Help odd is killing our family!!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by lostinthis, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. lostinthis

    lostinthis New Member

    I am a 34yr old pediatric RN and mother of 3 kids, a 8yr old daughter, 5 1/2 yr son, and a 1yr old daughter. My son has always been more physical and "high maintenance than the girls but I just assumed it was boy. Well things have really boiled over lately. In the last 6mos, we had to remove him from kindergarten due to stealing insignificant stuff, HUGE temper tantrums of kicking, hitting, and screaming like a baby. And recently had our babysitter of 8yrs state that she cannot watch him anymore after he kicked, punched and threw a flashlight at her head. This child fights about stupid stuff. Yesterday he loved spaghetti but today he hates it, throws it at me and refuses to eat. When placed in his room he kicks the door, screams, and throws things at the door and walls and when that doesn't work he opens the door and throws things at the baby and myself. We cannot leave him alone with the baby as he taunts her by taking toys, moving food out of her reach and today he went as far as standing over her with his face in hers and screamed at the top of his lungs to wake her because he was mad he lost hot chocolate for continuously kicking the car seats and doors on the ride home. My husband is a firefighter and can be gone for 3days straight which is costing our marriage because after 3 days of constant power struggles and the continuous mental bashing my son does I begin to get angry and resent my husband for not having to deal with it and tuning out for 3days. I truly feel he can't wait to go to work. I work 20hrs a week. My son has been seeing a psychologist for 6 mos and he has tested him so far no ADHD or ADD and above average intelligence but obvious ODD. We are extremely consistent parents who ALWAYs follow through on punishment BUT this kid could care less. You take away his favorite toy he doesn't care, we made him unwrap some christmas presents that he really wanted and donate them to the poor ---DIDN"T CARE!! I am at an absolute loss and my marriage is on the brink, my 8yr old sobs due to my sons harsh words to her and us...... H E L P!!! any advise would be great. (PS I was also a police officer for over 10 yrs) So I am no pushover and have a lot of patience but he has worn me out.
  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Did the psychologist diagnose ODD? Does the psychologist have their PhD? For most of us here, ODD is not a "real" diagnosis as in MOST of our kids are oppositional and defiant. The key is to figure out WHY. Many of our kids are such that typical standard punishments don't work with our kids. It sounds like you need to have him evaluated by a neuropsychologist and since they are usually booked months out, a Child Psychiatrist would work in the meantime.

    I HIGHLY recommend that you read The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. For many of us, it has been a lifesaver! It will help you get to the WHY of his behavior. It's kind of like a water leak in your house. You can try to fix where the water is coming through the ceiling but unless you fix the leak in the PIPE, the leak isn't fixed. No amount of punishment is going to work, as you've already stated. It can, however, make things worse. It's time to try something new.

    I am very glad you found us but more than sorry you had to. You will find a LOT of support here. I hope all support and advice is taken the way it is intended, with understanding and caring. ALL of us have been there so we understand.
  3. lostinthis

    lostinthis New Member

    Yes the Psychologist and his pediatrician both did independently. We are awaiting a callback for the neuropsychologist but will look into the Psychiatrist. Yes the Psychologist has his PHD with an Emphasis in Child psychiatric. I will look into the book. Thanks for your help.
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Ditto TeDo...

    ODD is a very "odd" diagnosis, in that it really does not tell you much, other than to describe the behavior.
    It is semi-useful as a "place-holder" diagnosis... as in, "we don't know what is wrong, but there is something going on", and the search continues.
    It gives no clues as to cause, interventions, accommodations, medications...

    So... Can you tell us a bit more about his early childhood? milestones, general health, socialization..
    When did the behavior get so extreme? or was it always this way and he's just getting older and stronger?

