Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by mysrk, Jan 30, 2010.

  1. mysrk

    mysrk Mom 2 One

    I'm new here and need some help. Husband and myself greeted yesterday afternoon by 2 deputies that escorted our 10 year old son from his bus after an incident in which he lost control and started to assault a girl who was taunting him and then the bus driver.

    Back story-DS diag with odd/mood disorder about 2 years ago. We started family and one on one counseling and then decided to stop due to job lose and no insurance. Prior to being diag he was diag with adhd and we went through a series of medications,adderall,startera and ritilian. While on those drugs he seemed to be more aggressive and had terrible night terrors and just seemed all together out of it. My husband and I became very concerned that the drugs were enhancing his moods and aggression so we bailed all drugs.

    Recently at school this year he has had an academic turn around with his first male teacher and only one incident at school besides the bus yesterday. We fully expect for DS to be expelled when we go to school to talk on Mon, but hope they would consider letting him continue with school with us transporting him from now on.

    Regardless, we plan on starting with counseling right away and figure out how to pay later. Our son has always had a very sweet side and then the not so sweet side. Mornings have always been a huge problem for us and have worked through ways to adapt. However, if he gets angry he totally wacks out and it's as if he's not there and doesn't know whats happening. He's punched me several times and throw things. He says he doesn't remember hitting the girl or bus driver, hopefully the tape will shed some light on what exactly happened.

    My husband has ALWAYS tried to instill that you don't HIT and especially not GIRLS, but he never seems to get it. There is a definite disconnect with him. He does feel remorse and was extremely scared. I mean really, how often does a 10 year old get hauled off a bus and escorted home in a cop car for assault. Tears.....now......

    What type of punishment is appropriate? We have never ever spanked and don't feel that's an option. When getting in trouble we've been consistent in taking things away that he loves to do but really don't know what to do in this case.

    Does anyone out there have a son around the same age going through similar things? Please let me know what worked for you and what didn't. Also worth mentioning, he has allergies, we havent seen a neurogist or had bloodwork tested.

    A sincere THANK YOU!
  2. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    I am so sorry for you.

    We have seen agression increased by stimulants too. I am going way out on a limb here, but I wonder if at this point if you have limited dollars whether to spend them on counseling or a consult with a board certified child psychiatrist. Again just based on the little that you have told us, I wonder if your son has a mood disorder of some sort. While counseling might give you all some valuable insights, I wonder if there are better classes of medications out there for him. At this point a consultation with a very good psychiatrist might get you some better answers than just counseling per se.

    Perhaps you can explore with your school whether there are counseling resources you can obtain through the school and perhaps also referalls to child psychiatrist.

    It sounds like you have been doing your best. One thing that many of us have learned here is punishing your child for behavior that is really beyond their control is kind of pointless.

    I also wonder what set your son off.

    I am sorry for you all. I'd try to view this as an opportunity to get everyone involved in helping your son, not as a failure on your part or on your son's part.

    Hang in there.
  3. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Mary,

    at this point, I would agree with pepper - wondering if your limited dollars would be better spent on a complete evaluation for your son. Sounds like, with the past diagnosis of mood disorder, he is unstable. Mood stabilizers might be an option. Very often you can contact the drug companies and get help paying for them. Check with your son's doctor.

    Does your son have an IEP at school? Sounds like he's had some behavior issues in the past. Does he have a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP)? If he has no supports in place at school, I would suggest you request an IEP meeting with the purpose of your son having testing done to see if he qualifies for some accomodations and modifications. Additionally, you should request a Functional Behavioral Analysis (FBA) which will result in a BIP.

    Please check out our Special Education forum and Special Education archives for assistance on requesting testing at school.

    I know this is heartbreaking for and your husband. It is just as likely to be as hard, if not harder, for your son. In regards to punishment - a question. When you say he assaulted a girl who was teasing him and the bus driver, exactly what are you talking about? Did he attack the girl, bus driver intervene and then he began hitting and kicking the bus driver?

    For many of us, if the child gets consequences at school our motto is "what happens in school stays in school". But when violence towards others happens, all bets are off. I think the punishment needs to be individual here. Ours was "nothing that has an on switch is allowed for X number of days" He is a gamer and that took away the tv, game systems, hand held systems, music, etc. It worked for us.

