Really need some support

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by IT1967, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. IT1967

    IT1967 Member

    Hi there. I cannot believe I'm even on here typing this out. I have 2 children with-anxiety, ADHD with-ODD. I feel like I'm living in a nightmare every day of my life. My children are almost 8 and almost 10 and this has been going on for YEARS. I feel like I'm slowly coming undone by the chaos that is our life. Almost every day involves communicating mainly through screaming, crying, and tantrums. We've tried my son on a bunch of stimulants that were a bit helpful, but the side effects weren't tolerable. Currently, he's on Intuniv and we have an appointment. with-a child psychiatrist this week. My daughter has just been put on Risperdal by the child psychiatrist, which honestly, I see absolutely NO change. How long before it starts working? We see the dr. again this week and he was talking about adding in an ADHD medication and eventually some anxiety medication. At least my son can keep it together at school, but my daughter is having terrible issues at school. We've met with-the school and are initiating testing, etc.. We've already done that with her through our counsellor, but I guess now the school will start it officially on their end. I feel absolutely terrible about how I've been handling all this. I feel like the WORST parent. At some point after non-stop screaming, I lose it too and that probably just reinforces the terrible behavior. We try everything with-our kids. Reasoning, discussing, time-outs, rewards, you name it. NOTHING works. I'm petrified we won't be able to get these kids properly medicated. Last year, the thought of medication was so upsetting to me, but it just seems like things have gotten a thousand times worse lately (don't know how that's possible), and now I'm praying for the right drugs or combo to get these kids to just calm down and not explode all the time, every single day. I'm completely miserable and feeling very depressed. My husband feels that way too, but he's been seeming to keep it together a bit better - probably because he's not around them as much as I am. I'm open to any suggestions or thoughts. I feel awful saying this, but it's been really hard for me to like my children lately. I can't believe that BOTH my kids are this way. Even when one is in a good place, then the other one isn't. There's been no joy - just agony.
  2. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome,
    I usually post over in the substance abuse forum, so I don't have experience with your particular situation, but I really wanted to just lend my support. The only advice I could give is to encourage you and your husband to seek therapy yourselves, as a coping mechanism. Of course, keep posting and reading here - wonderful and knowledgeable people reside on this board!
  3. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    IT, I have been where you are and I CAN tell you, things can get MUCH better. You're right about the right medication combo helping a lot but it won't "cure" the behavior. My difficult child 1 couldn't take stimulants so they put him on Strattera and that has helped. Intuniv is also a non-stimulant so you might notice a change with that. My son also couldn't take Risperdal either. That made things 100% worse for us. Others here have had great success. If I remember correctly, that one needs to be titrated up so don't give up on it quite yet. It just may be that the dose isn't right.

    My son (difficult child 1) was diagnosed with ADHD at age 4 and they added ODD in third grade only to find out through more thorough testing that he is actually on the autism spectrum. That explained the "oppositional and defiant" behavior (it was NOT intentional) and the anxiety although he has the additional anxiety diagnosis because his is through the roof. The right medication combo has done wonders for difficult child 1. By the way, many of us here don't consider ODD a "real" diagnosis. It simply describes the way the behaviors appear to others, not what causes it or how to treat it. The behavior is trying to tell you something.

    By all means, have the school do official THOROUGH testing of BOTH your kids. Really. Just because the one can hold it together during school does not mean 1) he always will be able to and 2) there aren't some subjects he could do better at with some help. Did you put the request for testing in writing? Did you ask them to do academic, psychological, behavioral, Occupational AND speech evaluations? Make sure they hit all the areas even if you and they don't "see" those areas as being problems.

    What kinds of behaviors do you deal with? Can you describe some specific examples of entire scenarios when these behaviors occur? That might help us steer you in the right direction.

    You are NOT the worst parents.....all of us have felt that way many times over. In fact, there was a thread going around a while back where many here were fighting for that "award". You've doing the best you can with what you know. Here are my recommendations: find a good neuropsychologist to do more thorough testing, read the book The Explosive Child by Ross Greene, and read the book What Your Explosive Child Is Trying To Tell You by Doug Riley. Both books really opened my eyes and helped ME see things differently (and in our case, that was the key). Me changing the way I saw and interpreted things helped me communicate with difficult child 1 so I could help him. We are in a pretty good place now (thought I'd NEVER hear myself say that) and I'm left to only have to deal with the occasional meltdown that is MUCH shorter and less intense than before and the typical teen stuff all parents have to deal with (only in slightly different forms).

