advice please


New Member
Hi, i came across this forum when I googled out of desperation for what could be causing my son to behave the way he does. I don't know how much more I can take, I feel like giving up on him and wish someone would take him away. Ever since he was a baby he has been demanding; before he could talk he would pull my face to look at him when I was talking to others. His demands for attention have increased over the years. He's now 10 and things have got steadily worse. Even when he was 3 he would use emotional blackmail, such as threatening to kill himself, and has been aggressive. I had him assessed when he was 5, and they could find nothing wrong. It appeared that he was just a bright child even though he's not academically bright.

Now the outbursts are more frequent and more prolonged. He is exceptionally good at arguing and when ignored he ups the ante, adopting behaviour that simply cannot be ignored. I have always set firm boundaries and explained actions and consequences. Now I'm totally out of control. He won't take time out, he wants to cause arguments. If I won't argue he resorts to hitting, threats of violence, and hateful words that I wouldn't have even thought of at his age. The current situation started at 8.30am sunday and is still raging today. He refuses to do as he's asked and will do anything to cause friction. What on earth can you do with a child who doesn't want to be reasoned with? It's not like he doesn't understand right from wrong because he does.

Also, this behaviour is contained within the home. I went to social services because I'm scared that he will become like this elsewhere, and I also fear for the safety of my husband and step-son. They sent a family resource worker to work through behaviour but after four weeks they realised that he understood acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. We are now waiting to attend Family Therapy and have an appointment in 2 weeks. I have read some websites on ODD and there are many, many similarities with my son's behaviour. Should I mention this when I go to the appointment? Is ODD a recognised condition or catch-all label?

My stepson has dyspraxia and much of his negative behaviour has disappeared since diagnosis late last year and modification of certain approaches; in fact he is doing better than expected socially and academically. However, he can be reasoned with and does not deliberately cause problems. My son, on the other hand, targets my stepson when arguments with us don't cause a reaction and this is causing my stepson severe distress as he struggles enough with conforming to society's 'norms'.

If this is my life for the next 8 years until he leaves home, then I'm not sure I can take it. I'm tired and on edge, waiting for the next round. On a daily basis he'll refuse to do something or try to provoke an argument and that's a good day. It's ripping our family apart.

What do I do?


New Member
Have you read "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene? It helped me understand my kids better and think differently. It is highly recommended on this site.

Besides the book, have you ever had him evaluated by a neuropsychologist? We just recently did this and I was amazed at how long each report was. The thing is, our doctor actually spent less time with our kids than most docs do. But the report was still long and seemed more thorough than a regular psychiatrist evaluation.

I'm sorry you had to find the board. Most of us do find it in our time of need. I'm sure many more will be along to welcome you and offer great advice.


Active Member
Hi! Welcome to the crowd! You'll meet a lot of cool people on here that have been through the ringer!

What is his official diagnosis? Who gave the diagnosis (a pediatrician, psychiatrist, neurologist?)?

Does he take any medication?

I agree that you need a neuropsychologist to test him. You can usually find them in Childrens Hospitals or teaching hospitals. It might take a couple of months to get an appointment. so you might want to ask if they have a cancellation list.

Read Ross Greene's the Ecplosive child - it's an easy read (not clinical) and will give suggestions as well as insight to how your son's brain works! :smile:

Again, welcome!


sameold sameold

New Member
Hi and welcome
I don't believe ODD is a diagnosis that is ever a stand alone. It really stems from other issues. My son first got an ODD diagnosis when he was 6. Then came the ADHD, then Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), then major depression and so on and so forth. We finally got an accurate diagnosis when he was 10. They unfortunately never really knew what was going on. I hope you have better luck than we had over the years in getting a quicker more accurate diagnosis. Good luck


New Member
Hi, thanks for the replies. I'm in the UK and no, there hasn't been any recent assessments carried out. Like I said, we're in the system but no one has actually seen us or him yet, beyond an initial meeting to ask what the problems are. The Family Therapy Unit we're attending includes a mental health nurse and psychiatrist, it's part of a multi-agency involvement that is being pilotted in the area but has only recently been set up so is perhaps slower. I'd never heard of ODD until the day before yesterday and I wonder if it is less recognised in the UK?

I guess I just have to sit it out and see what transpires.

Thanks for the book recommendations, I shall get a copy.


Well-Known Member
Welcome! Glad you found us.

ODD is often a description of behavior that can come along with ADHD, depression, anxiety, bipolar, etc. But, we have seen a few stand alone diagnosis's here on the board.

I am glad you are getting some help. Most mental health help is slow. Seems like there are not enough professionals to handle the number of patients.

Has your son been tried on any medications?


New Member
No, he's not been prescribed anything. So far, he has had a Family Resource worker to help him deal with his behaviour who came at it with the assumption that he wasn't being set boundaries etc. and that his behaviour was linked to the family structure. Having adopted suggestions for managing his behaviour, and finding that they didn't work, this intervention has ceased. He's a very bright, highly manipulative child who 'plays the game' for others then mocks what is being done. His behaviour defies logic as he has nothing to gain from it and everything to lose but he doesn't seem to care. Part of the behaviour management was to take 5 minutes off his bedtime for each time he refused to do as asked. In the space of an hour, he had a bedtime of 5.30pm and had been grounded for the next day!And so it goes on. He's still carrying it on, tried to cause an argument before school and wound up his step brother. I dread him coming home!


