New and Afraid

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Transparent, Dec 14, 2008.

  1. Transparent

    Transparent New Member

    First of all, "hello". I've been researching the web late nights for the last month, trying to find answers. I'm exhausted now as I type, so please forgive me any misspellings - I get the feeling however that most here are tired most of the time as well. You have my heartfelt sympathies. I just couldn't go to bed tonight without starting in by telling you all how thankful I am to have found such a landing spot with such a plethora of information and most importantly - moms like me! What a Godsend.

    My story is long but I will try to keep it as brief and to the point as possible.

    I met my husband 4 years ago - he was a widower, single dad of a darling 6 year old boy. I myself was divorced and had an (at the time) 9 year old DS. The boys got along great - as did my husband and I.

    It took all of 2 weeks for me to see that something about my future SS wasn't quite right. I explained it away to the death of his mother and moved on. However, the behavior never changed, even with lectures and disciplines such as removing games from his room and grounding him from going outside. His behavior extremes were up and down and at times off the scale, in my opinion - saying things to my DS like "I'm going to kill you so that you can go to hell and burn with the devil". When he's 6? He used his mother's death as an excuse, alibi and tool to get what he wanted and he still does with those that let him get away with it. How does one learn such an extreme form of manipulation at such a young age?

    I expressed a deep concern at the time to my husband that I felt my DSS needed therapy. We enrolled him with a counselor who felt that his behavior was related to the death of his mother and being moved out of his familiar community and in with a new family. They figured he just needed time to adjust. Life went on and so did the behaviors. He's still a chronic bed wetter with no medical reason for it.

    He's one that always has to be "first". First to turn in his homework, first to finish a test, first in line for lunch, recess, bathroom, etc. And if he's not first, he will shove other children out of the way to get there. In one instance during a fire drill, the teacher instructed the last child in the line to close the door on the way out of the room. Disappointed and angry at being first now instead of this "special" child at the end of the line, he dropped back. Once everyone was out of the room, he closed and locked the door and bullied the other child who was supposed to have closed the door. He was later caught by a teacher making a "final sweep" of the halls. When asked "what if there had been a real fire and you or this other child had been killed" - he showed no remorse, only saying "I don't know" and shrugging his shoulders. :sad-very:

    I've talked extensively to no avail. The child that used to roll his eyes at me when I tried to reason with him now only looks at me with dark cold eyes and it's as if he looks right through me - not to see me from the inside - but as if I'm not even there. He hears me, but he doesn't listen to me. He treats my husband the same way. I've tried for four years to get close to my DSS but he won't let me.

    He refers to our daughter, his half sister as "the little girl that lives in my house". He never interacts with her, never intervenes - even when she does something that could harm herself (climbing up to the Christmas tree, trying to climb the bookcases) he just sits and watches. Otherwise, he acts as if she doesn't exist. He argues and fights with my DS over the smallest of things. Not just your typical sibling rivalry/banter - but he seems to instigate just to feed off of it. He aims knives at my DS and has threatened more than once to "stab" him. After being lectured over the dangers of threats, even empty ones, he goes to school and threatens to stab one student and then tells another he will "go get a gun and come back and shoot" another.

    He then spent time as a patient in the hospital where they tried to teach him anger management and prescribed celexa 10mg once a day for depression. This was over the Thanksgiving holiday. 10 days later he's threatening to shoot another kid at school (a girl this time) and he hit another girl in the head. He's back in the hospital.

