'Nother Newbie - ODD for 4 years

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by VidQueen, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. VidQueen

    VidQueen ...or Jennifer

    Hi Everyone,

    I've just spent the past few hours (yes hours) reading the threads here. I just wanted (or needed!) to stop for a second and introduce myself.

    I have two wonderful daughters; my difficult child is now 5 1/2 and her adoring easy child little sister is 3 1/2. difficult child's behavior problems surfaced around 18 months. At the time, we joked that she must have hit her terrible two's a little early! By the time she was 3 1/2 it just wasn't funny anymore. I have been slowly piecing the puzzle together over the past year with the help of a fantasic book, [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Defiance-Cooperation-Solutions-Transforming-Discouraged/dp/0761529551"]"From Defiance to Cooperation", by John F. Taylor, PhD. [/ame]

    As many others have stated, ODD rarely comes on its own. While my difficult child has never been officially diagnosed, I truly believe that she has ODD; and only ODD. She just doesn't have any of the problems that are associated with ADD or ADHD. We came very close to having her evaluated professionally after speaking with a child psychologist who told us she sounded like a text book case of ODD. I had the paperwork all filled out, ready to have her tested. It was right at this time that my Ex Husband moved out. I slowly watched my difficult children behavior improve without any medication or treatment. Putting 2 and 2 together, I confronted my Ex. He admitted to getting angry with her once when I was out of town, throwing her across her bedroom causing her head to smash against the wall. Knowing my Ex, this most likely wasn't the only incident, just the one he was willing to admit to.

    I was comfortable assuming that her ODD was caused by her environment, which had now been fixed. I could control her schedule and her nutrition (low sugar, high protein). By her 5th birthday it seemed that I had a very normal, happy, healthy 5 year old.

    I recently got remarried and my difficult child started Kindergarten last month. ODD is now slowly rearing its head again. We've got the classic stuff; going from happy to angry in a split second; vindictive behavior; threatening to hurt her sister or our pet; destroying items that belong to others; kicking, screaming, hitting, throwing...you name it. I've been doing a lot more reading lately and finally made a biological connection as well. After having RSV at 6 weeks old, she had used Albuterol and Flovent inhalers for 2 to 3 years; right at the time her behavior started turning bad. Thankfully, she doesn't need them anymore. I can't continue to think that the ODD is gone completely; it is something that we have to manage together. I know that I am just a newbie here, but I wanted to share some of my most valuable tools (for young children):

    This was the first tool I tried to use when my difficult child was about 3 1/2. I half heartedly tried it; it couldn't possibly work. We had just come home from somewhere, I unbuckled her carseat. She didn't want to get out. Started kicking the seat in front of her; short, sharp bursts of "No! No!". It was the beginning of the behaviour bell curve. Ok, I'll try it. "Hey, do you think you can go all the way to the living room on your tiptoes?". As if a switch had been turned, her face lit up and she said, "Yeah!". We both tip toed around the house for the next ten minutes. Of course, my jaw was dragging on the floor behind me the whole time.

    You Are Your Child's Mirror
    I know it's hard to stay calm in the middle of a hurricane, but you must. Pick your battles. Many aren't worth the fight.

    example: Just this morning, I had just poured milk into my daughter's cereal bowl in the kitchen, told her to sit at the table and I would bring it to her. Ignoring me, she grabbed the cereal bowl, made her way to the table and spilled it all over the floor. She looked up at me; expecting me to get mad, which I unfortunately obliged. "I TOLD you I would bring it to you!". "Fine!", she screams. She goes into the living room and starts to threaten to break things. I immediately backtrack, get down on her level and tell her that accidents happen; even to grown ups. She saw that I was calm, and she started to calm down. No, this doesn't work everytime, but it's heaven when it does! At times like these I always tell her that I love her, even when I don't love her actions. If you have a child that has a history of abuse, tell them this everyday. Eventually, they may believe you.

    Listen to your Child/Respect thier feelings
    This one seems obvious, but I find that many times we assume that we know what's going through their mind and just go from there.

    example: Last night, difficult child wanted to help with dinner. We were having Raviolis. I told her that she could put the tomato sauce in when the pasta was done cooking. Meltdown ensues. Kicking, screaming....I don't know if any of you have seen this in your child, but I swear my difficult child's pupils dialate to the size of quarters when she's like this. I was confused, where did this come from?! I asked her why she was so angry and she yelled back at me, "I don't WANT to put in the sauce!!!". My gut reaction was to say, "Fine, then don't."....but I didn't....instead I asked her why she didn't want to put the sauce in. Long pause. Finally she said, quietly and angrily, "Because it will take a long time". "And you don't want to wait that long?" I asked. She shook her head no. Again, I got down on her level and gave her her very own tool; redirection. I told her that waiting is hard; it's hard for everyone. The trick is to do something else while you wait. She and her sister and I played I Spy in the kitchen while the pasta cooked.

