Don't really know where to go from here...I'd love some advise!! (And I'm going to just vent)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by travelingmom, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. travelingmom

    travelingmom New Member

    I'll try and keep this fairly concise. (well I tried but it's a book, I'm hoping someone with take the time to read it :) I have four sons, one of them is a challenge, very more difficult than the other three.

    My difficult child started becoming difficult at about age 3. He wasn't a difficult baby, and he has had a solid upbringing with two parents who have been with him consistently, and have shown him lots of love.
    Here are his main issues:

    1. constantly annoys me and/or brothers. (Sometimes Dad)
    2. Does not do anything I ask of him, without a fight. (and I mean anything)
    3. Falling down a lot and hard on his body (falling into things, throwing his body on the ground)
    4. When being disciplined, or playing with brothers he will scream like he is being physically harmed, but he is not. Trying to get others in trouble. Or he will throw his body as if someone just did it to him, when no one did, again trying to get other's in trouble.
    5. Encopresis, (sorry on the spelliing-he holds his poop) I give him a cap full of laxative and that has helped, but sometimes we forget, start finding poop pellets around the house, and tell him to go. (He now goes without much of a fight--much better than the past!!) He does get coins for this. He also was using wet wipes and has now moved to regular toilet paper, so that is good! Now we are working on not coming out of the bathroom until it's all done. He habitually comes out and bends over to ask if he is totally clean.
    6. Smart mouth, and talk back.
    7. If problem escalates it ends in my physically moving him to his room, all the while him screaming, going limp or trying to get away. Then I hold the door shut while he screams and kicks the door. This only happens once a month now, so VERY better then the once a day episodes we were dealing with.

    At School:

    1. He teacher says he is very kind to her, and very respectful.
    2. He has friends.
    3. He does well in reading (above average), math and spelling.
    4. No one believes me when I say he is very difficult at home.
    5. Teacher says he is EXTREMELY quiet, and she has to go close to him to hear what he wants to say (he is very loud and talks back at home)
    6. She also says he takes a long time to do his work and has a hard time staying focused. So our little chant with him in the mornings is, "Stay fast and focused today!!)

    Does anyone else have a child who is awful at home but not at school??

    Our journey so far:
    Finally convinced myself and husband we had to do something to help him when he was about 6, no longer believing his behaviors were just "phases" or being the third he was feeling left out. We rode that for a long time and made sure he knew he was a part of everything, I think it helped a little.
    Started going to psychologist, who spent most of the hour helping me with my parenting skills. Which was very helpful. Went to him for about 4 months. he spoke with my son alone for about 10 min each session. He begged me to bring my husband, and although my husband conceded to have me take him somewhere he absolutely refused to go with us. Hurt me very much, but he was adamant. He refused to tell me why, the only thing I can go on is that he thinks that he can parent his child on his own and doesn't need help. He was very happy I was going though, because he feels I need a lot of help learning to deal with difficult child. I get angry very quickly, and do need help. This psychiatric did help me, still not there, but better than I was 10 months ago. Just wasn't sure that he had a whole lot more to give after those several months.

    Then went to his pediatrician to ask for help, he referred me to a behaviorist. Had to wait 6 months to see her. In the mean time I started seeing another psychologist. My memory isn't the best, and I can't remember why we switched exactly. I suppose I wanted to get a second opinion. The second guy said right away that my son has anxiety and fears. (he is afraid of the weather, and being alone) He gave my son some great skills, that we still refer to. Self talk yourself out of having temper tantrums, and getting angry. And when he was on a "yellow light" he had to choose either green or red, and which one would he choose. These are great and they work, but being consistent has been a challenge. End of December he said he thought my son would be fine and didn't need to see him anymore. (I should mention when we were at our initial appointment with him, we talked about ALL of son's problems while son was in the room. I spoke about his pooping issues, and my son curled up into a fetal position in my lap, he was so mortified. I felt so bad for him. I'm not sure if that was the best thing to do, but I am/was desperate to help my family so I put all my trust into these trained professionals, and hope we are doing the right thing.

    1st appoint with behaviorist felt promising, although I still wan't sure what she did or how she was going to help us. She asked son series of questions, he passed with "school stuff" questions with flying colors. He said he didn't have chores, and other brothers did. Which is in deed true, just no energy on my end to get him to clean, it's such a challenge. Son left the room to play. She ridiculed me to not giving him chores, and I understand what she was saying but just felt like crying. She gave me three surveys. One for my husband to fill out, one for me, and one for his teacher. Last Monday I went back to get the results from analyzing the survey. So based on the survey questions my husband and I placed him in the ODD category. The teacher placed him in the ADHD category. The Dr. said since he was not placed consistently in any of the categories he most likely wasn't any of them. She can't help me beyond that, which I was disappointed as I was hoping she was going to help him with his behavior, being a behaviorist, and my pediatrician recommended her. But I think she is just looking for ADHD kids and that it. She just said make sure he has at least one chore to do and build from there. And she recommended going back to the psychiatric. And telling him exactly what we need to work on.

