New to the site

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by farfromperfect, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. farfromperfect

    farfromperfect New Member

    I've been lurking for a few days and after the last week, I feel compelled to introduce myself and hope for some guidance. I don't have all the abbreviations down yet, and I see others have posted info in signatures, which I can do soon. Our family is a blended family; my husband has two boys from his first marriage (17 and 12). They are an absolute handful, as they were abused by their mother and stepfather before we had custody of them. The 17 year old is currently in a group home, as he molested both the 12 year old and my 8 year old son. Together, husband and I have two boys (8 and 5) and a daughter (2). While the older two children no doubt have conduct disorder and give us plenty to deal with, my 8 year old is the subject of my concern tonight. As he was my first biological child, I didn't really notice at first that anything was different about him. He suffered from ear infections from 6 months to 10 months, when he finally had tubes in his ears. During that time he was a poor sleeper, both at night and during the day. As he got older I considered him to be a normal toddler/preschooler who had difficulty sharing and listening. When he entered kindergarten, I suspected ADD. Finally, in first grade, he was put on Straterra and then Lexapro for depression. After determining that Straterra wasn't working, he switched to Metadate. He is incredibly bright and his focus in school improved. However, he was very hard to parent at home. Last summer, things escalated, and his counselor suggested we see a psychiatrist. We've had no formal testing done...medications have just been thrown our way. He was first on Risperdal and now Seroquel. He just had an appointment last week, and that's when the switch began. His behavior this past week has been HORRIBLE! I have no control over my son. I've been reading book after book (I just downloaded "The Explosive Child" on my iPad and look forward to beginning it tomorrow). I happen to teach at the same school he attends, which is a blessing and a curse. Today I was out with students at a function, and when I returned, I found he had been place in in-school suspension. His teacher is a dream come true, and I know it was the very last thing she wanted to have done. She works so hard with him, but he just EXPLODES and there is no bringing him back down, until he finally comes down on his own. Tomorrow I happen to have an appointment in the same city as his psychiatrist is located, and we're taking him back in. What should I ask for/demand? Something clearly has to be done here. He's never had any formal diagnosis, but something is quite clearly wrong.

    Thanks for, that was long.
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Welcome. The Explosive Child is a great book -worth every penny.

    Has he had any testing? While tossing medications at a kid seems to be the treatment de jour, it really helps a lot to have formal psychiatric and/or nueropsych testing done to find out why the child is behaving in this way (Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), mood disorders, etc.)

    Are you sure that the 12 year old is not continuing the abuse started by the 17 year old? It would not be uncommon, sadly. Did both boys get therapy to help them deal with the abuse? How long has the 17 year old been out of your home? When was his last contact with the other children?
  3. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member


    Ross Greene has a book ' lost at school ' - great for parents as well . A lot of effort needs to help kids to ' learn to trust ' caregivers so that together they can collaborate and solve problems together. The best tool we have is connecting with a kid meaning we listen directing conversations with dialog questions and the kid speaking , reflecting, taking perspectives , figuring out concerns and then brainstorming possible , realistic and durable solutions

  4. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    There may be something I'm missing here but how can a doctor prescribe medication without a diagnosis?? Are they just stabbing in the dark, then, not caring if it's not really the right medication for the right problem? Getting a good and accurate diagnosis seems like an absolute must and I know you are doing your best to get this. Do you have pyschologists attached to schools or school districts in the States, as they do here? And even if one has a diagnosis and a good one, it doesn't of course in itself solve anything or address the problem of the skills the child is lacking - eg dealing with frustration without exploding into rage.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Before putting him back on medication or asking for anything, in my opinion, he needs a total evaluation. Is there a reason you have not taken him for one? I highly recommend a private neuropsychologist. You can go from there, but I agree that medication is pretty useless if you have no idea what the problem is. On top of that, he needs school interventions which he can only get with a bonafide diagnosis. Has your son had any intensive therapy for the sexual abuse?

    You say that the older two children have CD. Is there any mental illness on your husband's family tree? What about yours? Any neuological disorders, such as autistic spectrum disorder? Untreated, the kids usually get worse as time goes on and they grow bigger and more angry. Psychiatrists usually don't do testing.I'm not a big fan of throwing random medications at our kids unless they know what is going on.

    Good luck whatever you decide to do :).
  6. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hello and welcome!

