New here, not new to any of this

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by countof3, Dec 11, 2009.

  1. countof3

    countof3 New Member

    Hi, not sure where to start and probably the full history is not necessary.

    I have 3 boys. Oldest is ADHD/BiPolar/Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified. I spent many a year on forums, boards, with therapists, specialists, etc. It took from age 7 to age 11 to stabilize him on medication (I am so glad that's over). He's been, for the most part stable since then and he's 13 now.

    Middle son has had it all and none of it good. Bright child, IQ above 140, not sure how high above. Watched as a "younger" sibling of an older brother who was, for the most part - completely erratic in behaviors. Add to that a strong family history in the men of mental illness, a dash of growing up in the midst of his parents marraige falling apart (it did not survive the stress), and some emotional abuse and an explosion happened sometime about age 6. It's only gotten worse. He's the reason I'm here.

    Youngest son is "Mr. Happy Go Lucky" sweetie pie but he's not untouched. Recently diagnosed with mood disorder as well, only unmedicated he falls into this constant state of manic. It's kinda cute sometimes - but it'll drive you up a wall if you need him to focus LOL. We're currently playing the medication balance game, still needs tweaking.

    Having been a single mom now for 3 years, I'm beyond worn out. I have zero interest in finding someone else - good Lord I'd be insane. Even with the temptation of not going it alone, no way - these boys take up 125% of my time since I'm the working parent (lets just not go down the road of dad's condition ... he's untreated right now).

    I don't come from a family with various mental illnesses and mixed bag diagnosis. We were far from perfect, and a blended family even - but no real bizarre issues. So I feel fairly ill equipped. And, I'm a female trying to be the firm, consistent parent for a bunch of males, two of which are homone bound (13 and 11).

    So I'm here. We've had a variety of diagnosis's thrown around for the midlan child, but the psychiatrist firmly stated "for sure ODD - possibly early conduct disorder". I guess that's because at age 11 we're already on hospitalization #3. Maybe that's a low number? I thought it would be the bipolar kiddo hospitalized, imagine my surprise.

    "J" is currently living under a law of "work before play" (simplified parenting routine from hospital) and it works, when he decides to care. So here's my first heavily laden question:

    Does any of this really work? So far no medications have come even close to helping. Dad and I are on mostly the same parenting page with the hospital's routine (separate households), we've got a ton of family support, the kid sees a therapist regularly, the family sees the same one because we've learned that if we DON'T have the same one, this little brainiac snows them so badly, I almost feel like I need to hand them their degree and apologize that an 11 year old just beat them at their game. Our current one has his number thank GOD.

    I've already started talking to him straight up more than ever now. I've been telling him that if he can't pull it together, when he turns 12 I've already done research on homes. I've explained that it's not fair to me or his brothers what we live with constantly. I'm worried that his brothers will wake up one day at the age of 20 and realize their brother OWNED the family lock stock and barrel.

    Maybe that's not a good thing to do - but he has got to realize I won't live this way forever, AND he absolutely cannot tolerate transitions - so I won't surprise him on something this serious.

    I'm not here begging for a glimpse of hope (kinda sad isn't it?) - I'm here for a dose of reality. I can say for certain I have done everything in my power to help this bright, creative, talented and funny kid reach his potential. In the past 6 months, it's clear he just does not care. And I can't change that, he has to.

    He's into skateboarding, he's artistic, he loves music, he's TOTALLY sweet to his guinea pigs (I worried incessently about getting them) and he can be the most loving kid. It's just so sad when I have to try and figure out when it's real or a put on. I hate that.

    The two other kids are equally awesome kids. They don't have the same ODD issues. All 3 have ADHD. Same genetics for all 3.

    So what does one of these homes cost? Does anyone know? I've got a year to bust a move on my career and try to break into the next level so I can afford something like that. Wish I could be at home with these boys - but dad doesn't want to work so he's on unemployment (the neverending extended version, lives in low income housing and even though I have the kids 75% of the time, he wants me to pay him child support now). I was a stay at home mom until a year before the separation/divorce. I miss it terribly.

    Blech. Too long - sorry about that. If you made it this far - I think your coffee's cold. Is humor OK here? Like can I use my sick twisted humor on here to deal with the stress and not have it taken personally? I won't say anything about others - I just tend to use sarcasm to deal with the insanity.

    I mean, when you have to lock the knives from the 11 year old, but the 6 year old can be left in a room of them.... yeah, it's time for sarcasm. =)
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    while your post has a smatering of humor, we get the stress, despair, and hopelessness that often come with parenting a difficult child/multiple difficult children, especially alone.

    While I can't specifically answer your question regarding home options for your middle son, I can tell you that it's a route a number of your members are knowledable of through personal experience.

    I can tell you that you have a found a great place for support and advice, and a little humor too!

    Welcome to the site. Sometimes the weekends can be a little slow, especially this time of the year. But others will be along shortly.

  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Good morning, count!

    Glad you joined us, but sorry you need to. When you get a chance, please go to UserCP at the top lefthand corner of this page and create a signature that will appear at the bottom of your posts. It will help us keep the details of your family straight when we respond to your posts.

    Humor is definitely allowed and welcome here. But I'm going to answer your straight because there are many similarities between your family and mine that I want to share with you.

