Talk Therapy for 7 Year Old. Thoughts?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by HMBgal, May 6, 2014.

  1. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    Things have escalated with my grandson to the point where my daughter's long-time domestic partner and great guy said "Enough!" and moved out. And since he's never had kids and probably never will, he doesn't get the difficult child thing at all.

    My grandson was diagnosed with ADHD at five years of age when his impulsiveness, lack of focus, complete refusal to do anything anyone asks him too, explosive episodes, him kicked out of just about everywhere. I know that Pathological Demand Avoidance isn't a "thing" here in the U.S., but that fits him so closely.

    As he gets older, the rages have gotten far worse and I'm scared for him, for his sweet easy child sister...for all of us. We've worked through the whole Angry Child, Explosive Child, tested for IEP, and the only thing that really would fit of the 13 qualifying disabling conditions would be serious emotional disturbance, which they won't do. He's on a 504 in a small school.

    His social functioning at school isn't good. Is mostly by himself because the kids that have witnessed or have been the brunt of his rages from kinder to second grade and now the kids shy away from him. He knows why this is, and is lonely.

    He went though a play-based therapy group as a pre-schooler, has been in various social groups as a kinder at school. He's still on Concerta. We would like to take him off for a bit, but his father (with whom my daughter shares 50% custody) won't allow it because of the social ramifications. So he says. He married a woman that he only knew for less than a year with three children, three different fathers, and never married. They are now expecting a baby of their own any day. For all of that, the step siblings are nice enough, the step mother is horrible to my daughter, but good to the kids, I think. All the stepkids go to the same school. I don't think there's tons of drama, and all of this started long before in any case.

    So, we are now looking at talk therapy for him to hopefully help him gain some insight and tools to manage his rages and melt downs. Have any of you had any experience with this, or ideas to share? If you've made it this far, thank you.
  2. jugey

    jugey Active Member

    Our experience with talk therapy, to date, is that it is ineffective for difficult child. husband and I do benefit from it though. Some parent coaching from a good therapist that "gets it" is gold! We work with a great psychologist, that difficult child likes. She looks forward to going. She receives great advice and counsel and then proceeds to do whatever, impulsively, strikes her. It's very frustrating. Having said that , we aren't giving up. I believe in good talk therapy and hope that one day she starts to benefit from it. It's worth a try.

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  3. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I didn't find talk therapy to be effective with Miss KT. We tried several times, with different therapists, and she was less than cooperative each time.
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  4. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hi HMBgal. Sorry to hear that the medication is not as helpful as it seemingly once was? My own experience with J is that the medication made his rages WORSE, much worse. I don't know how that applies to your grandson. As for talk therapy, I have read several times that it is not appropriate for ADHD kids because they cannot apply the "skills" they learn abstractly in a calm setting to ones in which their frustration and impulsivity are going 19 to the dozen... makes sense. It is a vicious circle because the only way kids can learn these things truly is from their peers - and if the peers withdraw, the child can no longer learn. Your grandsom WILL be learning things, in his own way and time, in terms of social relationships - it just seems slower and longer than everyone (including him) would like. I wish I had more concrete and helpful suggestions... could do with them myself.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Try it! See what happens. You can always stop.

    But if you don't try, you won't know. Personally, I'd use a psychologist over a plain therapist. They have more training.

    Good luck :)
  6. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    Thanks for the replies. It is helpful. Being at Kaiser, you have to take what you get. The medication doctor is more "How are things going? Here's your prescription. See you in six months."

    If this boy had just plain ADHD (I know there's no such thing), this wouldn't feel necessary to at least try, but the task refusal at school, the anger, the anxiety and worry he seems to be in the middle of all the time is heartbreaking. His overstrong sense of justice, but yet not quite getting how he's breaking the rules himself, the irritability. And the meltdowns. When he picked up a baseball bat and started bashing the garage floor because of a rage he couldn't control, the kicking the car doors, clenching his fists and crying, can't get his breathing under control, screaming horrible profanities at anyone who comes near (except for me, oddly enough)--it just seems beyond what I know about ADHD. When he calms, it's like nothing ever happened. I asked him if he rages at his stepmother like that, and he said no, that he couldn't because she has a baby in her tummy. So, there's some understanding there but no tools that the people in life, at school, the books we've voraciously consumed and tried to implement, have been successful at getting him to be able to get the rages under control before damage is done.

