New here, I need to vent about my son

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by introibo, Aug 31, 2009.

  1. introibo

    introibo New Member

    Hi all,
    I am so happy to have found this forum!

    I have nine kids, the first four were girls and the fifth is a boy. From the earliest age, he seemed a bit more tough and kind of defiant, but I always attributed this to his being a boy.

    Fast forward a few more years. I homeschool, and although he was pretty good with doing his school and interacting with his siblings when he was in grades K-3 or so, he has always been harder to deal with than the others. Again, I attributed this to his being a boy.

    As of last year, and now as we've started this year (he is in 5th grade, age 10), I'm getting to the point where I can't deal with him. He disobeys, goes totally bonkers when asked to do schoolwork (throwing books, breaking pencils), mercilessly teases his younger sister, fights with his next oldest sister, throws terrible tantrums when he messes up with Playstation, - basically the symptoms I've read associated with ODD. I know you folks don't care for that diagnosis, but I'll leave it at that for now.

    He also breaks his toys. Good toys. Some things that he has bought with his own money. He has broken one PS2 controller and is on his way to breaking another. He has Lord of the Rings action figures which he really likes which he'll suddenly just go into a fit over and start breaking. (this, when he has been sent to room, or if he has been told he loses Playstation, or something like that.) It's at the point where I'm removing all the nicer toys that he might break and keeping them in hiding.

    I've started a point/reward system based on the Kazdin method (the fellow from Yale, I can't recall the name of his book) and my son was pretty much OK with it. The first day of school he totally bombed out on it. The week got slightly better, but today (Monday) he went out to totally bombing. I was in tears, as he purposefully did something he wasn't supposed to, "just so (he) won't get points." He seems to have no remorse, and he constantly says he doesn't understand what it means to be good - not sure if he is fibbing here to push my buttons or if he really thinks he can't be good. He says he just can't be good and never will be. He asks for a certain toy back, and when I tell him "no" he just asks again. And again.

    He is slighly more respectful to my husband, but that is maybe only because he knows husband will be more likely to give hiim a smack for disobedience. I'm at the point where I'm not going to continue the homeschooling with him next year if this behavior doesn't change, and for now, my husband will work with him in evenings.

    Oh, and my difficult child (I like that acronym, by the way) does not like to read. He is constantly bored, and has no real interests besides the PS2. I know reading would open up a world of fun for him, but he says he hates it.

    I have to run now, and thank you for letting me vent. Comments are welcome.

  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there and welcome. Has he ever had a neuropsychologist evaluation? I think he should get one. to me, he sounds like he could be on the high end of the autism spectrum...or something else. It's a good thing to have kids checked out to find out what is wrong rather than just guessing. Maybe he has learning disabilities and that impedes him from enjoying reading. Everything is treated differently. Did your son have any early delays? Does he know how to do a give-and-take conversation? Does he memorize things, like television shows, and repeat them to you? Does he make good eye contact with strangers? Does he see kids outside the family a lot? How does he act?
    Are these all biological kids? Sometimes adopted kids have special issues because of their unknown genetic factors.
  3. introibo

    introibo New Member

    Hi MidwestMom,

    He hasn't had an evaluation, and I am dreading doing that, but maybe I should. Actually, none of the things you mentioned are concerns. He acts normally outside the home (although he isn't in school, so I don't know if being in a "comfortable" situation like that would bring out the bad behavior). He reads fine out loud, and for the most part he can explain stuff that he has read back to me. He does obsess about certain things (like certain toys, etc) but nothing that I see as abnormal. He is involved with an acting group, and occasionally sees friends, but as we are kind of secluded, he probably doesn't socialize as much as he should (except with siblings). And yes, he is biologically mine!

  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi Christina, welcome.
    Gosh, what a good mom you are. All those kids, and homeschooling, too.
    First off, I would take away the PS2. ODD is often related to ADHD, which means that the frontal lobes are creating excess electrical energy and it's like a tankful of caffeine. All stressed out with-no place to go.
    He needs lots of physical exercise. Beating up his little sister doesn't count. ;)
    What's causing the ODD and ADHD is something you need to figure out. These things rarely resolve themselves. He's going to need a lot more structure and interventions than the other kids, from what I can see.
    My son has made me cry so often, I wouldn't even dare to count.
    by the way, with-the evaluation, get a psychoeducational exam to see if he's on grade level with-his learning. That isn't a slam to your homeschooling, it's to see if his visual/spatial/mathematical/verbal skills are at the same developmental level.
    For example, when I first had my son tested at age 8, he tested 3 or 4 gr levels ahead in culture and sociology, particularly in talking/speaking. But when asked to come up with-a creative idea for something, he was completely mute. As it turned out, he is very good at parroting, and as a family, we are very "up" on current events and politics.

