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Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by KYDad, Jun 4, 2009.

  1. KYDad

    KYDad New Member

    Hi all. I hope that I am posting in the proper area. I am new to this site, and could use all of the support I can get.

    The rundown is probably very similar to everyone else, my son (8) has ODD (undiagnosed, but fits the criteria noted in "The Defiant Child").

    My late wife passed 1/11/06, she did very little to curb this behavior when he was a child. He was 5 when she passed. He was quite indulged, against my wishes, and given the opportunity to make adult decisions for his life at an early age. As I was grieving, I did do some of this too, but the maternal grandparents took the ball and ran with it. Needless to say there are issues there. I will get into that with further posts I'm sure.

    Since my late wife passed my son has been continuing to be defiant, controlling, manipulative, and overall a pain in the a**. I am remarried to a wonderful, and very patient, woman. She has a son about the same age as mine. We had a daughter together last year. So it is a family of five.

    What we are seeing the most of is defiance. When we are not around, he does the VERY things we don't want him to do. Even the simplest of directions prompt questions from him. As a former Army interrogator (waterboarding *****!!) I recognized that the questions were a means of controlling the directions and steering the discussion to other areas. I have stopped explaining things, I simply give him a thorough set of directions and let him go at it.

    Anyway, the defiance extends to anything. There are no boundaries with him. From taking 45 min. showers, to talking when told not to. He is as good as gold when outside the home, but inside the home he is unruly and sneaky. He is not violent, we have not seen him go into tantrums, but he will get in these "moods" every so often where he does everything he can to defy us.

    I suspect some of this influenced by the previously mentioned grandparents. They saw nothing wrong with how my son was raised, and as far as they are concerned he is an angel. Of course he is with them, they are the Chuck E. Cheese of Grandparents "where a kid can be a kid" and do anything they want. There are no limits with them. In spite of my objections they would cater to his every whim, without regard as to how this might affect his home life. I finally had to tell them to stop buying him presents, because of the effects it had at home.

    Anyway, that is a brief idea of what is going on. I could elaborate, but I won't.

    We are currently in a punishing phase with my son. Right now he has no toys or books in his room. He is not allowed to watch TV or play video games with his step-brother. We have talked to him until we are blue in the face, but it doesn't seem to have any lasting effect on his behavior.

    He sees himself as on-par with adults, and is capable of making the same decisions that we do. I have emphasized lately (after reading the defiant child) that WE are the parents and HE is the child. We get to make the life decisions, and he must do what he is told. We will evetually get to teaching him to make the right decisions, but for now we are trying to get this point across. It has been difficult.

    I guess my question at this point is: "Does anyone have any other suggestions?"

    We are getting worn down fighting this single handed.

    Please help and/or respond. If for no other reason but to let me know that my wife and I are not alone in this fight.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome to the board.
    I would like to give you my impressions.

    First of all, ODD rarely stands alone. Would you be open to a neuropsychologist evaluation? THere is probably some underlying diagnosis driving his behavior. Are there any psychiatric problems OR substance abuse one either side of your son's family tree? Was his early development on target or did he have problems? Did he enjoy being held? DId he talk on time? Does he relate well to his same-age peers? Does he ever act like he doesn't "get it" as in "get life?"

    I hate to stick up for late wife, but being spoiled doesn't make our kids defiant, as you now see. You are throwing the book at him, but he is still not reacting to the discipline the way you'd like. It is easy to blame ex, but he is probably wired differently than other kids and always was. Plenty of spoiled kids turn out fine. I strongly suggest that you go back and start at Square One with a neuropsychologist evaluation. Just assuming he is defiant and "bad" isn't helping and won't help. It would help to know his age and how he does in school too. THe more details we have, the more we can help. One last thing: THis isn't a fight. It's hopefully an attempt to help the child--by finding out what is wrong and working with professionals. Disciplining him harshly is not going to change him. My hub was in the military and he also sort of expects kids to do what he says without the explanations and thinks a lot of stuff is discipline-oriented only, but he has softened up and lot and learned. THe truth is, likely your boy would be difficult no matter how he was raised by your ex or t he grandparents. Chances are that on one or both sides of his genetic family tree there are other difficult people, even if they failed to get a diagnosis. You need outside help. And it's not "Him against us and we have to win because we are the parents." It's "I want to find out why my son is unhappy (and making US unhappy) and try to help him, and I admit I can't do it myself.). None of us are trying to fix our kids on our own. And we can't tell you how to fix your son because we don't know what's wrong with him.
    See a neuropsychologist and probably a child psychiatrist would be a good idea as well. ODD just isn't a stand alone diagnosis, and we as parents are bad at diagnosing our own kids. Some of us don't like to admit anything is wrong with our kids either--we'd rather they be "bad" than have a disability. Sadly, that is usually not the case. Kids don't wake up each day to make us miserable. If your son is near his teen years, get him that neuropsychologist SOON or you may be facing a drug problem!
    Welcome to the board :D There is help out there if you seek it out.
  3. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    You are making a good start in recognizing his questions as a sign of manipulating away from the subject. We want so much for our kids to really understand that it is easy to fall into the answering their questions in the hopes that our answers will be enough to teach them. However, for them, they will continue to find that next question no matter what.

