new here-forgot to introduce myself (and really need some suggestions!!)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by reallytrying, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. reallytrying

    reallytrying New Member

    I am the mom of two beautiful daughters, ages 6 and 8. My husband and I have had a rough time with the youngest one and we were recently old she probably had ODD and ADHD. I posted about our history with her--and it made me realize just how weary I am of it. I feel like it's my fault, I'm pretty sure I have ODD tendencies and I do take medications for ADD and depression. She had GERD and cried so much as a baby. Also, I graduated from college a few years ago, and I feel like I could have been more attentive, but had papers to write and tests to study for. Because she has been so difficult and we have been so stressed, our 8 yr-old has some resentment issues (and I really don't blame her).

    Recently, we started the 6 yr-old on lowest dose of Focalin, and it seemed to make a difference in her being able to focus on getting control over her behavior. She hasn't hurt the older one since she started taking the medications-the older one has scars on her arms and legs from scratches :(

    Our little one has tried to jump out of our car on the interstate hwy, gotten out of her carseat (she's like Hudini) and attacked me while I'm driving, cursed me out, destroyed parts of our house, and told us she wants us to die. She does things to irritate us, but tells us she's really not doing it--and has no tolerance for us. She's got all of the characteristics of ODD. I've even noticed that when she notices that her behavior is getting better, she does something mean. She's so manipulative that sometimes I want to run away! And I'm no shrinking violet! I regularly have to remind myself that I'm the mom and that I can do this.

    I have dealt with defiance and bipolar disorder, and other mood issues with my students at school, but my students were older and I only had them for the school day.

    I really need some techniques to try with her. Any kind of conflict is exciting for her. How do I keep her from hurting us without restraining her? She seems to enjoy the restraint, because she gets to fight. If I put her in her room and hold the door closed until she calms down, she uses her toys to knock small holes in the wall!

    We are in family therapy, but it's like we need a coach for a case by case situation! Help!:confused:

    Also, I'm not up on all the initials--what is difficult child an husband and so on?
  2. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    Hello and welcome. You will love being a part of this wonderful website, everyone is so kind and supportive and you will learn alot. First let me say this: THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT!!!! It took me a very long time to believe that for myself. I blamed myself for years and carried so much guilt, I still struggle with that from time to time. I guess it is a natural reaction, after all we are the parents and who else can we blame? You are not alone, everyone of us knows exactly what you are going through and believe me it helps to connect with people who live similar lives. Parenting a difficult child (gift from God) is no easy task, it never ends and is so overwhelming and mentally and physically draining. My difficult child is very similar to yours, she is extremely verbally abusive and has been violent towards me as well as other members of my family. I find that when I engage in the madness with her it just escalates, when I am able to control myself and remain calm the rage ends much quicker. I do know what you mean though, my daughter gets a rise out of tormenting me so there are times when she will intentionally push my buttons. That happens alot. I wish I could give you some miracle advise that would make this all better for you, however I am still looking for it myself!!! You did the right thing coming here, others will be along soon to share their words of wisdom. Take time for yourself, take long baths, long walks , anything to gain some sanity throughout your day. You need to take care of yourself or you will be no good to your children. And you deserve some peace. Hang in there honey and God bless:)

    husband: Dear Husband
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi, welcome.
    It is exhausting and you're the mom no matter what. That means you're usually the target. That's the hardest part! You can take breaks--maybe spend a cpl days at a hotel or friend's house ea mo. I know it helps my sanity when I can do that, as these kids are unrelenting and seem to have superhuman stamina.
    I'm glad the focalin is working so far. From your description that's a good thing!
    What sorts of things do you need help with-on a case-by-case basis? Like, when you say NO and she has a meltdown? (We've all been there done that!!!)
    If any kind of conflict is exciting, you have to learn to take the conflict out of conflict. So if she argues with-something, you stop talking and walk away. Then you follow through with-whatever consequence is natural. It's soooo easy to let them drag us into stuff.
  4. reallytrying

    reallytrying New Member

    Wow-thanks to you both! I started running recently and it has helped with the stress (I can pretend that I'm running away-ha!).

    The most stressful times are in the car when I cannot control what she does to her sister. It's been since the medication. that she's actually hurt her, so that's encouraging. She will demand that her sister stop singing, or that the music be turned up/on, or that everyone be quiet because her "head hurts". But she will make shrill noises or sing loudly to annoy us if we don't comply with her demands. I'm trying to teach our 8 yr-old (sweet baby, but emotional when these things happen) to ignore her and I did explain ODD to her the other day so that she would know why I stop her from arguing with little one--it still doesn't seem fair in her eyes.

