My difficult child jumped out of a moving car

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by dawnmyst, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. dawnmyst

    dawnmyst New Member

    Hello this is my second post. I wrote the post below that my son has oppositional defiant disorder except I called it operational defiant disorder by mistake in the post below.

    My difficult child was staying with his father for the weekend. I have been working with a program I found online ( which was very expensive by the way). I just started the program a week ago. Part of the program is laying out a set of rules and consequences to be carried out. the program states that it is best to lay out the rules with your child but if they won't cooperate tell them you will follow through and then follow through. I made a list of rules a week ago. My difficult child has broken several of the rules so I had his cell phone turned off and I removed a few items of clothing from his closet that I purchased.

    When I picked him up tongiht I thought that we could have a Civil conversation about the rules, etc. Well he told me to stop talking and I guess I should of but I was very calm and said that I thought it would be best if we did and he opened the car door and jumped out. Luckily I was going slowly since I just pulled out of my ex's driveway. I was scared though because my difficult child hit his back on the road when he jumped out.

    Then my difficult child walked back to his Dad's. I heard my son yelling profanitites about me and then he broke down and cried in my ex's arms but stopped when I walked in. My difficult child hates me and all I am trying to do is help him. He
    is in trouble with the law ( on probation), has been kicked off the basket ball team for disrespectfulness to the coach and is failing at school. He is very disrespectful to me and I am just so tired. I really am trying to do the best I can. My ex said he would drive him to school tomorrow morning. My difficult child goes to school in the town where I live which is 15 miles from his Dad's. I haven't seen my son cry in many many years so I am glad that he was able to let a few tears out but I am the enemy. My son really hates women and doens't have much respect for us.

    I could blame this partly on my ex since he put me down to our son when I left my marriage. That was 10 yrs. ago and my ex told me back then that my son would hate me some day.

    But I feel I have been making lots of mistakes. I have been trying to be the disciplinarian and his father hasn't been very much of one. Up until recently his father only saw him 4 days out of the month. Am I doing the right thing or am I being too hard. I just don't know anymore.

    The only good thing that came out of tonight was that my difficult child broke down and cried. That really shows that he has emotions and I was afraid he had none.

    I am so weary..I'm going to bed now....
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Dawn, I'm sorry for what happened today. It had to be scary for both you and your difficult child alike.

    This is JMHO, but I think I would hold off on disciplining whatever's going on out of him and instead focus on getting him a proper evaluation with his pediatrician (for substance abuse issues) and a child/adolescent psychiatrist (for emotional issues). Teens don't act like this without an underlying reason.

    If you don't know of a good adolescent psychiatrist in your area, call your local chapter of NAMI ( for resources. I hope you'll make that call first thing in the morning.

    Hugs for your hurting mommy heart.
  3. Jena

    Jena New Member


    Im sorry you sound so spent and tired. It can be so hard at times, I know especially when you work so very hard for them and they gravitate and appreciate the parent wtih which does pretty much nothing. I can totally appreciate that, i go thru the same all the time. What evaluations has he had also?? Maybe if he's not medicated right now, it may not be the best time to draw out the rules and regulations at least right now. When my difficult child's at her worst i can even begin to make any type of rules actually work.

    Is he medicated your son, I'm sorry I dont' remember from your last post. Also, is your ex husband supportive of your choices and rules with difficult child? Why do i feel like he is not?? Which if so may be leading difficult child to run to him.

    it's so hard when their older, between the disorder and the raging hormones its' hard. sending you alot of support tonight, and sleep well

  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Dawn, while jumping out of a moving car might seem like just an act of an angry kid trying to get back at you, is actually can be the sign of s very serious problem. I think you should get a professional involved as quickly as possible and tell them everything that has been happening. I'm not saying that to firghten you- you have my full support. It may turn out that it isn't that serious, but just to be on the safe side, please talk to a professional about these actions.
  5. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Welcome Dawn......
    I am so sorry that you are experiencing such upheaval with your son.
    Has he been diagnosis with any clinical diagnosis? Is he seeing a counselor? A psychiatrist?

    Rarely is a kid "ODD" without other co-morbid mental illnesses lurking.
    Do you think he is just acting out because of environmental issues, or do you see his moods and behavior are inconsistent with what his reality and environment have given him?
    We are here for here..........whatever the case may be.
    Just let us know how we can help.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. I'm so sorry about the scare.
    I don't believe your son hates you, I think he is crying out for help. ODD rarely stands by itself and if you can get him into see a teen psychiatrist (with the MD) I think it will help a lot more than discipline. He clearly won't or CAN'T listen and has psychiatric problems, maybe is even using drugs. My focus would be on getting him help, not trying to make him behave because obviously, again, he either can't or won't (I suspect a bit of both). You may want to schedule a neuropsychologist appointment too just to check for things that Psychiatrists could easily miss. You don't have many years to help this child. At 18, there is really nothing you can do. I hope you focus on his mental health and see what else is going on or if he is abusing drugs (when they say "it's just pot" beware that it's likely more. Same with "I'm just drinking). (((Hugs)))
  7. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I've thought about this for a while. My knee-jerk reaction is to say to enforce the rules and don't give in. But, you said you've always been the disciplinarian and that's not working. So, it's time to try something different, maybe.

