New member here-about my family circus...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by AprilH, Feb 28, 2008.

  1. AprilH

    AprilH Guest

    OK, here goes. I am a 32 year old Mom with my Son, thank you who will be 11 in May. My daughter is 8 and has no problems whatsoever. My hubby just rejoined the Army and is in training, will not be home until May. He is my son's step dad, the only dad my son has known because his real father has not been in the picture EVER since we got divorced...that's probably a good thing for all concerned. My hubby that is in training is my daughter's father however.

    I guess you could say my courting the Psychiatric care system began when my son was about two years old. Very hostile, very high strung, very hard to calm down, very active and aggressive to others. When I would take these concerns to his PCP, I always got the brush off..."oh, he's just a normal boy", "he will grow out of it" (MY ASS!), BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.

    Fast forward a couple years, I was arrested and investigated for child abuse by SS because I 'allowed' my daughter (who was about 2 y.o. at the time) to 'play' with her brother and he hit her with the edge of a closet door WHILE I WAS IN THE BATHROOM. Oh, I'm sorry that I can't get off the can to chase my son and put him back in the room with me while I have the SCREAMING ****S from being sick!!
    That left a big goose egg on her forehead. Obviously, since I knew what had happened to her and that she was OK besides the goose egg, I did not feel that there was a need to sit in the ER for 8 hours just for that. Good times! I was finally cleared of all charges after having to hire a lawyer and go to court. I was told that because of my 'poor judgement' that was why I was charged with child abuse. My son was suspended from Kindergarten for 'attacking' his teacher. He was hospitalized at 6 y.o for again, being suspended from school and causing multiple problems in his classroom; that was when I FINALLY got someone to take me seriously about my son and his problems. He was in inpatient care for 10 days.

    When we lived in Germany (his second time in 1st grade) he JUMPED OUT of his classroom window and ran down the street to the bus top! Thank God it was a window on the first floor. He said that he was 'scared' when I came to school to get him and asked him why he did that and what was wrong...he would not elaborate on what scared him; he still will not tell me and he probably has no recollection of it anyway. Since then, he has been suspended at least 1 time every year that he has been in school for his behavior, he is in 4th grade, he should be in 5th but repeated 1st grade at MY insistence.

    His 1st grade teacher wanted to promote him to 2nd even though she would call me every day and tell me what problems he was having and causing...WTF?! Since the hospitalization and subsequent Psychological care/counseling, I have heard every diagnosis under the sun: Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) not otherwise specified, Aspergers, ADD/ADHD, ODD, Depressive Disorder to Schizophrenia. He has been on these medications so far that I can remember: Risperdal, Concerta, Stratera, Ritalin, Celexa...and I know there are several that I am forgetting. He is rapidly progressing to CD when it comes to his behavior.

    He CAN have good days at school, he has done it before. He just chooses not to. That would be too easy for him. He is not happy unless everyone around him is miserable. He has to control and try to manipulate every situation that he can to get a favorable outcome for himself. He is argumentative, he is aggressive to other kids, he has no impulse control whatsoever, he is mouthy, has to have the last word, is VERY immature for his age (my neighbor's 3 y.o. son acts better than mine).

    He is aggressive to our cats; thank God they are declawed or he would be blind! Because my son chooses to behave the way that he does, he is being ridiculed by other kids in his class because they do not understand what his deal is. I have tried everything I can discipline wise to try and curb his extreme behavior...grounding to his room, taking away all toys, no games, no t.v., etc, etc...He does not watch violent shows or play violent games; his therapist says that it will only feed his violent behavior, I agree with that.

    I have a recording of him screaming at the top of his lungs that he was going to kill me with a shotgun because I took away all his toys and got him with the belt (it was a long day and I had had enough of his bull****). I have an appointment next week with his school to update his IEP which has so far not worked; he goes to a year round school. Usually when he acts up, he is removed from his class and put in the kindergarten class. There is nothing more infuriating than to try and help him with his school work (which takes about 4 hours a night to complete) and have him smirk at me and giggle like he thinks it's funny when I tell him that it's important to complete his work and get good grades...He of all people, wants to be a Police Officer when he grows up.

