Hi, I' new here and in need of others that know how I feel....

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by lovelyboy, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    Hi, me and my husband have adopted 2 lovely boys from birth...both coming from good sosio-emotional backgrounds...My oldest is 7yr old almost turning 8...the youngest is 3 yr old.

    We are struggling with my oldest sons behavior....for a few years now. The last few weeks got really bad....we eventually took him to a child psychologist who diagnosed possible ODD with anxiety disorder...She's also thinking of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and few others, but says it's to early to see where this illness is going (must say, nut very reassuring for the parent!). He started with Risperdal, but got bad side-effects....Is on Tofranil 25mg -35mg now.

    It's so difficult for me and my husband to get to grips with this whole thing.....it's like we 'cant believe this is happening to us'...it's like looking from a distance what's happening to our family and don't know how to get a grip on things again.

    Our son is a very good looking smart boy that thankfully so far is doing well in school. The last few weeks his aggression and depressed moods got worse and worse. Last weekend he started pushing chairs around ect and this made me really afraid. Yesterday he woke up announsing that he doesn't want to go to school! I really didn't know how to handle the situation...he says he's feeling sick, but didn't look sick. Surely I couldn't force him to go, so made an appointment with dr...obviously he got more and more aggitated and at the end said that he isn't actually sick and doesn't want to go to dr. He wasn't allowed to play PS3....with all the fighting following. At the end of the day he realized how boaring it is staying at home and said he will go to school today. How do you handle this situation? I did EVERY thing wrong, I know! Told him that he will be institutionalized(if he dare to hurt me), not having a job, not going to school , everything that can be said wrong, I did!!!!I feel so guilty!

    Last night his father got so angry with him that he pulled him so hard aside thate he bruised my sons hand. My husband said that he wanted my son to realize that my husband is the strong one and will protect his family and lead the family (because my son says that he can do what ever he wants and that he is stronger than every one in the house)...I feel this is also my fault, because I always tried to undermine my husbands authority and choosing my sons side when he was little. My son cried so much, but later fell asleep. This caused so much tension between me and hubby!

    This morning my son was very obedient and calm.......but his spirit seems broken.....

    I really feel overwhelmed by al this! I just don't know what to do when I ask my son something (especialy in publick) and he just say know, I don't want to! How do we hide this from the family?
  2. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Welcome to both of you!

    Lovelyboy, I can hear the sadness and frustration you are facing. The first large obsticle you are dealing with is the difference in opinion on how to discipline with your husband. Your kids pick up on that real fast. You say that you have undermined your husband's authority by choosing your son's side when he was young. Your son has grown up seeing his dad as a source of negative disciplining in which he needed protection from. Sounds like your husband got very angry the other night. He is just as frustrated as you are. The two of you need to find a common ground to stand on. difficult child needs to see that you and husband are a team. It is hard to see our kids suffer even though they did wrong. You may have to allow your difficult child to feel the disciplining of proper consequences. I think if you can find a way to reach your difficult child in the disciplining area that will work, your husband may relax his reigns a little? (physical means of discipline are not good. Bruises will lead to even more agression, more opposition from your son)

    The next obstacle you and your husband can work on together once you have found the common ground to work as a team. That is to find out what is going on with difficult child. He is old enough now to start looking at his actions. I found it easy to sit down at the end of the day with which ever child was out of hand that day and talk about feelings. "Today was not a good day for us! What happened? How did you feel about ____________? What could have been done differently?"

    One thing that you did that I also struggled with was to forsee the future. As adults, we see a life journey that the kids do not understand. They live in the present. They don't understand how life will be different even next week as they grow and mature. Voicing our fears about where their bad behaviors will lead them will only overwhelm and scare them. They will began to feel hopeless and then why bother trying, their destiny is already set. Try to stay focus on the present. My son also has anxiety. With anxiety, the future can overwhelm you. Too much to take in so best just focus on today.

    It is hard to give our kids baby steps when we see other kids seeming to soar ahead. Try slowing down. Give your son time to adjust. Have a talk with your son that lets him know that you, his dad, his brother, and him are a team. As a family, you work together and his mom and dad make rules to keep him safe, and give him the tools he needs to face tomorrow's challenges.

