Suspended AGAIN!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by PSALM 30:5, May 20, 2008.

  1. PSALM 30:5

    PSALM 30:5 New Member

    New to the support group/discussion board thing... Amazing how you think you are the only one going through the emotions brought on by our difficult child's (I just learned that on here-- thanks!) to find that you are really not, at all... alone. In fact-- you think the cross you bare is so heavy, until you hear someone elses story. So thank you for keeping my humble.

    I joined the group today after getting off the phone with my daughter's principal... Suspended Again! The impulsivity brought on my her ADHD is making school, a positive social life, home life, and our relationship extremely difficult. In fact, it is causing so much stress in our home. Most days I feel as if I am raising a complete stranger-- how could I have honestly birthed this child from my womb?! Where did I go wrong? What didn't I expose her to-- teach her? Why is God punishing me?

    Like many of you-- I think the behavior is turning around, so I let my guard down... only to get "burnt" by her antics and behavior again.
  2. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Maybe we should start a thread for how we all found this site, cause I'll bet most of us were kinda like you. Personally, I found it around 3am, searching for answers for my older difficult child...I read the stories and sat there and cried.

    Sorry you had to find us, but welcome. Great group of people here. TONS of support.

    Personally, it is easier for me, emotionally, in the middle of weeks long chaos than it is the first few days after my difficult child's had a "good" spell. The "not this again" feeling and dread is just overwhelming until I get back into "the mode" of dealing with it.

    Hugs, and welcome!
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    in my opinion, you aren't being punished. You have a child with a disorder. I have a few questions that can help us help you.

    1/Are there any psychiatric problems on the family tree...or substance abuse?

    2/ How was your child's early development? Any speech delays, poor eye contact, fine/large motor delays, pottying delays, problems interacting with other kids her age?

    What behaviors disturb you?
    Who diagnosed her. Has she ever had a complete neuropsychologist evaluation? Are you certain, in your mind, that ADHD is her only problem? Do you think it could be something else too?
    Since she is not on medications yet, I would re-evaluate her with a neuropsychologist, if you haven't. Putting a child on ADHD medications if you aren't really pretty positive it is ADHD can make things worse. But some disorders do need medicating.
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Welcome! I'm glad you found us.

    Once you answer MWM's questions, we should be able to point you in the right direction for help. In the meantime, I recommend getting your hands on a copy of The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. It has helped many of us on this board parent our extra-challenging children.

    Again, welcome.
  5. 4sumrzn

    4sumrzn New Member

    Welcome!!! You have found a wonderful place & amazing people!!!!! Once everyone gets a bit more information, it becomes a bit easier to give the advice. Some can relate to your specific issues, others may not be able to because they haven't experienced it the same or even at all. BUT, most have been there & can let you know what their experience was like. Once again, welcome!

    Oh....The Explosive Child...a for sure read!!!!!
  6. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    Obviously we have a lot of questions for you.

    The Explosive Child is a definate for your family.

    Is there a reason your daughter is not on medications? I will tell you that I resisted adhd medications for my son for about a year. Then, after his getting in trouble at school, social difficulties, and my worry that as the work got tougher, the problems may include an academic compenent, I began to investigate medication options. What really made the change for me was my thinking that it was so unfair to expect something out of my son that he was honestly not able to give.

    The outlook of the parent plays an important role in the behavior of the child. Don't look at her adhd as a burden you have to bear, she's that one with the burden. Imagine not being able to control you impluses even though you know what you are doing/done is not right? Imagine not being able to focus on your teacher's words? Imagine the constant feeling that things are going fast inside your body? Imagine constantly being told "stop that", or "that's bad", or "you can better", or "not again".

    It's your daughter that suffering the most here even though it's difficult to see from our perspective. It is obvious you love your daughter from you post. Check out some things you haven't done yet - investigate all the options that have the potential of giving your daughter success.

  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Welcome. The others have already given you some good advice. It saves me having to say the same thing.

