Almost three and possibly ODD?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by punkflute, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. punkflute

    punkflute New Member

    Hi. I'm actually here seeking some sort of advice. I am terrified of my nearly 3 year old. I am a stay at home mom and am actually scared to take my son anywhere. My son beats me almost daily - scratching, hitting, kicking, throwing objects at me, etc. I've often had bruises, gashes, etc. that I have him to thank for. I love him dearly, but I'm scared of him. He's constantly ignoring my instructions, doing exactly the opposite of what I ask and then laughing about it, throwing the most violent tantrums I've ever seen, and being physically abusive toward my husband's dog.

    The hardest part, though, is the lack of support I'm getting from my husband. Whenever I try to bring it up, I am told that it doesn't happen when he's here so it must be me doing something wrong. My mother, my friends, and the moms in his playgroup have all seen that I have tried nearly everything to manage his behavior and nothing has been working. The only thing I haven't tried is what my husband does, and only because I am firmly set against repetitive spanking. husband spanks for almost any misbehavior and expects me to do the same. I'm afraid it's only making our son worse.

    With a history of depression (me) and bi-polar (both of my sisters and my grandfather) in my family, I'm terrified of what could be going on with my son. I want it caught early and after reading up on things I'm beginning to think that it may be ODD.

    Can anyone with experience with ODD tell me if they think I might be on the right path? If I can find a way to present it to husband, maybe I can get him to allow me to take our son to a therapist. Please help!
  2. Robinboots

    Robinboots New Member

    I'm so sorry - it sounds absolutely awful.

    Most kids this age have tantrums, some bite, some hit. What you're describing is way beyond that, so if I were you I'd call my pediatrician and start there.

    As for spanking, it's a time-tested discipline tool - it is not violence, it is not beating, it does not make things worse, or teach kids to hit. in my humble opinion, and I'm sure some disagree.

    However. It does depend on the nature of the discipline itself, when and how it's used, and so forth, and only you and your husband really know how it's done in your household.

    It could be an ODD diagnosis, or almost anything else at this age. Or it could be the lack of discipline with you, Know what I mean?? If your husband takes him in hand, and you don't, you both need to be on the same page. That could be the crux of it right there.
  3. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Hi and welcome. You're among friends here. We understand how frightening this is and how difficult it is to parent a difficult child.

    Given the severity of the behaviors and your family history, I urge you to schedule an appointment with your pediatrician to discuss options. Push for the most complete evaluation you can--many of us here favor behavioral/developmental pediatricians or pediatric neuropsychologists over a therapist because they're more apt to dig in and look at the reasons behind the behaviors instead of just trying to give you help in managing behaviors.

    A book that will be helpful to you: What Your Explosive Child Is Trying to Tell You: Discovering the Pathway from Symptoms to Solutions by Dr. Douglas Riley.

    Regardless of the discipline method, if it's not working, then in a little one like yours there's a very good chance it's making things worse. Please get a copy of the book The Explosive Child by Ross Greene and read the thread about the book at the top of this board.

    Beyond the out of control behaviors, are you seeing anything unusual? Speech delays or unusual speech patterns, obsessive behaviors, sleep problems, overly sensitive to lights or sounds, very picky about clothes or food?
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Is your husband his father? I think spanking an already violent child is counterproductive. Repetitive spanking in my opinion is child abuse.

    I think you should take him to see a Neuropsychologist. Actually, I've had five kids and the youngest is thirteen. Most three year olds DON'T have many tantrums, certainly not violent ones. The only child I've had who had tantrums was my autistic-spectrum son. Most of us long term posters feel that ODD is an unhelpful diagnosis that is usually do to a bigger disorder. I would have him checked out early. Early intervention is your best deterren.

    Welcome to the board ;)
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Robinboots, spanking is very much a personal choice. And something that a lot of us on this site have found - spanking often makes our kids worse.

    That's not to say that parents who find spanking to be effective in their family, are wrong. Merely that it doesn't always work for everybody.

    I spanked my older kids, until I learned a more effective way (which was easier on my hands, too!). But with difficult child 3 - spanking just didn't work. It was making him worse.

    In punkflute's post, it does sound like in this case spanking could be making the child worse. It does happen in some cases, especially where social skills are impaired and the child learns by imitation. Such a child 'learns' that you spank when you are frustrated, when you don't get what you want, when you are angry. It is not the lesson we want the kid to learn.

    Now, more socially aware kids (ie "normal" in that respect) are likely to respond better to spanking, than those with, say, autism.

    It's like this with anything - if you find a discipline method that works for you, then use it. But if it's not working, dump it. It is a really bad thing to be trying to discipline a child, and fail. It's better to not try at all, than to try and fail - because THAT sends a message to the child of, "I can get away with this. I have just found the weak link and it's not me. Yippee!"

    In other words, the parent who says (as my mother used to, "You do tat again and I'll skin you alive!" will some day reach the point where the child does it again, and manages to not be skinned alive. When the threat (whatever it is, including fear of a spanking) does not eventuate, then the discipline has just gone south.

    If spanking works for you, then go ahead. Legally you need to be increasingly careful - it's against the law to spank your child in New Zealand, for example. We had to go VERY carefully when we were on holidays there. And for us in Aus, the attitude is crossing the Tasman. Plus it stopped working for us very early on.

    So it is always good to have more strings to your bow, to have other options you can try.

    And sometimes we just panic and do whatever we can, especially when faced with a child being violent to us. Officially, we stopped spanking the older kids when they were in pre-school (because we found better methods). But there were a few times when difficult child 1 was in his teens, when I had to use physical means to control him and restrain him. I was lucky - it worked. He was bigger than me and stronger than me; if I hadn't been lucky, it could have got very nasty.

    We do what we have to do. But there are alternatives that can also be very effective. And in our case dealing with our particular kids - these methods proved even more effective.

    Punkflute, check out the sticky on the top of this page, dealing with "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene and how to adapt it to your younger child. A lot of us on this site have found tis book very helpful. It does seem counter-intuitive, because often we feel that the worse the behaviour in our kids, the righter we have to clamp down on them and control them. Sometimes it is tat very tight control we are holding, that is the problem. It may not be a problem for other kids in the family, but various difficult children - they simply don't work the same way. So sometimes we need to find an approach that works better for them.