Need Help and Advice

I am new to posting to a forum of any kind but my husband and I are desperate for help and feel isolated when dealing with our 16 yr old difficult child daughter. She has disliked school since kindergarten. She is in 10th grade and doesn't care about grades or school. Just recently she was approved for an IEP. (She has had a 504 since 5th grade). Now that the IEP is in place she is refusing accomodations and therefore receives zeros when she won't cooperate. At school she tends to ignore requests from teachers to listen, cooperate, etc. She is defiant and has no problem telling her teachers she isn't going to do something. She won't study, if she does her homework she doesn't turn it in, she says everything is too hard, and blames everyone else for her poor grades. She is currently failing two classes and is borderline on another. She doesn't seem to care. Last summer I enrolled her in summer school to make up the credits she needed from classes she failed during 9th grade. (she failed one of three summer classes)
She is also very defiant at home. Her mood is mostly sullen or angry. She lies about almost everything - even the minor things that don't impact her. She has a boyfriend and her entire focus is on him. (he has ADHD and Mood Disorder and I think some sort of Conduct Disorder) While reading her cell phone texts we discovered that she and boyfriend were trying to get pregnant. She has very few GFs and was bullied in grade school by girls she thought were her friends. She doesn't belong to any groups, doesn't want to do any sports, doesn't want to study but wants unlimited priviledges. She blows up if she is told no. We restrict her activities, limit her computer and cell phone use as consequences for her behavior. None of this has changed her attitude. We have not allowed her to get her drivers license because of her poor grades. We have always been honest about the requirements to get her license - at least a C in each class. She thinks we are mean and tells us so. She talks about how she can't wait to be 18 so she doesn't have to take her medications or follow the rules. She sees her Dr. every 4 -6 wks and the therapist almost weekly. It seems like we never make any progress. She also has low self-esteem and doesn't care about her appearance too much. She has terrible hygiene (doesn't like using toilet paper, doesn't like to use soap) I have to tell her to take a shower, wash her hair, and brush her teeth. Current medications: Lamictl 100mg in evening and 50 mg XR in morning, Abilify 10mg, Wellbutrin 75mg, Vyvanse 50mg, and birth control.

My husband and I feel so isolated. Friends and family can't relate and don't understand. Most just say "make her" and think it will change things. I am so tired of the disapproving looks from teachers, family, and friends. I will be the first to admit that I am not the perfect parent and have made my share of parenting mistakes. My husband and I feel like we are being held hostage by difficult child at times.

Her diagnosis is: ADHD, ODD, Depression, Executive Function Deficit, and mood disorder. She was in psychiatric hospital for ten days during the summer after physically attacking me. The police were called and now she has a record of domestic violence. She has walked out (minor run away?) two times for at least an hour each time.
Any ideas??? Thoughts??? Sorry to go on and on, but I need to get out my frustrations.

me: 53, sad and depressed
husband: 50, sad and frustrated
easy child: 30, married and has own issues
Support: my faithful pets


Well-Known Member
Hi, and welcome.

Mind if we start with questions? It helps us get a little better feel of the situation - and different people are thinking about different things, so... different questions!

Her diagnosis is: ADHD, ODD, Depression, Executive Function Deficit, and mood disorder
Who did these dxes? and when?
What kinds of things did she strugle with early in school?

Generally - ODD is just a label, not a diagnosis. Sure, its in the "manual". But... there can be all sorts of other dxes that actually explain what is going on, far better than ODD. So, we'll just admit she has behavior issues... big question is, why?

Not unusual to have executive function deficits with ADHD.

Not unusual to end up with depression or anxiety - not sure what other "mood disorder" she would have... but notice the phrasing... so often, in kids with challenges, depression and/or anxiety are secondary dxes. They come about because of the real issues not being caught, or not getting the right interventions/accommodations/medications... plus the social issues that fall out of the challenges at school.

Where does that leave you? and her?
Well... that's where the history comes in...
Might give us some clues?


Welcome to our little corner of the world. So glad you found us but very sorry that you needed to. Insane asked some of the same questions I did but I do have some additional ones.

