Not a moment of peace

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by srosenus, Dec 8, 2014.

  1. srosenus

    srosenus New Member

    I am new to this site and have sifted through a lot of threads that I can definitely relate to, but am still struggling with what to do. I have 2 boys ages 8 and 5. My oldest has always had behavior issues starting at the age of 3. He used to be set off by the smallest things and by set off I mean he would throw chairs, tables, and food during pre-school. It started at pre-school, I had never witnessed that behavior and then it started creeping into the home. I took him to a neuropsychologist when he was 5 and he was diagnosed with ADHD and I also determined he has sensory processing disorder (SPD) (sensory processing disorder). I tried eliminating all chemicals from his food in his diet and saw improvement, but not a fix. He is now on medication and I am still trying to figure that out. One week it seems like the medications are working, then the next week they don't. There are times where I see such improvement, and then there are times like I feel like I do today...helpless. He is so defiant, everything has to be how he wants it, he says such mean things to me and to his little brother, and he is so angry so much of the time. I just don't know what to do. And now I see these same behaviors in his little brother, who has not had the signs and behaviors that his older brother had as an infant and toddler. I read all these posts talking about ADHD, autism, ODD, etc.

    Getting diagnoses are great and everything, but how do I help my son? I feel like all I do are behavior plans, and nothing seems to help for long periods of time. The first 2 weeks are always great, then the excitement and motivation go away. I need some concrete help and do not know where to get that. I feel like I have used ADHD and sensory processing disorder (SPD) as a crutch and haven't really figured out how to get both of my sons on a consistent behavior track. I should add that I am a single mom, no family in town, and my ex currently has supervised visits so he can work on his alcoholism. With all of that environment is always so hard for me to know if it's my son's diagnoses, the effects of a divorce, the effects of his dad being an alcoholic, or me being a bad parent.

    I hope someone can relate and help me in some way shape or form.

    Thank you.

    Over the last 5 years, a lot has happened in our lives. His Dad became an alcoholic, a functioning alcoholic, but alcoholic. We have been separated for 2 years and it seems this divorce will not happen fast enough. His dad had started working on his alcoholism, but then had a relapse and I had to take him to court to get custody and he has supervised visits.
    Over the last 5 years, a lot has happened in our lives. His Dad became an alcoholic, a functioning alcoholic, but alcoholic. We have been separated for 2 years and it seems this divorce will not happen fast enough. His dad had started working on his alcoholism, but then had a relapse and I had to take him to court to get custody and he has supervised visits.
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Srosenus! Glad you found our corner of the world but I am sorry that you needed to find us. Your son sound a lot like mine at that age (different diagnosis though). One resource I found very helpful was the book by Ross Greene, The Explosive Child. There is a companion book that is helpful for teachers as well, Lost at School.

    We also started therapy for our son at a very early age. There were times I was sure it wasn't doing any good but in the long run it turned out to be very helpful. Not for everyone but for us because of his Bipolar diagnosis, nothing helped much at all until we found the right medicine for him. It was something we didn't want to do but at an early age we knew something was needed.

    You will find much support here; this place was a lifesaver when I found it 10 years ago.
  3. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    First, let me welcome you to the site. Raising our difficult and challenging children is an individual as DNA. What works for one, may not work for another. That applies to medications, therapy, behavior mod, etc. Getting a diagnosis is, as you know, just the first step. My son was very much like yours at 8. Raging at school, difficult and independent. It took tons of work, never letting my guard down, consistency, consistency, consistency, talk therapy, medication, positive peer modeling, tons of work with the school so that everyone who came in contact with my son knew about his Behavior Intervention Plan and IEP. There were sleepless nights, loss of interpersonal relationships for me, stress....

    But, there is/was a light. Things improved slowly. By middle school some of his learning disabilities had improved and he was getting to the point where his awareness of his issues allowed him to make better choices. He also was able to recognize the building frustration/anger/aggression and learned through therapy ways to control the physical reactions. He was also granted a pass to leave the classroom and go to a "safe place" (the nurse or library) to cool off if his frustration was high (without academic consequences). By his junior hear of high school he was off his adhd medications (working hard to overcome his focus without medications) and hadn't had a behavior issue since freshman year.

    He graduated from high school this past June, is holding down a job, living at home and paying rent, and participating in the household chores and responsibilities he is given. Oh, he's still a difficult child with quickness to frustrate, social issues and immaturity about 2 years behind his peers - but he is also a different person than he was in those early years. A willingness to overcome, a clear understanding of his issues, and a lot of hard work on his part made a difference.

    You are going to take two steps forward and a step back (sometimes seeming like 3 steps back), but little by little you will find what helps. It won't be a fix, because there isn't one. But there are things that eventually break through the fog and allow these kids to move forward.

    Don't get discouraged.

