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Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by myah, Dec 13, 2008.

  1. myah

    myah Guest

    Hello, this is my first post on this site and I joined this group to maybe find someone to talk to who understands the hell I go through with my son. My son is 7 years old and has been diagnosed with ADHD and ODD. He is also speech impaired and on top of that has sensory issues, as if the first two diagnoses weren't enough. He is also a very anxious child. He is usually the worst behaved child in every scenario and it's getting so old. The ADHD part of his problem is irritating but I can deal with that much better than I can with the ODD part. He is passively defiant, which means that he will not outright defy you to your face, but will defy you in a sneaky way behind your back. He is constantly testing his limits and will do the same bad things over and over again regardless of the punishment. It's almost like he never learns from his mistakes. He is a pathological liar and feels absolutely zero remorse when he's done something wrong. That scares the **** out of me. Isn't remorse an innate trait that one is born with?? What if you're born without it?
    He is seeing a mental health counselor once a week to work on these problems and I am hoping that it's going to help. We just started seeing her a month ago because we didn't get the ODD diagnosis until late September. His counselor thinks that things are going to get better, but I'm not so sure at this point. He's been quite the handful his entire life and I started seeing these defiant behaviors when he was 2 1/2 years of age. We just assumed he was going through the terrible two's. Well, the terrible two's never stopped and it has not gotten easier one bit. I guess my question to you all is if it ever gets easier?? Do you people with older children that have ODD see any sort of improvement with age??? I was hoping that by age 7 things would have gotten easier and that he would have outgrown most of this. Well that didn't happen and it seems like the older he gets, the more problems we uncover.
    I know I have thrown alot of negativity on the table but would like to say that he is not all bad and that there are good traits under all of those problems. He is a very bright child and is extremely artistic. He definately thinks "outside the box" and is one of the funniest kids I've ever met. He can be very charming but turn into a different child in a matter of minutes. I just wish that people could see past all of the ugly to see the good, but the "ugly" can be so overpowering.
    One of the hardest parts for me for having a child like this is that I never really feel like a good parent. There are times when parenting my son is rewarding, but those times seem so outnumbered by the power struggles and the defiance. I feel so exhausted and depressed and it seems like no matter what I do for him or what help I get him, nothing ever works or makes the situation better. He is currently taking 36mg of Concerta a day for the ADHD and it does help but it is not a miracle drug by any stretch of the sentence. The dr has also recently prescribed him Clonidine but to be very very honest, I am scared to death to give that to him. She wants me to give him half a pill at bedtime and I have this paranoid fear that I will wake up one morning and find him dead or something from the Clonidine. I don't know but I just don't feel right about giving him that drug. Something in my gut is just telling me not to. I hate even giving him the Concerta but he would fail in school if I didnt. He is just not gaining weight like he should. He is also super irritable in the afternoons after school. The counselor has attributed this to the Concerta wearing off at this time. Anyone else have a similar experience??
    I have a 6 year old son that is normal with the exception of the speech impairment that my 7 year old has. However, when those two are together, my youngest feeds into the energy of my oldest.
    I really think that this problem is 100% hereditary. Does anyone else see a genetic link to these disorders?? My ex husband was a complete loser who had ADHD and had speech issues when he was a kid. He was in and out of foster care and jail as a teenager and young adult. After we got married, he got addicted to drugs and got very abusive. We have been divorced for 6 years now and he now has 5 kids that he doesnt take care of...I know, I picked a winner, huh?
    I am so sorry to go on for so long but I just really need to know that there are other people with children like this. Having a child with this problem has been such an isolating experience. I am embarassed to take him anywhere in fear that he might humiliate me or act out or whatever.
    Well, if you've managed to read this far and not become completely bored, I really appreciate you taking the time to read this. I will check back often and would love to hear from you all...
    Thanks and God Bless
  2. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Welcome Myah! I don't have any advise at the moment (can't think clearly - my daughter is out in a blizzard).

    Others will be along soon.

