New here- 7 y/o son with ADHD/ODD, tearing us apart.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by fightingthetide, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. fightingthetide

    fightingthetide New Member

    Good grief. My thanks to anyone willing to read this and give some input. I appreciate communicating with someone who has "walked the walk". My seven year old son is diagnosed ADHD/ ODD. Also have 10 y/0 daughter, and 5 y/o son, both without any psychological issues, however the behavior does tend to "bleed over" from one kid to the next. And, there is no doubt that family dynamics play a role in all of this.

    We are on a revolving door of medications lately. But the latest cocktail is Vyvanse, Kapvay (started yesterday), and Melatonin. We have been in therapy, but I have suspended it lately because I truly felt he was not in a "teachable" place. Then there's the parenting side of the equation. The truth is that my husband and I are not on the same page. (Duh- big problem.) Despite being told that bargaining, discussions, and the like are counterproductive with ODD kids, he continues these tactics. I am by no means perfect, and don't react in textbook form to my kid. Who does? I am at my wits end. I do not know what to do. The problem continues to grow and fester.

    Our son's ODD seems to be getting worse. I need help with tactics to get my family on the right track, but feel helpless and hopeless. Does anyone have any suggestions of something that worked? How do you get both parents working together. This is, by far, the hardest thing we have faced. And it doesn't let up, ever. Ugh.
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Just wanted to give a quick welcome. I've been there done that and understand your frustrations. Others will be along soon (although sometimes weekends are slow). One of the first things almost all of us do is ask questions and then more questions. It helps us try to identify exactly how to offer advice. So, lol, my first questions are these. How was your son early on? I'm assuming he is your biological child. When did you see unusual behaviors? How, exactly, does he display his uniqueness? Does he get along with peers? Get along in school? And, lol, one of my most important points in trying to help who gave you the dxs? Was it a Pediatrician or a Child Psychiatrist or ???

    If you don't mind being "grilled" I think you'll find some caring support from the CD family. Meanwhile I am on my way home from work and will check in later. You have a found a wonderful place. Hugs DDD
  3. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi there and welcome! I kind of agree and kind of dont with the bargaining, discussions part.... If you mean they need a rule and to do it or else, well that has never worked for me or for many here. Most of us would say that typical parenting and typical counseling do not do much for our kids. Many of us use some form of problem solving and discussion with our difficult child's but not always. (well some do always but I am not one of them, my son has a variety of issues that have to be met by what works for his diagnoses and learning abilities and styles).

    Do you have the book, The Explosive Ross Greene? It gives a new perspective on working with kids like ours who do not respond to typical parenting methods. I just got a really cheap copy on and it comes in e-book form too. You can find it anywhere. Many of us like it...but not all.

    You are right, it is HUGE to be on the same side...many of us who are single find that to be one of th efew benefits, lol.... no having to worry about what the other adult feels is right and if they disagree.

    I suspect your hubby may even see the wisdom in the Explosive Child way of doing things because it does have some amount of discussion but it is very specific in nature....not giving in by any means.

    You would probably like it because the whole point is to lessen overall stress in the home by identifying a basket b basket c basket behaviors and then saying how to approach those (a basket often safety rules/medications/etc) in a systematic way that does not overwhelm everyone. By putting some things off to the side and getting to them later, but handling the most pressing things first...... things calm down and those in the other baskets actually often lessen just for that very reason.

    I would not have believed it but it worked for me and one school even made my son's behavior plan following this and it WORKED for a full year until a new staff just did not get it.

    My second thought is, are you sure of his diagnosis? How did you come up with this and are you comfortable with it. If medications are not working great then could it be that the adhd and odd are really symptoms of something bigger???

    Many of us have this situation in our kids... they have clear adhd and odd symptoms (and yes we do get is ROUGH so holding your hand here!) but after having a full neuropsychological evaluation other bigger issues have come to light.

    If you have not done so, you may want to look into a neuropsychologist evaluation. They are long.... somtimes a full to two days. But they are well worth your time and effort. In addition, I always think esp. for ODD/ADHD kids it is really important to have a full occupational therapy evaluation in a private clinic that looks at motor and sensory issues. Of course, being an Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) if there is any chance of your child having processing problems... auditory or language...I would have that checked out too. Many people think Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) services are only speech sounds but it is really to help with any communication disorder.

