He broke a window

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TerryJ2, May 8, 2008.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I knew this was going to happen. It was just a matter of when.
    difficult child has been angry and on edge all wk. It culminated when he mouthed off to me when I warmed dinner for him tonight. I sent him to his room. He decided to blow off steam by throwing a baseball through the plate glass window.

    He came downstairs crying. He was scared and angry and upset, and had a tiny cut on his finger. I wrapped a BandAid around his finger. Then we cleaned up the glass together. Sort of. He got angry and told me to leave. Five min. later he showed up in the kitchen and said he needed help.
    It finally got cleaned up. I told him he would have to work very hard to pay us back for the window.

    But he was still still angry and upset with-himself. He said he always breaks things when he's angry. He said he wanted to commit suicide. (Those exact words.) I said he couldn't do that because he had to eat dinner. (I was trying to keep it calm but I may have underplayed it a bit.)

    He sassed me some more and I took away the wrestling men he was playing with. Oddly, instead of four that he had earned back this week, he had six.

    He blew a gasket and said disrespectful things, but instead of sending him directly to his room, I gave him a plate of plain rice pasta, thinking his blood sugar might be low. I went outside for a moment, and when I came back in, he was sitting on the couch with-the plate in front of him, and his entire front was covered with-pasta. He had dumped it on himself. It looked like he had a blonde hairy chest and I burst out laughing. I asked him why he did it and he just stared into space.

    I decided to walk around outside to give him some space. I came back in and smelled smoke.
    He told me he lit a match in the DR. I told him that was odd because the smell was in the kitchen hall. He said he lit it and walked through the kitchen and put it out in the DR.
    I again told him it was odd that the smell wasn't in there. I walked around until I found the most pungent area, and in a very calm voice, said, "What did you light in here? Something was burning."
    As an afterthought, he said, "Oh, yeah, I burned this." And he picked up a charred pencil from the back of the family room behind the couch near the porch door. I told him that he knew better than to play with-matches and he was grounded. He insisted we'd never told him that he wasn't supposed to play with-matches.
    Now's he's really angry again and of course, everything is my fault. He hates our family and wants to leave. I told him to supply me with-an address and we'd see what we could do. He said he wants to go live with-R, his bmom. I told him he would have to go into foster care for a year and then maybe R could have him.
    Now he's throwing something in his room and I don't even want to know what it is.
    I don't know whether to assume this is just difficult child on a bad day or whether I should call Dr. Riley.
    Oh, husband and I were supposed to go to a Meet the Teacher Night at school (for next yr) but I called husband and asked him to go with-o me. It wasn't fair for easy child to have to watch difficult child 2 nights in a row, especially when he brought her to tears last night.

    difficult child is calming down a bit, but wants to play with-a friend tomorrow after school and is coming up with-ideas to earn the privilege. His friend keeps calling and I told difficult child to give me space. He yelled, "I KNOW you need to calm down and think but I need to know NOW. I'll do ANYTHING!"

    I just shut and locked my ofc door. We both need space.
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    You are really having a tough time with him. This has probably been looked at and ruled out already, but I have to ask- do you think there is any chance he is bipolar? Either way, watch that interest in lighting matches and burning things. I'd write something more thoughtful but I've had the day (maybe the week) from H**L. It sounds like you have, too.

    Hang in there-
  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Terry, I suspect there's something more going on with your difficult child than pure ADHD. Talk of suicide, breaking windows and lighting fires are all red flags for serious mood issues. Furthermore, Adderall can make anxiety worse and cause depression. Are you working with a good child psychiatrist? You need to be in touch with him/her ASAP.
  4. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I hope you will call his Dr. I'd be really worried that he might hurt himself, or someone else. He must be miserable! I know you are too. It's awful that you are having to go through this!
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Thank you. Yes, I will get a referral to a psychiatrist. All of these behaviors could be in the realm of poor impulse control, but ALL on the same day, with-that much emotion thrown behind him, is what may make the diff between ADHD and bipolar. How the h*ll does a dr figure out the diff? I'm thinking someone around 50-ish, who's been around the block a few times, but isn't too old to only use old-school diagnosis's.

