New here and completely at my wits end!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by stacy, May 28, 2013.

  1. stacy

    stacy New Member

    First off I would like to say I stumbled across this forum, and it is very refreshing to read so many posts from others dealing with similar situations as mine, as lately I have felt completely alone. Please bare with me as I am new, and some of the lingo and abbreviations you all use is completely foreign to me. You will have to also excuse the long rant.

    A little background. I am the parent of a difficult, putting it lightly, 14 year old son. At the age of 4 he was kicked out of preschool. I was told he was a manipulator, could not follow instructions, consistently disobedient and disruptive. I was very shocked as I had never seen these behaviors in my child at home. When he started Kindergarten I received the same report from teachers. He was a very likable kid, but extremely impulsive, disruptive, and difficult to stay on task. I tried different strategies at home, as I wanted a "diagnosis" to be a last resort. Finally by the beginning of first grade I had no choice but to have him undergo a comprehensive neuropsychologist evaluation. He was diagnosis with ADHD and put on medications. For a good year he was a dream child, but as he grew the need to increase or change medications came, and I feel like I have been chasing my tail ever since. I also began to notice the out of control behaviors at home. We have tried numerous medications, stimulants and non-stimulants. The only thing that he seemed to respond to was stimulant medications. With every change there seemed to be minor improvement, or maybe there really wasn't and it was just wishful thinking. No matter the case, the good never lasted long. Right about the 4th grade, he began getting into serious trouble at school, became aggressive, and had no respect for authority (among other things). I decided to have him placed in an inpatient setting for evaluation. That is when we received the dreaded ODD diagnosis, and not otherwise specified mood disorder. His medications were once again changed, he was placed on a mood stabilizer and antidepressant, as well as the stimulant. There was absolutely no improvement, and he gained a tremendous amount of weight, so I took him off the mood medications. He began counceling and did so for many years, but consistently refused to participate so I gave up on that. In the 5th grade I fought for an IEP for him (which I had been trying to get for years) and he was placed in an Emotionally Disturbed classroom setting, because he could not function in a traditional setting and was failing everything. He hated being in that class and was adamant about being removed, to the point of causing such a disruption last year that they began transitioning him back into traditional classes in hopes that giving him what he wanted would improve his behavior. What a joke! He was repeatedly in trouble with detentions and suspensions. The things he would say to his teachers and classmates disgusted me. He did what he wanted to do period, and had no problem telling them that. Last year his aggression got to the point that he was starting fights in school, teachers were fearful of him, and he began rapid mood cycling. I know bipolar, and that is just not him. I did my own research and found that when kids, especially boys, go thru puberty stims can cause these behaviors. The medications weren't really doing any good anyway, so I took him off everything. His psychiatrist basically told me, there is not a pill in the world that will help him, his behaviors are his choices, and until he chooses to change nothing will change. He lies constantly, has no remorse for anything, blames everyone else for his mistakes, intentionally destroys things at home, you name it he does it. This year his behavior was on a downward spiral and fast! No consequence or punishment fazed him one bit, and I am very consistent and strict with punishments. I began to look for resources within the community that could help, but no one would help me without a court referral. I went to the court system to file unruly charges and was basically told I was wasting my time as they couldn't make a non-compliant child comply with court orders because unruly is a status offense and not a criminal. My thought is shouldn't we be more proactive instead of reactive? None the less, a little over a month ago I found out that he had stolen my credit card and made multiple charges racking up a substantial bill. I pressed charges. He was convicted of felony theft and sentenced to probation, community service, and a 6 month suspended sentence. No more than 2 hours after we left court and I dropped him off at school, his principal called stating they had to call the police and press disorderly conduct charges on him. Last week he made threatening statements to numerous staff at school and the police were called again, charges pressed, and he was expelled. I am currently 9 months pregnant and also have a 5 year old son at home. I had to quit my job (thus losing our health insurance) due to his behavior. He requires 24/7 supervision. I can not trust him alone for anytime. If I walk outside for a few minutes and leave the 2 boys inside my youngest inevitably ends up with a busted lip, black eye, or various other injury. He hoards food in his room (I limit the amount of "sweets" they get), stuffing it in his mattress, air vents, and closet which has ruined everything in his room and created a buggy situation. Yesterday I found cigarette butts in his closet and to top it off, he is now setting fires. Our home is in a constant state of chaos, I don't feel like I ever get a break from his behaviors, it's always something. Little things become big things because you are always dealing with them. With all these new behaviors I am fearful in my house. I'm afraid he will start a fire and kill us, sometimes I am afraid he will hurt us in our sleep, I just don't know what he is capable of anymore. I have an innocent 5 year old here that I have to protect and another on the way. I love my son, but I just don't know how much longer I can do this. My husband (who has raised him since the age of 2) wants him out, and said if I don't have him removed he will leave and take our boys because they are not safe here. I feel like I am being pulled in different directions. He obviously needs some intensive treatment. The legal system just tells me to give probation a chance to work. We go back to court Thursday, but in the meantime what happens if he hurts one of us? No one seems to take any of this seriously. It is hard because I love him, but I hate him at the same time. Yes it is really the behavior that I hate, but for so many years his behavior has defined him that I feel like it's him that I hate, and that is a horrible feeling as a mother. I have a hard time looking at him, I don't want to be affectionate with him anymore. I have so much anger and hurt built up inside because his choices are wrecking my family. I have tried everything: medication, counseling, positive reinforcement, punishment, bargaining, pleading, crying, praying, screaming, name it. Everyone I come in contact with says they are at a loss because they have never seen a kid like him before. I feel alone and helpless. I am saddened for my son. I feel like if he doesn't get some sort of help soon I will either be visiting him behind bars or his grave. I want better for him, I want him to want better for himself. I said I would never give up on him until I can lay my head on my pillow at night and know I have done everything I can do for him. I honestly don't know what else to do. Sometimes I think if I can't help him, maybe he needs to be placed somewhere where maybe someone else can. I need a break as well. I am scared to death as to what life is going to be like when I bring a new baby home. Everything just seems so overwhelming.