    For so many of us around here... the first necessity was a comprehensive evaluation - there are several options, but its going to be either one person like a neuropsychologist, OR a team with multiple specialties. And even at that, you usually need to add Occupational Therapist (OT) and Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) to the mix.
  5. lostinthis

    lostinthis New Member

    He was a full term and healthy baby boy. We are a strong family unit with no major issues. He has always had major tantrums but the physical stuff has been mostly in the last 8 months or so. I would say the behavior since like 2 has been progressing slowly with a jump in the last 8 months where before you could get him to do what you wanted with punishment or distraction but now that doesn't work and seems to aggravate the situation. I did however suffer a major medical issue when he was about 2 1/2 where I was sick for almost a year and spent a lot of time in bed then had spine surgery and had several months where I could not lift him etc. I do not believe that had a major impact on his behavior as it seemed to stay similar. He was socially "normal" and passed all the major milestones. My mother in law does state that my husband (only child) had serious power struggles with her as well but I don't think the physical stuff was going on. I think the program we are trying to get him evaluated at is a comprehensive program with a team of multiple specialties. I am scared as I don't' want them to use a ton of psychiatric medications to cover up the issue. Although I believe in them at times I have also seen kids on my unit so over medicated that they are not even real people.
  6. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi, just chiming in as another mom with a kid who has lots of oppositional behaviors! i really agree with both TeDo's and IC's posts. Nothing to add except I get it and know this is hard.
  7. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    medications would be TOTALLY in your control. There ARE medications out there that help tremendously to help our kids maintain a certain level of control so they can learn better behavior. I completely agree that overmedicating or even "mis-medicating" are NOT good. I was one of those dumb parents that listened to every word our psychiatrist said and followed ALL his recommendations because I didn't know better. Turns out he was a "quack" and ended up duping me into medicating symptoms that weren't there and then medicating the problems the medications caused. I totally understand and respect your apprehension but if you get the right diagnoses and the right psychiatrist to suggest the right medications, all can be good with the world. We are hopefully on THAT road now.
  8. soapbox

    soapbox Member

    Hmmm... that would be about since the start of school? Or at least, starting school made it a lot worse?

    Because, well, if you have certain kids of difficulties, school makes EVERYTHING worse.

    Until you get a comprehensive evaluation, you won't know.
    But I'll toss some "school stuff" out there, and you can see if it fits.

    1) Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) - auditory processing disorders. Don't rule out simple hearing issues, either. If you don't hear, or cannot process, the information being given verbally - you soon space out in school. You can't follow instructions (you didn't "hear" them, of course). Always behind the others - because you're copying what they do. So often this "looks like" ADHD. And it might be that TOO. But... APDs are a major problem in school. If he is delayed in his language development, its more obvious - and that would more likely be classical Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD), or other verbal processing problems. But... if a person has trouble with their auditory filters... its called "auditory figure ground". Normal hearing, and function very well one-on-one in a quiet space. But add background noise - even a well-run class of 25 has lots of "noise pollution" - and its a major struggle to figure out what is being said. Result - mental exhaustion. Lots of good interventions and accommodations for these - no medications.

    2) Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) - developmental coordination disorder. A neuromotor problem - physically fine, but can't quite "do" stuff. Gross skills - running, riding bike, monkey bars, throwing a ball... are usually more obvious; if they exist, the biggest school problems are bullying and PE class. Fine skills are critical to academic success - writing, scissors, art, playing an instrument, keeping papers neat. Fine skills also show up in challenges with eating, dressing, self-care. Occupational Therapist (OT) therapy helps, as do numerous accommodations and interventions. Again, no medications.

    3) Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) - sensory integration disorder... others have more details on, but it is huge, too.

    So, take a kid who's been doing reasonably well, and put him in a situation (school) where his hidden problems make him "guaranteed" to fail... then add the various forms of fatigue that come with these... and you have... behavior problems. Add some medical issues - like sleep problems - and it gets worse!

    Then again... all of these things are "developmental". And all the developmental stuff is inter-related. So... it could be a combo of dxes, OR it could be something like Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) with other stuff thrown in... And that's just based on my own experiences.

