Help! I have an 8 yr old boy with ADHD and ODD

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by laurasiew, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. laurasiew

    laurasiew New Member

    Hello all,

    This is my first time posting and I'm glad I've found this site. My son is 8 and was diagnosed almost a year ago with ADHD and ODD. We started therapy with a female therapist, but he didn't trust her and refused to cooperate. I had to literally drag him into his last visit and of course that was the last time. He has a male school counselor that he is seeing now who is helping with his issues at school (staying on task, paying attention, respecting his teachers) and the plan we (the therapist, school counselor and I) came up with is to work on him building a trusting therapeutic relationship with someone in hopes of him being less resistant to a new therapist. We hope that we can start with a new therapist soon.

    My son has an explosive temper and very low frustration tolerance. Since he has been a toddler, he can lose himself in a spiraling rage over something as simple as tying his shoes. He is now on Adderall XR and Tenex and the rages have been less intense, less frequent and last 1-2 hours instead of 6-8 hours. My heart is broken because he wants to do better and completely understands his behavior is unacceptable but we can't figure out how to control it. Over the last few months I've seen his self-esteem plummet and I believe he's developing Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) (obsessed with eating utensils being clean).

    I feel like I've tried everything and keep hitting walls. Conflicting information has me spinning in every direction. More discipline, less discipline and more rewards, use humor, I can't figure out what works!!! And the criticism I get from everyone doesn't help either.

    I'm in the Greater Los Angeles area and starting to think I need to research a day program or some kind of intensive treatment. I'm a single mom with a loving family but it seems like no one really understands what it's like or what I should do. I'm a non-working student as well so my finances are extremely limited and his insurance doesn't seem to be taking us very far.

    Not sure what kind of advice I'm looking for at this point, I just want him to be a happy kid. When he's great, he's really GREAT. I love this child more than anything and I just want to help him.

  2. Chaosuncontained

    Chaosuncontained New Member

    I am new to the board also--and these ladies will be able to give you a ton of great advice. I alas, can only give you a ((hug)).

    My son is also 8. He is ADHD (diagnosis at age 4) and was recently diagnosis as having a mood disorder. I find that being consistent in my rules and in my dicipline (we take away "gaming" privilages) works best with us. My son also has a hard time with therapy. He does better with women than men, and had one for over a year before he started talking to her--and still they do more "play" therapy than anything else. It takes awhile for mine to feel a connection with someone, he also is close to his school conselour.

    Hang in there, I can tell you love him very much, you're doing a good job.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Who diagnosed him? Is he on medications? How was his early development?
  4. laurasiew

    laurasiew New Member

    Thank you for the encouragement. The positive words seem so much more powerful coming from someone who knows.

    He was diagnosis with both on his first visit with his psychiatrist, whom I just researched and realized he may be younger and less experienced that I had thought before. He is currently on Adderall XR and Tenex (an alpha blocker).

    He challenges every rule or boundary at home. At school he often chooses to sit and stare at his work instead of staying on task. He has great peer relationships (thank God) but struggles with massive shyness (which may simply be the defiance) when speaking, or should I say not speaking, with adults. He is not outright rude to others (saying mean things), he simply challenges authority.

    Developmentally, he was right on schedule with just about everything except for his fine motor skills which can still be a great source of frustration today. even He didn't tie his shoes until he was about 7 and writing anything on paper is like being in purgatory for him. He is also hyper sensitive, using a pencil feels like scratching a chalkboard, which I completely understand because I feel the same way. He is highly intelligent and one of, if not the, smartest kid in his class but he chooses to not apply himself. Motivation is minimal.

    We have a reward chart and I do my best to identify and praise the things he does well. We've shown a little progress with this. Punishments are difficult and I'm in search of new ideas. Taking away video games, tv, playdates and things of the sort are no longer working. He's hardly phased by losing priveleges. Timers, long forewarning (15 minutes) and humor seem to be helping, but I need more. There has to be something or somewhere I can go.

    I'm also struggling with finding support for myself. My insurance doesn't cover mental health and I just can't afford counseling. All my friends either don't have children or have babies. They try to support, but they just don't quite get it.
    I try to celebrate the little successes and take joy in them, which is encouraging, but some days that's just not enough.

