I'm new to this site and I'm hoping to find some support.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by conniemc, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. conniemc

    conniemc New Member

    My 15 year old son was diagnosed with ODD when he was 6. He doesn't seem to have any of the other challenges that a lot of ODD kids have though. No ADD/ADHD, no bipolar, etc. He is extremely intelligent and is a good student when pushed. He used to be defiant with everyone. Teachers, coaches, other parents, etc. He finally outgrew that about 4 years ago. He gets along well with people of authority and has many friends. The only people he will not listen to is his dad and me. He is convinced that we are trying to ruin his life. He is only happy when he gets his way and is cruel to his younger sister for no reason. He graduated from middle school this past June barely getting by because he stopped doing any assignments. I had to beg the teachers to accept all the work late which they were more than happy to do because they like him and knew that he understood the subject material. Of course, it took two long days of arguing with my son to get him to do the work but finally he completed the work. My husband and decided to send him to military school for the Summer. He just came home for his first weekend leave. I was hoping his attitude would be better than it was but I did see some improvement. When it came time for him to get his uniform on and get back in the car he refused to do so saying that he didn't want to go back and that we couldn't make him. UGH! Needless to say that after lots of yelling and threatening to take his xbox away, we finally got him in the car and on his way. We are sending him to military school for his freshman year also with the intention of him going there all four years of hs. He knows this and hates us for it but we know it's the best place for him.
    I am so tired of the constant battles with him. At least when he is at school I know he is being kept in line at all times. Unlike here where he comes and goes as he pleases.
    Is there any parents out there who have tried this course with their kids and did it work? Thanks for the support!
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Connie,

    We often have more questions than answers at first.

    I know you said he has nothing else along with the ODD; has he ever been evaluated by a neuropsychologist or seen a child psychiatrist?

    I know those constant battles are so wearing; I'm sorry you are dealing with them.

    I have never thought of military school for my son but he has many other disabilities and military school would definitely not be for my difficult child.

    Glad you found us, we are a very supportive group and you will find this a very soft place to land.
  3. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Hello and I am sorry you had to find us but glad we are here for you. I to have the same questions as wiped out. As for military school? No way could I afford it. My son who will be in 8th grade does go to a charter middle school and does not get good grades and while he is doing better with his peers and teachers, he still has many moments

    I think it must have been very hard to send your son away to school
  4. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    I believe that if the school is ok , peers basically positive kids learn and mature more when they are away from home. If in the near future he can find his place there , make connections with the boys and more important find a teacher who will be a mentor for him. I don't know anything about ' military schools ' , but I prefer any school that focuses on community and cooperation to promote character and values rather than using reward, punishments or consequences to get behavior and compliance.

    Has your son always struggled with getting his assignments done and on time ? It could be he struggles with ' executive functions ' - planning , organization and reflection . These types of problems are best addressed in the context of actual problems and his concerns.

    I think it is important to try and improve your relationship with him , put the relationship first above getting him to comply. Getting compliance using threats or bribes may help in the short term only. Finding a mentor or older brother , a young adult who he can open up to and be guided by is so important. If we don't have a positive relationship we drive our kids into the arms of negative peers which is a disaster.

    Changing the dynamic from confrontation to ' working with' will take time because he needs to learn to trust you. He has to see you as one who can help him and serve his interests .

    It is not easy. The main focus I think is just connecting with him, having a good time together , general chatting, getting him to speak and we listen

  5. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I do agree with all this. With the proviso, already pointed out, that this route is not EASY... Involving a lot of time, effort and seeming backward steps before forward ones are taken. In the long term, respect and understanding will work better than draconian attempts to control (however understandable they may be). I've got it all to look forward to...
  6. conniemc

    conniemc New Member

    Thanks for the responses. To answer your questions; yes he used to have a child psychiatrist but after 3 years she felt that he had made significant progress and we discontinued seeing her. Also we moved to another state and the starting over really helped us all. My son did very well in school and has made deans list throughout school. Although he has always been a challenge to deal with, things got a lot worse about a year ago. We blame a lot of it on puberty. As anyone with odd kids knows, they mature at a much slower rate then "normal" kids. He got this attitude of being "to cool" for rules. He kept his grades up because he plays sports and knows that he must maintain good grades if he wants to play. The last quarter of 8th grade, he wasn't playing anything but X-Box and didn't do one homework assignment the entire quarter. He would get A's on the tests but his lack of hw grades were killing his overall grade. It was a nightmare to get all the work made up and turned in. He ended up graduating on the honor roll. Go figure.

    My son needs that constant carrot dangled in front of him. There always has to be a reward at the end of the work or he has no motivation to do it. Military school provides that constant carrot. Whether it's earning weekend leave, ranking up or earning a tour (disipline march) for negative behavior, there is always a reward/consequence. He is doing well there according to his advisor and has made lots of friends even though he would prefer to be home "hanging" this summer. He needs to go to military school and I just pray that he matures in a positive manner. He has all the attributes to be a great leader but first he needs to understand that he does not always get his way. by the way: he wants to be a marine officer so he loves everything military. Someone who is not military minded would find military school difficult.

