Newbie--Recent ODD diagnosis

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by notnowkids, Mar 23, 2010.

  1. notnowkids

    notnowkids Guest

    I am thrilled that I found this forum!

    Please allow me to fill you in a little on our situation: My husband and I have been married for about two and a half years. He came into the marriage with a 4-yo daughter (now 6) from his previous marriage. I adopted her in July 2009. We also have a 17-mo daughter and one on the way (due in June).

    difficult child's problems started ... to be honest, I'm not entirely sure. husband was a single parent for about 3 years, and his job was really demanding, so he wasn't really present. When we married, I became a stay at home mom, and I noticed problems immediately. At first, we brushed them off as typical preschooler behavior, her adjusting to having a woman in the house, the fact that I'm not her bio mom, and just general family restructuring. As time wore on, though, her behavior became worse: she would throw massive tantrums over the slightest issues; she would hit and kick at us (most memorably while I was pregnant with easy child ... she aimed at my stomach); she never listened to us, to the point that we once stripped her room of everything expect the bed because she flat-out refused to pick up her toys).

    We were still maintaining our sanity (kind of) until about four months ago. We moved to the East Coast for husband's job, and we expected some adjustment issues. We did not, however, expect the dramatic dip in grades, the violent behavior towards easy child, the mounting disrespect towards us, and the passive behavior that she was exhibiting. Finally, we got an evaluation from her teachers that, frankly, floored us. We knew things weren't phenomenal at school, but we didn't realize that her teachers were up to their necks in her crappy attitude and performance. That prompted us to seek counseling.

    She was diagnosed with ODD, and we are into our fourth week of therapy. So far, we really haven't seen any improvement ... I suppose that's to be expected. Rome wasn't built in a day, right?

    I can't lie, I'm relieved that we got a diagnosis instead of a brush-off. For a while, I really thought that I wasn't cut out to parent and that we were just dealing with a normal, albeit strong-willed, child. At least now we know that she has issues and can start working on them.

    The therapy, though, is causing me more anxiety than I thought. I was up past midnight last night worrying about today's session and how we're going to be evaluated as parents and as a family. Right now, we're only supposed to be working on offering more praise for compliant behavior, but it's so seldom that we haven't really been able to demonstrate that. Additionally, whenever we do recognize her good behavior, she takes it as license to do something terrible almost immediately afterward. It's almost like she's thinking, Hey, I just did something great, so you can't get mad at me for doing this bad thing because I was JUST being good. So there.

    I guess ... well, that's more than just an introduction, but I really need to talk to people who are going through similar situations. husband and I try to talk about it, and we do, but it's hard to be perfectly honest about how I feel because she's NOT my bio daughter, and if I get too upset, he gets protective. I respect that, and frankly, I'm glad that he's so protective of his daughters, but sometimes I just need to talk about what a jacka$$ she's being.
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Welcome to the board. :D I'm so glad you found us.

    ODD is not what they think of as a stand alone diagnosis. It almost always tags along with something else such as a mood disorder, autism, ect.

    That you have your daughter, and by the way she is your daughter too, in treatment is a very good thing. But unfortunately there are no quick fixes, so prepare for a long haul. If you haven't read the book The Defiant Child by Ross Greene.....many parents here have found it very helpful.

    A little more background information would be of help.
    How does she do academically in school (maybe prior to this move)?
    How does she get along with teachers? Classmates? Does she tend to socialize well, or sort of stand off from peers?
    Did she meet her developmental milestones within the accepted guidelines?
    Did she have any speech delays?

    I'm sure others will be along with more, I just sort of hit the high lights. I myself have found an evaluation by a Neuropsychologist to be the best as it covers a much more broad area behavioral, mental, and neurological for testing and tends to pick up on things that are so often missed by the regular types of evaluations. It's a long evaluation that usually takes 2 6-8 hr days of testing to complete.

    Again welcome!

  3. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    Hi and welcome ,

    The books by Ross Greene include the explosive child - see and
    in my humble opinion the way to go is to improve your relationship with her focusing on chatting , perspective taking , identifying concerns and problem solving. There are plenty of tricks that make a kid look good but don't deal with the issues. Instead of trying to manipulate behavior with praise , rewards , consequences and so teach a kid what's in it for them I rather try by using questions help them reflect on their behavior , how their behavior impacts on others , good and bad and help them come up with a better plan . it is about we helping them to learn to trust us that we have their interests at heart and not just interested in getting them to do what we want. It is a process where the kid is learning vital life skills and we are building a trusting relationship.
    Not easy , no magic bullet
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I agree about ODD not really standing alone and the treatment for just plain ODD isn't very effective. I would take her to a neuropsychologist, not a therapist, for a complete evaluation. Also, heredity factors in here and I'm assuming her birthmother had some serious mental health or substance abuse issues. That makes it far more likely that difficult child inherited something. If birthmom drank or did drugs while pregnant, well, that could cause many many problems, even some brain damage. I adopted a boy whose birthmother took drugs and drank...we are fortunate that his only problem is high functioning autism. It could have been far worse. Does birthmom have a diagnosis?

