New to group, been lurking for awhile

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Zoobiechick, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. Zoobiechick

    Zoobiechick New Member

    Forgive me if starting a new thread isn't the proper way to introduce myself. Anyway, I've turned to online chat groups for support for difficult children since my daughter was a toddler--many times in the wee hours of the night--trying to find the strength to get through another day. But I never joined one until now. I feel like I will need it for the journey ahead. We adopted her at birth, 2 mos preemie, and she has been a challenge from the beginning. She's always shown extreme sensitivity, extreme loudness, extreme disregard for consequences, resistance and opposition to normal parenting guidelines. She has always just seemed like an Energizer bunny on her own agenda, the world be damned. I joke that she kicked the doors of the womb down two months early with both guns drawn.

    At this moment, things are relatively calm. We just finished our 2nd year of homeschool after I pulled her out in 7th grade because I could no longer handle the kleptomania, friend issues, failing grades, not being on the bus when I was there to pick her up and having to call all over kingdom come to figure out where she was, phone calls from school principals and counselors, getting kicked out of school, being one of the two or three kids who never got to go on the special trips because of behavior issues...from what I've read as a lurker, you guys get what I'm talking about. And all of this while I was heavily involved in our local small town school system. I wasn't only burdened with worries about her, but I was also downright humiliated--endlessly. The public school issues were hard, but I joked with dark humor to my husband last year to never rule out murder/suicide. Dark, I know. Homeschool with a child raging every 15 minutes or so was torture. "You hate me! You're destroying my life! You're a happiness destroyer! You're a sad excuse for a mother!" yadda yadda. And this past year, the threats came. "I'm bigger than you." Or holding things up in a threatening way, as if she was going to hit me with them.

    I was damned if I did, damned if I didn't. Couldn't leave her in school to self-destruct, but homeschool made my life a private hell. I have so often felt like this child has left me with no options, stripped me of everything, chewed me up, spit me out and stomped on me. But right now, as I said, things are relatively calm, so I can introduce myself calmly.

    This is long already, so I'll leave out any more details for now. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Anyway, I'm glad this forum is here. It has given me strength already, and hopefully now I will be able to contribute too.
  2. Zoobiechick

    Zoobiechick New Member

    Sorry, I thought I had saved a signature but apparently there was an error. I'll get right on that.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. Well, yes, we understand and want to help. I have some questions so we can better help.

    1/I have adopted children too. Do you know if there are any psychiatric or neurological problems on either side of her genetic family tree? Was your daughter exposed to drugs or alcohol before her birth? Did she have any trauma during her birth other than being a preemie? How was her early development? Did she mold to your body or make good eye contact?

    2/ Has she EVER had a complete evaluation? Any medication? Any diagnoses?

    3/Has she ever experienced any trauma?

    2/Did she hit her development milestones on time, especially speech and motor skills?
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Hi, and welcome...

    Starting a thread... is a common way of coming on board. Good pick.

    Have you read "The Explosive Child" (by Green)? Might be a place to start, if you haven't already.

    Next... (after you get your sig done...) there's some questions that frequently get asked - these help fill out the picture.
    - Any diagnoses? by whom, when...
    - Any medications?
    - Recent changes - that worked or didn't or weren't on purpose but have some impact

    Sorry you had to find us - glad you did.

  5. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Hi there - and welcome!

    Kleptomania, disappearance, friend issues... Yup. been there done that.

    I don't have much right off, since MWM and Insane got on it and already asked what I would have... But I wanted to welcome you anyway!

    :hugs: you found a great place.
  6. Zoobiechick

    Zoobiechick New Member

    I see that I'm getting replies, but they don't show up in my thread. Help?!
  7. Zoobiechick

    Zoobiechick New Member

    Okay, I see the thread now! To answer questions: Yes, her birthmother did use some drugs/alcohol while pregnant; yes, there are psychiatric and neurological issues on both sides of her bio fam; lots of emotional trauma surrounding the pregnancy/birth; early development, eye contact, motor skills, etc. were normal; signs of psychiatric issues at an early age and ongoing (but she can also seem very normal and sweet); and we were warned of "extremely explosive temper" in birthfather. Yes, I have read "The Explosive Child" and other books on the subject. Am also familiar with the "primal wound" theory.