    But with a son who may be unstable, who may have been handled in an inappropriate manner, may have escalated due to unfair or biased treatment, was overwhelmed by an adult putting their hands on him, and not really knowing the exact circumstances yet, I would suggest wait unitl Monday. I would request to see the tape from the bus before hearing anyone's side of the story. Then I would hear from the eye witnesses. I would not have my son be present. You really can't know what's going to happen at this point. Expulsion should not be an option because we are not talking about weapons. Suspension is a probable option. Did the police give you an indication that your son was calm when they got there or still in the throes of violence?

    Sounds like you have a lot to consider. I would do myself to keep my son calm. I would let him know you love him. I would let him know you will discuss it more once you meet with the school on Monday. I would sit with him, perhaps tomorrow afternoon, and get a clear and calm explanation from him as to what happened.

    Glad you are here.

    Last edited: Jan 30, 2010
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I agree with pepperidge.

    There are free and low-cost options for obtaining counseling and psychiatric services. A community mental health clinic in your area should be able to help. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) should be able to point you in the right direction for help. The contact information for the Michigan state chapter of NAMI and local affiliate offices can be found at this link:


    Hang in there and good luck.
  5. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Mary, just wanted to add, if you run into a brick wall, please let me know -- I volunteer for a non-profit organization that helps people with mental illnesses find resources throughout the country. So I have more avenues for you to pursue if you come up dry.
  6. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Does he have an IEP? If so, the school cannot expel him. They must find a way to educate him. They also must transport. Ask that he be reassigned to the Special Education buses with an aide.
  7. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Welcome and hugs!

    My guess would be that though he will definetly be expelled from the bus, I doubt the school will address the incident. As long as you provide another way of transporting, I am sure the school will allow him to return.

    We have no way of knowing how long this girl has harrassed your son so am not sure how short a temper he has. If you find that she truely was harrassing him, then she needs to be treated as a bully and have just as much responsibility in this as your son. Unfortunately, society still refuses to see the little girls as bullies. They can be nastier than the boys. Some day equalilty will be doled out in this area also. (Can you tell that I get very sick and tired of bullies walking away as victims?)

    For punishment in the situation? NONE! Having the cops involved sent enough of a message to him about how his behavior will be treated. If you add to this, it will just be sending the message of "Why are YOU always in trouble?". You want to send the message of "What happened? We KNOW you do not want to behave like this. How can we help?" (some kids would rather have a short term punishment than talk about what happened - to them, this will feel like a punishment but they will learn communication skills also)

    It is very much possible that your son has gone into denial of what has happened (saying he doesn't remember - he wished it hadn't so if he doesn't talk about it maybe it will go away) or maybe he really does not remember. Gently review what happened. Start with, "difficult child, I am going to tell you what we were told and then I want you to tell me how you saw it." A fact gathering mission - you are trying to understand all sides.

    You can then go onto, "This just doesn't seem like something you really wanted to do. We want to help this from happening again." A counselor can help provide "tools" that your difficult child can use when he starts feeling angry or out of control. It may take awhile for your difficult child to remember to pay attention to how he feels and to learn that very first symptom. For example, it may be starting to tense up. He is then to choose a "tool" to focus on. The step after that is identifying triggers. Your son is young but it is still possible for him to figure out.

    I was fortunate to be on the playground two years ago when my difficult child was about ready to attack a girl. I was able to intervene. Whenever my difficult child did anything like this, I would never punish or discipline. Instead, I would work with him to figure out what happened and what tools he should have used to not let it get so far.

    Your home is your difficult child's refuge, a safe place, a place where he needs to get support from. You believe in him and his sweet side shows he does have it in him to succeed. It may take awhile, but with lots of patience and trying to get him to work on who he wants to be instead of punishing for when he doesn't work up to those standards for himself, it just may work. It did for us!

    (I often talked to my difficult child about the person he wanted to be. Those reminders I think helped him be stronger about not behaving in a way that hurt himself and others.)
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2010
  8. mysrk

    mysrk Mom 2 One

    Thank you for your reply. Last year before my husband was downsized we were given a diag of ODD/w Mood disorders by a PsyD, I'm really not certain if he was board cert, but they came highly recommended. We rec'd the diag and started the counseling sessions and DS seemed to be doing good with all so we left because we thought we had a handle on things. My husband and I were very please with them for the short time we were there.

    husband and I also figure punishment is also pointless right now but do believe he should have consequences for his actions. The things that set him off most the times are very small in nature, that day he and some friends were writing on the bus window and the 5th grade girl that always gives him trouble kept erasing his window art, she did several times before he blew. He doesn't remember hitting either the girl or the bus driver, we do believe he was punching. We still have to hear from them as to what exactly happened and we believe there's a tape on the bus.