Hi whoknows

Neurological disorders tend to be genetic so a good place to start looking for answers is the family tree. Is there any ADHD, bipolar, anxiety, depression, etc in the family? How about substance abuse, alcoholism, or other family members with undiagnoised problematic behavior? This type information should be helpful to whoever evaluates your son.

I'm unfamiliiar with-UK's system but if you can get your son in to a Children's Hospital, neuropsychologist, or University with-a behavioral unit for evaluation, it'd be a good thing to do. While I said "in to," these type evaluations do not require being admitted -- at least in the US.

A helpful tool for presenting information to an evaluator or team of evaluators is a Parent Report. You'll find information on how to prepare one on the FAQ/Board Help forum.

It's frustrating dealing with our kids. Glad you found us. :smile:


New Member
Thanks Sheila. Actually, dealing with my son's behaviour is like being transported back 9 years when I was with his father. He drank heavily and became abusive, physically and emotionally, for no reason i.e. unprovoked. I remember he was put on prozac but the situation became intolerable and when my son was a year old i found the strength to get out. His father has had little involvement, seeing him only once or twice a year for the past 7 years but has recently decided he wants regular contact. Son's behaviour has become far worse since he returned as it has confused him. He says he can't love his stepdad anymore now his dad is back.

I'll have a look at the parent report as suggested, thanks.


I also have a son who, when he's being defiant, is the most illogical person I've ever met. Example: "If you throw your cell phone it will break and you won't have another one." difficult child: "I hate this *** cell phone and want a better one!" - Throws cell phone. Is astounds me that they can have completely different IQ's in different situations!!! My difficult child is also only difficult at home, I really believe though, that this does not necessarily mean that he can always control his behavior... Good luck!


Well-Known Member
Oh, boy, does that sound familiar! We've been in therapy with-my son, who is also 10, on and off for about 5 yrs. Sigh. His behavior is exhausting. He was always demanding and loud as a baby, and sounds just like your son.
Ours is definitely ADHD and ODD. We had him tested for Asperger's and were told that's not it. He's Learning Disability (LD) but catching up, with-tutoring.
We have to absolutely keep on him. We cannot give him an inch. Even when we give him a reward for good behavior, it's like he takes advantage of it.
Good luck. And welcome.


New Member
Thanks for the replies, the more I hear the more I can relate and that's some comfort. I've got a few books ordered so I can research some more.

I have another question. What is meant by anxiety? Apart from the defiant, destructive behaviour that can last 8-10 hours, my son constantly follows me. If I go upstairs, he has to. This isn't just when he's kicking off, it's all the time and it can be quite unsettling. If I go out he wants to know when I'm back. It's like being a teenager and having your parents quiz you! Is this some kind of manifestation of anxiety and how does this tie in with ODD?

I want to be as ready as I can be when we go to the appointment in 2 weeks, so I'm trying to get things straight in my own mind. Living with these things can sometimes normalise them, if you know what I mean, because it's a part of everyday life, but I suppose when I try to step back from it, there are things that stand out.

Sorry if I'm going on. I just have never met another child like mine and although my stepson has dyspraxia and some asperger's traits (wishy washy definition from paediatrician), he is completely different. My step son has been transformed from an angry, spiteful child to as near an angel as he can be, just through being able to understand his own condition. My son, on the other hand, is seen as a monster!


been there done that...actually am there doing that! lol.

ODD presents itself in my child to make him look like this awful mean scary person. Really he is a sweet, smart, loveable boy...on those days that he's not the mean scary kid. But it is so hard walking on egg shells, never knowing when his smiley happy self will turn in a split second. He has been very good lately. but school started, and school itself is a trigger for him. I just dread the tought of 176 more days or this.

difficult child won't go down our basement (it is finished). He freaks out with bugs(this is new), worries that he is dying anytime he has any pain. If I walk around the block he has to find me. He sometimes complains his heart is pounding, he can't breathe, he feels funny. He has stated that he doesn't like feeling scared all the time. Anxiety drugs did not work well with him so we had to quit. He seems to have his ears tuned in to everything, everyone I speak to and always asking, who, what, why.......! But if I ask him something he doesn't hear me because he is busy.

I too have never met another child like mine. Other parents have no idea what each day is like.

Hang in there. Enjoy the good, happy, smiley days.


Is this some kind of manifestation of anxiety and how does this tie in with ODD?

A form of anxiety could be part of the problem. See for an overview of separation anxiety.

Because there are "symptoms" that are common to a variety of disorders, try not to get stuck on ODD. Most of our kids could have been diagnosed with-ODD at one time -- mine included. It's not uncommon that with-appropriate treatment, ODD type behaviors dissipate and sometimes disappear. The DSM-IV (used by mental health professionals and doctors in USA for diagnoses), always has a notation that it is essential first to rule out other conditions that may be the true cause of symptoms before reaching a diagnostic decision. (Unfortunately, it doesn't mean that's always practiced -- just that it should be.)

Neurological disorders can present very differently in children compared to adults, so the symptoms list for ODD appears to fit many kids.

As an example of same "symptoms" but different disorders see Diagnosing Bipolar VS. ADHD @ .