    Is it possible for him to live with his dad for a while? Sometimes a change of environment is a really good thing. Just throwing some thoughts out....
  8. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You know, Heather said what I was thinking. You have been the disciplinarian for years. Dad has bee n the hero since he has seen them so infrequently. The discipline is not working for you is it?

    There are many behavior mod programs available for purchase. The problem with many of these programs is that they work for most "typical" kids but usually not our difficult children. The programs don't take into count the miriad of mental and/or emotional issues our children deal with every single day.

    Sounds to me, in my unprofessional opinion, that you and your son need a break and he needs to be screened by a psychiatrist that specializes in teenagers. Like MWM said, you don't have long left to make a difference in this boys life. Is there any way you can appeal to biodad and ask him to take difficult child for a couple weeks? I believe there will be benefit in that situation. It could show difficult child that you are not the enemy and monster he thinks you are. It also may give dad a clue into what is going on with his son. There is a huge difference between a weekend visit - with no school or scheduling obligations - and the day to day care of a child/teen. Let dad take the calls from school, deal with homework issues, assign some chores, etc. It could open up dad's eyes and get him behind you.

    The third benefit would be that you get a break and can regroup and rest up. Raising a child alone is tough, make that child a difficult child and it is really tough. I pretty much raise my easy child and difficult child alone. I get financial assistance from their dad, but pretty much nil in the way of physical or emotional support. It is draining to not have anyone to step in and share the load.

    While this is hopefully going on, you can focus on finding a doctor for your son. It is my gut feeling that there is more here than odd. It is a diagnosis that rarely stands alone and his behavior and issues, based on your two posts, make it sound like he is dealing with more.

  9. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Both of my difficult children have done this a few times. It's terrifying.

    You've rec'd a great deal of good advice from the ladies above; just wanted to pop in & welcome you, let you know I understand that feeling of terror.
  10. lillians

    lillians lillians

    rules eh??? i wonder if whomever lays out the rules has had anything more than paper experience,, when i lay out rules,,, i lay them out for me,,only me and try clever ways to implement ,,, rarely do they work any more than disciplines,, i get thru each day,, somtimes just. --its all to much for most husbands ,, they dont hear all that there is to say,, and mine holds wee grudges,,,i just sail along ,, making up what to do as it rolls thru,, works sometimes not all,, there are hard and fast ones that arent up for talks,, but those vorders get crossed to,, so just hang in there and read what all the folks here tell yu uses what works,,and go for long walks,,your child doesnt hate yu likely hates himself
  11. Penta

    Penta New Member

    My girl used top jump out of my car also when she was a young teen. It was terrifying to me and always the result of an angry outburst on her part. It was part of a downward spiral that led to intensive treatment for her at Residential Treatment Center (RTC). She is now 20 and a wonderfully mature young woman.

    I hope you can find help that your family needs at this time.
  12. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    A slightly different point of view ... you're in a tough spot with an ex who puts you down and undermines your attempts at discipline and your son has that figured out. It's easy for him to play you and your ex off against each other and either redirect your attention away from his behaviors or manage to bend the rules you've set.

    Since you have custody and live with your son's actions every day, you make the rules and set the consequences. The worst thing for the situation is for you to set rules and consequences and then not follow through due to your son's manipulation.

    I know it shakes you up to see an almost-grown son cry; my difficult child has done that in the recent past with very good effect. The fact that your son stopped when you came in, though, makes me think the tears were mostly for your ex's benefit. You may not agree, and I know the relief of seeing tears and thinking that difficult child has the capacity to feel emotional, but I'm throwing it out there. Time will tell.

    Throwing himself out of a slowly moving car is an impulsive act that the psychiatrist should know about, for sure. Impulsive acts with little thought of consequences can be seen in several clinical situations. I'm glad he wasn't hurt. At the same time, it was an action that clearly would have a strong effect on both you and your ex and divert attention from your discipline.

