Staying Calm... For Now

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Plexicos, Oct 4, 2014.

  1. Plexicos

    Plexicos New Member

    Hi everyone - Just joined, looking for some advice and support.

    For the past 7 months I have been living with my girlfriend and her 8 year old son, who I love and care for immensely. He is a sweet, handsome and intelligent boy, but I am insanely worried about the trajectory he is on.

    He has been diagnosed with extreme ADHD, and the ritalin seems to make a huge difference, especially in school. However, he is showing some alarming tendencies that I have no explanation or solution for.

    * He has no fear of consequences, at all. You can threaten the worst punishment you can think of (and are, of course, willing to do), but it will never cause him to stop what he is doing.

    * He repeats the same transgressions over and over, even when there is no need for it (for example, our insistence on him telling us where he is going. We hardly ever tell him not to go somewhere, and yet he will continue disappearing). He steals money from his mothers wallet, gets into trouble, tells the most ridiculous lies about it, and then does it again a few days later.

    * When he is off his ritalin, he is violent and bossy towards other children, and just generally unwilling to follow any request or demand.

    I am increasingly concerned as while I have had a great effect on him in certain areas, others are just getting worse, and I fear the day when he will be sophisticated enough to do things without getting caught, and lie better. I am trying to convince his mother to get him some more professional help, but in what I assume is a natural maternal response, she is unable to think of her son as someone who may need psychiatric medication, and refuses to even take him in for a diagnosis.

    Seems like there is a lot of experience on this board. Would love to hear any thoughts and advice.

  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Plexicos.
    He sounds a bit like my son. He would disappear for hours and I would have to scout the neighborhood looking for him. Very embarrassing, to say the least.
    Very, very ADHD, where his thoughts were racing ... well, except the thoughts about responsibility or obedience, which seemed fleeting at best. :)
    You have to keep an eye on him at this stage. The hard part was getting an authoritative babysitter, because I was exhausted and needed breaks. He left several in tears, but we did find two very good ones.

    Definitely, he needs to be tested. Is he on grade level? You could have him given a day of psychoeducational testing. It combines attention span, basic drawing skills (square, circle, triangle which falls partly under motor control and partly brain function), math, English, and social. Maybe your girlfriend would be more comfortable with that. I do not know if it is covered by insurance, but even if you pay cash, it is well worth it.

    He sounds slightly Aspie to me. Don't use regular punishments. Obviously, they don't work. What are his favorite things to do? Warn him ahead of time what will happen if he does xyz. When he does it, take away whatever it is--TV time for a half hour, etc. Don't do anything for more than a day or two. He's too young to understand. (Regular kids understand better but with-ADHD and other issues, they can't behave for more than a few hours at a time.)

    When he does something good, even if it's holding open a door for someone, or speaking in a normal tone of voice, praise him. "I really like the way you said that. I like your voice just like that. I wish you would do it more."

    So sorry about his mom. Sounds like she's the stumbling block. These kinds of things tend to get worse, not better, left untreated.
  3. Plexicos

    Plexicos New Member

    Thanks Terry. Some great points.

    I dont know about Aspergers (Im assuming thats what you were referring to). He is actually very social and is making a lot of friends in his new school. Regarding the punishments, he is aware of the consequences and simply doesnt care at that moment. Later he begs for another chance, but it literally never stops him from doing anything. The moment is too strong.

    He gets a lot of praise from us when he does something positive, and I reward him a lot for being good. And he understands it, but this too does not stop the next temptation.

    His mom will come around. I just hope it wont be after something horrible.
  4. Katherine61