    A couple of things to add - first, dump the guilt. You don't need it, it's not relevant or appropriate, it will only slow you down. In fact, dump blame entirely. Same reasons. (and guilt is only blame, turned inwards).

    This isn't about what you did wrong, or deserve or don't deserve. Remember what John Lennon said (in "Beautiful Boy") - "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans."

    This is about where you go from here, what you do from here to help her.

    First, has she been thoroughly assessed? If so, when? If it was a while ago, she may need to be re-evaluated. Certainly, you (and she) need help. The school also needs help. Without a confirmed diagnosis (or paperwork attesting to the same) they can only treat her as any other child, but one who is capable of controlling her impulses and making considered decisions. And I think to apply those standards to a kid who can't cope, is unfair. That's why there are support systems available. But to access them you need to formally ask for them. And you also need certificates, letters etc from doctors confirming the diagnosis.

    Once you have some level of official support in place, the school can handle things differently. For more info on how, check out the Special Education forum.

    Some parents don't like getting the diagnosis etc all wrapped up in paperwork because it 'labels' their child and this can set her up for being targeted as different. The trouble here is, she's already a target and seen as a problem. There is nothing more you could do to make this worse, but a lot that could be done to make it better.

    Where appropriate, medications do help. But the longer she struggles without them, the more resentful and angry she will be, with everyone expecting things from her she just can't manage without a lot more effort than she can sustain.

    This can improve. This can be very different. There are other ways to manage, different viewpoints and different techniques. The thing to hold on to - if something is working, use it. If something is not working, dump it. There is no point punishing for something she can't help or can't change - it's like punishing Helen Keller for being blind.

    If you can get inside her head and work out how she is feeling and what she may be thinking, it might make it easier to find ways to help her.

    Do check out Special Education - there are ideas there and ways of helping that you may not be aware of.

    Again, welcome!

  8. Christy

    Christy New Member

    It's so true what you said at the beginning of your post. I'm glad you found us!

    I am wondering about your daughter's school. Is it a public school or a private school? Is her ADHD affecting her glades. Do you have an iep or 504 plan in place. Does the school have a behavior intervention plan for your daughter?

    You may want to seek additional evaluation and consider medication. It's a hard thing to do but if it can help your daughter be more successful socially and academically then it's worth it.

  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome. Here's a cup of tea.

    I agree with-this !!!! Like many of you-- I think the behavior is turning around, so I let my guard down... only to get "burnt" by her antics and behavior again.

    That's why we're warrior moms. Our child psychiatric calls it being a Happy Warrior. Easier said than done. But you can never, ever let your guard down. I often pretend I'm in the military. Not easy for an artist and writer!
  10. PSALM 30:5

    PSALM 30:5 New Member

    I'm going to attempt to answer everyone's questions. I'll offer a disclaimer on my "candid" responses...

    1. My daughter has undergone tests for learning disabilities-- that turned up nothing unusual. If anything, it confirmed what we already knew-- she's a kinestetic learner.

    2. We tried medications a few years ago and they yielded no improvement. We caught a lot of **** from family members about how it's a parents job to suppor their child however necessary-- NOT to medicate their children so that they can deal with them.

    3. We have quite a few Psychiatrists in the family-- while they have never evaluated my daughter one-on-one, they have never referenced anything aside from ADHD patterns and behaviors.

    4. My daughter goes to a private school. There were 25 kids in her 6th grade class. She will be repeating the 6th grade next year.

    5. Let me say this-- and I hope it doesn't rub anyone the wrong way, but it's how I feel, so work with me here... We are African-American (black folks!) living in Colorado... If I place my child on an IEP or 504 Plan, she's stuck. She's marked. She's tainted. She officially becomes a "have not". The educational system is not supportive of children of color-- nor is it a system that seeks to provide adequate resources for children with special learning needs. Essentially, my daughter will become the kid in a classroom with a variety of other students, some with severe needs, not allowed to populate the halls with her peers, not able to eat lunch with the other students, never being able to attend a "good school" because this IEP or 504 Plan will hold her back from opportunities within the district-- which is exactly why we placed her in private school. I speek from first hand knowledge-- my husband is a principal in the district and I have started our districts schools of choice...

