New and patience wearing thin for ODD difficult child! Help!


New Member
I'm new here and SO excited to have found this group! I am so relieved that there are parents out there who understand.

I am a 40 yo divorced mom of 2. My difficult child (forgive me if I am not quite up to speed on the acronyms -- I've never posted anything anywhere), will be 8 yo next week. He was a 24 week micropreemie and he weighed only 1 lb 9 oz at birth. He is definitely my difficult child. He is very smart academically, well above grade level, attends local university gifted & talented program, etc. But also receives Occupational Therapist (OT) and PT through Special Education at school. Recently started a social skills group because one of his biggest challenges is making friends (unfortunately, it seems that he has alienated the other kids because he crossed out their contribution to a joint story because he didn't like it *sigh*).

On Genotropin (growth hormone), but no other medications. He has been dxd (?) with ODD, OC behavior & a Tic disorder. I understand that his compulsion to go against whatever anyone else says is just that -- a compulsion and shouldn't be taken personally. However, some days it's really difficult. He flies into rages which he mostly holds inside (clenches fists, jaws, looks like he's in great pain). My nanny is on the verge of quitting due to his behavior (which, given the demands of my job, would be a disaster). I am learning as I go and have been reasonably successful, but today was not a good day. My so's 11 yo easy child is with me today and there has been nothing but screaming and yelling and crying (on the part of my difficult child). I'm exhausted and my so is at work til late.

I read a post earlier that suggested The Explosive Child, which I will definitely get as soon as I can. Does anyone else has a kid who rages the way I described -- it looks like he is going to blow a gasket! What do you do!?

Any support will be greatly appreciated.
Hi dancing diva, and welcome! So sorry you had to find us, but glad you did. This is truly a soft place to land.

A few questions, please don't feel like you are on the witness stand. Who diagnosis'd your difficult child? I ask because ODD is rarely a stand-alone diagnosis, it is usually with ADHD or bipolar. It is possible that your son needs to be redx'd.

My daughter has had rages in the fashion that you have described. Not regularly, but sometimes. If I walk away, she does not have an audience. She usually stops.

Definitely get "The Explosive Child". Great read, lots of good ideas.

The weekends are pretty slow on this board, many other warrior moms with much more experience than myself should be along on Monday to share their wisdom.

In the meantime, welcome!
Welcome! You found a good group of people here and they'll have lots of advice for you. I loved this site when I found it because there were so many viewpoints and ideas that I could try. Some worked; some didn't -- but there seemed to be an unending supply of them.

When my cub raged, he wasn't quiet or keeping it inside. Oh, no. He was the yelling, throw-every-toy-train-up-against-the-wall type. We tried quite a few techniques on dealing with him, with limited success. Once he started, it was hard to stop him. The Explosive Child really did have the best help for us. When he was four, I finally gave up my resistance to putting him on drugs and went through several drug trials before we settled on Lamictal. He's on a fairly low dose, but the rages dwindled and finally stopped. Since the medications have made him emotionally more stable, he's easier to work with.

The only label that really fits my cub is ODD. [I'm not a big believer in labels -- if they help you identify techniques to work with him or get you proper services or your insurance company to pay for treatment, great. Other people feel differently, as you'll notice when you read the various posts.] It is very annoying to get a negative response to virtually everything that I present to him, but I sometimes view it as a ritual that we have to go through before we get to the next part. The calmer I act (despite what I'm actually thinking), the calmer he is. Too bad I'm not a particularly calm person.

It's good your cub is in a gifted program. Mine is bright but tests well below grade level, probably because he doesn't care about test performance yet.

I hope everyone calms down and your day gets better. I'm sure you'll find a lot of support here. Best wishes, and welcome again!


Active Member
Hi! Welcome to the club! I'm pretty new myself and this really is a great place to be.

Has anyone checked into Asbergers syndrome for your guy? The only reason I asked is that my guy is pretty much channeling your guy. He's 8 also, ODD but also has A.S. which they explained to me is actually a quite common result of AS. He's academically and intellectually off the charts, but his social skills and impulse control when angry are a different story. To soothe my temper, I've convinced myself that while one part of his brain developed rapidly, the behavior part has "taken the slow boat to China"! He'll get there socially, it's just taking a looooonnnngggg time!

Have you noticed any similarities with his outbursts? We notice an increase when he starts to realize that there is change on the horizon (end of summer, beginning of summer program, different schedule, a slight breeze - just kidding!). Once we kept track of what gets his knickers in a twist, we were able to better predict what would likely set off an episode.

The Explosive Child is a blast! I've employed several of his tactics (and although I'm not really the calm type) and they've really made life a touch more tolerable as well as enabled him to try to think things out sooner than later.

