Update and massive sibling rivalry

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Roxona, May 9, 2016.

  1. Roxona

    Roxona Active Member

    Hi all. It's been a couple of weeks since I last posted. We've been busy getting SS10 into counseling. We've been to about five counseling session and were referred to a psychiatrist for medication review. I don't usually attend the counseling sessions, but did go to the initial appointment with the psychiatrist. I had to leave the appointment early so I could be home in time to catch SS6 when he got home from school, but before I left I advised that I believed he needed a neuropsychiatric evaluation. Instead of setting up the evaluation, the doctor prescribed 5mg of Ritalin per day. Nothing has been done to schedule the evaluation to date. My husband said that the doctor said we needed to medicate SS10 for the ADHD before an evaluation could be done. I personally thought that would be counterintuitive. Wouldn't the medications mask the symptoms SS10 is having and alter the evaluation results??? Husband tried the medications on SS10 this weekend to no effect. However, SS10 had was massively raging again at bedtime last night, and my husband has put a call into the doctor.

    SS10 complains that his raging was due to SS6 telling on him. SS10 complains that SS6 tells on him all the time to get him into trouble and also tells everyone at school about SS10's issues. In some regards SS6 does tell on his brother for things that he shouldn't, and we have had numerous conversations about this with SS6. However, SS10 bullies SS6 all the time, and SS6 has reached the age and point where he is sick of it. So are all the other kids in the neighborhood, and there has been massive retaliation against SS10 by everyone. So, in a nutshell SS6 is at times trying to get SS10 into trouble. He doesn't like that SS10 tries to set his own rules while everyone else has to live within the house rules. He doesn't like SS10 constantly bullying him and telling him what to do and how to do it. He is learning that other kids won't play with him because his brother is bullying everyone else, so he betrays his brother in order for others to like and play with him. I believe SS6 would stop/outgrow tattling on his brother if his brother weren't so overbearing, but we can't get SS10 to stop bullying and being in everyone's face, and so the cycle continues to spiral. Every time we address this with SS10, he has a massive rage and feels like we are persecuting him. We have been trying to prevent situations from occurring, so we don't set SS10 up for failure where he a awarded a negative consequence, but we can't prevent everything, and I don't believe ignoring SS10's behavior/bullying will solve anything. Short of moving one kid to one house and one kid to another house, we are in a catch 22 and are having a hard time figuring how to nip this mess in the bud. A lot of these rages happen at bed time...probably more so than at any other time of day. As I sit here, I am beginning to think that maybe we need to stagger bed times, so that they are not reverberating off of each other. The one going to bed at an earlier time will not think it's fair, but I can't think of any other way at this point. Anyone have any suggestions?
  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi Roxona

    What a mess.
    It makes sense to me your idea to focus on bedtime, as the time the rages seem to occur.

    Do they share bedrooms? Is there a way that separate sleeping space could be arranged, even temporarily, to see if that helps? Even in the dining room or living room?

    If they were each in separate rooms it would minimize their focus on the other as a means to manage anxiety. Because I cannot think of another reason to fight at sleep.

    If they had separate spaces, each could have their own pre-sleep rituals: picture books, quiet reading or music or story time. In the short run it might make it more time-consuming for you but it could ease things in the longer run. Or you and your husband could alternate with one and then the other child either alternating nights or in the same one.

    Is it possible to provide each child with their own MP3 player?
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    For some of us... splitting the kids has been the only option.

    When he is raging - I assume one of you is taking video of this stuff? The doctor needs to SEE and HEAR this stuff, not just listen to you complain about it, because they DO discount your opinion.
  4. Roxona

    Roxona Active Member

    They both have always had their own room, and we have tried to promote quiet reading or dad reading to one or both of them. They fight when dad is reading to them at the same time. I've tried reading to SS10 while dad is reading to SS6, but SS10 gets mad when dad doesn't read to him instead, and vice versa. Both boys fight over their dad's attention, and since I'm just stepmom, I don't matter. It really doesn't bother me that they would rather be with their dad than me, so for a while now, I've just stayed downstairs and out of the chaos as much as possible.

