Figuring out Oliver...


New Member
Hi everyone, I am new here...
Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this post. I have two children, daughter (2) and DS/Oliver (4).
My son has always been very headstrong, slightly defiant starting at age 2 1/2, but in March of this year- something completely changed...and it was an overnight change from "normal" to "outrageous".

Within a month I had enough incident reports to cover my entire bedroom floor and of course Oliver was let go from that school. I ended up moving daughter out of it as well. The next Pre-K, Oliver lasted two hours and was told he could never come back. daughter is currently still at that school and doing good. After taking turns missing days, and requiring assistance from Oliver's Uncle for care purposes during weekdays, I enrolled him into a private church preschool. They probably tried the hardest for him. In the end, his behaviour was endangering others, including teachers. They suggested a therapist, and we began to see her. $$ has been a big issue, so the visits have slowed down. Since we've started there, she has diagnosed him with severe ADHD and ODD. In this time frame, we moved from his Grandfather's house into our own. I saw a huge change just from that (A POSITIVE ONE). My daughter's school director offered to give Oliver another try. So last week was week 1 and it went amazing. This week however, we are back to square one. I decided to try the half day, thinking maybe being in that environment was too much for such an extended period of time. I think today was the final straw for his trial period to attend school again. I had been on a waiting list for the Regional Center, which both his Pediatrician and Therapist didn't think he needed, but neither could provide me a solid solution or facility that would help/care for him.

Some of the behaviours that he displays:
*Complete regression with using the toilet in the last 4 -5months( he only has accidents of both kinds in his underwear now)
*Aggressive outbursts towards whoever is within arms reach
*Total defiance to requests from any adult
*Frequent indecisiveness, i.e. I will ask him what shirt he wants to wear and to pick it out he says- I don't care. So I end up picking a shirt that's red. All of a sudden he's screaming and throwing things saying that he wanted a green shirt and then he expects me to put back the red shirt so that he can
then get up and get the green shirt.

Another side note is that Oliver is extremely the point that sometimes as his mother its a bit scary.

I could use some support/ advice because as it stands, I myself am 3000 miles away from my family. We moved here to be closer to Oliver's Father's family. I feel very alone here in Los Angeles and I am becoming fearful for my son's future.


Staff member
Hello @SoCalMomOf2, I'm glad that you found us, but I'm sorry you needed to.

I have no experience with a child diagnosed with ADHD and ODD at such a young age but I wanted to let you know that I have read your post and offer you my support. You are in a very difficult parenting situation. Hang in there.

I searched used our Internet Search to find a few links that you may be interested in.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

The prevalence of ADHD, ODD, depression, and anxiety in a community sample of 4-year-olds.

A multi-domain model of risk factors for ODD symptoms in a community sample of 4-year-olds.


Roll With It
Hi and Welcome! You will find a LOT of support here from people who truly understand. There are things you need to know, and first off, you are a great mom. How do I know? You care enough to search out answers, to spend what little extra money you have on therapy for a preschooler, and you are here.

I firmly believe that kids do well WHEN they can, NOT NOT NOT when they want to. Kids want to please adults, normally. Very few children don't, but very many are set up to fail for reasons they don't understand. For my own son, now 24 almost 25 and doing very well, it was a combination of things and some of it started very early. ADHD can be a big challenge for a kid. I remember the leader of a meeting for soccer parents and their 6 yo kids wanting to throw us out, including off of a team totally (before the season even started), because my son wouldn't stop rolling around on the floor. It was hour 1.5 of what should have been a 30 min meeting, my son had finished the books he brought to read, and it was BOOOOOORING. The leader told him that if he could tell him what he had just said then son could be on a team. My child stood up and did a PERFECT imitation of the man, including repeating verbatim what he said for the last 3 minutes. Even the accent and mispronunciation of this monotone man was perfectly repeated. The man wasn't happy because everyone else in the room laughed, but it ended the seemingly endless meeting and son was put on a team.

School was worse. If son wasn't doing something they didn't want him to do, then he was picked on. I even lost jobs because I had to keep picking him up from school. School was mad because it took me 45-60 min to come and get him. I don't think anyone was happy with me for several years running due to all of this.

