Hello! New here :)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by iluv_myboys, Feb 24, 2007.

  1. iluv_myboys

    iluv_myboys New Member

    Hi, my name is Myah and I am new to this forum. I have two sons, ages 5 and 4. My husband is in the Navy and is gone half the time. I joined this forum for some advice and support on my oldest son, Zach. He is 5 and will be six in July. He is very, well...difficult. He has speech issues( primarily in articulation and phonics), which were diagnosed back at age 3 and these have somewhat improved, but is nowhere near where a child of 5 1/2 should be. He is extremely defiant and is very difficult to cooperate. He gives me, his preschool teacher, his speech therapist, and his occupational therapist a hard time. Even the simplest things, such as brushing his teeth or getting dressed, are never done without a struggle. I am concerned that he may have ODD. He was not diagnosed with this, but displays alot of the characteristics of it. He is constantly doing things to annoy those around him. He does it with me, my husband, and son all the time, but I have gotten several complaints from his teacher that he is delibrately distracting and annoying his fellow classmates. I had him evaluated for ADD/ADHD back in October, and the psychiatrist said that "his findings may indicate that Zachary has ADD/ADHD". We first tried Metadate, which seemed to help for the first few hours, but when it started to wear off, he would get depressed and overly emotional. After that the dr put him on Concerta, which was a horrible experience. The whole time he was on it, he cried and acted very lethargic which scared me to death! So we went back to the pediatrician, and she suggested that we keep him off all medication for now and that his adverse reactions to these milder drugs may indicate that he does not have ADD! So I am totally confused at this point and have no idea what he really needs. Zachary is not hyper, but has a very very hard time focusing, which is why he is so far behind in school. Once I can get him to focus, he does okay, but it's getting him to that point. He gives up very easily and is way too easily frustrated. He is in occupational therapy for coordination delays. I have an appointment scheduled this summer(looooong waiting list)with a pediatric neurologist, so hopefully he can tell me more.
    Zachary just stresses me out to no end. His brother wants to do everything that he does, so I usually have my hands full with both of them! I feel like i can't even enjoy my son most of the time, because I am constantly fighting with him or disciplining! And all this makes me feel like a really horrible parent. He is a very bright little boy and is really very lovable, funny, and creative, but it sometimes hard to appreciate and see all of his good points when I am constantly struggling with him!I see all these other parents with their kids and how smoothly they communicate and interact with eachother and I'm thinking "What did I do or am doing wrong??" I so desperately want to see my son thrive and succeed and I get so frustrated and discouraged sometimes because it just seems to come so naturally to some.
    Ok, now that I've written a book here, can anyone on here make any sense of this craziness? I feel so alone in this. My husbands gone alot and all of my friends have children with normal behavior. Any advice or any opinions would be totally welcomed:).
  2. amy4129

    amy4129 New Member

    Weekends are slow around here but there will be others that come along.
    First and one thing you need to remember is that some children are difficult to parent and it is not because of your parenting or lack of doing someting. Many of us have had that struggle.
    Both of my boys are still working with the diagnosis of ADHD and ODD. I say working because more and more they are looking like more
    Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified / aspergers. My point being that alot of the docs use ADD/ADHD as a starting point.
    Hugs, I'm glad you found us as you will find lots of support here.
    ps check out some of the other forums and the archives as they are a wealth of info
  3. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Welcome Myah-
    First off you are not a bad parent! You are dealing with a difficult situation. We have all questioned our parenting.
    It sounds like he some issues, whether it is adhd, with a another comorbid disorder? Who knows, With the speech issues and the medication issues I would be wanting a neuro-psychiatric evaluation. We had great results with ours.

    Some kids with adhd are not the hyper type, they call everyone ADHD and then put what type you are after,(inattentive or hyperactive/impulsive or combined type).

    First of all he sounds alot like my difficult child in some instenses, she seemed like she was trying to push us all the time!!! Still does at times... we were pretty sure she was bipolar, but didn't know what else she might be, and were told at first it was other things as well. Not that he is bipolar but a lot os these disorders have a lot of overlapping symptoms.

