Challenging times - 12yr son and ADHD/ODD

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by cali_dad, Nov 14, 2008.

  1. cali_dad

    cali_dad New Member

    This is my first post, so please excuse any awkwardness.

    A Quick Intro:
    My smart, creative, wonderful son whom I adore is 12 year old. Since he was around 5, my wife and I knew the level of frustration and anger he exhibited was beyond what we had seen in our daughter and any other child we had come into contact with. In short, although a windy path, we did eventually get a ADHD diagnosis when he was about 7. In the last 5 years we have had lots of adjustments in terms of medications to manage his anxiety/frustration and anger as well as expanding the methods of discipline in order to train him up to become a young man. These have been challenging times! To him, the world is black and white and God help us when any family member stands on the opposite side of the table discussing something he disagrees with. I did read The Explosive Child which opened my eyes to who he is and how he thinks...but the techniques tried never had any expected results. I know there will be another diagnosis (ODD, mood...) for him as we continue to pursue answers.

    In the back of my mind, I hoped that as he got more mature his reasoning skills would kick in and he would 'automagically' learn to listen to (and trust) that what we say would start making sense to him. And with this skill, he would be able to see that the world wasn't flat and that what I was lovingly teaching him were the keys for his future. Truth is, his hormones are working overtime and his anger is more intense then wrong my assumptions where is so obvious to me now!

    My son is a gifted kid...he has a gentle, happy loving side and 50% of the time is riding high. His brain lives to learn anything technical and he drives his hunger for more knowledge constantly. He thinks (and maybe is right) that he is smarter then everyone else. However, this mental perspective and his black and white thinking result in explosive disagreements with us, his grandparents and uncles and family friends. Yesterday is went to the next level when he had it out with his school principal. These outbursts may be less then when he was younger, but the types of people (authority figures) he allows himself challenge is expanding which has really alarmed me.

    I know there are kids like my son that have to be handled in a uniquely different way, however they get older our ability to shelter them becomes weaker and weaker. What to do? Group therapy? Family Counseling....I am exhausted from all of this but I know the real work is ahead.

    Thanks for hearing me vent. I really appreciate the stories I have already read here and feel a sense of community in the secret battles most of us are going through. In that vein, any advise would be greatly appreciated.
  2. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Hello cali_dad and welcome!

    Wow! Sounds like you have your hands full AND like you've been through the diagnostic ringer. I'm not a doctor and in no way qualified to diagnose anything, but it sounds like your son has a lot more going on than just ADHD.

    I apologize for firing off a barrage of questions right off the bat, but the answers will help us to better help you. Here goes...

    1) What was your son's early development like? Did he have any speech delays? Did he learn to speak early? Possibly with unusual precision for such a young child?
    2) Any sensory issues? Trouble with things such as bright lights, loud noises, seams in socks, textures of certain foods?
    3) Trouble and possibly meltdowns when making transitions?
    4) How were the developmental milestones? Any delays? Any difficulties, e.g. with crawling, walking, toilet training, etc.?
    5) Does your son show a broad range of ability, i.e. above average in some areas, below average in others?
    6) What about play behaviour? Did your son have a tendency to line up his toys, spin objects or fixate on things such as light switches?
    7) Any self-stimulant behaviour? Rocking, flapping arms, swaying, repetition of words or sounds?

    The explosive temper, black and white thinking, etc. sound a bit Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) spectrum-ish to me. My difficult child had (still has) similar behaviour and thought patterns.

    Lots of issues present with hyperactive symptoms. ADHD is often co-morbid with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and mania can look exactly like ADHD, so it's hard to tease apart the symptoms and behaviours to find out what's really going on.

    A lot of us have had success with a neuropsychologist evaluation. Have you ever had your son evaluated. This is a long, intense and detailed evaluation which can pinpoint some neurological issues that other assessments may miss.

    You might want to check out:

    Glad you found us. Sorry you had to.

