defiant 8 year old

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by White, Mar 14, 2015.

  1. White

    White New Member

    I have an eight year old who has consistently been defiant since the age of 4. He's never been able to complete a time out (we've given up on that idea all togther) and can push a small issue into a 2 hour ordeal of tears and frustration. An example would be that he might be focused on playing a video game come shower time, which is always the same time every night. He will ignore our request to shut the game down (or end whatever activity) until we can't tolerate it anymore and shut it down ourselves. That will result in instant crying and a tantrum. Often times he won't cry, but will follow me around the house making only a grunting noise until I snap. I try putting him in his room and he will not stay there. He won't talk when he's upset, and he won't be reasoned with, and he is so defiant that he cannot be intimidated with the threat of losing priviledges. He's lost all priviledges many times and never learns. Eventually he'll break after a couple of hours but I've found that if I time it right I can talk him down and offer a hug and sometimes that helps.
    The smallest thing can quickly escalate into WW3 and it sucks. I've read and tried many books, SOS, Kazdin Method, Anger Overload and the best I can figure is that it's some sort of control/dissapointment issue. He's very well behaved outside our home amongst other adults, seems to be just us. We raised his 5 year old brother and have had no issues with him so I do not think it's us. Any constructive comments are welcome.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Have you taken him to somebody, such as a neuropsychologist, for a complete evaluation? Neuropsychs test for everything and in every area of function. To me he sounds a little spectrumish, but he needs to see a professional with a knowledge of how to test. Did he have any speech delays or other delays or weird obsessions? Does he have any s*t*i*m behavior such as arm flapping or foot tapping or strange throat noises or rocking back and forth? How does he get along with his same age peers?

    Any problems in school learning?
  3. runawaybunny

    runawaybunny Administrator Staff Member

    I just wanted to say welcome. Sounds like you really have your hands full with your son. You must be very frustrated.

    I agree with @MidwestMom's point about getting your son a comprehensive evaluation. It would be helpful to get a full evaluation. That way you can find out if he would benefit from additional professional support.
  4. White

    White New Member

    He gets along great with classmates and friends. Nobody outside of our immediate family knows there's even a problem. We've talked to our family doctor and he recommended we give it time. Out of frustration, we've made an appointment with a child psychiatric but he seemed to outgrow everything during the 6 month wait to get in.
    I'm not sure what " s*t*i*m behavior" means...but he doesn't do those things. I think he grunts as an attention getting device habit. He's got some peculiar ways but for the most part he's appears to get "locked" into some sort of dissapointed mode that he can't get himself out of. Thanks for your input, both of you.
  5. Confused

    Confused Active Member

    Welcome White :) Family Dr, yes, the give it time diagnose! Thats what I was told when I told my son's pediatrician somethings wasn't right,( at 1 1/2 my son started showing issues) his tantrums were hours, violent and grew worse yearly. They said "he's all boy" " let him grow" etc., "you have a girl and this is a boy"," your kids have an age difference so its like your a new mom", etc... well, if consistency hasn't helped, yes, you need to get an evaluation as mentioned. Us parents know when something is off, but we do tend ( at least me) to listen to others that its" me", or its not as bad as I think etc, dont give up and dont let anyone else change your minds, keep going!

    My son is overall great with others as well, but.. at home with all family, yikes! He got more and more comfortable if you will with the other family, as he seems to be with a friend of his. So far my son's neurologist has labeled him ADHD and Sleep issue and will soon go to a PScyh to get a final diagnose. He was at a neuropsychologist but well, no definites so.. it continues.

    Good luck and times outs never worked with my son either! Its hard to find the right "punishment".
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    The first thing that hit me is... transition. Moving from a video game - which is all-engrossing and highly addictive - to shower time, is a major transition. Some of "our" kids have trouble with transitions. It may be for a multitude of reasons.

    Some things we've tried:
    1) change the cut-off time of the first activity so there is a break before the second activity. For example, if bath time is 7:30, then computer activity ends at 7:00 or 7:15.

    2) major forewarnings, multiple times over. 30 minutes to bath, 20 minutes, 15, 10, 5, etc. You have to interrupt and know you have their attention with each forewarning. Otherwise, they ignore you and it has no impact.