    Thanks again-
    Lasted edited by : Jan 30, 2010
  9. mysrk

    mysrk Mom 2 One


    Thank you for your wonderful insight. Mood stabilizers could be a possible option but I have big time guilt frm having him on adhd medications and what they did to him. He had night terrors was very thin and his moods seemed worse on the medications.

    We've worked very closely with the school and we do have BIP plan in place for school. I asked our DS what he could have done to remove himself from the situation, maybe move his seat and he said the bus driver doesn't allow him to change seat. Not certain what IEP is, but he went through test there and we were set up with a plan at school.

    We do not know all sides yet but believe he may have punched the girl and then the driver intervene and he punched her too. We were just stunned when the officers showed up at our home with our son, we thought someone had tried to kidnap him for crying out loud. He was so upset he was just shaking and I scooped him right up and just held him as tight as I could. We just held him and told him no matter what we love...love...love him to pieces and that we are going to get through this together. I woke up last night and wished it had all been a dream and not real. We will know much more on Mon and I'll post again.

    My heartfelt thank you!
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't think you can really help much until you know what his problem is, and it seems that his diagnoses may be incorrect. If they aren't, his medications certainly are making things worse rather than better. I am with getting a complete evaluation.

    Do you qualify for Medicaid? If so, I highly recommend it. You can then get him a complete evaluation at a university hospital and they are the best...they take Medicaid. I'm not that sure of county mental health clinics (most don't hire the best and brightest, but I guess they are better than nothing). Schools are poor at diagnosing as well. Sadly, not all evaluations are created equal. I would want a private neuropsychologist at a university hospital. Maybe you can make payment arrangements if you don't qualify for Medicaid.

    If your son has a "disconnect" and/or doesn't learn what you tell him or CAN'T execute what he knows is right and wrong I truly don't think it's his fault and he needs interventions in place. I am not convinced ANY punishment will change his behavior until the reasons why he can't control himself are addressed. I also wonder if the girl who called him names got into trouble. I have a rule: I always report a bully. I don't care if my kid hit the bully--that is wrong, but the bullying behavior incites vulnerable kids and bullies KNOW who is vulnerable. She should be dealt with at well, and I'd insist on it.

    I really hope you can get things straightened out. I don't think you can sit this one out...you need to find a way to pay for an evaluation. We don't have insurance either so we got Medicaid and it has really been great for us. Your son may have a "mimicker" disorder such as Asperger's Syndrome instead of a mood disorder. It is important to find out what it is because all disorders are treated differently.

    Whatever you decide to do, I wish you luck.
  11. mysrk

    mysrk Mom 2 One

    Thank you Smallworld!
  12. mysrk

    mysrk Mom 2 One

    Wow, Andy thank you! We really try and look at things to help rather to punish him for behavior that he doesnt know how to control. I just held him last night and both husband and I told him how much we love him and that we will find a way to help him. We don't have all the facts yet and the school has been nothing but good to us over the years so we are hopeful.

  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    You indicated that your son is remorseful. IN which case - he gets it. The purpose of punishment is to teach, to try to prevent a recurrence of tat behaviour.

    Now, it seems he knows he did the wrong thing. That's one learning outcome dealt with. Either he knew before anyone told him (in which case he knew not to do this before he did it - but he still did it) and he deliberately chose to do it, or he was unable to stop himself doing it. I vote for the latter. If he knew it was wrong but was unable to stop himself, what more can punishment achieve towards preventing a recurrence? Nothing.

    Now let's look at consequences. There are always consequences. Newton's Third Law - "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." Newton was talking about physics but it applies here too.
    difficult child has done some damage. To the girl, to the bus driver, to his reputation. The reputation - that will take time for people to forget this and see him in a better light. It will take time, and a long period of good behaviour from difficult child. Sounds like a tall order.

