New Here

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by KitKat, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. KitKat

    KitKat Looking for Answers

    Hi everyone

    I'm new here - I am a 47-year old stepmother of a 15.5 year old who was diagnosed with ADHD/ODD in 2002. ODD has progressed to CD at this point with no end in sight. He lived with my husband and me (his bio dad) from the age of 6.5 until 14.5 and then went to live with his mother. Although we knew the new arrangement might not work out, we did it anyway as our family was being destroyed by his behaviour, and we had not until that time received any assistance whatsoever from the mother. Fast forward ahead to today. He failed his school year while he lived with her, did what he wanted, did not do what he didn't want to do and was basically unaccountable for his behaviour. He is aggressive, violent at times, verbally abusive and has now been kicked out of school 10 times this year. Caught using pot, not taking his medications (concerta only) and refuses - absolutely refuses - to participate in any kind of sessions with psychologists or social workers. Last night a family assistance worker who has been helping us placed him in an emergency shelter for three days as a means of "cooling off" (he was kicked out of school again yesterday for assaulting a teacher). The shelter will only hold him for three days and then he'll be back. His mother has stipulated that she does not want anything more to do with him and although she did not deign to contact my husband with this news, we got it from the social worker. You might be getting an idea of the family dynamic right about now.

    I have had this kid in therapy, have been to therapy with my husband, have had him assessed at a university learning clinic and have gotten him a "shadow" at school (that was a few years ago - resources have run out since then). His sister lives with us also (has since the age of six due to security/lack of structure issues at her mom's house) and my husband and I are also blessed with a six-year old who is being manipulated by his older brother and has also been injured by him on various occasions over the past few years. I am glad I found this site again (I used it in 1999 when I first suspected my stepson had behavioural issues) and I am glad to have this additional resource. We have alot of work to do right now including changing his school and fighting for more social resources. Private is also an option but there is absolutely no sense of urgency with any of the professionals we've dealt with over the past nine years.

    More later but I'm glad I found the site again. Hopefully I'll be able to find some more tools to help us all with this battle.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi. Wanted to welcome you. I'm not very familiar with what Canada has in the way of supports so I can't help there. If you were in the US, I'd say I wanted this kid re-evaluated if he was willing to do it and, if not, maybe put in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) so he can't hurt anybody.
    I'm sure others will have better suggestions. Glad you're here.
  3. Lostparent

    Lostparent New Member

    I know it may sound crazy but have you thought about Kick Boxing or Karate? I know,why would you give someone prone to vilonce more weapones? Look at it the other way though.It will teach hims self controll and disapline.Just an idea.
  4. KitKat

    KitKat Looking for Answers

    Re kickboxing etc my stepson was enrolled in soccer as a youngster. That went well except for when he was at his mother's house she frequently had "other things to do" and he missed his practices and games. Then we signed him up for football and the same thing - she said when he was at her place on weekends she wasn't going to "drag him all around town" and disrupt her own schedule. He always wanted to play hockey but in my area (famous for spawning NHL players) the game is violent and we didn't think he should be taught how to use his body and a hockey stick as a weapon. I tried to get him into red cross swimming but was told not to bother as he needed to be there on all weekends, not just half of them. We finally signed him up for hockey late this fall when he came back into town to live and his first game... guess what? Huge fight - gloves off. Since then it's been good - he's very talented and scores almost every game. The last two weeks however have been bad at school (suspended for total six days) and his case worker made us promise to cancel his hockey. I was not in agreement as it's the only good thing he does - but I didn't have a say.

    He does not answer to discipline, will not exercise self control and manages all of the members of his family. His mother alternates between throwing him out of the house and letting him live there but ignoring him when he is there. The time he spends here is structured and he receives discipline but balks at it and gets extremely aggressive. When he comes back from the facility on Friday he will be coming here as there is nowhere else to go. I have made plans to send my youngest to my Mom's this weekend (first time EVER that he will be away from his Mom and Dad) but I am scared that my stepson will do something violent. He has before. Calls to Youth Protection are not taken seriously as every time I call they say they won't do anything because he's not in a full blown crisis. What does it take?? An injury or what? I feel it coming...
  5. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    KitKat, welcome. I'm sorry you're struggling so much.

    I'm wondering whether your SS has ever been evaluated by a child psychiatrist. From your desciption, it sounds as if he has more going on that ADHD/ODD. Even if he were taking his Concerta, it might not be the right medication to address his issues.

    Again, welcome and hang in there.
  6. KitKat

    KitKat Looking for Answers


    He was evaluated in 2002 for an entire day by the McGill Learning Clinic staff. That consisted of neuro-psy, physical condition, a bunch of other tests that addressed his ability for cognitive thought processes etc... and out of that diag they weren't sure if he was intellectually compromised or if he just was being obstinate! This is a group of people who make it their lifelong work to evaluate and diagnose learning and behavioural issues in children, and they still couldn't figure him out. Anyway out of that we went onto the Ritalin-type drug and it did work for awhile. He's now 15.5 yrs old and is on 54mg of Concerta which I'm hearing is not adequate for his weight group. Since he's come back here to live more locally with his mother we will pick up and get him re-assessed. My frustration revolves around the social system's complete apathy in the area of assistance. We get with someone for about 10 weeks and then they drop off - either pregnancy, burnout or quitting.

    Thanks for letting me vent!
  7. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Really haven't much to offer this morning - just popped in to welcome you back to our understanding little corner of the world. :flower:
  8. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Hi there and welcome,

    I don't know Canadian systems or protocol, but here in the US if you can get him placed in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) - MOST of them have what is called a TDC program - max 60 days placement. It's for HIGH risk behaviored kids. They are locked in - like a hospital and have intensive treatment (or so I'm told). haha.