    How booked up are his evenings and weekends?
    How consistent is the routine at home?
  9. lostinthis

    lostinthis New Member

    We had him in swimming but he refused to get in the pool....said it was too cold. Got him in a private lesson with a heated pool....loved it but now once again refuses to get into the pool. Home routine is pretty normal other than our work schedules change weekly but we always prepare mom works tomorrow nt so daddy will pick you up from school etc. He is physically and educationally in the norm for his age. He did attend 2 yrs at a Montessori preschool with little or no issues at school. Since the disaster of kindergarten we put him back in the montessori preschool to do kindergarten but it is 3hrs x5days instead of 8hr x5days. There is less structure cuz they don't have the rigid benchmarks of public school like his kindergarten so I think that may play a role. He is in nothing for extracurricular because it is a battle just to take my daughter to school and pick her up with him. He has never done "well" since he has been 2yrs. He has had 2yr old temper tantrums for the last 4yrs and they are getting more and more physical. He passed his hearing test at school so I am at a loss here.
  10. soapbox

    soapbox Member

    A hearing test deals with hearing - not with auditory processing. It is good that the hearing is normal. Next step is to begin being aware of auditory processing disorders - what they are, how to tell, etc. Probably can't get screening for this for several more years - usually at least age 7. But it is HUGE.

    Montesorri has far less "instruction". Which means far less "listening". Definitely easier if you have trouble trying to catch what the teacher is saying. Its not necessarily the long-term solution, but it might be part of the paper trail that gets you to a diagnosis.
  11. lostinthis

    lostinthis New Member

    Thank you for your wisdom! I will take heed to your words.
  12. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    The next little hint that comes into play is "fatigue".
    He can't handle "full-day" but does much better in a "half-day" program?
    Maybe he can kinda sorta keep up, but it takes a HUGE mental/neuromotor/emotional/other effort.
    Which means he can only hold it together for so long?
  13. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    I agree with what others are saying......auditory processing and SI is big stuff.....and often part of something else!
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would try to get him in to see a neuropsychologist. I've had a lot of issues myself and then with my son and in my opinion no other type of mental health professional tests as well or as thoroughly as a neuropsychologist. They are booked out BECAUSE they are so good at diagnosing. Often they find the little things that others can't or don't bother to test for. Testing is usually from 6-10 hours and in every area of function.

    Does your son have any friends? Does he understand socialization and a give-and-take conversation? He is little, of course, but I wonder if he enjoys pretend play and engaging in play with his little peers...or if he more sort of runs around with them or plays along side of them or loses interest in them fast. Does he have any obsessive interests? Talk in a precocious way like a "Little Professor?" Does he make strong eye contact with you and strangers? Does he know how to give people space or does he get up in their faces and talk too loud etc. (I don't expect you to answer all of this.)

    Other good info for us to have is...are there any psychiatric problems or substance abuse issues on either side of his genetic family tree, including extended relatives? Heredity is HUGE. The substance abuse part is asked because many adults who abuse substances have underlying mental health issues, such as depression or other mood disorders.

    Do any of your relative's children (on either side) have any forms of Aspergers or autism? Sensory problems often are a red flag for Aspergers/autism. It rarely stands alone as a diagnosis.

    The more you tell us, the more we can try to help. Most of our kids do not respond to regular parenting methods and we need to think outside the box. On the topic of medication, I have taken medications since age 23 (I am 58) and my son took medications. I do not think it is a good idea to give a child medication until there is a fairly good idea of what is going on, like neuropsychologist testing. I've seen too many psychiatrists who see adults or children for ten minutes to one hour, with no testing, and pull out the prescription pad, and many seem to throw medications at us at random, hoping one will work. As an adult, I was always careful to research everything I was given and I did the same for my son, but he was misdiagnosed and should not have been on medications at all. That is another issue...research any diagnosis given your child to see if you agree. We went to a neuropsychologist from Mayo Clinic who told us, "We make mistakes here ALL THE TIME. it's our best call, but there are no blood tests to tell." You k ind of have to rely on "Mom Gut" too. My poor son went three years with a bipolar diagnosis and tons of heavy duty medications that he didn't need and that he got side effects from.

    All in all, I think the best advice I know of is to get him in to a neuropsychologist and do your homework. Early interventions can do wonders to help our children attain their highest level possible as adults. Usually you can get the interventions you need in the community and the public schools. Please take care and keep us updated!
  15. StressedM0mma

    StressedM0mma Active Member

    Hello, and sorry you had to find us, but glad that you did. I am dealing with similar behaviors with my almost 15 year old. It is not pretty at our house. at. all. I understand what you are going through. And, it isn't easy. I hope you can gain some insight from these wonderful women and that you son can get the help he needs.
  16. mazdamama

    mazdamama New Member

    I agree with the others on the fact that he needs more testing because ODD is not a real diagnosis in my opinion. It is a symptom...a cry for help for something the child does not know how to stop. Both my guys have ODD, one for mental health problems he could not handle in his mind and the little guy, David, due to a combo of Aspergers and developmental delays.

