Husband doesn't believe diagnosis

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by 2ODD, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. 2ODD

    2ODD New Member

    I am a new comer to this site and am really at a loss for answers.

    My 9 year old son was diagnosed with ODD with early onset bipolar. He is on Guanfacine which has helped but we just upped his dose.

    My husband is my sons trigger. The two of them just can't get along and when they battle, it gets dangerous.

    This past weekend, my son threw an object hitting my husband on the head. My husband reacted by pinning my son down to tan his tail end. I physically pulled my husband off of my son to stop the battle.

    There have been therapists in the house that have tried to explain the condition to my husband and other people that work with kids like this but my husband won't accept what they are telling him. He just thinks that our son is a bad kid that needs to be beat.

    I have tried talking to him, modelling the parenting skills, encouraging him to read the information. This is all to no avail.

    My husband is a screamer and the house is in constant chaos when he is home. When a challenge arises he jumps to screaming and violence then leaves to go to his parents house while I deal with the aftermath.

    Can someone offer me some advice on what I should do next?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    What diagnosis does your son have? And is this a stepfather? We really need more info to help that much.

    Frankly, I'd be very worried about your husband's response to your child. I wouldn't stand for that. NOBODY beats my kids, no matter what...hub is the adult here and he is acting just like a child. I think the family desperately needs therapy, and hub may need some therapy of his own to deal with his anger issues. Physical violence doesn't work well with difficult children and can get husband into a lot of trouble and only make things worse...He sounds very immature and volatile.

    Welcome to the board.
  3. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Welcome! This is a great place.

    I agree with MWM - physical "punishment" doesn't work too well on our kids. What is does do is show them that the "right" way to handle their frustration is by violence.

    I don't know all the details, but I would definitely insist on counseling. Immediately. I know there are people who do not believe in mental illness, but the fact is - it exists.

    If your husband just walks out? That's another horrible example for your child. Walking away to calm down is one thing - LEAVING IS ANOTHER.

    I will repeat myself - counseling. For all of you. ASAP.

    Hugs, and again, welcome.
  4. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I think these diagnosis are often harder for the dads to accept as men seem to be hard-wired to fix things with blunt force. It took husband a long time to get on board with how these kids needed to be parented. Every so often he will still scream at one of the boys (or me) because he wants to make them 'just stop' and it doesn't work that way. Of course, then I remind him of how we are suppose to be acting and he pulls it together. When the kids were little, I could not leave him alone with more than 1 child. My mother would have to come over and help cause husband just couldn't do it. Now I can actually go away for whole weekends and not be too worried :) I just have to make sure the schedule is not too tough.

    Does your husband understand that if he continues to beat the child and the therapist reports him that CPS will get involved? If this is step-dad, I would make this a deal breaker and either pack up your children and leave or ask him to leave. If this is legal dad, then I would be very careful about leaving difficult child alone with him, since you clearly know about him hitting your son, CPS could feel that you are not keeping him safe.
  5. 2ODD

    2ODD New Member

    My son was diagnosed with ODD and early onset bipolar. The doctor has started him on Tenex. We just increased his dosage yesterday but I don't believe that medications are the only answer.

    We have had therapists in the house but my husband wouldn't try the skills because he doesn't believe in the diagnosis or mental disease. I have no problems, for the most part, in dealing with my son and there are no problems at school. I use positive parenting, scheduling and consistent rules with him. My son knows that I say what I mean and rarely challenges it.

    Due to the fact that the problems only arise with his father, my husband has concluded that my son is just a bad kid and it's all my fault.

    His parents have started bad mouthing my son behind his back and in front of his siblings which I have serious problems with. Of course, they support my husband in his way of thinking and encourage him to follow through.

    I have quit my jobs so that I can stay at home and referee but mostly because I am afraid to leave my husband alone at home with my kids.
  6. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It certainly is harder for men to accept there is anything 'wrong' with their child. I think especially if they were anything like them when they were children. It admits there is/was something wrong with them, too.

    His reaction will only hinder your progress with your difficult child. It is a fact. It might be best to have 2 residences while you parent your difficult child the way he needs to be parented.
  7. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Um, I would think that since your son can behave for everyone except dad, that would show that he is a good kid. (Maybe dad is a bad parent?? Maybe it is just a bad match???)
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I agree with-the others.
    1) It's more difficult for men to accept that "there's something wrong with" their kids.
    2) Your son's trigger is his dad (always? Mostly?) and spanking your son is just making it worse.
    3) Your husband's trigger is at least as fast as your son's, which is a horrid example, not to mention to have to live with.
    4) Counseling for the entire family is the way to go.

    Can you tell us more about your son's early yrs? Any infections? All night crying jags? Food allergies? Bedwetting, etc?
  9. 2ODD

    2ODD New Member

    My son met all of his mile stones right on time. He was exceptionally adept at puzzles by the age of 2. He started to show signs of anxiety at the age of 4 with frequent urge to urinate. All doctors. Test results came back that there was no medical reason for it. That lasted through Kindergarten years and dissipated once he entered the first grade only making a brief appearance prior to a school play.

    He was not a cranky baby. He nursed very well for an entire year. He wasn't much of a sleeper for that year. He liked to nurse every 2 hours but all of my kids were that way. After he was weaned, he was just fine.

    He prefers to avoid eating certain foods like potatoes, French fries and things like that. He doesn't like the the texture of them and it frustrates him that his dad makes fun of him for it and tries to sneak them on to his plate.

    My son is a very independant thinker and is in the enrichment program at school. He has great grades and friends. He lives science and math and hates English and gym.

    Despite the fact that he doesn't care for gym at school, he loves to play football with his friends and will be playing in the community leagues this season.