    Please don't throw tomatoes at me, but no, there has been no psychiatric evaluation, and no medications. Just school counselors. I guess my husband and I have questioned how effective these approaches really are, and he has a background in family science and some masters' courses in counseling. He himself was considered extremely difficult by his parents, and they tried it all to no avail. Finances have always been tight too. But I have never ruled out pursuing those things, and feel like a GOOD counselor might be helpful as we struggle with teen issues on top of all the rest (?).
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi. in my opinion she needs to have a total evaluation. She could very well have fetal alcohol effects if her birthmother drank during her pregnancy and her birthfather may have passed along some hereditary psychiatric issues (or both). You can not help her alone (as proven by where she is now). Her teen years are coming and they are difficult even for the best behaved child. For a difficult child, drugs and cutting and criminal behavior are real possibilities. If this were me, even without hub's support, I'd take her to a neuropsychologist and for a genetics test to see if she has fetal alcohol syndrome, which is EXTREMELY difficult to reign need specific help from people who understand this devastating disorder. Doing nothing but what you are doing now in my opinion is a recipe for disaster. in my opinion she is beyond just needing a counselor. Something bigger is going on when the child can no longer go to school and is violent.

    Hugs and keep us posted. I adopted four kids myself, one who was exposed to drugs/alcohol in utero. Please get your child professional assessments and help.
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    14yo difficult child. been there done that - or rather. AM there, DOING that!

    Its taken us 9 years to get even close to a correct diagnosis (or rather, multiple...). We're just now - with a much better-matching list of diagnosis - starting to turn things around.
    You have some plusses on your side - at least you're not currently fighting the school system - you're home-schooling (we didn't).
    But... you do need to know what you're dealing with.

    ADHD is going to be the first guess any evaluator will give you - probability of that being ONE factor, at least, is sky high as soon as you say "adopted at birth" (ADHD runs in families, and ADHD kids have a higher proportion of babies given up for adoption... do the math!)

    But ADHD doesn't begin to explain what you are living with.
    You're probably going to end up down one of two roads...
    1) some form of developmental disorder, such as Aspergers - this would explain the hyper-sensitivities, melt-downs, and some of the other behavior... maybe most of it (we're not officially on that spectrum, so I'm not as up on the full details...)
    2) some form of mental illness - BiPolar (BP), for example, or other things.

    Depending on what YOUR gut feel is, will probably drive what kind of evaluations to seek out and/or in what order.
    If my gut were developmental... I'd probably start with Occupational Therapist (OT) (occupational therapy) - they will test for things like motor coordination, environmental sensitivities, etc. This will NOT give you any diagnosis, but will give you some good rule-in/rule-out data which will help YOU know what direction you want to go, AND will be useful for whatever other professionals you pull in. Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluations are usually fairly reasonable (its the therapy costs that add up!)
    If my gut were mental illness, I'd probably be starting with neuropsychologist or psychiatrist...
    (but this is Canada, and so... depends on what resources are available in your area)
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Zoobiechick. Glad you finally joined in.

    So sorry about your daughter. What a handful! You've come to the right place.

    I have to agree with-the others, that an evaluation and diagnosis isn't just for a label, it's to help you and your daughter get services, because this is more than you can handle alone. There is no need to endanger others' health or emotional welfare because of your daughter, or to make your marriage suffer. It. Is. So. Hard.

    I don't know which part of the country you live in, but it sometimes helps to live near a big city, and/or a teaching university.

    Is it correct to assume that you have locks on all of your bedroom doors because of her kleptomania? That's what I would do ...
  11. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Welcome Zoobiechick. Glad you are here!Our troubles started in 7th grade with our difficult child. Different issues, but I get your pain and dark humor! Wish I could have home schooled, some things would have been better. However, in your case (threats, explosiveness, verbal abuse), I'm wondering about options. 1. Could she qualify for an IEP and then maybe a placement in an Emotionally Disturbed unit? (usually takes some time for this). At the least, an IEP could give her support to stay in school and get group social skills and behavioral intervention. You do not need a diagnosis for this given her history, however I really, really think you should. Most insurance companies will at least pay for a psychiatrist. The school work- ups are sadly not enough, but are enough to at least get her an IEP and back in school so you don't have to continue this horrible experience at home. 2. Is there an alternate placement school? We have a special school for our Junior kids that struggle-but again we are a large urban district. 3. Is there a charter school? I work at a small district sponsored charter and we have a high population of gifted, behaviorally challanged and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids. Kids who just don't navagate the regular sytem well. Many are really doing well with their world "shrunk" down.4.Another idea...our state has a place called Children with- Special Health Care Needs. They do total evaluations including neurological. When I was a Special Education. teacher, I loved working with these people and they did a great job. They offer free and sliding scale fees and take insurance. My understanding is that every state has something like this. The teams here actually traveled around our state to rural areas. They saw so many kids and worked as a tight team (Doctor, psychiatrist,Occupational Therapist (OT)/PT,psychiatrist,audiologist), there was nobody better. Look into your state's health department.5.Can you access an online school? We have 2 that I know of here and they are public charters and free as is public school. Maybe some of the blood sweat and tears might go away if she was accountable to someone else and all you had to do was set up the structure???6. There are many forms and methods of counseling. We did years of cognitive behavioral (the typical) to no avail. So yes, your husband and my daughter were casualties of that. But, our daughter is now responding to DBT or dialectical behavioral therapy. Maybe there is something that will be recommended to you when she is evaluated?Hope something helps-in any case welcome,keep us posted, and know we are here. Cheers and hugs!
  12. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Zoobiechick! Your difficult child's early story sounds a lot like my difficult child's story. He was born three months early (due to crack his birth-mom was using). We had troubles from the very beginning. My husband and I are teachers and my son attended the same elementary school my husband teaches at!