    I want to send my support and hugs and will come back to this when I can think again.
  3. Nancy423

    Nancy423 do I have to be the mom?

    welcome!! Many here have similar stories to tell, so you've found a great place. When my difficult child was younger, we'd have to duck because of the things she threw and then get ready for the full onslaught of her fists. It was very hard and we still have "episodes".

    I'm sure there will be others around with questions for you but I just wanted to pop in and say Welcome!
  4. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Hi Myah and welcome! I'm so glad you found us.

    Parenting a difficult child ("Gift from God", what we call our kiddos with- challenging behaviors) is a marathon. Well, okay maybe parenting in general is a marathon ;) but with our difficult children, we really get put to the test. One of the most important things you can do for your son is to take care of yourself - what do *you* do for fun, for stress relief? Are you able to get a break every once in a while? It's really really really important that you find a way to give yourself some down time. Take a day off when he's in school or ... whatever works for your situation.

    Genetics certainly can play a role. If there's a history of depression, mood disorders, substance abuse in the family tree, our kiddos can be predisposed. I think the good news for our kids is that we can start treatment (medications, therapy and/or behavior modification) early and hopefully teach our kids how to function successfully with their illnesses.

    I absolutely understand your "negativity". Many years ago, my first waking thought was "I hate him", and that was my last thought of the day too. I didn't, don't, never have hated my son, but ... oh my gosh, his behaviors were really horrible. The behaviors just wear down on you and it does seem like your entire day is spent managing them. It is a miserable way to live. You're not alone, not by a long stretch.

    Some questions for you: How does he do in school? Is he receiving any services through them (Occupational Therapist (OT)/speech)? Does he have an IEP (special education plan)? Who diagnosed him with ODD? What types of full evaluations has he had - psychiatric, neurologic? What kind of dr. prescribed the clonidine?

    Trying to think of what I wish I had know when thank you was 7, two things spring to mind. First, be consistent. I was really the pits at that for a very long time - he'd wear me down and I'd just give in/up after a certain point. If the rule is X, then it needs to be X as near to 100% of the time as you can manage. An excellent book is "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. I'm *not* a self-help book kind of person, but this book is I think a must-have if you have a defiant kiddo. One of the things he talks about is how our defiant kids are optimistic - they just *know* they're going to win one of these days. If we're not consistent with them and they occasionally do "win", it really just makes our lives that much harder.

    The other thing is maintaining control of ourselves. I used to be a vein-popping eyeball-bulging yeller, especially when thank you had severed my very last nerve for the umpteenth time in 2 minutes. ;) It was the worst thing in the world I could have done - by losing control myself, he won. When I started keeping my response to his behaviors as neutral as possible (took a lot of work, let me tell you), he lost the opportunity to further escalate the situation. I don't know if that applies to you - not everyone is a yeller, but I've found as the years have gone by that even my body language in response to thank you's behaviors can make things worse.

    I used to think remorse was innate. I don't think so anymore, at least not for thank you. It's funny - he has huge empathy for the homeless or for people with physical disabilities, but is to this day incapable of really understanding the effect his behavior and choices has on those around him. He's better at apologizing now but... I think it's more a learned thing, you know? "Oh, I did xyz, I'd better apologize." But that's progress because at least he's making some connection there.

    Does it get easier as they get older? I'm going to have to say yes to that one. You and your son are both going to learn and grow. And easy becomes a relative term. ;) There are some days now that I would give my eye teeth to have to deal with "just" one of the rages from when he was 7 or 8. But even on my worst day with Tyler now, I don't think it is anywhere near as hard as it was 10 years ago. Maybe he's better, maybe I'm used to it.... whatever it is, it really isn't as hard

    Anyway - I'm rambling. ;) Welcome to the board and again, I'm so glad you found us!
  5. Wishing