    He was at kindergarten level in math. Yet he aced some tests and flunked others. Again, parroting. He didn't understand the concepts.

    He was a passed master at faking his way through things.

    Best of luck!
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2009
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Welcome! I am glad you have joined us!!!

    The first thing you should do is arrange to have him fully evaluated. It can be extremely hard to identify learning disabilities and many other problems as well. I have a cousin who could not READ in 3rd grade. No one knew. It really shook all our family. He had been memorizing. He has a phenomenal memory, to put it lightly (something HIS daughter's have lamented, LOL)

    I think you should start writing a Parent Report. If you go to the FAQ/Board Help section you will see a thread titled Parent Input/Multidisciplinary Evaluation. It contains an outline that parents here devised so that we could keep all the info about our kids in one binder. That way you can answer all those questions on the forms for the doctors, and you can give docs and therapists the parts of that info that they need.

    The evaluations may seem daunting. While they are not fun, they ARE a way to help your child learn and grow and become a healthy person. Many of his traits remind me of Wiz, my oldest (he has Asperger's a very high functioning form of autism).

    The video games have got to go. Since he is breaking them and has rages/tantrums when they don't go well, it may be that he is developing an obsession. That could be Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) but it also could be part of something else. Most Aspies have obsessions. We thought Wiz' obsession with dinosaurs was cute when he was 4 and corrected a display at the Natural History Museum. The curator we spoke to is a big time expert in dinosaurs. He went and researched it while we were in the Museum and then thanked Wiz and took a picture to put up near the display. (A friend just called me to ask if that was him - she sure thought it LOOKED like him but wanted to check!).

    When the dinosaurs got really intense, then morphed into a pokemon obsession it got scary. Everything was pokemon. NO topic existed that didn't have pokemon. He even once tried to run away to go to Japan to find the "real" pokemon. He was 13 at that point!!

    When you remove the video games your son WILL go through a withdrawal period. It is scary and not any fun. You will be shocked at how much it has taken over your child when he starts the withdrawal. But it is important.

    If you leave the video games then your son's world will continue to narrow until there is NOTHING of import in his life other than the games. My guess is that you are close to this point. I told all of my kids that if something motivated them to cheat, lie, steal, intimidate family members or become violent then that item needed to leave. My kids were still given the responsibility for their behavior but when they couldn't moderate things the item needed to disappear.

    I have not had any therapist or psychiatrist disagree. One therapist now has it written and framed for other people to see.

    It will mean that NONE of the kids play the video game. It won't hurt any of them.

    Call for those evaluations (neuropsychologist are highly favored because they do intensive testing and can be more specific than many docs).

    Start on a Parent Report.

    Speak to your hubby and plan when and how you will put the video games up. If you have handheld ones like the gameboy they can be saved to use in doctor's offices and long drives and waiting rooms. It is best to eliminate them totally. Barring that, make sure the games are as educational as possible and only use them for special events.

    He should also be evaluated by an Occupational Therapist for sensory integration disorder (Sensory Integration Disorder (SID)). This is the name for when a child cannot process input from the senses in a typical way. You do NOT want a school system to do this. They won't look at his entire life, just for how Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) affects his academics. Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) is one of the few things that can be treated with-o medicine. the brushing therapy used is proven to create new pathways in the brain so that the input can be handled more effectively. The bible on this is "The Out Of Sync Child" by Kranowitz. She also has a book called "The Out of Sync Child Has Fun - it is packed with activities to help all sorts of the problems. Many have directions to keep the cost as low as possible. The entire family will like many of teh activities.

    With Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) you can look at things your child likes to do and often you will find those are exactly what will treat whatever Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) problems manifest. It is one way to let your child show you what he needs. When our Occupational Therapist (OT) gave me a list of things that would help my youngest's problems we were already doing over 80% of the activities. So we let him guide us to help his problems.

