Do you ever find yourself "diagnosis" someone else's difficult child?


New Member
I don't mean this literally.

When my easy child was turning difficult child I was desperate for information. I had to find out his disease so I could cure it (well, now I know it doesn't work that way). I read everything about MI that I could get my hands on. I visited hundreds of websites. That's how I found this board. I learned alot in my effort to "diagnosis" my own difficult child. For awhile,other difficult child's crossed my path on a regular basis (difficult child has different friends now-mostly typical teen's) or I would hear stories of other difficult child's.Ocassionally I would find myself diagnosis (to myself)what the difficult child's issues could be related to.

I have a co-worker who's son is a difficult child (he went to school with my easy child). Over the years I heard many stories from different people regarding her "bad" kid and all of the trouble he was in. Trouble with the law, starting fires in the home, he had been suicidal, the list went on. One co-worker would talk about this from time to time. I knew that I did not have the full picture from all of the heresay but I suspected he had a MI but kept this to myself. All I would say is did they ever have him evaluated?

Not too long ago, this co-worker approached me and told me that the difficult child had been diagnosis BiPolar (BP) (I believe he was in jail at the time). My response was "I'm not surprised one bit" (that was my diagnosis. too but I didn't say that) Co-worker was outraged, well if he had this MI why wasn't it diagnosis'd a long time ago when he first started having problems? I explained that it is not unusual for BiPolar (BP) to be diagnosis'd years later. MI can be very difficult to diagnosis because of overlapping symptoms,'s not like there's a blood test to prove the illness. Co-worker viewed this diagnosis as false, "an excuse" for this difficult child's behavior. I run across this attitude alot. I find it sad. If this difficult child would've treated like he had a MI instead of like he was just a "bad" kid maybe his life would've turned out differently.


Active Member
yep, sometimes I do. My dtr had a friend who obviously had major ADHD, but easy child got so tired of her they are no longer friends. Poor girl has lost many friends. I did not feel comfortable approaching her parents, and also realize I did not have the whole picture.


New Member
I have often found myself thinking these things over in my mind when I see a kid that has such over the top behavior problems. Of course, same as you, I would never VOICE my opinions, but I always had them. I think that learning as much as we can to help our difficult child's makes the psychiatric disorder catalogue a big part of our lives and it is hard to have all that knowledge in your head and not put it to use, if even for your own personal entertainment at the time....

As far as using disorders as an excuse, I think it is a SAD SAD thing to be stuck in that mindset. I say that because I used to be, to an extent anyway. Not so very long ago as a matter of fact. When our difficult child moved in with us I was convinced that the terrorous rage fits and meltdowns were her intentionally trying to get us to give up on her, or to test us to see how much we could handle. Based on all the adjustments she has had to make and her insecurity about being moved into our home, I can still say now that my eyes have been opened that was part of it at first, and I think that is why things started off as roughly as they did. I don't believe for a minute that ANY of our difficult child's, no matter what their diagnosis, INTENTIONALLY MELT DOWN just so that they can be terror children. That being said, I still firmly believe that EVERY CHILD no matter whether they are easy child's or difficult child's is bound to try to make disagreements with their parents from time to time. No child is perfect, nor is any adult even, there are times when we are in a bad mood and are ready to disagree with someone just because we want to. It is part of growing up and part of testing the waters to find out what they can and can't get away with. The difference is that while easy child's can do this LOGICALLY and KNOW that they are in the wrong and are totally prepared to suffer the consequences if the CROSS the line..... our difficult child's go into complete lockdown and lose all sense of logic before they even GET TO the line. That is the point where they lose all control of themselves and cannot think straight enough to even CONSIDER that their might be consequences for their actions. I agree that too often people view these disorders as excuses for bad behavior,just for the sake of conversation, I will share with you my experience of learning this very hard fact for myself...the hard way...and what was said to me by our daughters psychiatrist and how she made me BEGIN to identify with what our difficult child was experiencing.......
"as HORRIBLE as it is for us to endure one of our difficult child's meltdowns, it is 50 times worse for them. NO ONE, no matter what their circumstances, is very comfortable or content with losing complete control of themself, even if they ARE intentionally trying to pick a fight with someone. Everyone has an explosion point....and children with these disorders not only have a SHORTER fuse, but it is also a more FRAGILE one, and the dynamite on the other end of their fuse is more EXPLOSIVE" Then, to prove her point, she proceeded to ask me if I had ever gotten so frustrated that I couldn't think straight, and being the parent of two preschoolers, and a preteen, of course, my answer was yes. And she asked me how I felt during that time and how I felt afterwards. My first thought was, I didn't really like being so mixed up that I couldn't think straight, and afterwards, when I thought about it, I felt really BAD because the way I acted in the situation was not the greatest ever. She then told me to multiply that frustration by 50 times, and add in the imagination that afterwards, I would not only know that I had acted badly, but not being able to even REMEMBER exactly what I did or said during my "little fit". She said that is how a difficult child feels. She said that consequently, as their frustration and meltdown is 50 times worse than anything we would go through, they feel 50 times as bad when it is over, and they cant even REMEMBER it all.