    Thank you, everyone, in advance for being a support group for each other. I'm sure I'll spend many more hours reading endlessly on this forum:D
  2. Turningitover

    Turningitover New Member

    I'm new too, with a child who seems to have only ODD too. I think I've been noticing a difference in him since he was about 5. And it's been a whirlwind ever since.
    I'll look into that book.
    I'm finding great comfort checking in to this forum everyday. I hope you do too.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'd get that evaluation anyway. ADHD isn't the only thing that goes with ODD. Often it's a mood disorder and it can be autistic spectrum disorder too. Fast mood changes can mean early onset bipolar, especially if mood disorders are on the family tree. ODD is a big symptom of early onset bipolar.
    It's always up to the parent, but ODD alone is really rare. As far as I know, only one older child here has a diagnosis of only ODD. You can see the diagnosis. in our signature.
    At her young age, I'd want to check for sure before whatever it is maybe gets worse and then she's a teen and in worse shape due to something being untreated. You never know if you don't get an evaluation. Anyways, good luck.
  4. RhondaVoos

    RhondaVoos Rhonda

    I am new here too and finding more wisdom from the Moms here than in all the shrinks offices that I have been in. I encourage you to look into Love and Logic. (LoveandLogic.com) it is much like the techniques you describe. We would not have been able to go through with our adoption if it had not been for our social worker recommending it. Most of the time it works like magic and when it doesn't, you try something else. With my son, what works one day will not work the next. But one of the best lines in love and Logic "I can see that you are very angry, why don't you have a fit, you might feel better" giving permission for the tantrum takes all of the fun out it for the kid. Our kids held us emotional hostage with their tantrums for the first year. Son's record is 4 hours and 20 minutes of full on rage. That was the last time he had a tantrum without permission. Now, he usually tells me that he does not want to have a fit and stomps out of the room to sulk, only to return in about 10 minutes as if nothing happened, or to apologise. Most of his rages are for me catching him doing something wrong. Nothing will make him lose it like someone actually expecting him to follow the rules and enforcing consequences. The rest of the time, he is funny and smart and charming as can be. Then like a bolt from the blue, possessed boy! I learned to roll with it, this kid is mad and with good reason (almost 5 years in foster care, 8 placements, some really bad stuff happened) You can tell a child how to appropriately display anger, but unless they are asking for ideas when calm, they will not listen to you. Give them permission and see what happens. (if they are not going to endanger anybody)

    Hope you all have a good day!
  5. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Just wanted to add my welcome-glad you found us!
  6. VidQueen

    VidQueen ...or Jennifer

    Thank you for the warm welcome everyone!

    I have to say, after reading so many of the posts here, I'm a little weary of getting my difficult child evaluated; for two reasons.

    First, if there are levels to ODD, my difficult child has been from 0 to 10 and back again. But as I read others posts, many of you are dealing with levels of 7 and above on a daily basis. I remember those days, my difficult child stayed at 7 and above DAILY for at least two years straight; but we don't really have them anymore. I really believe that the cause of my difficult children ODD was mostly environment, and that is very controllable. Don't get me wrong, though, I am confronted with anger/rage situations daily. In fact, we handled three today. All three were met head on and dispersed with different tactics depending on the situation. Which leads me to the second reason I am resisting evaluation:

    I have never been big on medication. When my difficult child's behavior hit it's all time Rage Peak, between 3 1/2 and 4 1/2, I was at the point where I thought my last ditch effort would have to be medication. I was just devastated at the thought. I am absolutely convinced that if my Ex hadn't left my difficult child would be on pills right now. Again, I really want to stress that I whole heartedly believe that my daughter's emotional problems were caused by emotional and physical abuse; not a neurological disorder. If my child had a biological disorder, I think medication would be completely appropriate. But if the problem wasn't caused biologically I don't think it should be fixed that way. The fact that we (my new and WONDERFUL husband and I) can see the rage coming, focus completely on my difficult child at that moment and help her come through it with a variety of tactics is testament that behavior modification can work, in some cases. Not every time, of course. I think Sunday difficult child had a rage fit that lasted about an hour and a half. We tried every trick in the book. Some days it works, others it doesn't.

