Going to crack! At the end of my rope- How do I deal with my son?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by sharziey, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. sharziey

    sharziey New Member

    My son is 8 years old and was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD shortly after entering first grade. He has always been what others kindly referred to as a handful. I would pick him up from daycare and other parents would go- oh- your HIS mom, wow- you must have a lot of patience!

    Lately I'm beginning to wonder if what they call patience, what I call endurance, is beginning to run out. I'm sitting here near tears and hoping that either his primary care dr calls with a psychiatric referral or the place I found on the web and called in desperation today calls me back. I have to find a solution because medicine and all the little behavior modification tricks we have tried just don't seem to work. Whether or not he behaves like a somewhat sane rational normal kid seems to be determined by some crazy quantum sphere dice.

    Today he woke up after having colored his nose with multiple pens (why I don't know), cut open- YES cut open a box of cereal after I told him to wait for me to just go pee first and I would get him breakfast, and then in between cutting open the cereal box and bag apparently decided to eat multiple children's vitamins just because!

    I've brought the dogs inside while he and his friend go in the backyard to play because I cannot trust him with the puppies - if left alone- he will hurt them. I haven't figured out whether he tries to hurt them on purpose or whether the concept of being gentle to two small miniature schnauzers just hasn't occured to him or what! I have to constantly check on him to make sure he's not breaking branches off trees for swords or just for fun, turning off the automatic sprinkler controls after being told repeatedly NOT to, playing in the boat again- a known off limit- or any other thing that wouldn't even occur to me to tell him not to do that he decides to do.

    He has decided he likes playing with matches, he decided for some strange reason he wanted to throw eggs over the neighbors fence. He was told not to take the puppies into the front yard and so dropped the 3 month old puppy over a 6 foot tall fence to the other side because I told him he couldn't take the puppies in the front yard.

    We've spent hours on homework each night simply trying to do one to two pages of very simple things. He has to bathe with the door open because if not, he proceeds to destroy the entire bathroom. Simple basic things he can't seem to remember and this is ON his medication.

    When he wakes up he walks around singing / chirping/ droning on in his maniacal tone/voice with eyes almost rolling crazily around in his head. The medicine seems to contain this somewhat- but not enough. The impulsive behavior is almost impossible to predict or control.

    I played single mother for several years before finally meeting and marrying my new husband who is wonderful but beyond his wits on what to do with my son. We have 3 other children besides my son and we are losing the battle on containing/training/corralling my son.

    He is deceptive, devious, defiant, obsesses over the strangest things sometimes. They tested his IQ and found it at approx 125 with him refusing to do the reading parts. He can be very gentle and sympathetic and very sweet at times. The majority of the time you simply want to wrap him in a straight jacket and stick him to the wall so he can't "accidently" throw something, rip something, break something, steal something, get into something, lie about something, hide something, etc

    Whenever we come up with a new system- reward points, positive reinforcements, behavior contracts- I think he spends the majority of his day trying to come up with either ways to thwart the system or consequences he already decided in his mind were acceptable in order for him to simply NOT do what we want.

    We've spent hours trying to get him to do homework- starting with simple things like writing his name at the top of the paper, or underlining something instead of circling it. Whatever it is that he is supposed to do, he will insist on doing the opposite or not do it at all. Asking him to put his clothes away results in him taking 30 minutes hiding them in toy boxes, under the bed, inside toys, behind shelves, under couches- he takes more time avoiding doing what he was asked than simply doing what he needed to do in the first place.

    This previous school year resulted in some improvement in that he was actually dressing himself most days for school IF I laid out clothes the night before. Whether or not we made it to school on time was a different matter because even if we avoided the get dressed battle, there would end up being some other battle about shoes, bookbag (where did he hide it this time) breakfast cereal, or simply he decided he wasn't going to go to school today or get in the car, etc etc etc

    HELP!!!!!!!!!! Am I the only parent that is going through this? I keep being told my child is unique by so many parents who either look at me like I'm a bad parent when I used to need a leash to take him to a store or who looked at me with pity because of my strange weird wouldn't want a child like that looks.

    I need some solutions! I need some hope that he will get better- or some something that helps us to manage with him better. I am seriously at a loss as to what to do. I have tried tons of "behavior techniques" - They either don't work or only work for a short time until he figures out his end run around for them.
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    You are not the only parent! Tigger was just like that at 8. He is much better now :)

    Can you share a bit more about your journey so far? What is his current diagnosis and medication? Who diagnosed him? Is there a family history of similar issues? How old are the other children?
  3. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Hi there - and HUGS. LOTS and LOTS of hugs.