THAT was the turning point for us. That is when we finally started to realize (more important that what we were facing trying to control him) what our difficult child was experiencing. Having never been in such a situation, it is difficult for us to completely empathize with our difficult child, but it did give us a bit more insight into her thought process (or more importantly, her LACK of thought process, and her inability to even HAVE one while she is melting down)

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
I think once you've been around gfgdom long enough, it just becomes second nature. I can spot a difficult child a mile away. :rofl:

We were in a restaurant tonight. A child about 6 or 7 was having a royal fit and wailing the place down. I was proud of the parents for not giving in, and holding their heads up high when they got dirty looks from the other diners. I don't know what was wrong with the child, but I've lived those moments too. husband and I gave them supportive smiles.

Andrea Danielle

New Member
Oh yes!!!! I now feel like an expert on Tourette's Syndrome! My niece has it for sure, but my sister is in denial and won't take her to be evaluated. I have all of the evidence from the books and am tracking her symptoms for the day the that my sister is ready to confront it.
Also, a friend's son clearly has Tourette's Syndrome. I have been saying this for years! And now he has developed a clear head shake and throat clearing. He is 10 now and his behaviour when he was younger was so similar to my difficult child that we had to keep the 2 of them apart. When we were visiting these friends last week, my easy child who is also 10 came up from playing with this boy and whispered to me "mom, he has Tourette's" - he is diagnosing too! I think it comes with the territory and once we gain the knowledge we can spot the signs. I think it is a good thing, especially being comfortable enough with the person that you can tell them to have it assessed, which we did and they are planning to take him in soon.



Active Member
All I can say is I'm glad I didn't know squat about Autism back in the days that I was teaching Physics. :rofl:

There's a child in my world who I am certain at *minimum* brushes up against an Asperger's Syndrome diagnosis. It's hard living with that recognition because on one hand I have a passion for early diagnosis but on the other I'm highly sensitive to the fact that it's no small matter to suggest to another parent that something might be different about their child. In the end I wound up having a chat with a teacher I knew well because the boy was engaging in social suicide on the playground, but I'm sure nothing came of it.

on the other hand, I have a family in my life I know well enough that I could be candid and persuasive with and I've been guiding parents through the process of getting answers (which they should have shortly). Obviously I feel a lot better about recognizing the signs in this child because I was perfectly situated to take action.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
I sometimes think "hmmmmmmm" when I see a child acting out in a certain manner or at a certain level. If, in a store, I will attempt to help a parent if they appear open to help.

I do my best to stay away from diagnosing or sharing views. If someone asks me I refer them to a psychiatrist & various evaluations. If I'm pushed I'll offer other suggestions but in no way will make any type of judgment or offer an opinion of a possible disorder.

It's really not my place & I could be way off base.