    Last week I found a book online that I see is mentioned here - "Before It's Too Late". It should be arriving at the first of the week. I just can't seem to get enough information. He's only been diagnosed with depression but my gut tells me there's more. This child shows no remorse - only that he gets caught. When asked if he feels bad for the children he threatened at school his answer is "no". "They aggravate me on a daily basis". Nothing is ever his fault - ever. He's even compared himself to God. He says he does nothing wrong. He makes straight A's in school most of the time. When his grade falls below an A he has outbursts "I'm ___ and I don't make bad grades, I don't make below an A because I'm ___ and I'm better than this!!" His latest B was my fault because I told him that school wasn't always going to seem so easy - that he would have to work a bit harder to keep his A's. I "made him nervous and forced his B grade". *sigh*

    I'm stumped. I don't know what to do next. He's going to be coming home in a few days and I hope things won't go back the way they were. I'm hopeful of course, but guarded and also realistic. Deep down I don't believe his behavior is going to be changing any time soon. I just don't want it to get any worse! I'm afraid his hospital stays are for nothing - except the attention he seems to crave. He didn't even get to see his counselor before he had to go back to the hospital! The hospital can't believe he doesn't have a juvenile officer and I can't believe the school lets him continue to attend classes.

    Thank you if you even read half of all of that. Unfortunately, it doesn't even touch the surface - just gives an idea and highlights some strong points.

    God help us.
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Welcome. I'm glad you found us, but sorry you needed to.

    I'm glad your difficult child is in the hospital getting the help he so obviously needs. What are the docs saying about diagnosis? Have they done any psychological testing while he's inpatient? What are they doing about his medications?

    My gut tells me that one of the most important things you can press the hospital for before your difficult child returns home is a discharge plan that sets him up for supports in the community -- therapy, crisis intervention, respite, in-home services. Your family needs a lot of help to manage this situation.

    I'm also wondering whether your difficult child has an IEP at school. What is the school doing to handle his behaviors and keep other students safe?

    Again, welcome. Weekends tend to be slow around here, but others will be along to offer their ideas and support.
  3. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Hello and welcome. I agree with smallworld.
    There should be a plan in place at discharge.
    What should your family do in the event of violence or threats of violence. What to do when he hits?
    How to keep the baby safe? Who to call when difficult child escalates?
    How to prevent escalation?

    Big question though is how involved is husband with son's behavior and behavior plan?

    This boy is your son and he is going to present a lot of challenges. The best you can do is read, research, keep everyone safe and try to find ways to show him you love him and it's his behavior that makes people not want to be around him.
    Backing off the role as chief disciplinarian and allowing dad to take the lead may be a way for you to attend more to the two other children for a while. We all wish it was a one pill, one hospitalization type treatment but rechanneling and retraining thinking processes takes a long time. Fortunately, he is still young and you can still work with him.

    Good luck.
  4. ML

    ML Guest

    Welcome Transp. I'm glad you found us, this truly is a soft place to land (I just love that saying). I agree that depression is a weak diagnosis to explain what you described. The good news is that he is where he needs to be right now and hopefully receiving some necessary testing to get to the root of what is going on. Those ad's can make so many things worse. I believe they have their place but shouldn't always be the first thing they throw at us either.

    My ds is also 10 and has spectrum issues with anxiety being the most predominant symptom.

    Again, welcome and I look forward to getting to know you better.

  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. I have a few questions that will help us help you. Since he is still young, I would definitely want this kid evaluated by a neuropsychologist. This testing is different and more intensive that even in a psychiatric hospital (I've been in hospitals and their testing is sort of incomplete). Ok, here come the

    1/Are there any psychiatric problems on either side of the family tree? Any mood disorders? Substance abuse?

    2/Do you know about his early development? Ask husband is he cuddled or made eye contact or interacted appropriately with his same-age peers. Can he do all that now? Does he have a good imagination and play with toys? Did he ever?

    He sounds complicated, and I would want him totally evaluated. The best way to help him is to nail down what is really causing his strange behavior. Sometimes bipolar mania causes grandiose thinking, like the child believing he has the powers of God. But with Asperger's Syndrome, a different disorder, the children do not relate to other people; they can't understand them and they need textbook teaching of social skills and for some even empathy. This child could be a combination of a few disorders. None of us know what is wrong, which is why I suggested the neuropsychologist testing.

