New Member
Hello everyone! I am new and very thankful I found this board to help me cope at a time I feel like my whole world is crumbling in my home. I have a 7yr old daughter who although has not yet been diagnosed (going to psch. on 23rd) we have very strong feelings she is ODD. The odd behavior was noticed at age 3-4 but I associated it with her just being too young to know better. As time went on the behavior was again noticed to be increasing when she started school but at that time the teacher felt she was a "late bloomer" and "immature". Here we are now in first grade, behavior and symptoms have gotten a bit worse despite all our efforts and cooperation with school to find something that helps the situation. At home....well it's a place I no longer even want to be anymore. difficult child's problems are effecting everyone at home, even my marriage. husband is their loving stepdad but he too has been growing increasingly stressed over the situation. difficult child's bio father is a mess to say the least. We divorced while I was pregnant with her, he's had very very little sporadic periods of contact with her. He was diagnosed with adult adhd and he is a drug addict, in and out of prison. I am a professional, never had drug issues or anything; come from a pretty normal upbringing in an upper middle class family. My other daughter is 10- she doesn't have any issues and is a normal kid(she is the bio sister of my difficult child). I also have a 1 yr old to my husband which is my second marriage. I've always been a pretty happy easy going person even when things weren't going so hot; but now I find myself just miserable,angry, frustrated, stressed and unhappy at home. It's chaos. Everyone is always yelling, my husband and I are arguing more and more which adds to the stress on us all. I know this all is not helping our situation but we just don't know how else to release the negative energy-so we yell to try to get the some cooperation. Nothing seems to get through to our difficult child. We've done the take aways-she could care less, we've done grounding-no reaction other than she's not happy about it, spanking-did nothing, talking-she avoids the topic and changes the subject in mid sentence, we tried rewards-only works for the moment not longterm. When I ask my difficult child why she behaves this way she tells me over and over "she doesn't know and can't help it, she tries to be good". I wonder if she really is telling me the truth or if it's just an excuse?? We're going to a child psychologist on the 23rd and the day couldn't come soon enough for me. I'm afraid my perfect little family is falling apart and eventually it will even destroy my marriage. I get no time at all to myself ever. husband gets an attitude if I want to do something I enjoy without him or the kids. He complains he doesn't get a break to do things he enjoys because there is always something that needs done around the house; but I encourage him to go hunting or fishing he just finds excuses not to go. I wonder if it's always gonna be like this or if counseling will make a difference with my difficult child? I don't want medications for her. Surprisingly she does well on an academic standpoint-is very smart in school. I keep asking myself where this all came from with her, why this child of mine? I need some help with coping skills until we can see the M.D. I just want to runaway right now because I feel like I am breaking down.


Welcome to the board. I'm glad you found us.

ODD is rarely a stand-alone diagnosis (diagnosis). It is more a basket of symptoms caused by an underlying disorder (such as ADHD, bipolar, etc) and once that underlying disorder is treated the ODD symptoms dissipate. I would believe your daughter when she says she can't help it. I haven't met a kid yet who just wants to be bad for the sake of being bad. Kids, especially at her age, want to please their parents.

A book highly recommended here is The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. I think you will find it very helpful.

I'm not the first one to jump on the medication bandwagon. It was a long time before I would put my difficult child on medications because noone gave me a firm diagnosis and I didn't want to just medicate symptoms. However, some disorders are biological in nature and some of these kids need medications just like a diabetic needs insulin. And the difference in difficult child with her medications is HUGE. I actually see joy in her face now. I never did before. I encourage you to keep an open mind about that when you meet with the professionals. by the way, a psychologist is not an MD and cannot prescribe medications. A psychiatrist can prescribe medications.

It is important for you to take time for yourself and time for just you and husband. As others told me when I first joined, this is a marathon not a sprint.

Again, welcome.


Active Member
Heather's recommended the right book there. Also, on medication - you can't medicate for ODD. Medication for a lot of conditions is a blunt instrument, it's not the easy fix we'd like it to be. There is always a lot of work left over that the family and the child have to put in.