    This could describe my daughter to a tee. Now, I met her at age 8 - and she wasn't "bouncing off the walls", but she was manipulative, stole, spied, destroyed things... And it's only gotten worse. She's been diagnosis'd bipolar - but refuses medication at all - unless it's of the illegal or illicit variety.

    That said... O has so many other things in her hx that contribute.

    SO... A couple of preliminary things to do... Anything dangerous, i.e., sharp things - scissors & knives, needles, letter openers; medications of any kind; car keys; and anything you don't want stolen? LOCK THEM UP. This goes for his vitamins too - in large quantities they can be toxic.

    That's immediately. Next, see if you can get him into a neuropsychological evaluation. You may need a referral from his pediatrician, and it could take months.

    While you're waiting on the neuropsychologist, get him an IEP at school. The ADHD diagnosis should qualify him. At this point, there isn't much homework, so maybe you can get it eliminated as part of the IEP. Push. The school will probably push back, but it is his RIGHT.

    And then... Tell us more!

  4. This sounds just like my nephew at his age. He is about to turn 13 and he is much better but has to stay medicated. You really just have to pick your battles. I still have to lock the door to my house or he will go rummage through everything while we are at work. It sounds like you're doing the right things. Have you talked to his school at all about this? Do they have any sort of programs that can help? Perhaps his pediatrician needs to change or increase his medication? It will get better, I promise!! Remember to breathe, love him and smile. I know you don't see it now, but there is a reason you are his mother - because you are strong and able to handle this.
  5. keista

    keista New Member

    Welcome to the board! No, you are not the only parent going through this.:notalone:

    You were very thorough, but I still have a few more questions. Who diagnosed him? I'm just guessing the pediatrician. While ODD is in the DSM most of us here do not belive it is really a diagnosis on it's own. If it is, it's REALLY rare. It's more of a set of behaviors that are a SYMPTOM of something else. in my opinion some of the behaviors you described can NOT be explained by either ADHD or ODD, so, in my opinion there is more to the story.

    What medication is he on? For how long? Was it ever changed or adjusted?

    Does he have an IEP for school? How does he perform in school?

    You WILL learn to smile and say, "Why, thank you":flirtysmile3: And go on your way. It takes practice, but will come in time.

    Welcome again sharziey! You've found a great place for support, guidance and insights. AND the knowledge that you will never be alone in this journey again - we're right here with you!
  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Welcome. I'm sorry you have to be here but glad you found us. The very first thing that popped into my head is "who" is doing the diagnosis. If it is a Pediatrician it's time to see a specialist. I am not against Pediatricians, lol, but with special needs children they just don't have the expertise that is needed. Also I'm wondering which medication he is on. Is it the first one tried? With ADHD there are alot of choices and almost all of us have found that what works for one does not work for the other.

    I'm a strong supporter of neuro/psychological examinations to help identify the true problems. A child Psychiatrist is needed to make sure the medications are the best for him. I hope you can make those changes for your son and all of the family.

    Regarding the behavioral pattern..it takes alot of readjusting if you are used to "normal" living but it can be done. All dangerous objects (knives, matches, lighters, grill lighters, medications & vitamins) need to be removed and kept under lock. With my first difficult child I also removed all craft items, colored pens and crayons to avoid furniture and wall markings. Yes, I know, you have other kids but they will adjust. Although some CD members may disagree with me I don't think you should pets either. He is too tempted and probably gets hyper around their energy. Once again I'm sure you (and others too) think that sounds extreme. The goal is to get your household operating on as close to a normal level as possible. Kids with extreme impulsiveness function best in structured quiet (aka boring) surroundings. They also usually can't cope with outings to stores and malls etc.

    I hope you find the right diagnosis and the right medications to help him be his best. It is normal to feel sad, frightened, and overwhelmed. None of us expected to live this lifestyle but most of the time it is doable if both parents seek out professional help and then stay on the same page for discipline and structure (mixed with love and affection as much as possible, lol). Sending hugs. DDD
  7. sharziey

    sharziey New Member

    Hi all, wow- thanks for the responses. I don't understand all the acronyms at the bottom of the emails, but I figure that will come later. To answer some of the questions, there is a history of issues in the family.

    His father was/is a drug addict and an alcoholic who self medicated his ADHD with booze and pot and other drugs. The 14 years I managed to stay with him were beyond hell. He of course insists there is nothing wrong with him and nothing wrong with his son, but the rest of the world sees reality.
    His father currently lives with his white trash girlfriend in Yellowknife after abandoning his children because apparently the North Pole is far enough away from his children and responsibilities.

