At Break point :(

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Pinkmum81, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. Pinkmum81

    Pinkmum81 New Member

    I posted many many months ago about my son. I thought he might have ODD or be Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

    He has since seen a Peadiatrician who was less than helpful, said the usual, he's young, he will probably grow out of things and just re-referred him to speech and language as he still cannot pronounce certain sounds.

    He is now in school full time but since he has started school, although he seems to behave fine there, his behaviour at home has gotten out of control. I literally do not know how to handle him anymore. His temper and aggression is off the chart! He is constantly angry, throwing things, screaming, shouting, lashing out, crying, he won't do anything he's told, he constantly is obsessed with food - when he's going to eat, what he's going to eat etc. In the past two days he's smashed a picture frame and broken the keyboard on the computer (Im using iPad to type this!).

    I have spent most of today in tears, his rages today have been some of his worst ever, he was shaking with anger and so ramped up I had to physically restrain him to stop him hurting himself or any of my other children.

    He ticks every box when I look up ODD, and I'm pretty convinced he has this. I have looked up how to deal with this but I can't see anything but positive enforcement! I try to ignore bad behaviour but its impossible if he's smashing things or hurting people.

    The fact that he can control it at school and around my family makes me feel like I'm going crazy as people don't see the little tornado he turns into at home.

    Please help!
  2. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    I have a son who is EXACTLY like that. Teachers love him. Polite. Quiet. Respectful. Always raises his hand.

    Then he comes home and the real difficult child takes over. From what I have been told this happens because "home is his soft place to land" (I have grown to hate the expression, but it's really the best way to describe it). He knows that at home he is safe and loved. He has held himself together all day at school and by the time he comes home to you he is wound up tight like a rubber band until he can no longer hold it together. Then you have an explosion of all of the anxiety and fears that he managed to hold inside all day long.

    Frustrating? Definately! But it's not hopeless. For a long time I thought that it was, but it's not.

    My first advice to you would be to have him evaluated by a psychiatrist or a neuropsychologist who specialized in children. Tell them everything you have told us here. Make notes to remind yourself what is happening on a day to day basis. Until you know what is really going on you will never be able to get a handle on your son's behavioral problems.

    Alot of us here think that ODD is a "place holder" diagnosis. They aren't really sure why the child is behaving the way he is behaving, so they slap ODD on there so that there is a diagnosis that is recognized.

    The only thing that helped our son was finding the right medication for him. It took a few tries, but we found one that has helped him immensely.

    Is is perfect? No, and it probably never will be, but it's better than it was. He still has bad days, but they are easier to manage.

    Good luck to you. Let us know how you all are doing.
  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Pinkmum-I agree with Bunny about having him looked at by a child psychiatrist and a neuropsychologist. Also it may make you feel better that some children are able to hold it together at one place or the other but not both. Of course, my son wasn't able to hold it together at either place-school, home, anywhere! Sending hugs your way.
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You're going to hear this repeated... because so many of us have been there.
    Your son needs a comprehensive evaluation - neuropsychologist, child behavioral/developmental team, etc., highly specialised people with intensive evaluations. You need to get to the bottom of WHY the behaviour is happening.

    It takes time to get in to those specialists, though.
    SO if you can, in the mean time, it might be useful to get an Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation - for sensory and motor skills issues.
    The Occupational Therapist (OT) has therapies to help... and an Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation report IS useful to those doing a comprehensive evaluation. (Some teams include an Occupational Therapist (OT), but many do not).

    Just because the behaviour shows up at home, doesn't mean the problem is at home. School may be taking every single ounce of mental and emotional strength he has... and when he gets home there is nothing left. (been there done that... )
  5. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Ditto!! Ditto! Ditto!
  6. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi! I wrote out a response yesterday and lost it, so frustrating! So I'm back and basically was going to say what others here have said.

    So, first I'll start with you. Yes it feels crazy making when people dont see what you see and also when they try to "help" and they use traditional methods (in my circle they try to use logic and appeal to his sense of right/ dont talk to your mom like that! blah blah, it only makes it worse for me in the long run). But for sure we believe you and a good neuropsychologist should too. (I just met a mom with twins who had a neuropsychologist say the traditional things about them needing to be better parents etc. and it turns out they are autistic! Luckily she is in a good place now but of course if it does not hit as true in your gut, even a neuropsychologist can be wrong once in a while. But compared to other options this in my experience has been the best for the "big picture" and helping to sort out how my son learns, what his strengths are and what his weaknesses are. They make good recommendations for therapies too and that helps with insurance and can save you money in the long run even if you have to pay out of pocket for the evaluation.

