At end of rope with non diagnosed difficult child

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by jenroack, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. jenroack

    jenroack New Member

    I'll be honest, I've never visited a forum like this before, but I have no idea what to do with my difficult child anymore (this could get long since I'm new and everything started 4 years ago). It also may make little sense as I'm typing as it comes to mind (hopefully I'll get better at this).

    In early 2004, my mother died. We were living with her at the time as she needed constant care. My difficult child worshiped her grandmother as a lot of three year olds do. She took it hard, but didn't understand to much because of her age. Not long after the death, my difficult child started acting out. At first I chalked it up to stress and her age. She would throw fits, not listen, basically normal toddler things. I found out I was pregnant with easy child #1about a month after my mom passed. Now the difficult child had something else to deal with. The day we brought him home from the hospital, she pushed a car seat over onto his head (he was fine). I found it odd that she would do something that violent, but again chalked it up to age and stress.

    Since then she has only gotten worse. She still throws tantrums. By tantrums, I mean she throws herself to the ground kicking and screaming if she doesn't get her way fast enough (things are worse if she doesn't get her way at all). When she was 5 she wanted to go outside. I was still asleep and my husband had fallen asleep on the couch. The doors were all locked (complete with security chain). Sh moved a chair, undid the lock, went outside while her brother followed her. He was 1. A neighbor found him in the parking lot. She admits that she knew he followed her out and she didn't want to take him back inside, so she left him out front to go to a friends house. Last year a boy in class made her mad. She grabbed a pair of scissors and started cutting his shirt off of him. That was when the school sent her through anger management the first time.

    I now have easy child #2. She has had three more deaths to deal with as well (just in the past year). To make things even better, we became homeless last year. My difficult child's school was amazing. All of the teachers pooled their resources, paid for a hotel for us to stay in for a month and then paid the $1200 deposit and first months rent on our apartment. She started yelling at her teacher and refused to do any class work. She was sent through grief counseling and anger management again.

    Just a few days ago she asked if she could play outside. She was told she could, but that she couldn't go down to her friends house because it was almost dinner. My husband caught her and sent her to her room. She proceeded to throw a tantrum so I informed her she was grounded to her room for the weekend. Her response was to go into her room, lay on her bed and kick out her bedroom window.

    Her family doctor suggested therapy a while ago (around the time of death number three). It took a couple of weeks to convince the husband that it was worth a shot. It took the nurse almost a month to find someone that would take her insurance. When she finally did an appoitment was scheduled 6 months out! She has 5 months to go before her preliminary appoitment! I don't know what to do to control her. I've tried every method I can think of. Rewards, spankings, groundings, at one point in time we had a giant posterboard on the wall of all the rules she had to follow (if she followed them all for the day she got a star, once she earned enough stars she got a reward, lowest reward level was 10 stars, ater three months she still hadn't gotten 10). I've tried giving her a daily schedule. My husband is disabled and helps as much as he can, but I am the one that primarily handles disciplining the kids (always have been, even before his leg gave out). He''s much better now about backing up what I say (thank god).

    Her school wants to keep her in the second grade again next year. They say its because she isn't emotionally mature enough to handle it. It seems to me that keeping her with ounger kids isn't going to do anything to help her maturity level. She's already one of the oldest kids in her grade (her birthday is a week after the age cutoff for the district). Shouldn't they want her with kids her own age so she can see how they act?

    I don't know if there is something wrong with her, if it's just her basic personality, or if I failed somewhere. All I know is that I don't know what to do to help her.
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You are not alone and I'm so glad you found us. You have a lot you are dealing with right now. I'm glad you have an appointment. set up. At the same time you might want to set up an appointment. with a neuropsychologist. They do a lot of testing and can help find some things a therapist might not.

    As for the school thing I'll have to stop in later because I have to get ready for work right now. Again welcome, you will find much support here.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there.
    The first thing I'd do is to schedule a neuropsychologist evaluation. NeuroPsychs test kids for EVERYTHING. It is the best evaluation you will get, far trumping a therapist. I'm not a fan of holding kids back, but she knows how kids her age act but just can't do it.

    Any psychiatric problems on either side of the family tree? Did she have any delays or ritutals or odd fears--or does she now?

    Others will come along. We need more info. The chaotic life isn't helping things, but probably isn't the only thing going on.
  4. DramaQueenLucy

    DramaQueenLucy New Member

    Good Morning and welcome! You are in the right others have said I would recommend getting you difficult child tested by a neuropsychologist asap so you know what it is that you are dealing with.
  5. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Some great books that should be available at your local library:

    The Explosive Child by Greene
    The Defiant Child by Riley
    Parenting the Hurt Child

    Also, she sounds so lost at how to behave that a star at the end of the day might as well be a trip to the moon. I'll tell you what worked for us:

    The Instant Reward System

    Supplies: fanny pack for adult, portable clear plastic jar with lid, large clear plastic jar with lid (exactly large enough to hold all the chips--no bigger or smaller), 1000 poker chips

    Method: you or whichever adult is in charge of her wears the fanny pack full of tokens; she starts with the small empty jar, every single time she does something appropriately, she gets a chip. Any time her small jar is full, she dumps it into the big jar. At the end of the day, she can count her chips and use them to buy a prize (dollar store toys work great). Do not give her a "goal" number as you want her to successfully earn a treat each day. This is a reward only system -- she cannot lose chips for being bad.

    Typical Breakfast:

    difficult child good job sitting in your chair, here's a chip.
    difficult child good job pouring the cereal neatly, here's a chip.
    difficult child, good job sitting so nice and tall, here's a chip.
    difficult child good job smiling at your sister, here's a chip.
    difficult child, I like that you are still sitting so nicely, here's a chip.
    difficult child that was very polite asking for more, here's a chip.
    difficult child good job cleaning your place, here's a chip.