    They both have iPads and can play music, but SS10 would stay up past midnight singing, messing with the iPad, and wouldn't get enough sleep. It became an increasing problem for SS10, so we had to take them away from both to make it fair.

    No, we haven't been recording. It's a good idea, and I'm not opposed to it, but I completely forget to do it. I'm not sure how his dad would feel about it or even if he would agree. I need to remember to talk to him about it.
  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    To me, this is not fair to the younger boy and actually, I think, unfair to the older.

    Why should the younger lose his stuff, when he did not act out? And why should the older boy see that the younger gets punished, for acts that are his alone? It seems to me, this would be a roundabout way for older son to get at younger son, to see him punished for misdeeds that were acts of older son. You are rewarding misbehavior in this way, I think.

    I would make sure it is only older son who gets the consequences. This to me would be fair.
    Well, that seems to be a trigger.

    What about stopping the reading and making it clear it will not resume until there is peace between the two?

    Is there the possibility of family therapy? It sounds like a "family system" issue.

    Is the younger son reading? What if the boys take turns being the reader for their father? So each one can be responsible for part of the story?

    There is famous psychology research on cooperation called The Jigsaw Classroom. One of the writers was Elliot Aronson. You should find it summarized on the internet. It took a tack such as this. Making every child responsible for a piece.
    Last edited: May 9, 2016
  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Or better yet, pick an activity that is even more active than reading. Something that would require positive and unique by each child in something different and necessary to the whole. They could work on it independently and then come together with their Dad.
  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    What about MP3 players/Ipods to keep it simple? How could either one of them mess up with music? The worst that could happen is that he stays up late and compensates the next night by sleeping earlier?

    You are after solutions, here. I might think about letting each of them be responsible for how long they stay awake. Nature will take over. How bad could it get? I would pick my battles.
  8. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    I'm so sorry for you, Roxana, and especially for SS6.

    You could stagger bedtimes with the younger one going to bed first, and maybe allowing him to have his MP3 player in bed until the 10yo goes to bed (since there was no reason for his to be taken away).

    You could have a switch off--every other night one of them gets time with dad before bed while the other gets his time the next night. You could read with the other one if they would let you.

    Experiment and see what works best. I wouldn't push the boys to spend any more time together, especially for the bedtime routine. The 6yo needs to be protected from the situation as much as possible. I think this is the most important thing right now.

    I would push for the neuropsychiatric work-up. Push dad and push the psychiatrist. I hope someone comes along who can address the question about giving the ADHD medications before the evaluation. Sounds wrong to me, but I don't know for sure.

    I hope more people will come along with ideas.

  9. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I copied this from a website on preparing for a neuropsychologist evaluation.

    If your child takes stimulant medication for ADHD or ADD, s/he may or may not be asked to take it the day of the evaluation, depending on the goal of the evaluation. If your child takes a non-stimulant medication for ADHD or ADD (i.e. Straterra) they should take it as usual the day of the evaluation.
    I agree with this for now. Maybe the cooperation work can come later.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    When my son had hid neuropsychologist evaluation, we handled it ourselves because we felt the psychiatrist was wrong about our son and, as for medications, he was falling asleep at school from all the medications thatched bern given for a strong diagnosis.
    I don't remembering son was still weaning off the medications or still on a lower dose of them, but the neurppsych evaluation and recommendations were very different from what psychiatrists insisted on. We as parents sometimes have to decide which professional makes the most sense and we thought the neuropsychology was way right and the psychiatrist guitarist was wrong. We flowed the neuropsychology. A year later so was off all medications, was getting autism interventions at school and was a new kid. He started his upward spiral then and has kept improving. Now he is 2$
    If you didnt know he was on the spectrum, you would never know. He is not.bipolar as psychiatrist.insisted. He has no mood swings. At some point you will.have to decide what best fits/helps your son. Psychiatry is far from an exact science.
  11. Sister's Keeper

    Sister's Keeper Active Member

    I think that you need to stagger bedtimes. They are 6 and 10. 4 years difference, so it doesn't seem fair that a 6 year old and a 10 year old have the same bed time.

