Where's the "Stop" button for kids with-impulsivity?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TerryJ2, Jun 24, 2012.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I've been paying close attention to my difficult child lately, and I think one of his major downfalls is his impulsivity.
    I give him a bag of chips, and even when he knows that if he eats the entire thing, he'll be sick, he does it anyway, clogging the toilet and having to go to bed early.

    When he knows he is not allowed into my office, and the door is locked, he finds the keys, lets himself in, and downloads music. He is so totally focused on what he wants that he cannot think about the inevitable consequences.
    He cries and apologizes (it's easier for him to apologize about the little stuff than the big stuff, and only then, after rationalizing for 5 min.) and then he does it all over again. I feel like I should call it the "I can't help it" syndrome.

    I can't keep him in prison for the rest of his life. If I send him to a ranch out west, he is still who he is. Just because there are no electronics on a ranch in UT or WY doesn't mean he won't start over again once he gets home.

    Is there medication for this? Should I get a PET scan?
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    Is that really impulsiveness - or just plain ol' "I'm gonna do what I want!" ?

    Not being able to stop eating chips....I can see that as having little self-control. But finding a locked door....searching around for keys....unlocking said door....and then logging in and downloading is a little too much "strategizing" to be classified as "impulsive" in my opinion.

    My daughter cannot control herself appropriately in many situations - so we have had to take those things away COMPLETELY. Since any amount of time with the phone or computer quickly got out of control - cutting it off entirely was the only solution that worked.

    Is there any way you can make your office more secure? Or require a password so that difficult child may not even log on?
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I think a lot of it is lack of self control that it takes to limit impulsive tendencies. My son has only learned some self control by having severe consequences- not that he's like a 40yo adult now but he's clearly learned how to manage and not give into the vast majority of impulses. They might not be able to help the fact that they feel impulsive but they either have to learn to cope and not give into it or they have major problems in society as they get older. JMHO but I doubt any medication can really fix it, although some might be able to curb it some.

    I don't think it's not having access to electronics that's going to fix everything either- it's the way others in structured programs will handle the situation when he has a melt-down after not getting his way that will help him change. Although getting away from electronics, friends, etc, that are currently norms in his life does force change in some way or another. It just appears that no matter what you have tried, he isn't becoming the person you think he should at home.

    If he has outstanding charges on him now, you can't send him anywhere out of state until after a court hearing and getting approval from a PO, assuming he'll get the typical probation for being a first-time juvie offender. If he has no court hearing scheduled then he's had no serious consequences for stealing all your jewelry.
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I know.
    My mind is going a bazillion miles a minute.
  5. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    my computer is screwint up so i will try again. I think the only hope is prefrontal cortex develpment and keepinghim safe until some growing up happens It seems like you have tried the right medications.

    He sounds like Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), and even scans will not reveal that unless the damage is really severe. We had an open adoption and only learned a few years later of alcohol and drug use.

    I think all you can is keep him alive--so maybe a structured ranch with great supervision and lots of labor and a positive environment would be the best thing for him.

    We have to lock up the snacks too. But in the last few months with my youngest I have seen the beginning of maturity. He started working out with the 20 something year old athletic trainer who really talked to him about healthy eating and little by little I see the beginning of more self control. to the extent that you can manage it surrounding him with positive role models who bothe supervise and mentor may help--at least it will keep you from being the prison guard all the time.

    I struggle a lot with finding the right consequences, I don't believe in my son's case that is simply doing what he wants, he wants what he wants, but it is really impulsivity and a lack of really being able to withstand the urges for future positive gain How do you impress upon these kids that what they are doing is wrong without subjecting them to 24/7 negative feedback? Still sruggling with that one!
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Pepperidge, you are the 1,000,000,000,986,023 person, including doctors, who has suggested Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).
    Anything is possible.
    Many hugs.
  7. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    I'm sorry for bringing it up,it sucks as a diagnosis though there is a huge range in terms of how much kids are affected.

    As I said, the challenge is realizing that much may not be in their control but doing all you can to nudge them along.
    A Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) expert told us to think prevention, rather than consequences, because they know what they are doing is wrong but can't control it totally. Impulsivity is a funny concept, I don't think it means that one does something on the spur of the moment (though that is part) but rather one can't engage the rational part of the brain to think about short term gain vs. long term consequences. I think with these kids it may take until 25 or 30 to see some really maturity kick.

