Does anyone have any success stories about ODD NOT turning into CD?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by reallytrying, Jun 24, 2008.

  1. reallytrying

    reallytrying New Member

    I'm just wondering what the chances are that we won't have to deal with CD later on? We are approaching the end of two weeks with the focalin and behavior management, and we are seeing a difference. We are down to one or two tantrums per day, which is definitely a success.
    I guess each kid is different...

    On a different note:
    Yesterday our "sweet-baby" boxer dog, Francis (9 years old), had a seizure and couldn't make it to the door to let us know he needed inside. Long story short, he never recovered and we had to make that hard decision...
    difficult child and her sister decided that we couldn't let him suffer any longer--that if we really loved him we needed to do what was best for him (pretty heavy for a 6 and 8 yr old). So, we came home without him. difficult child sobbed all evening, as we all did. I'm worried about what this is going to do to her emotionally, but I guess kids are more resilient than we think?
  2. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    I think most of the people around her believe that what is so often diagnosed as ODD is really behavior associated with an underlying neurobiological condition, not a separate disorder. Virtually all of us have seen behavior that could be diagnosed as ODD which is why you will see many say "ODD rarely stands alone." And most of us have seen ODD fade when that underlying neurobiological disorder was addressed.

    I'm probably going to be the first to say this but based on recent posts to this board, I think ODD is the new diagnosis-of-the-year. Seems like every kid has it these days. And like all the other diagnoses-of-the-year, it is a collection of nebulous behaviors which can be caused by many, many medical conditions ranging from reactions to medications to allergies to seizure disorders to anxiety to other neurobiological conditions and yes, to poor parenting practices*. And sometimes the behaviors are simply normal at certain stages of development.

    My deepest sympathies on the loss of your sweet-baby. My Jake died suddenly two weeks ago. I still feel the pain you are going through. Give your girls hugs from me. And ask them to give you a hug.

    *Let's be honest about it, it's true. It's the unspoken truth because virtually all of us have been blamed for our children's behavior because someone decided we are bad parents and we all bristle at the suggestion. But, truth be told, sometimes that is the problem.
  3. So Tired

    So Tired Member

    trying -- I'm so sorry about Francis. It is always so hard to make that choice, even when you know it is the right thing for them. Even though it is hard on the kids, I think it helps them build coping skills about love and loss and life, and that even though you are sad and grieve, the love you have in your heart for that person (or pet!) and your good memories carry you through.... Maybe they can each draw a picture of him, or perhaps you could plant a flower in the garden in a little ceremony so you help them (and you too) get a little closure?

    On your other question. I don't know about probablities of ODD outcomes, but in your favor is that you recognized it early and started treatment early and I think that gives you a good shot at finding the help she needs...

    HUGS all around!

  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I agree with Sara. ODD rarely stands alone, but is overdiagnosed (my opinion). CD is usually from a longstanding untreated mental illness--the person gets worse and out of control. I would see a neuropsychologist for a second opinion. I don't believe that ODD behavior has anything to do with parenting. ODD is pretty much a symptom of a bigger inhertied mental or neurological difference.
    On your dog...I have no words. I love animals you have my deepest condolences.
  5. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    My ODD son is still a preteen so I'm curious about outcomes myself, but like ST said it's good that you're treating it early. My difficult child was diagnosed with ODD when he was in preschool. Other diagnoses have been added, taken away, and added again, so I agree that it rarely stands alone. When we treat the other disorders with medication or change of diet or behavior intervention, the ODD "symptoms" seems to get better. When My difficult child was your son's age, The Explosive Child was the biggest help in dealing with ODD traits and coming to terms with it.

  6. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    I'm so very sorry about your "fur baby", Francis. Losing a beloved furry family member is never easy. One thing that has helped me and my children when one of our "fur babies" becomes an "angel", is to make a collage of pictures of him/her. Once it is finished, I frame it and hang it in a prominent place in our house. At first, looking at the picture brings many tears. In time, the tears turn to smiles and happy memories... And, I agree with you - kids are resilient. Unfortunately, death is a part of life. As sad as it is, I think children need to understand this. Give it some time - I really believe your children will look back and smile when they think of all the love and good times they shared with Francis. Sending lots of hugs...