    With anxiety, your son will need to hear about the good things that have happened during the day. No matter how small, those little things are what keeps a person positive. His anxiety may make it hard for him to see that good things are happening. Try to point out the positives especially those directly affecting him, "Thank you for taking your plate to the sink! That saves me one step!" Anytime your hear anything positive about him from anyone, let him know, "Your teacher says that it is so nice how you help your classmates to understand the problem." Finding ways to show that life is good and nothing to be afraid of will help lessen the anxiety. Understand though that anxiety is often times an unknown fear. It is a "feeling" of worry or fear. It comes from nowhere and whatever it latches onto to justify itself will not be the true cause of it. It is internal in your body.
  3. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Welcome both of you. Lovelyboy, You have recieved some good advise from Andy. I may add that you and your husband may need some help learning to work together. It was of great benefit to my husband and I. Most children, and especially ours, can see the "chinks in our armor" faster than lightning. There is great power in being able to control your parents emotionally. I highly recommend coming together and also looking at the recommended booklist here on the site.

    I also recommend that you not hide it from the family-this takes too much effort. You may find comfort from them. I also want you to be prepared for the lack of compassion and blaming that may come when you share. In the end, you will need help to get through this. You have found this site, and I hope you feel support as I have. I would also look for a support group or counselor that you can talk to, this has saved us many times. We just know that we we always need her, raising these children is hard work. Please keep us posted and also find time for yourself and your marriage, it will also be work to keep this healthy. Hugs to you!
  4. wintak

    wintak New Member

    Welcome..you will find all kinds of information here.

    I know how frustrated you are...I'm not that far ahead on the road of "what on earth has happened".

    If I may ask, what were the side effects of risperdal. My son was on it for a bit, too. There may or may not have been side effects (long story) but am curious what effects it had on your son.
  5. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    Thanx for all your support....Yes I realize that we need to work out a plan, me and husband....The psychiatrist planned 4 sessions on parenting....my husband will only be able to join the first one. I was also planning to maybe see my own therapist for support and will hear if my son needs to see a therapist.
    I feel so releived...today is a 'good' day again. My son did so well at school, he is showing good manners, really trying his best. This is what makes this ODD so so sad to me...he feels so terribly bad after a very bad day like yesterday....then I start to think, maybe the dr is wrong....till he looses it again! It makes me feel as if I'm on the edge the whole time....just waiting, worried that something will happen to burst this lovely peacefull bublle. How can such a lovingly, obedient little boy just 'snap' and become so aggressive!?
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome to the board :)

    I hope you don't take this wrong, but I think you all need to get into family therapy so that you better understand how to handle your child when he is difficult. Both saying threatening, scary things to him and bruising him (which can land husband in jail and is abusive) are NOT NOT NOT the way to deal with a child whose disabilities may not even been fully diagnosed yet. in my opinion you need to get a professional involved for the entire family. You seem to be in the mourning stages of realizing your child is differently wired and a therapist could help you with THAT too. I STRONGLY urge this because both of you need to learn how to keep cool heads and to walk away. It's not easy. A lot of us get help. in my opinion it is not healthy to try to hide him from your family. He is who he is and not a secret, although I understand that some families are not exactly supportive!

    Also, I am curious as to who diagnosed your child. If he has not seen a neuropsychologist, I strongly urge you to also take him to see one. All of his many diagnoses put together MAY equal Asperger's Syndrome. These kids have poor social skills, very low frustration levels, poor ability to communicate (although their vocabulary is usually quite advanced), obsessive behaviors and narrow interests. They often have trouble amusing themselves unless they have a prop such as the television or videogames or computers and they may REALLY throw a fit if they are not allowed to use them. Now I am not saying he has this, but he sure sounds like he could be on the spectrum. A neuropsychologist is the best person to determine what is going on with him. ODD is not a very useful diagnosis. Probably all of our kids qualify for that. The question is...WHY is he so defiant?

    A few questions: I am wondering if you know if his birthparents (especially Mom) drank or used any drugs during pregnancy, even prescription drugs. And also, are there any psychiatric or neurological problems on either side of this child's family tree? Even well off, seemingly "good" families can have issues and sometimes the kids inherit their problems even if they don't live with them. I have four adopted kids, one biological.

    I think, with the blow up you just had, this is a great time to start over, call a therapist to get help for everybody (even if it's at your local Mental Health Center) and re-evaluate your son's diagnoses.