    Wishing New Member

    My child has adhd and odd but he usually was not the worst behaved but if something was wrong in a situation he let everyone know it loud and clear.He is not subtle.
    My difficult child son very much liked being with friends and liked sports. I also found that when he was tired out from running,swimming rollerblading it also had a calming effect. For us it meant constantly tweaking medications and trying different things to find that right combination. Mine is now 18 and in a community college. I just tried hard to structure his days ouside of school with a balance of sports,church activities and play dates at home and with the adolescent psychiatrist and the medications that helped. I am also a single parent. My son spent 1 on 1 time with male role models and their friendship is very important to him. He still is very challenging. There are occasional angry outbursts where he breaks things but not everyday. Mine has quit medications and he is more mellow on resperidol but it is not a huge difference.
    Your son is quite young. Can you get him into a soccer league. They really don't expect anything from him and I found the friendships that came of it were invaluable. I mean for the spring. We have a spring and fall soccer leagues. From 5 years old on we were in some athletic activity constantly. It was great for him and I enjoyed watching him participate. There is so much available at that age in the community recreation departments I hope you can take advantage of that. However it would not have worked for us without being on the right medications. You are right about one thing they are challenging and very tiring.
  6. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    Hello and welcome. You have stumbled across a safe place to be as negative as you wish, believe me. I spew my negativity about here as much as possible. lol You will love this board. Everyone is so kind and understanding. The woman (and some men too) here have gotten me through, many times. I have gotten great advice and lots of much needed support. So, know you are NOT alone in this struggle. We all can relate to the hell you are living in. Others will be along to give you advice. I just wanted to welcome you.

    Hang in there and God bless. :)
  7. Ropefree

    Ropefree Banned

    Myya: Welcome. In my mind seeking answers and help is a sign of a caring parent. My son is adhd and takes concerta and he has a crash in the afternoon too. He has talked about it and it is also very difficult for him. The self awareness that he has now about it is encouraging to me as he does notice that some types of things are just not as effeciant for him to even attempt.
    In terms of parenting I feel that it is so important to bare in mind that managing his own needs around these things may be a life long area. So what I do say to him is with the idea that these are the loops that will run through his head later. I do all I can to give sucsinct directions, praise good behavor and to have repectful breaks that acknowledge his needs. Like afterschool.
    When the crash time is happening. I found it was easier when he learned to read well enough that he could get wrapped up in a book.
    I read to my son alot...hours, and it is one straight forward and simple way to
    redirect, center and focus even adhd kids. I kept my adhd in walkmans and he listened to books on tape with relish for years. HE chose to listen to classic literature, greek plays an unbelievable amount of wide ranging things because he had already heard the others at the library.
    I do not know so much about the ODD. But one of my sons freinds is one and although I have no trouble with him his mother he works her...oh my god.
    Does it get easier...I will tell you this. IT seems to me that as a mother whenever I have things well in hand. The house is running smoothly, the dishes laundry are inorder I have a moment to relax...then a new developemental stage, another challenge,crissis,bigger than ever mess...what seems so is that what gets easier is the part where as a parent you are on it and doing what needs to be done. I think that this parenting process especially with children who have quirkes and all that involves we are learning alot as we go along and that we get quicker at, more confident to exurt ourselves and we persue the resourses more readily.
    Talk over the perscription with the perscribing doctor and also the pharmasist.
    I feel that having a really good understanding and sence of what is what makes the choices we make for our kids our best option. Ultimately you are making the desision so it is always wise to take enough time to feel really sure yourself.
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Welcome, Myah.

    Your son certainly sounds like a handful. With all the things you describe, I wonder if you have ever had him evaluated for Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in some form. Here people often recommend a neuropsychologist assessment, rather than relying on school assessments which generally aren't sufficiently detailed; they often don't dig deep enough.

    A few things make me thing along these lines - the ADHD/ODD appearance fits (and there are ways to manage a lot of this but it requires some change in your approach; just as your son is a lateral thinker, so you need to be also, to manage him). The language issues are a red flag for some Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) (as in my youngest) especially with the high intelligence and other aspects.

    The lying you mention - that is curious. What sort of lies? Are they detailed fantasies, or stubborn "I didn't do it!"? Or in between?

