Moving over from Early Childhood Zone

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by shamrock1269, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. shamrock1269

    shamrock1269 New Member

    Below is my original post, and after advice from some of the more experienced posters', I'm re-posting here. Just to update the below, the daughter was returned home by the bio mother's boyfriend. When the boyfriend was questioned about what precisely had caused them to decide to "dump" the daughter, he told the story of her explosive and destructive temper. My fiance found it amusing, because this is what he deals with daily from the daughter. So, now, bio mother really will not have anything to do with daughter or her care and healing. I wonder how this will affect the child, as she knows that she was returned because she wasn't wanted.
    Fiance intends to call on a new therapist today, someone who specializes in behavioral disorders. I don't think we can go with him as the insurance won't cover this particular doctor. I am continuing to search for the right doctor. Anyone have anyone in the St Louis area that they can recommend?


    I am 37, mother to 2 daughters. I have recently become engaged to a man with 5 children. His oldest is out of the house. He has custody of the next two, and their mother has custody of the youngest two. The two that he has custody of, 12 yo boy, 11 yo girl, have some behavioral issues. They have both been diagnosed with ADHD. The older one has also been diagnosed with depression. They are not actively involved in any sort of therapy, however, they have a prescribing doctor who seems content to diagnosis on a one hour session, and prescribe new medications. The girl has just been diagnosed with ODD. She had already been on Abilify, and the dr just upped the dosage. During the summer, the girl is supposed to be with her mother, and mothers s/o. My fiance got a call today that they are bringing her home tonight because they can't handle her, and her tantrums and behavior. So, they refuse to have her for the rest of the summer. Clearly, the Abilify is not helping. I have the name of a recommended therapist who specializes in Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), and has quite a bit of experience with ODD. Because my fiance has been dealing with a dr that has no desire to actively engage with the children, he doesn't seem eager to start with a new therapist. I've been doing quite a bit of reading on the subject. It would appear that ODD and bipolar symptoms mimic each other.

    My plan would be to start with the new therapist, and adjust the medications as needed. She's a beautiful bright child who can be downright destructive, manipulative and mean. As she and I will now be part of each other's family, I think that it's important that we all understand her diagnosis, and adjust the family life as needed.

    Any advice, comment, or criticism would be much appreciated.

  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Welcome Shamrock!

    It sounds like a difficult situation. Has this child ever been evaluated by a neuropsychologist? There's seems to be a lot going on with her, and it would be good to have a solid diagnosis on which to build interventions (both medical and therapeutic).

    We don't recommend doctors or treatment facilities by name on this site, but anyone is free to PM (personal message) you with referrals in the St. Louis area.

    When you get a chance, I suggest you fill in your signature (see my example below) with your family's details so we don't ask you to repeat your story every time you post.

    Again, welcome.
  3. shamrock1269

    shamrock1269 New Member

    Well Small world....

    I'm not quite sure how to handle that signature request, as the young lady that I refer to is my future bonus child (step child). Perhaps you could come up with an abbreviation for that one! LOL!

    I'd sure appreciate it!

    To my knowledge, she has not been to a neuropsychologist. I'm told that she's been to quite a few different therapists, ending with the same results...."its just her, she'll grow out of it, there's nothing more I can do for her". Fiance is disenchanted with the mental health field, to say the least.

    I will indeed check out the websites that you recommend, thank you very much!

  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    You might want to refer to her as your stepGFG (or difficult child: stepdaughter). difficult child (gift from God) is the abbreviation we use around here that refers to our challenging child or the child who brought us to this site.
  5. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    Hello, first, kudo's to you for taking a pro-active role in getting these children the help they need. How sad that their bio mom doesn't have the desire to help them. You definately need a therapist that both you and the children are comfortable with. Has the school done a full evaluation on them? Do they have iep's? They both need a full psychiatric evaluation along with an educational and social evaluation. I started with my school district, my daughter has gotten most of her services through them. You said you have been doing a lot of reading on the subject, smart, you will need to educate yourself so you can understand what you are dealing with. It wont be easy, these children are tough to deal with. They are lucky to have you. You are in the right place, the people here are so kind and knowledgeable. I have gotten some much needed support from here, as well as some much needed direction and advise. Others will be along soon with their words of wisdom.

    Hang in there and God bless :)
  6. shamrock1269

    shamrock1269 New Member


    I know that the school district has a program that identifies children at risk. She is on a waiting list to get services from them. There's not much we can do to move that along. I agree completely that they need the evaluations. I feel as if the best thing to do is to just start from scratch.

    I'm fairly certain I agree with the ADHD/ODD diagnoses. From everything that I've read, she has symptoms that could be considered classic. So, that means that her father and I need to understand how to change the family's behavior so that it gives daughter an opportunity to succeed and finally get some positive attention.

    I do have another question....I was getting ready to do a google search on the home computer, and found that daughter had been searching porn sites. Does anyone know of a prevalence for sexual inappropriateness in kids with these diagnoses??? She's 11.
  7. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Hypersexuality can be a symptom of bipolar disorder. However, some kids at this age can become curious and explore on the internet. You might want to look into installing a software program to disable inappropriate sites on your home computers.

    ODD is generally a symptom of an underlying disorder rather than a diagnosis unto itself. When the underlying disorder (for example, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)) is identified and treated, the oppositional behaviors typically improve. The core symptoms of ADHD -- inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity -- are seen in many childhood disorders.
  8. shamrock1269

    shamrock1269 New Member

    I do agree that sexual curiosity at 11 is normal, however, given her other issues, I just wondered if this is associated with those. She is treated with ADHD medications and bipolar medications, and the bipolar medications simply are not helping.