    Maybe bump the 10 year old's bedtime back a half hour. Then dad could out the 6 year old to bed and read him a story and then the 10 year old and read him a story and each kid gets his own private time with dad.

    Our pediatrician says no electronics at bedtime. It is too stimulating, especially to the ADHD brain. These kids have a hard enough time shutting down their overactive brain.

    The 6 year old's behavior absolutely makes sense, though. Think of all the attention the 10 year old gets from his behavior. The 6 year old is vying for the same attention but by highlighting his good behavior. To the 6 year old brain pointing out others negative behavior paints you in a more positive light.
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  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I was talking to a psychiatrist for a time over the past couple of years--and stopped about 6 or 8 months ago, I think. He wanted me to accept that my son would never change (he had never met him) and felt it was his job to take away my hope. He believed my son was destined to live in treatment programs and group home type places or single rooms in hotels supervised once in a while by supervisors.

    I stopped talking to him. I knew that whatever would happen hope is not a defense mechanism. It is not denial. It is hope. A far different thing.

    Guess what? What began to change things for us was hope in a better and different future. First, it came from a risk. Then commitment. And hope.

    These guys do not necessarily know what the one thing is that will change things.

    Think of the power from our combined experience and intellects?
    I love this idea.
    Last edited: May 9, 2016
  13. Roxona

    Roxona Active Member

    I'm pushing extremely hard for the neuropsychological evaluation. I mention it in every conversation with the counselors and with my husband. I'm not anti-medication. I just think we need to know what we're dealing with before we turn to medication...to see if there is a behavioral cognitive therapy that might work better. After three years of trying to be consistent as possible, SS10 just isn't learning or changing his behaviors. He's only getting more angry and aggressive, so now more than ever I think this evaluation is important. I've read the Explosive Child and use the basket concept to the best of my ability. The arguing and fighting between the boys has escalated to a point where it needs to be dealt with in a different way, and we just haven't figured out the best way yet.

    Copa, I'll definitely check out this out. I'm all about everyone doing their part and pulling their weight. However, SS10 doesn't cooperate unless forced to do so, and I mean forced. At every opportunity he will bully, fight with and manipulate everyone until they back down and give him his way. Everyone has tried their best to get him to understand his part in all of this and that cooperation is better, but he doesn't see it. He just believes everyone is picking on him, and then he does it more and with more aggression/tenacity.

    Sister, I think this might be the way to go, too. I've kind of been pushing for this for a long time, but my husband didn't think it was fair. (Everything being "fair" is a huge issue in our house, which means it has to be in SS10's favor or it's not fair...grrr). The psychiatrist told my husband he needs to spend more time cuddling with the boys, and spending time separately with them. I think this idea may be the best way to force him to do it because he is not a naturally snuggly person.

    I feel bad for SS6, too. He definitely gets the short end of the stick most of the time (which I'm trying to correct).
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  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I seem to have turned into an optimist in the tail end of my life. Maybe he is on the road to being General Patton. Possible?
    What about military school?

    I am only a little bit being funny. I mean, these are traits that in some circumstances are highly positive.

    Power over.

    He has just not found his milieu. Maybe we need to read biographies of famous generals and see how they acted as children.

    Maybe if you looked at all of his behaviors and turned them on their head and looked at the potential positive they could develop into, you could help him understand himself better in terms of his potential. And he might be better motivated to work with you guys.