    Anyway, thanks for "listening". If any of you have any thoughts or ideas, I'd welcome them. Hope you all had a great holiday!
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Some details aren't quite clear.
    It sounds like your difficult child was a pretty good kid... until he started school?
    And then... started going off the deep end about grade 4?

    If so... well, sounds familiar.
    I'm guessing either he has the wrong diagnosis, OR his ADHD comes with a list of add-ons (been there done that).
    And these add-on dxes... drive a kid insane at school.
    Teachers don't see them. Nobody tests for them.

    Such as...
    Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) - auditory processing disorder. In particular, auditory figure ground (not common to screen for, not sure why!) - which is where the person has trouble processing sounds in noisy environments. They hear everything... and really struggle to figure out where to put the auditory focus and how to "hear"... and then, having spent so much mental brain-power trying to hear, have nothing left to "listen" and get the message.

    Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) - developmental coordination disorder - which can be global, or very subtle... a kid can be a star athlete, but can't manage "writing".

    Once a kid gets labelled as having a bad attitude or bad behaviours... the system stops looking for a cause.

    How long since his comprehensive evaluation? just the inpatient one?
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ok, I have no diagnosis for you, but I do have questions about his early years and development. Has he had a very chaotic firs three years? Is there a father in the picture? Any psychiatric or developmental disorders in either side of his DNA and Dad counts even if he has never met him. Was he adopted? Is he nice to animals? Are his potty habits normal? Any interest in fires? Does he hurt his peers or you? Any sexualized behavior? (This is hard to talk about, but many of us have seen it in our kids).