    Since you say things are getting worse, I hope these ideas will offer you help and support. Once you really know for sure what you are working with you can see people who do therapy with kids with those issues. Counselors and behaviorists rarely really understand the world of difficult child's. They are trained to work with kids who are typical misbehaving or emotionally challenged kids... not kids who are truly wired differently.

    I wont give you marriage advice...others here have walked those shoes.... I just can see your point.

    It is exhausting and you are not alone..... (sorry for my typing... I have a really sore finger and am not going to go thru spell check...hope you dont mind, lol)
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm wondering about the diagnosis too. ODD isn't very useful and ADHD is often a fooler that is really something else. Can you give us a basic rundown of his development and if he is up to speed on socialization, speaking, and making good eye contact with yourself and strangers? Any psychiatric problems on the GENETIC family tree, even if he never sees his biological father? He is still 50% of his DNA. Any chaos in his early life or now? Abuse?

    The more you tell us, the more we can help. You may want to do a signature, like I did below.

    Are you in the US? That matters in our advice too.
  5. myeverything04

    myeverything04 New Member

    Hello and welcome!

    I am also new here but I have felt a HUGE sigh of relief in finding a group of parents who can offer support and suggestions.
    I have an 8 year old daughter with ADHD and will say from the beginning that the medications are one of the most frustrating thing about the treatment (or at least in my opinion). My daughter is a single child and her father and I are divorced which only throws more hands in the bucket as he is remarried and I am engaged - it's nice to have 4 different 'thoughts' but at the same time can only add more chaos.

    Like I said, I am new here too but so far it seems that most have suggested a full neuropsychologist evaluation to test for further/more complex problems. Can I ask if the medications you have tried so far have helped at all? How many medications has your son been on? We also use Melatonin at night as my daughter is on Adderall and it keeps her up til midnight without it.

    As far as the parenting on the same page, communication seems to work best with us (the four of us that is). I also suggest a strict schedule for all in the home. I know that my daughter has a very routine schedule each day coming home from school and it has helped the whole household know what is coming next so we can mentally prepare. Have you tried posting a schedule so your son can see what is expected next? How does he do with homework?

    Sorry for all the questions! Might help some of us get to know your situation a little better :)
    Glad you found us and sending hugs!
  6. fightingthetide

    fightingthetide New Member

    Wow. Thanks for all the attention I am receiving! ;-) Hmmm...where to start. Lots of background to provide. First, he is our biological child. No abuse in his history. Some anxiety/depression issues in family history, but that's it.

    We see a psychiatrist now. Used to see a developmental pediatrician, in addition to the regular pediatrician. My son has been medicated since age 4 for ADHD, but I have known long before that that his activity level was off the charts. He has had unbelievable temper tantrums since I can remember. Basically, not getting his way is what will set him off. Truly, the topic is interchangeable. He is delighted to annoy his siblings. Really, he fits the classic ODD profile.

    by the way, what does difficult child mean? I am going to have to learn some of this stuff.

    He has been evaluated for cognitive ability, and something else, when we first started the Rx. Bottom line, he had no disability. Honestly, he's a really smart kid, and that probably contributes to his frustration sometimes.

    I do have the Explosive Child book- somewhere! WOnder if I loaned it to someone, it's not on my bookshelf. LOL
  7. fightingthetide

    fightingthetide New Member

    Oh gosh, yep, we've tried a lot of different medications. Most recently we tried Risperdone. The idea was to blunt down the irritibility and aggression of the ODD. Well, it didn't do that for him, and actually made him more hyperactive. OUr psychiatrist said this was not a common side effect, yet not unheard of. And recently tried Intuniv, too. We've done Focalin, Adderall XR. Seriously, the medications are like a constant balancing act.

    One very key aspect of my son's behavior, I failed to mention. He is an angel at school. I am happy about this, perplexed by this, and frustrated by this.

