I'm so tired of "Well, he can't help it.."

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by wakeupcall, Aug 27, 2009.

  1. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    .....really? Before my difficult child's medications kick in in the morning, every morning, I have to suffer "mommy abuse". When does this end???? He KICKS on the bathroom door while I shower (trying to do something productive to get away from him). He refuses to eat the eggs and toast I make him and if I turn my back he dumps it. He needs to eat with Strattera because on an empty stomach it makes him sick. He torments the Yorkies till I can hardly stand the growling any longer (he's not physically hurting them).

    I give him his Focalin XR (the ONLY thing that has ever worked really well) before he even gets out of the bed, hoping to avoid all this. difficult child had me in tears this morning and I've not done that for a loooong time. I got a thicker skin, he's not any better.

    When does he outgrow this? A wife would never put up with it....nor a roommate, nor an employer. When does he get it? Is fourteen years not enough training yet?? On his way to school he texted me and said, "I'm sorry for the way I acted and I love you..." I texted back that I loved him, too, and I do, but oh my gosh......this can't go on. The doctor says....have his father handle all of it. Yea, sure. HER husband must not be like mine.
  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I hear you!

    My husband is an early riser. He gives difficult child his medications in the a.m. around 6, then lets him go back to sleep. difficult child gets up with-me for school around 7.

    We agreed upon that strategy after undergoing for several years, what you are dealing with now.

    Who gets up at 5 a.m.? Give someone the chore. Someone patient. Bribery works, too. We are not above giving difficult child a piece of chocolate or some juice b4 the sun comes up. :) He no longer needs the sugary bribes and now prefers meat. :) :)
  3. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    Terry, if he had his medications before 7, then they would wear off before he can take more at school at noon. His Focalin XR lasts four hours max, that's why he has another dose at school. He has a very high metabolism and has always needed more medications than the more traditional dosages. He has the same behavior when he comes in the door after school....medications are at 4 1/2 hours. The behavior is horrid and I not only hate it for myself, but I wonder what's going to happen to the poor thing some day when he isn't face to face with a mother who loves him dearly.
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I feel your pain, really, I can relate. Personally, I think what happens is that kids (especially at this age) sometimes use the illness to manipulate us then they get in the habit and instead of their efforts going to fight the illness, they are just going with whatever urge they have at the time and taking us for granted. I wish I had an answer for it but I think it would take a crystal ball to be able to determine when it's pure defiance and when it's a symptom of the illness sometimes. If you are seeing a repetitive behavior on a daily basis though, that sounds like manipulation and bad habits to me. This is what I tailored some The Explosive Child methods to address. Sometimes it helped, sometimes it didn't. Usually it helped, I guess, and at least did let my son know that I wasn't sitting by letting him treat me like this without addressing it somehow.
  5. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I so understand, in fact, I will probably be posting something very similar in a bit. Many hugs.
  6. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I'm counting down the days until the psychiatrist appointment because Eeyore is being exactly the same. Impossible in the morning cause the medications haven't kicked in, in trouble in his afternoon classes because the medications have worn off and annoying afterschool because his night medications haven't kicked in....UGH
  7. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I have to "pre" medicate difficult child 1 for the same reasons. But something you wrote really struck me and I hope you don't mind if I say this. When you tell us that he burns through the Focalin XR fast, and that he's got severe ADHD/ODD, that sets off a loud alarm in my head because that is exactly what we saw in difficult child 2 before we finally realized that his severe ADHD, that finally would not respond to ANY stimulant medications, no matter how ridiculously high the dosage or frequency it was administered, was in fact Bipolar disorder.

    Maybe it's time for another pair of professional eyes to look at him and re-evaluate the medications? Just a thought.

    Has he ever tried Seroquel? How is he doing on the Strattera?
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    the poor thing some day when he isn't face to face with a mother who loves him dearly.

    The whole "poor thing" seems way out there. He still has choices with these diseases and disorders. Yes, he has challenges that not every other person has. But he has a LOT of gifts and privileges that MOST of the world doesn't have.

    he HAS food for every meal. Billions of people do NOT have this. Even in THIS COUNTRY!!!

    Many people have no computers, or other items. Heck, he is lucky to have a roof over his head.

