At a standstill.......

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by espy, Nov 21, 2007.

  1. espy

    espy New Member

    Our difficult child: lives with his mom, stepfather and 1/2 sister. My sister has the support of our entire family. difficult child has been to counselors, on every medication you can name (with serious side effects with each, from uncontrollable bowel movements to a weight gain of 43lbs in 45 days). He has been off all medications for 3 months for the first time in 5 years. Do I think that he is better? Unfortunately no, but the side effects were too much. We have checked into specialty schools (we do not have the financing for this....and that is with all of us pitching in)We have checked into the S.T.A.R. program, which sounds wonderful but we are waiting for the school boards answer. I have gone to IEP training through the Rochester Advocacy Center and that has helped with much of the lingo and railroading that the schools do when they don't think you know the childs rights to an education. I am not in anyway bashing the school system, I understand they have their budgets. They were shocked however that I knew they would have to provide a tutor for my wonderful difficult child at their cost after he was suspended for the 3rd time for insubordination. The oddest thing about difficult child, is if it was 20 below zero and somebody didn't have a coat, he would take the coat he was wearing and give it to the person without a coat and not think twice about it. I have been to almost every school meeting with my sister and her husband, not to argue, but to listen from the outside of the situation and write down everything said as I am sure most of you know how emotional these meetings can get and how much information can be lost because of emotions. I am not only difficult child's aunt, but a mother to a wonderful child as well. Which brings me to the other side of the spectrum. We do not mention or brag about any of our sons accomplishment and he knows as well not to mention them to the family. It truly makes me sad at times because we have never been able to celebrate an accomplishment with the family and it truly hurts when my parents tell our difficult child that if he can pass at least one subject they will take him to his favorite restaurant and so he does and they do. My son studies very hard and has never been rewarded by the family...(enough, apparently having a moment...will not happen again:) Back to the subject at hand..I am worried about my sister, I don't think she can take much more of the phone calls from the school and difficult child's ongoing struggles. I have mentioned counseling to her, but that didn't go over well. We as a family are at a stand still. How silly is it that I thought about writing to a talk show like Maury for help. That is how desperate we have become. On a differnt note and maybe a leap....... I have observed over the last 5 years, from going to the counselors, psychologists, doctor visits, school meetings that a large number of the children that have been diagnosed with my difficult child's exact symptoms all have some very common factors: 90% of them were: Blonde, Blue Eyed, Round Faced children that are quite genius in specific areas as math and global or social studies......any feedback is appreciated....still standing:)thank you!
  2. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    Welcome aboard epsy. Glad you found us.

    Today may be a little slow given it's a holiday. But, the troops will rally around you in a day or two.

    How wonderful that your family is so supportive of your sister. She is very blessed. Kids with special needs can wipe a parent out in a hurry.

    I don't know what type of evaluations your nephew has had, but we always recommend a thorough nuero-psychiatric evaluation.

    Sounds like they are covering the bases in terms of the school system. Thats great.

    I'm sorry that your own son lacks the accolades that he deserves. It is a very common theme unfortunately. My own son really 'suffered' while his sister (my difficult child) suffered. Special needs kids require so much additional energy and emotion that other kids in the family (sometimes our spouses) are often neglected. Be sure that you and your hubby take the time to celebrated your sons accomplishments.

    You never really specified what types of behaviors your nephew struggles with. It might be helpful to have some idea of what he is/is not doing.

    Again. Welcome aboard.
  3. espy

    espy New Member

    Our difficult child's behavior: Extremely Defiant at school and his home; Very Manipulative; Never his fault; Lies constantly; Sells items for a little of nothing to make a friend; Is a follower (he has not fallen into the drug or alcohol scene yet but I know it's only a matter of time hence the reason we are trying so hard to do "something" with him; he gets bullied but is also a bully himself; consequences mean nothing to him, one example: my sister has gone to the extremes of completely emptying his room out and leaving just his bed and bedding in there and told him that he would have to earn his items back, the first two days were wonderful and it seemed as though it was working, then he literally quit trying again and things went right back to their normal; he destroys things on occasion, from cutting up a brand new pair of Levis to writing on his wall or destroying other objects just because he can; when he was younger I had caught him being extremely cruel to their animal but have not witnessed anything like that since. today will be a rerun of past thanksgiving's and holidays and our difficult child will eventually get spoken too or scolded for being disrespectful and he will then pull out his "manipulative or con artist card" or play the "victim" card and my sister will start crying (what are the holdiays without a little family scarring, lol.....sorry, but sometimes a little lol is all we have) as for evaluations: he has had a few: on the last evaluation, they told us he was borderline bi-polar but didn't recommend any medications because he was "borderline"?. the evaluations prior to that resulted in ODD and ADHD ....sooo I am not really sure if he has had a neuro evaluation or what that is? My biggest fear with difficult child is that he doesn't seem to feel remorse...yes he goes through the motions or emotions, but I think he does it because he has seen it done, not because he truly feels remorse or sadness, but because its the expected "norm" if that makes any sense. I have read quite a few of the posts, learned a lot and am totally amazed at the support and knowledge everyone offers, not to mention that "holy cow" we aren't alone. I did come across an abbreviation that I am not aware of and that is Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)? I sincerely thank you for your response and am whole heartedly glad I stumbled across this site (my sister(s) and I search the intranet daily for ideas, books and anything under the sun that we think could lend a hand) the last thing my sister came across was the "Total transformation" and that cost her a pretty penny.....but in the end, even after following all the instructions, we ended up back at the beginning with him. Again..have a wonderful thanksgiving and thank you.
  4. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    Well I'm no therapist - I'm a social worker by vocation. I certainly don't make 'diagnoses'. So disclaimer made.

    Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) = Reactive Attachment Disorder. Simply put - kids who have difficulty attaching to caregivers in a nurturing relationship. These kids are generally the victims of abuse in their formative years. It usually becomes evident around or before age 5.

    I am puzzled why doctors would take him off medications if they truly feel he has a bipoloar/borderline diagnosis. medications can really help stabilize the bipolar mood swings. Borderline Personality Disorder is a 'personality disorder' and can't be 'medicated' per say. Most psychiatrists won't make a 'personality disorder' diagnosis before age 18.

    The whole lack of real remorse and empathy would be a red flag to me. The cruelty to animals would also raise some red flags.

    Again I would find a good children's hospital and insist on that neuropsychiatric exam. That person would be a specialist who examines the boys physiology as it relates to his psychology - that it - who can run tests to determine if there is a biological root for his behaviors. It is a much more holistic discipline. They are the best.

    I'm not sure what the "Total Transformation" is - I'm guessing some sort of parenting program. If this boy has physiological deficients - lack of parenting skills is not the primary issue.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'd keep an open mind about the diagnosis and about other things too. For example, I often hear people say, "He tells lies." But what sort of lies? And why?

    Kids lie, generally to avoid getting into trouble (as THEY perceive it). Kids who seem to lie a lot may either be perceiving themselves to be constantly in trouble (a reality, or an exaggeration) or may NEED to keep getting themselves out of trouble because they're always IN trouble.

    But is it a lie of "I forgot to bring my homework"? Or is it a lie of, "I was walking along talking to Sheila when this big kid wearing a yellow shirt jumped out of the bushes, grabbed my homework and ran off. I've never seen him before, but if you want my homework, HE'S the one who's got it, and that's why I haven't got it here to hand in."

    A complex lie which is obviously fiction - that is one kind of lie. But the standard, "I didn't do it" is one which just about all kids can tell.

    it is said that autistic kids (Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids) can't lie. But believe me, they can. But they are really bad at it, especially if it involves inventing a complex alternate reality.

    A lot of what you describe could well be the borderline BiPolar (BP) (apart from going off the medications and apparently not tearing the place apart) but it could also be Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). A HUGE difference in how you manage it.

    And if he was having problems on the medications - maybe it's because they were not really for him, his diagnosis needs to be checked.

    It's something to consider, at any rate. And it would also account for the flashes of brilliance in a few narrow areas. Would account for a great deal.

    You are also looking at him from the point of view of him being deliberately manipulative. If it is Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) (and again, be aware I am using this as an example only) then you do get this behaviour, but it's not deliberately 'bunged on', it's coming from genuine, deep feelings of despair, anxiety and the mood of the moment. Whatever the reason, we deal with it by acknowledging he feels that way, but otherwise not letting it control our lives. We certainly do not let it get us into tears - not good. All THAT does is make him feel worse, and it feeds the whole thing over again.

    If family celebrations are too much for him (or anybody) then tone them down - for that person. Provide a bolt-hole, somewhere he can go to get respite from too much family, and from which he can be called back for the special minutes such as cutting the birthday cake, for example (if he can handle it).

    If you are always ascribing malicious or deliberate intent to his thoughts, words and actions, then you will always be suspicious of him and will increasingly resent him. This is not good for you; it's not good for him. But if you can see him as a kid driven by his out-of-control emotions, desperately trying to fit in and finding it a real struggle, as well as having siblings and cousins who he would love to be like but feels he never can - you have a kid I would love to hug and would feel sorry for. Still a kid to keep on a short leash, but a different attitude might make it easier for him to feel he COULD make it, after all.

    Some battles are not worth fighting. You are right in that the school has certain obligations towards him, but forcing them to comply is not always going to help the child in the long run, because the staff resentments are also in the mix. Not in every case, but apparently in this case.

    If I KNEW he was Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), I would be urging your sister to consider home schooling. Some kids are bright, but need to learn a different way. They get bored in some areas; get left behind in others. They need to learn how to work at their own pace (fast in the easy stuff, slow in the tricky stuff) and to be out of a social situation that may be unhealthy for them.

    I strongly suggest, especially with the current problems with medication, that she try and get him assessed by a neuropsychologist. You need some clear, definitive answers and I'm concerned you may have all been going up the wrong garden path. BiPolar (BP) is tricky to diagnose; so is Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). Get either one wrong, mistake one for the other, and it can not only delay appropriate treatment, it can make things worse. And it's not your fault - you can only do what doctors tell you, concerning your kid. THEY have the expertise (allegedly - that's why it's called 'practising' medicine. Some of them need more practice).

    Also get hold of The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. Darn good book, it will help you, it will help her, it will help your parents. It helps with the good kids too.

    You sound like a wonderful aunt and a fabulously supportive sister. Thank you, you give us hope in the goodness of human nature.