New here. Happy to have found this forum.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Squeakie27, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. Squeakie27

    Squeakie27 New Member

    Brand new here. We have an almost 5 yr old daughter that we adopted from foster care when she was 27 months. She was placed with us at 18 months. I'm working now on getting a diagnosis for her, but she is definitly ODD. I have read that this isn't considered a primary diagnosis, but I can't see what else her behavior seems to lead to. We have a pretty open adoption with her birth Mom and Dad, so I know a bit of their history as well. Mom is undiagnosed, but has many issues including what we all believe is Bi-polar. 5 yr old is sweet, well mannered, lovable and most of the time behaves well. Her issues arise when she doesn't get what she wants right away. She becomes defiant to the point of not moving. Will simply stand where she is until she is physically moved. Today, it was because she wanted to eat something while I was working on lunch. I told her lunch would be ready soon, but she just said no to that and keep rumaging through the frig. When told to stop, she became mad and wouldn't leave the kitchen. I never know what will trigger the behavior. Yesterday, telling her to wait was ok. Today, not so much. There is no reward that will motivate her. Losing items, missing out on events, or things does not motivate her either. Right now, I'm trying to find a Dr that will take her for an assessment.
  2. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hello! Gosh, your daughter's obstinacy when she wants something sounds like daily life with my adopted son! I don't even consider it strange or particularly a problem any more, which just shows how far gone I am, perhaps... But, seriously, if your daughter is polite and well-mannered and lovable almost all of the time apart from this occasional stubborness, well, frankly I wouldn't go chasing diagnoses of ODD. Maybe she just has a very cussed character, did you ever consider that? I don't mean that rudely. I understand how frustrating it is but you have to find ways of dealing with it other than expecting her to drop what she wants in the moment.
    But perhaps there is more to this than you have shared here. Are there other behaviours that concern you?
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. Welcome to the board, but sorry you have to be here...

    I have a few questions that could help us, help you. I'm an adoptive mom of three kids (and we started out with five adopted...we've seen the great, the bad, and the horrendous in adoption).

    1/Since you know the birthparents, do you know if birthmother took good care of herself while she was pregnant?

    2/Did she get prenatal care? Did she abstain from drinking or using drugs, even prescription drugs?
    3/What were your daughters early years like? Were they pretty stable or filled with chaos?

    4/Does your daughter make good eye contact, like hugs, have a good imagination, and know how to relate normally with her same age peers?

    5/Is your daughter kind to animals and leave matches alone? Any inappropriate peeing and pooping? (I'm guessing no to all three).

    6/ How does she do in school? Any complaints from the teachers? Is there a father in the house? How is s he with him? Any siblings?

    7/Does she rage? Raging is not normal. Actually, being negative to the extreme all the time isn't really your normal kid either. However ODD isn't a very useful diagnosis. Many of us here don't care f or that diagnosis. I am thinking more of possible insecure attachment due to her early years, which is why I asked the questions I did. She does not sound severe, unless you are not telling us everything.

    I would get a neuropsychologist evaluation. It's always a good idea to get the opinion of a professional and I feel neuropsychs give the best overall picture (and we've seen 'em all considering all our adoptions!) :/

    Anyhow, welcome again :)
  4. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    For anything you do, you are probably going to need your regular pediatrician's referral. I would suggest you talk to him/her first. When it comes to mental health, some are great (like ours) and some not so much. You want to be heard. Sure your daughter is sweet, smart, etc... but don't forget to highlight your concerns, don't censor. Be honest and open. Give plenty of examples.
    Then you should be referred to a neuro-psychiatric or devel. pediatrician. All depends on what is available in your area.
    Start taking notes, and look behind the behavior. At first, it does seem like the begavior is random. Over time, with practice and patience you will see patterns, reasons behind the madness.
    I would also suggest you schedule and Occupational Therapist (OT) and speech evaluation. For us, the Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation was very revealing and is probably the most successful therapy for V.
    You can go through the schoold district for a free evaluation, but I would recommend you do private evaluations as well.
    In our case, school was less than useful but private evaluation and therapy are helping.
    Welcome aboard !
  5. Squeakie27

    Squeakie27 New Member

    There is definitley more to her issues. Right now I see two steps forward and one step back, so things overall are getting better and are dramatically different from when she was 2-3 yrs old where she would self-harm. On any given day we can have an hour long screaming fit. She has already gone through the phase of completely trashing her room and luckily she hasn't done that in about 8 months. We went so far as to remove everything and she got stuff back over a longperiod of time. A regular epsiode may look like this: she wants candy, cookie, etc., and I will tell her she has to wait or it's too close to a mealtime etc. She begins by hanging her head and not looking at us. She will demand said object, only to be told no on that, but I always give her options. Instead of a cookie or candy, she can have X or Y. The option, no matter what it is, is never good enough. Once her mind is set on what she wants, a tornado will not deter her. If she doesn't get what she wants, she will within a minute or two, go into a huge fit of screaming, saying mean things, attempting to hit(not always). We take her to her room. She will scream, throw things, continue saying mean things, etc, manytimes for up to an hour. We do talk with ehr afterward about how her behavior resulted in her not getting what she wanted and because of this behavior she will not be able to have X or do Y. She says that she does not know why she has the tantrum. Also, once she has made up her mind,there is non talking her down from the impending tantrum. It is as though she enters a bubble where we can not reach her. Any attempt results in immediate crying and screaming.