    Stick around and check back frequently. You will NOT regret it. This place has been my lifeline and my sanity through everything. There are lots of wise warrior parents here that can hold your hand and at times hold you up. Welcome to our little family!!! We're glad you're here!
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Hi, and welcome...

    First... this is not the result of bad parenting.
    Not that most of us can't learn a few things, but... that isn't the "cause".
    As you already know (we call that "mommy gut"), your kids have challenges - and you don't know what they are.
    Getting evaluations is critical.
    You may even want to go beyond school evaluations, and get a comprehensive evaluation done outside of the school system.
    Most of "our" kids don't even just have one diagnosis... and often, one or more dxes are incorrect, or we go a lot of years before we get all of them. It is a process.

    Meanwhile... if you want some ideas that have helped some of us? See if you can get your hands on "The Explosive Child" by Ross Green. It's an alternative view about our challenging kids, and a different way to approach things. For my own family... the techniques were only moderately successful. But the "mindset" was a major shift - and helped immensely! As did "the list"... of many of the unmet needs "our" kids have.
  5. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hi. I'm really sorry things are so tough for your family. I am another voice saying "it can get better" - and I think the way it does that is not just through the right medication but also by you and your husband becoming experts on how to deal with your different children... coming here is a good place to start. Reading, researching on the net, talking to other parents, you will begin to learn how to avoid the screaming matches and how to get your children more motivated to please. Positive reinforcement, as you probably know, works best with these children; it has to be a pretty thorough programme and more than just rewards. A vicious cycle sets in whereby, over years, the child's self-esteem and self-confidence has been eroded (through absolutely no-one's fault) and that makes the anxiety and the acting up much worse. As you've noted, screaming back is completely human but doesn't help.

    Can you give an example of a typical day and how things go wrong?
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, IT. I hear you!
    I agree with-the others, that you've got to break the vicious cycle, which you can do with-the help of a family therapist and the right medications, as well as new parenting methods.

    One thing I would suggest is not to try to change everything at once. Pick just one thing for a week or 10 days (or even a month, depending upon your kids' ability to absorb change) and just work on that. For example, if it's being late for school. Or if it's yelling at you.
    Then have one consequence, which is not yelling :) and follow through. For example, maybe one of the kids has to walk to school. Or they go in on time, but are wearing no shoes and socks (you'll have to drop off the shoes later but maybe the embarassment in front of other kids will be enough, Know what I mean??) No arguing, no I told you so, nada. Just like it's normal.

    Then after a few days/weeks, move onto another behavior.

    Welcome. Here's a warm bath for you::bath:
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Who diagnosed your kids?

    If ADHD medication isn't working, maybe there is more going on than ADHD. I recommend a neuropsychologist evaluation. Sounds way over the top for ADHD to me. As for ODD...that in my opinion is not a useful diagnosis. It doesn't help anything. You need to find out why your kids are acting out so badly and if they can even control it. They probably can't. And just looking for medications, without knowing exactly what is going on, is just a crapshoot. You need more extensive testing to pinpoint exactly what is bothering your it sensory issues, lack of self-control, executive function disorders, autistic spectrum, mood disorders, etc. Stimulants can make many disorders even worse.

    Please get a new private evaluation and I recommend a neuropsychologist. And keep us posted. Nobody should have to live like that and it doesn't always get better unless it is treated.
  8. IT1967