    As far as ODD is concerned, I agree with Sara. I don't think ODD is usually a separate disorder. difficult child 1 was first diagnosed with ODD (We thought he had ADHD too but that was ruled out.) Later, we found that the ODD was a symptom of the fact he is an Aspie with bipolar disorder. Once we found the correct diags, began treatment and medication, the ODD symptoms improved. However, in difficult child 1's case, he has never gotten rid of the ODD altogether. At least now, years later, his ODD symptoms are much improved.

    I'm glad focalin and behavior management are helping your difficult child. I haven't been around much, and don't know much about your difficult child, but from this post, it sounds like you're headed in the right direction. I hope you continue to see improvements in your difficult child's behavior. WFEN
  7. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    I'm another one that thinks ODD is a symptom not really the problem itself. I think if you can figure out what causes it and treat it, it is very likely it will not lead to CD.

    Of course, my difficult child is only 12 so time will tell.

    In her case, we changed her diet and she doesn't act like she has ODD unless she eats one of her forbidden foods. While, to me, it seems her condition is totally controllable, I worry that she will go off her diet as an adult and get herself into trouble.
  8. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    I am so sorry about your loss. Often times our pets are members of our family, so I can only imagine how hard this is on all of you.

    Kudo's to the kids for being mature enough, even at their tender young ages, to make the decision in the best interest of the doggie. :(

    Hang in there and God bless.
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    You have my most sincere condolences about your Francis. We recently made this decision about our cat Freckles. Kids handle this amazingly well IF they have a person who supports them in their grief. and it sounds like you are.

    As to ODD, well, I totally agree with Sara PA. Totally. My son is in many ways a typical teen, thought with Asperger's he will always have some difficult child in him. And he just can't function here with us - he needs to be an only child. As you treat the underlying problem, the ODD goes away.


  10. reallytrying

    reallytrying New Member

    Thank you all--

    We did accidentally find out some bad food reactions a while back when she was sick. We took milk out of her diet and things got better for a little while, but then it went back to usual.
    It wouldn't surprise me if she's diagnosed with depression, as many members of our family have been. Only one bipolar disorder--my dad's brother, but it is there.
    Today she is so sad that she hasn't had a tantrum--she's been sitting in Francis' bed crying, poor baby.

    We also have been encouraged to have a sleep test done. Anyone have experience with that?
  11. Christy

    Christy New Member

    So sorry about the loss of your pet. It is tough thing to go through at any age.

    Yes, I agree with what others have said about ODD. Most difficult children could meet the criteria some or most of the time. How you deal with it now will help you as your child gets older. It is rare to see only ODD as a diagnosis. The Explosive Child can really help you to help difficult child with his defiance.

    How long has difficult child been on focalin? If there is a possibility of a mood disorder such as bi-polar, this medication could make things worse. Even if you see a difference in focus and less hyperactivity, it can be leading to more of the defiant, irritated, or agressive attitude. This is the case for my son. Stimulant medications have a very negative effect on his personality which is unfortunate because they do help the ADHD issus.
  12. Penta

    Penta New Member

    My girl was given the ODD diagnosis, along with many more frightening ones. She is also Learning Disability (LD). However, after several harrowing years as a young teen and 18 months at Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for self destructive, risk taking, defiant behavior, she morphed into a delightful young woman who, although she still has a very strong personality, is compassionate, responsible, caring, and mature. She works in retail, attends college and right now has been studying abroad for the past 6 weeks on a full scholarship.

    I never thought this miracle could happen.

    Maturity can come, in time.
  13. reallytrying

    reallytrying New Member

    That's great news, penta, and hopeful!

    Today we went back to the psychiatric for a medication check and will continue the focalin (it's been two weeks since she started it)
    He said we may look into BD or "mood disorders" if things don't continue to improve and suggested we go to parenting classes. Sounds good to me.