    6. Strattera is the medication her physician would like to place her on towards the end of the summer-- making the necessary adjustments prior to the start of the school year, so that once school starts she's "good to go".

    I'm sure that doesn't address everything, but possible a good start???
  11. PSALM 30:5

    PSALM 30:5 New Member


    I forgot to answer your questions:

    No developmental delays or disabilities. I had a normal (whatever that is) pregnancy and delivery. My daughter began walking at 9 months. She grew and gained weight along the 50th percentile. I drank my water, took my pre-natals, went to all of my appointments... the whole shabang! I may have had one margarita before I knew I was preggers, but that's about it!

    My grandmother (83 years old) was recently diagnosed with Dementia. Aside from this, no history of mental health conditions in our family.

    No substance abuse problems... Okay, my parents were hippies and my brother and I were probably marijuana babies-- but other than this, nothing.
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Hi. I'm sorry you feel you have to worry about the stigma thing - I'm not from the US so I really can't connect to that, I just have to accept that your concerns would not be frivolous; you feel you have genuine cause for concern. I am very sorry you feel you have to be so careful, but the world is unfortunately not perfect. I wish it were.

    I am physically disabled - I walk with one, occasionally two, Canada crutches and sometimes I use an electric scooter (of the little old lady variety). I know it has absolutely nothing to do with my kids and the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in the family, but a lot of people do draw that conclusion. Then there are the people who talk loudly to me, expecting me to be mentally deficient. I've got a thick hide and I treat it with humour, I don't let it get to me. But yes, it is important to be aware of it and also aware of how it impacts on the family.

    I guess it's as close as I can get to understanding where you are coming from.

    All I can suggest, is that you keep a close 'feel' for how they are treating your daughter and how they 'see' her, and if/when things get to a stage where it will not make things any worse, then maybe you might feel there is nothing to lose.

    That doesn't mean we can't help. There are other things you can try. A big part of this is also how your daughter feels about herself, and what sort of understanding she has about her problems and how she can cope. I do know that when difficult child 1 was finally diagnosed as ADHD (he was 6 years old) it was a big relief for him. He had been thinking that he was just a bad kid, a dumb kid, and being naughty was going to be his niche in life because no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't please his teacher and nor could he stay on task like the other kids. Once he was told that it was a disorder, there was something wrong and it wasn't his fault, you could see the weight lifted off his shoulders. I never thought a six year old could look so happy, so relieved, as when difficult child 1 was told he had ADHD. Of course, almost ten years later this was revised to Asperger's. Again, he wasn't upset by this, because it explained things.

    We have friends whose children have similar diagnoses. In a lot of cases, notably the ones where the kids are trying to cope in isolation, the family attitude is one of "don't let grandparents/family/friends know there is something wrong, we'll never hear the end of it." One of these is difficult child 3's best friend. The mother & I often talk about how our boys cope. The father, on the other hand, doesn't want the topic discussed under his roof, he is concerned about stigma and believes that if a child is told he has a disability, then the child will use that as an excuse for the rest of his life and it will become a crutch. He states this opinion and then walks away, refusing to listen to anything I might say in response. As it's his house, I shut up. But I believe he is wrong, and my boys are the proof of this.
    difficult child 1's best friend is another example - he is Aspie. He has been raised by his (single) mother, because his father died when he was a toddler. Of course, with his odd behaviour people assume she was abandoned or an unwed mother. There is this attitude of, "no better than they should be," even though when you meet her she is a lovely, moral, organised and practical person who does what she can for hr children. But her son has been very needy, and because she has had to work she hasn't been able to be there for him as much as he required. As a result, his way of coping has been to hide his disability behind a mask of humour and tricks (he is very skilled at hand juggling). The schoolteachers were mostly afraid of him, with his large frame, expressionless face and the sense of hidden violence. In reality he's a gentle giant who just doesn't know how to express emotion. But he felt like a failure after he was asked to leave the school before graduation (misunderstanding; he had done nothing wrong but was not equipped to fight for his rights). So I took him in hand after a couple of years and got him and difficult child 1 enrolled in the same college course (single unit, one year). It was a struggle at times but he finished the course. He's not using the qualification - it doesn't matter. He is no longer a failure, in his own mind - THAT is what matters.