    I'm glad you found us and hope we can help you. I hope I did not come across as harsh (as I sometimes can). I did not mean to be harsh. I am trying to give you some ideas and you can take any you like and leave the rest :)
  7. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    Hi wintak.....If I can read between the lines regarding the side-effects....yes, I was also unsure if he had real side-effects or some acting....but I trusted my gut and after I realized my son had no secondary attention or gain from telling me about the side-effects, I decided to trust my gut and after speaking to the dr, stopped the medications. He just told me "he really feels VERY STRANGE"...that he feels so frustrated and agitated, as if he wants to pull out his own tummy. He also complained of terrible headache on the side of his eye and said his lower leggs feel stiff and his feet were hurting. He kept on stretching his muscles as if it was very stiff.

    This went away after we stopped it.

    On the Tofranil...he doesn't really show any side-effects.....it makes him sleepy at night so he sleeps much better...he has only been using it for 1.5 weeks, but is less touchy for critisism from his friends, and his eye contact has also improved...he is also talking less about all the 'bad things' like, killing, aggression, ect.
  8. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hello and welcome. These children, with their "oppositional defiance" will push all your buttons and are extremely hard to handle at times. Physical violence is of course not recommended but without deeper understanding and help, this is quick to rise to the surface because these children can be very, very frustrating. I second the suggestion that you become involved in family therapy, if that is possible for you.
    I too have a son that is liable to say things like "No, I don't want to!" when I ask him to do something. And yes that is embarrassing in public. What I have found is that issuing commands to my son, or talking in a blunt, direct way, seems to "set him off", trigger off some oppositional response. I have tried experiments with this; if I ask my son to do something in a friendly, no-big-issue kind of voice, he will more than likely do it. You may want to try that. Basically, there is a whole process - personally I am not there yet - in which you have to let go of the desire to have a "normal" child with whom you can engage in "normal" parenting. You have to parent in a different way - a way that leads to the best results and the minimum of stress and tension and upset for all concerned. You are the adults so you have to be the ones to implement this and to swallow your desire to be "bosses". There is something about having the adults being the boss and having the power is very upsetting and threatening to these children. Sometimes I ask my son, in a non-threatening way, and when we have peaceful relations, "Who is in charge?" and he says "You!" I do this because I think somewhere it is reassuring and good for him to know that - but you can only get there by non-confrontational techniques, if you see what I mean. It's a kind of rethink of your whole communication techniques. Not easy and how to get your husband on board? Try to get him to read "The Explosive Child" as a start? You have to be responsible for the changes in your household, hoping and trusting that the others will follow suit. Also not easy....
    Hugs. Do keep coming here for support.
  9. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    Me and husband is going to a parenting councilling session in 3 weeks time with the psychiatrist...after that my husband won't be able to come with...she wants to see me 3 more times. I was also thinking to go to a therapist for support and find out if my son needs to see a playtherapist.

    Regarding the bio-parents...yes there is some history of bad temper on the moms side and depression on the bio-dads side...but both is well adjusted, working adults now.....thand goodness!
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Does the psychiatrist know your husband bruised your son's arm? in my opinion it is imperative that he get therapy too. Why just you the next three times?? If a teacher sees his bruised arm and he tells the teacher what happened, CPS is going to be called. Teachers are mandatory reporters...
  11. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    This sounds so much like what I went through. Personally, I would question the diagnosis. I took the psychiatrist's word for it 3 years ago that my son had ADHD, ODD, Anxiety, and was on the fringe of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Turns out just a few months ago that my son is ACTUALLY on the Autism Spectrum. If you research this as I did, you will find that a lot of it is very, very similar. The way I realized the difference was to start "digging" with difficult child into the WHY of all his behavior. I realized he really did think very differently so his reactions were very different. Don't know if this helps or not but it's been my experience.

    My son's got like this on Risperdal. It actually made him psychotic with a very hairpin trigger. Keep an eye on the medications and reactions. It took us 2 months to realize it was the Risperdal that was causing it.

    This sounds exactly like something my difficult child would do. My son is a hands on learner which also means that he has to learn the hard way. Good job keeping it boring at home. That is exactly what was needed. The thing with my son and his Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), he would have had the thought in his head that being home would be more fun than going to school with his friends. I would have done the same thing only I would have added in chores of some sort also. I would have made it so it was too much work (not to mention boring) to skip school.