    It is time to remind YOURSELF of this. The facts won't matter to difficult child. But they should matter to you. It is really easy to slide into the "he can't help it" rut. But that rut is dangerous. He will be 18 before long. LOTS of crimes like home invasion and theft and assault will end up with him charged as an adult even at 14 in some states and certainly by 17 in most. Heck, here in OK and in Tx and many southern states children who are 14 and 15 are regularly tried and imprisoned as ADULTS! Then they end up in ADULT prisons. You need to try to get your difficult child to realize this. You probably won't be able to, but it does happen.

    The medication wearing off may be causing some rebound. Sort of like all medication did suppress the behavior on a trampoline and when the medication is gone the behaviors come back really really hard. It is not an excuse for bad behavior to the extent he is using it and you are buying it.

    If the medications only last four, maybe four and a half hours, then his medication schedule needs to be adjusted to one dose at 7 am, one dose between 11 and 11:30 (class change around this time is a good opportunity) and then another does around 3:30 or 4. This will take away his bad behavior excuse at home. It is even more important to have him medicated at home than it is at school, in my opinion. At school if he gets out of hand there are people his size and bigger who can keep him from hurting anyone. At home you do not have all those people to help keep you safe. And his behavior could escalate to a dangerous level at any time.

    If you keep feeling like he si a "poor kid" then he will NEVER stop these behaviors. It isn't easy, but he must be held accountable. HE has to work to change his behavior. medications alone are NOT going to do this. medications are a TOOL to help him, nothing more.

    I have been in your rut, and thought the way you think. All it did was end up with a child who is extremely out of control. Call the doctor to get the medications changed, and then go to school to change when they give ti to him. Have it put in his IEP that he must have them between 11 and 11:30 and that someone is to go and get him to take the medications or else they are to take the medications to his class. Remembering the medication may take a while on his part, so the adults need to take that responsibility for a while.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    The severity of his childish behavior along with his older age makes me think you should take him to a neuropsychologist for a more intensive evaluation. in my humble opinion I doubt you are only dealing with ADHD issues. Could be Aspergers or bipolar or other stuff, but the ADHD medications aren't working and in my opinion it merits another very intensive evaluation. THings that are missed when kids are young are often caught as they get older. I doubt a change in ADHD medications will do the trick, but I'm just a layperson. If it was my kid, I'd want to see if anything else was going on and NeuroPsychs do 6-10 hours of very intensive testing. I trust them a lot. They really helped my son. Straterra offten makes mood-disordered kids even worse. in my opinion something is wrong with the entire picture. in my opinion they missed something important. You don't outgrow a neurological disorder or a mental illness. You just keep trying until you get the diagnosis. right and the correct treatment. In his case, perhaps he was misdiagnosed and the medications he's taking aren't the right ones. Could be lots of things going on. Having had mental illness as a child myself, well, you DO have choices, but some kids, like me, woud snowball so out of control that it ceased to become a choice. It wasn't a habit either. Once my treatment was right, the behavior disappeared. I'm not at all sure he can really control himself. At the very least, he is quite unhappy. Kids don't wake up every day thinking, "How can I make my parents miserable?" His text to you shows remorse. He is probably more unhappy that he acted up than you are that he did it. I remember feeling suicidal after rages and wondering why I was so crazy that I couldn't stop it from happening. I would promise it would never ever happen again (at least to myself), but, even as I promised myself this, I knew it WOULD happen again because I really didn't have total control of it. The idea that it can be totally controlled is why so many mentally ill people end up on drugs or in jail. There is the misconception that you can learn not to act mentally ill when you are. I only wish it were true. I wish I didn't need my medications. JMO
    Whatever you decide, good luck!
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2009
  10. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    susiestar, mwm, thanks so much for what you have written. This gives me a lot to think about in both directions. He had a thorough workup when he was about 7 years old at TX Children's Hospital by a multidisciplinary team. I took what their diagnosis was....but I never really believed it. Perhaps it's now time to delve deeper and employ a neuropsychologist to do more testing. I guess the thought of a medication wash makes me shudder....did that once before and it was a total nightmare for ALL of us.