    Is husband willing to evaluate him further? I think he should be evaluated to the maximum. His behavior is frightening and puzzling and he AND all of you need help. I would pick up "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene while you wait for an evaluation. I am going to post a few links about a few disordesrs and, if you like, you can check them both out and see if you see this child in either of them. But don't try to diagnose him yourself. Please take him for more help after he is released. And hopefully everyone will work together to help all of you. I wouldn't leave him alone with any of the other kids.
    I would use this online test too to see if he seems like he may have a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD):
  6. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Wow - what a strong willed boy you have. I agree with Smallworld - especially about the discharge plan. Set some house rules with consequences. The hospital SW should be able to help with this.

    You may feel that hospital stays are not helpful because you do not see major or if any changes. However, he has built this behavior so strong and for him it is how he survives. He needs to learn a different way. In the book "The Manipulative Child" it states, "Those who manipulate do not seem aware of how they operate or why. This is just a way of carrying on life's business. Learned from doing. Used even when other more honest and straight forward methods would serve as well or better."

    With the hospital's statement of surprise there is not a juvenile officer involved tells me that they see some dangerous behavoirs going on.

    Has he ever had intense testings to determine what is going on?

    Fran has also offered important questions to consider in the discharge plan.

    This will not go away quickly - it will take a lot of work. The hardest part will be getting difficult child to realize that he does not want to be were he is. Remember, no matter how awful, it has become his way of life and will be a risk on his part to change.

    Priority one - Keep siblings and yourself safe!

    No one is to blame for what is going on. In testings, you may find the medical reason that will be helped with medications. Therapy will also help.

    Keep an eye on your kids, they may need help in learning how to appropriately react to his behavior also. Give them guidelines - let them know that they can ALWAYS come to you. If he gets to the point of threating them if they tell, they may not want to tell so let them know that his threats do not have power over you. You cancel out his threats toward them.
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    You've already gotten some wonderful advice from the others. I just wanted to add my warm Welcome to the Board. I'm glad you found us, but sorry you needed to. Hang in there.

  8. Jena

    Jena New Member

    i'm just jumping in to welcome you!! You have found a great place. :)
  9. Nancy423

    Nancy423 do I have to be the mom?

    just jumping in to add my HI and welcome!
  10. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    I'm thinking you've definately got more than one issue going on here.

    The loss of his mom is one.
    Blending families is another.

    These alone can be difficult to deal with-but it "feels" like more to me.

    How did the child behave before his mom died?
    Was mom healthy and emotionally available to the child?
    Neurological disorders tend to be genetic. Is there is there a family history of disorders such as ADHD, depression, bipolar, learning disorders, anxiety, etc. How about alcoholism, drug abuse, perhaps individuals with-behavior problems that were never diagnosed?

    Sometimes dad's aren't the best source of information. They tend to have a problem accepting the fact that their child may have a problem. You may need to discretely check with-other family members.

    Glad you found us.
  11. Transparent

    Transparent New Member

    At this point, they still believe he has anger management problems as a result of the depression. I feel that's part of his problem, but not the core. While I agree that depression can cause anger issues, I don't feel it's the only problem here and nor do I believe that he's that depressed. They don't do any extensive testing at the facility he's in right now. They draw a drug test blood on arrival, he sees a counselor daily and a psychiatric 2 or 3 times before he's released. As for his medications, as of right now, nothing has changed. Celexa 10mg at bed time. Of course this could change before his discharge though - but I'm not counting on it.

    He was set up for a counselor and a psychiatric after he was discharged. Unfortunately, he couldn't keep his composure at school long enough to make it to his first session. Thankfully we have a 24 hour crisis center right here in town if we need it and I can also call the hospital and let them know what he's doing and they can take him straight away if needed. The thing that gets me is he knows right from wrong and he knows what consequences he faces for threatening someone's life - but he does it anyway and with no remorse. Everything is always all about him. It always has been.