    So here we are. I feel like there are so many options of who to go to now, what the diagnosis could/would/should be, what method I should use to help, etc. etc. I just don't know what to do. part of me thinks we just go back to just dealing with it the best we can. It's a difficult existence but I just don't know if what the psychologists were doing was helping immensely. Maybe I have too high of expectations for the results. Maybe we see a psychiatrist and that will prove more helpful? Any thoughts? Isn't there someone out there that sits down and works with HIM for an hour? I'm not trying to pass the buck, I want to do my part.

    Another part of this that is difficult is my husband has decided that he should take over more, which is actually wonderful and I really appreciate someone I can pass it over to when I'm at my wits end. But he isn't home very much, so my son and I get into good rhythms sometimes, and I feel proud when we are in a good place. But when my husband is home he lifts his hand up in the air, this is an indication for me to be silent, he is going to take over. It is so frustrating, that he doesn't see the steps I've made to be more patient with our son and I can handle the situation, even when he is there. But he just nit picks every word and consequence I give. he doesn't think I do as good of a job as he does. He does have a better relationship with my son, but he also lets a lot of things slide with him as well. For example today when we got home I told all the kids to get all the stuff out of the car before they went into the house, so the car was tidy. Everyone did, except my son (like always) did not follow the simple instruction, and left his coat in the car. So when I noticed I went back into the house and asked him to go get it and bring it in. Immediately my husband is looking at me like he is annoyed and I should just let it go, it's not a big deal. (I didn't let it go, to me it's a simple life skill that he needs to learn. he was so angry that I made him go back out there and was yelling, but he did it) The behaviorist said our disagreeing is only allowing my son to get away with more things. Which I'm sure he sees/hears us disagree so this is true.

    Then one other random thought, I was hoping someone can chime in on.

    I sometimes wonder if the fact that I found out about some extremely difficult news when I was pregnant with this child at about 6 months would have made some sort of effect on his brain? I was severely depressed (not medicated, and still got up and did stuff because I'm an A type and anything else wasn't an option, but just totally dead inside and didn't share my difficult news with anyone or deal with it)??? The 1st psychiatric. said no, but I still wonder, since all my other kids are do-able and that's the only real difference I can remember, when we was in-utero/infant.

    I'm sorry this is SO long. Thanks for letting me type down all this. I've been reading some of the other posts, and it's clear my sons issues are very minor to some of you and may seem trivial. But I'd appreciate any insight to any of it. I'm pretty upset by the latest info, mainly because I still don't know what really to do for him. Prayers to those who are suffering on this board. I hope you can find the answers and peace you seek for your children and loved ones.
  2. Valentine mom

    Valentine mom New Member

    I read through thoroughly, and I first want you to know my children are now grown adults, and I have never been to professional counseling. The reason I have come to this site is to find out how to now deal with my adult daughter who had two parents who did what you are doing when she was younger.
    My husband and I were both consistently there but my husband would let the kids get away with things that I thought were important to not let them get away with. I begged him to parent with me by asking the kids to "pick up" or whatever it might be, and most of the time he couldn't bring himself to do it but then he would suddenly decide to take the helm, but would insist I stand aside during the rare times he did. He is a caring, loving dad but our problem daughter sensed the weak link in him which seemed to deem me ineffective because she knew he wouldn't back me. I always tried to as you say "instill good life skills" along with honesty and integrity. My husband was more her favorite because he was easy, but I notice now if she wants advice, she'll come to me. Also she used the parental divide between our parenting styles as a way to pit my husband and I against each other, like a type of control. I understand your frustration, but I urge you to come to an agreement with your husband on a consistent style that your son knows that you and your husband will stand by. It will help him now and as an adult.
    What happened in our house is that when she got older [after college, but still living at home] she worked our broken parenting system to not get a job, lounge around, go have fun and not take responsibility. All of that, and it was still difficult for my husband to make a stand. She is now out of the house, but this has been a difficult journey.

    I hope I was somewhat helpful.
    Valentine mom
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. I'm sorry you had to join us, but welcome. Most of us here do not feel that ODD is a useful diagnosis. I'd want to find the cause of the child's behavior, but I'd probably lose any diagnostician who chalks it up to something as hodgepodge as ODD. ODD behavior is usually a consequence of a bigger, broader problem.