    He is very concerned with things being fair (meaning fair for him, everyone else be damned) Last week he was suspended from school for hitting kids two days in a row and then the final straw was STANDING on his desk that got him canned. I had to go to the store and take him along with me. I bought a donut for myself and when he was told 'no' by me when he asked for one, he screamed "Not fair". He HAD NO CLUE WHEN I ASKED HIM WHY HE THOUGHT I SAID NO.

    He seems to have a nonexistent short term memory, no empathy, no sympathy for anyone else, he is extremely selfish and stubborn. I tell him that if he would just worry about himself, he would have no problem, but he cannot (or will not) comprehend that concept. He does not want to put forth the effort to get anything he wants, he wants answers handed to him, he always wants to go the easy route and/or give up when he faces a challenge. That's what makes me think he has more problems that need to be identified.

    He does alright in school subjects, although Math is a struggle for him, it was for me also, so that's fun when it's homework time, and I understand how he feels about Math, I was in his shoes at one time. He is very eccentric also; he collects odds and ends, pencil leads, broken rubber bands, paper clips, pencil erasers...those are his toys that I find when I clean out his room. Well, I'd better sign off for now, I have to get him from school for another psychiatric appointment this morning. I'm sorry this is so long, and I'm sure I'll think of more to post at a later date. I'm just sooooo worn down from dealing with this kid and the school system that we have here. I have no close friends to talk to, the ones that I do have are parents to 'normal' kids (really? what's considered normal nowadays?) and most of them have very young kids...I love him, but I swear sometimes he must have been switched at birth! And in the middle of all of this is his sister who is completely normal and waiting to get pushed, hit or kicked by her brother so she can beat him down in self defense again.

    I can't wait until my son is 15-16 y.o and I wake up to him standing over me with a gun pointed at my face and my daughter dead also, because I have been told by ALL his Doctors and 'concerned' teachers that this behavior will escalate as he gets older and the hormones start flowing...after reading many posts in this forum from parents to teenagers that age and their behaviors, I am convinced that is what is in store for me. When I sit him down and ask him what is wrong, and that I cannot read his mind, that I need him to help me help him, he will either 'shut down' and sit and stare off into space,he will smile sweetly and tell me that nothing is wrong, that he is fine and happy...he has NEVER initiated hugs or kisses with me, I ALWAYS have to do these things first.

    Mom of a 10 y.o diagnosis'd with ODD/ADD/Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED)/Depressive Disorder at age 5, currently taking Seroquel (50mg), Prozac (25mg) and Vyvanse (25mg)...THESE medications ARE NOT WORKING!!!! an 8 y.o. daughter who is completely normal, loves her brother, but is very good at ignoring him and handing out beat downs when I cannot get there fast enough to break it up, a wonderful husband that I have been battling my son's demons with for 9 years, two cats, 'Big Fuzz' and 'Abbey' who probably only have about one life left thanks to my son, and a Lab named 'Maya' who is my son's best friend and fellow demon beater.

  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    April, I welcomed you in a your last post, but welcome again. I'm sorry things are so rough right now.

    First off, you need to get an accurate diagnosis for your son. It really does matter if he has a disorder on the autism spectrum or whether he has a mood disorder. Some kids unfortunately have both. But it's important to know for sure because the interventions and treatment for each are different. If you don't have the right diagnosis, the interventions are not going to help and you'll continue to hit your head against a brick wall.

    Second, if you don't have the right diagnosis, the medications he's taking could actually be making things worse. Both SSRI antidepressants like Prozac and stimulants like Vyvanse can activate kids and make behavior dangerous. This is something to consider and ask your son's prescribing doctor.

    Finally, I'd strongly recommend an evaluation with a neuropsychologist or a multidisciplinary team at a children's or university hospital. Your son's behavior is extreme and you need to figure out what's going on now before either your family's safety or his own is threatened.

    I hope you are able to make some headway soon.
  3. sandman3

    sandman3 New Member

    Wow April,

    That's alot of information. I'm new here also, but these gals have been wonderfully supportive and helpful and I know you'll find the same!
    Your DS sounds alot like mine: immature, angry, nothing is fair, etc.... Have you looked into a Major medical facility for him to be evaluated? The hard thing is them being away from home, but the great thing is the hospital works with a whole team of caregivers: psychiatric's, social workers, educators, etc... to come up with a "plan" for the child based on everything you tell them and everything they observe during the stay. They do a wide variety of testing, can do genetic testing, try tweaking medications, set you up with community support for when he gets home, and work directly with your school to create an appropriate IEP, environment and educational goals.....the whole kit a kaboodle! Now, I'm not saying it's perfect and I don't know if it's right for your family, but might be worth looking into for you. I see you don't live that far from me, PM me if you want a little more info and I'll be happy to oblige.