    I guess I think your psychiatrist is probably wrong. Your child has been this way since his early years. I don't believe all of his behaviors are his fault or that he can choose to control his temper. I would get another evaluation since ha hasn't had one since he was little. I'd get another neuropsychologist evaluation.

    If your son actually has no conscience, that's a problem. And it's why I asked if he had very chaotic early years because there is something called reactive attachment disorder that causes these kinds of behaviors in children who have seen and lived through a lot of chaos in the first three years of life. Has he seen or been abused? That's another biggie. Does he have any siblings that you have to worry about keeping safe? Does Dad live with you? Anyone there to help?

    My own suggestion is to give us more of a snapshot of your child's life so that we can maybe give more helpful suggestions. And don't worry about labels so much. Your child needs help and often labels help you get help, if you get what I mean. Not having any label will just make everyone think he is nothing but "bad." in my opinion, he is not just a "bad" kid. He has stuff going on. It would be good if you could share more.

    Happy to have you join us, but so sorry you had to do so!
  4. stacy

    stacy New Member

    Thanks for taking the time to reply! He has always been a different kid at home than at school, they certainly get the brunt of it. I would say he was your typical kid until preschool, unless I just completely missed it! His neuropsychologist evaluation was about 8 years ago. He has been inpatient twice, the last one was 2 years ago. He hasn't been seen by a psychiatrist in almost a year. I pretty much gave up on the medications, they weren't effective and the side effects were bad. Now I do not have insurance so there is no way I can cover any medical expenses.
  5. stacy

    stacy New Member

    His first 2 years were great, then I met my husband. The first few years of our marriage was not nice, my son did witness DV, but never abused himself. Well maybe some verbal abuse if I were going to be honest about it. These are all things I have always been up front with every therapist, social worker, psychiatrist, etc. His real dad is not really in the picture, nor has he been. I don't know much family hx as he was adopted. On my end we have depression. He actually is great with animals, he just started setting fires, he does intentionally hurt his brother but has never tried to hurt me, he does start fights at school. My husband who has raised him since he was 2 is in the home and that is not a good situation. As I said he wants him gone because he feels he is unsafe around us and our children, so yes I handle him all by myself. No support. I have a 5 year old at home, and ready to deliver another baby anytime. I am fearful, he is so unpredictable. I don't believe he is a bad kid either, he has moments where he melts my heart (few and far between of course). He needs help, I need a break. We have switched psychiatrists 3 or 4 times and all of them have said the same thing. I'm just exhausted.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Skip the psychiatrists. They've gotten into a rut, and tend to support each other's opinions. You need a fresh look at this, from a different perspective. Like... child behavioral/developmental team out of a teaching hospital, or if you're in the US, neuropsychologist.
  7. stacy

    stacy New Member

    I'm not quite sure why my posts are not showing up. I apologize if more than one end up popping up.

    His neuropsychologist evaluation was about 8 years ago. He has been inpatient twice, the last being about 2 years ago. He hasn't seen a psychiatrist in almost a year. medications were ineffective and side effects were worse.
  8. Pinklily

    Pinklily New Member

    Hi Stacy,

    Am I right in my understanding that your son was adopted? Do you have any information in regards to his pre-natal situation? The reason I ask is that your son sounds very much like a child with FASD. Many people believe that these kids have to "look" Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) but that's actually untrue. There is also pFAS (partial fetal alcohol syndrome disorder) and ARND (alcohol related neurological disorder) which both fall on the FASD continuum. These last two categories have NO physical features of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) but ALL of the behavioural issues. And in my experience, l kids with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) are some of the most challenging I've ever come across. They often don't learn from consequences, have no perspective of how their behaviour affects others, and have a very limited growth trajectory in terms of social, emotional and behavioral learning. They often need a parent or guardian to be their "external brain" because if left to their own devices they can't navigate the world without causing chaos. This is because the alcohol that they were exposed to in utero has caused true, physical brain damage. And as we all know, a child with brain damage has incredible challenges learning. For Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) kids this is more true in the area of behaviour than anywhere else.