    Katherine61 Running on empty

    Hi Plexicos, I've read almost everything there is out there on Aspersers. This is what they first diagnosed my son with 3 years ago. His diagnoses have changed in the last year. He now is passive aggressive and conduct disorder. Children with Aspersers can have melt downs, most have ADHD, they also do not fear punishment. I do believe as of Oct. 1 this year they have taken Aspersers out of the books. It is no longer considered because it is so complex. The American Psychiatric Association (DSM-V, this years bible for the psychiatrist) are now calling it, Disorder within the Autism Spectrum.
    I do believe he needs to be tested by a pediatric psychiatrist.
    I know how mom's a very hard thing to admit, you may not have the perfect child. This mom feels at times, it's her fault. It sucks. It took me 10 years to finally admit there was something wrong with my son. Now, that I have, I'm fighting to get him help.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I am going to quickly correct the assumptions that Aspies have meltdowns (some do, most don't by the time they get older) and even worse that they don't fear consequences. They are NOT risktakers and DO care about being punished and consequences. I live with one and am in a parent group where all of us live with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) children. I don't know where you heard they don't fear consequences, but whoever told you that is wrong. Most are very sensitive and even if 16 may cry and talk about how stupid they are if punished and state remorse. But many people who claim to be health professionals do not understand Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). It is not distinguished anymore...Aspergers, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified, and classic autism. I'm kind of glad because again the preofessionals don't seem to agree on what Aspergers is. I read in the DSM that for Aspergers there can be no speech delay, but many Aspies (diagnosed as such) do have one and have serious cognitive issues in school. In fact my son, who was diagnosed Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified, at a Mayo Clinic doctor's office after twelve hours of testing is way more functional than most who have been diagnosed with Aspergers, so I don't get it. That is probably why it is now lumped together. Also, it is easier to get adult services, which many even high functioning autistics need, with the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

    Sorry for highjacking the thread. I will retreat now :)

    In my opinion, he sounds more ODDIsh (not a real helpful diagnose, but it does mean oppositional on purpose) than anywhere near autism. You have your work cut out for you, sir. Think about it hard before you get further involved. Maybe give it a few years and see. Although his father has never been in the picture, this child carries 50% of his father's DNA and DNA matters!!! It's huge.
  6. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hello Plexicos. Welcome to a place where people "get it" even if they are not able to magically diagnose sight unseense over the internet (of course)...

    I really don't know much about autism and Asperger's. All I can tell you is that my son almost certainly doesn't have either and he sounds rather similar to your girlfriend's son. My son keeps repeating things over and over, no matter what consequences are in place - particularly stealing, which has begun to get worrying. He regularly steals from my purse so now I have to systematically hide it. Most of the time he doesn't even seem guilty or worried when I catch him with it (how many times have I not?) and just protests mildly when I take it back. He steals money from other people and places too, and then he will lie about it - ridiculous, transparent lies, as you say. He definitely knows stealing is "wrong". My son has often been quite aggressive and bossy to other children.

    I honestly don't know what's what. My son is adopted, which your girlfriend's son isn't, so there are also attachment/anger issues in addition to the diagnosed ADHD.
  7. Plexicos

    Plexicos New Member

    Thanks for all your input guys.

    Yeah, reading about Aspergers I dont see it either. ODD is definitely something that fits his characteristics, and as I understand it, also very commonly associated with ADHD. And there is also something not right with the father, who is now a born again Orthodox Jew, after spending the last 7-8 years as a junkie. And dont even get me started on her parents...

    But that just all leads back to me and my responsibility to him. Im in too deep to stay uninvolved, and would very much like to believe that we are living in an age where we can make things so much better for him.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    definitely, the ADHD is the controlling factor, no matter what diagnosis he ends up with in the future. What I see from your brief posts is total lack of impulse control.

    The idea of repeating the same behaviors over and over can be an either/or diagnosis, but in our situation, the consequences had to be huge before our son would learn. "I didn't know you really meant it!" he'd complain ... after the neighbors called the police. (?)

    He did not understand boundaries, for one. If the neighbor's door was unlocked, and he'd been invited in before, it meant he could go inside any time he chose. Never mind that they weren't home. Never mind that he took things, with the intention of returning them.
    The impulse to live in the moment totally overrode his conscience.

    Now ... he's pretty much both Aspie Lite and bipolar. Although the psychiatrist hasn't said that aloud. But I can tell you that lithium is not a normal drug to use on Asperger's and it works very well for my son. However, Concerta/Adderal also works, and it's supposed to make bipolar worse.

    Also, is there an element of anxiety with your difficult child? That can, of course, be related to any future diagnosis, or it can simply be ... anxiety.