So our kids ARE a challenge, and what is wrong can sometimes be the child, the teacher, the environment, an illness/condition, or a combination of all of the above. I HATE and LOATHE the ODD diagnosis. It tells you NOTHING about how to help, it is just a label. Almost all of us here have had that label applied to our kids, and not one of us has gotten anything therapeutically valuable out of that label.

I would like to suggest some books to start with. The Explosive Child by Ross Greene is classic and amazing. It helps you figure out what is going on inside that causes the explosion. What the Explosive Child is Trying to Tell You by Doug Riley is also amazing. Again, it helps you understand what is going on, and then you can figure out how to fix it. Parenting with Love and Logic is one of my favorites and they have a whole range for parents of different ages. You might do well with Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood - I used to give this as a gift to new kindergarten and first grade teachers that my kids had. Every one of them not only loved the book, but recommended it to parents of kids with problems.

Another thing to think about are sensory issues. Does your child seek out or avoid various types of sensory input? Sounds that are okay if he makes them but not if you do? Any other type of sensory behavior sought out or avoided? You may not even realize it until you look. I think most kids with problems have some level of sensory integration issues. I know all 3 of mine, even my very easy daughter, had sensory integration disorder. This sounds like a big deal and it can be. But the treatment is incredible and makes huge changes. You can learn more from the books The Out of Sync Child and The Out of Sync Child Has Fun. The last is full of activities to provide the sensory input your child needs, the first book explains the problems and how they can be helped. You would get an evaluation by an Occupational Therapist who works with kids to evaluate for this. I know that my youngest was the only one with an official diagnosis, but our entire family changed when I used what I learned with my youngest on all of us. It really made a huge difference. I didn't take my oldest because I was told they were "too old to be helped" but the treatment made a huge difference for them anyway.

Others will suggest a neuropsychological evaluation to test for problems. I like these, but your son is too young for most of the testing that they would do. At least that is what I was told when my youngest was his age and having problems. You might have better results from a developmental pediatrician at your son's age.

Has the school told you exactly why he was such a problem? I know one school we looked at for my oldest told us first that of course he would do great there. Then the teacher met me in the parking lot and BEGGED me not to enroll him. Officially she couldn't say that, but he was reading 3rd grade books going INTO kindergarten (and passing tests about them without having the books read aloud to him), and the teacher said there was zero chance of him being challenged. If your son is smart, he may be super bored. In my experience, smart bored little girls find something acceptable to do, but smart bored little boys find trouble. I raised some of each, taught in a homeschool coop and spent a lot of time as the mom volunteering in the school. I saw this over and over and over. Sadly, most schools don't teach to the smart kids, even at preschool age. We had the best luck with schools/teachers who embraced Montessori and let our kids work at their own pace and level. One sainted school principal even brought middle school reading in for our son when he was in first grade because he was bored with the 5th grade books in the after school program. We hated when we lost her to retirement because her replacement thought our son should be limited by his age as to his learning. It was a disaster and he put her through her paces.

Have you thought of Head Start? They run preschools and are federally funded so they must deal with a wider range of kids and provide for them at their levels, at least more than regular private preschools. Just a thought.

Most of all, whatever ANY expert says, if your instincts say it is wrong, do NOT go along, no matter who that expert is or what their qualifications are. They are experts in a field of study. YOU are the expert in your child. You alone are the one who spends hours upon hours with him, who knows him, and knows what is right for him, and it is up to you to advocate for him.


Well-Known Member
Hello. I echo the recommendation of "The Explosive Child" - a great book. Just a question about this diagnosis you received - can therapists issue diagnoses in the States? Or is it really just her opinion? Here in Europe, diagnoses have to be made by child psychiatrists and, as you perhaps know, technically they aren't supposed to diagnose ADHD before age six. It seems your little boy is aggressive and oppositional... but why? I think you really need to find that out. My son is also ADHD (and recently "diagnosed" ODD though as Susiestar said, I think it's a pretty meaningless label) but when he was four he was aggressive and oppositional in response to various triggers - basically, situations or emotions he didn't know how to deal with. The rest of the time he was trying hard though nobody much saw or understood that. Also your son is extremely clever which my son isn't (well, not in an academic way, anyway) and one has to wonder what part that plays in it all.

Can you describe a specific situation in which your little boy gets upset/aggressive?


New Member
@runawaybunny Thank you so much for your response on my posting and the informational links!