    What keeps you guys strong through the day? How do you keep yourself from pulling all of your hair out?
  5. thunder

    thunder Guest

    Your guy sounds like mine. He is now 11, going on 12, and seems to be getting a better handle on his explosive temper. From his toddler years up until last year, he would have an almost "out of body" meltdown explosion when experiencing frustration. Most of the time his anger was directed at me. I learned however that a child will vent his frustration at those he loves the most. He feels secure in knowing that no matter how he acts, you will still love him (there's a compliment in there somewhere!). As he has gotten older, I have used confining him to his room/grounding him when he gets an outburst, it works somewhat, but what seems to work the best for him is humor....and lots of it. I also feel that a little maturity (although he is very immature for his age) has helped him to understand himself. Wish I had more advice for you. Just wanted to let you know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Good luck!
  6. Chaosuncontained

    Chaosuncontained New Member

    You asked what keeps us from pulling our hair out...sometimes nothing. Sometimes (for me) knowing his mood will change later and this one will pass (for awhile anyway). I don't have any friends who have difficult child. They are all easy child. It's sometimes too hard for them to understand.

  7. jdonovan

    jdonovan New Member

    I am sorry for your situation. I too am new to this site and am having very similar problems. My daughter is 8 and has been back and forth to therapist and psychologist since she was about 2. She was diagnosis with ODD when she was about 4 at the time. They say she is borderline ADHD but she isn't on medications. She is now beginning to have some serious aggressive and violent outbursts. I am at my whits end. I wish I had some advice for you but all I have is sympathy. I am taking her tomorrow to an appointment with her Region Ten counselor and am going to talk about a possible hospitalization so they can get her diagnosis properly. I am having surgery on the 31 and will be down and out for 2 weeks and worry for my younger children and her safety.
    Do you have any problems with him being violent or threatening?
    Does he ever seem depressed or talk about wishing himself or you dead?

    I have those problems and hope that you don't share them. Good luck and I hope everything works itself out soon.
  8. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member


    If I had to do it all again, I would worry less. Seriously. I worried about so many things that never even happened. I tried to be so prepared for every possibility. As long as safety is not an issue, think about talking to him about the rules you have put in place. Ask him what he would use for punishment, talk through how he believes that will change his behavior. Let him play a role. Many of these difficult children are controllers and to include them is very helpful.

    Worry less and work on one small thing at a time. Don't worry that your child is not 'student of the week' - ever. It is so not important when they get older.
  9. novangel

    novangel Guest

    I know this reply wasn't directed to me but this made me feel somewhat better. I worry almost constantly about the "what if's", his future and how well he's doing in school in comparison to the other kids. Very draining.
  10. Hi there... Wow... it is good to find this site. My son is almost 6, issues for several years, and now diagnosis for ADHD ODD with a tic. The psychiatrist prescribed Tenex and he's been on it and having too many side affects so I am wondering... How does one get off the medication???

    I also would like to give you what is working for us... parenting called "loving our kids on purpose" by danny silk... best thing I ever did for my family.

    I too am a single-mom and have little to no bio-family support and I didn't realize how much people think they have to say about things because they are afraid.

    AND.... the only way through these challenges in JESUS... prayer, faith, love...

    I pray you have a blessed day and you son becomes the blessing he is called to be. You are not alone.
    Lasted edited by : Feb 10, 2011
  11. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Just as a note. This is not a religious board. We have people of many faiths and creeds, or no faith at all on this board.

    There is nothing wrong with following a strong belief system. Many people find great comfort in their belief. We just try not to alienate others with differing beliefs.

    Hope you understand and best of luck to you.
  12. cutietwinkletoes

    cutietwinkletoes New Member

    wow I feel for you, my best friends son has ADHD and on talking to her after seeing your post she recommended the book " ADD/ADHD drug free" by Frank Jacobelli and L.A Watson, the first half of the book is what they have done with kids with these conditions and the second half of the book is things you can do with your child like excercises you can do with them, I am not sure if you are much of a reader but my mate said it helped her with her situation and her son is much more calmer now he is 10 and due to her relationship break up it took her years to get him officially diagnosed he is still on medication but what she says of the book is ways to help them instead of or ontop of using medications depending on your situation, good luck hun and hugs =)
  13. Loony Smurf

    Loony Smurf Member

    It could be that he needs a medication dose adjustment or a different medicine. It could also be that ADHD/ODD isnt the right diagnosis. The tactile sensitivities are very common in Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) for instance...the rages can be seen in all sorts of disorders such as mood disorders etc. The not doing his work despite being smart enough could be from a learning disability. There's sooo many things that could be a factor..dont just settle for whatever the psychiatric says just cause it's Something. It might not be the Right something. I'd say that if he cant follow the therapy and structure even with the medications, perhaps that's because he isnt really medically stable enough for him to physically be Able to control himself for some reason.
  14. MammaLisa

    MammaLisa New Member

    I am new to this forum ...but I read your post about having insurance that doesn't cover mental health. My sons insurance only covered short term mental health as well ...but because of his symptoms of aggressive behavior, he was made eligible for the Community Mental health Program here in Michigan. I am fairly certain most states have one available for people with severe problems and low income. I'm hoping this information was helpful. FYI: The screening process took about an hour on the phone. Good luck.