    My son has had an IEP at school for the last two years and attends resource for 1 hour a day to assist with reading. He began with not even 4 yr old reading level and ended last year at second grade reading level. Compared to where we started, it was a HUGE improvement. We did have multiple behavior issues almost every day with school and I never went an entire week without getting a call from the principal, teacher, and/or school psychologist.

    We started him out in first grade on Adderol and had him taking 10 mg twice a day, but adjusted the afternoon dose to 5 mg in order to mitigate the no appetite no weight gain no sleep issue. It still wasn't quite working the way we would have hoped, and during the summers when his dad had him, His Dad would agree to give him his medicine at first, but since he doesn't believe there is anything wrong with my son, his Dad would then sell it to one of his druggie friends.

    Approx 3 weeks ago the Dr- a regular family practitioner who stated he also has ADHD, suggested we try 27 mg of Concerta once a day. I think that the Adderol worked better at controlling the behavior personally, but am willing to give this Concerta a try only for the fact that it doesn't seem to be impacting his appetite or sleep as much.

    I have my son enrolled in a charter school this upcoming school year. It is not run like a traditional school and has smaller class sizes so I'm desperately hoping that this may work better for school that the traditional over-populated class room. This school allows each child to work at their own pace and focuses less on rote/one size fits all lessons and teaching methods. Shrugging shoulders- at any rate- its worth a shot.

    The other children in the house include my 7 yr old step-son, my 12 year old daughter, and my 14 yr old step-son. They each have their own rooms and we learned quickly to not allow any children in the other's rooms and we now have "everyone" toys downstairs with their own toys staying in their own rooms and only the child that they belong to can play with them.

    I called the doctors office today to get a referral to a psychiatrist- will try my husbands insurance as well- see where we can get him in the soonest. My husband also feels that there is maybe something more than ADHD going on. My son's diagnoses came about after multiple problems in first grade and so I gave my approval for a battery of tests and monitoring for over a month, which we then shared with his primary care dr who ran more tests and came up with ADHD and ODD.

    We have read Driven to Distraction, No More Backtalk, I have From Chaos to Calm and the Edison Trait as well- but haven't finished reading them yet. I have tried multiple theories and behavior techniques but like I said- they only work temporarily. Time out seems to be the most effective (the term effective being very loosely applied) in that truly nothing seems to stop/control/or mitigate the behavior for any length of time.

    A good day is very rare and usually includes only minor behavior issues that you would expect from any child.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member


    IQ of 125? Not bad! I see a bright future for your son once he gets calmed down.

    He is doing all of the things a "normal" kid does -- in a telescoped way. That is, what most kids do from ages 1-12, he does in one day!
    Okay, so, normal kids don't throw eggs and puppies over the fence, but still ... what I see is that he had no impulse control. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
    So you've got to work on the diagnosis (more than just ADHD) and also more Concerta or whatever you decide to give him.

    I have a friend who has no children, and in a helpful moment, she suggested I give my son a treasure hunt through the yard. We have 3.77 acres on the water, so I thought, great idea. That will get him out of the house and keep him occupied and teach him to problem-solve.
    I spent about an hr and a half writing the list and planting the clues and items outside.
    He completed the treasure hunt in 5 min.
    I suppose I should have been proud of him. But I was near tears.
    All that is to say, that um, I don't know exactly what that is to say, except that I know how you feel and sometimes all you can do is put one foot in front of the other.
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Time for the next round of specialists.

    It is NOT at all uncommon to find that the first diagnosis is either incomplete or not quite correct (or off base completely!).
    For example... in our case, the ADHD diagnosis was correct, but there were lots of other things going on, and it has taken years to figure them all out AND get accommodations etc.
    Others on this board have talked about starting with ADHD and ending up with a diagnosis that "includes" ADHD symptoms... for example, anything on the autism spectrum.
    And still others - were completely mis-labelled. Wrong diagnosis.

    One way or the other, it is obvious that the current diagnosis does not seem to fully explain the current symptoms.
    Now that he is older, you have school experiences as well as your own. There's more data to go on, for the specialist to make a diagnosis.

