ODD--Does it EVER get better??

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Mallygrl, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. Mallygrl

    Mallygrl Mallygrl

    I just found your site and signed up. I desparately need input and help learning how to deal with my daughter who is 15 (16 in three weeks). She has been diagnosed with ODD, specifically, but with a plethera of underlying diagnoses such as Anxiety Disorder, ADHD, Anti-Social Behavior...on and on.
    She is currently in juvenile detention for the 15th time in 4 years. Usually what she gets "incarcerated" for is assult against me. She was also in a long term detention center for 6 months 2 years ago. Our relationship is at a complete and total breakdown. I don't like her, trust her, or want to be around her anymore. Which I know is not condusive to helping her, but I don't know how to get past it!! She pretty much feels the same about me. She refuses to go to/participate in couseling mainly because she has trust issues, but also because she doesn't feel it does her any good. She believes she doesn't have a problem, she thinks it is all me and that I am crazy. And while I won't deny that I have issues myself, I KNOW that she has some real deep issues, and have since she was very, very small.
    I am a single mother with a very limited income and on state assistance for her medical which causes me to have to take her to counselors who usually are not qualified or who are looking to "move up job ladder" and end up getting something new which causes her to believe that they are abandoning HER.
    Whew!! So, anyway, I am just looking specifically for input/help from people who have teenage children with ODD and how you cope and if you have found anything that helps?
    Thank you!!!
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator


    Sorry for all the questions, but your answers will help us help you:
    What kind of doctor diagnosed her?
    Is she taking any medications? If so, what?
    How does she do in school, both academically and with peers?
    Any mental health issues or substance abuse in the family tree?

    Many of us here believe that ODD rarely stands alone but is a symptom of an underlying disorder. When the underlying disorder (for example, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)) is identified and treated, the oppositional behaviors generally improve.

    You might want to get your hands on a copy of The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. It has helped many here parent their extra-challenging children.

    Again, welcome.
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Gosh, so sorry. But I'm glad you found us.
    There are several parents here who know the ropes and will be able to help you get through the system.
    All I can do is tell you what I have to tell myself every day--detach, detach, detach. Don't take it personally, despite the fact that you are the mom and she is your daughter. Try to think logically. Try not to engage her in arguments. Easier said than done, I know!
    Think about it this way--say, for the sake of argument, that you are crazy. Why would she assault you? Does she say it's in self defense? I see crazy people on the street every day and I don't assault them. :) Of course, living with-someone is much more stressful. So I can only assume there are control issues and that you two argue all the time. She has to learn to take responsibility for her actions. She's in juvie, not you.

    Still, she's obviously in emotional pain and that's where she needs help.
    I do not envy you, having to jump through the hoops. We have private ins. and a private child psychiatric we've used for yrs. As you have discovered, consistency is very important.

    Best of luck.
  4. Mallygrl

    Mallygrl Mallygrl

    Well, I am embarassed to say this, but I can't remember what kind of Dr. he was. We have been to SO MANY. I think I may be able to find it to post later though.
    She is not currently on medication but I am hoping now that she is "back in the system" she will be court ordered to take medication (and pray that I can find one that works) In the past she has taken the gamit...... Rittalin, Zoloft, Prozac, Stratera, Adderal etc.
    There is a STRONG family history:
    Her bio father: violent, alcoholic, addict.
    Me: depression mostly, anxiety, borderline alcoholic, (I am mostly a binge drinker every 6 months or so)
  5. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    What happened when she took those medications? Did they help or make things worse?
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am sorry that you are having such a difficult time with her. If this is her 15th time in juvenile detention she certainly isn't going to come out any different this time. Is the court system offering any help in the way of counseling or residential treatment center? If she were my daughter I would be talking to anyone I could in the juvenile court system about getting her into some type of court ordered residential treatment center.

    I am not judging you because living with an ODD out of control teen is not easy, but it is not healthy for either of you for her to come back home to the same environment. Get help for your drinking problem. Perhaps if she sees you gaining control over such a difficult situation it will give her incentive to tackle her problems.

    I'll tell you how I got through the past two years. My daughter just turned 17 yesterday. When she was 15 she was in detention also. I counted the days until she would be 18 and I made it my goal to get through those days and look forward to a different relationship with her. Either she would turn 18 and move out or she would continue living here and follow our rules. Either way I was determined to make 18 the day I began to start living again. It would be her choice, she would be in control of her own destiny. She loves to tell me that when she is 18 she doesn't have to listen to me. I remind her that at 18 I don't have to continue supporting her.

  7. Mallygrl

    Mallygrl Mallygrl

    Ok, I just found my paperwork that shows she DID have a neurophysocological evaluation in 2003 by a PhD.

    She is on Social Security disability due to her ODD diagnosis, so (thank god), that when she does get out into the "real world" she will at least have that.

    None of the medications she has taken in the past seemed to have much effect on her.

    I have an appointment with a counselor on Tuesday to see about trying an anti-anxiety medication for myself. Hopefully it will have a positive effect on me and maybe she will see that and try as well.

