New here... don't know where to begin

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Jules71, Jul 27, 2007.

  1. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    I am new and not sure what to do... as I see many of you are from reading several posts.

    I have a 5 year old son who I think may have ODD (which I just stumbled upon searching the internet for answers as to why he is the way he is/does the things he does).

    He has pretty much been a difficult child from age 1. (He was a perfect baby - no feeding problems, slept great, etc.) When he turned one he started having night terrors and also became demanding and volatile. We thought it was due to the terrible twos. When he didn't outgrow it, we thought he is just strong willed. It has progressed through the years and it now feels like he rules our household. For along time I would just give in so as to avoid a battle. For years I have thought he is this way because of my inconsistent parenting and giving him his way - but after reading so much, I wonder if there could be more to it. He was not in daycare until age 2, but began having problems with hitting/pushing other children (with no remorse) then. This past school year he was in a private Lutheran pre-k class and had problems the entire time (almost got kicked out a couple times). He is very bossy, has to have things his way. When he plays with most other children he tells them how to stand, how to catch, how to dance, and what to do - he gets along fine as long as they do what he wants them to. He is very smart and has always been interested in things usually way beyond other children's interests for his age. He gets along with most girls. It is the other boys who are like him who he clashes with. There is one girl (a friends daughter who came to stay with us) that he would terrorize because he got a reaction (whine) from her every time. He loved upsetting her. We all went to a park and he pushed my friend's other daughter (22 mos old) down the slide because she was in his way. Then he tried to push someone else off a toy. Time outs, charts, and spankings do not work. I usually resort to screaming which just makes me (and him) feel terrible. He makes up stories about Dad trying to hurt him (if he has done something wrong and been disciplined) - saying things like "he just tried to kill me" or "he just tried to make me bleed". He blames us or others for everything that happens or goes wrong - even if we were nowhere near. We recently had another baby 4 mos ago. He has pinched and slapped him a few times for no reason. I have been a stay at home mom since just before the baby was born. I am terrified of him starting Kindergarten in the fall because I know it will be difficult and I will get phone calls daily.

    I am wondering what to do. We have not been to any counseling or dr's about this. What is my first step? I just ordered The Explosive Child and the Difficult Child from Amazon. I have so many books and nothing has worked. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    I think you may want to move this post to the general forum. I think many don't check the more individualized forums as much because they may not have kids this age anymore. However, if they don't, it most likely means they've gone through it before and would have great advice to offer.

    I'd love to offer advice, but I'm very new to the board and new to all of this too. I definately understand what you're going through. Yelling, charts, spanking, rewards etc. don't work on my kids either.

    Welcome to the group, you found a great group of people for support.
  3. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I'll answer over here, though it does tend to be quiet on the weekends. You may very well have a willful child, but I doubt it. Has he ever been evaluated for the behavioral problems? If so, then by what type of specialist? Any health problems in his history? Is there any mental illness, addiction or developmental disability in the family tree? How is his sleep now? Probably the most important thing you can do is make sure he's not alone with baby and closely supervised with other kids. This is to prevent him from hurting anyone.
  4. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Thanks for the responses.

    He has never been evaluated. His pre-k teacher suggested we go to counseling and also talk to his pediatrician. We have not done that yet.

    No real health problems. He used to get sick alot (colds/congestion/allergy type illnesses) when we lived in AZ, but now that we are in WA he rarely gets sick.

    Some depression on my side of the family, not sure about Hubby's side. As far as developemental disabilities; my brother had learning problems in school with reading/writing. My husband has mentioned some behavior problems that he had when he was a child but really doesn't elaborate.

    Would my first step be to make an appointment with our pediatrician, or call for counseling? Or some other evaluation? I just fear that if we wait any longer to get a handle on this - it is going to be more difficult if not impossible. I guess I kept thinking he would grow out of it. He gets so frustrated when people don't do what he wants them too. With the little girl that was here he would tell her what to do and when she didn't do it he would scream at her and then she would get scared and then we would tell him that she was afraid of him and then he would cry and I could tell his feelings were hurt because he didn't want to hurt her, he just wanted her to do it "his way". It breaks my heart.

    He is demanding and talks to us with total disrespect. He orders us around and demands things. He never does what you tell him to do. He seems so stubborn and strong willed. Everything is a battle. There seems to never be a smooth moment. I am exhausted and my marriage is suffering. I also feel like I don't get to spend enough time with the baby because I have to deal with him so much.