    All kids will try to lie to get out of trouble, or to avoid trouble. Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids CAN lie but usually not in a complex manner and generally they're bad at it, always getting caught because the lie is so obvious.

    We do recommend "The Explosive Child" a lot, with good reason. It's a great book, it changed out life and turned around the ODD problems we were really struggling with. It's not a cure, but the closest to it we could have had.

    There will be more people along, this is a good place for support, advice, help or just somewhere to dump.


  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    It may be that your child CAN'T behave, not that he won't. Sounds strange, I know :) Also, often the first diagnosis we get for our kids (and especially an ODD diagnosis. turns out to be something else).
    With the speech disorders, in my opinion both children should be evaluated by a neuropsychologist for autistic spectrum disorder. I'm just a mom, but my gut tells me this isn't just ADHD/ODD. That's a VERY common first diagnosis and very often it isn't the real problem. Sometimes we have to keep on truckin' :)
    Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids can be very challenging because they don't "get" life or people, and they need to be helped by interventions. Therapy doesn't work that well because they can't relate to it. I have an online test you may want to do for both of your kids. My son's first diagnosis was ADHD/ODD. But we knew it was more (he also had a speech delay). And he made poor eye contact, was very rigid, and did not know how to interact appropriately with same-age peers (which is a red flag for something on the autism spectrum). He's doing great now, but he's been rightly diagnosed. I would take him to a neuropsychologist because the testing is far more intensive--6-10 hours. in my opinion it sounds like more than ADHD. Here's the online Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) test:

    Good luck, whatever you decide!
  10. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    MWM gave a good link, that Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) test is a good place to get info. My son had behavior problems since he was in Kindergarten. He got suspended 2x in first grade, and then it just escalated. In 2nd or 3rd grade he was almost expelled. He still struggles with remorse, but is getting better. Not by leaps or bounds, but in baby steps. My difficult child has a problem with perspective, he can only see his own. Your son is younger, so that may be where he is at developmentally. I would try to help him by putting him in the situation. "How would you feel if Johnny did x,y or z to you?" and then maybe, so how do you think he feels? Not sure if it will help, but if you do it over and over it may.

    Now we have a good (for now) medication combo, and have just started him in therapy. He is in 5th grade, and has not been suspened all year. There is hope. I would encourage you to get another evaluation done, and to take care of yourself. That is so hard to do. If you do not take care of your self, you cannot help others.

    Hang in there, and welcome.
  11. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Welcome to the board. :) I was also going to ask if your difficult child has had an evaluation for Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD).

    You've landed in a great place.

  12. Jena

    Jena New Member

    i'm just jumping in very late to say welcome as well!!! :)
  13. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Hello again! I have returned. The others have given very good input. I just want to assure you that we do know that your child is not bad. It often feels like people only see the bad side and not the wonderful good side of our difficult child.

    Your child is very special. You can see that and you are working hard to draw that out into the open. We also know your child has great qualities. So, when you do vent or ask for support for the not so good things, no one here is forming any negative opinions. If you want to, we also love to hear the good stories you may want to share - it gives us a bigger picture of your child and we would love to share in the happy moments as well as support those frustrating ones.

    I hope that makes sense. Everyone here really do want what is best for your difficult child and all input is given out of caring hearts.
  14. Feeling Helpless

    Feeling Helpless Oldie but Goodie

    Just wanted to say welcome and let you know there are a lot of caring people here. I also have a 7 year old boy who has been diagnosed with ADHD/ODD and now mood disorder. I could have swore you were describing my difficult child except for the language delays. Does he have trouble making friends. How is he doing in school?

    I have been trying to figure out what exectly is the problem so I can help my difficult child. I am not sure yet that we have the right diagnosis. My difficult child is on Concerta 54 mg. It has helped tremendously at school. I took my difficult child to the ER of a childrens hospital in September because he threatened to kill a little boy at school. He now has a new therapist and is seeing a psychiatrist. She put him on Risperdal 0.5 mg. that he takes one at 4 and a pill and a half at 7. SOme days I have noticed a difference and some days I can not tell he is on any medication.