When he flies into a rage, I try to speak in a calm, soothing tone, and redirect his focus. For example, we were in his school and he wanted to come home with me. That afternoon was the only chance I was going to have to get some running around for vacation done, so I told him "no". He blew up! for all the world to see. Oh well, I wasn't having him come home but managed to redirect him to explain a picture that he had drawn in his classroom.

Again, welcome from another newbie!


New Member
unfortunately, it seems that he has alienated the other kids because he crossed out their contribution to a joint story because he didn't like it *sigh*).

The anecdotes you share remind me of my nearly 8-yo intellectually off the charts difficult child.

The above scenario made me recall Seb's first day of 1st grade. It was reading workshop and the children took turns reading passages aloud. Seb had been an avid reader for several years by this time and he was very impatient with the other children's blossoming reading skills. When a child would read incorrectly he would say "wah-wah..." (think: the game show sound effect that plays when a contestant answers incorrectly). Seb still doesn't understand why calling people "small minded idiots" isn't conducive to friendship building.
He has been dxd (?) with ODD, OC behavior & a Tic disorder. I understand that his compulsion to go against whatever anyone else says is just that -- a compulsion and shouldn't be taken personally. However, some days it's really difficult. He flies into rages which he mostly holds inside (clenches fists, jaws, looks like he's in great pain).

This, my newbie friend, is my son. Seb becomes so angry, but it's an anger that is so often internalized. The angry face, the clenched fists... It is draining. Seb has been diagnosis'd with ADHD and Tic Disorder. We're still contemplating possible AS (Seb is in the upper 98th percentile of cognitive function with some massive social issues) and other mood regulation issues (anxiety? depression? Early Onset Bi-Polar (EOBP)?). Because ADHD is co-morbid with other disorders it takes a while to tease out the right diagnosis-- we're living that right now.

I am glad that you found us. I am fairly new here myself and I feel so grateful for the support and understanding I have found here. You are not alone.


Active Member
I think an older brother , being involved with older people will help his thinking , take perspectives etc

Nurture yourself , it is not easy , education is a process


Well-Known Member
Hi, and welcome to the board. Is your child on any medication? Do you have any significant psychiatric, neurological or substance abuse on either side of your child's family tree? Has he seen a Child Psychiatrist (with the MD) or a neuropsychologist? Weekends are slow. More will come later.


Well-Known Member
I, too, have an ODD son. It's been extremely difficult, and seems just now to be getting a tiny bit better (he's almost twelve). It's been a very long, hard road.....extremely trying and tiring. We've tried all the medications one could think of, tons of therapy and behavior modifications galore.....and to this day, I couldn't point you in any one direction. All I can say is, don't give up!!!


Well-Known Member

My difficult child does not rage quite like yours, but I know the feeling of watching your child so out of control. Or at least having that look that does not seem like your own child could be in there.

That book is a good read. I hope it helps to clarify some things for you.


New Member
Thank you all for your posts -- I really appreciate knowing that I am not the only one out there with a difficult child!

OK: let me try to answer some of your questions. difficult child was diagnosis'd by his pediatric neurologist 4 years ago and he last saw him in November. Is that the right kind of doctor? Based on that diagnosis and the behavior modifications recommended, things had been manageable until recently. He has had the good fortune of having outstanding, veteran teachers who have been able to employ various behavior modifications and who have been very communicative so that I knew what was happening at school and could work with difficult child.

Based on my research (as limited as it is), I don't think he qualifies for bipolar disorder due to the requirement of cognitive deficiencies. I will look into A.S. -- I remember doing that before, but things have definitely digressed.

Thanks again to everyone who posted. I look forward to hearing more!


New Member
No EEG or MRI -- but I'll ask about it!

After reviewing the information on AS -- I think it is a definite possibility. Thanks so much. I am picking up the book tonight.


New Member
I was reading the resources listed on the side of this forum for the other disorders and under bipolar, it says that:

"Bipolar disorder is also associated with a variety of cognitive deficits, in particular, difficulty in organizing and planning."

My difficult child is actually extremely organized -- it's one of his obsessive-compulsive things. Of course, I know very little about all of this... I'm just trying to piece it all together. For all I know, he could have any number of issues.

I apologize if I offended you or anyone else. It just seems to me, from the limited reading I've done, that AS is really close to his behavior.

I just bought The Explosive Child and could immediately relate to the waffle incident Thanks again for the recommendation.


New Member

I have read Explosive Child, The Defiant Child, The Gift of ADHD and most recently The Bipolar Child. If the Explosive Child seems to fit, you may find help reading the Bipolar Child. Parts of the Explosive Child are quoted in the Bipolar Child. I am also unsure about the cognitive piece but so many of these disorders seem to overlap. After fighting the use of medication for ADHD because that mommy thing in me knew something more was going on and the ADHD medications could make things worse, when we tried- they did, we have found some help with trileptal for pediatric bipolar.