    I hope you have a better day!
  4. AprilH

    AprilH Guest

    Hey Sandman-
    I have Positional Vertigo also...the spinning attacks are a blast, aren't they?! I have gone several times to my son's Doctor and asked for him to be evaluated for sleeping problems; whether or not they are a side effect of his medications, I don't know, but he snores very loudly and his father snores also and has Apnea/OSD. His incompetent doctor's are still giving me the brush off and saying that he will grow out of it, and that he is fine...I call BULL**** on that one. I just got back from his psychiatric. appointment and managed to get once a week visits lined up instead of just once a month YAY! A victory for once!

    I have a cousin related to me through marriage and she is one year younger than me. She has extensive mental health issues, was homeless for about three years and finally came home to my Aunt's house after being missing for all those years, but last week she had a setback and had to be rushed to the hospital because she drank a bottle of bleach...I don't want that to end up being my son. He has too much going for him right now and his whole life ahead of him in spite of his behavior and disabilities. I am going to call his doctor's after this and get another appointment lined up for my son. You two are both right, he does need a more specific diagnosis, BUT, I have been told by SEVERAL psychiatric doctor's that it may be years, IF EVER that we really, truly know what is going on in my son's head. Another thing that concerns me is that I have a plum sized Arachnoid Cyst on my brain behind my right eye that is causing me Migraines and Aphasia type symptoms...Could my son have one also, and if so, could that be the cause of his problems?

    I have taken that up with my son's Doctor twice before, but again, I get the Brush off from her...incompetent to say the least, plus it doesn't help that AC's are pretty rare. Gotta love military health care...too cheap to pay for anything! I just know that I have to get this behavior under some type of (better) control...I was just medically retired from the Army and while I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2005, I had to be returned home early because of my son's behavior. I am now in the process of getting hired by the Post Office and if I miss more than three days while on probation, I'll get canned and then I will not be able to afford the life I would like to give my family.
  5. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I quoted SW's reply because I think she gave you great advice. You really have to get a handle on his behavior and to do that, you need a good diagnosis so that you can find out if some of his behaviors or medication related - it's a possibility.

    Please do me a favor, in future posts, could you use more paragraph breaks? My eyes have a really hard time following the words when there are no "spaces"! Yeh, yeh, I know, I'm getting old!!!!!!!

    Glad you are here.

  6. AprilH

    AprilH Guest

    Page breaks-
    Duly noted, HAHA! Will do...
  7. 'Chelle

    'Chelle Active Member

    I agree with smallworld as well. A re-evaluation might be a good thing to look in to, and a multi-disciplinary evaluation or neuro-psychiatric would be best. Your difficult child seems to have a lot going on behavior wise and second opinions can be valuable. My psychiatrist and therapist recommend re-evaluations on kids, as they say tests can change and become invalid on kids after 3 years since they change so much with maturity. And yes, insist on all physical reasons being ruled out right away as well. We live in an old house, so I even insisted they check him for lead, and tho my doctor said probably not likely he did it for me. They did everything on my difficult child from blood to brain first to rule all that out. I saw the brain scan, and told my difficult child I could definately see he had a brain LOL.

    Anyway, welcome to a wonderful site. Good luck on the new job. Cross my fingers for you that your difficult child goes through a quiet period (if he ever has one) so that you don't have to leave work for his problems.


    just a thought have you thought of reactive attachment disorder? just some food for thought. hugs
  9. sandman3

    sandman3 New Member

    OMG! Someone who understands what positional vertigo feels like!!!! WOW! I just had a severe attack last week, almost passed out in the parking lot of the grocery store cause I forgot it was acting up.....AND YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN WHEN I SAY THAT!!!!! Happy Day!
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. I also had trouble reading because of no breaks, but I think I got all of it.
    Please do yourself a favor and a get a neuropsychologist exam. I disagree that he is totally making bad choices. His behavior is so over-the-top and unusual that I'd be thinking he had some sort of either psychiatric disorder or autistic spectrum problem and it matters A LOT what he has--that's how you can get him the right help. I truly think NeuroPsychs give the best evaluations because they do intensive testing of the kids on every level. Something' s going on and in my opinion it's much more than than just defiance, and you need to get to the bottom of what it is.
    Does this child's biological father have psychiatric problems that he may have inherited? Drinking or drug abuse issues?
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    OK, first things first.