    Welcome, many gentle hugs for the entire family! Tell those girls to be strong and maybe put locks on their doors or on a storage cabinet so he cannot destroy their things.
  6. lmf64

    lmf64 New Member

    How'd you get my kid at your house? I don't buy him toys or anything else he doesn't absolutely need. If he destroys something, it doesn't get replaced.
    The point thing was a huge failure here. My son would make sure he wouldn't earn any points every day. the school kept trying and couldn't figure out why it didn't work. UM because he's afraid to fail and if he refuses to cooperate he can't fail. They have finally given up. It only took like 5 school years. Of course it's a different teacher every year and we all know how well teachers communicate with eachother on trouble students. And the part about him asking for something over and over again. OMG yes. I walk away from him when he starts in. If he follows me, I get in the car and leave. Of course with mine I can since he's 16. Yesterday I left right in the middle of making supper. He wanted me to unlock the cable box so he could order a pay per view movie and there was no way he was getting it. I told him no three times. On the third time I warned him that he'd have to finish cooking supper if he didn't drop it. 2 minutes later he was back at it and I was out the door before he could finish the sentence. He called me on my cell a couple of minutes later asking me what he had to do to finish cooking (didn't even ask for the pay per view) and how soon I'd be home to eat lol. I guess he didn't want burnt supper. When I got home he was mad of course, but he got over it.
  7. introibo

    introibo New Member

    Hi guys,
    Thanks for the responses. It is ironcially comforting to know that there are others out there like mine!
    The suggestion to get rid of PS2 is kind of jarring, but I will definitely consider it. It is not being used right now, until I see some changes at least.
    I still dread doing an evalulation, but it looks like I might get the ball rolling on this.
    Thanks again.
  8. lizanne2

    lizanne2 New Member

    Hello and welcome:

    glad you found us and hope that the advise thus far is helpful. The evaluation is really a great place to start. And the parent report is good for SO many reasons.

    Your son sounds so much like mine in so many ways. It was the very start of the 6th grade that everything hit rock bottom for him. It has been a crawl back but he is doing so much better now. As for the points system, rarely if ever worked for my son.

    One thing I did was 'choose my battles". The list of the 'never ever dos' and then the list of the 'we can't have thats' and the 'i'll get to that later". Intellectually my son got that he could never........ and the consequences were........ And for those few things I would discipline through the hours of tantrums. I believe the book The explosive child details this method that wokr for us, albeit slowly.

    Now, i give you much respect for doing this at home. My son went to a special needs preschool that helped me with some discipline techniques. And the other schools provided some structure and reinforcement that I really needed.

    One thing I regret is that I was nto as attentive to my other child. That is a tough balancing act.

    Hang in there! Let us know how things go!
  9. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    We had the same result with the point/reward system. It worked for about a week and then difficult child just didn't care. It's like the others have said, she felt she was going to fail anyway so why bother at all.

    The evaluations can be daunting, but they can also uncover things with your son that will shed a whole new light on him. Our children can't be parented the same way you parent a neuro-typical child. Once you know what you're dealing with, you can parent more effectively and help your child become the person you know he can be.

    Welcome to the board.
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Dorry the advice to get rid of the game system was jarring, When I got rid of our first nintendo game system my husband almost had a nervous breakdown. Sometimes our kids are just not mature enough to handle things their peers and siblings can handle.

    What we have to do as parents of a difficult child is to figure out what is worth the fight and what is not.

    Since you have done some reading here, I assume you have seen that we highly recommend the book The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. We also recommend What Your Explosive Child is Trying to Tell you by Dr. Riley. Both are excellent at helping you understand your difficult child and how he/she thinks.
  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Christine, I give my son his PS2 when he has earned it. So he has to do his homework, the dishes, take out the dog, etc. It's a great motivator! And he can only have it for a certain amt of time. I set the timer on the microwave so when it beeps, he knows when to stop. I used to tell him to stop and he'd go ballistic. Just the sound of my voice would send him off.
    I don't know if your son is like that, but if he is, anything you can make into a "system" or do by machine or written note will help distance you from the rules and you won't be the bad guy.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    The evaluation is really important. Most of our kids don't respond to traditional parenting techniques. Also, if something is wrong and not taken care of with interventions, it usually worsens. It can sound scary, but it's really in my opinion the best thing to do for our kids.
  13. introibo

    introibo New Member

    Thanks, that's what I was thinking I'd do...especially if it can motivate him to read a certain amount every day..
  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Expect a fight. But don't back down.