All my fault

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ch574, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. ch574

    ch574 New Member

    My son, 4 1/2, was just diagnosed with "severe ODD/ADHD" last month. The pediatric neurologist who made the diagnosis, referred me to another doctor. I called that doctor, who said he's not taking any more patients, and referred me another. This one said he's only dealing with high-functioning spectrum, and he referred me to another. I met #3 today... his "method" for helping ODD/ADHD kids is to sit in a big group, along with parents, and "discuss" behavior over the past week. If it was good... they get a prize. If not... better luck next week. Maybe that works for some people, but I hated it. Besides, my son is 4, not 14... he doesn't possess the skills to reflect objectively on his own behavior during the course of a week. I'm back to square 1.

    I don't even know what I'm looking for. My pediatrician gave me more names and numbers to try, and I don't even know what to ask these people. I am reading "The Explosive Child" and it's given me some hope... I take comfort in the idea that maybe I will find a way to teach flexibility and frustration tolerance... but I still feel like it misses the mark with a child this young and immature. I want to find something that says, "here... do THIS, and you and your preschooler will feel better."

    A lot of what I see online suggests that my poor parenting has done this to my son. I'm sure it has. I have lost my temper on several occasions over the years, and he's seen it. In fact, he actually seems to ENJOY driving me to the edge, and I feel like I'm in knots whenever I realize I need to ask him to do something (ie, get dressed, get in the car, turn off the TV, etc) because I never know whether he'll comply, or whether it will be a battle... and he's only 4. I don't know if I can do this with a teenager.

    And the thoughts that go through my head of what I want to do to him when we're in the heat of a power-struggle... my god... I am probably the worst parent in the world to think such awful thoughts about my own child!

    Please help... what am I looking for? A psychiatrist? A psychologist? a social worker? a counselor? individual therapy? play therapy? classes?? Does anyone have any more books to suggest? Special diets?

    Yoga poses?


    Thanks for being here. I stumbled on this site and finally feel like mayb i'm not the only one in the world with a kid whose behavior makes other people raise their eyebrows at me. I don't need to be a mind-reader to know their thoughts.

  2. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Hi ch574 and welcome. Sorry you had to find us but I'm glad that you stumbled upon the site.

    By all means go with the yoga poses and cocktails (for you, not him) and I'll give you my thoughts on what I'd do if I were on your yoga mat. Take it with a grain of salt, however, as I'm only a parent and not a diagnostician.

    I'd want two things a) to make sure that the diagnosis was correct and not missing anything and b) to have any necessary therapies in place. At age 4 we really recommend seeing a developmental pediatrician or pediatric neuropsychologist but since you've already covered the major medical aspects with the neurologist I'd suggest looking for the neuropsychologist. These are psychologists who have extra training in diagnostics and they will spend time both with parent interview and in testing the child. Using the results, the neuropsychologist would refer you on to other specialty areas, if indicated. Typically it's much more thorough than you'll get elsewhere.

    Since you're still at ground zero after seeing all of those specialists, you might check this book out. I only had time to peek through it at the bookstore--haven't had time to give it a thorough read yet.

    It also might be worth having the school district do an evaluation. You'd have a lot of sets of eyes and different opinions that way plus the advantage is they have contact with a lot of parents and hear what specialists in the community are really helpful. The evaluation is free and they may or may not offer services based on the results. Services can mean something as minimal as once a week speech therapy (for example) or early intervention childhood, all at no cost.

    I didn't do the play therapy, behavioral specialist, etc route because frankly I found I got a lot more help from other parents who were in my shoes than with specialists who spent 30 minutes with us here and there. I know there are parents here who have had good results going that route but usually when the person is really, really good. And of course, the results are best when you have a thorough handle on what's going on inside that little brain. If you can find other parents in your area who are dealing with behavioral issues and find out who they're having good luck with, that usually is your best resource.

    If I could help you there, I'd quit my day job and go on tour. I'm sorry, but most of us hope for a sprint when it's really a marathon. Have you tried implementing The Explosive Child at all and if so, what were the results? Did the specialists give you any practical advice at all such as utilizing a gel ball for a child that is ADHD to help channel that physical energy for times when they must be still?