    Another situation we find ourselves in is evening tantrums. She is still very picky about food (thanks to the GERD) and she will begin asking what's for dinner an hour before we start on dinner so that she can start telling us she hates it (even if it's something she's eaten a million times!). I do the whole L&L thing where we wrap her plate up and offer it each time she says she's hungry. But, a hungry ODD kiddo is like a monster! This leads to her throwing her plate and/or drink somewhere and punching someone. This is when I usually "offer" to help her get to her room safely (meaning restraining her in a safe way). I'm so sick of restraining her, but there are holes in the walls where she has knocked chairs into them, or used her toys as destructive tools. This situation ends up with her going to bed early and me staying with her until she calms down. Should I even try to patch them up now, or wait until she's able to control her anger?

    She will fight over anything--space on the couch, wanting to wear dirty clothes (really dirty) out, she will even tell me she wants milk and then change her mind 3 times and throw a fit about not having what she wants. And we have never been the type parents that give in--she just never gives up. Maybe she needs to get her own drink? (maybe I'm beginning to understand this!)

    She regularly insults me, if I even imply that the answer will not be "yes".

    These are just a few of the struggles we often have. And although the medicine seems to be working, she still tries to tell us all how to do everything. Thankfully, she held it together at school. But as soon as we got out the door to go home, she would totally lose composure.

    I'm so glad I found this site--I even bought "The Explosive Child" yesterday based on someone's post I read here.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    in my opinion, this child sounds like way more than ADHD/ODD. She is scarring her sister and trying to jump out of a moving car, cussing, and destruction..sounds more like a possible early onset bipolar or something close to it. If that's the case, stimulants won't help her at all.
    I'd get a neuropsychologist evaluation. in my opinion, something is "off" and somebody (the professionals who diagnosed) really missed the boat. It's not unusual for that to happen, but it CAN be dangerous and you probably should follow up. NeuroPsychs test intensively--more than anyone else will.

    Good luck.
  6. losttheplot

    losttheplot Guest


    I have a 7yo son who could be related to your little one..... I had to move my son to the front of the car to keep him away from his sister otherwise he attacked all the time...... it also allows me to watch him a bit better but that doesn't work for everyone......

    I also have the rages with my son ....he was diagnosed ODD (but they say its more like CD...has attacked with weapons etc ...he is just so young for the name)....we have holes in every wall, and broken furniture all over the house...he gets that angry he walks into a room and attacks it.... ... he wont eat a lot of the stuff I make cause it looks bad or whatever so I make him go hungry.. if that doesn't work I let him have a s/w... he wont starve. i cant restrain him cause he screams that i am killing or suffocating him....... and i end up hurt.....

    I was told when he started hitting me with bricks recently to ignore My son, and walk away so i often put me and my youngest in time out....... we get the break and take a walk into another room....... Its not easy to ignore a child when they say they hate you and they want you to die or when they are attacking you but when you take away the attention they get for mucking up they will usually move onto something else.......

    the loud noises from her and the demand for quiet from others is more a sensory issue i feel...... My son cant cope with our noise cause he cant control the levels etc and he cant handle all the different things happening at once... so we got him earmuffs.... when he feels its too much he can put them on and drown us all out......I have to not ask him questions after school for eg so he can get his feet back otherwise he is so overstimulated that he will attack...(too many fluros, noise, demands, clothes are itchy etc)

    I don't profess to know heaps as we are about the same place but I do know how you fell...we stopped taking difficult child out in public cause the looks were more than I could bear and he just cant cope.....I want to send you hugs though and say I feel your pain.... and there are times it does get better.....

