HELP! I'm drowning!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by tayli, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. tayli

    tayli New Member

    Now that I finally found where to put this. I apologize if you see this in one or two other places.
    Hello all! I need help, solace, and sanity. I feel like I am completely drowning. The following are pretty much my daily emotions :surprise::mad::angry-very::sad-very::faint::anxious: I have a special needs son. He's a one of a kind being born with half a heart and he has so many other problems, diseases, disabilities. Then 3 years ago he was diagnosed (diagnosis) with ADHD and now recently he was diagnosis with ODD. Don't get me wrong, I am proud to know my son is a fighter and survivor. Especially after having had a stroke at 2 1/2 year old and not giving up or giving in. He's my little Superman. But to top it off his ODD is getting completely out of control. A friend of mine who now lives over 3 hours away has a son with ODD as well and she has given me more and better suggestions than the therapists. But it's still just not enough. What's worse is that I am now fighting for full custody because his disney dad is rarely involved if at all. Yet he still is fighting to keep shared custody when he lives half the nation away. It breaks my heart that he is not more involved with our son and that he continues to break our son's heart.
    I'm just at my wit's end! Today he tried to act like he was dictator of the house. Trying to boss us around. Of course it didn't work but he still remained demanding. I surely corrected him but it never sets in. I also explained what happend to a certain "dictator" we all know who is now 6ft. under. I didn't tell him that that was what would happen to him but I did tell him that people don't take to kindly to people, especially children trying to dictate what others are to do. I know he needs more of my time but I just don't know how to squeeze much out. I have so much on my plate that if I took anything off my plate I might lose the little bit of sanity I have been left to cling onto all these years. I have almost lost him so many times in so many ways. But I dare say this is almost worse than going through him have had his stroke. I can't even get him to really co-operate with me to get his homework done. And now our nurse is quitting at the end of the month because he has become abusive toward her every morning when he is supposed to be getting ready. He's been awful before but this school year takes the cake - big time. To top it off my ex tells my son's gaurdian et litem that my son is basically an angel when he is out there. Hello! Duh! Disney Dad! This summer was the first time he's seen his dad in 2 years and he was there for 4 weeks. Now that he's back home he's only heard from his dad maybe 6 times and he's been home since mid july.:angry-very: The man complained when child support was raised - but he wasn't even paying 17% of his income. And I am sorry if you're not going to be there for you child or even support your child emotionally then buddy you better believe you're resposible to at least support him financially.
    Added injury - I was in a car accident last spring and almost died 2 times. Let me tell you my son made me a believer in the power of prayer a long time ago and this definately renewed that belief. But I still need help with the ODD.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi. A few questions that will help us help you.
    1/ Who diagnosed him? ODD rarely travels alone, and ADHD/ODD is a common first diagnosis. It often is not the last one.

    2/Would his stroke cause any changes in behavior? I don't know anything about strokes, especially in kids. I do know my grandfather had one and was different after that. Has your doctor addressed a possible connection with you and has he told you what to do about it if he thinks it is possible?

    3/Have you had any genetics testing to see why he may be vulnerable to a stroke? I'm fishing around here, don't even know if this is an intelligent question. My own son had a complete genetic evaluation.

    4/Any mood disorders, substance abuse or forms of autism on the family tree on either side? You may want to do a signature like I did below.

    Welcome to the board. Others will come along.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oops, forgot something important. Do you live in the US? The treatment, diagnostic people, and even certain diagnoses can be different. In some countries they won't diagnoses early onset bipolar, for examples. So it's kind of important to know if you're in the US or elsewhere so that somebody from there can help you.
  4. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Wanted to add my welcome. How old is your son? What medications if any is he on. Sometimes medications can add to ODD like behaviours.
    Sorry you had to find us but this is a great group!
  5. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Hi tayli

    Wow! You've got a full plate for sure.

    Feel free to post anywhere you like, but this forum is dedicated to helping parent navigate the education system. After posting, I'm going to move your thread to the General; lots of parents there that may have input for you.

    Re: ODD. There's a thread in the Sp Ed Archives entitled something like ODD in the classroom. These techniques can be used in the home environment also.

    Sounds like your difficult child has lots going on with medical, neurological disorders, and an absent parent. Under the circumstances, I'd probably be "ODD" too.

    Many times ODD type behaviors are representative of underlying neurological disorders that haven't been identified by professionals, hence, no treatment for the real underlying problem(s).

