First 911 Call, Scared....

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by lynnp, Jul 17, 2007.

  1. lynnp

    lynnp New Member

    Hi everyone, I am a longtime lurker and have posted just a few times. I am short on time (which I know isn't an excuse) but have always felt that if I can't give to this site than I shouldn't be asking for a lot of your time. Given the stress of the last few weeks I'll make the committment to be a more active memeber. I've found great comfort in your words and have learned so much from all of you.

    My difficult child is 12. He does fairly well in school and functions well outside the home. He has friends, is a great athlete and is a good and kind person when he chooses to be. At home it's a different story. He's angry, negative and verbally cruel to his 7 year old brother. He has had a history of violent rages in the past but those ended a couple of years ago until Sunday night. He lost is grandfather in May and since that time has become increasingly hostile. He returned from a great visit to his aunt in Florida two weeks ago and since then really challenged every ounce of patience we have. He argues everything and is frustrated by the smallest things. He is seldom happy, just angry, and the happy periods seem to be more silly and strange then really happy.

    Sunday night he had a major meltdown and become very violent. Broke things, hit my husband, threatened to kill himself (even wrapped a cord around his neck) and threatened to kill us. We called 911 and transported him to the hospital. By the time we got there he was calm and whining about wasting his time. We were "evaluated" by someone without much training (no offense but I have a graduate degree in counseling and knew as much as she did!) and were sent home. They would have kept him if we'd wanted but we really didn't see the point. By the time we got home he was his "normal" self and, in his own way, I think was sorry about the whole thing. We live in a very rural community, the nearest major medical center is two hours away. Mental health care is frighteningly limited.

    Now my questions...we're finding this "warrior" parent mentality pretty challenging. I know that it's imperative we set strong limits and have a zero tolerance policy for violence. What does zero tolerance really look like and what happens if we call 911 again? Do they just keep sending us home? He has "run" a couple of times in the past but not far and has returned within a couple of hours. I'm terrified of him doing that and, as a result, I don't think I'm as firm as I should be. How do we start this uphill journey? How do you find the strength to make decsions and stick wtih them? I am so worried about adolescence! He is very articulate but completely unable to communicate feelings and frustrations. He was evaluated a year and a half ago and the only thing they could comp up with was not otherwise specified anxiety.

    We have him hooked up with a therapist on Wednesday who we like and who has a great deal of experience with behaviorally challenged kids. We made going to therapy a requirement of going to skateboard camp but I worry about his compliance with another evaluation and continued therapy.

    I'd appreciate and advice or words or wisdom. I realize you have a great deal...
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I don't have much time this morning but wanted to say welcome
    and also that I think you have made a great step in finding a
    therapist that is trustworthy. Usually these complex issues take
    quite a bit of time so don't get your hopes up for a quick fix.
    If you have a therapist that he will trust...that's a huge big
    step forward. Sending supportive hugs. DDD
  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator


    Sorry for all the questions, but your answers will help us point you in the right direction.
    Has your difficult child ever been evaluated by a child psychiatrist and/or a neuropsychologist?
    What is being done to treat his anxiety?
    Is he on any medications? If so, what?

    Again, welcome. You will find a lot of support here.
  4. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    lynnp, I also have an explosive son, age 11. We've never called 911, though I do think it has its place. My difficult child was also adopted at birth and it took a long time for me to convince myself that none of his mental issues had to do with environment. His bio father is in jail (again) and has self medicated for years, thus the evident fact that our difficult child has inherited this behavior in response to his inherited mental issues. I'm still not so sure that difficult child isn't bipolar, though he has yet to actually be diagnosed with such. About three months ago he was started on Lithium and there is a profound change in his behavior. Why he wasn't started on a mood stabilizer before, I don't know unless he just plain wasn't old enough. Everything isn't rosy, because now he has to UNlearn some behaviors he's had for a long time, but he's SO improved. Perhaps you could talk to his doctor about trying a mood stabilizer. The first one my son was on was a nightmare...he became extremely violent to the point I was running for the bathroom to lock myself in it. I didn't give we have the Lithium and oh, such a difference! He was so far out of it with his behavior before that no amount of behavior mods could work because he was so unstable. Please, talk with your doctor. No one, I mean NO ONE, should have to be living like it sounds like you are. We did.....and it was a disservice to all of us.
  5. lynnp

    lynnp New Member

    Thanks for your response. In Feb. 2006 he was evaluated at a Pediatric Insitute by a developmental pediatrician, a child psychologist and a social worker. The gave us a diagnosis of mild anxiety, non-specific but really weren't even adamant about that. They said we could try St. John's Wort or go the more traditional medical route but since he was functioning well to hold off for a bit. We agreed with that because he will take next to NO medications and couldn't imagine how we could get them in him on a daily basis.

    He does suffer from encopresis and is resistant to those medications as well. He is able to swallow a ducolax every day. We've always treated this as a medical problem but I know it has drastically lowered his self-esteem.