    Thanks so much for your input.
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Sorry that you need a total medwash. We never had much luck with them. wiz usually became suicidal about 36 hours in. Then it was either a call to 911 or a frantic drive to the doctor's office. I would go ahead with testing on his regular medication. That is what our neuropsychologist did. The results were quite valid and the dev pediatrician's team worked with him to set up a program for difficult child.

    anyway, maybe if I left here it would make me worry much less and make you all safer.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2009
  12. graceupongrace

    graceupongrace New Member


    Sorry things are so difficult. But you're smart to try and get a handle on it now, because ADHD and adolescence do not make a good combination! One thing we noticed at that age is that difficult child was growing so rapidly he'd outgrow his dosages very quickly. And then there are all the hormonal changes. :faint:

    Have you tried Vyvanse? It's one of the newer stims, and it lasts about 10 hours with my difficult child. He also said he feels better on it than he did on Concerta.

    Another evaluation is probably a good idea, as the others said. Symptoms evolve over time and new ones emerge. And there's such a big difference between a 7-year-old and a teenager.

  13. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I agree with SS on this one. He's not trying to live on a dollar a day. He is not a street urchin picking through a festering garbage dump in hopes of finding scraps that can be resold for fractions of a cent.

    He is not supp;orting his family like so many kids his age. He is not living on corn porridge and beans and he is not walking miles to carry water.

    He has a dry roof over his head, a proper bed, clothing, good food and enough of it.

    In short, he's got the stuff an American or European kid does, as opposed to the stuff a kid from a developing nation has.

    I heark back to something a Nigerian immigrant said to me when I was in my late teens: "Your country has the richest poor people I've ever seen."
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If having privileges prevented mental illness, I wouldn't have bipolar. Nor would half my family as my father was a Pharmacist and we had plenty of money. Unfortunately, mental illness doesn't say, "You have nothing at all to be sad about so get over it." Your son in my opinion isn't acting like a brat who doesn't appreciate what he has, he is acting like there is something wrong with him.

    The town I grew up in housed the Govenor of Illinois at one time, Percy. Heck, a man who lived across the street from me owned his own BIG business. The man hung himself. He had schizophrenia and nobody knew it and everyone was shocked. Mental illness has nothing to with how many toys you have. There are people in Nigeria who are not mentally ill and people who live off the fat of the land who are sicker and more confused and dazed and unhappy than those who are fortunate enough to be able to make lemonade out of a slice of lemon. There is no correlation. It's like cancer...a disease. The only saving grace for your son is you can afford better care for him than if he had been born in Nigeria. But I take strong issue with the fact that he should be happy and get over it because he isn't poor and starving.

    This is like telling one who is clinically depressed to "snap out of it!" You want to, but you can't. And in my opinion it's apples and oranges and not fair. I would just stick to "He's sick and we need to make him better." Again JMO as one who struggled with mental illness as a child.
  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    i did not mean that she should tell her kid he has it good and needs to get over it.

    I DID mean that SHE needs to change HER perception of him from "poor thing" who will have such a hard time if he isn't living with his mommy to kid with challenges and mental illness who needs to be given tools to handle them and training to use those tools.

    Because he IS privileged in the eyes of most of the world. We ALL are. So she needs to think in terms of EMPOWERING him rather than coddling and poor thinging him. Let hiim face some challenges and step back to see how he handles them BEFORE someone steps in to "rescue" him or "fix" things.

    I will stand behind that no matter what.
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    On that I agree. However, some people always need help, even as adults. It's very individual. :D
  17. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Why does he throw away breakfast and what do you mean by 'makes him sick'?

    Does he just not want eggs and wants Pop Tarts instead? Does he think if his stomach is upset he will get to leave school?

    Figure out what it is that is causing him to kick the bathroom door. Is it because he needs to get in there at that very time you are in the shower? Can you agree on a schedule for bathroom usage in the morning?
  18. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    Well.....this thread did not go well. It's hard to show emotions or lack of emotions, or meanings, in a forum setting. By saying "poor thing", I was being facetious. AND he does dump is breakfast more often than not, but it's because he doesn't want it...not that it makes him sick. (The STRATTERA makes him sick if he doesn't take it with food.) He kicks the bathroom door while I shower.....not because he wants in, he's just being an ****. We have three bathrooms, so if he had to go there's plenty of room elsewhere.