    If your child is having problems in school, post again in the event we can help.

    Welcome to the site.:D
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Welcome, Tayli.

    YOu've had some good feedback so far.

    A suggestion to help with the behaviour problems NOW, regardless of the underlying cause - "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. There is some good discussion on this, in a sticky on the Early Childhood forum.

    Your son probably feels a strong need to control his environment - so much of what has happened to him in life has been out of his control. He would have been scared, felt ill, felt very frustrated and also probably felt very invisible at times. Doctors talking to you and not to him, sends him a message that whatever he thinks or feels, doesn't matter.

    With this sort of behaviour problem, there can be many different reasons why it begins, but a lot of it comes down to underlying fear or anxiety, plus a need to plan their own life, organise their own time, set things up so they can predict what is going to happen. They don't always take well to sudden change and need time to accept this. And it needn't be a big thing - sometimes just changing the TV channel can need to be prepared for.

    To help change this - you will need to change the way you handle him now. This doesn't mean you've been doing it wrong - just that the way you've been doing it, is wrong for him, where he is now. It's ironic that the worse kids behave, the tighter we tend to hold the reins and apply our controls. But where this method is sensible and works so well for most kids, it only makes these kids worse.

    So the Ross Greene methods do work better, under these circumstances. You can turn around oppositional behaviour, and it needn't be a huge effort, either. But you DO need to take the information on board and work out how your son thinks and feels, in order to find a better way to help him change his behaviour for the better.

    A big thing - natural consequences, instead of punishments. because when you punish, again it is someone else imposing their will onto the child. Again, this increases their frustration and resentment. Punishment is supposed to help the child learn to behave better, but it won't do this if the child doesn't 'get' the connection to what they have done, or if the child cannot see that they did anything wrong. With a resentful child, nothing positive gets learned.

    But with natural consequences - it is not the parent who is imposing their will, it is simply happening because of what the child did. The connection between event and outcome is much more obvious. No blame is focussed on necessarily, because it's not about blame. Too often we become obsessed with blame and our children pick this up; the games begin and the mutual blaming distracts us from the real issues.
    Someone drops a glass and it breaks. We fuss about whose fault it was - who dropped it? But who placed it too close to the edge? Who got it out of the cupboard in the first place? And so on. Meanwhile, there is broken glass on the floor, while people argue over who has more responsibility for cleaning it up.
    In this case, consequences are too difficult to focus on. Blaming is getting nowhere. But if you cooperate - say to the child, "Can you fetch me the dustpan please? We need to get this glass off the floor as soon as possible, we'll do a safer job if we help each other. Will you sweep it up while I fetch some newspaper, or will you fetch some newspaper while I sweep?"
    Chances are the child will help. Encourage him, thank him for his help. Ask him to use his good eyes to look for any bit that could have been missed.

    Natural consequences - if any glass was missed, someone risks cutting their feet. Again, blame doesn't come into it.

    Another example - your child was eating a lollipop outside on the back step and put it down for a minute to go inside. When the child comes back, it's covered in ants. Most difficult child kids will throw a tantrum over this. You COULD focus on blame and say, "Well, whose fault is this?" and the ODD child will get very aggressive and shout, "I didn't give the ants permission to eat MY lollipop!" or something similar. He could even accuse you of letting it happen, or of not rescuing the lollipop for him. All because the topic of blame got raised.

    But in fact - this is not about blame. Certainly YOU aren't to blame. This is about LEARNING that ants love sugar, and you DON'T leave food lying around unattended, even for a minute. The most important thing to come out of this, is to LEARN.

    As for what to do - in our house, we'd wash the lollipop. I'd preferably get the child to wash it, but I might wash the lollipop while the child watches (and helps, by checking to see if I got all the ants off).

    What should happen with the change in methods - the child should stop seeing the parent as an obstacle, always spoiling their fun, and begin to see the parent as a helper, someone to turn to when there is a problem. Blame can be a huge trigger, but the lessons can still be learned, often more effectively, without blame or "I told you so".

    We need to keep that aim in focus - we don't want justice as a primary aim, we want learning. Justice is just something we hope happens as part of the process. Too often we get sidetracked by it and never get to the learning stage.

    Read the book (or at least the discussion). Google info about it. See what you can find.

    And stick around, we can help. Good to have you on board!