New here, and so tired

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by 2daughters, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. 2daughters

    2daughters New Member

    I'm new here, and my youngest was just diagnosed with ODD. It's nice to see that there's a place where parents like us can discuss the issues with our children and not have people tell us we're bad parents (or worst case that I got was to give my child up).

    My youngest hasn't been diagnosed with anything else other than the ODD, at least not yet. She wears me out. From the time she gets up in the morning until the time she finally goes to sleep it feels like it's one battle after another with her. Bedtime is the worst, by far. I put her to bed and she's up for another 8 hours, only seems to sleep about 4 hours and is up again for the day. From what I see with my daughter, she basically is trying to be an adult and dictate what goes on in the house. It's frustrating and exhausting.

    I look forward to being an active member here.
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Welcome! I'm glad you found us.

    Sorry for all the questions, but your answers will help us help you.

    How old is your daughter?
    What kind of doctor diagnosed your daughter's ODD?
    How does she do in school, both academically and with peers?
    Any sensory issues (sensitivity to clothing tags, loud noises, food textures, etc?)
    Any speech or developmental delays?
    Any mental health issues or substance abuse in the family tree?

    Most of us here believe that ODD is not a stand-alone, nor quite frankly, a helpful diagnosis. An underlying disorder typically fuels the oppositional behaviors. When the underlying disorder is identified and treated, the ODD behaviors generally subside.

    I recommend getting your hands on a copy of The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. It has helped many of us on this board parent our extra-challenging children.

    I look forward to hearing back from you and hope we can point you in the right direction for help.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2009
  3. earthprowler

    earthprowler New Member

    welcome to the board

    i know how exhausting it can be. my difficult child has severe ADHD/bipolar and recently been diagnosed with ODD which i had already been asking for the last year if he had that also. You'll find that most people have all kinds of advice to give you and ways of telling you what you are doing wrong, ask them when they wore your shoes last? it's a battle and you have to be strong for your child but there are people out there that are willing to learn and help you along the way. this place is wonderful and full of knowledgable people and links that can get you help and support.
  4. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Welcome! My wee difficult child is exhausting, also. For his first 4 years, he required very little sleep. Thankfully, that's mostly over. *MOSTLY* lol

    Welcome to the group!
  5. C.J.

    C.J. New Member

    My difficult child - I would have to drag her into school, I would have to drag her out of school, drag her into church, drag her out of church, drag her into the bathtub, drag her out of the bathtub, etc.

    I could say, "My goodness, the sky is such a pretty shade of blue today." difficult child would say, "There are clouds in the sky too. They aren't blue."

    I reminded my child all too often that I was the parent, not her.

    2Daughters: I agree with the others - ODD does not stand alone - the sooner you can find out what you're truly dealing with, the sooner you can provide the assistance your daughter will need to navigate her place in the world. That may be behavioral therapy, medication, coping skills, learning to recognize what sets off a melt down...

    When you have a few minutes, create a signature like the ones we've done at the bottom of our posts (I think instructions for this is on the home page - FAQ section - somewhere). This helps the rest of us with suggestions or resources we can send your way.

    You are not alone. Just the other day, my mother and I were "discussing" my 18 year old difficult child who does not return home at a decent hour when she's out with friends. When she let loose her now infamous line, "Well if she were living in my house, I would...." I told my mother she could come pick her up that night. First, she'd have to convince difficult child to leave. Curfews for this 18 year old are not in my Basket A (Explosive Child reference) because I cannot enforce them. I don't run a 24/7 lock down facility.

    I hope you stop back by and get to know us a little better. Welcome.
  6. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Adding in my welcome. I sure remember the days when my difficult child only would get a couple of hours of sleep and be up and roaring to go for the next 20 hours. It is truly exhausting. My difficult child also likes to think he's the adult or at least on even level with other adults. Just want you to know you are not alone. Hugs.
  7. 2daughters

    2daughters New Member

    Thank you for the welcome!