    What is your family history like? Is there depression, autism, alcoholism, drugs, your extended family... etc. This helps see a genetic link. Both sides of our family have depression, bipolar, alcoholism...

    I would get "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. It really helps to understand and make decisions regarding your difficult child, even if it doesn't always "work" it does help you stop and think about your decisions...and why.

    I don't know where you are, but I live were there is a shortage of everything!!! I just called for our new psychiatrist and got an apt. 3 months out and then called back recently to see if there was a list to get on in case of a cancellation, they were able to move my her apt up by 20 days!!! So it doesn't hurt to bug them a little!!! I was super friendly...

    Hang in there you have come to a great place! You might look at some of the other forums also, I ask a lot of questions in general also for the been there done that, experience!!!
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    With the speech delays, and problems with communication, I'd seriously consider Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)/autistic spectrum disorder, which is very often mistaken for ADHD at first. I'd see a developmental pediatrician. ADHD medications are not enough, and often don't help, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), if that's it. A psycologist would likely miss Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Here is a very good online test to screen for possible Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)/Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). If you're honest about your answers, it is considered quite accurate by those who post on as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) board with me. I doubt if it's ODD. ODD rarely stands alone anyways. Another disorder usually causes the child to have ODD behaviors. Well, here's the test. Good luck :smile:

  5. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Welcome, Myah. I'm glad that you found us. We've all been there, done that with much of what you are dealing with.

    Do pick up a copy of The Explosive Child and in the meantime read the thread about adapting it to young children. Many of us do have good success with it.

    Technically ODD is a diagnosis but around here we see ODD as a symptom of underlying neurological issues. If your child seems to fit the description you want to keep digging and keep working with knowledgable professionals until you find the answers.

    I agree with MM--speech delays, motor delays and behavioral issues would raise a red flag to look into Autism. Very bright borderline children are often missed by the doctors--it's usually the child's parents, teachers, or other parents who make that discovery or sond that alarm. Of course, if the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)'s don't seem to fit, do keep up your search for answers.

    Going back from birth to present, how would you answer these questions?
    2) Does/did the child
    a. Favor objects for play that aren’t typically used as toys by their peers (such as wheels, sticks, magnet letters, etc.)?
    b. Seem fascinated or obsessed by objects/topics that aren’t typical for kids of their age (such as numbers, the alphabet, words, math, geography, mechanical things such as air conditioners or vacuum cleaners, things with motors, etc)?
    c. Play “differently” with toys or household objects (such as spin them, line them up in straight lines, set them up in formations, etc.)?
    d. Exhibit weak or unusual pretend play skills such as
    -act out memorized scenes from books/films/TV/DVD instead of creating situations and dialogue
    -move toy trains around but not pretend to be the engineer, go places or pick up passengers
    -arrange pretend people or action figures but not create imaginary situations with them or have them interact with each other, etc.?
    e. Display behaviors and/or routines that seem unusual or quirky?
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I endorse MidWest Mom - do the online Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) questionnaire. Although it's not formally diagnostic it can really give you a sense of direction. If she and I are right (and it will take a specialist to confirm this) then you can take heart that your son is NOT being deliberately naughty or deliberately trying to distract everybody. It's just how he is; it's compulsive to make noises, to obsess about certain objects, shapes, colours, movement. And to h*ll with what anyone else wants from him. What HE feels he needs is of most importance because it's all he feels he can rely on. Everything else is coming from outside of him and he hasn't yet connected that it's you he needs to please.

    The language delay could well be a huge part of this. And the insistence on doing things HIS way. The difficulty getting him to do certain things - it's often an issue of having trouble changing tasks. Even if what he's doing is something he doesn't really like, if he's got himself settled and is doing it, and you come up and want to change it immediately, you have a fight on your hands. Am I right?

    There are ways to work through this, but you have to stop banging heads with him and work WITH his oddities. I give time warnings. Plus, we have a timetable difficult child 3 has to follow and a daily routine for the whole household. A lot of it is just what happens anyway, but it's helpful to recognise that if we change the routine we need to be aware that it is likely to cause problems.