    We have our fingers crossed for this new therapist. Although he is articulate he is very non-verbal and unable to communicate his feelings.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Has your child ever been tested for Aspergers or Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified? I

    If you mean he doesn't communicate well, I'd go the neuropsychologist route. They do very intensive testing and can spot issues that other professionals tend to miss. in my opinion, I'd skip the talk therapist until you know what you're dealing with. A Child Psychiatrist as a second opinion would also be good, in my opinion. Kids on the Spectrum often can't connect well with behavioral therapists and they need a different type of parenting anyways as they are "quirky" thinkers. Often it's hard to get that Aspergers diagnosis too, but it becomes more obvious when they get older. I'm not saying he has it, but he certainly has symptoms and I'd want him checked out again by a fresh pair of eyes.

    Welcome :smile:
  7. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    lynnp, my son suffers from encopresis, too. We've done everything there is to do. I'm glad they finally made Miralx over the counter, but it really doesn't do much good. Last month I finally took him to a pediatric gastrointerologist and all they really did was confirm it with x-rays. Said continue the Miralax and try to get him to "sit" every single day, just to get into the habit. She said often it's a "control" issue. difficult children can't control anything else, so they'll control that. Sure is difficult now that he's almost twelve. It's a TINY bit better, but not so you'd know it. He starts intermediate school in the fall and I'm terribly worried about his self esteem there.

    We also took our difficult child to Tx Children's Hospital for a complete multidisciplinary evaluation a couple of years ago. Honestly, all they did was confirm everything I'd already told them...duh!

    It's very difficult to raise our children. I'm glad you've joined our group! Welcome!

  8. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It never ceases to amaze me at how many children have huge anger issues who were adopted at birth. Some feel that if the child is adopted at birth then don't have the same issues that children who were adopted later do. I have come across so many of us who thought the love and stability we could provide would make up for almost anything else.

    Your story is vary familiar to me. We began calling 911 when our difficult child was about 12-13. Several times she was transported to the hospital. Each time we were sent home because she was not in imminent danger to herself or others. We never came across any hospital personnel who wre helpful at all.

    We began a paper trail with our local police dept on difficult child. She was running away from home, cuttng school, staying out all hours, running with druggies and drinking alochol and one time even snorted adderall. We knew that the problems would only escalate unless we could get her help. Our local juvenile detective was wonderful. He called her in several times with us to talk to her. We had the police out to our house many times and each time they tried to scare her. We knew some of the police by name they had come so often. Finally they sent her case downtown and she ended up being sent to detention for 3 days. That seemed to be the one thing that got her attention.

    She was put on probation and had to do community service. She spent her entire summer last year taking care of horses at a camp for disabled kids.

    She is now 16 and thinsg are better than I had ever hoped they could be. And yet we are still dealing with anger issues. Today she dropped her brand new cell phone in the bathtub...our big bathtub in our bedroom that she isn;t suppose to use unless I am there. Instead of being upset with herself she acts out in anger demanding I get her old cell phone reactivated. Any time she ever deals with disappointment or frustration she takes her anger out on me.

    I am sure her anger comes from very deep inside herself, most of it because of adoption issues and all the feelings that come with it.

    I don't know if what we did would help you, it all depends on how helpful your community police dept is and the risk you are willing to take. We got to the point where we had to do something very drastic because she was acting our violently and it would only get worse.

    I hope you find something that will help your situation. It is awful living in a home where you are afraid of your child.

  9. lynnp

    lynnp New Member

    Hi, what seems to work well for us is a ducolax on Friday night, Saturday morning, Saturday night and Sunday morning. Honestly, we've stopped the Miralax because it seems to make it worse. It took us a long time to believe that. He also seems to do well in the summer when there's no school and plenty of watermelon... :smile:
  10. lynnp

    lynnp New Member

    Nancy, from what I've read though, adopted kids are no more likely to have anger issues that birth kids. Do you think, lucky us, that the angry kids parents just show up here? I do worry about the juvenile system. Part of me thinks it would wake him up a bit, the other part of me is scared to death...
  11. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Hello Lynn welcome.

    I also thing a neuropsychologist evaluation might be the best route for you to go at this point.

    Out of control anxiety can sometimes trigger depression. And depression in kids not uncommonly shows up as anger. Hopefully difficult child will cooperate with any new evaluations you get and you'll be able to have a better fix on what the problems are in order to treat them.

    As far as a trip to the ER goes, or even calling 911.... For me it's a child who is a danger to themselves/and or others. Physical violence against a family member would also warrent a 911 call in my book. I look at it this way, if a child is so out of control to reach that point then it's time for the professionals to step in and do their jobs. There is no reason to put difficult child or the family in danger just because he has an illness.

  12. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    lynnp, from my experience and what have read and talked to with therapists who have worked with these kids I would disagree with you on that but good that you find that true. I agree it is very very scarey. Don't think for a minute that we weren't scared to death. My husband is a defense about having to do something so against your principles.

