My 8 year old is DIFFICULT and I am struggling and need support...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Firefly2, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. Firefly2

    Firefly2 New Member

    I am new to this site, and I am happy to make my first post! It is late, so I will get right to the point. We have anxiety/depression/Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) (and possible bipolar and ADHD) that run on both sides of our family. I myself have moderate depression/anxiety that isn't being managed very well at this point (just went off my medications because I didn't think they were working and plan to see my doctor this week for something new). I have 2 sons whom I love tremendously, age 8 and 2.

    My 8 year old was diagnosed by our family counselor in 1st grade with ADHD and dysthemia (we filled out tons of papers with a million questions, and his teacher had a form to fill out as well). He shows signs of anxiety (can make himself throw up when he worries) and he also was evaluated for Sensory Processing Disorder due to fears of loud noises, is sensitive to touch, and some other quirks. He has so many issues we are dealing with that I don't know where to start....the big ones are the ADHD, anger, defiance, arguing, and stubbornness. He leaves a mess everywhere he goes, loses things, breaks things because he is too rough with them, gets mad when he can't find his things....will argue constantly with me, is unhappy and very very very irritable, has mood swings every day, is very bossy and demanding with others, is mean to the dogs (if they look at him wrong he yells or will try to hit or kick them-has consequences but nothing lasts long), follows me around and wants me to help him with little things he can do for himself and if I don't help he gets angry, seems to have seperation anxiety with me, can be disrespectful to me and tell me things like "be quiet" and "you don't scare me", will push or grab his brother if he is mad, will hit or kick walls....there's more but that's a good chunk of it.

    He can be sweet, gentle, kind, very funny and loving (maybe 25% of the day?), and something will set him off and he is the opposite. It is like 2 different kids. He holds these things in at other people's houses and pretty much at school too(although the ADHD was becoming an issue in class)-I see all of it at home. My husband also sees it, but my son is able to turn it down a notch with him or something. We tried to work with him on behavior at home and didn't try medications until this past December. His first medication was wellbutrin, which made the temper tantrums and anger worse, so he went off of that. Prozac made him HYPER and extremely silly and he had trouble sleeping (and the Prozac took effect overnight with the very first pill). He tried Adderall and Intuniv-both weren't working either. Tried Depakote and it didn't do too much for him. He is currently on a low dose of vyvanse, and just started a low dose of Zoloft. His mood swings are MUCH better-and he seems happier and not bouncing off the walls. But, it seems like he has lost some of his personality-he is very quiet and doesn't really want to play as much with his friends....but it varies throughout the day. he is seeing a psychiatric nurse practitioner for the medications, and we haven't done counseling since last winter, so I have an appointment to start therapy again in august.

    My 2 year old shows a lot of the behaviors that my 8 year old had at that age (crying, tantrums, anger, fears)....all stuff I thought he would outgrow. :) I am overwhelmed, and completely exhausted. I feel like I am failing and have a lot of guilt-I realize he has real issues, but I have to take the blame for at least some of it. I feel like I fall short as a mother, and I TRY SO HARD and love them so much. With all the issues we are dealing with, I don't know where to start. Thanks everyone.
    Lasted edited by : Jul 22, 2013
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Firefly2! I'm on the run to get ready for work, but edited your post to put a few paragraph breaks so it is easier to read! I'm sure others will be along soon - glad you found us!

  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there and welcome to the board :) although very sorry you have to be here.

    in my opinion you should probably have a neuropsychologist test him because a counselor isn't really qualified to do so. It sounds like more than ADHD to me and my motto is "better to be safe than sorry." Without the right label, you won't get his particular type of help in school. Many disorders make kids seem very hyperactive. Two other ones are childhood mood disorders and autistic spectrum disorder, high functioning. If he has either of them, the medications he was given would make him worse, not better. My son took both and Prozac made him literally NUTS a nd Adderrall made him mean and aggressive. My son's very first diagnosis was ADHD/ODD, but it wasn't. My son has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified, a form of atypical autism and he's doing really well with interventions and is medication free.

    Can you give us a little more background info so we can maybe give you a bit more help and support? Tell us about his infancy and toddlerhood. Any delays? Anything unusual? Did he have any chaos and perhaps many caregivers in his early years? Was there any abuse or violence going on around him? Anything mentally or neurologically in his father's family tree? Even if he doesn't know his father, he carries 50% of his DNA. So, in a sense, he is still there. Any delays? Strange quirks (throat noises, constant tapping, rocking, repeating)? Any obsessions? How does he get along with his same age peers? Is he APPROPRIATELY social or does he want to have friends but doesn't know how? There is help for this (social skills classes). Or does he hang out alone and not care? Does he display violence toward people and animals? Does he pee or poop in unusual places? Any interest in fire?

    Whew. I know that's a lot. The more you give us, the better we can attempt to help, remembering we are laypeople. Our differently wired children are difficult to parent and don't usually respond to typical parenting methods. We each have to find our own methods that work. Time-outs, spankings, taking away toys or privileges often ramp our kids up and rarely teach them not to repeat the behavior. For my particular son, redirection and positivity in parenting did the best job, but by no means stopped his behaviors. He had to get interventions for his disorder to improve, and improve he did!!!!

    Glad to "meet" you and your children. You may want to test the younger one too because "things" (whatever they are) tend to run in families and the earlier you get help, the better the prognosis.
  4. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Hi, welcome. Two books that really helped me were "the explosive child" and "the bipolar child". The first really helped me to not try and tackle everything at once. The second has a great chart in it for tracking moods, sleep, energy level, medications, ect... All on one chart. And it seemed to describe my son at that age. He also had mood swings, seperation anxiety, very clingy. Taking your son to a neuropysch to rule out things like bipolar or autism would be good. Some of the medications can make bipolar worse.