    We have been through Love and Logic, Beyond Consequences, reward charts, taking treasured things away, you name it. Any intereaction with her once a tantrum starts results in a worse tantrum. It escalates. If we intereact and calm her down, she starts all over when she realizes that she isn't getting her first request and it starts all over. Like that idea is completley stuck in her mind. This behavior might happen 2-3 times a day for several days and then magically, she is fine for 3-4 days. The only similariies between the events I can find is that they all surround her deciding she wants something and having a fit when she doesn't get it, whether it is food, playing with friends, sitting in the shopping cart, carrying a bag, feeding the cats, etc. She wants what she wants and there isn't a way to derail that thought.

    Here's her background as we know it:
    Mom and Dad not married have baby. Volatile relationship with Dad coming and going because Mom has a temper and likes to cause conflict. Unlikely that Mom had very much pre-natal help and she does not take good care of herself. Drugs doing preg is a possibility(marijuana). Mom has a moderate IQ of about 75. (Daughter shows no signs of reduced IQ) Mom is neglectful and non-responsive to baby. At 6 months old she is taken into foster care because of a domestic violence call and no one availbale to care for her. CPS finds that Mom does not seem to know how to take care of her baby so she stays with first foster family about 4 months. During the next 6 months she is moved to an Aunt who is hostile to Mom(as reported by CPS), back to Mom for the final 2 months and then back into care, where she comes to us. The case worker went for a visit and found her in a crib, day old diaper filled, screaming, while Mom slept. Judge ordered her taken right then. So within a year she lived with 4 different families. That right there is enough to make a baby have major attachment issues.

    husband and I have been married 18 yrs and have one bio daughter who is 15. We have one adopted daughter who is 15. She has been with us for 1. 5 yrs. We have had other younger foster children over the years, but moved to teens about 2 years ago. Stable home, Dad is home for lunch every day, I am a stay at home parent(both of us have post-graduate degrees), same house, same pets, same families on our street with kids she plays with. Grandparents live 10 mintues away, she sees them every week. My sister/brother in law&family live 3 blocks away, we see her almost every other day.

    On our open adoption:We agreed to two vists a year with Mom when she signed over her rights to us, but she did not keep her side of the agreement up. We tried to make visits happen, but it wasn't until we located Dad that we really started having vists. We had never met him because his rights had been terminated before she came to us. We had our first visit with Dad when she was 3. Dad is loving, engaged and very appropriate. Momis standoffish, not engaged and isolates herself during visits. Our daughter has to engage with her. We now have visits about every 3 months and also visit with other family members such as grandparents, Aunts, cousins, etc. Our daughter now has a full blood brother too. Mom and Dad are not married and continue the volatile relationship even though they live together.

    We believe that she is very attached and doesn't show the major symptoms of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) although some of her behavior points to the milder issues there. She is loving and kind. In the outside world she seems like any other 5 yr old. She performs well in a classroom(church, dance), but isn't in preschool because we live in a rural area and they do not have a class for her age. She starts kindergarten in August. She is never inappropriate with animals.She did go through a very short stage of attempting to poop or pee when she didn't get her way,but that stopped pretty fast when she realized she had to clean herself. I think she tried that when she had just turned 4 or right before.

    I have read every book possible on adopting/ Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)/ handling strong willed children, etc. We are completely consistent in our responses to her behavior. Yesterday was a better day because although she did nto get what she wanted, she did not have any meltdowns. She wasn't happy about it, but no major events. I expect today will be similar and by tomorrow we will have several days of nice behavior(which she gets rewarded for). When she is in her mood of non-compliance she hits every one of the ODD traits right on. From info gathered from her bio family, I believe that Mom is bi-polar, but she refuses to go get a diagnosis or treatment.

    She has already had a speech evaluation where she was off the charts. She has no delays of any kind in the education or developmental arena.This is part of why it's so maddening, there isn't anything obviously wrong/missing. I have been keeping track of her behavior or a long time and while we do see a change from the past, we are very concerned that this behavior will present itself in school or elsewhere as she gets older. This is why I say that overall, I do not see a trigger for what the day will be. She starts almost every day witha smile and is happily doing whatever and then wham, there it is, and the remainder of the day is overtaken by the ODD behavior. Right now it seems the only way to head it off is to allow her whatever she asks the for which would result in a daily diet of cookies, popsicles, chips and coke, and playing at friends houses, the pool, visiting several friends all day, watching TV all day, or buying everything in the Walmart.

    So now I'm starting to look at a neuro-psychiatric evaluation.
  6. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    You give a more complete picture now. I had started to reply and then I realised no... the things I was saying are appropriate for my son but I think not for your daughter. My son, also five, has a version of this in which he will lock into what he wants and start going into whining/crying when I say no, not now, etc. However, he will not go on for long, certainly not an hour, and there is usually a way to get round it - distracting him, reaching some compromise, sometimes just getting angry with him and he will stop. So... from what you say here, yes I think it is more serious and not just a child being "cussed". I think if an evaluation can tell you something useful, then yes, you should get your daughter evaluated. It does sound as if there is something more going on. But it could all be to do with her history, of course, and not any "disorder" as such.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Attachment problems ARE a disorder. With her back ground it would be hard for her not to have any.