    First, some questions:
    Has your middle son ever had a full neurospychological evaluation? If so, what did it show?
    What medications is he currently taking? Do you notice any variability in his behavior throughout the day?
    How does he do in school, both academically and with peers?
    Does he have an IEP?
    When you say he has ODD, what specific behaviors is he exhibiting?

    I have a strong belief that ODD is not a helpful diagnosis. ODD describes a set of behaviors for which there is an underlying cause. When the underlying disorder is identified and treated, the oppositional behaviors typically subside and improve. So in your case, I would say the professionals you're working with have yet to help you identify what is fueling your son's oppositional behaviors.

    Now a bit of background about my own family. I have three children with various flavors of mood disorders (no autistic specturm disorder dxes). My son J is my extra challenging child. Although his psychiatrist (psychiatrist) was able to stabilize him on medications a year ago, he continued to be academically underachieving, socially withdrawn and therapy resistant. J underwent psychological testing in April, and it was determined that he had an emergent Avoidant Personality Disorder that would develop within the next 2 to 3 years without intensive therapeutic intervention. We had exhausted all of our local options so our mental health team urged us to send J away from home. We used an educational consultant to locate programs that would be a good fit for J.

    J spent 8 weeks over the summer in a wilderness program in Georgia. Wilderness promotes internal change away from all distraction in a 24/7 therapeutic milieu that my son clearly needed and benfited from. J is now continuing to build on the internal changes begun in wilderness at an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) in Utah. We expect him to be there for a total of 9 to 12 months. He is making solid progress, and we are optimistic about his prognosis for the first time in years.

    I will not kid you -- these programs are expensive. We took out a loan to pay for J's year away. Some insurance companies will cover residential therapeutic placements (ours didn't) so you should check with a benefits representative. Depending on whether your son has an IEP and how he is doing in school, some SDs will fund residential placements (ours wouldn't).

    I hope this information will help somewhat. Please feel free to post any questions. Again, welcome.
  4. ML

    ML Guest

    Welcome Count! You truly have found the most amazing place and I'm so glad you did. You will find support, understanding and friendship here. I have an 11 year old Aspie son who brings me here as well as to the world of medications, psychiatrists, tdocs and soon neurologists (tics getting worse). He's on an AD and chlonidine and they do help mitigate symptoms but are by no means a cure.

    It took a few years to settle on this diagnosis. His symptoms manifested as adhd and bipolar for a long time, or at least we thought so. It was really the education I received here and through my own research that helped us discover that Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) was the umberlla diagnosis that fist best. Now the psychiatrists and tdocs see it too.

    Again, welcome to the board.


  5. countof3

    countof3 New Member

    Thank you all for your replies, very kind! Underlying for behaviors will not be easy, but stress is usually what we get to the root of each time.

    We see a child psychiatrist and a therapist. He does not have an IEP or 504, I'll be honest, the fight it took to get my older son on one was not enjoyable. He's in GATE which makes it doubly difficult. It is something we're headed towards now.

    He does terrible in school, refuses to do any work, generally is suspended 1 to 2 times a year, this year he got it right off the bat on the first week :(

    It will be good to come here. I'll fix my signature a little later, thanks for the heads up!
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member


    You do have your hands full that is for sure!

    I arrived here almost 11 years ago when my difficult child was 12 pretty much in the same straits as you are. I thought I had tried everything I could find available. Done everything that the professionals we had seen had advised. Had already sent him through a 16 month stint at wilderness camp which he flunked out of. I was ready to tear my hair out and I had just bought a computer and the second thing I searched for was "kids with behavior disorders" and this site popped up. I have to admit that the first thing I searched for was sex chats...lmao. (By the way, Im a grown up difficult child!)

    My son was really smart too one time. He still is smart but medications have dulled some of that. Plus he quit school in 9th grade and he just thinks he is too far gone to even attempt to fix that. I tell him all the time it isnt too late but he doesnt believe me.

    I did eventually have to have my son sent to various group homes and finally he spent several months...7 or 8 I think in a psychiatric residential treatment facility when he was almost 17. Most of his teen years between 14 and 17 were spent in and out of various treatment facilities. We finally gave up the ghost at 17 and he came home to stay.

    It hasnt been peaches and fuzzy slippers. He was hell on wheels from 18 or so until we kicked him out at 22. That was the single best decision we ever made. We really should have done it much earlier. Probably if we had done it maybe 2 years earlier he would have shown growth earlier but I was scared for him, I didnt think he could make it...yada yada. I probably held him back. My mistake I think.
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Countof3.
    Nice to meet you.
    You certainly have your hands full!
    So sorry that husband is problematic, and out of the picture. Sigh.
    Your youngest could end up becoming a therapist. About half the therapists I know had a member of the family with-a mental health diagnosis. Really. (Just thought I'd put a spin on it ... sort of a silver lining.)
    I would definitely get some more opinions on your middle son. He is very bright but doesn't do well in school. I would rephrase that--he is very bright AND doesn't do well in school. with-an IQ of 140, I'd blow off the teachers, too. He's probably bored silly and only pays attention when he wants to. That is a tough one. He may need some rewards ... even bribes. Have you tried that? How long does it last?