    When I said that I binge drink, I never do it around her. Well I shouldn't say NEVER, she saw me drunk (for the first time in years ) about two weeks ago, I was just sick about it.

    Anyway, I think I am rambling.....LOL....so I will stop now :)

    Thank you to all who have responded so far, I look forward to more input and support !!!
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Do get your hands on that book, it seems to be the best advice around on how to manage, in a practical way. It also shouldn't increase your workload - if anything, it should be a lot easier to manage than how you're coping now (or not coping). What I found especially useful about it was it helped me really get inside my kid's head and understand how he ticked. Once I understood, it was easier to anticipate his reactions and to avoid them where possible. It's also a lot easier now to achieve what I want with him.

    At 16, your relationship with her should be moving from a dictatorial, authoritarian style to more of a support and collaboration on what SHE chooses to do with her life from here. It is time she began planning her own life course and working towards her goals. But first she needs to know what her goals are. From here, her life direction is increasingly her choice. Your role must now change from directing her moves to trouble-shooting on her behalf and helping her access information and resources that she needs to achieve her aims. The more you can help her with this, the more she will realise you are her helper and not her obstacle. That seems to be the key to her learning to switch off the oppositional behaviour, at least where you are concerned.

    Example: yesterday I got a phone call from difficult child 1. He had stayed overnight at his friend's house and his car had broken down. There was no way I could come and rescue him because we were in different cities. But he was in a panic because he didn't know what to do. He was so anxious that he couldn't even take in my suggestions; he could only think one thought at a time. When he's like this it can quickly get to the point where he is screaming at me, wanting me to fix things and yet angry because I'm not reading his mind and making the problems go away instantly.
    So my process is:
    1) I stay calm even if he's screaming at me. If I get upset and angry, it won't achieve anything and will actually make things worse. The time to sort out his bad behaviour is after the crisis is over.

    2) I told him to go get a piece of paper and a pen, and to call me back when he had done so. [my intention - to help him do a long-distance mind-map, or some sort of written down procedure, so he could get control back of what needed to be done].

    3) When he rang back I told him to call NRMA Road Service (we signed him up for membership for his birthday this year). Turned out he already had rung them - that was really good that he had the presence of mind to do this and I told him as much.

    4) From the description he gave me, I had a shrewd idea of what was wrong - a catastrophic failure of a wheel bearing. He was going to be stranded until it was fixed, and he didn't want to be stuck at his friend's house - friend had to go to work and was not able to do anything. So the next step - find a mechanic we could trust, in that area. Assuming that was the trouble. Friend had given him the name of HIS mechanic, but difficult child 1 uses our mechanic, in our village. So it was an urgent priority to get difficult child 1's car fixed sufficiently to get him away from friend's house ASAP. I told difficult child 1 to call our mechanic. But he didn't have the phone number. Neither did I. I suggested he use friend's land line (cheaper) to call enquiries, get the mechanic's phone number, call him, talk to him and ask his advice. Whoops! Too many steps, difficult child 1 began to get panicky again. So I told him I would make contact with our mechanic, to just wait for Road Service.

    5) husband had the mechanic's phone number stored on his mobile phone, so I rang our mechanic and asked his advice. He told me what difficult child 1's membership entitled him to, which was very useful advice. He also offered to work on the car but agreed it would be difficult and expensive to get it towed to his shop in our village - difficult child 1 was just too far away.

    6) difficult child 1 rang back. NRMA Road Service had just been, confirmed it was a wheel bearing and told him the car was not drivable. So I passed on the advice from our mechanic - call Road Service again and ask for the free towing service (members only). When difficult child 1 began to panic again ("They put you on hold for ages, I don't know if my phone battery will stand up to it," he complained) I told him (again) to use the landline - much cheaper, less worry.

    7) I heard nothing for over an hour so I called back. With my help and his own capability, he had finally got his car to a mechanic (friend's mechanic) who promised him the car would be ready in about two hours. Meanwhile difficult child 1 had called girlfriend and was spending that time with her. By this stage he was calming down because he could see the end of the crisis and no obstacles were in the way of that view. It was at THIS stage that he began to apologise for any rudeness and to thank me for my help.

    The whole time I was trying to sort this out, I found it frustrating, annoying and difficult. But with difficult child 1 already in panic mode, I had to stay calm and together, or it would have become much worse. But the outcome was good - not only was difficult child 1 back on the road without too much delay, he was able to meet the rest of his obligations for the day (including getting home for dinner with his older sister who was visiting).

    difficult child 1, at 24, should be old enough to do this sort of thing for himself. He's not stupid - far form it. But when he gets anxious he really can't cope like he should. It's where we really notice his Asperger's and ADHD. By talking him through the process calmly (no matter how I feel) not only does the problem get solved as quickly and smoothly as possible (even if it's neither quick nor smooth, it's still better than it could be) but he also learns through the process because it's like a rehearsal for next time. This time - he remembered enough to call Road Service all by himself, and to get the name of a local mechanic. Maybe next time he will need less help.