    The moment he walks out the school doors he's ready to do battle. Anybody else have this situation?
  8. buddy

    buddy New Member

    LOL! That is why I had to buy a new copy!

    difficult child means gift from god which is the board way of describing our amazingly challenging "gifts"! The terms that are difficult are also defined by putting your cursor on them and the meaning will pop up next to a question mark.

    I would still look at a neuropsychologist evaluation. the people you have seen are not experts in auditory processing problems, language processing problems, sensory integration disorder etc... and so the Occupational Therapist (OT) and Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) (make sure they are people who work in that area, everyone has specialties) are really important too. Yes, many many of the difficult child's of the world are very very bright and fit ODD to a "T". It rarely has turned out for most that the ODD is stand alone though. It is usually due to a lack of skills for some reason. An inability to handle frustration tolerance or some subtle neurological thing and once that issue is targeted (one member here has been inspiring me lately because my son has many of those little issues that all when ticked away at improve things...and right now we are finally getting someone to address the lang. processing--and likely auditory processing---issues thru an FM system which also helps iwth adhd symptoms...again adhd may then be a symptom of the aud. processing issues and on and on)...

    She has had years of her son having behavior issues too and now he has an FM system (auditory trainer) after being diagnosed with auditory processing disorder and he has remarkably done better.

    My view, you never want to leave a stone un-turned. My son was treated for years for "anxiety" which he DOES have...but some of the symptoms were treated as only that and they turned out to be seizures. Can you imagine how awful I felt? HE not only didn't get the right treatment and was saying he wanted to die to get rid of the symptoms, but the medications they did give him turned out to be adding to aggression and as we finally found out he had an enzyme condition it was a medication that he could have died from because his body can't metabolize it correctly.

    Really sounds scary and that couldn't possibly happen to me, right? But I am hoping that it is a hopeful thing for you... our story is actually not unique. Sadly (and I can tell you this from a professional perspective too) training for the more subtle things that our kids suffer from is sorely lacking in all professions from MD, to psychiatric, to all forms of rehab therapy. And the impact of these issues in often severe. Heck, in this day most psychiatrists and psychologists, dev and reg pediatricians STILL miss autism!

    Hope you find your book, I do that all the time.
  9. fightingthetide

    fightingthetide New Member

    I am calling our local childrens hospital on Monday to find out about a neuro psychiatric evaluation. It makes me crazy that I am a parent who is seriously reaching out for resources and answers, yet no one has suggested this to me! So glad I found this website and you wonderful group of Moms!
  10. buddy

    buddy New Member

    My son nearly had to be hospitalized on Resperidone and it caused him to become hyper and aggressive. So did Seroquel. Others have been told differently, but here is what one psychiatrist who works with only difficult child's told me... (she has three of her own and studied at Mayo clinic for years) ... and she said that at low doses it can trigger one set of chemicals and at higher another set so maybe for our kids the lower doses triggered the chemicals that made our kids react in a more revved up way. they said if we ever had to do it again we might do a high dose and go down. He would likely need psychiatric hospital to do that so they could monitor him. It would be my very last desperate thing though because I saw how awful he was on it.

    Several others here have had terrible experiences on it too. And then there are the lucky ones who have had success.... I always wish that was us.
  11. fightingthetide

    fightingthetide New Member

    Oh and thanks for the quick tutorial! I'll catch on...;-)
  12. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hello and welcome. Angel at school, devil at home? Yes, I recognise that - although my little one is only a comparative angel at school and can occasionally be angelic at home too :) But I have been surprised at how well he holds it together at school in terms of complying to the not inconsiderable discipline. He will quite often explode when he gets home in the evening and I have decided that it is probably because it has cost him an enormous amount to fit in, not lose it, comply with directions, sit still and concentrate... and the explosion is an expression of that, a need to release so much pent-up energy and frustration.
    As for the rest... my son has not been diagnosed anything yet, but certainly fits the ADHD/ODD model. I find in his case that his behaviour is quite related to how loved and appreciated he feels... warmth and positive encouragement work wonders with him, often - where discipline, anger and punishment fail completely. To what degree, if any, does this apply to your boy? Immediate rewards also work quite well - we have a piggy bank into which a small coin is dropped (saving up for a special toy he wants) every time he does something positive - I don't even really approve of this method in theory, but it does seem to motivate him and improve his behaviour!
    I have found a mix of approach between The Explosive Child and also What Your Explosive Child is Trying to Tell You (Douglas Riley) quite helpful - taking the wheat and letting the chaff go. There is hope for better relationships and better behaviour with these kids, I do believe that.
  13. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Because Malika knows I love her I will share that she is from the UK and sometimes I have no idea what she means, lol! (she is very smart too)