    But SHE wants to get better. We tried to play Chutes and Ladders tonight. We've never been able to finish any game because difficult child launches a rage attack at the first sign that she is losing. She began to do that three times during the game. I just kept talking her through it...."The fun part of playing games is never knowing who is going to win"...."You can do it, honey, let's finish the game and see who wins!" I have to admit here, that I am writing this with a bloody lip...at one point she threw the spinner at me and hit me in the lip. BUT...she finished the game!!! And she wasn't the winner!!! And there was no meltdown!! In fact, when she lost the game I immediatelly got up, gave her a big hug and told her how proud of her I was for completeing the game. She was smiling so big, it just warmed my heart:D She went over to her sister, put her arm around her and said, "We should play this again! No matter who wins!". I just about cried. Then got an ice pack for my lip:faint:

    Ok, having rambled on quite a bit, my husband has mentioned Bipolar disorder a few times. I just don't want to go there. I may be in denial, I don't know. I just know that her behavior really is getting better. She's nothing like she was two years ago. I don't think BiPolar (BP) can get better on it's own.

    Ok, done rambling now. Going to read more posts from you wonderful, wonderful people:redface:
  7. VidQueen

    VidQueen ...or Jennifer

    Just wanted to add a note to my previous post (which hasn't actually posted at this time!), I just checked out a site for Bipolar disorder where they gave 15 behavior patterns for the disorder. My difficult child only had 4 of the 15. I just don't think that's it.
  8. sessc

    sessc sheri

    Dear VidQueen,

    After reading your initial post on this thread....I could have written it.

    My difficult child also had RSV at 4 weeks and was on Albuterol for quite a while. Have you found any research that indicates a connection?

    Just another odd coincidence....I just joined this forum today too and have been reading for HOURS....
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Have you checked for high functioning autism? Those k ids DO get better and DON'T need medications. My son doesn't take medications. He went from a autism maybe 8 to a 2 :) I like your scale. If you're interested, here's a little test you can take. I have bipolar. It doesn't improve. It gets worse without medication. But Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) gets better regardless. It just get MUCH better if you get the right help. My son is almost like a regular teen these days. In fact, he's much easier than a few of my older kids...lol. He has truly "normalized" with the right interventions. Now I'm assuming bipolar doesn't run in your family. If it does, I don't know that you can say for sure she doesn't have it, even if you can help her control it. Three rages a day are a lot...we don't have any anymore. Haven't for years.
  10. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member


    Another Mom here whose difficult child has ODD and yes it stands alone. Many difficult child's have ODD symptoms associated with other disorders. There is a big difference between defiant behavior that many call ODD that are part of something else, and a child like mine and perhaps yours that is just defiant in nature and doesn't fit into any other category. Some want to insist that there is an underlying issue and it is wise to check out everything. But in the end you may just have a child that is defiant by nature and that defiance will make it look like other things.

    My difficult child's therapist insists that most kids diagnosed with ODD do not have bipolar or autism. Some will debate that, but in all the therapists and diagnosticians we have had our difficult child to, none of them can find anything other than ODD, although they list nonspecific mood disorder on the insurance claims for medication. In our case her ODD is inherited (we adopted her and know from the birthmother's history). But it can also be caused by environment.

    It will take a great deal of patience to deal with her defiance. Read everything you can and impliment what you feel is right for your family. Don't feel like you have to convince us your child is not bipolar. I believe you. Every child is not bipolar.

    We have been through a lot with our difficult child. We were in juvenile court last week for about the fifth time and the magistrate told us that we are doing everything right and there was no need for court interference because there is nothing they would or could do that would help her any more than we are doing. We are still hopeful that with maturity she will be OK. She has outgrown many of her previous defiant ways, but as you know with adolescence there are a lot of bigger issues to deal with.

    Keep reading and searching for what will help your child.

  11. VidQueen

    VidQueen ...or Jennifer

    Thank you for the link, MidWest Mom...I took one of the tests listed there and it came back with a possiblity of mild autism. I will definately do some more research into that possiblity. Bipolar Disorder doesn't run in either side of difficult child's family, but her Dad is currently being treated for depression. He was molested as a preteen and has had emotional and maturity issues ever since (hence throwing our then 3 year old difficult child across a room into a wall). But, again, for him that was an environmental cause, not biological. He also had some pretty nasty parenting by his Alcholic Dad, but I won't go there:sick:

    Nancy, I'm so glad to hear other Mom's say this can be a problem all on its own. I'm sure there are some out there who are just normal kids with standard behavior problems (which we thought was our problem for quite a while), but when you are staring at a three year old who appears to be at such a level of rage that the only logical conclusion is demon possession.....something else must be going on there! (...and since having her young easy child sister, who is now 3 1/2, I can easily see how a "normal" child behaves. VERY different.)