@susiestar When you mention sensory, it immediatly brought instances to my mind...not sure if these relate, but i.e. He hates the car windows down (at all)... he screams that it hurts his ears- unless he puts them down himself, when he is making odd noises (As he typically does)... if I try to play along he has a tantrum and tells me to STOP and go away. At every school he attends he is disrespectful, defiant towards the teachers, walks out of classrooms, throws toys, he fights other kids... When I talk to him about it he tells me, " I'm bored" or " So and So was making fun of me and I got angry". I do recall one report from the 3rd school he was in, that stated there was a major disruption because a child told Oliver to " Stop making noises" and asked him why he's weird :(. My son never forgot that, in fact he remembers it to the point where he will tell people that he's weird. Sometimes, it is hard to gauge where his mind is at... Instead of watching cartoons last week with his little sister after dinner, he built an entire replica with legos of the Mary Celeste and then proceeded to give me the entire run down on the ship. I feel guilty for saying this but I had no idea what he's talking about! lol Thank you for the book recommendations, I have read The ADD & ADHD Answer his therapist is the Author of that one.

@Malika I am honestly not sure... after a few visits and spending time with him, she informed us that he has Severe ADHD and ODD. I had taken him to the pediatrician first, and she literally told me that " there are so many kids having these behavioral problems in Los Angeles now, that he has to be on a waiting list for a specialist." Which we are still on... and that was set up during the Summer. He gets upset if you tell him no to absolutly anything... whether it's no you can't have ketchup with your hot dog, or no you can't play with this toy. He often gets upset in public places and runs...he's taken off - and hidden, only to be brought back by a store associate and then he blames his running on things like, " those people were laughing at me" " or the bug is annoying me, don't you see the bug flying around me".


Well-Known Member
My grandson has many of the same characteristics as your Oliver. It sounds like he is having a really rough time and I'm sorry for all of you. We, too, got onto the Ross Greene stuff early on and I bought the school package for his school. Whether any of them other than his teacher and the principal spoke to him in the appropriate way is doubtful, but we tried. And it did help all of us to shift our thinking around from "he's being really naughty, rude, mean..." or whatever we were seeing at the moment, we dug a little deeper and always had the assumption that if he could do better, he would. We slowly started using the techniques in the Explosive Child book that made sense to use, according to his age. There are things put in place at school that has helped, and maturity has really helped. The ODD label hasn't been very helpful for us (and you'll see many people say that it hasn't helped them, either). Our grandson lacked the meanness that is often described. What he does fit is ADHD, Anxiety Disorder, and the last piece, that something that didn't quite fit anywhere else is DMDD--Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder. This fit the irritability we always saw, the quick-fire temper, etc. It's a new diagnosis in the DSM. As for treament? We have him on Intuniv and a low dose of abilify and it has given us a little breathing space, but none of these kids is alike. And they have a growth spurt and it all changes. Or they change schools and it all changes. It's a moving target, for sure. He just changed schools and it feels like we are starting all over again educating the teacher, principal, office staff, etc. This type of disability is the sweet precious kind that make people feel all warm and fuzzy. It's challenging and often misread as other things.


Active Member
Welcome! your son sounds a lot like mine 2 years ago. I have no solution to offer on how to help him because at this time I haven't even really figured out how to help my own. You came to a good place full of people that have a lot of experience with these difficult kids. You are not alone! My best advise is trust your mom instincts. Also to read/research as much as you can on what you think may be the problem and ways to help it. I wish I would of gotten help for mine when he was younger, maybe he wouldn't have the problems he does today. You have been over on the thread I created already, I listened to the doctors etc. that said "don't worry hes just a boy" or "he will grow out of it". Well safe to say the earlier the interventions and support the better.


Roll With It
The car windows and noises are almost certainly sensory things. I wrote a lot about Occupational Therapy and how amazing treatment for sensory issues is on kim75062's thread about her son getting kicked out of school. I won't repeat it here, but urge you to go and read it on her thread. It is near the end of the thread at this time. I will say that I think it would help your son and I urge you to get a private Occupational Therapy assessment. Private Occupational Therapist (OT)'s focus on helping the child, not what will help the child behave in school. school Occupational Therapist (OT)'s focus on what will help the child behave in school and often omit brushing therapy completely even though it is proven to be a HUGE help to a child in every part of life. And the earlier you start, the better, so your son is certainly NOT too young to be helped by an Occupational Therapist (OT) assessment.