    My daughter is 4 and a half years old. She hasn't started school yet, but will be this year. She's great in preschool and in daycare, no problems with the teachers or other children. I had her going to see a psychiatrist for almost a year now because of what she had to endure from her bio. father (sexual molestation), and it was this psychiatrist that diagnosed her. The family doctor thinks she's got adhd as well. I'm wondering if she's got an anxiety disorder because of the events that happened to her while she was at her father's house. So far she doesn't seem to have any sensitivity to anything, other than she would prefer to be naked rather than wearing clothes. She was a little delayed in her speech because she had problems with earwax in her ears as a child (I fought the doctor to get her to an ear/nose/throat specialist for that). As soon as her ears were cleaned, she excelled with her words and phrases. She was a little ahead on the rest of her development according to the charts. The only mental health issues in my family is myself with SAD, but that's under control with light therapy.

    It's so nice to be able to talk to others who are dealing with the same types of issues.

    I forgot to add that I've got a copy of The Explosive Child coming in the mail. I also believe that ODD doesn't stand alone. On my daughter's next appointment with the psychiatrist, I'm going to talk to her about it.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2009
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If your daughter was sexually molested (have experience there) that could be the reason for her behavior. She will need intensive help. I hope she is seeing a counselor who specializes in the sexually abused. It's such a specific area and the kids development can be adversely affected as can they suffer the rest of their lives if it's not treated. My own daughter got into drugs and had all sorts of problems with boundaries and trust. She is 24 and better now, but it took a long time. (((Hugs))) I hope she never sees her bio. father!
  9. 2daughters

    2daughters New Member

    She is seeing a therapist about it, who specializes in it. The police near where her father lives (we live 1200 miles apart .. I moved that distance to protect her from him) have accused myself and my husband of doing that to her. Her bio. father admitted to me that he did, then promptly blamed it on a screen door. I'm getting ready to start a civil suit against him, and have the full support of the police and doctors here. I'm hoping that by doing this it will show my daughter that not only do I, the police here, and the doctors here believe her, but it'll be some form of closure and will force the family courts to quit trying to force her into a harmful situation. He's got an annual "game" of taking me to court and trying for custody of her (I've got sole custody, but it's joint guardianship). The sexual assault on her actually happened the day of court on a court ordered visit. I'm doing everything I can to stop all visitations. Fortunately, so far, I haven't been able to take her to the last 2 visitations because of vehicle problems. I'm working with social services and a branch of the police that specialize in sexual assaults and child abuse and trying to get a restraining order on him.

    I honestly wonder, deep down, if it is the molestation that she endured and the physical abuses from him. Even though her bio. father has a history of abuse, and plead guilty to domestic violence and attempted manslaughter (he beat me while I was pregnant with her and I charged him), has been charged with child abuse in the past, and I have photo proof and witnesses to what he'd done to my daughter (not including the molestation), the courts don't want to see it. I'm trying to put an end to the court battles with him once and for all so that I can concentrate on helping her come to terms and dealing with what happened to her.
  10. SRL

    SRL Active Member

  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    WOW!!! You really DO have a lot on your plate. That poor kiddo, to have endured all that from even before she was born. Sheesh, no wonder she acts out. I wouldn't be all that cooperative either.

    It sounds like you are doing a pretty awesome job of protecting her and working with the system to keep him away from her. Maybe instead of waiting for the courts to tell you he filed for custody you could preempt him with a suit for full guardianship and no visitation because the abuse? It might be a way to get the evidence of abuse into the judge's mind. Whatever happens, it sounds like you are pretty well prepared for battle! Good Job!

    As for your daughter - she is going to need intensive help for many years to come. Just when you think you have the problems dealt with and over something will happen to bring them up again. Like puberty, etc... It is going to stink. The important thing is to always follow your instincts. If they tell you to fight for something, don't give in. If they tell you it isn't worth fighting about, don't get pulled into an argument or whatever.

    Remember that YOU have spent years with this child and the "experts" have spent minutes a month with her. So if the experts say one thing and your instincts say something else, go with the instincts. I can very honestly say that the things that happened to mess my son up the most were things I went along with although my instincts told me not to.

    You also have to remember, no matter what, that you never got up and asked yourself, "How can I mess up my kid the most today?" You never ever did this. You did the very best you could with what you had in the situation you were in.

    and that is good enough. It really is, so be nice to yourself and don't beat yourself up too much.