    Ideally, you'd be able to access a broad-spectrum evaluation... like neuropsychologist, or a Developmental/Behavioural Clinic at a teaching hospital.
    You need someone who can evaluate for a number of possibilities if necessary, and who can follow up with additional evaluations if this round is still not quite fitting.
  10. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I agree with the others so far. A neuropsychologist would be great but if nothing else a Child Psychiatrist needs to be found soon. A few things you said in your first post caught my attention because it is the type of thing my difficult child used to do. One was dropping the puppy over the fence because you told him not to TAKE the puppies into the front. He took your direction very literally. Another is cutting the box of cereal open instead of waiting for you like you told him. He had an idea in his head and he found a way to accomplish HIS goal in a way that made perfect sense to him. He had you tuned out. The last one was how he obsesses on the strangest things. Mine does that a lot(rubberbands, paperclips, pencil-top erasers, etc) and they do change. My son was diagnosis'd at 3 years old with ADHD and at 8 years old they added ODD. At 12 he was still having many of the same issues so I took him for a more thorough assessment and it turned out that he is on the Autism Spectrum. He was never purposely being defiant. He thinks very differently than I do and my thinking/reasoning/directions don't make sense to him a lot of the time. Now that I know what I am really dealing with, things are improving. I have learned to be very patient and try to figure out how he thinks by finding out WHY he does some of the things he does.

    Welcome to our "family". You have found a wealth of experience here and you will find many very broad shoulders to lean and sometimes cry on.
  11. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Also read The Explosive Child by Ross Green - amazing book for kids like ours- I think the best...
  12. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You've gotten lots of advice and now know you are not alone so I just wanted to add in my welcome. by the way, my difficult child was the same at that age. Sending hugs!
  13. sharziey

    sharziey New Member

    Thanks all for all the hugs, encouragement and suggestions. Hopefully soon we can get my son into see a psychiatrist and will be able to make a plan for the future.
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am so not going to be much help to you right now because your post brought back the best memories to me...lol. I actually sat at my computer and giggled through the entire thing! I am going to PM a few other of our "oldie but goody" members and I will guaranty they have the same reaction because you have just described out precious kids to a T...lol.

    Oh heavens...Now that I have that out of my system. Seriously...I cant tell you how many times I have heard...Oh, YOU are Cory's Mom? It was never a good greeting either....lol. I got good at just replying...yep! It did help that he was really cute...I bet your son is just as adorable...lol. I always said they make these kids cute so people wont kill them.

    Obviously by now you probably can tell I have been around here awhile. I have.. I came here when my son was 12 and he is now 25. I wont bore you now with all we have been through but we have survived and since looking back at your post made me nostalgic, it must not have been all bad. (Or maybe Im losing my mind?)
  15. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    What Janet said. My "personas" are my identity. In real life, I'm "Kiddo's Mom" and then they know who I am. Rather reminds me of that scene from Rules of Engagement with the grown guy stuck in the kid's slide and a mom asks his girlfriend "Which one is yours?" and she replies "I'd rather not say."

    Mine is also gifted intelligence but without the right medication mix you can toss impulse control, violence control, emotion control, you name it - right out the window. Often followed by whatever she can pick up and throw next. The cat hides and gets his revenge later, he's gotten mean in return for when she picked on him when she was younger. He still attacks (and got declawed because of that, doesn't stop him just limits the damage) but at least he's stopped peeing on her bed in the middle of the night when he's ticked.

    To also echo Steely, get The Explosive Child, it helps you understand him and find ways to head some of it off at the pass.
  16. cubsgirl

    cubsgirl Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry you have to be here. I still cringe when someone at difficult child's school comes up to husband and I and says "Are you difficult child's parents?". Lately, however, they ask because they have something positive to say. Like some others, my difficult child was more of a handful when he was younger and has made excellent progress the last couple of years. I hope the same for you. I know how hard it is ((hugs))
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi. I read this late, sorry to check in after the fact.

    First off, I think he's way over the top for just ADHD/ODD. I'd have a neuropsychologist test him. His birthfather obviously had issues (probably also beyond ADHD) and psychiatric problems are often inherited.

    Now my .02. From your description (and I'm NOT a diagnostician...I'm just wondering) it almost seems as if your son may have some attachment problems. Cruelty to pets and fire setting are two big symptoms as is peeing or pooping inappropriately (I don't know if he does that as well). Attachment problems can be serious. Did he have a chaotic early life with neglect or abuse or both? I'm wondering if maybe he moved around or had many caregivers rather than just you. I don't mean that in a bad way. It's hard to be a single parent. Did biological dad abuse him in any way? Does he visit his bio. dad now and, if he does or did, does bio. dad hang around with unsafe people? I don't know...this screams of abuse issues to me, probably not related to YOU but related to birthfather, unless, of course, I am reading too much into this. I tend to overanalyze at times and have a great imagination, but his hurting the animals and love of matches plus stealing and lying all together are worrisome in my opinion.

    Are his stepbrothers and sister good influences? Do they get along well? Any problems there?

    I would definitely rehome the pets. He is not safe with them and could hurt one or a puppy could even get killed. Please...this is not a child who can live with pets (I'm an animal lover).

    Big huggz. Keep us updated!
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011