    Personally, to me it doesn't sound like a behavior problem. It sounds like some sort of chldhood disorder/differently wired brains and I don't think that behavior modification is going to help him in the long term. Most of us find that therapists who try behavior modification are ineffective. They only make us feel guilty for our parenting, and our children walk to the beat of a different drum and do not respond to normal theories of how to get a child to do what we'd like. The kids just don't respond to it, in general. I would not go that route with your little one. JMO.

    If this were my kid, I'd be taking him for a complete evaluation at a neuropsychologist and maybe also to an Occupational Therapist (OT) and speech therapist, even if his speech is fine. I'd also get his hearing tested...the works.

    I have no idea what is wrong with him, but Aspergers pops into my head. It could be something else. He is not just a kid doing typical things or having stages he will grow out of.

    I wish you the best and hope you do decide to change course, as it hasn't helped him, and take him to a neuropsychologist for intensive testing.

    Are you in the US?
    Again, welcome to the board :)
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
  4. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    So glad you found this soft place to land, the other parents here... I honestly don't think I would have survived without them. First and foremost you and husband MUST get on the same page of how you are going to handle these things and when disagree take it out of earshot of the kids.

    Many parenting classes etc. here but what helped most was rewarding good behavior and ignoring the bad behavior. I would do a chore chart for all the kids (age appropriate for each one what responsible for) and put star or mark when each chore done then at end of week, reward everyone who complied with what I asked 75% of the time. The "good" kids see all the attention the misbehaving one is getting and if all 4 decide misbehaving is way to get mom's attention you are really gonna have a problem on your hands.

    I would also suggest getting a neuropsychologist evaluation done, it might be Asperger's but my guess would be adHd (though none of us can diagnosis thru the internet). It is quite common for a kid with adHd to not have behavior problems at school but to act very ODD at home.

    They sit in school frustrated having trouble concentrating with the other kids and smells, sounds, bright lights etc. its all they can do to hold it together and not embarrass themselves in front of the other kids. Then they finally get home and there is mom... good old mom, she's safe, no matter how horrible I act she still loves me and they lose it.

    My youngest use to sit all sweet in school with her smiley face on acting like she understood stuff then would come off the bus fine. Inside the house it was common to burst out in tears throw self into bed declaring I just want to die with covers pulled over her head. Cutting herself became an issue when she was 7yo also.

    Angel at first was opposite home was user friendly (we had learned to work around her quirks and not set her off) but school she was running them ragged. Use to get calls at work "she bit the principal, flipped the teacher, think she is still in building we can't find her GET HERE NOW" once in a while I could understand but 2-3 times every week!???

    The behaviorist made it 15 minutes into first appointment with Angel (had 6 hours background with-me ahead) before she called the cops on my kid (slammed her in face with step stool). Felt I had wasted 6 hours of my life trying to work with her after seeing her in action wasn't qualified to train a dog in my opinion much less be anywhere near an explosive kid.

    To avoid discussing too much in front of child I put together a parent info page that I would hand to new doctors, therapists etc. - one page double spaced easy to read keep it simple some examples but not any more then absolutely necessary. If hand them a 5 page book they won't read it, when it has all the info they would get out of 15 minutes ?ing you in front of kid and it only takes 3 minutes to read they seem to love this. Also you don't get beat up in the parking lot by your angry kid, angry kid ain't gonna want to go back to this therapist again anyway (all you did was talk about everything they did wrong in their whole life) Your words need to be upbeat and telling doctor what strengths are and what the kid is doing right (this is what kid needs to hear most) doctor can read your paper and they know what is going on.

    School had a different parent input statement that they included as page 3 of her IEP, it was just an easy guide to help teachers know how to work with her, several teachers thanked me for putting it together as they want to teach not get bit or beat on. As with most things on the internet use what you can and discard the rest and welcome to your new online family.

  5. travelingmom

    travelingmom New Member

    Hi Valentine mom, yes, you've described exactly what is happening!! And my son can very much pit my husband and I against each other. He know's how to play it. It is becoming such a problem that I'm starting to think my husband and I need to go to counseling before we can start to effectively parent this child. We do not communicate well at all, in all aspects, but especially this topic. I don't think we will be able to come to an agreement without a mediator, like a counselor. I'm going to ask him, but I think he will refuse. :(