    He is very good with his oldest and youngest 2 siblings but there is serious resentment toward his younger brother because he is his fathers favorite. My husband would always blame my son for something that his younger brother would do or an arguement that would start stating that even if he didn't do it, he should still know better.

    My son has a shichi puppy that was abused by his former owner. That puppy is his world. One night when I had to take the kids out because my husbands anger was out of control, he ran and grabbed his puppy for fear that his dad would harm his furry friend.

    He loves to teach his puppy tricks as much as he likes to teach his 2 year old brother his shapes and colors. He is a very gentle and intelligent kid with a quick trigger.

    I could rave for hours about my son. He has so many great qualities that outweigh the bad. Even his teachers and friends rave about him. I couldn't ask for a better son.
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    It sounds like you have really tried to share appropriate parenting skills with you husband. Having in home therapists was a brilliant idea...but sadly it didn't work. Are the other chlldren also bio kids of you and your husband?

    My Ex and I were married ten years and had two easy to raise children first..then our daughter was born and the whole dynamic of our home and family life changed quickly toward the worse. It caught me off guard, so to speak, because the family was functioning so well for the years prior to her arrival. When he decided that corporal punishment or "sending her away" was the answer I reluctantly filed for a separation which finalized in divorce. The reason I am sharing this is because most often around here step parents are the ones who can't cope. That's why others have asked if he is the bioDad or not.

    It's a rough position to be in, I know. Your choices seem to be intensive counseling in hopes that he "gets it" or separate households. I don't think there is a healthy happy middle ground. Truly
    "taning hides" is only going to make things you know. I'm sorry I don't have a miracle suggestion. Hugs. DDD
  11. 2ODD

    2ODD New Member

    He was a normal baby. No infections. Met all of his milestones. Was adept at puzzles (up to 50 pieces) by the age of 3. He potty trained himself by the age of 2 and was never a bedwetter.

    At the age of 4 he started with frequency of urination. All medical tests came back normal. This carried on through Kindergarten and dissipated in grade 1. There was only 1 reoccurrance in the first grade right before a school play. Haven't had the problem since.

    He was breast fed until he was 1. All of my kids were not good sleepers until breast feeding was done. After he was weaned, he slept through the night without incident.

    His rages are only at his dad. He will get angry with his younger brother but never a complete rage like with his father.
  12. 2ODD

    2ODD New Member

    Yes. My husband is his bio dad which makes it hard for me to understand someone that won't put the needs of their own flesh and blood first.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I've always been blunt and I won't stop now.

    Have you thought of divorcing this guy? Sounds like HE is the sick person, not your son. Your son sounds perfectly normal. His father sounds scary! Poor kid, trying to protect his puppy from his father. Does his father hurt the dog? If so, that's a serious sign of a psychopath.

    Good luck.
  14. 2ODD

    2ODD New Member

    I have a lawyer on retainer and am looking for a house. So, rest assured, that I am looking to get out. I do not want to make a mistake because I have overlooked something especially if it's something that will affect my kids in the future.

    I proceed with caution and am turning to experienced people to help me not make a mistake. There is a lot more that people in this community know than I know.
  15. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Definitely work closely with your lawyer. Parenting time for husband will be a key factor to consider. Without any police reports documenting his violence, the court will not consider it.
  16. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    JJJ isn't joking. Honestly. If your husband is violent, it will need to be documented, or the courts will order unsupervised parenting time.
  17. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm so relieved to read that you have legal counsel. It is not easy to take such a big step. I remember well all the self doubts and the many nights trying to make sure that I knew my decision was right. Sending honest, caring, supportive thoughts and prayers your way. Hugs, too. DDD
  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Get to a Domestic Violence Center today or as soon as possible. It doesn't mean you have to LEAVE today, it is a way to find out what is and isn't appropriate and what options and resources are there to help you with this.

    It isn't at all unusual for a diagnosis to change as a child grows. If you have not read The Bipolar Child and The Explosive Child, they are going to be huge helps. Some of the signs your son shows could also be symptoms of Aspergers, and the food texture things are most likely to be Sensory Integration Disorder. An Occupational Therapist (OT) can diagnosis Sensory Integration disorder and teach you how to help those problems. Therapy for Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) involves providing the types of sensations that are calming to him (could be soothing music, rocking wildly in a rocker or swinging wildly or carrying a heavy box or wearing a weighted vest - a wide wide range of things the Occupational Therapist (OT) can help with).

    SOme of his problems could also be due to post traumatic stress from living with a father who is violent and thinks he needs to be beaten. Only having full rages with his father is NOT a good sign. I know money is tight and you are not working, but there ARE resources out there to help you. If your husband continues to hit your child, CPS WILL get involved and you may face the decision to stay with your husband and lose ALL of your kids or to leave husband and keep them. It would be quite rare that only one child was removed from the home.

    The violence MUST STOP. Regardless of what you do to get it to stop. Until your husband stops being violent, your children will not have much hope of getting the help and accommodations that they need. ALL of the kids iwll need therapy and likely other types of help from living in the chaos and violence. If husband is willing, most DV centers have classes and individual and group therapy for men to learn new patterns.

    I am sorry. I almsot never say this, but your chldren will ALL learn that violence is how you get what you want, and if you are bigger/stronger then you can force anyone to do what you want. is this what you want them to know when they are preteens/teens and are as big as YOU are?? because it WILL come out at YOU when you want them to do or not do something.
  19. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I missed the post about the lawyer. If you can, use even a cell phone camera to record your husband being violent iwth your son. Still go to the DV center (it won't be the shelter but the offices where they coordinate things - shelters are hidden, usually quite well) as they will be a huge source of info, support and resources during this time.

    It is hard to do this. We will be here as you work through it.
  20. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Just chiming in to say I hope you manage to extricate yourself and the children safely.