    I'm impressed with your homeschooling. I've always said that I could teach anyone but my own difficult child-lol!

    I can understand why you have avoided the doctors to this point but it may be time to take her in for evaluations. If your child is dealing with a mental illness there is a good chance she needs medications to be able to function, at least you would have a better idea of what is going on.

    So glad you found us and sorry you needed to. (((hugs)))
  13. ML

    ML Guest

    Welcome Zoobiechick (ZC). I'm glad you joined. This is a great source of support and understanding. I have a 12 year old son with Tourette's Syndrome and AS who is about to enter middle school. I look forward to getting to know you better.
  14. Zoobiechick

    Zoobiechick New Member

    Thanks for all the support and fantastic information and advice. Yes, I realize I have more on my hands than I can deal with. To address some of the comments and show where we're headed, last year we did an online school (K-12) for the very reason one of you mentioned--to involve a 3rd party so I could pull out to a degree. She also took lots of classes with a local group--Cake Boss, Theater, etc. She did so much better than in public school academically and behaviorally otherwise, but that home behavior stuff I mentioned...toward the end of the year I just knew that I had done what I could do to give her a chance to reframe where she was headed and needed to send her back out to try her wings (ugh). Who has the quote about picking up a cat by the tail? Well, it was time to put the cat down.

    My husband and I have already decided to send her back to ps so she'll be starting high school in Aug. Got my seatbelt buckled already. I have stressed to her that she is fully accountable for the consequences of her decisions and behavior. I will re-read your suggestions and see what I can do to get the system working for her--hopefully. It takes so much energy for all that. I admire those of you who have been tirelessly in the trenches for years. I tried to go down that road very tentatively when she was in middle school, 6th grade, but I don't think the principal really believed the seriousness of her issues. She seems normal in many ways, but the two places her issues really show up are school and home because those two places actually have expectations. She got kicked out of school for having a knife on my 2nd day of full-time assumption of a 3rd grade class for student teaching--I got the phone call to come pick her up right in the middle of a teacher meeting.

    Anyway, other kindergarten, there was an issue with her and a girl kissing, and difficult child came home and told me the girl got on her and said they were "sexing." In 1st, the teacher told me difficult child and this girl were kissing in the library. In 3rd, they were under a desk kissing. Ongoing issues since--difficult child making sexual moves toward my sweet niece who is 3-4 years younger (we no longer get together with my siblings who have small kids because we can't let her out of our sight), recently told me she's a lesbian, thinks she's in love with her best friend who is a cutter and a "Wiccan." difficult child showed us stuff she wrote about not being able to think about anything but kissing girls. She shows no self-consciousness about very personal behavior/desires such as these. This friend gave her razor blades, but difficult child left them out somewhere and I asked her about them, and she gave them to me with no resistance. I used to think the sexual behavior began because of the other girl in K (registered sex offenders in that family), but I have seen enough now to think my daughter is predatory. I truly don't know what set if off--she was in a very protected environment before entering K. Now, of course, we don't let her babysit (how do you think that goes over? another instance of us destroying her life <<sigh>>). difficult child is also obsessed with and reads almost nothing but witch, vampire, murder, etc. literature. I always read good stuff to her when she was younger, and we had some wonderful lit in our homeschool curriculum--but she gravitates to the dark side. Yesterday she read her book jacket from the library, "Throat cutting suspense." It freaks me out. Her mind is scary.