    When I watch my son, he has major anxiety in crowds (missed all but one baseball opening ceremony), total anxiety talking to strangers, anxiety even talking to teachers at school when he needs a homework assignment or clarification, but he took a "risk" by going into the neighbor's house. He has done a lot of odd behaviors (odd as in weird) like urinating and defecating in containers, and wiping stuff on walls, and much of that was ADHD and sensory related. But is that autism? Or is it something else? Either way, he doesn't do it anymore, he's attending school every day, and he's got a job. WTH? No clear pattern.

    So, there are no easy answers.

    I would get him tested, no matter what. Keep reading. Keep an eye on him. Be a constant presence for him. And get therapy. My son has had so many issues, I could fill a book. He has gone beyond over half of them. But we have a long way to go. Without medications and therapy, I shudder to think where we would be right now.

    MWM, I totally forgot about the genetic issues! Lol.
    I understand where you're coming from and I agree, there is ODD there. Again, we have to see what develops as this difficult child grows.

    You sound like you are a very caring potential stepdad, Plexicos. :) Could you explain what you mean about "something not right" with the father? I mean, I get the born again fundamentalist Jew issue, but what more can you see? Habits? Speech patterns? Anger issues? Sensory issues? Repetition?
  9. Plexicos

    Plexicos New Member

    Definitely seems like there is anxiety there, and he complains of stomach aches and headaches which are probably related. They have moved out of town to where I live, and so he has now started his third school in as many years. He was almost kicked out on his second day (his mom decided not to give him his ritalin that day. huge mistake), after he apparently made 10 different kids cry. But while he does get shy with new people at first, he opens up rather quickly. I have not seen anything in a crowd, though.

    I am just getting to know her family now (she has almost no contact with them, and will probably have less in the future, as her father is a major pile of something. In the recent weeks I have found out that he used to hit his wife, and this is a place H. (my girlfriend's son) has spent alot of time at. His grandmother is a nervous wreck with classic battered women syndrome, who two years ago tried to kill herself.

    And apparently, the father's family is an even bigger hell hole. Before he found religion he was apparently into hard drugs for several years.
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  10. Plexicos

    Plexicos New Member

    In case i didnt make it clear, I have never met the father, and my girlfriend has not seen him since the boy was around 1 yr. old.
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  11. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    He sounds a lot like my son when he was at that age (except he would never disappear-always wanted us to know what trouble he was getting into. Ours ended up with being diagnosed with a lot (not with Aspergers or anywhere on the spectrum). His ADHD medications would cause him to be extremely violent).
  12. Plexicos

    Plexicos New Member

    So how is he doing these days?
  13. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    He is doing really well right now in terms of where he was. The violence is mostly a thing of the past (thanks to several hospitalizations and a great psychiatrist who was willing to let him take a certain medication-clozapine-rarely given to children and some good therapists, and this place).

    He still has learning issues, talks non stop, is rude and disrespectful-mostly at home. However, he is a senior in high school and working as a busboy/dishwasher. We are really proud with how far he has come and hope to continue to see improvements.
  14. Katherine61

    Katherine61 Running on empty

    These days are touch and go. He makes A's and B's in school. Cannot complain there. He take a couple honor classes. He is very very smart. He still doesn't show any emotions, no empathy/sympathy, cruel to animals, very anti-social, has acted as though he was going to hit me, cannot make a decision, (not even what classes to take in school or food he wants to eat,), doesn't except responsibility. If he is corrected in anyway, he will urinate at my bedroom door at night. It's as though he is marking me. He cannot say, "I'm sorry" never has unless prompted to do so. He was ask why, and he responds with, "it will mean I'm not perfect." He cannot stand our home everything is on a schedule. There is so much more, but you, know it depressing. By the way he is 15 now and 6 foot 5 inches. His therapist says mentally he is at about 8-10 year old level. At this moment he has not reached sexual maturity. Oh, but when he does, I'm going to have to plant my feet in cement to be able to stay on the ground.
    Most people when they met my son, they say how sweet he is or you are so lucky, he a gentleman. I gotten remarks on just how well mannered he is. He will use yes/no ma'am and yes/no sir, but will not say please or thank you. All I can do is say thank you.
  15. Plexicos

    Plexicos New Member

    Wiped - when you say H. reminds you of your kid, do you mean when he was his age?
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Has your stepson ever seen a neuropsychologist? If not, I highly advise it.