    You didn't do anything "WRONG". You were at your whits end and reacted as most parents would. Now you know it didn't work so chances are you won't do it again. It takes a lot of practice to learn what works and what doesn't. It also takes time to learn the patience that is needed to deal with kids like ours. Give yourself a break.

    After I have lost my cool with my difficult child (yelling, spanking, everything I shouldn't do), he appears the same way. It tears at me and I feel so guilty but the more I think about it, it also had a benefit (in a twisted sort of way) in that difficult child realized he'd crossed the line and that it wouldn't be tolerated anymore. Very hard lesson to learn but he had to learn the hard way where my line was.

    I kept it from my family for 5 months until things exploded. My mother, being self-righteous and judgemental as she is, has made a point of trying to convince me that it is my bad parenting that has caused this. She refuses to believe that it is a neurological disorder and there was nothing I could have done "right" to prevent it. We are no longer speaking. I also have a sister that comes across as being like mom but she has researched and asked questions to try to understand it. She has come to be a support for me, although only limited because she still doesn't quite "get it" but she is learning. Don't keep them in the dark but don't tell them with the expectation that they will be a support. Be glad if they are, walk away if they're not. If they can't be supportive, you need to put YOUR family first, as hard as that can be.
  12. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    LOL...I was smiling by myself when I read that you would give him 'work' to do to make staying at home even worse!!!How on earth do you get your child to do things if he just refuses?! But thanx...I'm proud of myself for not giving in on the PS3!

    Regarding the family therapy....my husband works 2-3 hours drive from the therapist, so he can't always come with!

    Regarding the diagnosis....at least the dr was honest in mentioning that she is suspecting autism spectrum?! I almost fell of my chair! I even asked her if we are talking about the same child! Thought she had the wrong file infront of her!!!
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Do you know anything about the different types of autism? Here is a link to Aspergers, but you have to remember...no kids fit every requirement. but this often causes kids to be hyper and to act up. Aspergers is high functioning autism, often mistaken for ADHD/ODD (my son's first diagnosis). High functioning autism is often seen as seperate from Aspergers. Or atypical autism, which my son was diagnosed with. For example, a lot of Aspies and high functioning autistics don't "get" humor. My son has a wonderful, dry sense of humor AND a great vocabulary. But rather than a give-and-take conversations he is likely to monologue at somebody without paying much attention to their response (unless Mom or Dad is giving him orders...then he is great at focusing). He is VERY uncomfortable with new people, however he is fine in malls and is friendly at school. But if you live with him...you know.
    You can also tell when he is on stage during choir. While the other kids stand still, he is looking up and down, picking the pretend lint off his clothes, etc. No, this is not ADHD, at least not with him. ADHD is often a part of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) though.

    Here is a link:

  14. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    In cases like this, the TV is off in our house too. (insert devilish grin here)

    Many people have the same reaction because we have preconceived ideas about what "autism" looks like. There are many sub-sets and variations of symptoms that we are never told about. It really is a whole spectrum, unlike many other diagnosis's. If you really want more specific information about the spectrum of symptoms that make up autism spectrum disorder, type some of the diagnosis that fall into this category into your browser. Some of them are Asperger's Syndrome, Pervasive Development Disorder-not otherwise specified, Rhett's Syndrome, etc. You might find some of these more fitting to your situation. Given the diagnoses she's already given him, it made sense to me (someone who's been there).
  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    We have no doubt that my oldest son has some form of a autistic disorder but when he was younger I had no clue about it and never took him to get dxd. Today he is 30 years old and works in a retail store. He didnt learn to drive until he was 26 or 27 because his anxiety was just too high. Even now, working with people every day, his social skills arent that great outside of the selling experience. He does tend to do the monologue thing. I cant tell you how many years I was on the receiving end of long, long talks about his interests of the month. It was like blah blah blah to me. I just tuned him out. I could care less about scifi . lol.

    He also gets quite ill with me if I dont pick up on how to do something on the computer right away when he tells me which really ticks me off!
  16. wintak

    wintak New Member

    Regarding the staying home from school...keep it boring..oh yeah. And I can't have my difficult child do chores because if he's the only one home with me and I have him do chores, although he'll moan and complain, he'll like it, too because he's getting 1x1 with me. That is WAY cooler than going to school where he doesn't get 1x1 attention (unless he acts up)