    3) Reduce addictive activities substantially. We had to really limit electronics for years. If they didn't get so engrossed, it was easier to break out of it. Not hard to put down a book, compared to shutting off electronics.
  7. White

    White New Member

    Wow Confused, thank you for telling me that. Good to know we're not the only ones. What is the sleep disorder you speak of? I'm a firm believer in a fixed bedtime, but I do sometimes think he's not getting enough sleep. Behavior sometimes seems better when he doesn't have to get up for school, in other words - when he sleeps in as long as he needs to he's better behaved, mostly. :)
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    It isn't just quantity... it's quality. Does he roll around much? Pull the covers out? Mine used to crash into the wall (the bed was against the wall), and/or fall out on the open side (or off the bottom, go figure). Restless sleep is one sign that they are not getting quality sleep. Mine was never diagnosed with a sleep disorder - seems it was related to his anxiety, and not able to relax even when sleeping.
  9. White

    White New Member

    Thank you....I totally agree with your recommendations...I didn't mention it but we do those things, although the reduction of electronics comes and goes depending on behavior. We don't have many bargaining chips that seem to matter. We do find that if we reduce "surprises", things go better, but I guess I'm worried about what happens years from now....are we missing something that we should be doing??
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Lets see.
    1) transition issues
    2) sleep issues
    3) loves consistency

    Sounds like my kid at 8 (and 9, 10, 11, 12...)

    Has he ever had a comprehensive evaluation? the kind that take multiple hours, and involve a raft of forms for you and school to fill out?

    I'm wondering if he just might be a little bit toward the autism spectrum. Not "autistic" per se, but higher functioning. Asperger's syndrome, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified, or something like that? Or even some of the traits without meeting diagnostic requirements? Because if that is what you are dealing with, even a "mild" situation, you need to learn about these kids, what makes them tick, how they think. The parenting approaches that work for "neurotypical" kids simply do not work for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)-related kids.
  11. Confused

    Confused Active Member

    Your welcome White :) Oh and yes InsaneCdn, is one of the many here who helped me figure out my son had a sleep issue BEFORE he went to the neurologist!So her questions are on target! My son could sleep up to 12 hours but still be tired! He would roll around, covers gone and was all over the bed like a "clock" , but even when he seemed not to move much he still was tired. Quality like Insane said so true, I will have to look up the exact diagnose tonight and I will let you know. But anxiety I didn't think of that.. Any nightmares you know of? Does he snore? Is he a very active child during the day? Food allergies can play a part to, have you tested his diet?
  12. White

    White New Member

    So much info is awesome, but reality is that the thought of a spectrum issue is very sad. He's such a normal kid outside of what I described, is it possible to have one or two mild symptoms of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) and treat those somehow? As you can imagine, I've combed the internet over the years and considered most diagnoses and the best I could figure was a delay in his emotional development. If Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), wondering what treatment looks like, hate the thought of medication - he probably wouldn't take it anyway. Uggg, so sad.
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Can I blow up some pre-conceived notions?

    I'm an Aspie - Asperger's syndrome. Me. The Mom. I'm also university educated and work in my field (Information technology). I'm married with two kids. I'm "normal". Except... not quite.

    Aspie traits run in my family, in particular. I didn't even notice my son wasn't "normal" until after he started school. I didn't really understand just how different he was until junior high grades. Now that he's out of school... it's really obvious. He does not have a formal diagnosis, but he does have recognized traits.

    The most obvious traits that seem to occur with or without a diagnosis include:
    - problems with social skills - the gap gets wider as they get older
    - problems with transitions
    - the ability to hyper-focus on a task, IF it is in "their area of specialty"
    - the tendency to have a key area of interest (their specialty) - this may change over time, but will not "change daily"
    - there may be sensory challenges
    - there may be coordination challenges (fine motor skills or gross motor skills or both)

    Also be on the look-out for Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) - auditory processing disorder. There are multiple different APDs, and while the classic symptoms of Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) tend to get caught (problems processing verbal language), other APDs get missed. Such as auditory figure ground - where the person can hear fine in a quiet setting, but cannot figure out what sounds to focus on in a noisy environment. And classrooms are NOISY. So are computer games...
  14. Confused

    Confused Active Member

    I agree, and us looking up everything it could be can drive us nuts and make us scared, confused, worried, its not easy. Im beyond guilty! My daughter as you can see in my sig also has problems, grew up fine, no issues, but was shy and little things came up with her I didnt understand and asked the pediatrician and was reassured she was shy maybe anxiety later on. Well, its coming out she is Asbergers, possible anxiety( depends who you ask), Learning Disorder and a sensory disorder possibly. How could this be ? She was a little different but grades were great, hardly missed school, had friends but still had her differences, every year things did seem to get a little harder for her. Highschool was a sudden stop and is when all the diagnoses started.. yes Im still worried for her and my sons futures, but I know we just need to work with them even more to give them the skills to function. Like Insane said, not all aspies are the same, many can function fine! Its scary but once you know whats wrong, it will be easier to accept it and you will see, it will be better.