    The ones that cope, that have a better attitude - they are the ones where parents talk to other parents, where the kids mix together socially and learn to value one another. You will find something for her. She will find friends for herself (so don't panic when she brings home the weird kids). What they get from one another - acceptance. It's gold.
    For us, we found it through difficult child 3's drama class. It's not just for autistics, it's for kids with a wide range of "learning difficulties". In the class are a couple of Down's kids; one young man with unspecified developmental delay; a few Aspies & autistics; and a teenage girl who was brain injured in a car accident when a toddler, not expected to live (and they now wonder if she was also autistic like her brother). They have their problems, they have their gifts. And they enjoy spending time together. Every year these kids work together and write a play to present to their parents. A number of them (the autistic/Aspies) were in "The Black Balloon" with a few others, a feature film released this year starring Toni Collette, and dealing with a 16 year old boy coming to terms with his profoundly autistic brother. Can you imagine how these kids felt, when they saw themselves on the big screen and were personally thanked by the director?

    The IQ range at difficult child 3's drama class is very wide - from very low, well below 100, up to 140s & higher. And they're all friends, across this spectrum. They learn tolerance and compassion.

    School can make a child, or it can set her back a great deal. If you do not want to "come out" to the school about any possible label for fear of long-term stagnation consequences, then you may want to consider home schooling at some stage, or tutoring, or in some way trying to help her overcome the manifestations of whatever she is dealing with. Counselling won't hurt - you or her. Also, anything she is good at, which makes her feel good about herself, is worth enrolling her in.

    What happens for you from here - she is likely to continue having problems at school, likely to continue getting suspended or even expelled. You could try to head this off at the pass, so to speak, by making alternative education arrangements NOW, or try to find ways to help her change her behaviour in a positive direction (not easy - if you find out how, write a book, make a million, and don't forget to tell us!).

    I've seen problem kids turned around by removing them from school and teaching them at home. I've also seen this fail spectacularly when the parent couldn't get cooperation even at home. You know your child and what you both can handle.

    A place to start - this is what we did with difficult child 3, when he spent time home from school. We made a rule, "school work during school hours". Even if he was physically ill (a common problem) he had to do schoolwork of some sort of other, even if I had to dig around to find something for him. A DVD documentary, for example. A writing task. Online maths. I also did not do it with an air of punishment, more an air of "this is your job. Dad goes out to work, Mum does the cooking and organisation at home, you do your schoolwork and work towards a potential career path in something you will enjoy."

    School is punishment enough. There is no need to continue the punishment at home, although you do need to provide some sort of coordination with school to avoid undermining authority. Not easy, if you don't agree with them.

    Anyway, I've said enough for now (assuming you're still reading on!).

    It's early days for you, but you are doing the best you can and already have a good feel for what will work. You will need this instinct of yours, so value it.

  13. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    We've not tried Strattera, but if I recall (and I'm sure some members will chime in and let us know if I remembered incorrectly) it takes as much as three months to see a benefit. If that is true, you may want to start pretty soon. That way you have plenty of time before school starts in the fall to tweak (or get the medication totally out of her system).

  14. Christy

    Christy New Member

    I'm sorry the school system seems so backward there. It seems contrary to IDEA laws, least restrictive environment, but as you mention your husband is a principal so obviously you know what the school system is like. I asked, because private schools do not have to allow for special needs (even ADHD) and a 504 or iep offers protection against repeated suspensions if the behaviors are a manifestion of the disability.

    Good luck with the straterra if you decide to go that route.
    :) Christy