17 y/o son newly diagnosed ODD and moved out...dont know how to help

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Jstreet, Apr 3, 2018.

  1. Jstreet

    Jstreet New Member

    I have a 17 year old son who is months from being 18. He is smart, sweet, big hearted, beautiful with long blonde curly hair and funny. He works hard at his dishwasher job. I love spending time with him when he is in a good mood. We just found out that he is also ADHD, ODD and depressed. He was diagnosed as Bipolar and ADHD at 6 years old. Yes 6. An age not usual for a bi-polar diagnosis and for good reason because it turned out he was misdiagnosed. However, he kept that misdiagnosis for 10 years! The mistake was realized and his diagnosis changed to ODD at 16 (which apparently they had suspected the whole time and several counselors - he has had over a dozen- diagnosed but we were never told). Even then we were not told of the change in diagnosis and I only found out 2 months ago. He is almost 18.

    I immediately jumped into research and realized, among the fact that his ODD was probably caused by my bad parenting, that we had been going about his treatment all wrong...for 11 years! I should have had parenting classes. We should have had family therapy. There should have been less focus on medication. There is so much wrong with what we have done for the last 11 years. I spent all my time reading about bi-polar disorder, treatments, how to parent and ways to cope. I have my own emotional problems which already made me not the greatest parent and to add to it I was trying all the wrong things. We put him on every medication imaginable and nothing ever made a difference. Now we know why.

    However, now I have a violent, out of control almost adult and I don't have a clue how to help him. He does horrible in school, He is 2 months from graduation and retaking the same 3 classes he failed last semester which are all he needs to graduate and he is failing them again. Not for lack of intelligence, from refusal to do the work and skipping. He breaks laws with his drivers license (example drives after 10 when he legally isn't supposed to) and has no respect for authority...any authority. He doesn't listen to a word I say. Never has honestly and ever since he got bigger than me he gets in my face, refuses to let me leave, follows me around and sometimes hits or breaks things when he is angry at a consequence or not getting his way. It has gotten so bad he moved in with his friend down the street. He has been running the streets doing whatever he wants since he left. My heart is breaking.

    I don't know what to do. I see so much potential in him, but how can I help an almost 18 year old learn to listen to authority, follow rules, accept consequences, especially when he is bigger than me and not living at home? How can I help him to become less angry and more accepting when he hates me? This isn't something he just says either. He hates me, we have tried to explore it in counseling. He says he does not know why but I think it is one reason he is so out of control and also why he treats girls like crap. They are nothing but sex objects to him...or at least that's how he treats most of them. I have seen him get emotionally attached and his heart broken a couple of times. He is so angry and hateful. He just can't accept something he doesn't like...consequence, an answer or otherwise. I am afraid I am going to get a call that he is in prison someday, which is where his father is.

    Anyway, I know it's a lot to say and actually doesn't really tell enough, but has anyone here been in a similar situation? Does anyone have any advice?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Don't blame yourself.

    ODD is usually a little kids diagnosis, not given to 17 year olds! It has no real meaning other than defiant kid and many kids are born with difficult temperaments. It has nothing to do with you....more likely he inherited some personality traits from his father. He had his DNA even if his father didn't raise him. Some babies are calm from day one, some alert and smiley and some plain difficult and crying. I was that difficult baby! From infancy I didn't even want to be held and I cried nonstop.

    Now I had crappy unloving parents who let all of us do whatever we wanted and in particular I was abused by my mother BUT I never blamed parenting for having childhood tantrums and depression. I was born that way. There is plenty of difficult people in my family tree that I inherited from and I had to work very hard in therapy and take medications to get better but I wanted to so I did. ODD at 17???

    I've been a mental healthcare patient all my adult life. Psychiatry is inexact and just guessing. A Mayo Clinic Neuropsychologist Psychologist told me this, but I already knew that anyway. It is not comforting, but if you are a mental healthcare patient you know that one person can get five diagnoses from different professionals. There are no blood tests to confirm any diagnosis, just an ever changing DSM which can't be proven yet either. You learn as you get older some idea of what going on...I know I have a mood disorder. Exactly what it's called, well, different psychiatrists called it different things. And medications are a crapshoot because each diagnoses may be right or wrong or in between.

    I would stop reading. You already had one wrong bipolar diagnosis. So did my son. Bipolar is often diagnosed when it isn't. So is ODD. And all psychiatric diagnosis. It is not an exact science. Look

    So please at least stop blaming yourself. Be kind to you. You don't have and may never have a clear idea of the title of your son's label. You do know how he behaves.