    First - my soapbox! I know that psychiatric medications are prescribed all the time for kids these days as though it's no big deal - but personally? It really angers me that medications would be dispensed without a diagnosis. It's been explained to me (by a rather condescending psychiatrist) that if the medication works, THEN they know what the child "has"...but in my humble opinion that is baloney! And very irresponsible on their part to experiment with my child that way!

    Second - medications or no medications, sounds like there's been some trauma within your family. Has your 8 year old been thoroughly treated for the sexual abuse? That's a HUGE issue right there! Especially as the abuse had probably been going on for some time....possibly longer than anyone suspected.

    In your shoes, I would try and find a specialist who could help the whole family deal with the abuse issues. That would be my start.
  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    :hugs: Welcome.

    I, too, have stepchildren that were abused... The worst part is knowing you could have stopped it - had you known - but you didn't know - so you did the best you could and it wasn't enough. This is what I feel every day. I know - I know - that I am far from perfect, but do everything I can for the kids.

    You have a horrible situation to deal with. First off, you seem to be dealing with a child with some issues to begin with - and then he has the added trauma of the abuse. Did it happen in your home? Sometimes, just the mere feeling of not being safe can set off problems. With us - Onyxx has no problems whatsoever sleeping on the sofa - huge picture window one direction and deck doors with glass opposite - but if she goes into her room, the windows HAVE to be covered, and door closed (this has been a barrel of fun, lemme tell ya) - because when she was molested - it was in her room at her mother's - if she was on the sofa, in the living room, it was safe because it was PUBLIC. Now, she's working with this, and spends most nights in her room; but she doesn't sleep much. So - he may not feel safe.

    JJJ mentioned something about the 12-y/o. She's right, it's not all that uncommon. It's awful. With that many kids, I can see some room sharing going on... And that could mean you don't know. I really hope this isn't the case, but...

    More hugs. I do understand the horrible gut feeling.
  8. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome! So sorry for your pain.

    Anti-depressants in kids is really scary. Not that I do not believe in them, I do. But, most doctors do not give the warnings that these drugs warrant, in my humble opinion. These drugs can make things worse and even cause suicidal thoughts.
    So, with the medication changes - what is he actually taking right now?
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My own opinion is that doctors in the US hand out medication for kids far too quickly. I have a hard and fast rule even for myself...two medications only. My son is now medication-free.

    They should take the license of any doctor giving out medication without the child's having been tested. JMO.
  10. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I would have to agree. Jett & Onyxx's old pediatrician actually ASKED ME WHAT I WANTED HIM TO GIVE ONYXX. I gave him a blank look and said... "Well, you're the doctor, what would you suggest?"
  11. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Reminds me a bit of the medieval method of "testing" to see if someone was a witch. They threw the poor suspect into a lake or pond; if she drowned, she was innocent, if she floated, guilty...
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    You sure have a whole lot going on all at once. Sadly, I think that it would be highly possible that the 12yo is still abusing your 8yo. Some of this depends on exactly what messages he absorbed as he was being abused. LOTS of kids who are sexually abused are told that it is how people show their love, or any of a ton of equally sick messages. You not only have to figure out how to keep the older son away from the other kids, but also to watch to see if your 8yo starts to act that way toward other kids.

    Intense counselling for everyone is a MUST. If you cannot afford it because budget, insurance caps, etc... go to the area domestic violence center and they will help for free.

    As for medications, the docs do have a different point of view than most of us. While testing is possible for SOME things, it isn't exactly reliable or an exact science. It is also very expensive and time consuming. Before the economy crashed parents were strapped and ins co's did not want to pay for anything. Now, parents are beyond strapped, ins co's are using it as an excuse to cover less and less to make ever more obscene profits, and docs are in a tough position. Add the constantly changing brains of children, which CAN create one set of results now and completely different results in a year or three, and a lot of them don't know what to do. Then add parents who hear a commercial about a medication, see the kid in the commercial behaving all perfectly after taking the medication, and go to the doctor and demand that medication - regardless of whether it is appropriate. I can see some rx'ing to treat symptoms. Not as much as is happening now, of course, but some degree of it has to exist.