    As of right this minute, there's nothing in place. However, we have an appointment with the principal tomorrow to set up guidelines and consequence/disciplinary actions depending on the situation. The school is very inconsistent. He had threatened the lives of 2 children in 2 days before we were notified the first time. Upon the second threat, he was suspended from school for half a day. *cough* He spent 5 days as an inpatient for that mess and missed Thanksgiving with us. Ten days later he's threatened to shoot a girl and the next day he's hitting another girl in the head. We didn't find out about the threat until 24 hours later when they decided to call and let us know about the hitting. UNACCEPTABLE PRACTICES, in my opinion! I want to know immediately when my son is doing something so despicable. I really don't know of any school that has this type of tolerance level. Especially during times like now. What happens when the big brother or sister or mom or dad come to school and want to "intervene" to keep the child that my son has threatened safe. Know what I mean?? I fear for my son's life.

    husband is very involved. We're both 100% and work as a team - me usually being the vocal one because he has a hard time with words but we're always on the same page and we discuss everything - meticulously at times. I'm sure you know where I'm coming from. For the first year I was "on the fence" so to speak. I would sit and watch and offer advice over the things I saw and I would try to steer my difficult child in the right direction. Of course I never got any results, so as time went on, I got more and more involved. It was hard for husband to see the things I saw - but he sees things almost identical to how I do now. Once he was able to separate himself and look at things from the outside, it was a big eye opener. I'm so proud of him!

    This sounds like a good idea. I will bring it up at our family session at the hospital and see where the nearest one is. I'm pretty sure we don't have any relatively close, but that's alright. I'll go anywhere I need to go. Thank you!

    My husband is adopted so there's limited information available about his side of the tree. I can vouch for him and say that he's one of the most level headed and mild tempered people I've ever met. As for his mother, I don't believe there's anything there - nothing mentioned in the medical history that suggests any mental or mood disorders.

    As for the mother's side of the tree, I don't even know where to begin. difficult child's mother was depressed and bi polar and had a prescription drug addiction. She was known as a "seeker" at most ER's in their area. After she passed away, my husband found credit card bills where she had purchased drugs from overseas - she had applied for credit in her mother's name and racked up bills in excess of $40,000 to support her habit. That's right - $40,000. I don't have any idea how long she'd been purchasing drugs above and beyond what she was already prescribed but -yeah, major problem. My difficult child would be left in his crib for hours on end because she was too stoned to get off the couch to tend to him. husband was always at work and never knew. The neighbors finally called husband's dad and informed him that they could hear my difficult child crying for hours. difficult child was put in daycare after that so that his mother could stay at home and continue divulging in her habit without having to worry about difficult child. husband says he had no idea things were so bad but of course hindsight is always 20/20 and now that he knows, he said signs were there, but he didn't recognize them. Apparently she wasn't too horribly stoned by the time he got home from work late at night, so he was unaware of just how bad it was during the day. Her mother takes medications for depression as well and she is the most hateful human I've ever met. She uses every member of her family as pawns to get what she wants - and all of her surviving children are on antidepressants. This is a group of people that live in the same house - grandchildren and all - in deplorable conditions with a dog that never goes outside and the kids sleep on the floor. I was in this house 4 years ago and never went back in. The only shower in the home is unusable because all the tile work has fallen into the tub and according to difficult child that still visits once a year, those tiles are still in the tub. Rest assured, difficult child is not allowed to stay the nights in this house and thankfully these people live more than 5 hours away from us.

    The grandiose used to drive me up the wall! I would tell my husband that difficult child was setting himself up for a lifetime of disappointments with his thinking patterns. It's not that difficult child believes he has the powers of God but more that he's perfect like God. He knows all and sees all and is walking perfection. Hence the "not my fault" and "I didn't do it" excuses we always get. He's justified in everything he does, Know what I mean?? I know he has no empathy and no remorse and he doesn't seem to care that he doesn't have these feelings. But then if he's never felt them, I guess he wouldn't care to begin with. It's creepy sitting next to him sometimes and when he looks at you it's as if he's hollow. It's almost like he has no soul and it pains me to say that. It hurts me for my difficult child and for my husband. I also don't believe that he loves my husband the way that my DS and daughter love me or the way my daughter loves my husband. It's almost like there's something holding him back from feeling love. He knows self love, he's got an abundance of that to the point it's sickening. Beyond normal adolescent conceitedness you know? (Godlike) Ugh! But when it comes to showing love to others, he says "I love you" under his breath and only after husband says it to him or if I say it to him - never offering love in any way - it always seems forced.