  7. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    a warm welcome. You've come to the best place on the web for help, maybe I am partial because I live here these days, but this site rocks
  8. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Welcome to our little corner of the internet, you are now officially a "warrior mom" :warrior:

    How is your insurance? If it will cover a psychiatric hospital stay, I would look and see what phosps in your area have a unit for little ones. The next time she hurts herself or another (attacking you while driving counts!!), have her admitted and insist on a full evaluation. It sounds a lot easier than it probably will be to get it done, but there is definitely something going on with her beyond ADHD & ODD.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This is to LostthePlot.
    Your son also sounds like far more than ODD. I really think you also should take your son in for a neuropsychologist exam. The extremity of the behavior is over the limit for ADHD/ODD and in my opinion he needs a more intensive evaluation.
    ODD rarely stands alone. Most kids with bipolar, many with autistic spectrum and various other disorders all manifest as ODD behavior, but it can and does get better or go away with the right treatment. If a child is so violent that you or the sibs are afraid, it's time to move on and look for another cause beyond what has already been found.
    Any therapist who diagnosed a seven year old with CD would make me head for the hills. CD is usually untreated mental illness and is rarely dxd. for children under 18. Something is very "off" there too, and I'd want to know what.
    If you have psychiatric problems, especially mood disorders and/or substance abuse in the family tree, a serious mood disorder has to be considered. If there were developmental delays/serious social issues you also have to consider possible Aspergers or Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified. I strongly recommend getting away from the "CD" man and moving on to somebody who will give you a more productive diagnosis and more productive help.
    Good luck.
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    wow, does that bring back memories! My son really had a thing about controlling what went on in the car. *I* could whistle and sing but his sister could not. *He* could scream but we could not. You get the idea. After talking with-our child psychiatric, he taught us how to do desensitization, but it works better when you do not have a toddler or baby in the car so they don't get beaten up on. It takes a while--days or wks--and it's in the same category with-taking a fake trip to the grocery store, so you can bail out the instant your difficult child throws a fit, or rerouting your errands just to show him/her that the world will not end if your routes are changed.
    I worried that things like that would send my son over the edge, but the dr assured me that he had worked in a psychiatric hospital and knew the diff between a kid that would go over the edge or not. He was right. (Boy are we lucky!)
    One thing I did (all on my own--a flash of brilliance) was to take turns letting the kids talk in the car on the way home from school. I learned that if I gave them ea five min, it would just cause a fight. It had to be everything or nothing because with-a difficult child, that's how their minds work. So one day, much to my easy child's surprise, I announced that only difficult child could talk all the way home. She was surprised but she kept quiet. (See, that's the diff between a regular kid and a difficult child, LOL!) He was caught so off-guard that he wasted the first 10 min. in total silence. Finally, after realizing he really did have a captive audience, he opened up and chatted happily all the way home. When we got home, I told them that that the next day it would be easy child's turn. No exceptions. difficult child was VERY good about it.

    You have to really think outside the box with-these kids!

    I'm thinking with-the food issue, you may want to pick one food to incl with-ea meal that your difficult child likes, and then tell her in advance that if she takes just one tiny bite of everything else on her plate, you will let her pick out one food that she loves, that everyone else has to take one tiny bite of. It's that control thing that they love. This might be a good combo of "eat what's placed in front of you" and The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. We often integrate his ideas with-our own.

    Losttheplot, I love the idea of earmuffs! I can see how noises would affect your son, being on the autism spectrum like that. Sigh. Why they get violent like that is beyond me. I'm tempted to email an adult aspie, maybe the one who wrote Look Me in the Eye, and ask, although he mostly just hid in his bedroom.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    This sounds to me (and I include LostThePlot's child here, too) like something else entirely. There seems to be sensory issues especially to sound. PLus the demanding behaviour and raging when you don't give them what they want instantly, even if "what they want" is changing minute to minute - sounds to me like a child who believes you have a direct link to their thoughts. You can also get this incredible egocentricity in Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), at least (which is what I really know about, from our experience). Probably other conditions too.
    And, of course, this would explain how the ODD symptoms would have developed/be developing.

    Step 1 - change your parenting approach (because whatever you're doing now, it's not working). Try to get out of your head that the child is doing whatever-it-is purely to be annoying. WHen she starts singing loudly in the car or making noises, I suspect her prime objective is to drown out the noises that are hurting her. I used to think my son (difficult child 1) was being annoying also, purely to upset us; in fact, he simply HAD to do it and was often unaware he was doing it, or was unaware it was a problem for us (even when we told him repeatedly).
    That doesn't mean the child won't start to do it deliberately if she realises it annoys you; but I suspect that still isn't the reason at the moment.

    Attacking the other child - that is a worry, but again, in her mind it is self-defence. "Keep away from me" signal. Again, it could be sensory - she needs a very large personal space especially from other children (and probably pets?).