    The problem that I'm running into is my difficult children defiant activity is normal for her age....it's the degree of it that is way out of whack. No child happily trots of to bed when it's bed time (at least none that I've met); but most don't kick, scream, slam doors and threaten the family pet when it's bed time either. My difficult child definately has some separation anxiety, but hey...she just started Kindergarten; that's tough for any 5 year old. I can't seem to separate what is "normal" for my 5 year old and what is truly exagerated behavior (besides the rage fits; we know those are abnormal).

    Anyway...thank you, everyone, on this forum. I hope to be as helpful to others as you all have been to me:D

    Knowlege is Power. Take care, everyone.....Jennifer
  12. WSM

    WSM New Member

    Our boy11 has ODD without tantrums, so it's been hard to get a diagnosis. He also does not have any kind of autism or ADHD, ADD. His mother is severely incapacitated with bipolar and two maternal uncles are schizophrenic. He is showing signs of some paranoia, but it's hard to distinguish against paranoia and, "I didn't throw away my school uniform and book bag again, twice in two weeks. Somebody took it."

    He does not yet seem to have either the bipolar or the schizophrenia.

    Instead of temper tantrums, he expresses his rage by furtive sabotage. He throws/hides EVERYTHING of his: shoes, bikes, toys, vitamins, uniforms, school supplies, books, homework, bathing suits, halloween costumes--you name it, it disappears. He also throws away his little sister's stuff, her halloween costume, her favorite presents, her prettiest dresses, some of her toys. Not as much or consistently as his own stuff, but often enough. And he targets his dad's stuff, camera, cell phone, pictures, paperwork...

    But that's not just all, he lies. He likes to accuse people of abuse, he refuses to turn on a light to do homework and will sit in the dark, black dark, he sneaks outside at night, he used to stand all night facing a wall until he fell to the floor asleep (he stopped after about a year because we completely ignored it), he douses his bed with water, weird things that make no sense, but provoke negative attention. If he gets positive attention, he ups the ante, and punishes whoever gave him positive attention by doing more of the same--altho he clearly likes the positive attention.

    He also has a thinking disorder, attachment disorder, mild obsessive compulsive disorder. But not ADHD, mental illness, austism spectrum diagnosis--and no tantrums and screaming or backtalking.

    It makes it sooooooooooo hard to get anyone to take you seriously. They are concerned that he takes weapons to school, but let it go (after arresting him) because he didn't threaten anyone, wasn't bullying and isn't being bullied. He escaped mandatory expulsion 4 times because he managed to convince them that someone must have planted them on him. Even though he's admitted to the first two times, even though fingerprint analysis showed no other fingerprints, even though he has claimed that there's nothing wrong with him, he's not going to change, the rest of the world is going to have to and he will do what he wants to do and that's pretty much that.

    Passive aggressive off the charts.

    But no tantrums, so polite, considerate, helpful, must be the parents, great at math (makes the school look good), such a bright little boy--it must be the parents, it can't be him. Let's overlook he's persuading the kids in his class to give him money because 'they feel sorry' for him--big bucks too, especially for 10 and 11 year olds: $20 bucks, $5 and regularly too. Nope, Son11 is a 'nice' boy with problem parents, just needs some attention, probably doesn't get any with all those brothers and sisters around. (Believe you me, he gets MORE than ALL the others combined).

    I almost think that diagnosing is a waste of time. These kids as sooooo unique. If you believe your child has ODD caused by her environment and nothing else, I for one absolutely believe you. You are with her the most, and YOU KNOW.

    I am still trying to get over a grown man throwing a child across the room into a wall.
  13. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Just wanted to add my welcome! :)
  14. luvmyottb

    luvmyottb Guest

    Welcome, you will find this board to be helpful, supportive and insightful.
  15. VidQueen

    VidQueen ...or Jennifer

    Well, grown physically, anyway. I figure my Ex is about 12 or 13, emotionally. During the last few months of our marriage, when we were really investigating what could be going on with difficult child, we found a checklist for Conduct Disorders. My Ex was floored when he scored higher than our difficult child.