    At any rate, difficult child is much better now.
    He ate up a storm.
    Afterward, I told him to refill all the soap containers, feed the dogs, and call his bmom.
    He asked me why he was supposed to call her.
    I told him he was going to wish her a happy Mother's Day, and then tell her everything he did today. EVERYTHING. Because she had to get used to it, since he wanted to move there.

    He said, "NO. That's what I want, but not what I need. And not what she needs."

    Now, he's a guru.

  6. terryboberry

    terryboberry New Member

    I'm sorry you're going through this. been there done that. This is my first post. Your difficult child sounds exactly like my difficult child at 11 - he used the same words and tactics. Persistent negotiations, unyielding wants, roller coaster of emotions and behavior.
    After many years of warring with him and trying different medications, now in 7th grade we've had more comprehensive evaluations at in-patient hospital. program. difficult child just got so frustrated and angry he would do things he regretted later. The remorse brought on depression and extreme dependency on parents reassurance. We were scared for him, and for us at times. I've locked my door for physical and emotional space many, many times! I hear you.
    We have found that his explosiveness at home has greatly decreased with his change to vyvanse (tried Concerta and Adderall) ADHD medications and the tenex. Finally getting him into a school that understands him and with- IEP that lets him carry less stress and frustration home with him, we have had the first few good weeks in almost two years.
    Hang in there. You're a great mom. Your humor, patience and love will get you through this.
  7. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Dude, that's deep!


  8. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911


    I think you did very well. All the things you described are the same types of things we went through with Dude. Except for the part where he offers to clean up anything he ever broke.

    IMVHO I like the thought of seeking out someone who's been around the block as a therapist. I told someone this week our therapist for the last five years looked like Sigmond Freud. He as been the psychiatrist to the state prisons and in his earlier days to federal prisoners who were imprisoned inside the prison for just being too far gone. He stated no one is ever too far gone. They can be evil, but that's a whole other ballgame.

    I would like to see your son learn some venting exercises. He can be taught some very easy techniques when he's angry to use instead of throwing, breaking, and being mischevous. OUr therapist taught us the best one - and while I would NEVER do it in front of anyone you sit and tense up EVERY single muscle in your body and push your hands against say a bed under your thighs and just tense up, release, tense up 10 seconds, release 5 do it again - until you can do it for over a minute. You are physically so exhausted after you do this you can't find the anger. I'm not describing how to do it and you should ask a therapist for a demonstration and practice but it's best described like you boil out your own adreneline in a silent fit.

    Dude has other coping mechanisms that he was taught (age appropriate) and after so many years of therapy - he's actually using them. He used to HAVE to smash things for that release - but now? He has other ways of coping, much better more suitable ways. And someone told him - you know IT IS OKAY to be ANGRY - but how you react to your anger says a lot about the world you're from.

    Maybe check into some anger management classes for youths.

    Gotta love it when your own psychology speaks volumes and they speak it back to you huh?
  9. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Nothing to add to what the others said but sending gentle hugs your way.
  10. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Oh my! A broken window and playing with matches all in one day. Sorry you had to go through all that. It sounds like your difficult child is really acting out about something. Just curious, because my son is also adopted, is your son's relationship with birthmom a positive influence or negative one?

    Good luck finding the right doctor.

    Wishing you an uneventful day tommorow!
  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    My son's relationship with-his bmom is ... shallow. She and her mother pile gifts on him once a year. Guilt Gifts, we call them. The first few times we got together for Christmas/bdays (her older son, difficult child's 1/2 bro, is one yr and one wk older than difficult child), bmom spent the whole time on her cell ph, planning out what she was going to wear to the Christmas ofc party. Hardly spoke to difficult child at all. The next 3 yrs she skipped, saying she was sick. difficult child caught on and wanted to know why she was sick every yr on his birthday? I told him to call her and find out. He left a msg inviting her to his birthday party and she called back immediately. That yr went much better. Still, they don't mingle well... just keep to themselves, wait for difficult child to open the piles and piles of gifts (seriously, an entire tableful of gifts), take pictures, and leave. The grandmother calls once or twice a yr to check up but that's about it.
    He has expressed anger about the whole thing. He "gets it" intellectually, knowing how young she was when she had him, but doesn't "get it" emotionallly, and probably won't until he has kids of his own.
    Meanwhile, I'm the target, which I understand is pretty typical.