    My suggestion is to keep on with your program, be consistent and follow through, and expect more resistance from your son. He may try all sorts of things to distract you from the program. The only way it will work is to follow through. This may well take the support of a family counselor - do you have one? And ideally, the counselor could get your ex in to a session to get him on board or at least see the triangulation you're facing, and give you some feedback. I hope you can get the support you need, because you're doing the right thing.
  13. compassion

    compassion Member

    I agree with Katya. I have had very similar experience with the setting the limits. She also has cried for the first time in a long time. I have quite a few bipolar teen books and what is generally effective is very clear limits with a focua on their intersts in strenths. My gfgd also 15 has such poor impulse control, I have to be very strctured with her. I am on my 4th week of signed behavioral contracts with therapist and they are wrking-nt perfect but she needs stuff laid out. This is what will happen on what day at what time. I started this after psychiatrist wanyed her in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) on our last appointment. Nov.13. I parayed a lot and got back to put the choice in gfgdd's hands. She cried, she told me how much she hated me, she tried negogiating pets, tatoos, pericings,etc. I kept with the boundaries. She must go to AA, she must be more closely supervied on weekends when she was running away/partying. She is now more stabilized on medications. We had a rough weekend but all in all in is unbelivable. I am taling about in last 6 months her running away dozens of times, wrecked cars 3 times (that she stole from us), stole our credit cards and wracked up thousands of dollars (after we got safes!). After the last time, Nov. 15, she had signed a statement she would not run, she went to Mall with a girl not in partyt scene. She even checked in with us . My husband went to pick the girls up at the movu (she had even supposedly called us right before the movie)-she had taken off and her freind would not go. She came back 34 hours later. That is when therapist and I laid it out. She had 3 weeks to choose Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or home. It has not been easy but she has not run or used in this time. I am not very authortarian by nature but it is all that works with her. Not tradtuional consequences but very clear limits and strcture.
    For me, in this past month it became clear what an issue the substance abuse was and addressing that has helped a lot.
    The behavioral contract stops the hours of badgering, pestering.
    I choose my battles and it is almost a miracle she has not run. She has a delayed prosecution which means no trouble with law by first week in April.
  14. compassion

    compassion Member

    MY gfgd haS THEATENED THIS MANY TIMES. sHE HAS GRABBED THE STEERING WHEEL. I used to allow this to manipulate me. I bought her a puppy, percings thinking she felt so strongly. I nw think this is part of her bipolar. I was told that but was so anti-medications/tradtional medicine that was not open to going through tradtional medication/have her on medications until the crime spree /running away this summer. She never really started to get stabilized because I now realize she was partying so much. Compasson
  15. dawnmyst

    dawnmyst New Member

    Thank-you so much for all of your inputs. I really can't believe how supportive everyone is and I can tell that everyone of us has a different child and different experience, but one thing remains the same; we truly love our difficult child's very much and we will try absolutely anything to help our difficult child's become happy, stable and healthy. I am so surprised that many of you have experienced similar things. I was feeling so alone when it came to my difficult child.

    Today I talked to difficult child's probation officer and told him the story about my son jumping out of the moving car. He lined up a therapist to meet with my difficult child today. Unfortunately I couldn't go because of my work schedule but my ex took my son to probation and the therapist. The probation officer told my difficult child that if he pulls anymore stunts like this that he will have to go to the courts. MY son is now in a JV diversion program to avoid the courts for damaging property and breaking and entering.

    My ex still thinks that I am too hard on difficult child because I made a list of rules and I am enforcing consequences like cutting off the cell phone and removing clothing items. I honestly don't think I am that hard on him. I plan on sticking with the program. My ex said the therapist said that I had too many rules but they were rules that shouldn't have to be written out. My difficult child should understand that the rules are basic for behaving in the world like having respect, asking permission to go somewhere, no stealing, no drugs, do homework, etc. I must talk to the therapist because I don't trust my ex and everything he says.

    We will be going to family counseling starting this Thursday evening and I think this is a long time coming. ( it is mandated by Family Court ) My ex is very manipulative himself and he used to manipulate me tremendously but I worked with a therapist myself for years to get beyond that. I still slip up here and there though.

    Also my difficult child had to take a drug test at probation and he tested negative. I am not sure what type of drugs my son was tested for.

    I picked my son up tonight from his Dad's and he was talking about basketball and seemed pretty calm. Of course I didn't challenge him at all about doing homework, etc. I will be seeing a therapist for myself on Wed. and the group therapist on Thurs. so I am just laying low for a few days. Everything will be brought up again about the car incident on Thursday night.

    From all of your advice I've decided to stick with the program but lay low until I see the family therapist. He is going to continue to get tested for drugs at probation. The Holidays are coming and difficult child will be staying with his Dad for a couple of weeks.

    I agree that there may be something more going on besides ODD and I am going to try my best to find out what that is.

    Good night to all of you wonderful mommies out there and let your children be safe from harm. Sleep well and take care of yourselves because without you... our children would be lost in the wilderness of this crazy world...
  16. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Good luck!! I think you are doing the right things. It is a hard call to make- deciding when our kids are just being manipulative or when their behavior means there is something more serious, and a symptom of something they can't control, going on. I think in this case, it is important to note that jumping out of a moving car often indicates that there is more going on than defiance. I'm glad you are taking things slow to explore everything before "reacting".

