Hi TJ2, thanks for your comments. And everyone's. This website is a Godsend.

It's interesting because Johnny DOES value me, he values me a lot. Not too long ago the counselor was asking him things about moms...the kinds of things they do. Then she asked him who in his life does those things. He pointed to me. I do all the "mom" stuff...I do his laundry, fold his socks, make dinner, go to his basketball practices, took him to a Halloween party at school (Dad had hernia surgery the day prior and couldn't go), take him to the Y, goof around when he's having a "good" moment. I do it all. I WANT us to be a family.

It's hard to say if the bond is still there, because the last month has been so awful. I can hardly stand to be around him. The good moments these days are few and far between.

But then there was this, the moments that give me hope...my parents were visiting from out of state a month ago. They only come once a year and Johnny knew having them here was a VERY big deal for me. He had never met my dad before, although he'd met my mom once before. We went out to dinner and I was nervous, afraid Johnny would act up. He didn't at all, he was perfect. Literally. He sat there quietly or talked with the adults. He even brought a book with him, one I had bought him! He was respectful and kind. He loves ribs, they are his favorite. He heard my dad talking about how good the ribs looked, but because Dad is on a diet, he couldn't get them. Johnny later told me he ordered a cheeseburger instead of ribs so that he wouldn't make my dad "jealous." So there is good potential in this kid, he is not all bad! My dad was so touched by that he sent Johnny a thank-you note and $10. He hasn't spent it yet, but always knows where that ten-dollar-bill is. The day he got the card he was being awful and actually said "I don't deserve this." It about broke my heart. I told him he did deserve it, that the day he earned it he was exactly the kid we all want him to be.


Roll With It
THe more I read the more I think that this child really NEEDS an evaluation, and probably quite a few so that he can be the person HE wants to be and you all want him to be.

Kids just don't choose to be badly behaved. Well, by 10 some do, but most kids really WANT to please. They don't want to be in trouble. I don't know if it is lerning disabilities (there may be), some autistic spectrum disorder, OCS, or what. It may be a combination of things. the combinationis actually the most likely thing.

I am told 10 is rather late for occupational therapy assessments to be starting, but I think it would be a GREAT wayt o start. If nothing else, it is often easier to get into an Occupational Therapist (OT), the therapies are non-invasive (developoing muscles or providing certain kinds of stimuli rather than medication) and they can do a LOT in a very SHORT, almost immediate seeming time frame. My son thank you went from "I can't do it, I'm worthless" to "I can do this." and being ABLE to cut on a line - in less than a MINUTE - the Occupational Therapist (OT) we were with was showing me the dramatic effect of brushing and joint compression therapy. It wasn't a PERMANENT sense of confidence, or a permanent ability, but it was such a drastic change I was AMAZED. And, given work with the therapies at home and in school, the changes are BECOMING permanent, while providing us the understanding to provide the outlets he needs when he needs them.

I think it is a great sign that he could be so well behaved at a dinner that was important to you.

I also think it will be VERY important to have him see a neurologist (child certified) and to have a sleep deprived EEG to see if he has any seizure-related disorders that can be identified.

There is so much that can be done, can be identified. And improvements and accomodations can be made. There really IS hope. At age 10 I really thought my son Wiz would be in prison by age 16. If it took that long. I was terrified by age 12 that he would kill someone or himself. And now, at age 17 (in less than a week!) he is on track to become a certified machinist next year, and go to college the following year. He is HAPPY, a good big bro, and a is the son I prayed he could be. AND he is SAFE - he makes safe choices!

So there is hope, but it takes a whole lot of work. If you decide that tis isn't for you, well, you can at least give his dad some ideas of ways to help him. And that, is really good too.


Well-Known Member
I think he should have the entire battery of tests. An Occupational Therapist (OT) can't diagnose. JMO but he's already ten. Interventions work best when started before three. He's waited long enough. I'd get him into a neuropsychologist. It's better to get the whole picture than one thing at a time. He's going to be a teen soon and bad things can happen if he doesn't get the diagnosis and help right now. There just isn't a whole lot of time to play around with.


Active Member
The more you share with us about him (because questions from us are prompting responses of things you mightn't have thought of to begin with) the more i think he needs to be evaluated by a neuropsychologist for possible Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in some form. He really does sound like a mild Aspie or high-functioning autistic who's been struggling all this time. Whether alcohol intake during pregnancy is responsible or not - I don't think it matters any more. I suspect alcohol often gets the blame when the child may have a problem anyway. I do know that alcohol intake (or drug intake) during pregnancy does cause damage but generally that damage is highly specific, and unfortunately a lot of catch-all gets snagged along with the genuine Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) or drug-addicted babies.

Back to topic - a few things you've shared that are driving you nuts, actually give me a lot of hope for him. He's argumentative and seems to show no respect - that can be a big red sign for Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in some form, especially if he's not had consistent handling in the past. From my understanding and my own experience - it actually sounds to me like his dad has 'lucked out' and done the right thing by letting the son make his own choices. It does seem like a child running wild, but if someone had tried to clamp down hard with discipline earlier, I think this kid would now be a lot worse off. For most kids, running wild like this is a disaster; for this kid, I think it has saved him. But you are right, he now needs consistency and accountability. But it will have to be in a way he can embrace and handle.