    As far as the hockey - the fact that he had a fight - shows that he has low impulse control and aggression. Could you work it with a coach that since he IS so good - they could be made aware of his behaviors - so they could help AND let him play? What does he like? What is it that he would like to do? The fact that he's 15 beating up on a 6 year old shows me he's a bully. So maybe you can do some research about bullies. If he's beating up on people why haven't the police been involved to get him in the court system for court ordered treatment?

    It sounds absurd I know - but I think about the other kids in your house who HAVE a chance to be different - but are under the gun with big brother. I really feel sorry for his situation of being in and out of Moms. One thing these kids need is stability. Being bounced back and forth doesn't help. (Not your fault) just making an observation.

    I would give him choices. Go to see a psychiatric, OR we're putting you in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC). And HAVE the placement in line then take him -

    It's hard to tell with these kids what is wrong - but we MADE our son go to the psychiatric - even if he just sat in the docs office and did NOTHING - not said ONE word. HE WENT and got in the habit of going - if I had to take my time to get him there - we were going to go. Eventually he did start talking to the psychiatric. And he's about as hard core as they come for keeping his mouth shut in presence of dr's. After three years - and I'm not saying every visit was welcome - he did better. He was given a choice- his choice Dr. or Residential Treatment Center (RTC). If he said Residential Treatment Center (RTC) - we made arrangements and dropped him off. He did better in the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) than he did at home because of the schedules. He still calls one of his therapists from there - I'm glad they made a connection.

    Hugs - come back and vent often - it helps.
  9. KitKat

    KitKat Looking for Answers


    I rejoined this group yesterday and of the responses I've had, we're on the right track. We're calling Youth Protection again today with the school and case worker involved, parents as well; to give a cumulative, last-ditch report on what this child has been up to. Bullying smaller kids, bullying larger kids, torturing (killing) wild animals (that one freaked me out), smoking pot, verbal abuse, assaulting teachers, threatening suicide and the like. Youth Protection in Quebec is the only way he is going to get into the "Residential Treatment Center (RTC)" and get onto the program you are describing. We've called them more than several times but they say since he isn't in full-blown crisis (ie. murdering somebody, trying to hang himself, burning the house down or similar) they're not going to touch the case. He's currently in an emerg shelter for three days while we get this going (hopefully it'll get going!) and is having a ball - he's sequestered at night but free to roam the facility during the daytime. He even called yesterday asking if we could special-deliver his HAIR GEL (refused). Quite amazing how he spurns any kind of structure and negates any kind of serious intervention, just as if it were a normal course of events or was not happening. In my mind, he does feel emotion but is oh so good at hiding it - or something in his makeup is not enabling him to express his emotions except in this violent, aggressive way. He was referred for neuro-psychiatry but both the kids' hospitals in Montreal (french and english) refused him!

    Our objective with YP is to obtain:

    1. Psychiatric reassessment, looking for conditions other than ODD/CD/ADHD - reassessment of current medications
    2. Behaviour therapy - in an external environment - Residential Treatment Center (RTC)
    3. Alternative schooling - the resources do exist here in Quebec but are not published for fear of everyone clamoring for additional assistance
    4. Behaviour modification so that he can return to live with his Dad, brother, sister and me. Bio mom is not an option and we will take steps to make that clear. We want him HERE but need to be assured that family members will be safe. I don't care about money missing from my wallet; I DO CARE about the safety of all family members. He's been notified that he cannot live here until there are some changes and he gets some internal work done, which he always promises to do but then reverts to his original behaviour.

    My stepson has been warned over the past two months that any assault either on us (family) or in public to another individual will result in us calling 911. Trouble is, when he did it at school they did not call 911! Neither did they do so when he was caught with a group torturing and then killing squirrels and seagulls last fall. Not sure whose side they're on. Anyway, your words mean alot (thank you so much) and I'm determined to move forward. My husband marvels that I'm doing this for my stepson; I in turn marvel that he is such a fantastic dad and so good to all of us. We make a good team and are therefore very lucky in that regard. There is actually alot to be thankful for (I think)!
  10. mum2JK&TH

    mum2JK&TH New Member

    I don't have a ton to offer but wanted to welcome you. My son plays hockey and to be honest, it has been a savior. We have always been able to use this as his confidence builder and it's something he's good at. I have to say, dropping the gloves, especially at his age, isn't really surprising. Mind you this is coming from a mum who's 10 yr old got two 2 min. penalties for roughing and he's the goalie. I have to agree with you that taking it away isn't a good idea. If it's something he's good at and he enjoys, I would encourage it. Not to mention if he's in competitive, it eats up so much of their free time. I would maybe suggest seeing if his coach would set something up to help you though. Benching him for missed school or bad behaviors, suspending him for a few games, more severe punishments for use of drugs, ect. Unfortunately where we are, they never have the same coach season to season so I'm not sure what kind of relationship you have with his coach.
    I'm not sure how the hospitals work in Montreal but I know CHEO was helpful with us in the past when difficult child wasn't stable. I am guessing his age is making some things more difficult. We also went through the Royal Ottawa and they had a ton of resources for us. I don't remember though how it worked with the health cards there. I hope it works out with the YP.
    Completely off topic but is that your horse on your avatar?
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    The suicide threats has me thinking. Do you have a history of psychiatric disorders or substance abuse on either side of the family tree?
  12. KitKat

    KitKat Looking for Answers


    No substance abuse. I believe a grandfather had a psychiatric disorder.