    Thanks again for the replies.
  5. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    You should talk to your pediatrician AND go for a neuropsychologist evaluation. I learned about those on this website and all of the warrior moms seem to suggest it. We went for them this summer and are waiting for the formal results for 2 and are doing add'l testing on the other. Basically, a neuropsychologist tests the heck out of him to determine a diagnosis so that the appropriate interventions can come into place.

    Our oldest was diagnosis'd as ODD/ADHD when he was 5.5 years old, but apparently has Aspergers syndrome as well. According to everyone, ODD/ADHD rarely dangle alone and have another underlying cause.

    Hope this helps!
  6. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Welcome Julie.

    The place to start is with your pediatrician. Prepare well for the appointment with a list of problematic symptoms. A log of behaviors will help as well. Pediatricians often are reluctant to give referals to the specialist you need (pediatric neuropsychologist or developmental peditrician) and often refer to psychiatrists or counselors and that's not what you need right now, in my opinion as the evaluations aren't as thorough. What I can pull out of your post is serious problems with authority, unresponsive to discipline, social problems, aggression, blames others/can't see through their point of view, unusual interests (list them). I know it's hard to read the lists but be specific as that's what your doctor will need to hear to make a decision. If you have any samples of his work like writing or drawing that's way above his peers bring that along too.

    We didn't get an evaluation until age 5 and that was what put us on the road to making forward progress. (My child started reading at age 2 and had very unusual interests as compared to his peers but behaviors were very difficult.) The mroe data you can accumulate through evaluation, the better prepared you will be to make positive changes.
  7. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Thank you so much. I have contacted his pediatrician and am waiting for a call back. Here is the list I have compiled. Is it too detailed?

    • Loses temper / hits, screams, cries
    • Argues, never gives up
    • Refuses to follow the rules
    • Deliberately annoys people
    • Blames others
    • Defiant
    • Stubborn
    • Strong-willed
    • Fixated / Obsessive, wants to talk about the same thing over and over
    • Easily frustrated (when writing, putting on shoes, etc.)
    • Bossy, has to have things his way/his rules
    • Extreme
    • Intense
    • LOUD
    • Doesn’t want to waste/use/loose his belongings (won’t wear hat, might lose it – won’t use his pens, will run out of ink, etc.)
    • High energy / always on the go, but tires easily when having to walk any distance
    • When physically active, his head sweats a lot. Complains his head/hair is hot.
    • Had night terrors around ages 1 – 3
    • Has had foot pain (both feet) as long as I can remember (sprained left ankle when he was age 3)
    • Fell backwards in a chair and hit back of head on tile floor (age 3) – ER visit and MRI(?) checked out ok
    • Lots of colds, stuffy/runny nose, congestion (would throw up from all the phlegm) – has slowed down since move from AZ to WA (10/2005)
    • Picky eater, will gag and throw up
    • As a young child, would not take medicine (Tylenol, etc) without gagging and throwing up – but can swallow pills now even without water
    • Recently has more aversion to food smells
    • Recently complained about small bumps in his go-gurt (texture/sensory?)
    • Worries about other people not following the rules – doesn’t apply the rules to himself. “The Enforcer”
    • When he gets in trouble/disciplined – he says things like you want to kill me, cut my head off, make me bleed, you hate me, I’m stupid, you want me to go away, etc.
    • Worries about death (doesn’t want him or me to go to ‘heaven’)
    • Snores, tosses & turns, sits up, thrashes around while sleeping
    • Very friendly/talkative/social with adults
    • Excellent speech from early on
    • Notices small details
    • Interested in how things work (ex. At the zoo, but interested in the drains)
  8. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Your list is good. After seeing it I definitely would like to see you go through the screening checklist at the site I linked above. Some of the traits you have listed would be included as symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome which is the highest functioning form of the Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Of course we are only giving you thoughts of places to research as we obviously can't diagnose!

    Here's a link with more info on AS. It's pretty common for a parent with a younger child to recognize some of the symptoms but not the others. It's also frequently missed by doctors--not usually picked up until at least age 6. My kiddo leaned in this direction and he would do things like go to the zoo but read the signs before looking at the animals because he was obsessed with letters and words.

    Here's an article about approaching a pediatrician for an evaluation. The info holds true for other issues besides AS. I would recommend making an appointment to discuss in person.