    Sometimes, I wonder if I'm doing the right thing. My biological children have been through quite a bit with my divorce. I sometimes think that it's not healthy to expose them to the GFGBC's tantrums and rages, but they appear to handle it quite well.

    I love my fiance very much, and I commend him for all he's done thus far for his daughter. He always says that he shouldn't have to work this hard at being a good dad, and I always remind him that she has an illness, and that it's not his fault. I tell him that soon there'll be two of us, and hopefully we'll be better able to get daughter and fiance the help they need!
  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Hi! I just wanted to add another Welcome and let you know I admire anyone who is taking all this on- you seem to really care and she is lucky to be gaining you in her life.

    I second smallworld- I wouldn't be so sure about a diagnosis (diagnosis) just yet. I know we tend to lean toward what our own experiences have taught us and that's probably what I am doing when I say that anytime I hear "I think it is ADHD and ODD" or "depression and acting out", I jump to "Oh, don't rule out bipolar just yet and be careful with stims until you do".

    Shoot for a private evaluation by more qualified people if you can. It might be good to start writing as much as you can find out about her earlier childhood too, since it doesn't sound like bio-mom is going to be there to answer questions.

    Kudos to you again and welcome!!
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    G'day, Shamrock, good to see you over here too.

    And I think it's good news that biomother has handed the girl over to you guys - at least it means she will have more stability in her environment.

    If you can, get your partner to come here too, even if all he does is read the posts. You telling him will be good, but if he reads stuff for himself it will be even better. He might read something that "clicks" for him, but you telling him might not do it. Also, my husband does this and says it helps him understand what I'm feeling, even though we do talk together a lot. Sometimes I can put things more clearly in a post than in our conversation.

    With the waiting list for help from the school, would the mother's dumping of the girl push her up the waiting list a bit? Maybe give her a more urgent priority? Poor kid. What sort of message does that send her?

    Here's hoping you guys can now give her much more stability.

    And if BiPolar (BP) medications aren't working, I'd be looking at further assessment to see if the diagnosis is wrong. Some of her problem behaviours that might have been laid at a BiPolar (BP) door could just have been due to a confusing and disruptive environment.

    Or maybe there are other medications that WOULD work.

    Let us know how you get on.

  11. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Abilify is a bipolar medication, but it often can't work on its own. Neither can it undo the bad side effects of a stimulant. Atypical antipsychotics are frequently paired with a mood stabilizer (Depakote, Lithium, Lamictal, Trileptal, Tegretol) to treat bipolar disorder effectively.
  12. Christy

    Christy New Member

    I don't have advice that hasn't already been offered but I wanted to say welcome!

    Good luck with your situation and good for you for trying to help.
  13. shamrock1269

    shamrock1269 New Member

    Wow, you've all had some really good things to say. I'm still pushing for the new doctor. Fiance and I had a discussion last night, and as it turns out, when GFGBC daughter came home from bio mom's, she's off all medications. So, I realize that it takes a bit for everything to get out of her system, but I'm excited that it gives her a clean, unmedicated start with a new doctor. She had a couple episodes last night, but we were able to quell things pretty quickly.

    I wanted to comment on what you've all said regarding my decision to take this on. When Fiance and I started dating, he explained to me that his children were a bit "different". He kind of eased me into all the explanations. He most certainly didn't hide anything, and was up front. The first couple times that I met GFGBC daughter, I noted no behavioral problems, and really kind of thought that Fiance might be exaggerating. However, as GFGBC got more comfortable with me, it all came out. I guess I look at that in 2 ways...1) she feels comfortable enough with me to let go and 2) It's good that I understand the situation. I love Fiance, and his kids. My kids love Fiance and his kids. Therefore, it's not really a decision that needs to be made. We all want to be together, and we just have to make that feasible. It can't be impossible. And in the end, she's a child with a problem. She's not bad, but it's time for her to get armed with some ways to cope with her feelings.

    Geez, I hope that doesn't sound bad, just the way I feel!
  14. shamrock1269

    shamrock1269 New Member

    One thing that I forgot to mention in all this is that GFGBC daughter had her first period at 9. She's still quite irregular. I had and still have PMDS. It caused quite a few relationship problems within my family. GFGBC daughter lied to me at first and said that she hadn't had it yet, but we got past that after the time she tore her room apart and tossed pads all over the place. I think that she most definitely needs to have someone look into the hormone issue!
  15. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Shamrock, you sound like a wonderful advocate for this girl. I hope bio-mother stays out of the picture sufficiently to let you get some stability in the girl's life.

    Go for it.

  16. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Shamrock.
    You do sound like a good advocate for this girl. You are taking on a lot.
    Wish I had some sage advice, but you've gotten some great feedback here. Best of luck.
  17. shamrock1269

    shamrock1269 New Member

    Monday morning.....

    Had a good weekend. Took 7 kids to the zoo yesterday. GFGBC daughter made it through the zoo with minimal problems. She was quite upset that we didn't buy her a funnel cake, but, she got over it. We had the talk with all the kids before we went, as it's just not possible to buy 7 kids a souveneir.

    I noticed that daughter has most of her outbreaks in the morning after breakfast, and late afternoon. As I mentioned earlier, she's not medicated right now, and I truly don't notice much difference from when she was on the Abilify. Still working on getting her with the right therapist.

    On a much lighter note, altho it's sad for for GFGBC #2, we had a murderous cat rampage this weekend. Teddy, the outdoor cat, and mighty hunter, caught himself a chipmunk on Saturday morning, a bird on Saturday afternoon, and devoured GFGBC son's lizard on Saturday evening. I felt bad, and took him out immediately to replace the lizard....all the cat had left was the tail!!!!!