    We just recently had an eighteen year old boy shot four times in the chest and killed by the police when a neighbor called the police on this obviously mentally ill young man. He came to the door with a baseball bat, and that was that. I can't tell you how much this scares me. And I'm remembering our friend on this board, too.
  7. Castle Queen

    Castle Queen Warrior in training

    Oh HMB, I can so relate...I think about KLMNO all the time...which is why I think we have to try talk therapy. It's just another tool in the arsenal that may or may not help our difficult child's. Knight has been in talk therapy since he was 5...I'm not sure it has helped(Jugey has it about the heat of the moment they can't apply the skills they could ace a test on when calm), but then again, where might we be without it? Maybe even worse off.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    KLMNO...absolutely, my heart bleeds for her every time I think about her horrible situation...and so unjust and crazy. It is with her partly in mind that I do think trying is a good idea. ADHD rarely stands alone anyways. Anyone know any child with ADHD and nothing else, such as learning problems or social problems? Nothing really does stand alone in our little one's brains. One issue leads to another which leads to another which leads to poor social skills which can lead to poor self-esteem which can, in later years, lead to the wrong crowd, which can lead to criminology, which can lead to...but it doesn't always do that. And why...nobody knows.

    I will relate this to my own situation. I'm sure everybody here knows what a seriously mentally ill child I was and I was never taken to therapy but back then THERE WAS NONE FOR CHILDREN. Some brighter kids, with insight to themselves, can circumvent the horrible circumstances that can come of ADHD or whatever else is going on spiraling out of control by listening and learning. Maybe they are the minority. Maybe enough moms just don't try it (and dads). I don't know. All I know is that once I had a clue, I got better. Education about me helped me. Now I was older. But do we owe every chance to our kids? I think so. I think, while they are still young (under teens) we have to try everything we can.

    Now we took 36 to therapy at age eight and he is still self-destructive and a mess, but maybe he would have started harming people more than he has and maybe, God help me, killed somebody without therapy. Maye he would have turned into a criminal who was also shot by some gun slinging cop *shudder*. He did learn some self control. We will never know if that was because of therapy or...something else.

    I am one of those who would rather be safe than sorry. If you see your money is going to waste, heck, you can always stop taking him. Usualy the psychologist will talk to YOU too and , if nothing else, it helps to get input even if some or most or all of it doesn't work. You don't feel so alone. The only thing that we can say is useless is doing nothing or trying to be professionals ourselves, which we are not. We need a village to raise our difficult children ;) We can not do it by pretending it will get better on it's own.

    WE HAVE TO think? I really just feel this way. You don't have to agree.

    Take care.
    Last edited: May 7, 2014
  9. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Just as different medications are appropriate for our individual difficult children with the same diagnosis, different types of treatments/interventions work for some and not for others.

    But you will never know until you try.

    My son, who was very, very young with his adhd (highly impulsive/combined) manifested itself, it was much later (2nd grade) with the really inappropriate/violent behavior began - raging at school was the worst of it - flipping desks, papers destroyed - classroom being quickly cleared of children to insure their safety while my son was left with one adult in supervision until I could get there to take him home. He began talk therapy (clinical psychologist) within a week of his first violent rage and continued all the way through his first year of high school.

    He was treated by the same doctor the entire time and it was great for him. The benefits were numerous. He had someone "outside" to talk/play with - and they did sit on the floor and do legos and such at the beginning. Eventually she began to make him aware of what it felt like when he was becoming frustrated, angry, anxious. Once he was able to "feel" it coming, she began to work with him on coping mechanisms and self comforting options. A piece of velcro with the hard side up was pasted to his desk. When he began to feel anxious or frustrated he would rub his fingers over it. His classroom teacher had a pad of drawing paper, markers, a pack of crackers and a bottle of water at the ready. If she saw him begin to express physical signs of agitation, she would offer him his special box and he could sit at her desk (which was behind the other kids as she didn't use her desk when teaching) until he was calm. At the end of the school day I could plan no errands or such - he needed to come straight home and sit quietly because it was so difficult for him to remain in control all day that he needed decomposer time.

    He was given rewards for continuous days without meltdowns like feeding the classroom fish or going to the library and picking a book that the asst principal would ready him one on one on Friday afternoons. His therapist worked close with offering her input to the school through me, attending annual IEP meetings for a few years, and his school administrators were open to her suggestions.

    Once maturity began to kick in, talk therapy moved to a different focus.

    I personally feel talk therapy depends on the patient, the doctor, and the support the given to the recommendations, reactions to the revelations, and how supportive other formal settings are (like school, sunday school, scouts, tutoring, sports coaches, etc.).

    Working for positive forward motion and future success for our difficult children is as layered as the sedimentary rock they study in science and can be as sensitive as walking on eggs.

    As I approach the final 4 weeks until my difficult child graduates from high school, I remember how hard it was to even visualize getting to this point when we were at our darkest and most difficult hours. But we are almost there and talk therapy was definitely one of the reasons we are.

    Good luck.

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