    So you keep them safe, keep them from internalzing the idea that they are bad kids and hope they grow up. Andin the meantime you feel like you are a prison warden or worse. It's tough. I think looking into highly supervised environments where they can some of the advantages of kids their age but with very good supervision has some benefits.

    I'm sorry, I've been living it too.
  8. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    ps I forgot to mention that the most helpful website I found is something like comeonover...

    do a search for visible teen with invisible difference, and I will try to find the exact site when I get home.
  9. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Terry, difficult child 1 is pretty much the same way. When he gets a thought in his head, he gets tunnel vision and no, consequences do NOT enter his head. Then when consequences are issued, he sincerely does not seem to "get" why. It can be very frustrating for all involved.
  10. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I was thinking so.too.from.this post.of.ypurs.especially
    This post sounds like the kids in Q's school program for FASD. They said one thing different about their kids (and not q as much ...his aggression is similar but this part they said is different from others in their program )...they said everyday is like starting over. You never know what will stick and when they are focused on what they want even they do have tunnel vision. Q will have that last part happen too. They maybe haven't seen it yet. For him the learning style may be a little different but the accommodations are similar. Needing highly individualized programming and in a way yeah, they do need constant supervision. They just don't get the big picture and are in that sense way more vulnerable than their straight IQ might suggest. Why not get an FASD evaluation done? It could lead to more supports and he might be able to learn more about his own limits and needs ..
    Not just feel bad after every episode wondering why he is behaving "badly ". Worth a check anyway.
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Terry - sending PM.
  12. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    unfortunately unless you evidence of birthmother drinking or the facial features are really pronounced it is very hard to definitely diagnose FASD in a kid beyond the age of 5 or so, or that's what we were told.

    A diagnosis may give you some indication of the persistence of the problems. But there isn't any treatment for FASD, other than to try to treat the associated issues (ADHD), therapy and mostly from what we have been told, reasonable expectations and planning for the future on the part of the parents. As long as he is getting the support he needs at school, you may not gain a whole lot.

    On the other hand, seeing a therapist (not a doctor) with expertise in FASD might be well worth it. We looked far and wide and could only find one person, 150 miles away. Best place to start might be a child dev. clinic (especially one that deals with Russian/Eastern European adoptions).

    Whatever your son might or might not have, it sounds like the behavioral challenges are similar and how you address those is the key.

    Good luck.
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Terry, the last time Cory was in the psychiatrist's office he was telling them exactly what it was like to be him growing up. For so long his impulses it was: I see it, I want it, I dont care who's it is, Im going to have it no matter what the cost to me or anyone else. And by cost he wasnt talking financial.

    Now after both him growing up a bit plus, as he fully admits, me pressing charges on him for theft his impulse control issues are: I see it, I think I want it, I will buy it if I have the money for it, I get home and then I am sorry that I bought it because I really didnt want it after all.

    It is still impulse control but instead of theft he is having a harder time budgeting money completely. Not too bad I would say. He is only 26 and changing from one huge issue to another. Im not great at budgeting either and I think it does go with bipolar.

    In Cory's teen years he had zero impulse control and we were constantly on him like white on rice. You didnt turn your back on him or he would do something he shouldnt do. He stole puppy collars from a grocery store one time and we didnt even have any small dogs!
  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Thank you all.
    We have a therapist appointment tomorrow, and a psychiatrist appointment--hopefully to start a lithium scrip--Wed.
    He does not have the pronounced facial features of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Not at all. I've said many times, that if he weren't so gorgeous, I would have killed him by now. :) I seriously considered getting him into modeling when he was a toddler, but his behavior was too erratic.

    Puppy collars--argh!

    Today he wanted me to go to the grocery store to get him special snacks. I told him I had to go anyway, but no chips. (Too many clogged toilets!)
    He threw a fit and followed me around the store and I just turned my back.
    He went into the chip aisle ... and a few min later, found me in the meat section and he was empty handed!!! WTH? He listened!

    He pestered me again, and I told him no because of the stomach issues, and also that he is still in trouble and we don't want to get him special treats.
    He yelled that it's FOOD! I threw meat into the cart and said, "You won't starve."
    I have no idea why he listens and yells at the same time.
    This kid confuses the heck out of me.