Please Tell me we are not alone..

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by needprayers, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. needprayers

    needprayers Guest

    Please tell me we are going to be ok... I'm the father, always been emotionally stable & cool headed.. these last few days I can't even talk about anything without almost bursting into tears..

    Brief history of how I found you.. We are what I call a typical family. Mother, Father, 14 year old easy child, 12 year old difficult child..

    12 year old has always had some social interaction problems, but we always figured he would outgrow them. He had friends, but not many.. I guess we have been in denial too long that something "wasn't right".. After one week at school this year, we get called up there for a meeting.. This is when everything comes crashing down.

    Counselor says we need to take him to get help. They get previous teachers to fill out a student review, and it hits us like a ton of bricks what the teacher say... They say hes angry, depressed, lies, destroys things.. We immediately call his physician and get a name of a child psychologist (actually she's a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)).

    After the first meeting she tells us we have a very troubled child.. He is extremely angry, thinks nobody loves him, and is depressed. She is very worried and says we should have brought him in a long time ago..

    I am so scared.. I want someone to tell me they have been through something similar, and their child is ok now.. I just want to hear a good story... please...
  2. boo

    boo Guest

    No, you are not alone and yes it will be okay. I am sorry you have to deal with this. You can't change the past. You can only move forward. It's not easy, but it's all you can do. Love him, get him help, get help for you, your wife and other child. Talk, talk, talk and talk some more. Cry, Hug. Stay calm. You WILL get through this. You are doing what needs to be done. Lower your expectations. I don't mean to sound like a "self help" book, I know first hand how you can beat yourself up feeling like you have failed your child. Time and patience will help. You can change how you respond and react and it will make a difference. Hang in there.

    I can't tell you that my child is ok, but I can tell you that life has improved and we accept and love the child/children we have for who they are. Every child should be so lucky.
  3. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Welcome to the group, although sorry about the circumstances in which we are all being introduced to your family.

    Indeed, you are FAR from alone. All of us here have one or more children or step children that are struggling with a wide range of issues. We all look back and wonder if we should have noticed sooner, could have addressed things earlier, could have handled things differently, etc. I think for most all of us, denial was a stage we were all at before we were able to see that our child(ren) were in need of help. This is a great place to find advice, wisdom and support from other parents in similar situations and struggling with the same issues you and your family are.

    I can tell you a little bit about my difficult child. I joined this site about 11 years ago because of my now 17 year old son. He was 6 years old and the problems he was having were at home, not at school (yet). I was overwhelmed and undersupported. Over the course of the past 11 years, long term members have been here to support me as I struggled to find the proper help for my son. At one point I had to have him removed from my home to theraputic foster care for 3 months, to protect my daughter from him (he was starting to act violently) and to try to get more help for him. At another point I called his bluff (He'd play the "I am moving in with my dad" card ... although he'd seen his father maybe half a dozen times in his life) and he moved in with his bio-father for a brief period. His dad threw him out and it broke my heart because he was so against complying at home with me and accepting help, that he went to his grandmother (fathers mother). I held firm that he could move home if and when he was prepared to work WITH me and not against me. that entire period of about 10 months or so was the longest period of time in my life. I have never cried so much. At the same time I knew in my heart my difficult child needed to know my line in the sand had been crossed and that I really needed him to get on board with his own therapy etc. After 10 agonizing months, he came home. He was ready.

    There was a literal overnight difference. That was 3 years ago now, he's been back home since. I can honesty say that I have watched this amazing young man morph into a child I was afraid of, afraid for, figured for never finishing school and ending up in jail or worse, into a young man who I am incredibly proud of. He has complied with all of our house rules. H is respectful and behaves as a part of this family should behave. He still hates school but he attends and does what needs to be done. He starts his final year of high school this year and is planning to attend University. He spent his entire young life angry, bitter, jaded. He had zero social skills and had zero self worth or esteem. He felt unworthy of praise and felt he didnt deserve good things. He imagined himself unloved and unlovable. Now? He thanks me for having called his bluff and leaving him go off as he did.He swears to this day that had I not showed the tough love, he'd be in trouble at this age, big trouble. He now laughs and accepts praise, joins in family events, interacts normally, allows himself to be happy, has no anger and any misbehaviour is just normal typical teen stuff.