    Plus, I had to get him physically out of the house before his father and him could kill each other. That whole lack of respect thing does not go over well with my husband and it was getting physical between them. It's safer for everyone if he is not here.
  7. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes, if your son is military-minded and perhaps wants a career in the services eventually, it would make sense. You are best able on the ground to judge what is good for him. My son is younger but has some ODD traits - I'm quite sure adolescence is going to be an equal challenge. Your boy is bright and does well academically and that seems to me relevant. He has a lot of potential and qualities, potentially a leader you say. Much to nurture and hope for...
  8. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    Our difficult child always did well at school and also saved his anger for us at home. We did not put him in a military school, but we did put him is a private catholic school with lots of structure. He still has some issues, and I suspect part of his improvement is related to growing up some, but he is doing much much better now, and I am sure the structured school environment helped.
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    It could be more than "just" puberty...
    Have you considered the possibility of depression? It takes many forms, and in young males in particular is often missed as depression - the attitudes and behaviors are often taken for defiance etc.
    He may be bright enough to do well in school "on paper" without feeling like he's doing well, because he knows he "should" be able to do better but can't quite put it all together - there can be a raft of very minor disabilities that may not even "register" to those dealing with him, but which taken together are like dragging around a ball-and-chain. After a while, it wears them down - and their previous coping mechanisms don't work so well as they get older and the workload increases. The timing of all of this often coincides with puberty... so puberty gets blamed.

    But it really might be worth looking into.
  10. MuM_of_OCD_kiddo

    MuM_of_OCD_kiddo New Member

    The first thing that came to mind reading your posts, is where are the consequences? If you're already dealing with temper tantrums, theatrics, overrunning mouth and the threat of physical violence etc etc - you might as well make it worthwhile all the drama.

    Not doing homework? So sorry, no playstation. Not up for debate.
    Trashing your room [or part of the house] because you're p.o.ed about something - sorry - no playstation for the next 2 days, and that only if you clean this up asap, else it will be an additional day extra for any hour you think about it.
    Mouting off at bed time or refusing to go - I guess you don't want to have your playstation [or whatever makes him tick] tomorrow either, huh?
    Not getting xyz grades in school? Sorry no money for [or actual] new playstation games until this, that or the other happens [Mine went for over a year without new games, and none for BD or XMAS either!!!]

    I get all of the being their friend thingy and all that, but you've got to be a parent too. I became my sons best friend and bossom buddy when he was in his worst Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) throes, and I also became his personal doormat to let off steam off, walk all over, get rude and obnoxious too, and we nearly came to blows a few times too [that is him raising his hand a time or two or trying to shove me around] - just because he knew I cared, worried myself sick and bend backwards in trying to help him. I also had countless holes in the sheetrock, a demolished bathroom, and 9 broken sliding glass doors that I had collected for a future green house.

    This all changed when I remembered who I was - - - an adult grown person who wouldn't take this **** from a spouse or SO, and most certainly not from a 16 year old. One of his things about pushing my buttons was unbuckling his seatbelt while I was driving [we do a fair share of driving/commuting] - can't tell you how many times I pulled over and argued that seatbelt back onto him. 'til that one memorable time when I had enough - I pulled over, asked him to step out - actually had to threaten him to get out of the car, and drove off. He had to walk home 2 miles [I could have bumped him out 3 miles earlier, but figured 2 miles was far enough]. Arguing, yelling, picking fights or screaming in the car, blasting the music, etc etc - made him walk 3 miles the next time. I have not had one single unpleasant car ride with him since, and on the rare day he is argumentative, I'll ask him to quit or step out - guess which he chooses?

    This is just one example on how I got my power back in the house. When he realized that I was calling his bluff, we had a few [suprisingly few] very ugly headbumps - and I called the cops on him once [he took off hiding in the neighborhood]. Me taking control of our home and communicating my expectations to him, along with the consequences if he did not change and adjust his behavior accordingly, made the beginning of his recovery. While he still has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), it has become manageable for him and nearly non-invasive. You'd have to catch him on a bad day [usually if he forgets and after he goes on a sugar/candy binge or has a huge fast food meal] to know that something is slightly off with him. He does chores [grumbling sometimes], helps with the business [self employed here], cooks and does dishes [still garbage challenged - one of his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) things], does his own laundry and is slowly but showly catching up on his dropped home schooling.