    Yes, tomorrow will be better. The other mom has carpool and I'm going to sit at the computer in my pjs, drink tea, and print out poems and watercolors for my upcoming book. (My very first poetry book.) Then I meet an editor friend for lunch and he will nicely take a red pen and slice through everything, so I have to go home and rearrange it all again. But hey, it's better than dealing with-difficult child!
    I'm also working on an acrylic portrait for a military family in VA Beach and should really finish it this weekend b4 they give up on me.

    Thank you all for your support.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I personally would have been alarmed and have taken him to ER as soon as he said "commit suicide." The disciplining, in my opinion, is secondary...he is very ill in thought and behavior. Bio. mom may not be helping, but it is likely he inherited stuff from her--I don't think it's just situational here.
    I personally think ADHD is a big understatement and his medications could be making him worse. One big difference I read between ADHD and bipolar is that ADHD has a low suicide rate. Bipolar has a high one. I also would wonder about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) regardless of this neuropsychologist "ruling it out." There is no way to rule it out. Another neuropsychologist may diagnose it. He has many red flags for autistic spectrum disorder.
    I would recommend hospitalization if he says that again--I have bipolar and take suicide threats seriously. My daughter put her hand through a window once as a desperate cry for help. He is way out of control and needs you to help him. He apparently can not do it himself. good luck.
  13. Christy

    Christy New Member

    You are kind to include BM and her mom in family things. I'm sure it is tough for difficult child to understand but will as he gets older. My son does not have contact with his birth parents. He was almost four when he was placed in fostercare for neglect. We had visits for awhile but when it became apparent that reunification was not going to occur, they moved and left social services no forwarding address. My son understands that they were not able to take care of him properly but hasn't really satrted asking many questions.

    Congratualtions on your poetry book! That's great to have a creative outlet to take your mind off difficult child stuff.
  14. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    I agree with the others who think your difficult child needs psychiatric help as soon as possible. As others have said, it sounds like he has other issues besides ADHD. I'm glad you're looking for a good psychiatrist to help him.

    Please be careful. I'm worried about you and your family because difficult child is not thinking clearly. Breaking the window was bad enough, but playing with matches is really scary!!! If another incident like this occurs, I would definitely take him to the ER. It does sound like he might need to be hospitalized.

    I'm glad today you're taking some much needed "me" time. Congratulations on your upcoming book!!! You definitely need to let us know when it's completed!!! I hope you get the portrait finished soon. I bet it's absolutely amazing!!! I'm really glad you have such wonderful creative outlets. I hope your book and painting help you get through this extremely difficult time.

    Please let us know how your difficult child is doing today. I'm thinking of you and hoping today will be a much, much better day... WFEN
  15. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Terry, I think you handled things much better than I would have. You remained calm and gave your son the space he needed to calm down. Unfortunately he used that time to burn things. Actually the setting the pencil on fire worries me more than anything else. I would definitley discuss this whole evening with his psychiatrist.

  16. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Yes, difficult child will not attend the next appointment. husband and I are going to come up with-a diff game plan.
    One of the problems is that difficult child has such an absolute, immediate, concrete concept of the world, that he doesn't grasp even minutely abstract concepts such as being grounded to his rm for an entire wk. It just seems like his world had ended and we are cruel and he doesn't understand why. So that builds up his anger and resentment and then he blows.
    I hate to compare, but it's sort of like a dog, where you can't punish it a day later. You have to catch it in the act. There's some piece missing, some wiring that is askew with-our difficult child, and we just don't have a name for it.
    He is getting better with-recognizing facial expressions and cliches. Last wk I got exasperated when he continued begging for something and I said, "You can beg until the cows come home but--" and he put up his hand and said, "I know, that's just an expression." LOL.

    His Friday folder yesterday was phenomenal. All A's and 100s. Last wk was abysmal--two Fs and two Ds. So that's why we crakced down. But it paid off, in a sense. We KNOW he can do the work.

    We just have to figure out a way to get his attention with-o triggering his temper. Well, at least, not THAT much! One slammed door is to be expected. Breaking a window and lighting matches is over the top.

    Someone here suggested exercises to tense up the body and then relax. Good ideas. I will talk to our child psychiatric to get more ideas.

