My difficult child

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Sunlighthealer, May 17, 2009.

  1. Sunlighthealer

    Sunlighthealer Stressed New Member

    Hi, I am new to the forums and thought I would introduce myself. I have 1 easy child, 8 years old. He is the oldest, loves computers, math and pokemon. Other than the regular things boys do, like drumming pencils on a desk. He is relatively easy. My difficult child is 6, with ADHD and ODD. The ODD is what everyone tends to notice. At home he tends to be defiant, argumentitive, and sometimes violent with his brother. He will walk up and slap easy child for no reason. And his answer is always the same. I didn't mean to. He refuses to admit that any of the things that happen are his fault, always his teachers/principals/brothers etc... We are at a point now where I can sit with him after we have calmed down, and go over exactly what happened, and get him to see what he did wrong, but that is only part of the time. Concequenses mean nothing for him. He doesn't relate them to what he did, only that we are mean for doing it. He was diagnosed by a pediatrician at 4, when he was having difficulty at his daycare. Things seemed to get better. He had some rough days, but nothing out of control. When he started Kindergarten, I was getting notes every week about the trouble he was having. The teachers were aware of his problems, and I thought they would do what he needed. Boy was I wrong. After 2 meetings, 1 of which was a group of 12 from the school, and 3 suspensions, I realized they weren't trying to do anything to help him. In fact kid in his class were telling him they weren't his friends and that he was dumb, and the teacher did nothing about it. I removed him from that school, hopeing a fresh start would help. He had 2 really good months, with just a couple little issues here and there, and then he had a major meltdown, that started as a 1 week suspension, and has turned into 3 as we wait for the ARP meeting he is required to have before he can go back. I am lucky to have a few friends with children who suffer from different disorders, and they suggesed an IEP, which I am going to discuss with his Principal next week. I have also found a therapist difficult child seems interested in meeting, and I am going to call to set up and appointment first thing Monday. I just really hope this helps.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there and thanks for posting. Sorry you had to do it though.

    How do you feel about your son's diagnoses? Do you feel the doctor nailed him correctly and that these are his only issues? Has he ever been formally evaluated by somebody like a neuropsychologist? How was his early development and how are his social skills with his same-age peers?

    Are there any psychiatric problems or substance abuse on either side of your son's family tree?

    Many of us here feel that ODD isn't a very useful diagnosis. A therapist is unlikely to be able to really help you or him until you get to the root of the problem--the true diagnosis (if he hasn't gotten it yet). The normal things that therapists want us to try, rarely work with our differently-wired kids (such as 1,2,3 magic or time outs or sticker charts etc). in my opinion it's best to start with the evaluation and go from there, rather than the other way around. Therapists are not good evaluators.

    Post more about him and we'll try to help.
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member


    I tried looking up ARP, the closest I could find (easily) was something about Accident Report Prevention.
    It really sounds to me like they are trying to set you up for a longer suspension than is appropriate (or probably legal). The trouble is, you haven't got an IEP in place or any notification to the school that this is a child with a diagnosed disability, so they can pretty much try it on like this.

    Some suggestions -

    1) Contact the school, in writing, asking for an IEP. INclude a copy of a certificate (if you have it) from the diagnosing/treating specialist, detailing the diagnosis.

    2) Do it today, ask for it to be treated as a matter of urgency. I would also make it clear that three weeks suspension is unacceptable, especially since difficult child's problem behaviours were all connected and aggravated by staff. You're not excusing him, but for a child that young, even a one week suspension is not sending the right message and won't achieve anything other than respite for the school.

    3) Make enquiries with support groups in your area, to determine what your legal rights are. Try to find an advocate who can support you in person at the school.

    4) Give serious consideration to getting him assessed in detail. Find out what your health insurance can cover, and also what you can access cheaply independently. Once you know what you're dealing with, it's easier to cope.

    5) A new policy to put in place, and have written into the IEP - a COmmunication Book. This can be formal or informal (I recommend keeping it relaxed in language, but friendly as much as possible). It's an exercise book which you label and cover, it travels in the child's schoolbag (and it is NEVER the child's responsibility to hand the book over to parent or teacher, the adult needs to get the book themselves and to make sure the book gets back into the bag). You write in the book anything you feel the teacher needs to know, such as "he had a rough night, he may be more obsessive than usual". The teacher writes in their responses. "He was fine this morning, but very difficult and perseverative when he came in after recess."
    This way you can observe patterns of behaviour as well as patterns of what happens in his environment. You may find, for example, that he's worse on certian days, worse in certain subjects, worse at certain times of the day (such as after play time). The immediacy of this information can greatly refuce the degree ond frequency of problems, for both home and school. You and the school become a team and the child (and everyone else) benefits.
    Some schools can be VERY resistant to doing this, but it is worth the effort.
    Failing that - YOU keep a detailed diary of observations and reported problems. Make sure you also write in any positive or interesting stuff too, or you can find it depressing. And there are always fun things. Even if it's just the fun stuff they say or do.