    Honestly, our history is summed up above but doesn't do justice to the problems my difficult child had. There IS hope. There is ALWAYS hope. We can only do what we can do at any given point and focus on doing our very best for our kids. Looking back and thinking you could have done xyz sooner etc won't serve you, will only hurt you and won't serve your son. When you know different, you do different. So that's a good start. you know your son needs some help and that means you can start working towards that. It sounds like the professionals you've been speaking with are recognizing your son is having problems. This is GOOD. So often our children go unassisted despite our pleas, because professionals can't see the issues we see. It is something you'll probably hear alot about as you read others threads over time. I would offer that you should just skip over the comments that you "should have brought him in sooner". Bottom line, most of us parents want and need to try everything in our personal aresenal first. We want to believe we can do this through love and parenting and structure and discipline etc. And then one day we realize the issues are bigger than us, bigger than any parent. And then we all do what you have done, reach out for professional help.

    I hope that you find this site to be as helpful as I and many others have over the years. Truly I've learned so much from the wonderful parents here. I've learned to never judge, never say never, there is always hope, what works for some won't work for others, that it takes special people to be warriors for special children and by virtue of showing up on this site marks us all with that stamp of warrior parent. We all end up here because we are looking at any avenue to help us to help our children.
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Boo said it best: just move forward.
    You are getting help right now.
    I would also suggest a psychiatrist because s/he can prescribe medications. An LSCW cannot prescribe.
    Set up a planning mtng with-the school staff, incl the resource dir, and tell them what you're doing on your end. They have to do things on their end, too.
    One thing I would ask is for more info regarding his outbursts at school. What triggered them? Did difficult child have enough sleep the night b4? Was someone throwng spitballs at him? Did a staff member insist on something he didn't want to do? Did he transition from one activity to the next with-no preparation?
    You need to dissect the problem and then put the pieces back together in a different way. Brand new assembly instructions.

    You love your child. Let him know that.
    But don't let him get away with-stuff. You can give him direction and rules, lovingly.
  5. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Hello NeedPrayers.

    First and foremost, welcome. I'm sorry your situation lead you to us, but welcome to our little corner of the world.

    Most of us here are still in the throes of difficult child-dom, but there are success stories. Lots of them, actually. That doesn't mean that we take our kiddo to the doctor, put them on a magic pill, and all is well, but it does mean that for the most part, we learn to survive and thrive, despite the difficult child-dom.

    Letting go of guilt is extremely hard, but I encourage you to try. What's in the past is in the past and can't be changed. All you can do now is move forward with the info you have now. And really, that's all any of use can do.

    When you're ready, tell us more about you and your difficult child and the things that brought you here. There are some amazing parents on this board, with a vast array of knowledge and experience. I can't promise a fix, but I can promise that you are NOT alone.
  6. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Each story is different. Within 2 years of showing the signs, my difficult child has pretty much become a easy child (he still has difficult child moments - behaviors caused through his anxiety but for the most part he is doing amazingly well).

    It all started the summer he was entering 5th grade. He was 11 years old. He seemed to fall apart that Summer - depressed, physical problems of chest pains, inability to breath, headaches, ect., ect, ect. Even those outside our family could see that something was not right. With no experience of meeting any child with mental health issues, I had no clue that was where we should look. I could only see his physical complaints and wondered what illness/disease was stealing my son.

    School started and he could not make himself go. He couldn't even go to the store with the sole purpose of getting him a lego set. I called my supervisor and told him that I did not know what was going on with my son and would be back at work at an unforeseen time. I was willing to quit my job if this continued. I went to school with my son.