    Also, I called up my bipolar friend yesterday (He Who Considers Himself a Racecar Driver:) ) and he took me through a list of things that happened to lead up to the explosion, and concluded that it didn't really match bipolar. It clearly showed that difficult child has some messed-up wiring and that he is delayed. He said we just have to change all the rules for him (shades of The Explosive Child) and if a book or therapist suggests grounding him for a wk, we can only ground him for 2 days because he just doesn't "Get it." The whole thing is an experiment and we have to stay on top of it.
    It really helps to have a friend like that, and all of you here, who understand. Thank you.
    by the way, difficult child's privileges have been restored because he did all his chores and got such a good homework notebook. Of course, he's in a great mood. I dropped him off at a friend's house and he kissed me on the cheek and told me he loved me.
    I've made up a separate list of chores so he can pay us back for the window. He's going to have to do one thing every day until it's pd back. We haven't figured out how long that will be--he only gets $5 a wk for an allowance, and just finished paying us back for the glass on the chandelier upstairs that he broke, throwing the football in the house.

    At any rate, Mother's Day will be halfway decent.
  17. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Ya know, I think it is difficult to ascertain ADHD and Bipolar at times, but it might be particular difficult with children who are having some issues with attachment and/or abandonment that typically come when adopted. I agree, a very experienced (well read and open minded wouldn't hurt either) psychiatrist would be in order. I am sorry to hear of the very difficult day. Wishing you and your son well.
  18. terryboberry

    terryboberry New Member

    Please consider getting your son an inpatient evaluation. Just wanted to say, again, that your difficult child sounds so much like my 13 year old difficult child. He said very rude things to us, said "I wish I was dead", then would be loving and remorseful and tell us how much he loved us. What I didn't say before is that he also also played with a lighter, and said he was going to start his own bonfire, the night before we drove him to an ER, one hour away. We knew he was not managing and we could not longer walk on egg shells.

    My mom is bi-polar and I know the behavior. I was very concerned that my difficult child's diagnosis of ADHD ,Depression and Anxiety was wrong. They present very much the same as bi-polar in children and teens. Bi-polar looks different in children than adults. Your difficult child has similar behavior but only under 24 hour observation can they really see what's going on.

    For us, after 5 hours at ER we got him on the wait list for an inpatient program. Two days later he was admitted and was there for 14 days. They took him off all the various medications the other psychiatrist had prescribed. Result - no bi-polar, no depression or anxiety either. Getting him off the prozac and abilify, that he didn't need showed amazing improvement. Perhaps this kind of a comprehensive program may be helpful for you and your difficult child as well. The young, impulsive, frustrated difficult child doesn't have control of themselves when they aren't managing. Be safe and consider getting the next level of care. Hang in there. You're doing the right things for your difficult child.
  19. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    I am so sorry he is in so much turmoil. I know it hurts mom and dad. It really really sounds like my Aspie in a bad place. Take the suicide threat seriously. We first dealt with it at age 7. They are NEVER too young to try.

    As far as the window, make him do hard physical labor to work it off. It helps IMMENSELY if you work WITH him (with adequate breaks and water). I know it may punish you too, but it is what may get through.

    Get a psychiatrist (with the md) on board IMMEDIATELY. Since it is maybe bipolar, push to try mood stabilizers BEFORE anything else, OR ALONE. Otherwise you may never get a clear picture.

    Remember that easy child deserves to feel safe in her home. This needs to be a priority.

    Sending big hugs,

  20. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Thank you all. I didn't get a chance to talk to difficult child much today. I have the flu--swollen glands, achey all over, sinus congestions--and spent most of the day in bed. I'm hoping to sleep more tomorrow, and feel better so we can all go out for sushi tomorrow night.
    I have several things I want to discuss with-difficult child now that he's calm. I want to know if he is truly conflicted or just trying to push my buttons, or both. (My guess is both.) I have to figure out a way to ask him with-o making him clam up.
    Meanwhile, I'm gorging on Popcycles.
    Oh, easy child feels safe enough. Especially that she can drive now and "escape." :) But she no longer wants to dbl major in art and psychology. Between her online cutter acqaintance and her difficult child bro, she's ready to walk away from issues like that. But she's still interested in elementary ed and art. Yay!