  3. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    I have a difficult child (gift from God) that has a low frustration tolerance and anger problems, I understand the stress and frustration that puts on the family. Welcome to this site, I hope you get plenty of support and helpful ideas to make your life run smoother, unfortunately, I don't feel like I have any ideas at the moment, but I can offer understanding.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. Long time warrier mom here, thinking that you may not be able to change him just by changing your parenting techniques. Has this child recently been evaluated? Has he ever seen a neuropsychologist? His concrete thinking and high intelligence and thirst to learn make me think of Aspergers Syndrome more than ADHD/ODD (although this is a common misdiagnosis that these kids get). How are his social skills? Does he understand how to have a give-and-take conversation with his peers or does he more hang to himself or monologue? Does he have any obsessive interests (especially ones like computers?). Is he quirky and socially awkward? Does he freak out when he has to transition from one activity to another (or did he as a child?).
    I would do the neuropsychologist evaluation. These kids diagnosis. change with time as they age and more stuff comes out. I wouldn't hang my hat on a seven year old diagnosis and one I read about in a book, even if it sounds likely. I would want to have a fresh evaluation. NeuroPsychs spend anywhere from 6-10 hours testing and test in all areas. They catch the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in my son after years of wrong diagnoses and my son is doing great now. He's 15. Until you evaluate your child to know exactly what you are dealing with, therapy probably won't help as much as it could. And I don't think you have the big picture yet. Even if you think you do, it can't hurt to get another opinion.
  5. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi Cali_Dad! Trinity and MWM asked a lot of good questions. Try to answer them from not only your perspective, but from teacher comments, babysitters, grandparents, etc. Sometimes they may have called something to your or your wife's attention that maybe you never noticed because it was in a different setting.

    One really good suggestion was to get a full neuropsychologist done so that they can rule out a variety of diagnosis'. This will also let you figure out if the medications are helping or hindering. We had difficult child 1 taking Concerta (a stimulant) for 5 years and he was one miserable critter to co-exist with (it sure couldn't have been called "living"). Between the neuro that we had done and this board, I made them take him off the stimulant and we've absolutely seen a different kid. Don't get me wrong - I said "different" not "perfect!" He can frequently still be an evil little cuss!

    We're a good group with a lot of collective knowledge (and we have a lot of fun as well!).

    Welcome to the crowd!

  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Welcome! I know the world you live in - and are you SURE it isn't my son you are talking about? Just kidding! My Wiz is remarkably similar - or he WAS. Things ahve changed with his maturity and with changes in our family structure/living arrangements.

    I also thought of Aspergers when you described your son. Try the childbrain link in the post above and see what the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) quiz says. It might be eye-opening.

    The truth is, until you know what you are dealing with you are going to have a hard time treating it. A new and complete multidisciplinary evaluation or evaluation by a neuropsychologist (some do much shorter evaluations than Midwest Mom's son got, but they can be very effective at evaluating and diagnosing our kids). Both neuropsychologists and the multidisciplinary evaluation can be found at Major University hospitals or Children's Hospitals.

    I strongly recommend the Love and Logic books. I found that my husband and I were able to meet on the same page and then handle ALL of our kids better (each child has different challenges). The website for L&L is . And the books are by Jim Fay and Foster Cline and a few others (Jim Fay's son Charlie now teaches L&L and writes books - he was raised with L&L as his father developed it and is truly a wonderful person.) The things on the website that are aimed at teachers were even helpful for me. As was the seminar I attended a couple of years age.

    Welcome to our little corner!
  7. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Adding my welcome to a fellow Californian!
  8. Nancy423

    Nancy423 do I have to be the mom?

    Just popping in to say Hi and Welcome.
  9. ML

    ML Guest

    Welcome! I have a 10 year old son who challenges my resources every day. I'm glad you found us.
  10. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member


    Love that word. It describes my thinking in many ways when it comes to my difficult children, especially my 12 year old son.

    Even though I've had TONS of testng done on him, there is still that part of me that believes one day that some how "it" will all click with him. He also sees the world as black/white and when he wants something he is tenaous and no explanation will do unless it is the answer he wants to hear.