    POSITIONAL VERTIGO - my neurologist fixed mine in just a couple of sessions. It took two sessions because it was a bit tricky. He said this is a diagnosis that neurologists love, because it is SO EASY TO FIX. That is, if the cause is due to loose otoliths in the semi-circular canals (a fairly common problem).

    There are websites which show you the sort of exercises you can do to deal with this. I had this hit me hard, only a few weeks before we were due to go on holiday to New Zealand. I didn't think I'd be able to manage, but the neuro fixed me up.
    He did what he called Epley's Manouvre. The second treatment, he had mentioned that a vibrator used on the large bone behind the ear can help shake any otoliths into the fluid and it's then easier to tip the patient around so they settle back where they should. So I packed a tiny one in my handbag and the doctor loved it. He wanted to know where he could buy one just like it.

    The Epley manouvre did make me feel VERY dizzy for a few hours afterwards, but then the problem was almost completely gone.

    A GP who really knows his stuff might be able to do it; a neurologist should be able to do it easily, and most cases only need one treatment. Or you can do the exercises yourself at home (they do no harm) but it takes longer.

    Here is a link:

    Now, to the kid - you mentioned one label as Asperger's. That would explain a great deal.
    Aspie kids - need to control their environment. because the world is such a confusing place, it is through controlling as much as they can, that they can learn to predict their environment. They really hate uncertainty, it throws them off badly.
    They lack empathy - they have a hard enough time just working out their own feelings, which are usually very intense. But they can learn, and with support can be amazing human beings.
    If you continue to treat him as a normal kid who is being deliberately naughty, you will make your problems far worse. It will escalate (as it has been doing) and he will be angry and frustrated while you will be at your wits end. And nothing will change.

    His need to control everything around him is intense. He is the immovable object. If you respond with irresistible force, neither of you will accomplish anything, except exhaustion.

    If he is Aspie (and I suspect if he is not, it is so close as to not really make much difference) then he will NOT be naughty or disruptive, just to be a pest. He really is in trouble. I've said this before, it's my regular saying, feel free to quote me - punishing an Aspie kid for what he HAS to do, is like punishing a blind child for failing to copy accurately from the blackboard.

    URGENT - for your own sanity, and to have a chance at helping him (and yourself) - get a copy of "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene, and read it. It's like a bible for a lot of us here, it can turn your thinking on its head and suddenly it becomes clear. Without changing your thinking, you're not going to be able to help him; at least, not without a lot of resentment on your part. You are trying to parent him the only way you know how; the way you were raised. And for many kids, it's a good way.

    But it's not a good way for a lot of difficult children. In a lot of cases, they're difficult child BECAUSE the normal strict parenting techniques are making their behaviour worse.

    You cannot say to a difficult child, "Because I said so, that's why." To them, that is unreasonable. And the more you stand firm like the Berlin Wall, the worse t he problem and the more resistance you will find, until eventually there is enough resistance to knock down that wall and you get a deluge of uncontrollable problems.

    Instead, you need to go zen. I didn't realise until recently that that is what I have been doing, but it works for us, it has turned difficult child 3 around completely.

    Think of the story of the tree and the grass, on the river bank in a storm. The grass is shivering in fear, "I fear the storm, big brother. I fear it will flatten me to the ground and wash away my roots."
    The tree replied, "That's because you are weak and have nothing to stiffen your spine. You should have put your effort into growing stiff, proud and strong, like me. I have withstood many a storm, I am far older and stronger than you."
    The storm raged, the wind blew strong. The stronger the wind blew, the stiffer the tree stood, leaning against the wind. below, the grass was flat to the ground under the force of the wind.
    Then with a mighty CRACK the tree's trunk snapped and the tree fell. When the storm finally eased and day broke, the tree was broken on the ground and the grass, which had been flattened by the wind, was already beginning to straighten up and look to the sun.
    Knowing when to bend and allow the force to go past you instead of knocking you over and breaking you, is a very valuable thing when parenting a difficult child.