    Of course, it owuld help a heck of a lot if the docs had a freakin' clue about side effects, interactions and how to wean a child onto and off of a medication. Most do a really lousy job of handling that stuff. I remember being stunned and furious when a doctor put me on effexor and didn't tell me it is one of the HARDEST medications to stop taking. I had several docs tell me that I was imagining the withdrawal symptoms that happened if I was even 30 min late with my next dose. When I insisted on going off of it the docs told me to cut it in half for a week, then stop all together. I insisted on stopping it because i was experiencing social anxiety and rather intense agoraphobia - two things I had not EVER experienced before and certainly not to that degree.

    Most of the really GOOD, reliable help and info I have gotten has come from members of this board and my own research. Scarily I have actually educated a few docs about medications and kids.

    The hard and fast, unbreakable rule is that YOU are the expert on your child. The docs are experts on a field of study (supposedly). They spend maybe 10 min every couple of months with your child. So if YOUR INSTINCTS or that little voice in the back of your mind or your gut reaction is that something is wrong - something is wrong. Like many others here, the biggest, baddest mistakes I ever made with my kids all occurred because I ignored my instincts. If a doctor tries to intimidate you into something, remember that YOU PAY HIM - HE WORKS FOR YOU. You are NOT his subject there to follow his rules unquestioningly.

    I urge you to do what is needed so that the 12yo AND the 8yo have rooms of their own. Even if you must build wall to divide a room into two very small rooms, it is important. Then put motion sensors or alarms on the door so that if they leave the room at night an adult knows about it. Safety of everyone has to be the top priority.

    Then go to the link in my signature and start creating a Parent Report for each child, esp the 12yo and 8yo right now. It is a document about the child that you create to keep all the info in one binder. It will be your lifeline, your proof that you have already tried that with these results, and will help save your sanity as you fill out those forms with all of the questions at the doctor office.

    You should also look into sensory integration disorder. The best books on it are by Kranowitz - The Out of Sync Child and The Out of Sync Child Has Fun. The first book explains sensory issues and how to help them, the second is full of activities to provide the sensory input that is needed in a fun way (and it has lots of ways to cut the costs of those activities). Most kids with these types of problems can benefit from various sensory activities esp if they are able to learn to use them as they start to feel out of control.

    I don't like antidepressants for kids. Not if other medications haven't been tried first. They can CAUSE children with certain disorders to become much much worse and it takes a LONG time to turn that downward spiral around. Docs do NOT want to admit it - I only know of one who will - but it IS true. They are esp bad if mood disorders are suspected because they cause many people with bipolar to cycle dramatically. Of course children who are NOT bipolar can also have this same reaction. It is a time where the way a child reacts does NOT tell you if the medication is right or if a specific problem is there. In adults it is a more reliable diagnostic tool, but not in kids.

    If mood disorders are suspected, The Bipolar Child is an excellent resource.

    There is a book called "What Your Explosive Child is Trying to Tell You" that may be invaluable for your family. Figuring out why the child is exploding or melting down or having a problem is a huge step toward figuring out a way to avoid the explosion.
  13. Jena

    Jena New Member


    You have gotten alot of responses here and alot of advice. i just wanted to jump in , welcome you, it's a great place full of great parents who are very insightful.

    abuse i speak from experience can rip a kid apart even one that hasn't been abused. i commend you and your husband for handling so very much together, and sound like great parents. id try with counseling first also, before i'd go adding in any other medications. kids can react differently to it all.

    good luck!! welcome again........
  14. farfromperfect

    farfromperfect New Member

    Thank you all so very much for your advice. Apparently, when I posted I must not have made much sense. Our 12 year old did not molest my 8 year old (it was the 17 year old who is now in a group home. He molested both the 12 year old and the 8 year old). Even so, after all of that, alarms are on bedroom doors, no matter who did what to whom. We did take my 8 year old back to the psychiatrist on Thursday. I demanded a neuropsychologist evaluation, and it has been scheduled. Her reasoning for not doing this was that no matter what the diagnosis, they treat the symptoms. He is now on 200 mg. Seroquel daily, 10 mg Lexapro, and his 30 of Metadate. The kids have been in regular counseling, but we feel our therapist is just not qualified to handle what is going on, therefore, we're looking for someone new. My main fear is that, although my 8 year old reports little abuse from the 17 year old, I suspect more happened. I do know that he has blocked everything, which makes me even more suspicious. Thank you so much for being here.