    You may know though..... Just poking fun... or is it taking the mickey out --on her, of her??? how do we say that Malika?

    I would guess from the context it is taking the important parts and letting the rest go?? is chaff part of wheat we dont use?? I am such a city kid.
  14. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    It is a quote from the New Testament, my dear Buddy :) Jesus talked about taking the wheat and letting the chaff go - ie, exactly as you guessed, taking the important part of something and leaving what does not feel useful or relevant. The chaff being the part of the wheat that is discarded in milling. But I think maybe you have the idiom in America too? PS, Yes, I'm very smart. :)
  15. buddy

    buddy New Member

    We certainly may.... as I said I am not familiar with it as one we use often. I love it though so thanks! I am not very religious either so dont have bible verses down either, lol. You just always make me miss my UK life. I really loved it there.
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    ADhd/ODD as a combination is a common first diagnosis, however it is rarely the last diagnosis. It is sort of like a "working diagnosois." I would still see the neuropsychologist. You will get far more specific and be able to help your little one better. ODD applies to almost all of our kids, however they are defiant for different reasons...usually various disorders. Did your child have a difficult early history? Some kids seem to just be born wired differently. but it's important to find out what is wrong to the best of your ability because different methods work for different disorders. As they get older, it does get harder if these things are not addressed.

    Schools are terrible at pointing us toward the right resources. I think it makes sense though. They are educators, not medical professionals. They don't really is not their field. Sadly, the school psychologists tend to be the private psychologist I have not found any I really liked. I'd go private for sure for any advice.
  17. fightingthetide

    fightingthetide New Member

    @Malika, feel free to use all of your British colloquialisms! Love it! And...I do have the Douglas Riley book And (bonus)it is on my shelf!

    We have tried different behavior/reward systems. The motivation factor does not seem to stick for very long, and the "system" becomes worthless. We try to praise ANY positive behavior.

    I have a problem with giving attention to the negative behavior. For example, if you attack your brother and get sent to your room. Then have a complete meltdown. This does not warrant a 25 minute discussion in the room with the child. The time out isnt over then either. Am I missing something? Please, please tell me if I am. Because I am under the impression that this is the exact way to play into the ODD kids power struggle.

    We try to maintain a fairly structured schedule, with bedtime routines, morning routines, and some basic expectations around the house. I don't think that our house is particularly rigid with rules, but mostly, our requests are met with opposition, anger, and hostility. Then there are those moments when he can be sweet! Rare, but he is in there somewhere!
  18. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member made me laugh. Yep, around here those guys actually couldn't make it in private practice.
    What a sick sense of humor I have developed after too many years of parenting, lol. DDD
  19. fightingthetide

    fightingthetide New Member

    Actually, our kids are in private school. So, we've never seen a school psychologist, don't have an IEP, none of it. I'm not sure if that's a blessing or a curse? Since my son is an angel at school, Im not sure if we'd even be directed in that way. I have wondered if there are services offered by the public school system that could benefit him, though.
  20. buddy

    buddy New Member

    It depends on the private school if he would receive services AT the school. But by federal law he is eligible under "child find" for a public school evaluation and Special Education services which you can drive him to or have him bused if he needed speech therapy he may have to leave the private school and go there for those services. I used to have a case load of private school kids and I was willing to work after school hours.

    Your son is young yet so just fair warning many of the more subtle issues do not show up until more demands that require those needed abilities later in school. often between third and fifth grades. In the mean time enjoy the ride and here's hoping that is never a need for him! It certainly does happen. Just better to be prepared.