New today and brokenhearted

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by peh45, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. peh45

    peh45 New Member


    I just found this sight, and I am hoping I can get some advice on what to do for my son, because I am so heartbroken & defeated, I just don't know what the right thing is to do anymore.

    He is 16, was diagnosed with ADD when he was 6. He has taken a variety of medications: Ritalin, Concerta, Paxil, and is now on Focalin & Stratera. The Focalin & Stratera seemed to be the best mix for him, & he has been taking them for about 1 year.

    While he has always been a strong-willed child, he has a heart of gold. He can be so thoughtful of others, and will do things for them (me included) just to surprise them. An example is: my husband has an old grill that he takes to football games for tailgaiting, and the handle on top was broken. One day, while puttering in the garage, my son found some knobs, and put them on the lid for my husband. He didn't tell my husband he did it, he just did & waited for him to see it. This is just a tiny example of how kind & thoughtful he can be.

    In the past 6 mos or so, he has become, at times extremely hostile. He loses his temper very easily, doesn't care about school, homework each night is a nightmare, and when he loses his temper, he will break things, use fowl language to me & my husband, and then he will just leave the house even though we have told him no.

    He is very passionate about skateboarding, and when his attitude & behavior, & refusal to do homework, he is told he cannot go to the skate park, and at this time, that is what seems to set him off the most.

    He has threatened to hit me, & today he got so angry when I told him he couldn't go, he through something at me, said **** you & left, even though I told him no, and to get back in the house.

    My husband, (who is my sons' step-father) thinks the best course of action is to call the police. This scares me to death. I don't want my son to be "in the system" so to speak. And, I don't think it will do anything but make him more angry, hostile, and defiant.

    I have had him in counseling several times, but he basically won't talk, so I stopped the counseling about 6 mos ago. I have however made an appointment to start again next week.

    I apologize if I've rambled, but I am just at a loss as to what to do, and as the title of my post says, I am just heartbroken.

    Is there anyone who has been through this as well? Because I totally feel & have convinced myself that I have failed him.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm wondering, since this behavior is new, if he hasn't started drinking or using recreational drugs (pot and more). That's how it started with my daughter--suddenly hostile behavior. It's not unusual for teens not to talk to therapists. Actually, my daughter felt they were "stupid" and I thought some of their advice was pretty lame myself. Has your son ever had an unexpected drug test?

    On other fronts, was he only diagnosed ONE TIME? When was the last time he was evaluated by a Child Psychiatrist (with the MD after his name). If it hasn't been for a long time, I'd say he's up for a new evaluation. If he's getting violent, and ISN'T using drugs, then it sounds like an emerging psychiatric problem that needs treatment right away.

    Think about your family tree--any psychiatric disorders or substance abuse?

    Please, please seriously consider that he may be using drugs. And they all say "It's just pot." It's usually more. My daughter tells me she's lucky to be alive today. We didn't suspect drug use because we never used drugs and didn't even have alcohol in the house. She made up for both of us, or so we learned. I wouldn't call the police and give him a juvy record (they won't help him if he has mental illness anyways) until I was sure about what was happening.
    One last thought: If this just started since he was put on Straterra, you need to know that this medication can cause severe hostility, even violence in people who have mood disorders. Just something to think about.
  3. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I think many of us have in one way or another. You truly aren't alone. We understand your pain. You haven't failed. You've done everything you could possibly do for your son. He's at an age where he thinks he knows what is best for him. Sometimes it is hard to rein our older teens in. Other times, it is downright impossible.

    I hate to say this, but my first thought was drugs, especially since the changes are so drastic and so recent. The skateboard culture is one that romances drugs. So, the first thing I would recommend is start giving random drug tests. If they are positive, you and your husband will have to decide what the next steps are. There are many here that can help you with that. They've been through it.

    Sometimes having your child in the system is the best thing that can happen. It can open up a wealth of services that most of us could never afford. It can also be the worst thing that ever happens. A lot depends on your juvenile justice system.

    You might want to make an appointment with your local police department and find out what their policies are if your son runs away or is violent. Most have different policies for different behaviors. No matter what, you need to let your son know that violence is not acceptable and you will take whatever actions you deem appropriate to have it stopped. If that means calling the police, then call them. If that means taking his skateboard(s) and either locking them up or getting rid of them, then do it. Do whatever you need to do to stop the violence before it escalates.

