Its not him, its us.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by allie80, Jul 7, 2008.

  1. allie80

    allie80 New Member

    It sounds like we are breaking up, LOL.
    So, just some quick background, difficult child is 3.5. He has all the signs of ODD and I am at my wits end.
    We have seen a therapist twice but he has not an official evaluation. I am pretty sure the therapist (Miss B) thinks he is a product of our opposite parenting. Which, he very well may be and probably is but in the meantime, he is still driving me mad! But, the more I talk in the sessions, the more she is trying to figure out ways to help me when I need ways to help him, if that makes any sense. She is interested in how we (husband and I) interact with one another and thinks he might be feeding off our negative energy when we argue or just feel disconnected because of our schedules (he works 2nd shift, I work mornings).
    We see her again on Thursday and I think I am just going to come right out and ask if he is getting an actual evaluation.
    She did make a comment that most kids are evaluation'd for ODD/ADHD etc, around age 4 or 5 and right now they are still learning, etc. We had an "intake?"
    In the meantime, difficult child is becoming more high maintenance with each passing day. I noticed that he acts up when I am not specifically paying attention to him (like making dinner, doing laundry, uhh pretty much ANYTHING). We visited my sister and he was all over the place. I was trying to have a conversation while all the kids played and there was just no way. I had to play a game with him and keep eye contact with him. It gets hard with the three kids and I cannot and refuse to ignore my daughters because he is throwing a fit or just being a nudge!

    I know it starts with us and I firmly believe we need a solid foundation of family to build anything on it but right now I have a very demanding three year old and I am only one person! That equals insanity if you ask me! I still have no idea what I am dealing with and it makes me want to scream!
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    HI and welcome. I have a few questions and a comment. First of all, I don't feel your therapist is being helpful. I don't believe it's your parenting; I think it's your child, who is probably wired differently. You have three kids. Are all of them like him?
    Ok, now for the questions:
    1/ What type of professional are you seeing?
    2/ How was your son's early development? Any speech delays, dislike of cuddling, poor eye contact, motor skill problems? Is he overly precocious and perhaps obsessed with one topic, like dinosaurs? Does he have a good imagination? Does he play appropriately with his toys? Can he interact normally with peers? Does he have any aversions to textures, food, loud noise?

    3/ Any psychiatric problems or substance abuse on either side of the family tree? Any autism/Aspergers?

    4/Have you considered getting him a complete evaluation? I highly favor NeuroPsychs. The therapist you are seeing is NOT evaluating him. Also, when a child is evaluated it is not helplful to limit an evaluation to ADHD or ODD. There are many disorders out there, so why limit the testing? Also ODD rarely stands alone. And, yes, certain diagnosis. can be found at age three. Other kids are unclear and the diagnosis evolves with time.
    I think, besides a neuropsychologist evaluation, which can take months to get into, there are a few things you can do. First buy "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. Many of us survive by it, at least until we find out what is wrong. I would also see a different therapist--one focused on how to help your child, not how to tear apart your parenting. While you and hub may be opposites, that rarely causes just one out of three children to be disturbed and in my opinion the therapist is not being helpful. Also, if there are any delays, even social delays, your school district has to help you. There are great early education programs for very young children. They really help with the final outcome of the child.
    Good luck and others will come along.
  3. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Push for as much evaluation as you can get-both privately and through public sources. To some degree, getting help on the behavioral issues when there's no clue as to what is going on in the neurological sense is sorta like having a doctor treat a patient without doing a medical exam.

    Having said that, there are often things we can do to adjust our lives and our interactions with our child that can help. We push The Explosive Child for that reason. I think examining if tension in the home could be contributing--not isolated--factor in revving him up isn't a bad thing. Keep a journal and you may be able to start seeing some patterns. The one thing that you don't want to happen is for a therapist to start blaming everything on parents. Also, be cautioned that you can get so wrapped up in the behavioral aspects that it stalls the search for answers.

    One of the hardest transitions for families to make is the transition from doing normal family things to start having to make adjustments in schedules, activities, routines due to difficult child. Not only does this go for the parent, but it does hold true for the siblings as well because there indeed are times when they will be ignored, get less attention, not get to do something, not get to go somewhere, etc. That is life for sibs of a child with special needs and it's a tough balancing act. At our house we make concessions where we can but also try to make ways around barriers. For instance, on the everyday home front I don't get too out of chores. from difficult child so I don't push the others because it's one area that I don't want to highlight the inequity. But on the other hand, difficult child was too anxious to take a short family trip that would have involved flying and missing school so I stayed home and took him camping with our church group while my husband took the other kids on the trip. I grew up in a home with a brother whose needs were different and while I wasn't always real keen on it while it was happening, I think it added to the person I am.
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Allie, you said "I know it starts with us..."

    It doesn't, not always. It starts with the child. He existed. He was born. Then he was handed to you. That is when he met you face to face. THEN you came into his picture.

    OK, that's a bit simplistic. But I'm with MWM, I'd be looking beyond merely ADHD (and ODD shouldn't be even getting a mention just yet - too many other considerations). And I HATE it when therapists always assume it's ALL parenting (or even SOME parenting) especially when they aren't being specific and explaining exactly WHERE you could lift your game.

    And it's not always therapists & doctors who blame parenting. difficult child 3 had been identified as having language delay; we already knew we had one son with ADHD (difficult child 1's diagnosis at the time); we also knew that difficult child 3 was a prodigy in other ways; and he had begun pre-school with the increasing realisation that there was something really wrong. And yet, very soon after difficult child 3 had been provisionally diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (later changed to autism) another mother, a close friend and close neighbour who herself had a profoundly disabled child, expressed surprise and disbelief at difficult child 3's diagnosis. "He's not autistic," she said. "He's just a naughty, spoiled child."

    You need to thicken your hide. However, you also need to be able to at least consider what they tell you, because there is always the chance that there IS something you could change, in your parenting, that could help improve matters.

    In some cases I feel that yes, environmental factors can really cause problems in a child's behaviours. But often, there is an underlying problem which is there in the child. In a number of cases, this underlying problem may get worse with some types of parenting style. You may have other children who flourished under your type of parenting, but then along comes one child for whom this is a disaster.
    That doesn't mean that your parenting style caused the problem. But it DOES mean that by changing your style, you can IMPROVE the problem.

    It really depends on a number of factors. A really important part of the process, is to really look at your child. Try to get into his head - what makes him tick? What does he like? What does he hate? What drives him? Then observe his interactions with others, including his interactions with you. Can you identify what triggers his explosions or episodes of bad behaviour? If you can, then can you determine a point at which you can prevent these problems? Are there early warning signs you can learn to spot, which you can use to help change the future?

    This means changing parenting style for one child. It doesn't seem fair. But sometimes you can adapt the new style for the other kids too, and find it works.

    We keep pushing 'The Explosive Child" because it has done so well for so many of us. Not everybody sees the same degree of success, but I would say the majority of us do.

    It's not a cure. And that fact in itself should make it clear that for the vast majority of difficult children, parenting was NEVER the cause. But changing to this and finding improvement - it's a blessing for so many of us.

    To get a sneak preview of the book, have a look at the posts at the top of this particular forum. They discuss how to apply the book to younger children. Then see if your husband can read up on it too, see how he goes with trying to understand it. Talk it over with him, kick ideas around, ten see if by this time you're noticing any changes in ANY of your children. I know it sounds weird, but I saw improvements in difficult child 3 before I had even made any changes (I thought) to my parenting style. Simply reading the book changed me enough to begin the modifications to my parenting.

  5. allie80

    allie80 New Member

    I just bought The Explosive Child last night. I am anxious to read it!