    Just so you know he won't be able to hold it together much longer in school. The work load increases and the social expectations increase so that by 4th grade kids that could hold it together before sometimes can't anymore. If he doesn't have one already you might want to get started on getting him an IEP. The teachers all think I'm crazy at first when I insist on a behavor plan for difficult child 1, but by the end of the school year they are glad to have it.
  5. Firefly2

    Firefly2 New Member

    Ok guys-having major internet issues (well-I think its a router problem). I typed a well thought out reply, and couldn't send it because I had no internet connection! Will try again w hen I can. Thank you all-I am so relieved to have you. ;)
  6. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

  7. Firefly2

    Firefly2 New Member

    Ok-internet/router working for now! Yay! No developmental delays, no family "issues" like violence or divorce or substance abuse or anything like that....there is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and anxiety on dad's side (dad himself seems to have depression but doesn't really want to acknowledge it. He is a great father/husband though!) My son was born emergency c-section with cord around neck and was hospitalized for jaundice for 3 or 4 days. He didn't seem to have any lasting effects due to that.
    I have stayed home with my kids, except when he was 3 and 4 when I taught preschool. He came with me some days-NOT GOOD. He wanted my attention, generally was not happy and was irritable, angry, and clingy and the parents complained about his behavior. I quit after 2 years. Also-he potty trained a little late-after 3. He would poop in his pants until he was almost 4, and it mostly happened at preschool. Maybe he was trying 2 get my attention-not exactly sure because he wouldn't tell me why he did it. He doesn't go to the bathroom in strange places now, but when he was 4, 5, and 6 he chose to pee in the litter box, garbage can sometimes, and once in his friend's bedroom. He did it because he said peeing in the toilet was boring-lol. I do remember as a baby/toddler our lives revolved around his sleep/food schedule-seriously. If he didn't get his nap or it was shortened-his behavior was terrible. Same for eating. We fed him before we went out to dinner, because if he was even slightly hungry and we had to wait for food, he would have a meltdown and we would have to leave the restaurant. This is probably typical kid stuff. To this day we have to watch what and when he eats, and while his friends stay outside playing til the sun goes down, he has to be in bed no later than 8:30 or we will have major issues the next day because he will not sleep in.
    He doesn't really have any strange quirks....he is just generally a sweet, sensitive, loving kid OR mean, crabby, stubborn and defiant. Socially (before medications) he was starting to alienate his friends and they didn't come over because he was so mean and nasty to them. He was so crabby they stayed away! he is also a my way or the highway kind of kid, so that causes trouble. As far as violence-he never preplans to hurt anyone. He hits/kicks/grabs when his 2 year old brother hits him or bothers him, or if the dogs are in his way or bother him. He had extreme separation anxiety when younger, but still has some of it. He cried and threw up once when a babysitter came over. She had to leave and we stayed home. I have many examples of him getting worried, worked up and getting sick. He won't go to vacation bible school unless I am there with him (although in the past he would go if I stayed the first 20 mins or so to get him used to it). He got invited to the movies with his friend the other day, and would not go. He said he only goes to the movies with his family. :) He is very sensitive to touch-he can cry over a hangnail. The defiance is very tiring-he pretty much says no or refuses to do anything I say-and I don't bark out orders all day long either! He is very shy, and won't look people in the eye (he does to us and friends/family though). He often comes across as rude to strangers because he will turn away and ignore them, or look at me and ask if we can go home.
    So much happens every day with him, that I don't know where to start. Do I focus on one thing, or all of it? I really try to enjoy the good times (and if I am exhausted, I put a smile on my face anyway), but it is so hard because I am so stressed out! On my end: I am not consistent with discipline, and I am hard on myself. I count to 3 when he doesn't listen, and he almost always listens before 3, but I can count 25 times before lunch some days! That isn't right. I realize I need to change some things, I just don't know where to begin. I send him to his room for hitting and being disrespectful, but it isn't working. Of all the things I have tried, the only thing that had any impact (and it was small), was when I took away his favorite toys for a month. If he hit his brother, his DSi was gone for a month. If he didn't listen, I took away his scooter for a month. But, in the end, it just made him madder. His 2 year old brother is showing anger/aggression and he is getting away with too much because I am focusing so much attention on his older brother.
    Ok-that is enough for now. I don't know how to make anything short. Sorry! Thank you all.
  8. Firefly2

    Firefly2 New Member

    Thank you for the book ideas-I have heard of "the explosive child". I agree about husband and my family don't really see my views on the school thing....I am the one that checks his papers every day and is in contact with his teacher and helps with homework. He gets by because he is bright. Plain and simple. But his teachers have given him a lot of support. They had to read directions to him more than once on papers, and give him extra help. It wasn't that he couldn't do the work, he just didn't know where/how to start and would then just rush through it and get it wrong. Any paper with more than one direction (like underline the verb and circle the noun) he just couldn't do because he couldn't make sense of the directions. So-I plan to talk to his 3rd grade teacher before school starts and I hope and pray she is supportive and will communicate well with me. And I hope she is strict! I hope the Vyvanse helps him this year-we will find out.
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You might want to start the process of getting a formal IEP going, before school gets much harder. Obviously, he needs some accommodations.
  10. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    The constant prompting is really tiring. Essentially, you are his executive function for his brain. Changing how you parent isn't going to stop his needing to be reminded constantly what he is supposed to do. If the counting works and isn't causing anger then that is great. What might work to wean him from you reminding him is to teach him to use a written/picture schedule. With the level of need you are describing though teaching him this could take awhile. My difficult child 2 is currently being taught this and it is taking a few years. Getting time for yourself helps with enduring the constant prompting. Oh, I really need to take my own advice on that.