I'm sorry you're in so much stress - read the book as soon as you can, hopefully it should help a great deal. Get your husband to read it too, if you can. If you can't, talk to him about it, try to explain the logic in it and discuss it (not shout it, note!). Obviously, pick a time when you and he can sit and talk - make the time, if you can. Take yourselves out for a cup of coffee somewhere. But don't assume the marriage is over until you've read this, both of you (or at least familiarised yourself with what it's about) and also got some answers re difficult child.

This is not your fault. Neither of you. Chances are, it's not her fault either. But you do need some fast answers, for all of your sakes.

A lot of conditions and problems can look like ODD. You have to consider WHY the child is thinking this way; what other problems she is dealing with. Her bio-dad - whatever is his problem, the end result included drug use. It doesn't mean it's a cause, it could be a result. A kid like your difficult child, going through life unsupported and unrecognised, can easily find drugs a useful escape. But if the support and understanding are t here, this can be avoided. It's just a matter of finding out, which is what you are trying to do. In her father's day, there was a lot less understanding and a lot less support.

Two more bits of advice for you - before you fix your eyes too much on ODD, look at Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). I'm not saying that's the answer either, but it can show you just how an underlying disorder can lead to what you're seeing now. Go to http://www.childbrain.com and look for their Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) test. It's not officially diagnostic because that's just not ethical, but it can give you some thoughts and you can print out the result (including your responses) and run it past an expert for their opinion.

And the second bit of advice - if you think he will, get your husband to read the posts and threads here, maybe even post with you. he has his own frustrations and concerns over this and needs an outlet as well as reassurance. If you think he's open to the idea, ask him. My husband does this and it has made a big difference to our communication and understanding of each other. But you can't do this if you need to vent about him - the last thing he would respond favourably to, would be your complaints about him, no matter how valid.
My husband tracks me mostly from work. He uses the facility here to track every post of mine, to see what I'm worrying about, or thinking about.
Sometimes I'll post something that worries him or confuses him. He then comes to me to talk about it, to try to understand. This has been a good thing because sometimes I assume he has understood, when he hasn't. And occasionally he hijacks my ID and posts in my name, although he always identifies himself.
But I do think it also makes him feel less helpless.
He couldn't read "The Explosive Child" - just not his cup of tea. But he did talk it through with me, we often discuss the techniques and whether we're doing it right. It's taken him longer, but he does "get it" and has been able to explain it to mother in law, who often doesn't get it.

Welcome to the site.


I can't add much that Heather and Marg have not already said, just wanted to say hello and offer my support. You found a wonderful place here.


Active Member
You mentioned noticing odd behaviors at ages 3-4. What were you seeing back then? What was different about her than a "normal" kid?


New Member
First I'd like to say thank you to all of you. I will venture out tomorrow to get this book I have heard so much about. All of you had some very good input. I think I am gonna feel very comfortable here; at least it's a place to escape and vent. :smile:

SRL; to answer your question about her behaviors at age 3-4...initially it wasn't me who saw anything to be concerned about because she was after all only 3-4 yrs old. BUT the daycare and preschool she attended at the time were constantly telling me that she was "uncooperative, did not follow rules she clearly knew she was breaking...blah blah blah. My initial reaction was...and??? I just saw her as being much different than my oldest daughter at that point. But she had been very very different from my first child from the beginning. My difficult child never slept well for me, was always fussy, took much longer to potty train-up until she was 6 she'd wet the bed and her reason was she'd be too tired to get up to go to the restroom. She never ate well for me and I'd constantly have to make deals to get through a meal-even to this day it's a big challenge to get her to sit at the table without trying to play or draw or make excuses to get up. When she was 3-4 I started to notice things the daycare pointed out like that she'd get very withdrawn from activities. She'd never try anything she didn't know how to play or do because she was constantly afraid kids would laugh at her. She had this crush on this little boy in preschool that I thought rather peculiar for a 4 year old but nontheless I found it adoreable. Unfortunately the day care did not and told me and the other parent they did not like that the kids were so affectionate wanting to hug and give kisses. They were innocent kisses that you give to your child nothing inappropriate-but the day care disagreed. My daughter would get upset if another child played with this little boy or if he'd sit next to anyone else during play time or lunch. THAT concerned me. Eventually we switched day care's because of a change in location but it always seems she develops a crush and the older she's getting it seems a bit more over the top to my standards for her age. I've noticed a low self esteem in her. She's extremely sensitive to what kids think of her. Sometimes kids at even an early age can be cruel sometimes just out of jealousy and I tried to explain this to her. I tried to tell her sometimes kids might be mean because she may have more toys than they do, or because she dresses very nice for school or has a lot more friends...she doesn't seem to get it quite yet. She tends to continue to try to earn a "mean girls" friendship even when this person makes her feel bad. At 3-4 we still had the same issues she has now but they are just more intense at 7. We have had a big problem with her getting along with her 10 yr old sister. I can't really remember them ever really liking each other; they rarely get along. When she was 5 we had a problem with her taking things that didn't belong to her and lying about it. How I finally got it to stop was when I showed her the stores have secret cameras that watch us while we shop and that if you take something from someone or a store the police will take you to jail and you will never see mommy again. I don't think she really believed me until a guy in our neighborhood got caught shop lifting and was taken to jail. All of a sudden the stealing stopped. She never would sleep even when I knew she had to be exhausted. To this day if I put her to bed at 9 she will sneak a flashlight to bed, turn on a nightlight or her tv and just start playing until I catch her and freak out. We disconnected her cable and unplugged her tv that is on a wall stand thinking this would solve that problem but she'd climb her dresser and turn into the cable guy to get it back on. Finally we had to physically take out the tv on school nights to get her to go to bed but even that didn't stop her from going into her bathroom with coloring books. These are the more minor examples. If I'm helping her with homework and it's something I know he knows how to do she will purposely write the wrong answer or make the letter wrong; then when I tell her "it's incorrect" she'll get angry, whine and press the eraser so hard on the paper until she damages it. In school she's already stopped in the middle of a lesson with the teacher, took toys out of her backpack and started playing without any regard that the teacher was in the middle of class. She'll ask to go to the bathroom at school, disappear for a long time and when they go to find her she was playing in the stairwell. She clearly knows this is unacceptable so why does she continue to do it????


New Member
Hi! Most of us have been in your shoes before. I was terrorized by my son when he was 2-4 years old. I really recommend the book they already suggested "The Explosive Child." I had taken my child to 2 psychologists who, by the way, gave me completely opposite advice, and it had done no good. When I read the book, I noticed a huge difference in my son after 24 hours of implementing the advice in the book. And it wasn't just me--his preschool teachers said he had his best day ever just a day after I began using the book, and I hadn't even told them I was going to do anything different! Not everyone may have such quick results, but I began liking my child and my life again. Don't despair--things can get better.

PS. Hi to everyone else! It's been a long time since I popped in here. My difficult child is 6, almost 7 now, and I guess I'm moving up out of the under 5 forum.


New Member
Hello, I'm very new here as well.

I had the goose bumps reading your firs post. You have just described my world. This site is amazing, you really do connect with people who are going through the exact same thing. My difficult child daughter is now 16 and in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC). When she was home my life was in turmoil as well, I mean so much like yours. Right down to "I cant help it, I try to be good". When she was about 12 I was looking on her computer and came across a letter to God asking him why she could'nt behave, why she could'nt be nice to her mommy. She asked if a devil lived inside her. She even asked him to write back. I felt horrible. Just from that note alone, I decided right then, she just could not control herself. And she felt bad about it. Broke my heart!!!! I still think about that letter often. I know how desperate you feel, frustrated, angry and heartbroken. When my daughter was home, I hated being in my house. How sad is that? I feel guilty for feeling that way, but it gets so tough, you cant breath. I often pray that I just would not wake up. I wanted out of this prison. I wish I had some magic advice for you. This site is definately a start, I was feeling pretty down a few days ago. Constant agony. Feeling horrible for my difficult child, our last visit was really heartbreaking. Im sad for her. Since I have found this site, just a few days now, I feel so much better. It's nice being able to relate to others. Comforting.