  13. huskermom3

    huskermom3 New Member

    hello, first time doing this. I have an almost 13 year old daughter who is being treated for bipolar, asperger's and has pretty severe learning delays. We are still fighting to have a diagnoses for how severe her delay or mental disability is. She has been having raging issues over the course of the past several months and finally attacked her 3 year old brother, which got her put on seroquel. She had an allergic reaction to depakote and can't take carbatrol so she just started lithium tonight....I am very concerned and am wanting to get input from other parents of children on this medication. It feels like I am in an uphill battle with the medical community to figure out what is going on! Also, does anyone else have a child/teen that says that they hear 'voices' in their heads? She says that she does before she starts getting into one of her rages. The new doctor that we started seeing (now visits) just tells me to ignore her, but she seems very upset by it and is scared. Oh wow, there is so much to our story, and I feel sooo overwhelmed, but I hope I can find out that we aren't the only ones ut there going through this.
    -Tammy (scared mother of 3)
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Lynnp, you said, " have always felt that if I can't give to this site than I shouldn't be asking for a lot of your time" - don't feel guilty at dumping on us. We don't tot up hours someone's asked for help vs hours they've been there to support someone else. besides, often in answering your problems, someone else can be helped. Sometimes by just reading about it.

    Example: Husker, right above this post of mine. Tammy, you need to post your own new thread on your own issue because using Lynn's, you run the risk of being overlooked. Although I do see similarities.

    Both of you - the out of control anxiety can also trigger rages. Not just depression. I know, we live with it. We're constantly dealing with difficult child 3 especially, and his anxiety, but all three of my 'at home' children can have runaway anxiety and explode, sometimes at the same time. Not a pretty sight. An argument between two of them with each other, or with husband (it's me, less often) can set off a tantrum in one which can be echoed by another and they all go down like ninepins.

    MWM has made a very useful suggestion. As usual, she got in before me with it, I was going to say the same thing. Because she & I both live with the effects of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in the household, we know just how far-reaching is the scope of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) and the impact it can have on the behaviour of our kids.

    Anxiety can do incredible things. It can also link in with depression.
    Picture a kid in a panic - anyone in a panic, really. Imagine being in a room with someone who is terrified of spiders and you're standing between them and the door when a spider drops down from the ceiling. If you don't move fast you'll get knocked down in the rush. And so often, the anxiety in our kids is being heightened by what we're doing or saying, so the more we 'push', the worse the behaviour until they rage.

    Both of you - grab a copy of "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. I thought, with all my experience raising my sisters' kids before I ever had any of my own, plus my early teaching training, that I could handle any parenting crisis. Not so. I've found I have to unlearn a lot of things which I used to consider as the right way to manage. Now I've had to learn to be intuitive, to be inventive, to think outside the square and above all, to find out what makes my kids tick.
    You can also find some discussion on this book in Early Childhood. But do get your hands on it. It's not a cure but it IS a darn good management system.

    Tammy, you need to begin your own thread about your daughter, you need answers in a different direction.

    Lynnp, check out the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) questionnaire on You can't use it to diagnose, but it can give you a heads up, plus you can take the printout along to a doctor's appointment for their thoughts on the matter.

    But never underestimate the power of anxiety, to have some surprising and devastating consequences.

  15. lynnp

    lynnp New Member

    Thank you Marg, I did the assessment on childbrain and got a score of 42 or no Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). If it was Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) wouldn't it show up in places other than home? His behavior is almost 100% of an issue at home.
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Sometimes home is where they let their guard down, and so they behaviour can be worse there. They hold it together all day (with effort) and then come home and let fly. because they know you love them, no matter what.

    The Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) score - from memory, 42 is close to the border. Keep a copy of the result for later reference for you, in case you see something you hadn't noticed before. For example - difficult child 3 makes a sort of throat-clearing noise. It's been getting a lot louder in recent weeks. He said a couple of days ago, he makes the noise because he's trying to clear his throat of phlegm from his sinus infection. It is what he believes, but I don't buy it - the noise is worse when he's anxious, or concentrating on schoolwork.
    But if I'd done the test with the statement from difficult child 3 in my mind, that he's only clearing his throat - he would get a different score.

    difficult child 3's behaviour outside the home is generally impeccable. He talks non-stop to total strangers, but superficially he can seem normal to the casual observer.
    At the GP today, it was a new bloke who I think was a bit surprised at difficult child 3's long-winded descriptions and constant talking. Asked if he had any fever, difficult child 3 went into details about how often he has taken his temperature, as well as a summary of the full range of scores he has had in this process. I was noticing that his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a lot more obvious than usually found, outside home - a sign he's not well and not holding himself together as well as he usually does.

    difficult child 3 is well adjusted and accepting of his autism. However, he still does his utmost to "pretend to be normal" as he calls it. When he's not well, he has to try much harder, and since he's always trying his hardest, I can see the facade slip.

    Get yourself a hold of "The Explosive Child" - read the discussion on Early Childhood - and develop your own working hypothesis for your son. Don't worry too much about the label, just get into his head and work out your own description. Labels are good for getting support funding; understanding is good for getting better communication with him at home.

    There is a lot going on inside these kids which we often have trouble accepting and understanding. Sometimes we punish what they can't control - very sad. We need to help them learn control, but in a supportive way and not a punitive way. We keep the ultimate goal in mind - we want them to grow up to be happy, independent and productive. Sometimes we despair of ever coming close to that goal, but we should never lose sight of it.