    IT1967 Member

    Thanks everyone for your comments. Things for us are good in the AM, but after school and into the evening up until bedtime is awful. I have had my daughter extensively evaluated by a child psychologist (PhD), whom we continue to see for both kids. My daughter has been determined to be "Gifted" (IQ 130 which counsellor feels would be higher if not for the ADHD and anxiety). The counsellor and psychiatrist feel her diagnosis is ADHD inattentive AND hyperactive with-ODD, plus anxiety. The counsellor doesn't even feel like she can teach my daughter any coping skills until we get her properly medicated. She's just helping us try to keep it together until that point. My son has been diagnosed ADHD by several doctors. (2 peds & counsellor), although he hasn't had all the testing my daughter had. I suspect he is gifted also (maybe even moreso than my daughter) and I have no doubt he has terrible anxiety as well
    . It just feels like it's all unravelling and getting worse than it ever was - which was pretty bad. I have retreated from a lot of contact with-people. I don't want to tell people with-"normal" kids my troubles. They don't get it and I don't want my kids to be alienated by their kids if the parents should let something slip. I'm exhausted and depressed. We do try to get breaks from the kids, but they fight with-eachother soooo badly that we can't even leave them both with-one grandparent. We split them up between our moms, so it's a lot of scheduling just to find time to be kid-free. :( I just downloaded "The Explosive Child" onto my Kindle along with-a couple others I saw on the thread with-the book suggestions. I'm just praying that maybe we've bottomed out and can climb out of this - but petrified that we'll never get this under control. I have terrible fears about my daughter getting into bad things as she matures. :( My son at least is into sports, so hopefully he can channel some positive energy from that as the years go on.
  9. isis

    isis New Member

    Right now, today, schedule time away from your kids for this week. You may not think you should leave them with a babysitter. Yes you should. You must have a break. So, right now, figure out how to be away from them for a few hours this week (one night, during a weekend day next week?). Then do it every single week. With or without your husband. Do not feel guilty. Do not feel bad explaining to your husband why. Just do it to remember how good life can be for even a couple of hours. (exercise? reading in bed? a glass of wine with a girlfriend? yoga? what is it you want/can do this week?)
    It will get better. And you will like your kids again. And its OK you don't now.
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Some of us simply don't have that option, isis... babysitters don't work for everyone.
    But... if you can't do that, then you MUST find another escape.
    A nice bath after the house is quiet.
    Half an hour of uninterrupted reading.
    Listening to music that makes you feel up-beat.

    One way or another - at home or out - YOU need some small slice of time for yourself.
  11. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    You've got some great advice so far, and we all know the feeling. *hugs* and hang in there hon!

    In addition to proper testing, proper medication (because every kid and situation is different), I'd also like to toss in getting them allergy tested on top of this. Some food allergies can also show up as behavioral problems and some of us have found that special diets for our kids help (not eliminate, but *help*) the problem. For some it's a gluten-free diet, for some it's dairy-free, for some it's a dye-free diet, for my own daughter it's a diet with lots of whole grains and omega-3s but without processed meats. Allergy testing may show up something or it may not. Food diaries can be helpful to keep because you might start seeing links in what (or even when) meals are eaten to behavior. Some kids lack certain nutrients in their diet (like magnesium) and that can cause behavioral problems, too.

    No ONE way will fix everything or is right for every kid - you've got to find the paths through that are right for your kids, and there will be trial and error involved with that. We'll be here for you every step of the way, too. And you've got to find time for yourself, too.
  12. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Like so many I have been there done that. It's exhausting and worst of all (for me) was that I really didn't see any light at the end of the tunnel. I agree with everyone else. None of us every imagined the life that we had to live. Sigh!

    I'm not sure if you have any "sitter" money available but most of us know that finding a good sitter is beyond challenging when you have difficult child's. One thing that helped me was hiring a sitter for just one of the difficult children at a time. It turned out that if I found a teen sitter to take one to the park or to the movies or whatever for a couple of hours, the difficult child left at home rarely caused me problems one on one. It was like a win/win. The kid who had the turn going somewhere felt special and behaved accordingly. The kid who had me didn't have a sibling to stir up and often ended up being good company. I can tell you truthfully that it helped me get over negative feelings as well. Hang in there. Hugs DDD
  13. Tiapet

    Tiapet Old Hand

    I second the food issue. We have food issues here! Corn! Causes behavioral issue big time. There is corn or corn derivitives in just about everything. It causes my son (and my oldest used to) rage and become aggressive, sometimes to violence, when he's had it. You can see signs too if he has like red ears, dark circles under the eyes, rubbing his nose like it's itchy.

    by the way corn can show up as maltodextrin, dextrin, high fructose corn syrup, etc...look online for corn allergy and you will see all of it.