    Reparation - he needs to make restitution in some form. THis will hurt him to do. I would also recommend you get a full story as best you can, so you can help him get this right. But reparation should begin with (and maybe end?) with difficult child writing a letter of apology to whoever he hurt in this. Unconditional apology. None of the "I'm sorry I hit you, but you aggravated me," or "I'm sorry I hurt you but I didn't know what I was doing." Because if you don't know what you were doing, then of what value is your apology? No, he needs to write a straight-up apology. "I'm sorry I hurt you. There is no excuse for physical attack."

    That is not punishment, it is restitution. Consider it restoration (in part) of his reputation. It also should be hand-written, in his hand-writing. If he can't spell well, then you can write it out for him to copy. But make sure he "owns" the words. Then he has to deliver these. If he is not permitted to approach these people then find out how far he can take these - their letterbox? Or maybe post them through the mail. Or deliver to a third party (the police, perhaps).

    I would also find out what has been going on with this girl - kids can be really horrible to one another, and with difficult child 3, the majority of the time he was the victim of bullying and his lashing out was triggered by bullying or teasing. In some cases the school knew of incidents that they simply ignored; I was told about them by independent witnesses. But when difficult child 3 hit the kid(s) who we had been independently told had been hassling him, it was difficult child 3 who was punished and not these other kids. A number of these other kids are now older and serious behaviour problems in our streets here. Luckily our home is not a target, but I hear these same kids' names mentioned by neighbours frustrated over frequent and repeated attacks on their houses. Windows broken, kids attacking, yelling abuse. The same kids.

    So keep your son close, maybe consider taking him off the bus as an investment in difficult child's safety. And yes, evaluation should come before counselling. But if you can get an evaluation done more affordably, then do so. However, make as much noise as you can, see if the police will help you push the urgency button, and try to get your son properly diagnosed before too much water flows under the bridge.

    Counselling can't help if they treat medical problems as social problems.

  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Welcome! I am glad you found us, but so sorry you need us, Know what I mean??

    I have not read all the advice so I may say something someone already has, sorry.

    I do think that your funds would be much better served by getting a full evaluation. Usually you can get more time to pay for it than you can for reg therapy. I would recommend an evaluation by a neuropsychologist, a psychologist with special training in how the brain effects behavior.

    I also think you should see a neurologist and have a sleep deprived EEg done. With the disconnect you describe there is a chance this could be seizure related. Is he tired after the outbursts? Different in any way? You may have to push for this, but it is well worth it. You just never know which person is having this kind of problem.

    I know. With my older two, Wiz (difficult child) and Jessie (easy child), I had people telling me they had different kinds of ADHD. A member here really advised that we have an EEG (test of brain wave patterns) done before we start medication. It seemed logical so I got the referral and appointment. I really expected them to find some kind of problem with Wiz and nothing with Jessie.

    Wiz was fine, got results over the phone. Jessie, well, I got a call to come in to the office with her. I hate those calls, esp when they come at lunch on Thurs and the appointment is not until Tues after a long holiday weekend. It turns out that Jessie has a form of epilepsy, Absence epilepsy. Her mind sort of blanks out, or just isn't "there" for a short time every so often. During the EEG she was "gone" for over half the session!

    That means that in school she was missing about half of the directions and materials that were given. HALF. She had learned ways to hide it by doing what the other kids did, and she is such a sweetie that al the kids love her and helped her cover it up.

    This is a way to try to unravel the puzzle that your son copes with every day in his mind/body. Hopefully it will help you to find the answers that will help him!

    I urge you to check out the Special Education forum here and start the ball rolling on an evaluation for an IEP and a BIP. Remember that your son has a right to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), just like everyone else. (BY the way, does he get taunted a log? Most schools have a No Bully policy and that may be a part of the problem. So is the taunter getting in trouble too? You may have to push, but make sure they treat her the way they treat bullies, following district policy!).

    His FAPE must be in the LRE or Least Restrictive Environment. It may be an alternative school, or modifications in his day at school. If he is suspended or expelled they STILL have to educate him. If you start the IEP process with a letter sent via certified mail with delivery confirmationv(for proof that it was sent/received), then he gets the protections of the IEP until it is determined that he does not need one.

    I would have that letter sent overnight, even though it will cost.

    Many hugs and again, WELCOME!!