    Sure. We're on the same page with that too. We're willing to do anything/everything we have to do in order to get a proper diagnosis and/or treatment. We know that this will affect our difficult child for the rest of his life and like all of us here, we want them to be as successful as possible and be able to live full (law abiding) lives. Thanks for the book rec'd. I'll pick that one up too.

    I'm afraid to diagnose him myself. I say CD? because he shows so many signs of it and I used it in my sig to show the extremes of his behavior. I hope he doesn't have it. I hope my gut feelings are wrong - this child doesn't seem human to me. I cry as I type that but it's my instinct, my mothering instinct and my true gut feeling and that scares the hell out of me. He's never left alone with the children and NEVER with my baby daughter. Never. She even sleeps with me and I sleep with one eye and two ears open. Thankfully my DS is twice the size of difficult child and has that edge over him. Granted when difficult child has an episode anything could happen, but I feel somewhat safe in the size aspect. That and they're always within an earshot. Both boys have separate rooms downstairs but I can hear them - especially when they argue or call out. husband and I are in the process of moving our master bedroom downstairs as well to be closer and more involved on a daily AND nightly basis now. I just can't and don't trust difficult child to any capacity.

    That's familiar! Unfortunately.

    We've considered and even talked to the juvenile center here about getting an officer involved. I hate resorting to that but we're fully prepared to do so if we have to - and I'm afraid we might. He's never had any intense anything as far as therapies or testings. Sure, he's in the hospital but even they're not as intense as what I think he needs - neither does husband.

    Always. I'm almost paranoid in that regard - heightened senses whenever difficult child is around. I feel as though I have to be.

    This is excellent advice. Thank you!
  12. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Just wanted to add my welcome-I'm glad you found us-sorry you had to. It's hard when we have a child that is so challenging to take care of ourselves but it is something that is very important. Be sure to make time just for you because our kids can be so draining. Hugs.
  13. Transparent

    Transparent New Member

    Thank you ladies for your warm and wonderful welcomes. Just within the last 12 hours I've gotten advice on acquiring a journal to keep notes, suggestions on further therapeutic and preventative measures and further reading material. Absolutely priceless information and support. Thank you again, so much.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi again. You poor thing. You are trying so hard. Unfortunately, with his mother's behavior when the child was small, you may be seeing attachment problems too. You may want to look up reactive attachment disorder (I'll find a link). These kids have no empathy and actually don't want to be loved because they didn't get their needs met as a child and therefore are very "me" oriented (they had no choice). They don't learn how to trust other people therefore they can't attach to other people. Often love scares them and the more you "love" them the more they act out. Please remember Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is rarely the only problem. Birthmom sounds like she could have passed on some terrible genes and you don't have hub's family history. Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is something good to know about. Also, if Mom drank or took drugs while pregnant with difficult child, well, that can also cause serious problems. You need in my opinion to gather all the information you can find and bring it to your neuropsychologist appointment. NeuroPsychs can be found at University and Children's Hospitals. OK, the link is below.
  15. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    The others have already given you excellent advice and I can't think of anything to add to it. Your difficult child is lucky to have you and your husband. I know you're doing everything you can to get him the help he needs. Unfortunately, it can be a very long, frustrating and emotionally draining process... You WILL get there!!!

    Although it's already been mentioned, please try and make some time just for yourself. Also, make time just for you and your husband. Do this every single week. This is really important!!! I didn't do this when my difficult children were younger. I thought I could get through all of "garbage" and then get back to my life. I was wrong. Please don't make the same mistakes I did!!!

    Anyway, I'm glad you found us but sorry you had to. WFEN