    In the meantime, we went to our local pediatrician. He did not know for sure and with a, "I don't know what this is, I think it is anxiety, here, have him take Zoloft" sent us out the door. Well, I am not giving my child Zoloft based on a I-don't-know-I-think statement so I went for a 2nd opinion.

    The 2nd opinion doctor referred us to a therapist. difficult child had an appointment the day before Thanksgiving. As time went on, difficult child developed self harm thoughts and toward the end of October his body told him to jump from the 3rd floor balcony of the Mall of America. I got him into see the therapist that week and then to a children's hospital where he stayed for 2 weeks. He was diagnosed with deep anxiety.

    As this was going on, he basically missed the first quarter of school and the rebonding that the classmates go through. It was a very tiny school and he was feeling left out - that turned to anger and some horrid behaviors at school toward students and teachers. He did not like his own behaviors of anger and revengful thinking and worked VERY hard to change them.

    By the time he entered 6th grade, his behaviors had improved and the classmates felt safe again.

    I give all the credit to him. The children's psychiatric hospital and his therapist gave him many tools to use and he choose to use them. We also had the best school environment for him. There was no need for IEP or 504 because the teachers went out of their way to work with me on every situation from homework to behaviors toward teachers and students.

    He has not had any PRN anxiety/panic medication since last September and I don't think he will need it to get in the school doors this fall. He does still take anxiety medication and has one out-of-the-blue self harm thought this summer which he used his tools to overcome quickly.

    This is a very short in a nutshell recap. I was so scared that first year. By the end of the 5th grade year, I was sure my son would become a criminal with his disrespect of teachers and other authority figures. It really is amazing how far he has come. I am no longer afraid for his future.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome to the board.

    I wouldn't get upset, but I'd personally skip the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and go to a neuropsychologist. I have a few questions which can help us help you.

    1/Are there any psychiatric problems OR substance abuse on either side of his genetic family tree? I ask this because mental illness is often inherited and you can sort of know where the kid is coming from if you look at the genepool.

    2/Did he have any delays or quirks as an infant, toddler and now? This would include, not making eye contact, not wanting to be cuddled, speech delays or consequently very accelerated, professor-like speech, any aversion to loud noise or certain foods or clothing, did he and DOES HE NOW understand how to socialize appropriately with his same age peers? Does he understand and hold give-and-take conversations or does he tend to either monologue about one of his interests or just mumble "yes" or "no." Can he express his thoughts or does he have concrete, black-and-white thinking? Does he have any obsessive interests or is he well-rounded? How is he doing academically in school? Does he have extremely high anxiety? Can he transition well from one activity to another?

    I wouldn't waste time feeling guilty. Most likely you and hub had nothing to do with his being different. He is likely just wired differently and always was, which is why I recommend a neuropsychologist. Their type of testing, 6-10 hours, is very intensive and covers every area. These are psychologists with special extra training in the brain.

    Good luck, whatever you decide!!
  8. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Hello and welcome to our corner of the world. I'm not going to tell you everything will be ok. It seldom is. Life just doesn't work that way.
    Before you pull out your hair with worry, your young guy needs a thorough evaluation by the best specialists you can find and afford. Then get second opinions.
    The school sees the end result behaviors. It's not enough to deal with behavior but to search and search some more for the cause.

    You haven't given us much background info, just the schools statements.
    Have you noticed anything out of the ordinary in your guy?
    Did he hit the developmental milestones in his early years? Has his pediatrician ever commented on unusual behavior or development?
    What does he do for fun? Does he hang out with friends when away from school?
    Any family history of poor school behavior, alcohol and/or drug abuse, emotional instability etc?
    When you say interaction problems, what does that mean specifically?
    How does he act when angry or frustrated?
    Is he physically violent?