    I think if I hadn't reestablished the dominance in my home, and the respect that comes with it [and the occasional resentment too], he would still be deeply wrapped up and guided by the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and not functioning at all. Certainly not near normal level as he is now. While he still gets angry and frustrated at times, he has also matured [and that was another thing - while he was embroiled and consumed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), he stagnated and actually regressed - he did not mature at all - he has since grown by bounds and leaps this past year] and I am extremely pleased with that as well. And guess what else - after we got the "pack order" here in the house reestablished, we became friends again. We can and have normal discussions about his problems, male growing pains, boyfriend/girlfriend relationship issues, maturity and development, education and so on, and he actually listens to, thinks about and considers what I have to say. He has overcome the need to naysay me all the time, or to be a square peg in a round hole - he's good. But every once in a while that difficult child makes another run for it, and I put my foot down firmly when it rears its ugly head - and he thinks about how it was when Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) ran his life and reconsiders...

    Now if you think he is henpecked, down trodden or overdominated - not at all. We still on occasions bump heads, he still grumbles when he doesn't want to, and his room still is trashed more often than clean. He is however more considerate, less rude and rarely obnoxious [that'll get nipped right in the bud], and - are you sitting down ??? - he says thank you for favors done and apologizes when he knows he overstepped his boundaries. He just needed to have said boundaries in which to grow into, and as he matures and remains responsible, his freedom grows alike. Trust breeds trust and it goes both ways. They do need rules, boundaries, and consequences. Mostly they need permanence, firm guidance and a loving hand. From more varied sides this information gets shared with and enforced by [other adults, uncles, grandpas, older cousins, associates and mentors] the better it is.

    So again to the start of my post - if you already have upheaval and drama in your life, you might as well make it worth the energy and time to battle! So put your foot down and don't be afraid to say NO, NOT and NOT TODAY YOU'RE NOT! And by the way - if you think thngs get easier when puberty sets in, think again. When those hormones go into overdrive, and the tempers flare - you will really have a battle on your hands. You might as well get a headstart while you can... Heartfelt Hugs!
  11. conniemc

    conniemc New Member

    My difficult child and I acutally have a good relationship. We have the same sense of humor, are very close and when something is bothering him, he comes to me first. Believe me when I say that we have not let him get away with his behavior without giving consequences. I too have had trashed rooms, holes in my walls, broken tv, etc. No, I think him being away at military school gives us all a break away from each other. After dealing with him for 15 years I was at my wits end. Him being away also helps in another area. He was making friends with kids that have no parental supervision. You know the kids whose parents are their "friends" instead of their parents? I wanted to break him away from that group asap before something bad happens. The girls too are really pushy. I can't believe how blatant they are. He is attending an all male military school that has monthly dances with girls from a local private school. The officers at school teach the cadets the proper way to treat a lady and believe me that the cadets listen and learn!

    It is hard to send my son away but I know that it's the best thing for him. He is being given a great opportunity. I just hope he realizes it. I think in time he will learn to love the school and embrace it full on. Especially as he ranks up and has a leadership role with the other cadets. I pray someday that he will thank me for sending him away. Once maturity catches up and he understands the sacrafices we have made for his future. At least that is my hope.
  12. Blessed Mama

    Blessed Mama New Member

    Mum of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Kiddo - That was a wonderful and eye opening reply. I posted an introductory thread already, so I won't completely repeat myself, but I certainly can relate to the power shift in the household, and the difficulties of being a single parent. Not sure about any other single parents on here, but my daughter's father is not helpful AT ALL, and would, in fact, benefit her more if he would not have contact. I'm actually in the process of trying to have full legal custody - something I did not need prior because he was so absentee, and we were never married, so we didn't have to address custody in a divorce.

    Sorry - got a little off track there. Anyhow, I think you know your son best, Connie, and hopefully military school will be the answer for your family. It sounds like he is an intelligent boy with a strong future ahead, and I hope the family relationship is strengthened, and not injured by him not living at home.

    I can also relate to damaged items, a TV thrown across the room, holes punched in walls, etc. with my daughter. She tends to spiral into very angry, very fast, and has minimal coping skills, and a difficult time regaining self control.
  13. MuM_of_OCD_kiddo

    MuM_of_OCD_kiddo New Member

    I am not sure if I misunderstood? Is military school only during the summer or permanent? One way or the other, I think it will benefit him if he has male role models he learns to respect and obey as well, other than his dad or family members. You know the part where what we say is just blablablabla, while the same words coming from a respected mentor or elder gives serious food for thought.

    In all this, especially if he is there for longer than just the summer - make sure to keep him emotionally close. Don't allow him to pull away and put too much distance between you. Text or email him frequently [if you can], but don't hover either. Put emphasis on kindness and team spirit, but not so much on bullying and domineering; I often find that some of the kids with the big mouths, physical strength, brains and the gift of gab, tend to turn bullying or becoming manipulators of the others - keep a close eye on his development in this regards. This is always a worry when they leave home - that either the personality becomes warped, or that they end up running with the wrong crowd and succumb to peer pressure...

    Enjoy your break and spend some quality time with your other children and equally important - with your husband. This is the time to perhaps renew/refresh your marriage and family dynamics while he is not here to stir things up.