    At the beginning, she should be earning a 2-4 chips per minute when engaged in an activity and 1 every five minutes or so when watching tv, playing DS, etc (good sitting, good playing).

    The idea is to mold her behavior by increasing the positive moments and squeezing out the negative moments.

    If she misbehaves, she does not get any chips, but the minute she starts to get back on track

    difficult child, good job taking deep breaths.
    difficult child, good job sitting down.

    She may cognitively know what behaviors you want but may not be developmentally able to perform them all of the time.
  6. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Also, is she on an IEP???
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi Jenroack, nice to meet you.

    Boy, you've all been through a lot. The teachers sound great!

    I like JJJ's list. It is quick and immediate.

    It's really hard to say about your daughter, except that she does sound over the top, beyond normal grief. Her coping skills are low. I agree, that neuropsychologist testing is the way to go. Make an appointment now because clearing up the ins is going to take a while.

    Could you come up with-$100 or so to take her to the psychologist b4 your appointment? Is it the ins that's holding her up or the scheduling?

    Is she doing anything else to hurt the other kids?
  8. jenroack

    jenroack New Member

    I'm not completely sure what an IEP is, but I think it has something to do with the school, right? It think my cousins had one. If it is, then no she isn't. The school did have a meeting with us to tell us that they wanted to retain her and why. After thinking about it, I decided that I was against the idea because it will do more harm than good. Her grades are solid C's (I know she is capable of better). I've never seen class work more juvenile for a grade level. They're learning how to tell time (they started that in kindergarten). She's very bright and get's bored very easily. I honestly think that her actual school work doesn't challenge her so she just doesn't care. The teacher actually called me to complain that my difficult child was reading books that were, in the teachers opinion, to advanced. She can read them, enjoys them and actually understands what she is reading. Isn't it a good thing that she can read that well? We have another meeting in a couple of weeks to find out if they will retain her. If they do, I might switch to home schooling her.

    As far as family psychiatric problems, they run on both sides. On my side there is depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia, ADD and ADHD. On his side there is depression and anxiety.
  9. jenroack

    jenroack New Member

    Financially, I have no extra money. She pushes the older easy child, hits him (slaps, not punches), kicks every once in a while. That's about it. Mostly she just refuses to do anything with him. That hurts him more since he idolizes his big sis.
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Welcome. I won't post much but wanted to ask about the school's recommendations for next year. The assistance that they gave your family is proof that they are caring people, for sure. I am impressed. I'm particularly impressed because it is rare for a family with a troubled child to receive so much support. As a result of that gesture it occurs to me that the school may have listed a number of reasons why they think repeating if the best idea.

    Does she get along with the other children most of the time? Does she get invited to parties and/or other activities? Did they identify specific areas where she is behind the class? Is the staff more experienced and caring at that grade level than the next? I'm just trying to figure out exactly why they said what they did?

    Glad you found us. DDD
  11. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member


    Please look at the Special Education archives on this site for how to start the IEP process for your daughter. I agree that retaining her does not sound like the right thing. Since she is having problems at school they are legally obligated to assess her for Special Education (assuming she is at a public school). It is important you send them the certified letter ASAP due to the end of the school year approaching rapidly.

    Dear Mr. Principal:

    My daughter, difficult child Roack, is having significant difficulties in school that I believe are related to learning and emotional disabilities. I am requesting a complete evaluation in order to determine her eligibility for special education. She is having difficulties with academic work, social skills and emotional areas. I also believe that language problems may be contributing to her difficulties.

    I will be willing to make difficult child available during the summer for testing if necessary.

    Thank you for your continued support.

    Jen Roack
  12. jenroack

    jenroack New Member

    I will send a letter and ask about an IEP at our meeting in May. The meeting in March was when retention was brought up. The meeting was with a counselor, her teacher, the principal and the school therapist. They said that my difficult child wasn't completing her work on time, that she threw fits if she didn't get her way and that she preferred to play with the younger kids. Because she wasn't completing her work on time, they kept giving her longer and longer to finish her work. She never had a deadline like the other kids did. Since I asked the teacher to make her turn in her work on time, even if it wasn't done, she has completed much more. She had only one assignment that she didn't complete and it was sent home and I made her finish it and turn it in even though she got no credit. Since then everything has been finished. I think the problem was that they were to lenient. She throws fits at home, and I agree that it is unacceptable, but she does it at home as well. As for playing with younger kids, her brothers are younger, my friends all have kids that are younger than her and she is the oldest kid in class. The school only goes up to the second grade. How is she supposed to play with older kids when there aren't any?

    The school and the teachers have gone above and beyond for my difficult child and my family. I have never seen a school care so much about the welfare of one of their students. I understand that we are truly blessed to live within such an extraordinary district. I wish that this was something that we could agree on. I also asked them if they thought that summer school may help. I'm willing to find the money to pay for it if it means she will continue on to the third grade. She'll be almost 19 when she graduates as it is. If they retain her, she'll be pushing 20. I'm terrified that if she gets bored enough she'll drop out.
  13. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Did I misunderstand? The school only goes to 2nd grade and they want to retain her in their school? I wonder if that is a factor? Is it part of the public school system?

    If there were a specific area where she was behind in school I was going to suggest an online class to shore up her performance. Most states now have free access for registered students....even in early elementary, I think.

    You absolutely sound like a caring parent who is trying to cover all the bases.
    I'm impressed. DDD
  14. jenroack

    jenroack New Member

    You understood correctly. the school she is in goes up to the second grade. After that she moves to a different building. There are 4 schools in the district. Grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and the high school. It is a public district. They want to retain her. One of the concerns was that she played with younger kids. Because she is in second grade and her birthday is in September, the older students are in another building.