    You were helpful, I sometimes tend to try and minimize the situation so I don't have to deal with it, but I have to look to the future of what may happen if we just keep going the way it's going. I know it won't be good for him or my husband and I.
  6. travelingmom

    travelingmom New Member

    Yes, I'm in the US. Thank you for replying! I've given your suggestion a lot of thought, and I guess my one hesitation is that he does not consistently act this way, only in the home. The teacher does have focus issues with him, but not behavior. So I wonder with the inconsistency being there, it wouldn't have to do with the brain? I'm not crossing it off the list, but just curious your thoughts about my concern?
  7. travelingmom

    travelingmom New Member

    Thank you Nancy for replying! You have your hands full! I'm sorry to hear how difficult it's been for you. II'm still torn about speaking about all the awful things he does in front of him to the psychiatric. :( I think the idea of just putting it down on paper is brilliant, so they can just read it. After I wrote my first post here the other night, I decided to start cataloging his behavior, for my own sake. Maybe i could include "a day in the life with my difficult child" so they can get an idea of the struggles we have every day.

    So would a neuropysch evaluation look for ADHD too?
    The behaviorist I went to didn't think he had ADHD, but I'm not sure if she did enough testing? It was based on the 3 surveys she gave to my husband, myself, and teacher. And then the few minutes she spoke with him, and asked him to draw, do a few math problems, ask him how he spends his free time etc..
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    A lot of our kids are only bad behaving at first. They do all they can to "hold it in" at school and then it all jumps out at us once they are home, in their safety zone. As time goes on, untreated, the behavior tends to take over in every aspect of life.

    I'd still consider it. Just because one has a disorder, that does not mean they have NO control over it at all. It's just that it can get worse without treatment and better with treatment and that we can get duped into thinking that it is our parenting. I would explore further.

    My son NEVER acted out in school, but had lots of tantrums and unacceptable behavior at home. He is on the autism spectrum. With lots of interventions and community help, he is now twenty and no longer displays any behavior problems, however many Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids still do, even as adults. I'd see a neuropsychologist. I've been a mental health patient myself all my life and have navigated the system very carefully. In the US, my strong feeling is that neuropsychs are the best diagnosticians of all because of all the intensive testing that they do that other diagnosticians don't do.

    So sorry for your sadness and wishing you well.
  9. scaredofhim

    scaredofhim Member

    I agree with Midwest Mom. My SS only behaves badly at home for the most part. He has been able to control it fairly well at school. But it is starting to slowly spill over even at school. He has acted out a couple times at school recently, but not as badly as he does at home. I know this is rough to deal with and I wish you well. God bless....
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Traveling Mom.
    You've gotten some great ideas here.
    I would agree that many of us didn't have problems with-our kids at school until they were much older. My one exception was when my son was about 5, and the regional director stopped by his kindergarten class one day ... said they were doing something musical and he just sat there. Then he got involved with-something on his own and was very fidgety. Very into his own head. Told another teacher, "There is something very wrong with that child." Wish she'd talked to me directly. Could have saved us yrs of work!
    So yes, he was a terror at home, and did fight with-his sister a lot, and had no sense of boundaries.

    When you talk about how he throws his body around, I think of Asperger's. Also, that can go along with-ADHD and ODD. Be prepared for a variety of dxes over the yrs. Very seldom do doctors, therapists and pediatricians agree. It's so hard to get a consensus!

    I'm sorry about your husband not being on the same page. I'm very glad that you have been to counseling and have learned new parenting skills. Our kids do not come neatly pkgd and there are no instructions! But some therapists have very good ideas and I'm glad you have been able to put them to good use.

    In regard to chores, I would just pick one chore for your son to do right now and stick with it. Normally I would pick a necessary life chore, but in your case, since he's so hard to deal with, I'd pick something that you know is easy for him to do. Taking out the trash from the house to the outside container? Gathering dirty towels from the bathrooms and putting them in the laundry basket? I'm not suggesting anything with-dishes because I don't know if his body space issues will make him break thing, Know what I mean??

    My husband didn't want to go to counseling, either. He's very snobby about it, thinks he can do it all himself, but has learned over the yrs that when a therapist or psychiatrist comes up with-an idea, he can go with it, like a project. Still, he refuses to see a regular counselor, say, a soc wkr or someone with-a master's degree; it has to be an MD or PhD. Sigh.
    He sometimes does the hand thing, too, which is a control issue. I usually listen to hear what he is saying, and then add to it, rather than just shutting up completely, and then when we are alone, I'll remind him, "About that hand thing ... it really irritates me and it's disrespectful to me. We don't always do everything alike and I'm sorry that you misinterpreted the scene and thought it would escalate. Next time, please make eye contact with me so that difficult child doesn't see it."
  11. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Hello! You are definitely not alone. My difficult child matches your entire list except for #5.

    How old is he? If you have a signature I am not able to see it on my phone.

    Welcome to the board!