    David HATES change in his routine and the holidays were terrible for him...1 wk off for Thanksgiving and then 2 wks off for Christmas always messes him up. He has been seen by a neurologist (not recently) since the age of 7 months and he is now 10 1/2. This was due to aspiration mom was propping his bottles but he had tracheo and bronchial mylasia. During his hospital stay his soft spot bulged out and between that and his large head tests were down for hydrocephalus. He did not need shunts because part of his brain had not developed. My ex daug in law (may she RIP) had attempted suicide with all neuro medications in her 26th week of pregnancy. doctors said he would never walk or talk but no one told him Neurosurgery to release a spinal tether helped a few years ago because he could not feel the need to have a BM.
    That being said....David is something else. For quite a number of years I was travelling to All Children's hospital in Tampa Fl and he was seen by a expert Developmental and Behavioral Specialist. Problem was that his medications were not being monitored enough. This Dr was so very busy that if you missed an appointment another one could not be scheduled for 4-6 months down the road. Being a nurse myself although disabled.....I worried about the effect of the medications and the lack of monitoring. He now sees a psychiatrist in town as well as a psychologist. He is in ESE status at school but in a regular classroom but has a Social Skills class that is included.

    Okay...everyone loves David...he can be as sweet as can be but he can also throw the biggest temper tantrums you have ever seen. His fixation on things cause problems with his school work and their is a behavioral specialist at the school board that is always having to adjust the behavior plan they have for him as he grows. He prefers playing alongside other children then playing with them. If we go to a park he prefers sitting in the van while his brother plays. Always carries something in his hand, invades your space to talk to you even when you are on the phone and I really try not to take him into stores because generally a major temper tantrum will occur and you think he is age 2 instead of 10.

    Being a pediatric nurse I hope you have an "in" with getting him to the right kind of doctor to evaluate him. As for your major illness....believe it or not that could be playing a part too. Not your fault of course but since you were not able to pick him up and cuddle him it could have caused him to feel less loved, surgery on top of that and your were his mind "is she gone forever?" and now there is a baby to take his place as baby of the family.

    I bet there are many times when you wish you were the fireman that could disappear for 3 days.
  17. lostinthis

    lostinthis New Member

    Thank you all! I am finally feeling hopeful that I can do something for my little man.
  18. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    I'm not going to give any advice because the other have said it all, but I just wanted to say that I understand how you feel. It is very tough to deal with, especially when there are other kids who are being affected by the behavior issues of the difficult child. Welcome to the board.
  19. lostinthis

    lostinthis New Member

    Okay just spoke to my son's preschool/kindergarten teacher and EUREKA. I was discussing things he does: eats spaghetti one day and loves it, offered same another day says it's disgusting and throws it. I happened to mention how he randomly complains about his socks not "feeling" right and rips them off and throws his shoe at me in the car when a few days earlier those socks felt fine. He will only wear jeans cuz workout type pants feel funny. won't wear fleece pj s after they have been washed cuz they feel scratchy. The teacher has a son with a sensory issue and said that her son displayed many of the same issues. Obviously there is something else going on with his spiteful and mean behavior but wow now all those crazy statements about how things feel funny suddenly make sense. It is amazing how when your life is turned upside down that the littlest grain of hope is huge!!
  20. buddy

    buddy New Member

    OH YEAH! those sensory issues are a really really big deal. I imagine wearing wool. It makes me itch so badly...can't even wear something soft under it and have it work out ok.

    I imagine that all over me, then listening to heavy metal or foul rap music in the background of everything I do and say.... i would go nuts.

    My son will actually now just ask to leave places and take a walk or to go to a drug store and restock up on his ear plugs. He needs deep pressure and sensory breaks throughout the day.