    What everyone else says though....great thoughts!
  14. buddy

    buddy New Member

    This may not be your situation at all but I want to share the idea because I've seen this over and over being on evaluation teams and having peer parents with a story similar to yours. Most people in the mental health field ( psychologists and psychiatrists & social workers &counselors ) will only give a diagnosis in the mental Health arena. Many of our kids with neuro developmental disabilities or challenges could easily have the same diagnosis yours do and in fact mine does (and talk about an obvious over riding diagnosis! He.had a brain injury for gosh sakes!) Still, if we.have to go to a psychiatric hospital, he gets labeled with a mood disorder or anxiety or a behavior disorder, lol. They need it to pay for the services. But any time interventions or therapies geared for those disorders have been tried? Horrible!!!
    If the interventions are not helping and they're admitting they can't teach skills until she is medicated (may be perfectly true ) it could be you want to explore options.

    I have had many clients who start out with a classic set....anxiety +adhd and often +odd who end up years and years later getting a diagnosis of being somewhere on the autism spectrum often Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified or Aspergers. Other later diagnosis is less frequently childhood bipolar.
    Some really do just have their own thing! And adhd and anxiety and odd may be the only way to approach it. I just want to give you hope of options. Losing time being with people who feel secure but aren't really helping may be something to reconsider. And, be prepared. They would not likely agree to this and they will probably say it's not needed. But they don't have ultimate responsibility for the best choices so you have to do what you feel is right.

    So, a neuropsychologist is not your average psychologist. They have extensive neurology training. So really worth the effort to check out that option. You might get new ideas.

    I.have to check your posts....are your kids in activities? Do they have friends? Do they have any interests or hobbies? Gifted kids absolutely have unique challenges but also they could have other challenges. Do your kids have any sensitivity to clothing tags, socks, noises, smells? Or, Do they seek jumping crashing, loud things etc? Some kids are either under or overly sensitive to stimuli. Can look like adhd. Worth an occupational therapy evaluation if you notice such things at all.

    I'm sorry it's rough now. I live for the time my son is out with his caregivers. $18/15 minutes! Thank heaven for funding, I've never once had a normal babysitter. No one would or could.
  15. isis

    isis New Member

    Yes, I know babysitters don't work for everyone; but very often we think we can't when we really can (I have done this for years and years). I think now that even if the kid is unhappy for those 2 or 3 hours, the kid is better off with a parent who can take a break. And its weird how they show reselience at the times you least expect it: like when you've gotten a babysitter (maybe in the daytime if it works better than during bedtime).
  16. IT1967

    IT1967 Member

    Thank you all so much for your responses! I'm glad I've come here. I found this board quite a while ago, but just wasn't ready to face it all. I'm also overwhelmed by how much knowledge you all have and is available here. Thank you! I'm going to try to answer a few questions in the hopes of hearing any other suggestions. A typical day in our house starts out usually ok. I can get them out the door in the AM fairly easily. It's after school when everything immediately starts to go south until bedtime. And of course, my daughter is struggling in school every day. She has meltdowns from what I can tell every day over something - a paper on her desk that shouldn't be there, all the kids being forced to stay inside for 5 minutes of recess, her forgetting her library books or violin, etc... Some way worse than others. I still can't tell if the Risperdal is working. We follow up with-the psychiatrist this afternoon. It's been 4 days and *maybe* there's some improvement?? I'm going to check in with-the teacher to get her thoughts before our appointment. After school, my one or the other of my kids falls apart over this and that for pretty much the rest of the day. They fight with-each other brutally. They are obsessed with-"fairness". If one gets something and the other doesn't, they lose it completely and go after each other. Both my kids are seeing a child psychologist. She's done a ton of testing on my daughter. She felt that since so many previous doctors. diagnosis'ed my son as ADHD, she didn't need to delve into the testing more, but I think she should because he's very similar to my daughter, just not quite on the same level of intensity - although, until this year, she was not as bad as she is now. We've never done any allergy testing - could an allergy cause this much psychological distress? I don't really think so and neither of my kids has any kind of physical problems from most food. Although, I will say my house is fairly "clean". I do a lot of organics and do my best to keep artificial colors and flavors out of the house because I have read that that can make ADHD worse. I have the name of a neuropsychologist and will look into if my insurance will cover it. Wouldn't it be redundant to have my daughter see a neuropsychologist after all the testing she's had done? I am thinking I should definitely take my son to him, since he hasn't had such extensive testing. Also, at school, my daughter was evaluated by an Occupational Therapist (OT) and found to have sensory issues - not severe, but there definitely are some. I kinda was thinking that was the least of my worries, but maybe it plays a bigger role than I thought. The child psychologist does not think so, but I just bought my daughter a fiddler ring and little squishy guy and she likes them and has been taking them to school. And I just started reading "The Explosive Child" and it describes my kids exactly. I think I've tried Plans A, B and C, but I'm going to keep trying to follow the book's advice. As far as babysitters, yes, we do use them. But it's annoying because I'll have to send one kid to a grandparent's house, because I'm afraid my current babysitter couldn't handle them together alone. I can barely handle them together alone. :( Or we have to split them up between the grandparents. It's a lot of juggling. And neither of our moms are that young, so I hate imposing on them too much. I'm going to report back here after the child psychiatrist today and our appointment. tomorrow for our son.
  17. Bluenose