    It was also a good reminder to him that I help him, I do not get in his way unless I have a darn good reason. It means if he has a problem he comes to me for help and advice. A kid who is oppositional will run a mile before asking a parent for help. By showing the kid that you can be a support, it's the beginning of them realising that they don't have to see you in such a negative light.

    It takes time, and a lot of this sort of thing. In the process they will swear at you, yell at you, all of which is driven by anxiety, frustration and anger, much of it not really directed at you no matter what they say.

    I ignore the angry words because they are only a symptom of the much bigger underlying problem.

    Too many people respond to anger from their children, with anger in return. "I'm the parent, you will not speak to me that way, I am bigger and can shout louder" is actually NOT a good way to maintain discipline. A lot of teachers have found that being the loudest to shout only gives them a sore throat. Whispering to a noisy classroom can actually get much better results, especially if the kids in the front row can hear the magic words, "You need to be quiet if you want to hear which textbook chapters to read to study for the surprise snap test I just decided to give you tomorrow." The message quickly passes back through the rows of desks, to "shut up fast or we'll all fail."

    We recommend "The Explosive Child" because it works for so many of us. It's also given us a technique known as "Collaborative problem Solving". The name says it all.

    Welcome, glad you are with us. We can help. You can be frank with us, dump on us, pick our brains - and in turn your own experiences can help other people. You will be amazed at how much wisdom you have already accumulated. This is also the place to be to boost your parenting confidence. I got so much courage from people here, to make the changes which we so desperately needed.

    I look forward to finding out how you're getting on.

  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would say it's time for an updated neuropsychologist evaluation. diagnosis. do change with time as more stuff shows up.
    If interventions for one disorder are not working in my opinion it's a good idea to go for a second opinion. A lot can happen in five years, including more knowledge from professionals. ODD is almost always caused by other disorders that make the child behave in a defiant way. I would get another neuropsychologist evaluation set up since your child is not improving. You want to try to stop him from ending up in juvy. And you can!
    There is a lot in her background that can indicate mental illness and they are all hereditary. Substance abuse is a big red flag for many things, especially mood disorders. Perhaps you should go to AA. Even if you just binge drink you perhaps may want to quit entirely for your sake as well as your child's.
    With the right diagnosis and treatment defiant behavior can lessen or go away entirely. It happened to us!
    Good luck.
  10. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome!!! Oh boy, I was exactly where you are now, my son is 20. He was violent and when he was younger I just counted down the days until he was 18. For me, it never got any better, it did get worse the older he got. He was born this way, he never suddenly changed, he was always like this. When he turned 18, I got a restraining order, and that was the best thing I had ever done for him. He is still like this, but he pays his own bills and lives, he's a carpenter. When he was in our house, he robbed us, threatened us, beat us and wrecked the house. The police never helped me, saying it's not illegal to wreck your house-or rob it! (Later the judge disagreed!) I'm sure you are going through the same heck I endured, and it stinks!!!The more we tried to help him, the more he expected us to do, and he would do nothing for himself. Do you have other kids? Once she turns 18, she's on her own. She can have a normal life, and so can you!!!!!!!!! She has to learn the hard way, unfortunately. Things will get better, for now she's away from you, take care of you. You will get through this.-Alyssa
  11. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Your daughter is currently in juvie for the 15th time if I read correctly. That's some serious trouble. Some behavior is just bad behavior, it can't be attributed to any disorder. It may be her gentic makeup or personality. I wish it were that easy to find an underlying cause and treat it and magically make ODD go away. That just doesn't happen. Anti social behavior is difficult to treat. She needs more than counseling or ADHD medications, she needs some serious intervention. She is at serious risk for substance abuse. I don't mean to sound so pessimistic but I want to be realistic. The problems you describe and the fact that this is her 15th time in juvie tells me that she is not learning by her mistakes and juvie is not rehabilitating her. She isn't going to change once she turns 18 and if the behavior continues she will cross into Conduct Disorder.

  12. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi & Welcome, Mallygrl! I am glad you found us.

    First, I want you to take a deep breathe. Now realize that you are worth more than what your life is showing you right now.
    You & your daughter both need help. She is incarcerated and there should be something available to her from that facility that will help figure out what is going on with her. The problem with being in for the 15th time - she is starting to fit right in there. She will soon be one of them and may like it.

    I would recommend that you ask them to seek Residential Treatment Center living for her. She should get schooling, counseling, medication if needed, life skills, job training, etc.

    How has she been in school? Sometimes, the school has to pay a portion of a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) - the schooling portion - since they are legally required to educate her. Would the school be backing up this recommendation with you even if they had to pay?

    Now, for you. You have to be a strong, healthy mom to deal with a difficult child. You have some work to do for yourself. Get dry & sober now. Go to AA, it helps people, it really does. Chances are you drink due to your own mental health issues - many do. So, get yourself evaluated and find something besides alcohol to help you maintain.

    It will be difficult and a ton of work, but you can do it!!!!