    As for foods, odors, taking medications, etc. you will want to check out a disorder which goest by the names Sensory Integration Dysfunction or Sensory Processing Disorder. My child has this--lots of gag issues and heightened sensitivities to tastes, textures and odors.

    There's a good book which would also be helpful in sorting this out called The Out of Sync Child by Carol Kranowitz. It's available at any larger bookstore or can be ordered online.
  9. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    OK, I've got a few more minutes now. You will want to add something to your list to describe how he gets along with peers.

    It would be good for you at this time to step back on expectations/demands until you have a thorough grasp on what is going on. Don't make big deals of small things. Don't force foods on him that he doesn't like--if sensory is at the root of this it can make things worse for him. Offer foods that he likes at times when he is most receptive to eating, not necessarily at family meal times when food odors and sights can be very offensive. Tune in to what food odors you're introducing in the house if they are causing him problems. This area can really escalate out of control rapidly (been there, done that), especially at times of high stress. If bumps in foods are becoming problems, strain it or pureee it. When I don't buy pulp free orange juice I wind up sending difficult child's through the tea strainer first to take the pulp out.

    His concern of not wanting to use stuff out of fear of losing them sounds like it is anxiety based. Try and find ways that will eleviate this so he doesn't have this constantly hanging over his head. For example, I always buy two school lunch bags for my kiddo at the beginning of the year so if one gets lost or ruined or left at school we have a back up.

    Look for substitutes in the areas that frustrate him. If shoes are a problem, go to velco or slip on tennis shoes. My difficult child can tie shoes but it's such a slow and frustrating process that he prefers the ease of the slip ons. I just bought him some Merril's that are slip ons made of tennis shoe fabric for school. Paying attention to small details in clothing (ie jacket and backpack closures) can make big differences in every day life. I also take steps like buying all of the same color and style of socks so he only has to get used to one for the school year.

    Parenting in this way takes a lot of time and effort but many of us have found that the frustrations are fewer and better progress can be made if you take a preventative approach. A child who is assaulted all day long with things that go against his grain: odors, textures, authority--is more apt to be in high defiance mode all of the time. Try and ease that for him.
  10. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Thank you so much! This is awesome! I really appreciate your help!

    He pretty much never eats dinner with us. I don't make a big deal out of it. I let him eat when he wants and mostly what he wants (making sure there is some nutrition in there). I can identify with you on the OJ. Been there, done that.

    Good idea on buying two of something to eleviate his anxiety.

    He has velcro shoes but even gets frustrated because it takes too long. Slip ons may be better. He has no patience (I will add that to the list as well). We've already figured out buttons on pants are no good - he wants snaps. He has never complained of tags in clothing or colors or anything like that. He does want his socks off most of the time.

    He gets along great with some kids and terrible with others. He usually gets along with the girls, but chooses to play with the boys - and usually the ones like him that are rowdy - which causes conflict because he wants everyone to do things his way. He usually gets along better with older or younger kids, rather than his own age. He has a hard time keeping his hands to himself. He is always trying to push or pull people around to get them to do things - he has a hard time understanding you can't do that and peoples personal space. He freaks out when things are out of his control - like if someone won't do what he wants them to do. He will then physically try to make them. When an adult intervenes and physically holds him back he flips out. Looks like I have some more to add to the list.

    Thanks for all your help - as soon as I can, I will look at the links you sent.
  11. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Socially you could probably describe it as "not appropriate". Socially he's wanting and trying to make connections but it sounds like there is something often getting in the way of social success with a peer. The schools can do social skills training for kids who qualify and it's often a great help since they're on the spot.

    I've had really good luck with Land's End climber pant jeans. They have pretty gentle elastic at the top with a pull elastic belt to make them tighter. They aren't cheap but it's really reduced my headaches. I just buy as many pairs of matching jeans as he'll need right away in fall.
  12. waytootired

    waytootired New Member

    I would ask your husband to elaborate on his behavior issues when he was young. Just explain that knowing his history might give some insite into your son's issues, especially if your husband's behaviors are similar to your son's. Genetics play a large role in a lot of mood disorders. Be sure and explain to him that you are in no way looking to blame need to know for your son's sake. Maybe if he isn't willing to talk about it you could ask a family member. Just a thought!

    Good Luck & Hang in There !
  13. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Thank you. I have considered having a conversation with his mother. He has elaborated a little bit by telling me he was always getting in trouble and his mother took him to all kinds of places to "find out what was wrong with him" but nothing ever came of it. He said it was humiliating.