    Also, the questions we ask most parents:
    What's the family mental health history like?
    What's his speech like?
    Does he sleep well?
    Besides the explosive and hyperactive behavior, is there anything else that stands out behaviorwise?
    Anything unusual in his development?
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'd forget all the professionals you mentioned and see a neuropsychologist. They do awesome, intensive testing and can often find what other professionals tend to blame on "bad parenting." I can promise you that it's not bad parenting. Your kiddo is wired differently and does need diagnosing in order to get the right kind of help. I think the therapy circle is silly. Maybe it works for kids who are wired normally, but I can't see it working for a child like yours. I don't believe he is the way he is on purpose and in retrospect of my own parenting, I'd be dubious of an ADD/ODD diagnosis. It's a common first one and very often wrong.
    I wish you luck and don't even consider blaming yourself. It's not you.
  4. ch574

    ch574 New Member

    Thank you SO much for your time!! It's often amazing to me that a complete stranger will seemingly put more effort into considering a situation than a paid professional!

    To answer your questions, my son was evaluated by our school district this past fall. He was referred by teachers at his school (a Montessori school) for his failure to conform. If I had been more on the ball a year ago, I wouldn't realized that maybe a Montessori environment wasn't the best choice for him... but I thought calm classroom would help him focus better. The Child Study Team found him eligible for special services in our public school because of what they called a 42% social delay. He wasn't really interacting with the kids at school, nor always responding appropriately when they approached him. I was floored because we have a playgroup we've known since he was a baby, and he interacts with those kids just fine. I would say he still seems to prefer side-by-side play, but he will initiate running games, or catch, or hide and seek. He won't initiate sitting games, and typically ignores the kids if they initiate something he doesn't want to play. I figured this was "normal."

    The Child Study Team described him as delayed in both language processing and behavior. I moved him to the public school early in Feb, he receives two sessions of pull-out small group speech therapy a week. That's it. He is THRIVING, and the teacher says he's doing well all around (socially, academically, and his behavior has been fine too).

    I was sent to the pediatric neurologist to rule out any spectrum possibilities because one of his Montessori teachers wrote on an evaluation that my son didn't make eye contact. I disagreed with this because I think his eye contact is normal for a preschooler. But I thought it was better to be safe than sorry. My pediatrician told me I would dislike the personality of this specialist, but that he was absolutely the best in our area at spotting ANY sort of spectrum disorder. He prounounced ODD/ADHD within 10 minutes of meeting us (my son refused to comply with the request of "draw mommy with these crayons"), and referred me to one of the aforementioned guys for futher assistance. -He just never clarified for me what kind of assistance it was... further testing, assistance for me as a parent, assistance for my son... etc.

    1. Family mental health history is about as shockingly boring as it can get. My mother is slightly prone to depression, but she's never been hospitalized for it. Was medicated for it briefly after the death of her mother, but that's about it. My husband's side has nothing. I am inclined to think my sister would be diagnosed with ODD if she were a kid today, because she gave my parents a very difficult time.

    2. My son's speech was slightly delayed, but I wasn't worried. Late talkers run rampant of my husband's side. My husband supposedly didn't say much before 2, my nephew (his sister's kid) didn't say much before 2 1/2. My son met all the language milestones with the bare requirements, and because I wasn't worried, we never investigated it further. His current speech delay is in the area of language processing. He has trouble getting his thoughts in order and carrying on a conversation. I thought it was immaturity... but whatever they're doing for him over at his new school seems to really be working. He can carry on a small conversation now, and is able to direct his thoughts enough to answer questions more accurately.

    3. Great sleeper. Always has been. Slept though the night at 6 months. He wakes occasionally with a bad dream, but he's pretty easily soothed. While I might have difficulty getting him to accept that it's bedtime, once he's in bed and we're doing stories, I've never once had a problem keeping him in his bed.

    4. I can't think of anything else that stands out with his behavior. Although, now that my 20-month old is progressing into the terrible twos, I'm seeing differences. If the baby touches something dangerous, all I have to do is say "no!" and he backs off and turns his own attention to something else. My 4 year old required multiple warnings (I even slapped his hands to try and drive home the point when he was trying to pry off electrical covers), and in hindsight... he seemed to be interested in observing MY behavior when he reached for something off limits. He also pushed boundaries... If I said to stop hitting the wall with his trucks, he would hit it with a block. If I said to stop hitting the wall, he would bang the floor... all the time, watching me. And yes, eventually I would lose it and take away the toy, or put him in time out. This is why I feel like it's my fault. I'm making it worse. When he talks to his brother, he uses the same angry inflection and words I've used with him. Oh... and the specialist described him as "attention seeking."

    5. Nothing unusual in his development. He's almost the size of a 6 year old, but I'm 5'10", and my husband is tall as well. It would be more unusual if my son were small.