Wish you the best.
I'm also new here, and I just finished reading The Explosive Child. One of the big messages in this book is that Children Do Well If They Can. All children want to be good and behave well, but some children are not able to be good, through no fault of their own. You are making a good decision to see a child psychologist. You might want to take a few notes about your child to the meeting, so that you know exactly what problems to talk about to the doctor. Good luck and hugs, take care


New Member
I appreciate the support everyone. I get sooooo :censored2: excited when we have one good day without any episodes you'd think I hit the lottery that day. lol I've tried to pay attention to what exactly was done differently on these days that I may be doing differently with her so I can keep doing it but honestly there is no real reason that I can see as to why we have these very minor sporadic periods of "good days". Today was a great day! As Bran Bran mentioned; I too felt so guilty on days I just hated everything about my life and really felt I didn't like my child. We've all said if she were an only child she'd be wonderful because when she is by herself with me or anyone else we all say how sweet she is. She only does great with one on one interaction-even with friends. I think that more than one person to have to deal with is so overwhelming for her that the pressure builds inside her that she makes herself crazy inside??? Only 3 more days til we see the doctor-and I can't wait! I so hope he's not an idiot. lol I'll keep you guys posted and thanks again.


I get sooooo :censored2: excited when we have one good day without any episodes you'd think I hit the lottery that day.

:rofl: I know exactly what you mean.

I'm sure there is a trigger with my difficult child, too, but I've never been able to identify it. Some days I feel like I have whiplash from the sudden changes in mood from her.


I too had similiar issues. difficult child would have me in tears by 4 years old. Was told over an over how smart he is. First grade he was tested due to behavior issues, but very smart. He tested gifted. We chose to advance him a grade hoping to challenge him. We were asked many, many times to consider counseling, didn't work, he wouldn't talk, or would run out. we were asked many times to consider medication and Special Education. Totally against that. Didn't want him labeled, didn't want him on medication..dealt with many issues. Fast forward to now. 7th grade. Failed three classes LAST year (6th grade) and because of his behavior we were given a choice, Special Education or expulsion.
Medication he started mid 5th grade. He was scared, he didn't want to feel that way. We also received the same answer you did.
As for skipping a grade..do not recommend it. He is no way mature emotionally as other kids in his class, and it is hard for him to deal with a lot of kids. Friends have always been difficult. We were also told ODD at age 3. Maybee even age 2. Now diagnosis is bipolar, ODD, anxiety and depression. VERY much anxiety. I am cautious on medication. Had school psychologist test him again, that was last week. All I know until this afternoon is that achademically he scored 92% and 99% higher than other 7th graders. So..why does he refuse to do work? Why does he refuse to go to class? He has built up a reputation for himself which causes a lot of teachers / staff to pick him as a target no matter what. I have spent literally years fighting for him. He does not always do what he is blamed for. He even was accused of stealing from a teachers purse and he wasn't even AT school that day. I do not see any of that changing. I can only fight so much for him. He needs to work on his side. He did decide to work 2nd qtr and had all A's. Third qtr he quit working for whatever reason. He scores off the charts beyond advanced on all the state tests, and is smart enough to have figured out if he scores well there school district will not allow him in summer school.
Just trying to point out, I was in your place. Fighting medication for years, fighting spec. ed for years. It is there to help when you feel it is the right time. and depending on diagnosis.
There are times when I feel like leaving and never looking back. More recently than ever. House has just been falling apart. difficult child plays husband and myself against each other. Says I lie, and husband believes him. But, difficult child would never speak to husband the way he speaks to me.
I really hope you are able to work with your diagnosis. I hope difficult child will work with you. I pray that you find peace in your home.
There is a lot of reading suggested here, and all good reading.
You learn a lot.


New Member
Some may disagree with me on this board but I don't think a child psychologist may be the right direction. I, too, began with a psychologist but didn't get anywhere.

I would suggest a neuropysch exam by someone who specializes in children. It really does uncover alot about how a child thinks. A good one takes 10-12 hours and tests range from IQ to projective testing. The testing is conducted usually over a period of one week. This test can point in the direction of whether or not your child is on the autisitic spectrum or has a different disorder (maybe ADHD) or nothing at all. I know there are many great qualified school psychologists, but I would suggest a private, independent tester.

I can really relate to your post. My son does not have many problems in school, but our home life can be very difficult. My marriage has been through the ringer lately. It's very hard.


New Member
Well, I guess I made a good choice to get "The Explosive Child"! I ordered it last week and should get it any day now.

I, too, am new here and have found great comfort in finding other that understand my feelings. It's not easy admitting that you don't enjoy your child or life at home. But, I have come to realize that is normal.

Good luck, and we are here if you need us.