    The hard part of all this is that there is nothing you can do to change your son unless/until he wants to change. Then HE has to reach out for professional help and work hard. You can't help somebody change. That is on the person's shoulders.

    There is just one person you can change in life....yourself. This is a good place to start. Perhaps therapy for you will help you cope and make you more confident and bold when dealing with your son's behavior. Sometimes when we stop being their whipping person they respect us more. Sometimes not. But from doing both, I can say that for me no longer allowing myself to be whipped, I respect myself more and cope better. Be good to yourself. This is a hard journey.

    Love and light!
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
  3. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Active Member

    My son is 36 diagnosed as bipolar among other things. I tried for too many years to protect him and save him from himself. I have recently come to understand through this site and counseling that i was not helping. Most of his trouble started in 5th grade. Only your son can change himself and if you coddle and excuse him he will not get the message that he needs to change. He will take it as acceptance. I will give a small example, My son would constantly swear and verbally abuse me on the phone. I finally said you swear i hang up and i did. At first he threatened me if i hung up that he would come here among other things he was told the police would be called. I kept hanging up and sometimes even shut the phone off. He now makes more of an effort to talk civilly to me. Start with something you can handle and proceed from there. We all do this within our own time frame. Get into counseling it is hard to do this on your own. Are there other children in the house? We all have fears for our children the biggest two being jail and death. They are responsible for their own choices and for their consequences no matter how hard that is for us to accept. Also it sounds like he does not respect you or other women he could be dangerous and you need to protect yourself.
  4. Jstreet

    Jstreet New Member

    He doesn't respect me. He hasn't since he was a little kid. I remember his cub scout leader saying that he didn't have enough respect for me. And it's only gotten worse as he's gotten older. Tonight I caught him driving after 10 p.m. which is against the law for his level license and he flipped out on me and got in my face.
    I don't know what to do to help him and it's breaking my heart. If he does go to jail ever I will blame myself because no matter how bad the kid is there has to have been something I could have been doing as he grew up to help him be better, but how can I help him now?
    I can't get in the counseling I'll lose my security clearance for my job. If there were some way to receive therapy anonymously it would be a different story but if I receive any type of mental health services including just counseling I have to report it to my job which could lose my security clearance and would lose me my job.
    I was just looking for ideas, strategies, anything I could do differently that could help him. But apparently it's just too late.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You could take away the car? Make him be respectful or bored. He can get a part time job and pay for his own toys.

    Kids are born with their own temperments. Some are easy and if you neglect them they are still respectful.
    But some are just more difficult no matter hpw hard we try and if they are allowed to run over us and abuse us it will only make them feel they are invincible And those kids need us to be the adults and stand up to them and limit what they can do on our dime in our house if they refuse to be decent. Our house/our rules. We are all different but that is what I think you should do. He is old enough that he is choosing his behavior and he can choose to stop it too. To me this is on him.

    If he looks or acts threatening CALL THE POLICE!!!! Many of us have had to. Don't let him get up in your face!

    .If my kid had driven too late she would have had no car to drive. In fact she didn't have a car to drive after we found her smoking pot. And we even had to make her leave the house at 19 when she used stronger drugs. No drugs were allowed on our house She quit! It has been over a decade now and the day she left was so hard for us, but I had little kids and they couldn't see her acting drug crazy and refusing treatment. I thought she would end up in jail or dead but she quit!

    Why are you putting this on you? Many parents are neglectful yet their kids behave. It's not fair bit it's true.

    Many kids hsve amazing parents but their kids inherited difficult personality traits. I have four kids all very different. If it was about us all of our kids would turn out the same. It is probably your son who needs counseling but it won't work unless he wants to change. All you can do is make his actions reap consequences no matter how much he throws toddler tantrums and screams that its your fault. Yes, the kids who bring us here all work from the same playbook. Your son is like all the others here. He is not unique. You are not the problem.

    The best two cents I can give you is what I would do and did. I'd take away all his toys that he cared about until he is reserctful and think about how you are helping him to force him to feel discomfort and.learn that this behavior doesn't reap rewards. My daughter only got what we legally needed to provide...healthy food, clothes from Walmart, medical care and the like. She did get a job and WE drove her. It was part time after school. She hated it all but too bad....she used drugs. We were not going to help her die by feeling sorry for her and giving her money or a car that she would use for drugs and buying drugs and driving impaired. Parenthood is not a popularity contest. Our kids are not products of us. They have DNA, school, peers, television, lots of bad influences no matter how good we are or how hard we try.

    If drugs are involved tell him rehab or no car or phone or allowance or anything until he moves out, buys his own stuff and pays his own insurance for his car.