    I forget. How does he do in school around other teachers and children?
  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Roxona. I forgot to tell you I am glad you are back posting.
  16. Roxona

    Roxona Active Member

    School is hard. He would rather talk to his friends than listen to his teacher. He gets up during class and roams around messing with everyone and everything. Spends a lot of time sitting at a desk out in the hallway because he has driven the teacher crazy. He is argumentative with the teacher and other students and doesn't work well in small groups. The first word out of his mouth is usually "No." He tells the teacher she is wrong and explodes when he doesn't get his way. He wants to be the center of attention, so he acts out like the class clown. He doesn't have an IEP. He once had a BIP, but it went away last school year because he had a teacher who knew how to handle him and the BIP was no longer needed. I tutor him at home, so I'm able to reteach and help him stay on track with work, but his grades are definitely not where they were last year, mainly due to his behavior. He would do better in a small class setting.

    I agree it would be great if we could help him channel his energies in a positive way. He would make a great attorney. I'm a paralegal and the last attorney I worked for acted just like him! :beafraid:
  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    So he has friends and is accepted by peers?
    What is that?
    So what changed? I am encouraged because it sounds like he is to some extent able to hold it together at school.

    What about sports or other recreational activities? As a way to channel his interest and energy? Is there anything you think would captivate him?

    I mean there is an upside to some of this drive, if it can be channeled and harnessed.

    Or alternatively something to calm him down, like music, or art or even dance.

    Fencing, skating, skiing, dancing, music, archery, gymnastics, running, swimming, training dogs??? Is he very verbal? Debating. Spelling bees. He could train a therapy dog and go visit old people. (Does he show heart??)
    Why not lobby for an IEP?
    Sounds like it. Next we know we will see his name on the ballot.

    Donald Trump!! He was a difficult child!!
  18. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This is the beginning of a Wikipedia entry on Jigsaw.

    The jigsaw technique is a method of organizing classroom activity that makes students dependent on each other to succeed. It breaks classes into groups and breaks assignments into pieces that the group assembles to complete the (jigsaw) puzzle. It was designed by social psychologist Elliot Aronson to help weaken racial cliques in forcibly integrated schools.[1][2][3]

    The technique splits classes into mixed groups to work on small problems that the group collates into a final outcome.[1] For example, an in-class assignment is divided into topics. Students are then split into groups with one member assigned to each topic. Working individually, each student learns about his or her topic and presents it to their group. Next, students gather into groups divided by topic. Each member presents again to the topic group. In same-topic groups, students reconcile points of view and synthesize information. They create a final report. Finally, the original groups reconvene and listen to presentations from each member. The final presentations provide all group members with an understanding of their own material, as well as the findings that have emerged from topic-specific group discussion.
  19. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    When my son was on stimulants he would rage at night as he would come off them. To this day, he doesn't take stimulants-just doesn't work with his bipolar.

    I definitely agree with staggering the bed times.
  20. Roxona

    Roxona Active Member

    For the most part no. Right now he only has one friend who tolerates him, but he is new to the area.

    BIP = Behavioral Intervention Plan

    His teacher changed. He had a highly structured, firm teacher last year. This year he has a very unorganized teacher who has a hard time handling him. I hear she has at least 3 like him in her class. He was also on a ton of medication, but started terrifying night terrors at night, and we were worried he was going to have a psychotic break. He was just as disruptive in class as he is this year. Last year's teacher just didn't accept his behavior.[/QUOTE]

    We tried soccer and cub scouts, but that didn't work out well. He was in t-ball once, but same problems. Tries to take over whatever position he wants and will not listen to the coach or leader. If he doesn't get what he wants, he throws a massive tantrum. I've thought about martial arts classes, but we don't have the money for it right now. He is interested in everything, but we have problems with him being overbearing and bossy in every situation.

    We may be doing that in the future, especially if the behavior continues. One of the reasons I am pushing for a neuropsychologist evaluation. BUT, I'm also hesitant because my 20 year old was in Special Education all of his life, and I believe it damaged his self-esteem. SS10 doesn't have the learning problems J had, so part of me wants to see if we can keep him in a normal system if possible.