    If you could look into a crystal ball and see he would turn out ok, you wouldn't be so scared. Unfortunately, none of us get that little gift. Every family deals with some sort of issues. The question is, do you step up and face the issues and work to help a child in need or do you put your head in the sand and hope it goes away. All of us have our baggage in life. It is not a catastrophe or a reflection on the family to have a troubled child. (even if it feels that way) Having a difficult child doesn't make life very easy and it creates some interesting experiences.

    Hang in there and know that there isn't anything you are facing and going to face that someone here hasn't already done it and lived to tell about it. We are all survivors of parenting very difficult children with many different causes.

    A Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) is a great start. If you give us a bit more info, we can make some recommendations for books, specialists, educational choices, behavior interventions and anything else you think your child will need.

    I remember the terror I felt when I realized what the worst case scenario would be for my difficult child if I didn't intervene.
    We all carry some guilt even if we did everything we could but we bury it away so it does not interfere with the resolve to find a way to help our children.
    I hope we can make you and your wife feel a little less alone and little less terrified and make some suggestions that you haven't thought of already.
    Hang in there, it's a bumpy ride but most of us survive to get through.
  9. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I came to this board 9 years ago in desperation because my 5 year old was completely out of control and the "professionals" were recommending that we 'give him back' to the foster care system. That 5 year old is now turning 15 and is a well-behaved young man with successes and career goals. He still has some social skills deficits and anxiety (pretty typical Aspie) but he is such an amazing child I am forever grateful that we did not listen to the 'professionals'.

    When my now-13 year old was little (3-6 years old), again the 'professionals' told us she was likely retarded and probably deaf. She is now working on her application for the school honor society. She has classic ADHD-Inattentive and requires medication and likely will for a long time but she is happy and successful.

    My 11-year old son was mis-diagnosed as bipolar at 5 (got to admit it seemed right at the time). We finally were able to get a complete evaluation and he is Autistic. So much made sense at that point. He was a nightmare at school and went on homebound for part of K, 3, 4, and 5th grades. The school was talking about 'alternate placements' and my little first grader was getting suspended. I was terrified that we were going from bad to worse. He is now starting 6th grade in our local public school. He is in the self-contained emotional support classroom most of the day, but he does spend 75 minutes with the reg ed kids. While he still has his issues and needs consistent support, the improvement in him over the last 12-18 months has been nothing short of a miracle. If he continues to improve at this rate, he may be heading off to college just a year or so behind his peers.

    Then there is Kanga, a 15 year old with more than her share of issues. She has gotten worse since she was about 10. She has been placed in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for over two years now and --assuming funding holds on--she will become an adult there. She is angry, depressed manic, narcissistic, histrionic, paranoid, delusional and violent. She has also learned how to function as a member of a group, how to set goals and achieve them and how to ask for help when she is feeling depressed. She is learning how to hold a job and how to manage her money. Even in the darkest situations, there is some progress.

    My step-sister spent 3 years in counseling (ages 14-17) due to anger and depression over her parents divorce. She is 100% 'normal' and successful today - heck by 19 she was doing great!

    If your son was that bad at school the year before, they should have been calling you then. That fact that they knew he was having these issues and di not call you is in excusable. There is plenty of blame to go around for not seeking help last year. But blame won't help anyone. You have your son in counseling now.

    I have two recommendations that you do as soon as possible. First, get him an appointment with an adolescent psychiatrist (the one with the MD after their name). While your son might not need long term medication, if he is too angry/depressed, he may need a short time on a medication to help turn it around. Secondly, send the school a certified letter asking for a full and complete evaluation to determine what help he will need at school. Sometimes un-diagnosis learning disabilities can result in that behavior and feelings.
  10. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the board...and as you've already seen, you're not alone. Things have gotten better at my house; after open warfare, calls from school, suspensions, etc., my daughter left for college on Wednesday. She went in as a sophomore, after completing a year at community college.
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome to our corner of the world. I know for sure this isnt a place you ever wanted to find but we are a great group of parents that have been there done that and have plenty of tee shirts to prove it. I know my closet is stuffed so full of them after parenting for the last 29 years I should really donate to the Goodwill! LOL.