    Hate to say it, but unless your girlfriend realizes and acknowledges that her son has problems, and some are likely genetic as he seems to have been dealt a couple "iffy" sets of DNA (common with our difficult children), then nothing will change. He needs professional help and early intervention is what is needed for a good adult prognosis. I hope you can get her to take him for an evaluation and the recommended help. It's sooooooooooo important. It is NOT about our discipline. Too bad father still sees the boy, but it is what it is. It is very hard to get the court to terminate parental visitation...I know this from reading about it on a dad's divorce forum when my own son was fighting for custody of his child (50%). As I read about divorce cases and fathers who were angry because their ex's had been in jail for drugs, violence, etc. it was eye opening to this naive person to find that it doesn't matter what they have done to themselves or others unless it is proven physical abuse against the child himself.

    Unfortunately, sadly, father is likely to continue being an influence and I agree with whoever said that if you can in an y way try to get along with Dad, it may actually help your step son.
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Katherine, for me, most of our difficult children are very far behind their actual age in maturity. If you think about it, even two year olds don't usually deliberately urinate in our rooms because they are angry. Seems like our difficult children are wired differently. Like your son, mine is much older, but has many antisocial traits. He is a master thief. If he steals from you, you will never be sure he actually did it, but you KNOW. He is good at gaslighting. "You remembered it wrong, Mom." "I have no memory of my high school years. Honest!" "So you believe HER over ME?" (Yes, I do...wonder why).

    I took my son to therapists and psychiatrists and hospitalized him from age eight on up and nobody could nail him. He was/is very elusive. I see antisocial and narcissistic traits, anxiety disorder and a lack of empathy at times. He has empathy sometimes toward certain people, but not toward strangers. He does not basically care a lot about others. He is a major con artist and that's why professionals have been puzzled or "played." He is extremely high IQ, which just makes him better at what he does.

    I feel a tremendous amount of affinity with certain people who have difficult children that remind me of my son and your son is kind of like that, although my son would have never been defiant by urination. However, he did raise his fist to me.

    I hope you stay with us so we can help you along your journey and I'm so sorry you have to take it. My son lives a few states away now so things are considerably I've learned to detach and accept. My motto is "It is what it is and I can't change it." Hugs to you.
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  18. Plexicos

    Plexicos New Member

    I'm sorry, I must have not been clear. The father is out of the picture since H. was about 1 year old.

    But yeah, thats the battle right now - getting his mother to realize how urgent this is. I think I'm making some progress there.
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well...the child is already eight. The longer she waits, the harder it will be. So I'd consider her a bigger problem than her son right now. Eight is pretty old to start interventions. Without help, he will probably deteriorate.
  20. Katherine61

    Katherine61 Running on empty

    Morning MWM, and to all others. I'm going to stay around with all of you. I've never done anything like this before and I'm still trying to figure out how this system works. This is the first time I have ever gotten on a discussion board. I've never blogged. I suppose you could say, I'm behind the times. LOL
    When R urinates at our bedroom door at night it is a though he is marking us like a dog. Some days I just wait and pray he doesn't go further. It's so tiring and hard to always try to keep him calm. Even though he is anti-social and most of the time when he is at home, he just sits in his bedroom or goes outside and walks. He just looks like a lost puppy. He can't find himself. Which in all honesty he can't.
    Yeah, what is really frightening is when sexually maturity kicks in...what then?
    My husband and I don't want him turning out to be like his biological father. He went to prison for killing is 3 year old son, ( shaking baby syndrome) and back there now for trying to do he same to his daughter. I know for a fact if my husband and I had not intervened when our son was 6 months old he would have been the first child he killed. I'm so grateful that we were able to save his life, then. But now we are trying to save our son's life now.
    Oh yes, he has a very very high IQ. Honor classes at school. Some days when I look at R, I wonder just what is going on in his head. To ask him, "Nothing" This just makes me want to scream!!! I know men and women are different when it come to the thinking process. My husband will come home from work and just go blank for a few minutes, it's his way of unwinding from the day. During this time I know he has nothing going on in his brain, but it doesn't last all the time he is awake or walking around.
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