    I do feel the school are running scared right now (a raging child can be terrifying) but if they mishandle a child with a disability like this, they WILL provoke a crisis and need to recognise that they had a role in this and need to wear some of the responsibility.

  4. Sunlighthealer

    Sunlighthealer Stressed New Member

    ARP is Administrative Review Panel. Basically, my 6 yo will have to sit in front of a group of people from the district and tell them, on a microphone, what happened when he got suspended, as well as what he is going to do in the future to make sure it doesn't happen again and things like that. Of course, the longer the time in between the incident and this ARP, the less he is going to remember.

    I definitely think the Dr. who evaluated him what pretty accurate in her determination. It was a child psychologist thru Kaiser. He can get along well with children his age, but if he feels wronged by them in any way, he has been known to act out. Usually pushing and slapping is how he would handle these things, but that has been less recently.

    On my side, there is depression with both my mother and I, and mm also suffers from Anxiety, though recently I think I have been heading that way with all that has been going on. Unfortunately, due to my mother being adopted, we don't know anything about the rest of her side. husband was considered Severly Emotionally Disturbed as a child. Of course when we were children, less was known about mood disorders. He has told me any times that our difficult child is exactly the way he was when he was a child, yet it is much harder for him to accept and deal with the way difficult child is. I guess that is understandable, yet difficult for me at the same time. husband has also told me that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) tend to run in his family.

    I like the idea of the book that goes to and from school everyday. His teacher and I have always been good about contacting each other via email, but having the book is a great idea.

    The Psychologist I am going to be calling tomorrow specializes in these types of disorders, and uses Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, which I have read can be successful for ODD. I will be contacting the school about the IEP, and the length of his suspension/date till review panel. I agreed with the week, but definitely not the 3, and I was to see if there is anything the principal can possibly do to get it moved up. Maybe a note from the psychologist would help with this. But I feel that 3 week is only going to do more harm than good.

    Thank you for listening.
  5. graceupongrace

    graceupongrace New Member


    Just wanted to let you know you're wise to tackle this early on. My difficult child's problems started at about age 3. The then-pediatrician told us it was "just negative behavior" and not defiance. Everyone else (including then-husband and my father) told me difficult child just needed more discipline. (Never mind that I was strict; they just assumed that if there was a problem, it was my fault.) We could have saved everyone, including difficult child, a lot of grief had we addressed these issues sooner.

    Hugs and good luck!
  6. Sunlighthealer

    Sunlighthealer Stressed New Member

    Thanks for your kind words. I must say that is one of the things about my husband that I just can't understand. He has told me on numerous occasions that this is exactly how he was when he was younger and that is our difficult child can't control him, but then in the very next breath talks about how he doesn't understand why difficult child is acting this way. I have bought and read numerous books regarding these issues, but my husband just wants me to give him a general idea of what they say. He says they are too boring and he can't get into them. Umm Hello, it's not a novel. They are not supposed to be a fun read, but informative. I tell him he will have to read them himself, but he won't. He's willing to let me try anything to help difficult child, as long as he doesn't have to change anything about him, or his parenting style. Maybe when the Psychiatrist goes over things like that with us it will help.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Have you got your hands on "The Explosive Child" yet?

    I hear you about husband not wanting to read the books. Maybe it's a bloke thing, husband couldn't read "Explosive Child" either. And husband is really on side, very supportive, he just couldn't 'get ito' that book. So I summarised it for him, I wrote my own "book review" and also I discussed the book with husband and talked it over with him. This was actually very helpful for me because it really helped me get it straight in my head.

    Something else to consider - my husband first began lurking here, he would read all my posts and then we'd talk about them when he got home. Often my having put thoughts in writing would make it easier for him to 'get' what I had been trying to tell him, because what we write tends to be more condensed, more concentrated.

    Then I began having problems with this site (purely mechanical) and I asked husband to NOT lurk using my sign-in because it made it difficult for me to work out what posts I'd read and what ones I hadn't. So he now has a sig in his own right ("Marg's Man") and sometimes posts in his own right too.

    All this has boosted what we already had thought was pretty close to perfect communication. We've sorted out some big problems with the kids and communication at home is much more organised.

  8. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    Welcome! You have found an awesome place for encouragement, advice and just to come vent when you are having a hard time.
    My difficult child was diagnosed when he was about your difficult child's age. And they sound alot alike. I will tell you that we took him to a behavioral therapist and it helped alot with accountability issues. To this day, difficult child (now 11 yrs old) has issues accepting responsibility at times. It is an ongoing thing, but its not nearly as bad as it was in Kindergarden.
  9. Sunlighthealer

    Sunlighthealer Stressed New Member

    Thank you. The encouraging words are helpful!

    My husband tends to watch over my shoulder when I am typing my posts, which can be irriataing (I hate that being watched feeling), but I am glad that he is seeing what I am saying in writing. I am hopeing it will make things more real for him.

    I have not yet read "The Explosive Child", however I have noticed it mentioned quite a few times on this board as I have been reading different posts. I checked my local B&N and they have it in stock, so I plan to go pick up a copy on my way home from my meeting with the Psychologist. I will post when I get home and let you know how our meeting goes.