Don't know whether I'm coming or going


New Member
I need some help to sort my head out :confused:- the problem is I think my difficult child is messing with my head. He can be very manipulative and clever and I think he's worked out that inconsistent behaviour distances him further from anyone being able to help him or even discuss strategies. Does this make sense?
He exhibits aggressive/rude behaviour, he lies constantly, steals food/things or money, every day he vandalises or destroys something and tries to blame it on his little sister. The worst thing is - he smirks :mad:! He likes to see the chaos he causes (he verbalised this when he was 8 to a psychologist). An hour/minute later - he can't do enough to help, he exhibits charming and thoughtful behaviour. It's when he's like this that we talk to him about coping with life and the implications of what he does. Five minutes later he's hurting his twin and being punished again. The psychiatrist recommended sertraline to help get him out of this negative cycle.
After 4 weeks he's just as bad, it's as though he sees his depression as a convenient excuse to control us all. The psychiatrist told him as much while Alex just tipped the psychiatrist's pens out to play with and refused to speak in Catalan (in which he's fluent) and insisted on only speaking in English.
I suppose what I'm saying is that the closer we get to helping him - the more he pushes away or alienates himself. And I don't know why. I feel so hopeless and helpless. Is this not unusual??? Is he protecting his gfgness?? I just don't understand what we're dealing with. I know there isn't a magic wand and I feel clearer after writing to you all, but at the moment I feel a complete failure as his mom and can't even look at him anymore :crying:.
Keep trying to do the right thing but it doesn't work!
Any advice?


Well-Known Member
Well, the most important thing is not to take it personally. It is not that he does it out of hate or dislike for the family, although at times I am sure it seems as if one would only treat someone they hated this way.

He may like the chaos, but I am sure he does not like the after affects of his behavior. The punishments, the anger in people around him, natural consequences, etc.

Just keep trying to help him and maybe a different medication try is in order.


Hi missusoverall.

Lots of different things could be going on with-your son. He sounds very bright but with problematic behavior.

Many of the disorders you'll see discussed on this board tend to be genetic in nature. It's a very good idea to take a hard look at the family tree, e.g., besides your husband's depression is there any ADHD, bipolar, anxiety, learning disabilities, etc in the family? How about undiagnosed problematic behaviors, alcoholism, substance abuse?

I'm a big fan of Parent Reports and multidisciplinary evaluations. The parent report gives you an opportunity to tender information to evaluators in a clear, concise manner. The MDE is a team of specialists from different disciplines. In the US, these type evaluations can often be obtained at a Children's Hospital or medical based University.

There's more information about both on the FAQ /Board Help forum.

Welcome aboard!


Hi, I don't have much advice but I can say that I understand the "failure" part. It is so difficult to see our kids grow into someone we don't like and so hard not to blame ourselves. For my students who are trying to be the first in their families to go to college, it's the unknown that is the scariest. Even if they come from really difficult backrounds, they will alsomost always resort to their challenging ways of coping, even if the future holds great promise for them. Perhaps your difficult child IS protecting his GFGness because it's the only thing he knows and the alternative is just to scarey to think about?

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Please don't consider yourself a failure. It isn't you. I know I have felt this way at times and I need to remind myself that my son is ill. Mental illness stinks. Hugs.


New Member
You just described my 7 year old difficult child to a T. He is extremely charming though and people who see him for short amounts of time just assume I'm mean when I follow through on punishments. If he has to sit with me quietly through something, they think I'm over reacting. If I let him do as he pleases, he does things intentionally to set someone (usually me) off. We were also told to try Setraline, no luck. I have since wheaned him off all his medications and I'm meeting with a neuropysch tomorrow. I hope to have more answers then, but this just seems like the neverending story.

I hope it helps to know there are others out there like you, going through what you're going through.


Active Member
sarah, i dont even know what catalan is and that is the first time I ever heard that word, and I can only speak that doesnt sound difficult child to

I love your description of the kids you have. they are much wanted and loved. that is enough. your son sounds very intelligent. and bored.
he pushes buttons to feel alive. that is dangerous I am sure.

as for the failure part...been there done that. I dont buy it. there are kids out there that would break your back and mine is one. no matter how good a parent you are, they defeat you.

hang in there hon. loving them is a great start. my son used to be the master manipulator and an expert at lying. now he is just sorrowfully alcoholic

your son is young, keep turning over stones and you will find some answers.


New Member
:flower:Thankyou, thankyou for your messages. My difficult child went to the child psychiatric today - she spoke to him for an hour but didn't speak to us at all - so feeling a bit sidelined but maybe it's normal to not be included (?). I just know he has this fantasy land he lives in and I just hope she can see through it. Anyway, I've kicked myself up the bum, had a glass of something cold :smile: and will take inspiration from all your replies and keep on keeping on. Today was a better day with A and it's husband's birthday tomorrow, so hopefully there'll be plenty of distractions! (I hope!) :thumb:
By the way I should've explained - we live in Catalonia in Spain and the main language is Catalan, so when A wouldn't speak in Catalan(when he is confident and fluent) and only English so his dad had to translate for him - it seemed unnecessarily rude and obstructive.
Thankyou all again, it means a lot.