hi everyone. im jaime, mom of 3. aidan, step son 8 years old, kaleb 6 years old and scarlett 3. my interest in this forum is to seek help with my son kaleb, 6, who has been having anger, aggression and possible ODD symptoms for quite some time. here is our history: kaleb is the result of accidental pregnancy. his bio dad and i only stayed together until kaleb was 14 months old where we split up, something that should have occured much sooner but we were "trying". he was controlling, somewhat anti-social, manipulative...i could go on. we had a equally split custody arrangement at the time of splitting up. josh and i got together and married by the time kaleb was 20 months old. it was fast and quick, but so far..its been the right decision. kaleb has known josh in his life since before he could talk. josh states that when we first started dating, he noticed there was something different about kaleb. i didnt really think anything of it because his only child, aidan, was much quieter and didnt really challenge the rules at all. kaleb was always more active. Kaleb was a wonderful baby. he was easily entertained, slept well, ate well (still is the least picky eater of the family) and was very intelligent. he was always a bit aggressive and pushy when playing with other kids. when he got into preschool, problems started. he had a very difficult time when his bio dad and i would have transitions. i was talked to once by his preschool teachers that he started slamming his head down on the desk when he got frustrated with something. i talked to his pediatrician. he said its not abnormal behavior for his age (2 1/2) and to just keep an eye on it. Fast forward to kaleb being 4 years old: josh and i have been married for 2 years, we now have a daughter, scarlett who is 3 years younger than kaleb. we are trying our best to blend the family but we struggle sometimes because it literally is the hardest thing and to be honest, im not a very good stepmom...never thought id ever have to take on another child and treat him as if he was my own. because in fact,..he is not. anyways, during this time we have moved a few times, approx 1x per year. kaleb has now started montessori preschool and most of his life has remained the same;same 50/50 schedule. then, suddenly, kaleb came home from his dads house with bruises,...and more bruises. increasing bruises 3 weeks in a row. long story short, these were from the hands of his bio dad who was inappropriately disciplining him for simple things like not brushing his teeth right and so on. CPS was involved and kaleb was kept in my protective custody for approx 2 years. During this time, he only saw his dad on saturdays for 6 hours. i dont know much about his life at his dads because we dont talk, but i do know that he continues to expose him to inappropriate media such as mortal kombat and other violence while he is there. he also thinks that the only effective way to teach kaleb a lesson is to spank or hit him. at the time, we noticed some troubling behaviors in kaleb:self manipulation/self harm when he would get frustrated or in trouble including punching, scraping his hands down his face, strangling himself, biting himself. he has torn clothes, busted light sockets and has hit/kicked/poked/pushed/slapped/tacked his little sister many times. His tantrums have not only increased in frequency, but also in intensity. he screams so loud, it must sound like we are murdering him to the neighbors. i would say at this time, at age 6, his tantrums are on average 3x per day. he cries when he gets in trouble, but when you ask him why he is crying, he says its cuz we got him in trouble. he has no remorse for hurting his sister, ever. at this time, he has resumed visitations with his bio dad every other weekend. his bio dad offers nothing positive in my opinion. he continues to let him watch inappropriate things (last weekend let him watch jack ass movies ). last year, kaleb started kindergarden. we finally bought a house and are in a stable place. he is in an excellent school system and acedemicaly has thrived in school, reading at a 4th grade level, winning the spelling bee and excelling in other subjects. but his low tolerance for frustration and his behavior were still a challenge and his teacher and i were in constant communication with each other about his behavior. a few occasions, he has lied to teachers and staff and said that we wouldnt feed him breakfast so that they would give him lunch money. when in reality, he refused to eat what we were serving for breakfast. He lies constantly, even for simple things. I cant do much about the time he spends with his dad. i have already gone thru the court systems and had his time reduced as much as possible. he had to take anger management classes, which im certain did nothing. josh and i have worked very hard at having consistent punishments wiht kaleb, but what we have experienced is that no matter what the punishment, nothing seems to affect change in his behavior. this past sunday was the limit: he slapped his sister, hit the dog repeatedly and we sent him to time out...for the day. we had had it! when we went up to talk to him, he freaked out so much that at one point he was literally manic. he was punching himself in the face so hard that he was getting swollen. he then started yelling for me and saying that his head hurt and that he wanted me to take him to the hospital. when josh explained that HE would take him if it was necessary, he freaked out even more. he was literally willing to hurt himself in order to get my undivided attention. this prompted us to call the crisis line and now we are waiting for a referral to a child psychologist who specializes in ODD. I would love advice, opinions, thoughts, support. i need to know im not the only one. he is not your average 6 year old. he manipulates like ive never seen and even the other therapists he has seen havent been able to help him. at this point, instead of taking things away all the time that he seems to just slough off as no big deal, we are starting over each day with nothing and only good behavior will get him rewards, if he makes bad choices, he gets nothing. im not sure if this will work....so far, nothing really has. please help!