    My difficult child has rages but not nearly as often as he used to. I think the advice you have gotten to have him evaluated is a good one. Also I keep a daily journal to keep track of difficult child's days to show his doctors. I also have vidoetaped my difficult child when he is having one of his rages because he can be so sweet around other people. I think also if he is on medications then it takes alot of time to get the right one and amount but you first need the right diagnosis.

    I believe OOD is a symptom of some underlying disorder. Also there are a lot of good books out there to read.

    Again want to welcome you aboard and let you know you have found people who understand.
  15. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi Myah, welcome.
    Here's a cup of tea.

    Yes, these kids can get better. My son has improved a lot. Part of it is maturity, part is intervention, part is therapy, part is routine and structure, part is medications. If I could point to any one thing that helped me the most, it was getting my husband on board. We were totally opposite in our parenting and it made things worse.

    Yes, a lot of this can be hereditary and genetic. I personally think that things in our environment trigger the genes, or exacerbate the problems, such as food additives, plastics, and video games. And certain parenting styles, too. Too demanding, rigid, military style attitudes seem to make these kids worse, although military consistency is a good thing. If that makes any sense.

    My son takes clonidine. Just one tablet in the a.m. and one in the p.m., the smallest dose possible. Unless your son is severely underweight and has a history of severe drug reactions, I wouldn't worry about it. The clonidine took the angry, anxious edge off of our difficult child. It was amazing. I saw him smile a real smile for the first time in weeks.

    My husband and I are anti-drug. He is a chiropractor. But after broken windows, holes in walls, bruises, screaming, door slamming, shoe throwing, spitting and you-name-it episodes, and after diet changes, behavioral changes, and holding my son back in school 1 yr, we were out of ideas and desperate.

    We started with-Adderal. Luckily, it worked immediately. My son sat down and had a real conversation for the first time in his life. It was like, wow, there's a real, thinking, communicating person in there, not just a wild animal that throws things!
    The clonidine, as I said, takes the edge off.

    A psychiatrist has recommended Zoloft, but we are not going to do it right now. Our difficult child has been diagnosis'd Aspie Lite, and I would rather work on behaviors than add more medication at this point. He is old enough, and we have learned enough tactics to keep it going for a while. Even difficult child said, "I feel like a medicated bunny!" (I think he meant Energizer bunny, LOL, but I got the point.)

    I agree with-Marg, that you should have your son evaluated more thoroughly. He sounds like he's out of control and you need some good interventions. In the meantime, I would make sure he is safe (put away knives and scissors) and that your 6-yr-old has a safe place to go where the 7-yr-old cannot annoy him.
    Consistency and routine are paramount. As you have seen, it doesn't take much to set off your difficult child.

    I have also learned to say "Yes, but ... " rather than "No." The word No sets off my son like a time bomb. Just rearranging the words in a sentence can make all the difference in the world.

    Also, a normal tone of voice, right next to him, works well. Yelling from another room sets him off. I was raised in a family of 5 (plus 2 parents, =7) where everyone yelled from one rm to another and it seemed normal to me, until difficult child came along. You have to re-learn your habits, good or bad. G'fgs are different. Everything is different.

    Your difficult child isn't lying to be a brat (most of the time, LOL). He is trying to obtain something or escape something uncomfortable, in the fastest, easiest way. Learn what he wants and you can get him to stop lying. It takes a while. One thing is not to ask him "Why did you do that?" because 1) he won't know, and 2) whether he does or not, he is conditioned to lie because that question implies he did something wrong and he will respond out of fear.
    Instead of saying "Why are you such a slob? Why did you throw those candy wrappers on the floor?" say, "Pick those candy wrappers off of the floor. There is more candy in the kitchen when you are finished."

    Get the idea? There are lots of books out there with-many more ideas. You may have to lock yourself in the bathroom to read them, though! :)