    THIS is my new strategy that I will use until it's no longer is effective......every morning before school that he's disrespectful, HE will do the evening dishes alone. So far, after four days of school this past week, he did the dishes three days!!!!!! Wonder if he's learning anything yet?
  19. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Hang in there, wakeupcall. You do have some useful ideas so far.

    I get you on the "poor thing" angle - you were being a tad sarcastic.

    With the punishment angle, it does need to be immediate. If the doing dishes is working, ten great. But it may not work for morning disrepsect to be 'held over' to the evenintg. For afternoon disrespect - go for it.

    The other thing - t he word "disrespect". What you describe sounds likeabuse, but often we lump in verbal attitudes which superficially LOOK like what other people woulc call "disrespect" but it's actually not where it's coming from. difficult child 3 can get a bit panicky about things and sound disrespectful. If you think how a mother sounds when she sees her child running across the road in front of traffic - OK, it's a mother and she has good reason. Now hear that same tone and those same words coming form a child, directed to an adult. THAT is what you often get form an Aspie or autistic, and it is often NOT disrespect, but anxiety or panic. If you punish it as disrespect you actually make the problem worse by heightening the anxiety.
    They do know they shouldn't talk to you like that, but in a panic it's difficult to control. In the same way a mother would ALWAYS react the same what if her child runs out into the traffic time and time again.

    So it's important, if you can, to get into the head of the child and work out why. Once you know why, it's easier to work to help them control their own behaviour.

    We had problems with Strattera, it made the behaviour much worse. And also the problems of rebound - they can bleed over into the next morning.

    Then there is how he feels about himself and his own diagnosis. We wentto great pains to explain to the kids that they are who and what they are. Yes, they have something described as a disability, but every problem also brings its own gifts. ADHD may make it difficultfor them to focus on one thing, but they are also able to switch from one thing to another more readily and they often have minds that are like electric generators, sending out sparks of energy in all directions. Learning to harness tat energy and channel it, takes time and effort. Other things about ADHD (and also Asperger's and autism) - if there is something that really fascianted them, they can stay intensely focussed for longer, and to a deeper level. This is a gift to be encouraged and valued.

    By all means try to channel and control the unpleasant side of it all. But AT THE SAME TIME find something he does right, and praise him. Catch him out doing a good thing. It can be momentary - "You said that so nicely, that showed lovely manners. Well done!" And do NOT make reference to his previously good behaviour when he gets it wrong, because it makes it seem conditional and devalues the previous good stuff.
    So if he almost immediately follows you praise for genuine good behaviour with, "Who asked you, you old bat?"
    then you calmly reply with, "Nobody needs to ask me, I am your mother. If I am an old bat, what does that make you?" but do NOT refer to his previous politeness. That moment has passed.

    He is a child. He is a child with problems. He has great difficulty with self-control, with impulsivity, with anger, with frustration.
    You are an adult. You may have some problems with those things I listed, but nothing like on his scale. So YOU need to be the hero, and show him how you want him to behave. YOU set the pattern. By all means lock yourself in the bathroom when you're not coping. But don't shout at him, stay calm and quiet, and soon he should realise that shouting is not how you get people's attention. You can e ven get away with saying, "Why are you shouting at me? I don't shout at you. It is just not necessary."

    Read "Explosive Child" and try to use it. Also, I agree with the suggestion to re-evaluate. Cherck out the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) questionnaire on www.childbrain.com. Of course it's not officially diagnostic, but it could show you some of the things we are seeing in your description. And even if he scores as normal, print it out and take it to his appointments, it will perhaps give a broader overview of the range of issues that concern you.

    If he's doing the dishes for you because he accepts his disrespect is the cause - then I think you have won a big battle. And even if he doesn't get the connection - at least you are getting clean dishes andhe is also learnnig a valuable skill.

    As for what happens to him later in life - by the time he is of marriageable age, hopefully his behaviour will have improved. Certainly if you keep working on it.

    I never thought difficult child 1 would ever get married. True, his wife also has to be his carer to a certain extent. But he is now man enough to be HER carer, when she needs comforting or support.

    It can work out. But it takes a lot longer than for the average kid, we need to forget about how old they are and just work on making progress, however slow.

    Hang in there.