    I am not sure how you have all the information on your daughter organized. Years ago some parents here on the board figured out a general format for a Parent Report. it is a document you create to keep ALL the info about your child organized and in one place. It is something you will need to work on in chunks, not all at once. Once you have it done you can keep copies on hand to give to anyone you think needs to have it. Just remember that you don't have to give ALL of it to anyone. School especially may need just some of the info, depending on if they are going to use it to help your child or not. Some schools use info to hurt kids and keep from providing services, which is truly sad. Some docs can do the same. So only give out what the person needs.

    The Parent Report is in the FAQ section and many of us have found it to be invaluable.

    Welcome to the board, it is a fun and helpful place to be. We have all heard all the rude and nasty comments, and we come here to help eachother heal and figure things out. (For instance I once had a doctor who was treating my migraines tell me that I needed to give up my children because difficult child was always going to be too much to handle and I really didn't need my daughter either. They were 2 and 6 at the time!!! I was MAD, and hurt. And didn't go back!)

    Sending some gentle hugs and a warm welcome!

  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Good God, how sick is it that the courts won't terminate his rights??????

    I don't blame you for moving. I may have left the country and no forwarding address!!!! (((Hugs)))
  13. 2daughters

    2daughters New Member

    Thanks for the link SLR. I plan on going over it again and taking some notes on it.

    The courts are sick. The lawyer he's got is, well he's got a vendetta against me (he was my Mom's divorce lawyer), and it seems he's made it his goal to fight me as hard as he can in court ... because it appears that every time I represent myself in court against him I come out the "winner" and make him look like a complete fool. I can't really see being forced to move closer to him, but I'm not taking any chances. I've already got her enrolled in school ... the courts don't like moving a child once they're enrolled in school, as well as having as many health professionals involved in her life that are needed (whom are also willing to write letters for me).

    As far as my daughter's concerned, I've shown her bio. father's picture to the neighbors and have told them that IF he comes around to immediately call the police, and to warn me to stay hidden. I've got escape plans ready and in place as well as places to go (and where my daughter can go if I need to see him). I'm constantly telling my daughter how much I love her, even though some days she seems determined to drive me up the wall.

    My husband came up with a plan that he's hoping might help. I don't know, but I would definitely appreciate your opinions on it. She's had her eye on one of those play kitchens ($500 one). He told her tonight that this weekend he's going to get it for her but that there's a condition. She has to be good for one entire month before she can open the box. I think what he's hoping is that it'll give her incentive to behave (mainly at bedtime) and that it will become a routine for her. I can see it working for a little while, but not for a month though.

    Anyway, today was a really good day with her, except for bedtime. I decided to choose my battles wisely, and did what I could to use positive reinforcement. Bedtime was a different story. Anyone looking in would have wondered how such a small child could hold up (in a line at that) husband, myself and the dog. I've got to give husband a lot of credit. He was willing to stand there and wait patiently for her to go to her room, whereas I snuck past him and put her into bed (nature was calling for me so I couldn't wait much longer).

    I have found so much wonderful advice and suggestions on this site. I find that I'm always taking notes on different things to try with my daughter, or different doctors to try to get my daughter an appointment with (to diagnose something other than just ODD, if there's anything else there). If you don't mind, I'd like my husband to browse through the site as well so he can see some of the things I've tried to explain to him, and maybe find something that works for him.
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    The play kitchen/being good for one month bribe - while bribes are great (I use them) if you make it too unattainable, it could backfire.

    I posted at length on someone else's thread on what rules you need to follow, with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids and discipline. I'm not saying your daughter has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), but one feature I suspect she hasin common is her need to control her environment, perhaps because her past abuse is related to her NOT having control, having someone else force their control over her.

    So a couple of important discipline rules -

    1) Don't try to discipline behaviour that is outside her control. THis also relates to behaviour that can be maintained for short intervals only; don't try to force long-term compliance of new social skills. For example, some kids can hold it together at school (it's a strian, but they are highly motivated to do it) but know that when they come home, they can relax. And when they relax, everything goes to pieces. Even easy child kids do this when they first start school - they come home really tired, often so tired they are easily upset. And if you then try to enrofce too tight discipline on a tired kid, you're likely to have fights. So we modificed how we handled our kids when they were likely to be tired, and kept our expectations higher for times when they were able to maintain their focus. A kid starting school - I'd have dinner available early, often I'd feed the kid with dinner-like food as soon as he/she got home from school, because often the child was likely to be too sleepy to eat, if we waited until family dinner time. We didn't need to do this for too long, it depended on the child and how they coped.