    I am very blessed that (I believe) the biggest element in improving my difficult children behavior was removing her Dad from the home. Most of you out there dealing with this can't just kick someone out and make it all better. In my difficult children case, her Defiance was developed as a protection mechanism. Defiance is a way to gain control when everything in thier world is out of control.

    You know, as I'm reading what I just wrote I'm wondering if I'm trying to convince myself of all this. I can point to some physical abuse by her Dad...BUT...the reason HE got so frustrated with her was because of her exessive defiance at such a young age. He just thought he had to be tougher on her. Now my memory is playing the "Which Came First...." game:(

    Heck, I even remember blaming the Lead Poisoning in Toys From China Recall. We had some of those toys. Lead poisoning does cause voilent mood swings and aggressive behavior. But....that was years ago. She still gets angry every day:(

    Can't I just hope she'll grow out of it??!!!:laugh:
  16. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member


    "I figure my Ex is about 12 or 13, emotionally. During the last few months of our marriage, when we were really investigating what could be going on with difficult child, we found a checklist for Conduct Disorders. My Ex was floored when he scored higher than our difficult child"

    It's good not to dismiss the heredity issue. It sounds like her temperment is similar to her dad's. I absolutely agree with you about knowing the difference between what is normal and what isn't. I have an older easy child and was quite sure I knew difficult child's behavior was not normal from the beginning. I was speaking of not always being able to attach defiant behavior to a bigger disorder like bipolar or autism. There is a great danger in professionals diagnosing those things too early. You know from experience that children change so rapidly.

    Very interestingly, my difficult child is repeating so many of the same mistakes her birthmother made. She is making the same poor choices, multiple sexual partners, smoking, drinking, experimenting with drugs, poor school work, no drive or direction in life, impulsiveness, risky behaviors, etc., etc. My easy child is nothing like this. They have both been raised in the same house with the same values being modeled. Nature trumps nurture almost all the time.

  17. VidQueen

    VidQueen ...or Jennifer

    Thanks Nancy:D

    What's funny to me is that I always worried about my difficult child growing up and marrying someone like her Dad...it didn't occur to me that she could grow up to be just like her Dad:sick:

    He has three other children (one is my youngest easy child) and none of them exhibit any behavior problems.

    Part of me really wants to find out what this is....label it....know where it came from. And the other part of me thinks, "Who Cares. Just take care of her now."

    Thanks for taking the time to "listen"

  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Labels are helpful because you can get extra services that can help your child in the longterm. Interventions help the long-term prognosis. The child is no different than he was the day before once he or she gets labeled. He is exactly the same. However, help is usually offered, where there is no help with no label (and a simple ODD usually doesn't offer interventions). That, in my opinion, is the usefulness of a label--to get services. About nature and nurture...
    While nature CAN trump nurture, the environment does matter in my opinion. My son was adopted at two, his birthmother gave him one gift: cocaine in his system. He had open heart surgery when he was an infant...who knows if it was the drug abuse. When we first got this child, he was violent, tantrummed, bit and hit. Nobody wanted to adopt him. We offered to do it because we were told "If you don't, he'll end up in an institution...and he's only 2." Our hearts couldn't let that happen.
    Our son is nothing like his birthmother. He has very high functioning autism, which has improved so much that his therapist calls it a "2" on a scale of 1-10 (told you I liked your scale). He is the nicest teenager on earth. He has friends at school, but does not give into peer pressure and has never smoked, taken drugs or even drank. He is very mild tempered and at his therapist's office yesterday (he is starting to see a therapist to help him with some social issues) he said he doesn't feel sad much. "I'm medium most of the time." He follows the rules and has never been in trouble in school in his entire life.

    Now, of course, he didn't live with an abusive parent, and hub and I are happily married. But that doesn't always "do it." One of our adopted kids did get into drugs (however, she turned her life around by 19). It is possible for some behaviors to be inherited, but it is in my opinion a bad idea to write off the child as "well, he's like that because of his bio. dad/bio.
    mom/birthfather). He could be. Maybe he does have a disorder. If he scored mild Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), it is worth looking into to, but you'd need a neuropsychologist to diagnose it. A regular therapist (trust me on this) won't know what to look for and don't do the intensity of tests that NeuroPsychs do.
    It is completely up to you if you explore further, but I personally am glad we kept looking for answers, because we finally got one and it really affected my son's life for the better. And trust me, we never thought we'd be at this place!
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2008