    Some kids will adjust to taking the medications, it can take time. It depends side effects to, if they can swallow, if you can use a capsule and mix it with a little icecream or something. Son is fine with sleep medication, but adhd medication its a sometimes things.. I understand

    Ok so, the sleep disorder is "dysfunctions associated with sleep stages or arousal from sleep".
  15. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hello White. People, including me, who come to the forum have a tendency to often say the same (usually useful) things :) One of mine is that we cannot diagnose anything online. For that you need professionals, in the flesh. Not to downplay people's experience but just to state the obvious. We do not at all know that your son is on the autism spectrum. What we do know is that he finds transitions and disappointment very difficult. I have a son like that, who is ADHD - but I am not at all suggesting your son is ADHD. He would have had problems outside the home by now if he were! So it becomes a question of understanding, accepting and managing that behaviour and letting go (difficult) of normal ways of disciplining or trying to modify behaviour. I agree very much that he needs a fixed time and schedule for when he comes off the electronics and as Insane Cdn says, if he could be weaned off that at bedtime altogether that would be good. Offer something else he wants instead, otherwise it won't work. On reading your message I thought of E, the son of a friend of mine. He is about 11 now and the only "diagnosis" he has is of quite severe dyslexia. Outside the home he is generally charming and well-behaved. Inside, though, and particularly with his mother, he can be a holy terror - defiant, verbally abusive, a real pain. He too is addicted to electronic games, though it is better now than he used to be and lots of rages seemed to be related to that. Thing is, other than that, he is clearly a nice kid, who gets on well with others and has loads of friends (so definitely not ADHD, for a start). My son is also a really nice kid but for reasons he can't help, mainly, I cannot say he gets on well with others consistently or has loads of friends.

    That is my two or twenty cents' worth. Don't worry about the diagnosis but find a way of managing the behaviour.
  16. White

    White New Member

    Thank you, I feel more optimistic after reading your post. He definitely has no trouble outside of our home, lots of friends, plays sports and fits in well (very popular), not a problem in school. I feel like I've ruled out aspergers, maybe not ADHD yet. Need a pro for any real diagnosis like you suggest. I'm glad I found this board because it's helping to know what others may have seen before in different kids. If I had to summarize my boy in a few words, it would be that he has a huge stubborn streak when it comes to unexpected demands, combined with an even bigger stubborn streak when he's losing priveledges as a result of his stubborness. He sounds spoiled to somebody that doesn't know better, but I know we've raised our other son the same way and have had no problems.
    It's hard when the smallest thing(ex. unexpected stop at a grocery store) will lead to an ugly situation. It's mentally exhausting and draining.
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would get an evaluation done. We don't know what is wrong which is why he needs one.

    In the U.S or Canada, your child will only get help (and yourself) if you know the diagnosis. And there is a lot of help here. But you have to tap into it.

    Managing the behavior is not the only option and does not help the child learn how to cope and overcome his difficulties when he gets older.

    If you are not in the U.S. or Canada, I do know things are done differently and maybe there is not as much help. But if you are, you need a diagnosis for help and for his future. It does not tend to get better with time. Without help, it tends to get worse as they hit the teen years. Please do not ignore it.

    Malika does not live in the U.S. It does make a difference in what kind of help is available and even how a child is diagnosed. Wherever your child lives, he has to function in that particular society. My son, who is now 21, started out with rages and defiance and is now the sweetest young man alive. He was first diagnosed with ADHD then bipolar (a nightmare), but actually he is on the spectrum and doing far better than anyone predicted. He is living on his own and working and everybody loves him. He is kind to us, his family, as well as outsiders. The outside help he received was imperative. He would not be what he is today without it. The school was also extremely helpful.

    Whatever you decide to do, we all wish you luck :)