    Good luck and keep us posted!
  8. Squeakie27

    Squeakie27 New Member

    Thanks for the replies. I just want to be able to talk topeople who understand what living with a child like this is all about. Lucily my parents are very understanding and have talked to others who have rasied similar kids. Those people give them some idea of what it is like and that there is hope.

    She had a pretty good morning with only two minor instances of me being able to redirect her. She managed to pick up her toys and as a reward got to watch a 30 minute TV show. After the show, she made up her bed and was going to be able to watch another show, but instead decided she wanted to clean the bathroom. No big deal, but the bathroom is occupied by a sister and she has to wait. Not good enough for her. She wants to do it now and I gave her other options; play outside or play in your room or watch TV and wait until later to clean the bathroom(she likes using the wipes). She insisted she would do what she wanted and ended up being put in her room where she proceeded to bang on the door, slam things and throw stuff. She cooled down pretty quick and now will be told she won't be able to watch TV again today and she still can't clean the bathroom. She can still go outside to play though. I am consistent that she will not get what she wants by throwing a fit.
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You might want to fine-tune your approach a little.
    The initial part of the day made sense - immediate reward/consequence.
    Delayed? Doesn't work well with these kinds of kids. They don't have the capacity to delay gratification, nor to associate a non-immediate consequence with an action.
  10. TheBoyHasArrived

    TheBoyHasArrived New Member

    These behaviors sound like my son's (adopted at 5.5). He has other issues as well (Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), severe language impairment, cog. issues, etc.), but the complete inability to delay gratification is causing most of his day to day drama at the moment. Some days, he is "okay" with hearing no or wait. Most days, he instantly flies off the handle if he isn't given whatever he wants the moment it pops into his head. We considered that it was related to ADHD/impulsivity...and I think that feeds into how quickly he reacts. But, for him, we think it is related to early deprivation/PTSD type reaction. The second he is upset about not getting something or being able to do something, he doesn't pause to consider that he will get to have a treat later or eventually get to watch that movie, etc. His brain immediately flips the switch that he is NEVER going to eat again or NEVER going to see his favorite toy, and he just reacts with that fight/flight response. For K, it's almost always fight :) The rational part of his brain just shuts off.

    We say yes as much as humanly possible, particularly in public. "Yes, you can have that cookie AFTER dinner." Or, if we have to say no, jumping on the "Good job listening to No!" It absolutely does not always work, but it's all we've come up with so far since he doesn't have the language to explain much more. Since your daughter has a typical IQ, you might be able to come up with a more complex system. From what I've read, if it's related decreased emotional regulation, stretching neutral or positive moods in typically stressful situations is the first line of defense. We haven't made it past the "first line" yet, so I'm not sure what comes next :)

    We're pretty early into this, but that's our current opinion after reading/researching/observing/documenting behaviors. As you know, those first 36 months have a lot to do with changing brain chemistry, etc. I'm not saying it's the problem--we're not even positive it's the reason behind my son's issues--but it's a possibility. I have a lot of ODD kiddos via work, and I agree with a lot of the other posters in that the diagnosis really doesn't give you much information and ends up being a catch all for a lot of docs.

    ETA: The neuro-psychiatric evaluation is a great idea. If you can find a clinic that includes a team approach, I found ours to be very informative. The psychiatric and developmental pediatrician were informative, but the doctor that we felt gave the most accurate description of my son was the pediatric neurologist who was part of the team.
  11. chloedancer

    chloedancer New Member

    I agree completely. My daughters early " defiance" and " refusal" were more of an inability to handle negative emotion, anxiety, and possibly some feelings of rejection. I discovered that helpin her find an " out" and teaching self calming worked better than anything else.
  12. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Welcome! After reading the posts, there's a lot of great input, but I did want to say "hi!"...Try reading the Explosive Child - sometimes something will hit you, you'll give it a shot and it'll work :)Beth
  13. PittieBoo

    PittieBoo New Member

    Hi there! I'm new too. Your daughter's tantrums sound very much like my 5 year old son. Very intense, loud, and scary. B was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder on his 3rd evaluation. Yep, they started before he was 3. It wasn't until we met with an Occupational Therapist (OT) who is SIPT certified before we got anywhere. I was always told he's just a boy, it's just a phase, set firmer limits, blah blah blah. Nothing worked. What has been working is 1x occupational therapy and 1x week play therapy sessions. B also takes gymnastics 1x a week as a supplement. We are far from perfection but the strides we have made in 8 months have been huge. I'm new to the forum and only 1/2 way through the book The Explosive Child and finally I feel recognized and as if I can finally get the help and support I need to help my son.

    I have a consult with our play therapist to see if we should seek some help from a neuro as well. You aren't alone! I honestly could have written your post minus the adoption info.

    - PittieBoo