Problem - or am I borrowing trouble?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by rudeboys, Feb 20, 2011.

  1. rudeboys

    rudeboys New Member

    Hi, all. I'm hoping to get some opinions on my older son, who's 4-1/2. He was a tough baby, sometimes crying uncontrollably for hours, but then he was fairly easy until 18 months, when his brother was born. He is definitely the toughest of all the kids in my circle of friends. He is smart, imaginative and affectionate, but when something doesn't go his way, he can become incredibly angry and throw horrible tantrums, which are quite similar to the screaming fits he had as a young infant.

    I looked at the Chandler article about ODD, and he does lose his temper, refuse to comply with adult instructions and argues with adults (specifically me and husband). He doesn't really show any of the other things on the list. He seems to have improved. As a two-year-old, he'd sometimes have 5-10 nasty tantrums a week. Now he's generally more argumentative when asked to do something he doesn't want to do, but he only has maybe 1-2 tantrums a week. He has never been in trouble at preschool, and seems to get along with other kids, but I know from playdates that he is bossy!

    I read The Explosive Child a couple of months ago, and compared to many of the kids described in the book, my son is pretty compliant. His explosions aren't as predictable as the situations described in the book, so I haven't really been able to implement Plan B. I need to do a better job tracking the tantrums so I can identify what we need to work together to solve. I want to make our relationship better and ensure he gets along well in school, but I don't want to overreact if he's just on the more challenging side of typical.

    Thoughts? Opinions?
  2. runawaybunny

    runawaybunny Guest

    Hello, welcome to the community.

    I don't really have much experience with kids as young as yours, but I did want to say hi. Hopefully someone that has more experience than I do will respond soon.

    Hang in there.
  3. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    You might be missing small signs of his tantrums building up. I know it took me a while to notice them in my kid. Little things, subtle things, like a change in tone/speed of speech, tapping/fidgeting changes, nail/finger biting, etc. Even now I still don't always catch the little things. By the time you get to the really noticeable behavior you'll have a harder time heading off the tantrum.

    Did he meet his early milestones? How are his eating and sleeping habits? Does he have issues with certain clothes? Certain situations? Has he been checked for allergies? How does he do with other kids, those in his peer group and those outside his peer group?
  4. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi! Welcome to the group! I agree with HaoZi. Little signs are the toughest to catch.

    Let me ask you this...Is your gut telling you that something is wrong? Are you losing sleep because this is nagging at you? If so, I'd go get a neuropsychologist evaluation done on him. A neuropsychologist with do IQ testing, develpmental testing and take a really in-depth history from you. They'll test him over a course of a couple of days (outpatient) so that they can observe him and get a feel for him.

    Whether there's a problem or not, you'll sleep better knowing that you investigated what's been nagging at you AND you'll have more directions to take.

    It's a win-win situation!

    Again, welcome to the crowd!

  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If you feel something is wrong, check it out. Are there any psychiatric disorders in your son's family tree on either side?

    I agree with the neuropsychologist.
  6. 4timmy

    4timmy New Member

    My difficult child was a lot like your little guy when he was a baby. Our pediatrician recommended a book on dealing with difficult children, I think it was a R. Dobson book which if I remember correctly incorporates religion in the methods used to discipline children. We tried traditional discipline with our son, but it just DID NOT work. When difficult child was 3, our pediatrician told us "when he reaches Kindergarten, they will tell you that he has ADHD, so you might want to consider holding him back until he is 6." The pediatrician we had just thought he was a child with a difficult, stubborn, disposition. I'm not sure why we were never advised to take it any further than that.

    Eventually we just stopped taking him anywhere because it was just pure misery. My husband and I had to take turns being the "designated parent" that would take him out to the car when difficult child threw a temper tantrum in a public place because there was just nothing else we could do. Like I said, that got really old so we just stopped going out to eat and I did all of the shopping alone.

    In preschool, they told me that difficult child was overly sensitive and always wanted to play by himself. He got in trouble a few times, but we AGAIN, really thought this was all normal. In Kindergarten we were told that he always sat in the back, couldn't sit still, and never appeared to be listening to anything they were saying. However, at times they would ask him questions and he was always right there with them even it it looked like he wasn't. At home he was just out of control. He could never focus on one activity at a time, he was destructive, and would even just sit in his room and urinate because he didn't want to stop whatever he was doing to go to the bathroom, he'd cry because a shirt wasn't comfortable and we'd find his shirts either all cut up in his closet or the tag cut out. I had to remove all tags on his clothes.

    It wasn't until 3rd grade that our family physician told us he was ADHD and ODD and he began taking medication (Ritalin) which I still can't say ever really worked. 4th grade was a complete and utter NIGHTMARE. This is the year he had what I call "Old-School" teachers that were very strict in there methods of discipline. It wasn't even 2 weeks into the school year when I got a call from the teacher insisting that he be evaluated and put on an IEP (Individual Education Plan).

    Obviously, I could go on and on here, but I guess my advice to you is to not just sit idle. Learn as much as you can now. It wasn't until I joined this forum that I even began to realize that this stuff with difficult child was not going away. Some days I still don't do well to accept the reality of it. Definitely do the neuropsychologist evaluation. This is the first thing this forum advised me to do as well and I am glad I did. My difficult child was 10 when I took him and he came out with a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) (not otherwise specified) diagnosis with characteristics of Autism (High Functioning) and Asbergers. He also displayed symptons of Childhood Bi-Polar and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

    difficult child is 12 now and was placed in an "Emotionally Disabled" program in our school district but it took 10 years to get to this diagnosis. The earlier you can find out, the earlier you can begin working to get the help he needs. The Explosive Child is an excellent book and I still use these methods.
  7. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hello. Your son sounds very similar to mine... No-one has "diagnosed" ODD for him but I am sure in my mind that this is the kind of behaviour he displays. He is not cruel or vindictive and it is generally possible to get him to comply and co-operate, using methods other than just issuing a command.... At the same time he can have quite violent rages typical of a 2 year old (he has just turned 4), maybe a couple of times a week... I don't particularly want a label stuck on him but it is helpful for me, I feel, to understand that I cannot deal with him like a completely "normal" child. It is also freeing for me, if difficult, to let go of that expectation and just allow him to be different from the norm. My son is very emotionally sensitive - is yours? He can almost always be turned round from exploding by a loving, kindly approach... sometimes I am not up to it, and sometimes I feel it may not be useful for him to be treated with kid gloves all the time... I never give in to what he wants just because he wants it but I also fear the out of control tantrums. He is definitely "contradictory" a lot of the time - he seems to feel threatened by having things, even others' opinions and statements, "opposed" on him...
    One thing I do wonder about is whether these children do better in a highly structured school environment (where my son presently is and thriving, given his difficulties) or an alternative one...
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    ODD does not stand alone (see The Chandler Papers on this site). There is an underlying disorder causing the defiance. It is probably in my opinion best to have him evaluated completely. And a neuropsychologist is he best source. Possisble problems: high functioning autism/early onset bipolar.
  9. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes... or he may not have any of those things :) In my son's case, it has only ever been suggested that he may or may not have ADHD, which often of course goes with ODD. The diagnosis seems very fraught with uncertainty... can anyone, even neuro-pyschiatrists, ever say for sure?? I'd be happy if the answer is yes! So far one psychologist has said in her opinion he is very unlikely to have ADHD, two teachers have said they don't think he has ADHD and one psychologist, after half an hour, said he may well have ADHD....!! Go figure, as you say...
  10. 4timmy

    4timmy New Member

    I wanted to say one more thing about labels. Unfortunately, as these behaviors progress in school (if they do), the label gets applied no matter what.