At a loss

Lynne Shirley

New Member
My husband and I adopted our granfson who is now 6. We have had him since 10 weeks of age. We adore him, and have provided a loving home. He has been oppositional for 3 years. He was exposed to chronic drug use while in the womb, and abanoned until 10 weeks of age. He has no memory of his bio-parents, and has never asked about them. He has told me he hated me regularily for years, and now adds he wishes I was dead. It is breaking my heart. He is very hyperactive, and the littlest thing sets him off. We have had him in counseling in the past, and he is due to begin again in August. I have read countless books on bonding, but am exhausted and discouraged living this way. He also hits, pinches, and kicks. Any words of encouragement would be appreciated....I am loosing hope.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

I don't have an answer for you but wanted to welcome you. More will be along with advice for you.

I just wanted to say that I admire you and other grandparents that take on these roles.

Good luck!


Well-Known Member
Hi! Sorry it has been so hard. I adopted a son who had been exposed to drugs and alcohol prenatally. My son is very lucky. He has high functioning autism but is on his own at almost 24 and has no behavior problems. We met him at two.

Although attachment problems are a real possibility with your grandson, you cant rule out behavioral problems/brain differences also due to in utero drug and alcohol exposure. Has he ever been totally evaluated by a neuro psychologist (this is a highly trained psychologist with extra training in the brain). They are wonderful diagnosticians.

Knowing my sons medical history in utero, he was tested as soon as we adopted him at a major center in Chicago. It is to be expected that the prenatal drug exposure will mess with his brain...never heard of a drug/alcohol exposed baby totally unscathed.

It is a wonderful thing you are doing. Keep searching for answers and professional help. We had to do that but it really paid off! Keep up the great work.
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Well-Known Member
Fellow grandma raising a difficult grandchild, now almost 11. I can say that when DGC was your grandson's age, things were far worse than they are now. Not to say we are out of the woods; far from it. But, with lots of support, medications (still on the fence as to the efficacy of these--it's all trial and error), things are better. Maturation helps a ton. But, you need to start seeking out people that can give you a diagnosis (or diagnoses, often more than one thing going on, e.g., DGC has ADHD, Anxiety Disorder, and it looks like emerging bi-polar). We got help with an IEP at school, Explosive Child book (Ross Greene), and on this board.

In your case, there may be some brain difference due to chemical exposure, but the brain is amazing and with love and help, things will get better.


New Member
I have a daughter who is a few years older than your grandson who also appears to have ODD. She is very defiant, and its her way or the highway (she once got into an arguement with her grandfather over ordering a pizza because she didn't want pizza- to the point where he drove her home ranting and raving). In my experiences, you can only take one day at a time, and try to find good in the situation. There are some days that are going to be a lot better then others; and some days, where everything is a million times worse. Without any question, its difficult. I recently read a really good book on it, "Raising the Operationally Defiant Child." I actually bought it off Amazon, and I would highly recommend it. There are a lot of things in there that work. For example, when there having a tantrum (even about the most minor things in life) don't yell back. I know its tempting, and we've all been there, but if you do, it puts you on there level. It also talks about the importance of consequences, which I'm working on. By no means is it a cure-all, but it helps.