    I do recall acting this way as a child, and later I had some serious problems with behavior as a teen and young adult. My parents tried to ehlp me, but they were pretty clueless.
    Thank goodness I figured out that I needed help and got it--there are days when I'm amazed that I made it through all of it!

    Hopefully she won't have to go through that.

    I'm really learning from all of you!!
  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, I am soooooooooo sorry about your dog! And to have to make the decision on such short notice, too.
    We haven't had an sleep tests done. Wish I could help more. {{hugs}}
  15. Iamhopeful

    Iamhopeful New Member

    I am seeking help with my 9 year old who was diagnosed with ADHD/ODD. I have heard of testing done by CHILDRENS nEUROLOGIST TO PIN POINTTHE CHEMICAL THAT IS MISSING. We have bee to the psychologist and he is sending us to the psychiatrist I truly believe he is mising a chemical and he fits the ODDbut the ADHD HAS ALMOST BEEN RULED OUT. i HAVE COMPASSION FOR EVERYONE THAT IS DEALING WITH THIS. I AM A SINGLE MOM, NO CHILD SUPPORT-BULLY EX-HUSBAND WHO IS DESPERATELY TRYING TO GET THE KIDS 50% OF THE TIME. ANY INFORMATION WOULD BE GREATLY APPRICIATED.
  16. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    Sorry, there are no objective tests to diagnose any of these disorders. Virtually all diagnoses are made by evaluating reported and observed behaviors.

    Even the idea that there is a chemical imbalance which causes a disorder is a theory. Not only is there no way to measure brain chemical balance, there is no way to determine what amounts of any of the chemicals there should be.

    Drugs definitely change brain chemistry but the results are unpredictable. Sometimes they help, sometimes they do nothing, sometimes they make things far worse.
  17. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Reallytrying, Sara PA gave you exactly the right information. Whether ODD itself really exists as a stand-alone diagnosis - I am not an expert, I really don't know. But I DO believe that the label is often applied to a kid who is, in reality, struggling with any one of a number of problems which (for reasons which shall become more obvious later) results in what LOOKS like ODD, but is in reality just the child's reaction to the combination of their underlying disorder and our parental attempts to exert strict discipline.

    OK, we can't change the underlying disorder. But we CAN change the way we respond to it and try to control the kids.

    I strongly recommend (and I'm amazed nobody has yet suggested this) you get a copy of "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. In fact, let your fingers do the walking and stroll over to the Early Childhood forum and look at the stickies - one of them is a really good overview on how you can apply this book to younger children.

    Iamhopeful - you go have a look too. This book really is amazing. But you need to really think, from the point of view of your difficult child and to also hold in your mind - no child WANTS to be bad.

    I really loathe the connotations of "Oppositional DEFIANT Disorder" because it sends a mixed message to us as parents, that these children are being deliberately naughty and it is part of their basic nature to cause as much devastation as possible.

    Very misleading, and as a result I think a lot of parents give up hope, because they're led to believe that their child will never be any better than they are now.

    difficult child 3 was never formally diagnosed as ODD - doctors here tend to be very wary of labels. But difficult child 3's teacher in Year 1 was convinced that ODD was the right label. And she had more understanding than most, she had an autistic child of her own. So I did some digging to find out more about ODD. I could see why she thought it fitted him - difficult child 3 certainly had almost all the diagnostic criteria. Where it didn't fit - difficult child 3 was not, in my opinion, being deliberately provocative.

    And there is where the problem in diagnosis lies - SOMEONE at some point has to make assumptions about why the child behaves in this way. And generally for the child, there are very good reasons. If you, as the parent, can get into your child's head and work out why he (or she) behaves that way, it can help you find a way to steer (not force) your child into a more productive direction.

    For a lot of these kids, it is about control. Their world is confusing and distressing enough, they have little control over their life and what little they have, they want to keep. Then WE come in as parents believing that the only way to handle kids like this is to micromanage every little (and big) thing, and we find the Irresistible Force meeting the Immovable Object. Our kids' determination for some control is so desperate, that if we keep meeting them head-on, they will win. It is far better to never buy into that battle, than to engage, and lose.