    For example - difficult child 3 is playing his computer game. I may have told him to have his bath. After 6 pm our rule is he must stop playing in order to do things like eat dinner or have his bath, but I know he needs help. We USED to tell him, then tell him again, then again, and finally walking up and shutting off the game. This would provoke outrage and he STILL would not get his bath or his dinner without more shouting. The evening would be a write-off and we would all be angry.
    Now - I tell him, "It's time for your bath. Either pause your game or get to a save point fast, then have your bath." I might ask him how long he thinks he needs. Or I might tell him, "you have fifteen minutes." Then I get a brightly coloured sticker (Post-it note) and stick it on the corner of the TV, with the time on it. I might write, "bath - by 6.15 pm." That way he can;t claim to not know. And these kids often DO forget they've been told, or are concentrating so hard they don't hear. The note proves I wasn't lying when I come back and say, "Why aren't you in your bath?"
    By this stage, if he hasn't been able to save and stop the game, he will pause it to have his bath. That's because he knows I will not shut it off. To do so is to show him disrespect. Some people may think this is pandering to a badly behaved kid and spoiling him, but it doesn't work that way. Instead, I'm modelling for him the behaviour I want him to show. By showing him respect, I am teaching him to show respect. And it IS working.
    Yes, there are times when he says the wrong thing. Often it's because an adult that day has modelled this for him. Listen to how parents/grandparents talk to kids. They often demand respect and get angry and punish if they don't get respect. This, with these kids, works the opposite. If you get angry and punish these kids, they think this is the right way for them to behave. So they do it back. And we punish again. And we wonder why their behaviour is getting worse, not better. Example again - difficult child 3 was sitting in the car next to grandma. He had asked a question and while I tried to answer it for him, grandma softly spoke the answer to him. He couldn't hear us both (and grandma should have not tried to say anything, we've tried to enforce with everybody, "one person speaking at a time" round difficult child 3) and so he got cross with grandma. He said crossly, "You spoke too softly. I'm not deaf!" We scolded him for being rude to grandma (he's far enough along "The Explosive Child" for us to be working on behaviour) and he accepted it, but really, his reaction was understandable. It took us a long time to establish ground rules for managing his behaviour and "too many cooks" was the first thing we worked on. Trouble is, we're a large family and people WILL keep putting in their oar and then expecting us to chastise him when he gets angry at being told off by everybody in the room. But we won't chastise another adult in his hearing, if we can help it. It's also part of teaching him respect.

    A lot of this is explained more in "The Explosive Child". There is some discussion on this book on the Early Childhood forum - have a read through.

    The biggest problem I see for you - convincing your husband to change from being an authoritarian to being much more relaxed with discipline. I'm making assumptions I know, but you said he's in the Navy and away a lot. This is likely to mean that when he comes home he seems to think that strict, consistent discipline will fix it. it won't. It will probably make things worse, which is why you're seeing what you describe as oppositional behaviour.

    I'm hoping that it's not oppositional. Not yet. It will become so, fully fledged, if you can't get some answers though. So while you're waiting for someone to make up their mind about what hid diagnosis is, play with some discipline alternatives. Consistency is important - not just in discipline. You can't change the rules you've set down, halfway through. If you have announced a punishment and he completes it but halfheartedly (but he HAS completed it) you shouldn't suddenly change the punishment to include extra. After all, if he's being so difficult all you would need to do is wait and he will transgress again, if he's being defiant.

    The thing is, I don't think this is defiance. It just looks like it.

    Something that might help - try sitting beside him, watch what he does, maybe even do what he does.If he's building with Lego, do the same. If he's playing a computer game, ask him if you can join in (and get him to show you how). Try and get into his head. Observe the way he moves, what he looks at, what makes him happy and what makes him frustrated. Take notes. Keep a diary. Read through it to see if you can see any patterns.

    If we're right, this can be good news. There are a lot of good things that can be done for these kids nowadays. They have some remarkable qualities and, with the right support, can make you so very proud of them. They ARE a lot of work but it is worth it, in my opinion. Very much worth it.