    Bunny is right, it is often true that our kids fall apart at home. That never was the case for my son until recently. He has had days like that. He typically fell apart everywhere but as he is improving in some areas he does hold it together in many settings then it all pours out on me.
    Another reason he may be dong well is that in school, espeically once elementary starts, they have a pretty consistent schedule/routine and the schedule is often on a board and visual so it is quite predictable. Even if there are changes they often prepare the kids in advance for those changes by changing it on the board.
    So, you may want to start creating a routine and using a simple picture schedule that can be modified easily (like a pile of pictures that you can stick up in a line from top to bottom taking each one off when done or a white board where you erase the little symbol/picture plus word you use to say the schedule. Even if they can't read, reviewing the schedule with them helps them to settle into the day. Being fairly consistent on weekends is hard but well worth it.

    Not that you can't vary your days...just have a schedule and review it (and, yes, there are kids who get anxious if they know something like a dr appointment is coming up or too excited if a fun event is coming up and you may need to NOT tell too far ahead of time for those situations, just present it still in a visual way a short time before the event). Routines like for example a bath routine may include a washing song while you set it up so she gets in the right head space...same for breakfast or cleaning up toys etc. can help tremendously. I used pictures (like a photo of our car, a picture of eating for any eating situation, a school bus picture, a tooth brush picture, etc....) and put them on a ring for each day...(they were laminated with holes punched in the corner). Each day I could change them around if I needed to. My son would flip the picture when done with a step. We would go through the whole "story" at the beginning of the day. You might use whatever is close to how they present a schedule in the school setting as a model if she is doing well with that. It is often also helpful to give a countdown to a transition ...which you can also do visually by having numbers on cards. You can show a three and say three minutes and we go (you dont have to really watch the clock, minutes for me were sometimes seconds and sometimes longer than a minute but just make sure you stick to the count, dont start then stop then suddenly pull them to another activity like "get in the car, we are late")....then two then one then often helps. A transition song can help to....just make one up and use it for every transition (take a tune like ABC song and sing "now its time to go to bed, lets get ready sleepy head" (hey that's catchy, lol).

    Also, kids sometimes do really well in school and look like they have no issues there until about third/fourt/fifth grade. Some wait till middle school to fall apart in the school setting like at home. The language, social challenges etc. increase dramatically at those ages. It is super frustrating for parents who know there are issues and have kids who appear to have no issues in those early years because we all want to intervene early to help head off the issues we know may be coming. Unfortunately if they are not impacted in the school setting you often have to wait for help there and use private sources who also may not believe you and may say it is a parenting issue if it is only at home. But you KNOW in your heart if there are bigger issues and there are ways to address them. ODD really only says that a child is behaving in an oppositional and a defiant way. OK great, many many of us here have kids who fit that. As you have found, it helps very little in a practical way. The only thing to do is to dig and dig to find out how your child is experiencing the world. How does he see, hear, feel, process everything? Does he have neurological conditions like a learning challenge or Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or any number of issues or does he have chemical imbalances like childhood bipolar etc.... those bigger things may be hard to figure out so looking as well at what situations trigger him, what consistently calms him, does he seek tons of input at home like touching things or making noise? All those things are issues to sort though that can really help when you try to give him the skills he needs to do better. Most kids do want to do well and are not loving life when they are being oppositional. Most kids (not all but yours doesn't seem to fall into this small group as far as you have presented so far) do well when they can! It is really helpful to read The Explosive Child by Ross Greene and/or What Your Explosive Child is Trying to Tell You by Doug Riley to help give a method for looking at what skills he has or doesn't have and how you can fill those in so he can for example tolerate frustration better, or be willing to wait for things better etc.

    Glad you are here!
  7. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Buddy that's a great point about school being scheduled and regimented and that some kids thrive in those situations. When difficult child was starting middle school I was so nervous about how he would adjust to it. Even his therapist was a little concerned about whether or not he could do it! But he loves the fact that he knows what every day is going to be. He goes and sits in his first class for 42 minutes. The bell rings and he has 4 minutes to get to the next class and he sits there for 42 minutes. The bell rings and the routine continues until the end of the school day. Some kids need that scheduling, which I do believe is one of difficult child's problems here at home. There is SECURITY in that routine.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi, Pinkmum. I hear you! I remember those days all too well.

    I agree, that school days are more regimented and that homelife must be, as well. However, no matter how regimented it is, your son knows that's the place where he can let his hair down and he has used up most of his calm behaviors at school and by the time he gets back with-you ea day, he's just had it.

    One thing that worked well with-me was to have other people around. For whatever reason, my difficult child would really lash out at me when we were alone, but if the rest of the family was home, it took the edge off.

    Also, he spent way too much time on the computer, stimming, and it was soooo hard to get him to go outside, but it had to be done. I usually had to take something away from him to get him to go for a walk, for example. "You can have your computer back after the walk." Then he'd view the walk as a means to an end. But at least it got him going.

    Also we changed our son's diet. We're still battling that but it is worth the battle.

    You've gotten some GREAT ideas and advice here ... not much else I can do but send cyber hugs.