  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. I'm kind of a vet here and I can help you out perhaps a little bit. I will tell you what worked for us as my child is an adult now and he is doing really well.

    First of all, your son is most likely not the way he is because of all the chaos in his life, although it doesn't help. But his father is what he is. Lots of kids go through that and do not throw chairs. I had a kid who threw chairs. He is on the autism spectrum and needed interventions specific to this. Behavioral plans do not help children with ADHD/autism/mood disorders/whatever because they do not have behavior problems. They have different wiring in their brain and that's why the diagnosis is important. You can't treat what you don't understand. Perhaps your son has Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) rather than ADHD and that is why the medications are not working. I suggest a total evaluation, top to bottom, by a neuropsychologist (my favorite type of diagnostician because they are so thorough and leave no stone unturned). When you know what is going on it is not only easier to understand and to empathize, but it is easier to help your struggling child.

    Maybe your son inherited something from your husband too. That happens. Our children are 50% them, even if they never see the sperm donor. I adopted kids an d am amazed at how much adopted kids are like their biological parents who most oft hem never meet until they are adults. Although they never saw each other, many not only are very much like their biological parents, but even have similar mannerisms and speech patterns.

    My own son, whom we adopted at two, is on the spectrum. When we got him, he was like a feral child sometimes. Noises, crowds, lack of sleep, opposing his wishes etc. could send him into a rage. But he started interventions very young. He is twenty-one now and the nicest, sweetest, hardest working and most endearing young man around. Everyone loves him. He is 90% independent, works and has his own apartment. He would not be like this if he had not gotten interventions for his neurological difference early on. He is even sort of friendly now and far more socially appropriate than he once was. His interventions all took place at school and didn't cost us anything. His Occupational Therapist (OT) and PT were in school. His social skills classes were in school. He was in Special Education for Reading and Math and he took off in that class where he became the leader and mentor for many of the less functional children. The school kids treated him well as this school is used to having special needs kids around and he made friends with kids who did not have special needs too. It was all good and all due to our focusing on his disability and helping him with it any way we could. We did not discipline him. It didnt' help. If we put hm in "time out" he would t hrow the chair and scream. You probably know what I mean. Now, and my son is not on medications, he is an easygoing, calm, very happy person. I wish everyone loved life and was as comfortable in his own skin as my son.

    I wish you good luck. There is help out there, but I would n Occupational Therapist (OT) take a behavioral approach to it. I'd get a comprehensive evaluation and a diagnosis so that you can get help. If you don't, the school will start to call your son "bad" and you may think so too because you don't understand. As you see, your three year old is going through the same chaos and is not doing what his brother does. Something is going on and it is best to find out what. You can't help your son are not trained to do so. One thing I do know: All children with differences do really well with structure and being told in advance if they are going to have to transition from one activity to another.

    Hugs and have a good day :)
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Srosenus.

    I hear you! Your son sounds like mine.
    I would definitely recommend therapy. Weekly, if possible. I hope you have good insurance. But it's worth it, just for your sanity. :)
    Our therapist is great. And he can be unconventional. One thing I noticed in your note is that you said that something works and you try it for two weeks and then ... Well, you've got to give it waaaaay more than two weeks. Some things work immediately, and some things take a lot longer.
    For example, one thing our therapist recommended (my apologies to those on the board who had read this before--it's a repeat) is to stop everything and give your full attention to the behavior and make it more miserable for your son to deal with you than to repeat the behavior.
    You have to have stamina--physical and emotional stamina. But once you see how things work out, it will give you more energy.
    For example, my son used to sit in the back seat and pull my hair and kick the seat. Scary stuff when you're in the middle of an intersection. He especially loved to kick the seat.
    So the therapist told me to pull over and get out, and instruct my son to kick the front seat for 1/2 hr straight.
    The first time, my difficult child said, "Okay!" and thought it was great fun. For five min. I said, "You're not finished yet. You've still got 25 min."
    He eventually ran out of steam, of course.
    He calmed down, and then I drove a block and he started it again. I pulled over again. One day, I pulled over 6 times!
    It really messes with your schedule, but the therapist pointed out that you're schedule is shot anyway, so why not use the time teaching your difficult child?
    :) :) :)
    Through it all, sometimes I had to repeat to myself, "Just keep breathing."
    After we saw Finding Nemo, I'd sing in my head, "Just keep swimming." (Warning: if you are punishing or disciplining your son and he sees you smiling, he will hit the roof. Which is understandable. You have to learn to have a poker face.)

    In regard to therapists, try them all out . Find one who has experience with-autism, bipolar, behavior issues and most importantly, who has a sense of humor!!!!!!!

    I can't tell you how many times I've gone to bed crying. In the middle of the day. I think the most recent one was 3 wks ago. My son can talk and yell until the cows come home. In fact, I think the cows died from old age.
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