    2) Discipline with positive motivation, not negative. This also means to try to express things in a positive way, avoiding "don't". For example, avoid saying, "Donna, don't hit Bobby on the head with your shoe, it's not kind." Instead, say, "Donna, please put your shoe back on and come over here to me." You give an instruction that is a positive instruction that also stops the undesirable activity. You then remove the child (under his/her own steam if possible) and if you still need to, you say, "I'm glad you came over to me. I want you to do X for me. And I want you to be kind to Bobby."

    3) Break up tasks. This also means that for a BIG reward, break up the required behaviour into manageable steps. Give her a voucher for a certain period of good behaviour. Vouchers once given, may not be taken away. If you ask her to behave for an hour for a voucher, and she beahves, and you give her a voucher, and she then (once given the voucher) turns into a hissing, spitting banshee, DO NOT TAKE AWAY THE VOUCHER. While she is misbehaving, she is not earning any more vouchers.
    You can also escalate rewards, if she is smart enough to understand this. it is asclose as you can get, to taking away vouchers. What you do is say, "you get one voucher for one hour's good behaviour, but for a second consecutive hour, you get another TWO vouchers. If you misbehave, the closk resets and goes back to one voucher for the first hour again." A very young child still not good at this level of maths, perhaps shouldn't use such a more complex reward system. But if she misbehaves, simply say, "When you start behaving again, the clock canstart again on you earning another voucher. You can cash in vouchers for different things (have a reward chart, if you can try to reward with non-material things such as reading a book together of her choice, or playing a caerd game with her - her choice again). If you want to use the expensive toy routine, especially if it's one you know she wants, then work out how much you want each voucher to be worth, then divide the cost of the toy by that value to give her the number of vouchers she must earn before she can get the toy. DO NOT DEVALUE THE VOUCHERS so you do need to get it right to begin with.

    We use a similar point system in our house, but I'm about to modify the reward system (I use it for schoolwork with difficult child 3) to include half-points. We're not diluting it in any way, simply halving the requirement and at the same time halving the points needed. It still must balance, but lately he's not been able to achieve his previous standard, so I'm trying to make it attainable again.

    As for your husband browsing the site - mine does this, at first he was just lurking to see what I was writing because we would then talk about it when he got home. But increasingly, he checks out a lot more and has joined the site in his own name.

    Something to watch, it's the way the site works - if your husband uses your long-in to browse, then anything he reads that you haven't, will register as 'read' and you might miss out on an update. For example I might start a thread and be on the lookout for any further replies; but if husband were also lurking using my log-in, I might open it up, not see the link highlighted as having a new reply, and when I found I was missing out like this I asked husband to log in as himself. It's a little thing, it all depends on how you will want to use the site.

    Also, husband & I have a good relationship with great communication. Despite this, we found our communication has improved even more, yet we hadn't thought it possible. All because he lurks here often.

  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't do the $500 kitchen bribe. I don't think it will work in the long run because I don't think it will become a routine. Even if she can actually hold everything in for a month, it will likely follow with an explosive aftermath and she may demand more bribes after that. For all you know, she may have a child's mood disorder--those kids CAN'T hold it in and are VERY defiant until they are stabilized. Sounds like bio. dad had some mental health issues. Unfortunately, they are often inherited. If you can, I'd try to get her evaluated by a Psychiatrist (with the MD).

    I think it's both good and very sad that you need a plan of escape, but I'd do the same exact thing.
  16. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    If I had a child who was sleeping for this short of time each night, I would want them evaluated by a neurologist as well as have a sleep study done. Sometimes issues like seizure activity, restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, etc can be undiagnosed and impact not only sleep, but consequently have significant impact on behaviors as well.

    Have you tried melatonin to help with sleep?
  17. 2daughters

    2daughters New Member

    I haven't tried the melatonin for her sleeping yet because I've been warned off it. I have tried giving her cold chammomile tea a few hours before bed, which did help until she decided that she didn't like the taste of it.

    I've talked to my husband about the kitchen play set. He'd already bought it, and it's sitting in the garage in its box still. I explained to my daughter that she can get that after she has 30 good days. I told her that each day she has a good day, she'll get to pick out a toy. Once all those toys are gone, she'll be able to get the kitchen. The "rules" that are in place for that are 30 "good days", each day getting rewarded, and once those toys are gone then she's entitled to the kitchen. I don't expect perfection from her, or for her to be able to go 30 consecutive days without having a meltdown.