    This doesn't mean the child is being spoiled - we tend to oppose wilful children on principle, and they know it. And it makes them more determined. But if you give way on things that really, when you think about it, don't matter - you are more likely to win when you absolutely have to.

    The most important - Aspie kids need to learn by your example. So every time you use "Because I said so," they will file that away as the appropriate way to interact with EVERYBODY. The lack of empathy also means they do not distinguish between different 'classes' - to difficult child 3, an adult and a child are on equal footing.
    I was talking to mother in law today about difficult child 3. She said, "People like him, because he is so unselfconscious when he talks to them. A lot of adults I know have commented on how charming and refreshing it is, having this boy talk to them as he would to a friend of his."
    This is because for difficult child 3, the adults he talks to are worthy of respect because they show him respect. And the cycle continues.

    An example to show it works the other way - we were in a doctor's waiting room and difficult child 3 did his usual thing, he was rummaging around in the toy box looking for baby books to read (he feels safer with simple books he knows). Meanwhile a mother arrived with a toddler and a six month old baby. The baby was fretful, the toddler a bit noisy. difficult child 3 was settling down to read t he books and I suggested, "Why don't you read a book to the baby?" (difficult child 3 reads well, and I thought the baby might settle down if he thought he was getting attention).
    So difficult child 3 picked up two books and walked over to the baby. "Baby, which books would you like me to read? This one? Or that one?" And he actually was waiting for the baby to indicate which book!
    Somehow difficult child 3 interpreted the baby's random movements as making a choice, so he settled to read. As they finished each page, difficult child 3 spoke to the baby, asking him to point to the tree, the dog, to lift the flap on the book, asking him what he thought would happen next - all totally outside the abilities of this infant. It was totally guileless, difficult child 3 simply didn't comprehend that the baby was functioning exactly like difficult child 3 could himself.
    Of course, all this seemed 'cute' to all those watching, and it was a lovely scene. But I knew that in time, the lack of the baby to respond would make difficult child 3 angry, because it would seem disrespectful to him.

    I have learned to get inside my son's head. It has really helped. Because in doing so, I have unlocked the key to finding the GOOD kid, the one who really wants to fit in, who really wants to do well and be happy, the one who is actually very law-abiding (providing it is HIS laws!).
    We have been working on closing the gap between his laws, and the laws of social interaction, until they match.

    The short-term memory thing - difficult child 3 is fine, but his big brother has that problem. We have found some practical ways to help him, but a big first step is giving him multiple-step instructions in writing. That could be why he is having t rouble with maths - there are too many steps mentally. Putting them down on paper makes a BIG difference and also greatly reduces the stress.

    I have only just begun, but I don't want to overload you too soon.

    Read the book. Then pick our brains. I'm not the only one with a kid like this.

    We do understand. Really we do!

  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I also recommend a full evaluation by a neuropsychologist and problem a multidisciplinary team at a major hospital. Make sure he is seen by a neurologist and gets a sleep-deprived EEG. You may find he has a cyst like yours, may find seizures, may find something else.

    with-o a good, complete evaluation you have no chance of helping him. Also, the medications he has been on ALL see to be ones that can cause problems in kids with certain problems.

    Using a belt, unless it is to hold up his pants, is simply going to let him know it is OK to hurt others. Our kids just don't process things the way adults do. Spanking/belts just don't work.

    Read "the Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. It is very helpful.

    I am sorry things are so hard.

  13. sandman3

    sandman3 New Member

    I've been treated several times for the vertigo with the Epley Manouver with only temporary results. I'm waiting on a referral to a Neuro or ENT for further examination. I do the exercises regularly to help with smaller episodes, but again, only limited success. Glad you've had such luck with treatments! I'll have to ask about the vibrating thingy!
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    From my experience, the vibrator was the magic ingredient. Especially if the problem has been long-standing, sometimes vibrating the bone over the area is needed to shake the durn things back into motion so the Epley's can then tip them back into the right place. When they've settled down and are sitting on those little sensory hairs (and triggering them when we move) then the problem is harder to shift.

    "The vibrator thingie" - I found a cheap $10 one in a shop. It needs to have a small contact area, no bigger than a fingertip. And firm, not too squashy.

    There are a number of places you can get suitable candidates for the job, but some of the more 'picturesque' ones could be a bit embarrassing in the doctor's rooms!