    No teen really respects a parent who doesn't respect himself and allows himself be abused. Would you let anyone else treat you like he does? . You don't need therapy to know you would not. If you belong to a church, talking to your pastor may help empower you. That is technicallytjust talking to a friend, not legally therapy. Do you have other children? A wife? A support system?

    I sorry you are going through this but it is not your fault. Are there difficult DNA relatives on.either side of his family tree? Many of us believe that when it comes to personality traits nature trump's nurture. But that doesn't mean he shouldn't learn that bad behavior will take away his fun. If he flips off a cop the cop will have no sympathy. See? You may blame yourself and feel bad, which you don't shouldn't really do but strangers will rightfully blame and punish HIM especially once he is of age.

    Love and light and stand strong :) Yes, it's hard but we must....even when they throw a toddler fit. Good luck.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2018
  6. Jstreet

    Jstreet New Member

    Thank you. He has a job. He actually bought his own vehicle and pays the insurance which makes it more difficult. He also moved in with a friend rather than listen to my rules, but threatens to call CPS on me when I anger him because here they will open a case if he is under 18 and not living at home, even though he is safe and this is what he chose to do.
    I blame myself because my family and others blame me, and also because I haven't always been the greatest parent. I'm inconsistent, I yell too much, I've been known to call a few names myself when they've really pushed me. If I had not done that, if I'd been calmer and had better control over my emotions who knows...
  7. Jstreet

    Jstreet New Member

    I just wanted to add my family and his friends is making it far too easy for him to "be on his own". He is not feeling the consequence of his action ir hoq hard living outside our home with only a part time job will be.

    He has no rules, no responsibilities, no chores at his friends house. He comes and goes as he pleases When he spent all his money my parents have him money for gas. He is having a great time It is teaching him nothing.

    Not that I think anything would teach him. He has always thrown a fit and refused to accept any consequence or not getting his way, his whole life. The only thing that has changed is how bad his fits get and how demanding he has gotten the bigger he is. And it's not just me. It's just worse with me. He has acted like this with school officials his whole life and one day with a police officer WHICH I AM SHOCKED didn't get him tazed or arrested.
  8. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    Not a lot of time but had to reply. Your son has eerie similarities to my oldest stepson. We are not his custodial parents and he has ended all contact with us for the present time. He is totally enabled by his custodial parent and we are powerless over any of it.

    Is there a coparent in the picture?
  9. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Active Member

    My son was also good at throwing fits and to be honest still is and he is 36. Currently he is in jail. None of us are perfect parents they do not exist. We do our best. I have two other sons who do very well and are completely independent and they are both younger than my difficult child. I would support the people before me in their recommendations. It sounds to me like your son is not the only one giving you a hard time. At least you have the courage to ask for help. I would suggest you get a private counselor for yourself to provide yourself some support as others are making you feel bad about yourself. Although I know it is difficult but if he becomes threatening tell him you will call the police and if he doesn't stop follow through. If dad is one of the ones blaming you can he take custody?
  10. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    Hi there JStreet,

    It has been a few days. How are you doing?

    I also wanted to add on to my first reply to your post, because it resonates with me. As I mentioned earlier, I have two stepsons and your child sounds a lot like the oldest stepson. I have not posted much about him recently because we do not see or speak to him by his choice. He is almost exactly the same age as your son, 17.5 years. He does not live with us, he lives with his other biological parent, who is a codependent mess and enables both of my stepsons totally.

    What I wanted to say was....your son's personality and temperament are not your fault. Every parent makes mistakes, no parent is perfect. Perhaps looking back you would change a few things - we all can say that. But from what you describe, he is a very difficult person and always was, from the time he was small. My oldest stepson was the exact same way - kicked out of preschool for not following directions, the list goes on and on and on. I did not enter his life until he was 13 but I know from what I've been told, he had issues almost from Day One.

    You did not make your son mentally ill. Nothing you did could have caused his problems. Many children are horribly abused (not to say you abused your son, just an example) and are the sweetest, gentlest, kindest people in the world. The treatment they received did not fundamentally change who they are as people. The same is true of your son. Even if you were the perfect parent, and nobody is, he would still be the same way.

    In my case, as I have grown older I have found that I share many, many personality characteristics with my late father, who was abusive to me growing up. These characteristics are actually very positive and come to me quite naturally. He certainly never taught me these things, they are just part of my genetic makeup. I suspect the same is true of your son.

    Give yourself a break, and if possible, consider eliminating or at least greatly reducing the amount of time you spend around people who do not support you. That is the last thing you need.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018