    I constantly asked, lectured, nagged and yelled about riding his bike in a safe manner. He was dismissive, and rude, and ignored me, until he was nearly killed after he was swiped by a car. Luckily, he got away with broken glasses and some road rash. Hopefully, there won't be a next time.

    I agree with the neuropsychologist evaluation. It takes a few days and is very comprehensive if done properly. Though, sometimes it can reveal, as it did in my case, some things that can't be medicated, or therapied, away. In my son's case, it reveal limitations that have to be lived with and hopefully adapted to.

    I'm no doctor, but your son sounds like he has more than ADHD going on. ODD by the way, is a term to describe behavior, it is not a disorder in my opinion.

    Glad you found us. Welcome.
  11. Ropefree

    Ropefree Banned

    The high stress parents are under with these kids is Off the charts. I had the not listen to reason run out into traffic as a youngster near death close call and then the hit by the car on a bike go to the hospital on the strapedown board. REcently when another teen died horribly a non-parent said "the mom didn't even look upset"
    At age two I was adrenal burnt out with my kinetic brainy fearless one ever finding the edge of danger...after 17 years of unending surprise I am worn out.
    If you are lucky that 12 year old will suprise you with good scence and when you relax that first second it will be the next phase and worse!
    One day a parent turned to me and said "if our children live to maturity they tend to be very creative adults" I count each birthday as a blessing. It is truely a miracle that this younge person is still with us.
    Twelve is a pretty long time. You too maybe one of the lucky parents of wild ones who manage to live to maturity.
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi Cali Dad, welcome.

    You're son sounds a bit Aspie-ish to me. The b&w thinking, the love of science ... I'd have another evaluation done by a neuropsychologist or someone else who specializes in spectrum disorders.
    I think the ADHD is a symptom of something else, not a be-all and end-all diagnosis.
    in my humble opinion.
    My son is a bit Aspie (someone here signs her notes "Aspie-lite"--I love it!) and he, too, thinks in terms of b&w. If you say something and misspeak, Lord help you. You'll spend the next half hr explaining why you said it exactly the way you said it and you won't be able to remember, LOL!
    My son works well with-small rewards--Reese's Peanut Butter Cups for taking his pills with-o argument, that sort of thing. Occasionally he will do things automatically with-o being asked, but it's pretty rare. Fri he brought in the mail with-o being asked. Woo hoo! I was so happy!
    It's such a struggle to get him to bring in the groceries. He always insists he didn't want to go to the store and he didn't buy anything, so why should he help carry? I explain that he's a part of our family and he needs to chip in, and he doesn't "get it."
    So then I say, "If you don't help me bring in the groceries, you don't get dinner, because the ingredients are all in the bags."
    THAT kind of logic he understands!!!
  13. cali_dad

    cali_dad New Member

    Wow! Thank you ALL so much for your responses...I am so grateful for your thoughtful commends. I wrote down all the questions asked and am going to work with my wife to answer them and then I will let you know (Trinity & MidwestMom). Being the dad, remembering how well he did during the 'potty-training' phase is lost and forgotten in my memory banks.

    Just another quick follow-up:

    First off. My gff and the school principal had a 'meeting of the minds' the day after their argument at school. Both apologized for the way they reacted and prayed with oneanother. This looked to be a good sign. However, when my gff and I met with his psychiatric on Sat to hash out the conflict he had with the principal, he admitted that there was nothing he could have done differently to have changed the outcome of the interaction. It is all HER fault.....yes, it's always someone else's fault - this is a theme that never ceases and is his justification for his actions. Sigh. Note that thanks to your recommendations I did ask (and received) a referal to a very good neuropsychologist. Additionally, the psychiatric feels group therapy would be very helpful, however I can foresee my gff throwing in the towel 15 minutes in when things get uncomfortable. :(

    Since he was sick this weekend, he was sweet and kind with no issues.

    Lastly, thank you for caring and I will get back to you shortly with more info.