What kind of academic testing did they do? I ask because there could be hidden learning disabilities that, unless they are specifically tested for, can go unnoticed. In our case, difficult child 1 has huge reading comprehension issues that never showed up on standard "IEP" evaluations. It wasn't until I noticed this past year that something wasn't clicking so I asked the reading coordinator to do an in-depth assessment. SHE is the one that found all those issues.

What kind of accomodations is she supposed to get? Some that were agreed upon might actually not be helping her. Just a thought.

It could also be that she hasn't been getting the help she needs for so long that she feels "stupid" or she has given up trying. Personally, if I couldn't do something and instead of saying I can't I made other excuses or didn't know how to put it into the right words or didn't know why I couldn't do it when everyone else can AND people kept expecting me to do it AND got angry or punished me for not doing it, I might give up too. I'm not saying that's what's going on. Not at all. I'm just trying to throw alternate yet very real possibilities.

Like I said, I don't know what is going on but just from what you shared, those are some things that pop into my head. People with more experience than me will come along with other advice. Take what makes sense and leave the rest.


Well-Known Member
I wanted to add that, although she is not legal at sixteen, it is really hard to force a sixteen year old to do anything unless the child is responsive to losing privileges. I tried everything with our daughter, including completely cutting off money and car privileges and she still did drugs, which was her major problem. She even sneaked out of the house through her bedroom window. There comes an age when they have to WANT to do better or there is not a whole lot we can do except wait until they are eighteen when we have to face other possibilities.

Do you think your daughter is taking drugs? Is there anything she DOES respond to? Is the IEP helping her? Do you think her particular therapist is helping her?

I'm so sorry you had to find us, but I'm glad you did. We are here for you.


New Member
Welcome. I would second each and every post here.... What is so amazing about this board is you can look at the very same things you have looked at a million times and someone here might say something that sheds a whole new light on it for you... some things we say you will think, that doesn't seem right, then you can just pass on that (for the moment, sometimes it comes back to you though) and other things will be like a huge AH HA moment.

Little tiny things (not that it would change much).... does she swallow the medications in front of you? you are sure she is taking the bc? can you do a phone only, no texting? (or does the texting give you some insight?) My sister is adding a tracking and monitoring package (some cell companies have it but you can buy it separately too) so you can get not only the numbers from texts but it backs up everything so you can just keep track of every word. It is your phone, your kid, your right to monitor, especially with executive function disabilities.

Is there any chance, financially or otherwise, that she could be a candidate for a therapeutic boarding school? She sounds like she needs to get away from it all and to be in a place where the daily pressures (to her, her perspective here) are gone. She can start to develop personal responsibility etc. I agree with TeDo, at this point, she may have been so let down by the school system focusing on only behavior and not really providing intervention with a 504 plan, that she may have given up.

Kids who talk about getting pregnant etc. are often looking for an escape, they think they will create this fantasy mom, dad and baby life with a white picket fence. No ability to predict the reality of it as I know you know..... so maybe you can give her a better escape.

With those kinds of hygiene behaviors, at first I thought, well that will be secondary birth control! But with a difficult child boyfriend, he probably thinks that is sexy. uggg.

There will be more people coming, really great folks here, they have been my saviors this past few months so I hope you feel right at home here, as they say, a soft place to land. Hugs to you and hubby.... tell him to join in any time, there are a few other hubbies, dads, partners here....

luv, Dee


Well-Known Member
I am not 100% sure, but I think that at sixteen a teen can veto going to a therapeutic setting. I'm not sure about this, but seemed to me that they got to veto a lot of things way young. I could be wrong. Hope so.


New Member
I am not 100% sure, but I think that at sixteen a teen can veto going to a therapeutic setting. I'm not sure about this, but seemed to me that they got to veto a lot of things way young. I could be wrong. Hope so.

Q had to sign in when he went to the psychiatric hospital! lol.... but they said that until he was 16 he had to go if I said so. I said well what do you do then, if they say no...they said they put them on a hold, you run to the lawyer or court or whatever (the sw would help) and they get a judge to order it. You get medical custody then... have it for everything else, it all makes no sense...if something happened I am sure we would be held responsible right?


Shooting from the Hip
Around Ohio, if a child is not on probation he or she can refuse at age 14 and nothing the parents can do. We're still responsible for them, of course, but we can't MAKE them do ANYTHING.

We only "lucked out" because Onyxx got arrested AGAIN.