    Bluenose New Member

    ((hugs)) It sounds like you have a double dose of what happens in our household. We only have the one difficult child but she is exhausting. What you are feeling is normal, we've been there. ((hugs))
  18. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    We had... (counting in my head...) three major rounds of testing in... ummm... six years.

    If the last round was really comprehensive but it's been a year or two, you can at least get a second opinion - they will get the test results (the detailed ones you don't get to see) and re-interpret, and sometimes find what the first one missed.

    If the last round wasn't comprehensive... go for it. If you don't have all the answers, then you need to keep asking.

    And yes, if your other child has significant challenges, get that one started too.

    As far as the Risperidone goes, it usually takes a couple of weeks to build up in the system. On a really sensitive child, you might see some effect after a week.
  19. buddy

    buddy New Member

    A neuropsychologist has a very different perspective from a typical psychologist. If your psychiatric thinks sensory issues are not impacting her I would be very quickly going for someone who understands pervasive neurological developmental issues just to be sure. In schools, sensory integration therapy is generally not done. They will make sensory accommodations esp for kids on the spectrum, often part of their classroom routine.
    Now that you have added that she has sensory issues, I'd personally be looking for an autism evaluation. With people who understand the spectrum. There are so many ideas and supports for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and yes, the explosive child helps so much for kids with most difficult child issues. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) supports, teaching, therapies can help work on the skill development part of that puzzle. (If thats what you're dealing with) again, I'd be surprised if your psychiatric or even psychiatrist thought so. They often are not great at looking at the wide range of autism and don't put the pieces together. Sad but true. In fact some of their behavior methods can increase anxiety and frustration in kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). You feel things are not getting better so what's to lose. You don't even have to tell your psychiatrist or therapist if you're uncomfortable. A neuropsychologist is usually good at sorting out if its individual issues, a bigger picture developmental issue, mental health issues, etc. Their job is assessment and connecting our neurological makeup with our behavior. Traditional psychs do not have that training.
    I hope your insurance covers it. If not try a developmental pediatrician with a team comprehensive evaluation program.

    If school Occupational Therapist (OT) says there are issues for sure id pursue a private Occupational Therapist (OT). They are able to actually do intensive sensory integration therapy.
    Check out the book " The Out of Synch Child". Lots of great ideas and support and explanation for how this can look like adhd or make adhd symptoms worse.

    You'll sort this out. Just remember, you may need to step outside of your comfort zone. I find it hard to leave a doctor or clinic I like but have lost lots of time and had a few regrets that I didn't sooner. Not saying to leave your docs! Just saying a time may come......
  20. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    I know exactly how you are feeling right now, and I want to echo what the others have said that it CAN get better. Finding the right medication or combination of medications that your kids need can be tough, but once you find what works for them it will make things easier. For us, risperdal made a big difference in our difficult child's life, and consequently, the in the lives of the rest of the family. Is it perfect? No, and I have to admit that I have had a very hard time coming to terms with that, bit it's better and sometimes better is all that I can ask for.