A number of people have recommended "The Explosive Child" to you. I strongly endorse this. In fact, either get it out of the library ASAP (today if you can) or go to Early Childhood forum and look for the 'stickies" there which discuss the book in detail (although mostly from the point of view of applying it to younger children). This book has helped a lot of us much more than we perhaps thought it would when it was first recommended. It shouldn't increase your workload; it may make it easier. And it should explain why I think allowing Johnny so much freedom, has in fact been his saving grace (when it would not have been for other kids, maybe).

You need to do a few things - take notes as you go, if you can. I use the computer for my record-keeping and also keep a diary on the child. Talk things over with SOS and his parents, get their feedback. However, be prepared for them to not be on the same page for a while, don't push it. Just pick brains for now.

You want to know what triggers his raging or anxiety or bad behaviour. You want to know what calms him down (hoses it down). You want to know what the early warning signs are.

Next - you want to draw up a list of what you want him to master, in terms of behaviours. For example, do you want him to do his chores without giving cheek about it. Draw up your list and then prioritise. You have three baskets (from the first edition of this book - the next one doesn't mention baskets but otherwise uses the same logic).

Basket A - the behaviours in this MUST be enforced even if it will provoke a meltdown.

Basket B - these behaviours will be pushed for, but you back off from insisting if you see him beginning to get upset. You will not insist if he will melt down.

Basket C - we're not going there, not yet. These are the 'currently too hard' basket. For now.

Now go back and look at your lists. In Basket A you should only have IMMEDIATE safety (you will grab him if necessary, even if it provokes a tantrum at being touched, to stop him from running out on the road in front of a truck) and school attendance. For our family, even school attendance is Basket B.

Basket B shouldn't have more than maybe five things. It depends on the child. And also, if you realise you have things in this basket which cannot be achieved (maybe his brain just isn't ready yet, like expecting a five year old to master quantum physics) then you shuffle them back to Basket C for a while.

What happens fairly quickly, especially if you're dealing with a bright child - they realise that you are doing your utmost to help them stay calm. You are also wanting certain things from them and often they try to comply because they know you are also trying to help them and are not going to be unreasonable.

This works well because the child, especially a child with impulse control issues and a short fuse, can feel overwhelmed with too much control, too strict discipline and too high standards that seem unachievable.

Also with kids like ours - ignore the calendar. Learn to not say or even think, "He should be able to do better at his age," because often they can't. If he's Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in any form, chances are he has splinter skills and may seem more capable than he really is.

These kids need to feel in control. You need to be a parent, however, which requires YOU to be in control. The secret here is to skip a stage of development and make use of these kids' innate rule-following (as long as it is THEIR rules) and teach the child to be self-disciplining. Another big secret - a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kid especially, and often an ADHD kid too, will give back to you what you give to him. Stop and think to yourself about how we as adults talk to the children in our world. Especially some teachers (think back to your own schooling). "Simpson - come out here and tell the whole class just what it was that Jones said that was so funny. I'm sure the entire class is just dying to know what was so funny that you had to disrupt the entire lesson and distract everybody from their work."
It is demeaning, it is belittling, it is, frankly, bullying. Can you imagine your boss talking to you like this? Or a co-worker? Or the shopkeeper when you've gone to the shop to buy milk? Or your sister, at the dinner table?
What works best for these kids is to treat them in the same manner that we want them to treat us, because socially they really cannot pick it up the way other people do. They learn by the example we set.
Now Johnny has been given the example of "Do what you want, we'll support you." As a result, I suspect he doesn't try to impose his will on other people unless there is something he really wants for himself that he needs you to get for him. He might want a computer game, for example, and will talk at you non-stop to get it because in his mind, he is desperate for it. Once he is anxiety-driven, manners go out the window.

Manners for us have been a Basket B/Basket C thing. If difficult child 3 is apparently being rude to us, we don't immediately react. Instead, we examine the circumstances. Is he reacting out of anxiety or panic? Then if so, we first calm him down. Think about how people behave in a genuine emergency - shouting instructions, yelling for help. When someone is in need of urgent CPR, it is not the time to chide the first aid person for lack of manners. And in the mind of the child in panic, manners are just not in the equation that minute and trying to insist will get you nowhere. Not that minute. But if you wait until he is calm, then maybe you can get your point across. "Honey, I understand you were anxious back then, but it really didn't sound very polite, the way you spoke to me. Let's practice how better we could have handled things."

Johnny sounds like a decent kid who now needs to be slowly, gently taught what is required of him in order to become a useful and valued member of society. It sounds to me that he really likes you even though he is having difficulty with the changes you are bringing to his life.

Read the book. Stick around here and dump on us. Maybe get your SO to lurk here or post here, so you can both be on the same page.

Welcome. Help has arrived.


I'm getting here late and the others have already given you lots of excellent information. The people on this board are amazing!!!

I'm glad you're here but sorry you had to find us. Welcome to our "cyber family." WFEN