    I urge you to consider this as a possibility as it is not uncommon in children who are adopted. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is often diagnosed as ADHD, ODD, CD, Learning Disability (LD), even bi-polar but in the end, when an investigation is done into prenatal history, the truth unfolds. I often hear from parents that all those other diagnosis never quite "fit" like the FASD does. Perhaps this may be your missing link.

    Good luck.
  9. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    You might be able to get him on medicaid. Then they will pay for a residential treatment center. Sending him to live somewhere else while he is getting help isn't giving up on him even though it is heart breaking to do. If he needed to be hospitalized for a physical condition that wouldn't be giving up on him. Neither is having him in a treatment center. I've had to do this for the safety of my other kids.

    In the mean while, you can put alarms on the bedroom doors to help you sleep at night. Put one on his door on the outside door frame and one on the inside of the other bedrooms. So, he can't turn them off. If his bedroom isn't within ear shot you can put a baby monitor outside his bedroom door and the other end by you so you can hear the alarm.

    SSI might help you get medicaid if you make to much money to get it by just applying. Medicaid might also pay for more evaluations.
  10. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    ((Hugs)) I don't have any advice but want to send you my support. I truly feel for you. Please hang in there and take good care of yourself.
  11. stacy

    stacy New Member

    No, my son is my biological child. I know nothing about his family hx from his dad's side as he was adopted. Sorry for the confusion. No chance of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) with him, that's one thing I do know for sure!
  12. stacy

    stacy New Member

    We don't qualify for Medicaid and I have often wondered if he would qualify for SSI. I was told by someone once that he wouldn't because they no longer give SSI for ADHD, and the ODD diagnosis just means he has bad behavior. His probation officer came by today. I filled him in on all the new happenings and asked about a couple residential treatment facilities in our area for teens that I had called previously and was turned away without a court referral. He said he would check on those for me, but was unaware of them. We go to court Thursday and he said the judge is going to lock him up for 10 days for the violations, I doubt that will do any good except give me a welcomed break. It would be nice if I could go into labor at that time as well so that I don't have to worry about finding someone to watch him while I am in the hospital (shame to have to have a sitter for a 14 year old!). Yesterday I had stepped outside for literally 2 minutes when my easy child came screaming and crying saying his brother attacked him by punching and kicking him, then twisting his arm. My difficult child insists that he 14, was defending himself from his 5 year old brother who is half his size and was hitting him with a clothes hanger. I don't know if that part is true because my difficult child lies so much, but even if it were I find his reaction excessive. He left a huge bruise on the side of easy child face and bruises on his arm where he grabbed it to twist it. I am really afraid he is going to hurt him one day beyond cuts, scrapes, and bruises. The PO asked me if I wanted to give up custody, and I feel so torn. My husband is already threatening to take my kids if something isn't done with difficult child. I have 2 other children I need to worry about, and this is not fair to them or obviously safe either.
  13. stacy

    stacy New Member

    Thanks Jules, I do appreciate that!
  14. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    This may be also totally out there, but any chance of other intoxication? Lead for example? Problems starting at school and that they first only showed in that environment kind of indicate also something neurological, maybe learning related. If possible those would be good to go through with fine-tooth comb.

    But right now your situation sounds so dire that placement out of home would probably be most helpful. I'm not from NA and really am at loss with your health insurance things and I do not know if it would be possible. But I do think your son would now need some kind of back wall that would stop his spiralling out of control. Only after that interventions for better would have possibility to be successful. And with younger kids home, you may not be able to provide him that back wall.
  15. stacy

    stacy New Member

    I really just don't know what it is. I wish I had the answers, even if I didn't have the fix I wish I just knew what really was going on with him. After one of the ladies mentioned Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), I began to do some research. Although I do not think he fits a lot of the characteristics, his life has. I also did some research on personality disorder's and he is clearly spot on for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Narcissism. His PO said I have until 10am Thursday to decide whether I want him removed from the home. I don't know how to make a decision like that. I would really like to just bury my head in a hole and let others do the decision making for me. I don't know what is right or wrong anymore.
  16. Angela41