    Thanks again for your time and thoughts (both of you!). I feel like maybe I've found a rock in this stormy sea by finding this site.

    ps... is there a spot on this site where I can find out what all the abbreviations mean? daughter, difficult child, etc...
  5. Rhonda

    Rhonda slightly wilted Magnolia

    I am certainly not a professional. Just a Mom. But Lordy girl, I have been there done what you are doing. You are not the cause or the blame, at least I don't think so.. As far as parenting goes, do any of us know how to do it right? I have seen some great parents raise some pretty awful kids and seen some really bad ones (and I mean really bad) who's kids turned out beautifully.

    Don't beat yourself up. Today is today. The book you have is great and there is another to go with it if you look up Ross Greene on Amazon. His approach is great, it is hard to do until you get used to it. Do IT! Learn to live it. It gets easier with practice. I would give anything if I had this book when mine was 4. She was 17 when I got it and it was too late to do much.

    Do like the others said and find the right doctor. Send an email to Dr. Greene or his office requesting therapists in your area that could coach you in his methods. Or maybe you could even have weekly telephone consults with one. I know of one in Georgia but he does not do telephone because insurance in GA does not count it as a visit for him.. But it may be different for your area. Just keep trying, don't give up.

    Maybe you should not ask your son to do something. Wait until you have the time to make it happen and tell him.. Like, say "it is time to get dressed" then walk over and pick up the clothes and say "do you want to put this on by your self or do you want me to help with it?" If he acts out, calmly say "honey it is ok, I will help, you dont have to get angry" and put his shirt on.... sort of like just ignoring his behavior or assuming the behavior was the answer to your question. If he realizes (if) that his behavior always gets him the thing he did not want then maybe (just maybe) he will learn another way of dealing with the situation.

    No child is always compliant and many times with mine, I did not discuss or question I just did. I would get ready to go and go in her room and dress her and pick her up and walk out. I would ignore any negative behavior and stay focused on something else so that it at least appeared that I was ignoring her bad behavior. I only responded to positive behavior. That worked really well most of the time. But it was hard.

    Hope you find the help you need. Just keep trying!

  6. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    You can find acronyms here and while you're at it check out the parent report/parent input.

    Any time a child comes through with speech and social delays or differences, we do advise having them assessed for Autistic Spectrum Disorders so it sounds like they were on the ball there. I will tell you that personally I'd only advise using a pediatric neurologist to diagnose/rule out Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)'s if they were highly recommended by parents that had gone through the process.

    To double check the best assessment route in your area, make contact with the closest Autism Society chapter. If they suggest someone else and you still don't feel like you have your answers (ten whole minutes of evaluation?!), then it would be worth another evaluation. One thing you should know, kids who are on the fence with an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) diagnosis are difficult to nail down, but it's important to know where you stand because it can help dictate how to go about helping him.

    Is he doing any of the typical behaviors that might be associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)'s?
    -Interests/obsessions not typical of his age group, or else overly obsessed with specific topics?
    -Any lining up toys or household objects in straight lines or formations?
    -Does he echo questions back to you (ie when you ask "Do you want a cookie?" answers back with the question instead of saying "Yes".
    -Is he showing a lot of interest in any academic area--reading, math, geography, etc?
    -Is he overreacting to sensory stimuli--bothered by clothes, food textures, lights, loud sounds, etc?

    The other thing I will mention is that there are those who feel that extreme ADHD is blends into the far (mild) side of the Autistic Spectrum, so if that diagnosis is correct, that may be why the spectrumy signs are showing up. Personally I'm all for stealing strategies from whatever camp so if you have a child (and I have no idea) that has feet dangling on both sides of the fence, it could help you to know that.

  7. ch574

    ch574 New Member

    Thanks for the acronym list (that helps a lot!).

    Rhonda, thanks for the additional book suggestion (I will get it), and for the advice about knowing how to pick my battles. That's my biggest problem, and part of why I believe he's like this. My parents were incredibly authoritarian, and I instead of calmly looking at WHY my son is exploding, I can only see the fact that he's defying me. I absolutely lost my mind on him last night... over a bath. He wanted a bath. The problem was that he wanted it immediately, and I wanted him to wait an hour so it would be closer to bedtime. Why didn't I just give him the flipping bath?? It's not like I was doing anything else critical at that moment. But no... I engaged him in the power struggle, and it ended with him throwing things and me just completely losing my temper. Things have been fine this morning, but I feel like the world's worst mom right now.