Well-Known Member
I get very defensive inside when a parent talks about a kid who "just has an anger problem" or "needs boot camp" because most of the time it turns out they don't think anything is wrong with the child other than he's a bad seed, and needs a firm hand. I never say anything, but often diagnose in my head. There is a child in my son's class who acted out and was inflexible, smart but unable to get life, and I thought "Aha! Aspergers." I talked to the mom one day and she told me her son had just been diagnosed with "something like Azpoogers" lol. She shook her head, like she didn't believe it. I told her about Lucas, and she still just brushed it off. Sometimes it's hard to keep quiet, but I do, except here :smile:


Active Member
I will go so far as to say to someone, "has he ever been checked out for...?" and if asked, passing on some names of local experts. A lot of the time, though, I sit there and observe, wondering.

Autistic/Aspie/ADHD kids tend to find one another and gravitate together. I can look at difficult child 1's friends and assess which is a likely Aspie and which are just behaviour problems. Same with difficult child 3.

My kids reckon I see autism and Asperger's under every rock. While they may be right, I think I am right, too. Even difficult child 1 has started it - we watch a TV program or documentary and I will hear him say, "I BET that kid is an Aspie!'

difficult child 3 asked his speech therapist (also good friend) if her daughter is autistic. "Because she is very smart, I thought she must be," was his explanation.


hearts and roses

Mind Reader
Yes! I can pick a difficult child out of a crowd in no time. Also, since my own difficult child tends to gravitate towards other difficult child's my circle is quite small! LOL -

Only when asked will I suggest that a kid be checked out, but I wouldn't voluntarily go up to someone and say anything. I think most parents would be defensive of an unsolicited suggestion.

Years ago, my friend's daughter had all the telltale signs of BiPolar (BP), but I didn't dare make that suggestion. As I was trudging through the psychiatrist waters with my own difficult child, I could tell my friend thought I was nuts trying to find the answers for my difficult child. Flash forward 8 years and her daughter is a mess and she's only NOW getting help (though half hearted at best) she needs.

I know for certain that one of my nephews has Tourette's Syndrome, another nephew has BiPolar (BP) - severely and one of my neices has something, though I can't quite put my finger on it-lol. I have suggested to my brother that he have his son checked for Tourette's Syndrome, but his stock answer is, "But he has an extraordinarily high IQ"...meanwhile the kids vocal tics were so bad that a wedding had to be stopped midway because the clergy thought someone was choking! And my nephew with BiPolar (BP), well, he and his parents are in denial and I *seriously* think he may hurt or kill someone one day so I am VERY nice to him! And my neice, it's funny, because I think she's going to be okay...she has a knack for getting herself into jams and such, but she's also capable of getting it together when she needs to.

Incidentally, difficult child can spot another difficult child a mile away - UNLESS she "likes" him.


New Member
oh yes! i think that we warrior moms have to become such experts about our difficult children that we sometimes know more than some of the true experts!

the funny thing is is that i was waiting for my nephew to be diagnosis with-some form of autism and now my son is the difficult child but i still think he will eventually get a mild autism or aspergers later.


New Member
I can see a difficult child a mile away too. Even adult difficult child's. LOL. I do not however say anything or try to help as you never know what will happen these days. - Cynical yes.

I too can spot a difficult child across town. Likewise, I can spot an alcoholic or drug addict. Once you know how something "works", it is hard not to see it.

I do not ever offer advice unless it is asked of me. Allow me to explain.

My mom has some health issues. Fibromyalga, chronic fatigue syndrome, MS, Kiari, migraines, lazy eye, etc, but I believe the worst of her health issues is hypochondria. She has a diagnosis for She has been diagnosis-ing people for at least 10 years, and it is embarrassing. She has lost friends and ticked off some of MY friends by offering unwanted advice.
Her best friend (current best friend) has been married over 25 years. Her husband is a tool. But the marriage has worked for them so far. Dude is about to retire. My mom sticks her nose in where it doesn't belong and is trying to counsel said best friend into leaving this guy. Because he is a "control freak" and has "anger problems".

Like I said, I keep my opinions to myself.


New Member
Sometimes. Because I'm hypersensitive to Asperger's being a possibility in my son - I do tend to have radar up for others. Like the others parents here, I don't say anything ... but I would do it only if someone asked me if a behavior seemed normal to me or something like that.

Nowadays, I'm definitely more tolerant of kids who obviously have an issue ... which before, I might have perceived difficult child behavior as spoiling.