    Angela41 New Member

    I'm so sorry to hear what you are going through! Maybe you answered this, but does your son have learning issues aside from his behavioral issues? For instance, did he have pronounced difficulty learning to read or learning math? Are his standardized test scores in the "normal" range? I would suggest an IQ test if he hasn't had one. I (think) these environmental things (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), lead poisoning) would cause noticeable intellectual deficits if they are behind the behavior you are describing. I also think that if his problem were completely global he would have physically attacked you by now- as the person exerting the most authority/ consequences. You said he has never tried to hurt you, but has hit his brother and threatened his teachers. My son, much younger (six) and better impulse control, will still hit me on the rare occasion that he becomes extremely agitated. Also, does he ever seem remorseful (again, maybe you answered this)-does he try to disengage from his actions (e.g. Refusal to discuss what he has done) or does he seem completely indifferent (just clearly doesn't care)- the first may be an emotionally immature expression of shame and the other may be a true lack of empathy. Yes, sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.
    To be honest, it sounds like you need to protect your other children- I know that must be so heartbreaking.
  17. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Attachment disorders are not necessarily on the extreme end of the spectrum - and it is a spectrum. Insecure attachment may not be quite as obvious... but comes from the same background. If you search this site for "insecure attachment" you'll find some relatively recent discussions.

    If he is Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)... well, he can be both. But Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) alone is a pervasive developmental disorder. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids need to be parented very differently. They are wired differently, think differently. They miss certain subtle social cues - but pick up on other things really fast. It's possible that he is just an out-of-control Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kid who needs a different kind of help.

    Perhaps what he needs most is a comprehensive evaluation...
  18. stacy

    stacy New Member

    He has no learning disability, he has been tested. When he actually tries, he does very well. He excels in math and reading, when he tries. His problem is he refuses to try most of the time. His IQ was tested, however he refused most of the test, so it was pointless. One year he will really try on his OAA (Ohio Achievement Test) and score very high, the next year he decides he doesn't want to do it and fails it all. He does not show remorse for anything, nor accountability. It is always someone else's fault, or he didn't do it. He never accepts responsibility. He is much like a shell of a person and generally emotionless when it comes to sadness, empathy, or remorse. He thinks it's hilarious when I cry or when someone is hurt. A few years ago our uncle was murdered (shot in the head), this was an uncle that he was pretty close to. It was the first death or funeral he had ever experienced, but I found it weird that he kept going up to the casket and touching him, primarily his head and trying to find the bullet hole, which he did. He thought it was the coolest thing and kept putting his finger in it. He loves disorder, chaos, and drama. If he is getting what he wants, oh he can be the perfect child, but as soon as the fun or gifts are over, so is the well behaved child. Everyone describes him as the master manipulator. He has actually thrown things at his teachers, shoved desks and chairs into them, and drawn his arms back to hit them. He starts fights at school and hurts his brother frequently, but no never me. He did tell a family member once (several years ago) that one night he was going to come into my room and shoot my husband, but the only gun he knew of was the BB gun and he knew that wouldn't kill him. I do believe a lot of his childhood has to do with his issues, which as I said is always why I am upfront and honest with everyone about it, but he refuses to talk about it or address it and the behaviors are too much for me.
  19. stacy

    stacy New Member

    I'm sure he does, but without insurance, only 1 income now, and a new baby any day I can not afford the out of pocket expense.
  20. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    To me, there is no question. You needs him out of the home until he is stabilized. He started a fire. That is all I would need to make this decision. When safety is involved, all emotions have to be put in check. What good can come if he starts a fire and even just one of you doesn't make it out? What if it is YOU? Who would care about him then? Without doubt, I would place him. It truly is the best parenting move here.