    Let us know how it all goes!! We are here to support and help as much as possible!
  17. 627666

    627666 New Member

    It sounds like you have already turned in for the night, but maybe you will find some comfort in this post the next time you log on. I just want to welcome you to the site and as a newbie myself, encourage you to come back whenever you need a cyber hug. There are some very wise souls on this site who have offered me very kind, truthful advice. I hope you continue to find comfort in our words and our shared stories.

    I can tell you, we sent our 12 year old (ADHD/ODD) son to stay with his grandparents for a few weeks recently and it proved to be a smart move! My difficult child cannot stay with his bio-Dad (he lives full time with me and his step dad and our 6 year old daughter) because his Dad is married to someone who really has never shown an interest in our son. Long story! It got to the point at our home that we simply needed a break from the tension, the fighting, the sadness really, and I snapped one morning and told his Dad to come get him. Dad has been Disneyland Dad for along time now but he really stepped up, took our son to his parent's house, and we all ended up learning alot from the experience.

    First of all, just having the short term break gave us peace in our home once again. The peace allowed us to clear our heads and re-group. At about this same time, I found this site and started receiving wonderful advice from other parents who steered me in a better direction. While my son was away, I fired our old therapist who had led us down the wrong path, found out about "The Explosive Child" and received support for weaning my son off of his anti-depressant. Since I had time to think clearly, I found I had a whole new perspective with a wonderful new therapist and was emotionally ready to have my son come home again.

    I encourage you to stick by your plan of sending your son to his Dad's during the holidays. You need the break and it is good for him to bond with his Dad, even if Dad's house is not ideal for supporting the rules. I learned I had too many rules and expectations for my son and I needed to back off a bit. I had to give up temporarily and relinquish the control to someone else. You can do this while maintaining basic rules of respect in the home, even if he comes and goes bt your house and your ex's house. You stay consistent and let him know your rules, but just give him a few. Praise him for all the good things he is doing! I am learning these kids cannot get too much praise. They are desperate for it actually and their self esteem is often so low.

    The other piece of advice I have is to make sure you get a true Neuro psychiatric evaluation on your son. We thought we had done this in 06 but just recently found out it is not a true Neuro psychiatric evaluation and the doctor who did it is not truly qualified. In our state, the person conducting the test has to have spent a min of 2 years studying actual brain activity, disorders, functioning, etc. A true evaluation like this will look at the brain activity. So we have one scheduled in January. This will at least show your doctors what is going on in your son's brain.

    Anyways, I hope this helps a bit. Sleep tight and talk soon! ;)
  18. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm glad that you are finding some help, and sorry that your ex is an idiot. ;)

    Seriously - You have made a list of rules that won't harm anyone. My son, M, tried to get out of our car on a freeway at 65 mph, but he was only 4. He scared the bejeezus out of us and himself, thank goodness.

    It won't kill him to go without a phone for a few days or a week until you can get him to stop blackmailing you with outrageous behaviors. I know he is out of control, but I believe he is also very calculating in acting out. After all, he wouldn't jump out of a car if you were tossing money at him. This is just a bigger boy's version of a hissy fit. That being said, big boys shouldn't feel the need to have a hissy fit.

    I really don't think you can back down on this at this point. You have drawn a line in the sand, and he will need to understand that he went way too far. He can earn some things back, one by one. If you feel frightened that he may continue to act out if he doesn't get his goodies soon, you can make it easy. But, he should understand that it can be just as easy to lose them again, too.

    It's true. You don't have long to make a difference to him. M was gone when he was barely 16. I wish I had found this place before then. All that was left was the letting go and cleaning up by the time I came here.
  19. compassion

    compassion Member

    Dawn, I find written is ESSENTIAL.
    I also support getting evaluation. from adolscent psychiatric/neuropsychologist.
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I was told it is common for bipolar kids to try jumping out of a moving car. I was told it's a suicidal type gesture and to take it seriously and treat it that way.
    Any child who is using drugs, even if he screened negative once, in my opinion would be in danger if you weren't very strict with her. I had a drug abuser. They are very much risk takers--their very lives are at risk. I wouldn't even give him a cell phone. Who knows what kind of plans she's making and with whom? I wouldn't send her to a father who contradicts you unless you are so worn out you have to have the respite. He sounds like he doesn't "get" how serious her behaviors are and that she'd be free to engage in them at his place.
    Some therapists can be so dumb. I had one tell me I need to trust my daughter more and she'll live up to my expectations. Huh? I *had* trusted her! She lied to me while looking me straight in the eyes. She'd been on parole twice for drugs. She snuck out of her room and ran around town at night. She stole from us. We should trust me, per the therapist. She was pretty useless (the therapist). We ended up using our own common sense and continuing not to trust her, and she still got off drugs and changed her life around. Jeez.