    I have been here on this site since Feb of 99 when my youngest was 12 years old. He just turned 24. I wouldnt do those teen years over again for a million bucks but he is so much better these days...well... that depends on which day it is I suppose ;).

    My middle son is the real success story. He was/is your classic ADHD kid with an emphasis on the H. He really didnt have any behavior problems outside typical kid behaviors. He was just extremely hyper and couldnt pay attention if you paid him. Ritalin was his best friend. Thankfully, he had a goal from the time he was a little boy of going into the Marines to be like his Papa so he worked extremely hard to be good and stay out of trouble. That wasnt an easy thing to do where we come from. He also had to go off his ritalin when he entered HS in order to join the military which made for an interesting HS career. He did it though. He spent 4 years in the Marines as a military policeman and is now married with two kids. He works with the deputy sheriffs department as an animal control officer. Perfect job for someone who cant sit still and loves to be outdoors. He is buying his own home and is pretty happy most of the time. I cant ask for more.
  12. Bean

    Bean Member

    Hello and welcome. Sorry you have to be here, but glad you found a means of support. No, you're not alone. There are all kinds of similar situations represented here on the forum. Things will get better, as you learn to cope - or they should. It is a hard road, and there are no true guarantees as far as what will happen in your family situation - or any of ours. I've seen and know some people and kids who had a really tumultuous teenage life, grow on to be perfectly fine. Others it takes longer, others never really "get" it or grow out of it. I wish we, as parents, held a magic key but we don't. Definitely find support for you and your wife. Regardless of what happens with your son. Find supportive people/groups/one-on-one who have either been there, or have experience with situations like yours.

    Big hugs to you.
  13. needprayers

    needprayers Guest

    Thanks for the replies :) We had a decent weekend.

    background on difficult child:
    No family history of mental illness or substance abuse. the wife had a normal pregnancy with him, normal delivery, no problems during the toddler years. All developmental milestones reached normally. Likes football, playing outside.. Church every week.

    He has always been the "anti-social" one, but having said that, if another kid initiated the friendship, he is usually quick to respond. It just seems the older he gets, the wrong kind of friends he associates with. We never really saw the depression until these last few months. When he gets down in the dumps at home, its usually after we have chastised him about something or he gets angry about something.. After a couple hours, he's back to normal .. Several times this year he has complained of stomach ache in the morning. I think its stress/problems at school.

    the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) said that they would test, and medications could possibly be required, its just too early to tell. She's part of a "group" that also has psychiatrists.

    We met with school staff today, and told them what all we were doing, and he would be missing some school for his sessions. They were more than supportive. There have not been any "violent" outbursts at school, its all been attention seeking devious behavior, and letting other kids talk him in to doing stuff, like setting off stink bombs.
  14. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I had to smile when you mentioned "anti-social". That word ALWAYS brings up a memory. When difficult child was a little over one year old I dropped him off at daycare one day. The other kids for some reason was sitting on the couch (very unusual) so I put difficult child in the middle. As soon as I stepped back, ALL the kids (toddlers older than him) scooted away from him. I laughed and said, "Don't you like my baby?" The provider chuckled and said, they have learned not to be too close or he will push them away.

    "Anti-social" did come to mind off and on throughout the infant to toddler years. However, I decided to relook at the actions and came up with difficult child is a lot like me in needing a much larger personal space than other people. He is also reserved and likes to understand the rules of a game before joining in. Many people would try to call him "shy" which I would quickly squash. Why does a child have to join in immediately? Just because they choose to wait until invited or understands the situation does not mean they are "shy". There can be a confidence through that process as well.

    That being said, I do have a sister in law who is the ultimate anti-social person. She will tell everyone close enough that she hates people. Because she is part of the family, I did fear difficult child could become anti-social.