However, with the diagnosis's in place, you may be able to have a court order it. Then, she's stuck.

:hugs: and welcome! Your daughter sounds a LOT like mine. Differences, of course... But, yes, I'd like to know more, too.


Well-Known Member
well, I am not going to dwell on the diagnosis's because it is probably the symptoms that are driving you batty. Lets call her adolescent psychotic syndrome for now. hope she grows out of it.

I also wonder if she could have some hidden Learning Disability (LD)'s like she cant read well or didnt learn basic math skills which leave her behind her peers. A simple place to look. Another place to look is drug use if she has a boyfriend who is also a difficult child. You put two difficult child's together and that usually spells trouble. If she was my daughter, I think I would shrink her world down and I know how hard that is. I had to basically tie my youngest to me or his teen years. He was either with me, his dad or in group homes for most of his teen years or he was getting into trouble. It was that bad. He has grown up a bit now though. Thankfully, I never thought he would.
difficult child has had extensive testing with several specialists as well as the school district and no learning disabilities have been found. She believes she is dumb and therefore doesn't try very hard. Combine her attitude about school with the boyfriend and it is a disaster. Neither of them are living in the real world right now. boyfriend seems to be emotionally controlling and our difficult child feeds off of him. I understand part of this is normal teenage drama, but this goes way beyond that. They both apparently think having a baby will solve all of their problems and they will live happily ever after - with his Mom and StepD. Had a conversation with her therapist. She believes they are planning something for the first of the year. She can't tell me much because of confidentiality. difficult child also believes I am the enemy apparently. Says she doesn't trust me or husband. She won't talk to us and feels lying the the norm. We are worried that he has convinced her to smoke pot. She says no, but with all of the lies......


difficult child has had extensive testing with several specialists as well as the school district and no learning disabilities have been found. She believes she is dumb and therefore doesn't try very hard
Specialists and schools will seldom find what they are not looking for.
And there ARE disabilities that can totally derail a kid at school... and cause all sorts of secondary issues when the primary issues are not caught early and dealt with.

Your posts don't give any specific examples that I would tie to either of these dxes, but I want to throw them out there, in case it helps.

1) Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) - developmental coordination disorder. Kids with ADHD have a 50% chance of also having Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). This can affect gross motor skills, fine motor skills, or both. Some things, they can learn but it takes substantially more effort to learn, and often continues to take substantially more effort than peers to use these skills. Gross motor skills are socially damaging - if you can't keep up on the playground in the early years, you are left behind socially, often bullied, and its hard to catch up. Fine motor skills affect almost everything done at school - from writing to art to cutting paper to working with math "manipulatives"... its ALL geared to normal fine motor skills. It can also affect daily life - dressing, eating (coordinating knife-and-fork, for example), hygene, etc.

If she has had any motor skills issues AT ALL - even if you think she's past that - an Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation would be useful. There are motor-skills tests that are geared for teenagers. And OTs have therapies to help. The Occupational Therapist (OT) will not give a diagnosis, and it seems to be a challenge to get enough attention in the medical community to get a Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) diagnosis in lots of places - but even getting the Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation will help.

2) APDs - auditory processing disorders. These have to do with the way the brain processes sound, rather than with hearing itself. The classical form is usually more obvious - problems processing spoken language, which shows up as a spread between written skills (reading/writing) and verbal skills. However, there are other forms. One that is often missed, is auditory figure ground: the person hears fine, and processes language normally in a quiet setting, but has difficulty picking out the important sound(s) in the presence of background noise... for example, the teacher's voice in a classroom. And classrooms are VERY noisy, if you have any type of hearing or auditory processing issues! There is some correlation between Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) and ADHD (they can co-exist). There is also some mis-diagnosis between them... Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) is often mis-diagnosed as ADHD.

In both cases, the student will have been told for years that they are not trying, not paying attention, lazy, etc. - when in fact, it is not possible for them to do what is asked of them. This is very destructive to the student - and to their relationship with teachers - and eventually to their relationship with parents. Falling out of all of this is... behavior issues, anxiety, depression, and so on. In our experience, it is only very recently that SLPs and audiologists are even beginning to look into things like auditory figure ground. (its been around in the research for some time...)

I don't know what specialists she has seen... but I would seriously challenge these two areas of difficulty, as quickly as possible.