughter.

    Be careful on having a set date to bring your son home. Let him and everyone else know that if you see the past behavior before it is time for him to be released, that you will refuse to sign the release. Our kids are very good at manipulating the system (courts, therapists, short-term RTCs, etc.) to get what they want out of it but, in reality, have not changed one iota. If you feel this is the case with your son, squash it as soon as possible.

    The other thing I would suggest is that you not go just by the responses to your threads. You'll learn a lot by seeing what other parents have said in other threads. It really is worth the effort to take at least 15 minutes a day just scanning posts to see what is relevant to your situation. You don't have to reply to them, although it is nice if you have something to add, but you'll be amazed what all you'll learn that way. So, do try to not limit yourself to just what you see in weekly emails. You really will lose too much.
  18. Nancy423

    Nancy423 do I have to be the mom?

    Just wanted to add my welcome to the wagon. I'm somewhat newer here and can say that I've learned so much in the last few months. you've found a great place for support and advice.
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi, Paige. If anyone diagnosed my child under 18 with CD, I'd fire him. That is not a useful diagnosis--it just says "He is out of control" and doesn't explain why he is acting out. If there is depression in your family, and he is suicidal a lot, it makes more sense to me that he maybe has teen bipolar disorder. I hope you have a neuropsychologist involved in your evaluation team because they are THE BEST. This child could have MANY things wrong with him. I"m betting it's not CD, but probably something else that was missed. I hope you are satisfied with your evaluation and get answers. I personally saw red flags for bipolar AND high funcioning austism in his description, so I'd put unhelpful diagnosis. like ODD and CD on the backburner for now and see if something more productive is found.
  20. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Hi Paige,

    When my son was 10 and was suffering from severe depression, he was extremely hostile, angry and violent toward his sister. Had he been bigger, I would have been afraid for my own safety. I had to tell him that if he laid a hand on his sister again (he had choked her until you could see the handprints on her neck), that I would call the police. That was something I never expected to say to my child. I could not leave him and his sister alone together for a second. I would go in my room to find notes hanging on my door, scattered across my floor and my bed, reading, "I hate you." He would come downstairs at night and very coldly say, "You know how much you say you love me? Well, that's how much I hate you." I'd just respond that it doesn't change how much I love him.

    It was a horrible time and I didn't find this board until after my son was getting better. But, because I have battled depression myself since I was a tween, I kinda knew what he was going through. He had so much misery inside and it had to come out somewhere. There was so much I didn't know and had no family support - actually had the exact opposite, my family wanting him to live with them in denial - he refused to take his medication because my mom told him he didn't have to and ultimately he refused therapy. He even ran away from the therapy place one time. He was actively suicidal with a plan. No one told me what to do. His therapist talked about Residential Treatment Center (RTC), but was wishy washy on it and I didn't have the benefit of the knowledge of others here on the board and it was just so far out of my realm. Had his therapist been firm on it, I would have been too. But then there was my mother, angry, telling me that it would make him worse; that he would feel abandoned. What do you do with a hostile, violent, suicidal kid? I was so lost and trying desperately to help my son.

    He's a different kid now. He's the kid he was before the depression. Very happy go lucky. Very social. Gets along with everyone. Not at all angry or violent. In fact, he's a very sensitive and compassionate kid. Interestingly, he has no memory of that time. None. From the ages of 10-12, he has no memory.

    My point in telling you this story, besides just letting you know that you're not alone, is that your son may very well have the beginnings of CD, but it may also just be a manifestation of his illness and that once his illness is stabilized the CD behaviors will dissipate. It doesn't happen overnight. But, there is hope.

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