    SRL - thanks again for your continued support. I am pretty confident about difficult child (the best acronym ever... I cried when I saw it because it was a nice reset in my brain for how I've been thinking of my son these past few days!!) not being on the spectrum any more than the ADHD/ODD bit. I have an appointment now with a psychologist in our area who works out of a child and family development center. I do feel a little better having just spoken to them on the phone. The nurse seemed to understand and was very familiar with all the things I described. This guy's approach is more parent based... to give me things I can do at home, which is what I was hoping for. They also have a pediatric neurologist, psychiatrist, and other professionals on staff. For the moment, I feel relief at the idea of a spot for "one-stop-shopping."

    And in the meantime, this site is keeping me sane... I am incredibly thankful to the creators for providing this lifeline, and for the members who take time to respond to questions I'm sure get asked all the time!!
  8. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Give yourself a break on being the recipient of the world's worst mom award. If you were to continue on in parenting patterns that you know aren't working, then you can have the prize. :peaceful: But I see a mom who is searching for answers and willing to try different methods because she sees that what she grew up with and what's generally expected to work with most kids isn't working with hers. Besides, I already got TWWMA when I dropped a kindergartener off at school on the last day, and kindergarten didn't have the last day.

    The situations like the bath is where TEC strategies can help. If you really take an honest look at what's going on, most things beyond safety don't have to matter. Some kids will respond well to this strategy but it takes awhile for the parent to get the hang of it and for the child to let go of the knee jerk reaction to authority.
  9. ch574

    ch574 New Member

    :tongue: thank you. I REALLY needed that chuckle.

    I think the hardest thing for me with TEC is letting go of my own knee-jerk reaction to what I think authority should be. I agree 100% with Rossman's idea that what I'm doing is not working and I definitely need to find another way. And I like his ideas of combined compromise. I just have a difficult time letting go of my own idea that *MY* way is the way I want things done. I guess I'm not that different from my 4 year old.

    Has anyone ever read/heard of the following books:
    "Emotionaly Intelligent Parenting: How to raise a self-disciplined, responsible, socially skilled child."
    "The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child"

    I found them both at our local library and checked them out. I have absolutely NO idea what either of them contains, but obviously I'm at the stage where I'm looking under all the stones I can find.
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Hi and Welcome!! I am so glad you found us, but sorry you needed to, Know what I mean??
    Go easy on yourself. You are NOT to blame for your child's behavior. You may contribute to some of it, or not handle it in a way that works for you all, but it sure doesn't make you a bad mom.

    Bad moms don't find this site. They are not interested in helping their kids because they don't care!

    You found this site. You are paying attention to what your son does, how he does it, and trying to learn WHY. You are trying to find more effective ways of parenting him!

    This makes you a WONDERFUL MOM!

    I would have him tested by the neuropsychologist. I have a strong bias against ANY doctor the pediatrician says is "THE BEST" at identifying kids on teh autistic spectrum or any other diagnosis. Usually the doctor is rude, makes up his mind after only spending a few minutes with you, and won't change his mind no matter what. They usually are not docs who are going to be very helpful.

    That is JUST my opinion. It is what I have gone through with our docs (even docs for me! I was told the "pain mgmt doctor" in my small town is the BEST in the STATE for pain mgmt. I went in to see him with over 15 years of records of fibromyalgia and arthritis. Most of the 10 minutes he spent was taken up writing DRUG ADDICT all over the file - inside AND out! so I have a real bias here!).

    I think seeing a neuropsychologist would be very helpful, and then seeing a developmental pediatrician or a child and adolescent certified psychiatrist to help with medications, AND a psychologist of some kind to help YOU become a better parent and deal with all the demands of having a difficult child.

    I would also have a PRIVATE occupational therapy evaluation for sensory integration disorder (Sensory Integration Disorder (SID)). Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) can cause a LOT of problems. It can also be helped in many fun, non-medication ways. One way is brushing. A soft brush, like a surgical scrub brush is rubbed over the child's body (on top of clothes OR bare skin) in a certain pattern. It is also combined with joint compressions. It MUST be taught by an Occupational Therapist (OT). If not done correctly it can make the child very ill. Done correctly it helps REWIRE the BRAIN to handle the sensory input in a better way.

    I would not trust a school evaluation for this. The school generally ONLY looks for ways that these problems effect academics. They don't look to see how it effect his entire life. A private evaluation will look at his whole life.

    You can read about Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) in the following 2 books: The Out Of Sync Child and The Out of Sync Child Has Fun. Both are by Carol Kranowitz. The first book tells you all about Sensory Integration Disorder (SID). It is excellent. The second book has activities you can do at home to help various problems. They usually have ways to do the activities with stuff you ahve at home, or they tell you how to get what you need affordably.

    Anyway, I hope you hang around and explore all the forums here.