    So when I suggest changing parenting, I'm referring to picking up "Explosive Child" methods and seeing how you go. I put this as Step 1, because you can do it while you're waiting for

    Step 2 - get the child thoroughly assessed by a neuropsychologist. If GERD has been positively confirmed then you have one factor. But it's nowhere near enough for what you describe. However, if (for example) your child is also Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) AND has GERD, that could greatly exacerbate the sensory issues a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kid would have. Also in any other condition with sensory issues.

    LostThePlot, I see your son fits the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) label (Asperger's) - I didn't look at first but I just scrolled back up to check. I would be looking at his sensory issues.

    And remember - for both kids, the world as they perceive it is what is normal for them. We sometimes forget that what we are used to, is what is normal. And our normal may not be their normal. So when they expect us as parents to be plugged right in to what their normal is, and we seem to not understand, they will rage at us and call us stupid.

    Another important point for Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids (and maybe others) - when they are extremely egocentric (and a certain amount of egocentricity is normal to begin with, then most kids slowly learn that the world does not revolve around THEM) then they do not learn appropriate behaviour by being told, or watching what happens to others. They only learn by what happens to them, and they learn by modelling. I said this on another thread yesterday - if you yell at your child, if you call your child frustrating, then your child will learn to yell at you and call YOU frustrating. After all, in your child's mind this is how people are supposed to behave. You set the standard. Surprisingly, these kids often want to be able to fit in and will therefore try to pattern their behaviour on the people around them and how those people behave towards them.

    We grow up with our own ideas of how to be a parent, based on our own experiences. Sometimes we are determined to be as good as our parents. Sometimes we are determined to be as different as possible to our parents. The end result, though, is we parent our children the way we were treated. And for a difficult child, this is often the wrong way.

    That's where "The Explosive Child" can come in handy. I found it helped me understand the way my child views the world, and once I could understand how he was thinking, I could better communicate to him what I wanted from him, and had better success in getting it. Some people think I spoil difficult child 3, or let him get away with too much. But if I used the methods they want to, it would undo a lot of progress we've made. (Heaven preserve me from people who want to 'help' and think they know more than I do, about my own child! Especially the people who walk away in a hurry when they realise they got it wrong, and thereby leave me to clean up the mess.)

    I'm glad you've found us. We can't diagnose here, but we can help with the day to day "at the coalface" hassles.

  12. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I echo what the other's are saying that it is unlikely that your child just has ODD. It is rarely a stand alone diagnosis.
    Here is what we usually recommend to parents when they are just starting down the path of discovering what needs to happen for their child:
    -Read The Explosive Child
    (Which you mentioned you just bought - yay!)
    It will help you immensely!
    -Find a neuropsychologist and ask that a full spectrum of testing be done. This will include probably a full day of testing, or maybe more. This will help decipher whether or not your child has learning disorders, sensory disorders, or some type of autistic or asperger features. There are many, many types of cognitive imbalances that can add to the mood liability of these kids.
    -Once the testing is conclusive, then work with the doctor on possible medication solutions. Many times, the stims like Ritalin & Focalin can help our kids focus, but it leads to more mood liability. You have to be really careful, journal everything, and not hesitate to tell the doctor you do not want your child on a certain medication because you have noticed it makes them X,Y, or Z

    You are not alone, we have all walked many miles in your shoes. Seek out every avenue of help you can now..........and life will be a lot easier. We are here for you.
  13. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Just adding in my welcome! Glad you found us!
  14. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Welcome! Even though it is hard to come to places like this. We do understand. Yes she does sound a lot like a lot of our kids... My, K is very much like that. I have had to pull over on the highway because she was pulling my hair out and throwing things at me screaming at the top of her lungs, her little sister crying in terror. I pulled K right out of the car and Restrained her right there in the gulley! Until she calmed down... we do what we have to. I really have had to let go of the "I am to blame, and she is doing this to me feelings"
    No child, especially this young wants to feel so bad. Most of these kids have a lot of chaos in their heads. With sensory issues, it is even worse. Noises are amplified, so much more than you could imagine, tastes, textures, sensations... It literally drives some crazy.
    The other thing, is you have to shelve some of your old rules, "The Explosive Child", if you are battling non-stop. If you are getting no where, stop fighting for now... dinner, why bother if it is just a huge fight for all of you. let her eat what and when she wants. If she is that unhappy and so is the whole house, really what is it going to hurt?
    We have had to do this with showers, teeth brushing, many things on occasion. You know your child, if she is in pure agitation over something and you are raging, why bother?
    Until your child is stable and you have the help you need for your whole family, shelve it... work on one goal at a time, so as not to overwhelm each other.