    In the meantime, many hugs.
  4. guest3

    guest3 Guest

    my GFGI is 16 and behaves very similar, Kids with ADD and ADHD can become depressed at this age, because everything becomes overwhelming to them, school, peer pressure fitting in and all kids stuggle with this but having ADD/ADHD makes it 10 times as hard for them. Depression in teens can mainfest itself as anger and rebellion. ::HUGS:: you've some to the right place
  5. tracy551

    tracy551 New Member

    I could have written this letter, except my son was 14 at the time. When my difficult child became the way your is now he was into doing drugs of any kind. I hate to say it but check it out.
    My difficult child has been "in the system since 13 or 14, no real against the law type of things but curfew, school things etc.
    difficult child is currently in his 2nd Residential Treatment Center (RTC). I hope things get better before they get worse. My husband (step) was ready to leave when all this started, he still here but for how long after difficult child comes home I don't know.
    difficult child was also thoughtful and sweet when he was young, on all kinds of medications (until he stop taking them on his own) Violent to me his brothers, anyone of authority, I've been called everthing but a child of God also. I've been told to die more than once too. Good luck with all of this.
    P.S. My difficult child is 17 now-18 in May
  6. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Glad you found us and wanted to add my welcome! :smile:
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    While it shouldn't be discounted, I don't think this is necessarily drugs. being a teen is hard enough; for a difficult child it's much worse.

    I also agree with MWM on the need for evaluation, though - I think there could be more here than just ADHD. Some of the good things you describe, for example - I see them in my boys.

    You need to change how you're handling him, because right now, it's not working. And the worst thing with any discipline method, is to have one that fails. It's better to not try, than try and fail.

    Why did you not want him to go out on his skateboard? You didn't say. And if you didn't tell us, did you tell him? He is at an age where he needs to discuss reasons, rather than simply be told, "No, you can't." Maybe it was because he had chores to do, or other tasks. But at this age social contact is also increasingly important in their world and if he feels you are 'cramping his style' he will make a decision to ignore you and go meet his friends. What you may need to do, is say, "OK, go meet your friends, I understand you need to. Say hi to Billy for me [or whoever]. But you have jobs to do, I need you back by [give a time] to do them."
    Give HIM the chance to make decisions about when and how he will do his tasks. Homework is often a HUGE issue for ADHD kids (and others) because their ability to focus at the end of the day is cactus. Plus, they've held it together all day at school, they need a break to kick over the traces a bit. You may need to talk to the school about other ways to handle homework. There ARE other options.

    We often recommend "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. Even if he isn't normally explosive, or if you feel it's a passing phase (I don't) then reading the book should help you.

    I would also look to getting a thorough reassessment of him, I think there could be more going on and it's undoubtedly frustrating him, too. You may need to also sit down with him and a careers advisor, maybe look for another pathway to get him into a career he wants. School may have taught him as much as he can handle, for now.

    We have other options here in Australia. I don't know what you have in your area, but a careers expert would know. But it's time to bring him into the discussion, calmly. Find out what he likes, what he enjoys (other than skate boarding) and what his ambitions are. Then help him map out a route to get onto his career ladder. But the rule here - work with him. You are on his team, he is on your team. If it gets hostile, stop and wait until everyone is calm. Stay calm yourself. Don't let it upset you - every parent of a teen goes through purgatory at some stage, it's just a bit worse for us. But from the sound of your son, you have a gem there. he's a bit troubled right now, but he is still in there and wanting your help. he just isn't good about talking much, from the sound of him. Milk and cookies time, I think - draw him out.

    But read the book - it should help.

  8. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome! I do think at this age hormones play such havok with our kids. Sometimes I do not even know my difficult child. However, I do think we really need to keep our eyes and ears open for possible drug use.
  9. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    I just want to add my welcome too. The others have already given you excellent advice. I can't think of anything to add to what has already been said.

    I'm glad you found us. There are lots of really knowledgeable and wonderful people here!!! WFEN
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Regardless, I'd look into drug use. At his age, it's a very common reason for a behavioral change and it could save his life in the long run if you find out NOW.
  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi, welcome.
    You've already gotten some good ideas and advice here.
    Wish I could help more ... my son is 10 but also has ADHD and ODD.