    Sorry, I haven't addressed all your comments. Will be here for a few years, probably...plenty of time. :eek:)
  15. Zoobiechick

    Zoobiechick New Member

    I look forward to learning from your experience!
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Seriously...she needs to see a psychiatrist. Do you know if her birthparents had psychiatric problems other than drug abuse? Unfortunately, even if you gave her a great enviroment, she is 50% her b-mom and a 50% b-dad's DNA. Add the drug/alcohol exposure in there and in my opinion you should get her to a psychiatrist (the guy with the MD) before she hits high school. Drugs are a huge threat to her...and running away, cutting, sex, STDs...she may turn around and say she's NOT gay or bi-sexual and she is at high risk to get out of control. If this were my daughter, I'd talk to a psychiatrist before sending her to a mainstream high school. It's a tough world in high school. Your husband is not equipped to diagnose and treat her problems...they are too extreme. Her attraction to all things dark in my opinion shows more a deep sadness and rebellion than anything else in my opinion. And I once adopted an angry young man (he was 11). We had to dissolve the adoption...he sexually abused my two younger adopted kids badly and killed our animals. The kids were too afraid of him to tell us.

    Please get her to a psychiatrist. Hugs, and keep us posted.
  17. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    My daughter also liked to go to the dark side with her reading-loved the gang stuff and stories about real criminals. She fell apart in high school -she had been at Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and away from her peers. They had moved on and dindn't give her the time of day. She was isolated and this lead to relapse. With the sexual stuff-I would be so concerned. You must get help. My daughter is a victom of sexual abuse and treating the victom is tough and even tougher the offender. You can't do this alone. Call the district SP. Ed. director have a meeting. Get to psychiatric. ASAP. You must be exhausted weathering this on your own!
  18. Zoobiechick

    Zoobiechick New Member

    Hey y'all,
    I agree, there are definitely psychological problems. We have seen them from the start, and yes, they come from both biological sides. And just to clarify, I never thought my husband could diagnose her. With no intent to offend, I just question the effectiveness of endless alphabet soup diagnoses, drugs, etc. I'm not saying the right combination of medications and therapy doesn't work, I just personally can't say that I've heard very many success stories. The quest seems to go on year after year, new diagnosis, new you ever hear, "Okay, difficult child is CURED!" It seems like if anything ever helps, it's the process of maturing, deciding to change, etc. Again, please, no offense is intended. I know it's a search...and we search what is available to us. Because of her psychiatric problems, I'm AFRAID to have her on medications.

    Yes, I am very weary handling all of this. No one but those who have gone through these things could possibly understand the stress, disappointment, pain, worry... The reason I joined this forum now is that I'm VERY concerned about unleashing difficult child in high school. What do you do with a child who has psychiatric problems, but can fit in enough to maintain some semblance of normalcy--barely? I agree, HS is a very toxic environment and even more so for a kid who goes along with every aberrant, dark, confused thing she encounters. I'm thinking, exploring, praying, learning from you, checking options, discussing with husband, thankful to finally have a sounding board. This is a time of crossroads for us.

    We recently decided to arrange for difficult child to meet with a church counselor, for starts. That will start the ball rolling...where it will lead, who knows.
  19. april1974

    april1974 New Member

    Welcome...sorry you are here...but glad you found us :)

    Alot of people are weary of medications, when I told my sis I thought my ds had adhd the first thing she said was "please promise me you won't put him on ritalin..I worked in a daycare and ritalin turns them into zombies" my response "BS, if my son had diabetes you wouldn't beg me not to give him insulin...ritalin can and does work, if it settles him down enough so he can learn and not be aggresive and make friends then that is what I will give...IF that is what a proffessional suggests" I'm not saying medicate your daughter, but medicines are available and do work..they may not CURE her...but if they can lessons the symptoms of whatever is going on so she can be in school and make friends and learn then that is a good thing...the goal is "do no harm" not "cure" although....we all want cures and you aren't alone in that&#9829; ((((hugs))))
  20. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    My own feeling about medications is that there is a bit of a myth at play with them... There is a fantasy - and I have indulged in it myself - that taking medications will just take all the difficulties and aggressiveness and social problems away and there, hey presto, the difficult child has turned into a easy child... As reading this forum shows pretty conclusively, I would have thought, that is not the case.
    Another feeling I have is that ADHD is over-diagnosed or misdiagnosed. When a child REALLY has ADHD, particularly with problems of concentration and attention, it seems that Ritalin and the other stimulants can work wonders. I am sure that is the case for other conditions and medications too.
    I do understand your hesitations about medications Zoobiechick - in your particular case, i mean, not in general. I am sure you will take more professional advice about it but I suspect there is no miracle potion that is going to cure all your son's problems. Please keep us posted.