    My husband and I have talked at length about how to properly discipline her, and how to pick our battles. I've noticed, with myself anyway, that I'm starting to be able to tell the difference more between a typical child's behavior and her having melt downs. Unfortunately for myself, one of her meltdowns happened while a neighbor was around and I got quite a bit of the "you're not punishing her properly, if she was my child I'd ..." I tried to explain a bit about the ODD to the neighbor, and in his defense he did try to understand it, but that day ended up with me in tears and having my own melt down in private. husband and I are really piling on the praise for the good behavior, and giving rewards as often as possible for them. The bad behavior from her gets analyzed closer and if it's not a fight worth fighting then we just let it go. We do get a lot of raised eyebrows from people but that doesn't bother me as much anymore.

    We've actually just had a couple of really long days away from home, and she's done really good with them. I wasn't able to give her much warning ahead of time, so I was a little nervous about how she'd react to them. Normally on long trips (one of them we were in the vehicle for 10 hours) they start off pretty good for the first hour and then she seems to get really annoyed. husband and I managed to keep it all positive the entire time, and let her have some input into what she'd like to see as well. The second trip wasn't as long as the first one, but she still didn't have any major meltdowns and was quite pleasant to be around. She ended up getting the new runners she's had her eye on for a bit, and she got a day full of treats as well.
  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    With neighbours, forget the long explanations about the condition. They won't understand, even a clinical label gets treated with scepticism. There was a discussion on our morning TV show today on ADHD, someone wrote in and said that ADHD stands for "Adults Delivering Halfhearted Discipline". So even after seeing this explained with authority and with balance, people are srtiull as blind as they want to be. A neigbour who openly criticises your parenting (in front of the child too, I suspect, from your decription) is not interested in learning anything new, he's only interested in sharing his wisdom and convincing you that a swift smack is all that is missing in your child's life.

    We've discussed this before on this site, and come up with a list of things to say at such times. Things like, "I'll go and pack for her now, thanks for offering to take her for a few days."
    Or, "Yes, I used to think that way too, now I know much better than to offer such advice."

    You need to learn to have faith in yourself as a parent. You are doing the best job you can under the circumstances.

  19. Stella

    Stella New Member

    2daughters, welcome to the site!! The fact that your poor daughter was molested by her dad could most certainly be the sole explanation for her behavioural problems so I am glad she is seeing a therapist who specializes in abuse. Has she ever tried play or sand therapy? I think this would be a great way for her to express herself as she is still so young.

    Re the play kitchen, whereas I am all for bribery once in a while I think a month of good behaviour may be setting your expectations too high and will be unattainable -especially for a four year old. It may be better to start off with a smaller reward with a smaller time limit - even start off with a day (including bedtime).

    Re the neigbhours, you really can't waste your energy caring what they think but I can see why neighbours would be genuinely concerned. If it feels like the right thing to do, you could try disclose a little information about her behaviour and leave it at that. You only need to say it once. Then you will be comfortable knowing the neighbours know your difficult child is not screaming because you are beating her up. It might make lessen the pressure a bit for you.

    You are doing a great job!!! ((HUGS))
  20. 2daughters

    2daughters New Member

    Thanks Stella and Marguerite.

    As far as the neighbor goes, when he starts in on how he would parent her, I just remind him that he's never raised a child that has gone through what mine has. That usually sets him off onto how horrible a person would have to be to do that to their own child. I do like the lines though, and will be keeping them handy to use.

    I've got the daily bag of toys for rewards towards the big reward. She seems to be doing really good with it so far. I do agree that a month of good behavior is a lot to ask of her, but I can't undermine husband though. Thankfully he's usually gone for a couple weeks at a time, so he isn't always here to see what she's going through each day. My idea of a good day, I think, is a lot different than his. Since he never specified what exactly he expects from her, I'm going with mine.

    Today was a good day. There was very little talking back, no swearing, and she only had one melt down. In her defense though, the melt down was caused by some teenagers that were picking on her...until I stepped in and got rude with them and ended up having them apologize to her. I did explain to her that what those kids did wasn't right and it wasn't a nice thing to do.