    What about your hub's family tree? Any psychiatric problems or substance abuse?

    Do you know about difficult child's early behavior? Did she speak on time? Make good eye contact? Can she relate well and appropriately to her same age peers? Does she know how to have a give-and-take conversation? Any obsessions or quirks? Can she transition without raging? Does she do ok in crowded, noisy, busy places? Does she ever have a spaced out look and seem "clueless" yet at other times (in familiar areas) suddenly seem as normal as can be? Does she like being touched or held?

    Did she have consistent caregivers in her life when she was an infant/toddler? It can cause a lot of trouble when a kid doesn't have one stable caregiver at a very young age, like, say, a loving grandma.

    Obviously a lot is going on there and in my opinion it's more than ODD and will take more than behavioral therapy alone to fix. I would delve more deeply.

    Good luck, no matter what you decide, and welcome to the board.
  5. notnowkids

    notnowkids Guest

    @Hound Dog: She hasn't been diagnosed with anything other than ODD, but we haven't seen anyone except this psychologist. He mentioned that she had a lot of overlap with ADHD and depression, but that the core of her symptoms indicated ODD.

    To answer your questions, her grades were fine until we moved, and then they just tanked. They've improved a lot over the last few weeks, which is positive. We're hoping that keeps up, but only time will tell. She has NEVER been good at socializing with her peers. She tries to boss them around, then gets mad when they don't listen to her. Every day, she comes home with some story about how So-and-So was mean or What's-Her-Face did something disrespectful and the like. It's maddening. I can't really speak to the developmental milestones, although I know she walked and potty-trained early. She didn't start speaking until really late though, sometime after age 2.

    @Allan: I agree with you to a point, that there are tricks and then there are treatments. We just don't know which is which, and we would settle for any form of compliance at this point, because we're at the ends of our ropes.

    @MidwestMom: Yes, her bio mom did have substance abuse problems, including alcohol during the pregnancy. She was also a hellraiser, but wasn't diagnosis'd with anything. husband's mom is ... a nutjob. Not diagnosis'd, as she refuses to see a doctor for anything (sunflower oil fixes everything), but she is an alcoholic, agoraphobic, and completely self-involved and narcissistic. No one can tell her what to do, and if someone disagrees with her, she just cuts them out of her life. She has no friends, little family that talks to her, and basically wastes her conversation on the cat. Oh, and did I mention that she tried to club husband's father in the head in his sleep? Crazy psycho.

    To answer the other questions, though, she can make eye contact if forced, but generally prefers not to. Her conversation skills are questionable; she often jumps into a conversation with a complete non sequitur that halts the original conversation because it's so off-topic or ridiculous. She can transition without raging, but we very often have to deal with 10-15 minutes of whining. She does fine in noisy, crowded places. She often has a spaced-out look; we routinely have to focus her. She LOVES being touched and held, to the point that she will invade everyone and anyone's personal space. She's particularly bad with her father, and will hang on him if he lets her. She didn't really have a constant, stable caregiver--after bio mom left, husband's grandmother moved in for a few months, followed by a couple of unaccompanied months, husband's crazy mom, and so on and so forth until we got married. I'm the first full-time, stable, live-in caregiver that she's had aside from husband.

    For the time being, we're going to give behavior therapy a chance, but I'm already not thrilled with it. Our psychiatric keeps suggesting things that we've already tried, and they haven't worked. It's worth another shot, but damn if my patience isn't tried every single day. I'm worn out.
  6. shellyd67

    shellyd67 Active Member

    Hi, we have also had a recent diagnosis of ADHD and ODD for our soon to be 10year old son. And let me tell you that the two diagnosis together are lethal. There is so much stress and tension in our home when my son goes into one of his rages. He was in behavioral therapy for over a year and it did very little for him. This year he is having extreme difficulties in school concentrating, focusing etc.. We recently have tried medications (after many years of saying, "We will never medicate OUR child") and nothing so far is working for him. His grades are slipping and I see his self esteem just crushed. I feel your pain believe me. Now let me ask this ... does your daughter display her ODD behaviors to everyone? or just u? my son only displays them to me and my husband (MOSTLY ME THOUGH):( I try so hard to help him and speak with him calmly and lovingly but he is so nasty and does not want to hear a word I say ... I am on the hunt for a child psychologist that specializes in both disorders .... Please know that it can only get better and we are all on our ways to better days !!! I would love to chat with out and bounce our issues off one another ! take care and the best of luck to u all !
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If biol mom drank while pregnant, she could have alcohol affects. I strongly encourage you to take her to a neuropsychologist. That will probably tell you more and help you more than a therapist. Drinking while pregnant is very damaging to the fetus and the child probably has some issues far beyond ODD. Please...give her the chance to have a full evaluation.

    I hate parents who drink while they're pregnant!