    My daughter has done the singing thing for years, it has not gotten better... sensory issues... but she can let me grind coffee in the same room as her now!!!
    Again, welcome!!!
  15. Weclome - I read some of the posts and they gave some good advice, and agree with everything that they said.

    The only other things I would add, especially if you are still looking for the docs and diagnosis, is to keep a running list of behaviors - for each kid if you have to. I do this now for difficult child to see when he starts to slip, mood charts often confuse me because he doesn't fit much of the BiPolar (BP) criteria - on paper.

    The other thing that works for us better than anything else is focusing on his reactions and not the behavior. It seems to be helping him identify where to actually start using all the stuff coping skills and therapy have taught him over the last 10 years.

    For safety, we started with allowing no touching at all between boys except in love. There were kept completely separate; and we would say why although it was not said in a confrontation way - always to keep things safe.

    We apply the same rules to both boys as much as we can. difficult child sees anything else as preferred treatment to easy child.
  16. reallytrying

    reallytrying New Member

    Thank you losttheplot and TerryJ2 (an everyone else too!)
    Although I am not ready to pursue more psychiatric evaluations, I have considered all of the mentioned issues. The focalin has helped greatly with her attention to her behavior--and it has been a week since she's hurt anyone here except me, and that's gotten to a minimum. She does do her best to irritate us in the car, though. I've also been keeping her physically active with activities that she's good at to build her self-esteem, which has gotten pretty low over the last 2 years from not being able to control her behavior. We have another appointment. next week with the psychiatric.

    We have implemented a consequence system and it's been too soon to tell if it will work (we put away toys or items that cause a fit for a week in a box with the day it will be returned written on it--just to make sure we follow through with it). So, when she asked for something because she has been "good" we tell her that we are sorry, but the box says "Sunday" and we remind her that we have to keep our word. Just like the talking minutes for the car for TerryJ2's difficult child, she has taken it pretty well. This tells me she really needs consistent rules and maybe more structure than her sister.

    Her tantrums have occurred mostly at night, so I will try a schedule for evenings. As for the car, I may hold off on outings with her until she develops some coping skills--I may try the earmuffs, as she will probably think it fun.

    It's been almost 2 weeks since we started the new therapy and the medications, so I'll give it a bit longer until I seek other evaluations--I know it sounds like I'm in denial, but I want to make sure this won't work before I put her on heavier medications.

    Thank you all so much! (I'm working on the signature thing!)
  17. tryinghard

    tryinghard New Member

    I want to add my welcome!! This is a great group of people. They have been my salvation.

    The Explosive Child was very helpful.

    Sounds like things are a little better
  18. reallytrying

    reallytrying New Member

    OK, today was the best yet--still a big tantrum, but our basic rules covered the consequence (item used to hurt taken away for a week, 30 minutes early bedtime for hitting not related to an item).

    I had to use the turn taking suggested with video games: one person gets to be player one and choose the games one day and switch the next time. That sounds so ridiculous, but both kids went for it.

    Also, I did remove myself and easy child from her tantrum to give us a "time-out" and that seemed to help us!

    Yesterday she did yoga with me and was actually calm for 45 minutes. We may continue that--the steady breathing is a good way to teach her about breathing when angry. I have not ruled out other issues, but I'm glad to see a little improvement!

    I am concerned about the medications having ups and downs during the day and her eating less.

    Started the book yesterday--boy! I am glad I bought it.

    Thanks everyone--it's nice to read all the suggestions and similar stories.
  19. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    With time, once the doctor is confident what dose seems to be best for her, he may put her on a long-acting form of ritalin such as Concerta. This smooths out the highs and lows over the day. It can also mean a lower dosage (in our experience) which can also make it easier to get food into them.

    I found that I had more food available to shovel into them before medications were on board (such as breakfast) and from late afternoon, as the medications wear off (even long-acting).

    A friend of mine whose daughter had no appetite and no strength to eat (muscular dystrophy) would follow the little girl around with food and take every opportunity to shovel in another spoonful. It's maybe not conducing to teaching good table manners, but it kept her food intake up.

    The yoga is a brilliant idea, and it sounds like things are changing positively in your household.

    Well done!