    You would think that backing off the control with a difficult child would be a recipe for disaster, but we've found it short-circuits the behaviour problems surprisingly well.

    So, back to difficult child 3 - it was Year 1 (aged 6) when his desperate teacher said, "He's a classic ODD! I can't handle him! And I KNOW autism, and your kid is being deliberately argumentative and defiant!" Over the next few years things only got worse. We tried everything. It didn't help that the school did nothing to stop bullying - difficult child 3 only got worse, more aggressive, more reactive, and a bigger discipline problem. He and husband especially used to clash badly, because husband was a strict disciplinarian who felt his word should be law. difficult child 3 would need time to change tasks (we had worked this out) but we felt he had to learn to overcome this. As we tried to find ways to work around all this, we always felt resentful that we needed to make these accommodations, because surely all we were doing was teaching the boy that he could control US and making our problems with him worse, not better.

    difficult child 3 would have been about 10 when we found this website and were first told about "The Explosive Child". Someone described it and it made sense. By that time we'd tried everything we had access to and none of it had worked, things were worse tan ever. The defiance was intolerable, the violence was extreme, difficult child 3's moods were rock-bottom. Trying to get compliance was almost impossible, we were walking on eggshells. Then other people - their reaction to us was one of "You are terrible parents."
    Nothing worked.

    Then I read the book. The first, biggest lesson - get into your kid's head. There is always a reason. The next - don't engage in a battle you're not sure of winning.

    Then - make a list of what you want to change. Prioritise. Then skim off the top two or three things on the list and put everything else on the backburner. Don't try to do everything at once or the kid will feel overwhelmed and will simply stop trying. As the behaviour improves you can move to the next issue.

    Also, it takes time to turn things around.

    As I read the book, I must have already begun processing this information. difficult child 3's behaviour began to improve even before I got to the end of the book.

    That was less than three years ago (I think). I had got a library copy of the book (eventually - it's popular). It took me another year before I could get the book itself. And husband still couldn't read it - he "couldn't get into it" even though he really wanted to. So I summarised it for him. I found that to be a helpful exercise, because it consolidated the information in my own head.

    Now - You would hardly know difficult child 3. He's a good kid. Always was, it turned out. he was just handled wrong. Of course, we ALL thought we were handling him right. After all, we were using discipline techniques that are found in all the good child-rearing books, methods that had worked so well with our older kids, and with us when we were kids.

    But sometimes what works for one kid, can be a disaster for a difficult child. But this method - works fine for easy child kids too.

    difficult child 3 still has trouble task-changing. But now he KNOWS we won't discipline him for failing to stop his computer game on time, by just walking over and shutting off the game (although I might threaten). What worked, is that I responded to HIS lack of respect, by showing him respect even though he didn't deserve it. Slowly he learned the right way to behave and also learned to feel safe.

    Where he is now - he is far less stressed. So are we all. He still gets stressed in various situations but now we understand it and can help him through it.
    School - he loves learning but can no longer attend a mainstream school. He learns by correspondence and his teachers (on the other end of a phone, mostly) are very understanding. difficult child 3 can still seem rude and disrespectful, but again, we've learned to see this is not his intention. He is simply being honest. So if what he says or does seems disrespectful we WILL correct him, but not with anger. We keep focussed on the main aim - to help him learn most effectively and positively. If he gets upset or angry, he won't learn from it.

    difficult child 3 is still autistic. High-functioning. But to most people, they don't see this. They see a polite, helpful, willing kid.

    He's 14. We don't know yet what the world has in store for him. But what we DO know - he's in the best position possible to be the best he can be.

    What I'm trying to say - this works. Not perfectly necessarily, but hey - ANYTHING is an improvement.

    And once you've got the overlay problems out of the way, you can see what is left and thereby get a better 'handle' on what the underlying disorder really is.

    We're here. With most of us, we're just other parents of difficult kids. We're just like you. We've been where you are.

    Sorry you need to be here, but we're glad to be available.