    Get the book "The Manipulative Child". I think you will like those techniques. You can borrow it from a library.

    We find that the largest challenge with most difficult children is that they do not react to discipline the same way as easy child's. When easy child's are disciplined, they receive the message that we are sending, "That was wrong - I better not do that again." When difficult children are disciplined, they receive the message, "I am a bad person" or mostly, "It is o.k. to hurt someone when they make a mistake." thus causing the power struggles that are common in difficult children.

    We have to be very creative and think outside the box to reach these kids. How do we get the message across that yes, they made a mistake but they are not a bad person and they can learn from their actions? How do we get them to recognize in themselves the person they want to be and work on their character? How can they see that disciplining is used to help them become the person they want to be?

    I think one thing that will help is to ALWAYS keep the focus on the issue at hand. Do not allow the manipulation that leads your focus off those issues. For most kids, they like to get the parent to focus on their own emotions. That is why they will throw in the "I hate you card" or the "So and So's parents are much better than you", ect. Our first instinct is to turn to ourselves to see what we can do better. However, we are doing things right! Why do we even look at that? Kids seem to know that when things get instense, ugly, emotional, we also have a hard time thinking clearly and tend to go along with the first solution which unknowling comes from the child and is usually not to their best interest even though they think it is. So, always stay calm and focused on the behavior.

    Finding positive ways to discipline is very hard but does work well for harder to manage kids. Remind them that their time outs are a way for them to regroup and feel better.
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Welcome to the site. I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your wife, even though it was a few years ago the pain is never gone.

    A few things stood out loud from your post. First, you have a good understanding of human nature. This is going to be vital. Second, as a military man, you are accustomed to order, to strict black-and-white following of the rules and to discipline. Unfortunately, you're going to have to back away from this, in order to win it back. I suspect your son is equally fond of order and discipline but not in the way you think. And by trying to impose your world onto his, you could be making the job much harder for both of you. But there ARE other ways...

    As MWM said, ODD rarely is found in isolation. Plus you've never had him assessed, let alone diagnosed. I think that would be a really good beginning for you - organise a neuropsychologist assessment. It would pinpoint any underlying disorder, it would give you valuable practical information on his talents as well as the areas where he may need support and it would also be a 'snapshot' into his capabilities which in years to come will be a valuable resource. So even if he were a perfectly compliant and capable child, a neuropsychologist assessment done by a well-qualified professional is NEVER a waste.

    As have the rest of the family, this child has been through a fair bit of upheaval and stress. The loss of his mother must have been a huge change for him. Now you have remarried and there are also two other children. Another big change. This all can take its toll and alone could be responsible for a lot of problems. However, a few things in your description sound a lot like Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) to me, as in high-functioning autism or Asperger's. And this needn't be bad news at all, especially from your point of view. However, a kid with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) (especially the smarter ones) will be a major handful while ever you try to control him or use strict punishment methods to make him into what you want him to be.

    I grew up with strict parents who used methods similar to yours. My father had been a military man, later on the land. I was one of a large family and to manage a large family back then people used strict control and almost regimented parenting. I saw good results and swung into my own parenting with the same ideas and training. It worked - for the first couple of kids. For a while. But I ran into trouble with the last two and especially as they got older I realised that all the things I had learned about how to be a good parent, were no longer working. In fact, seemed to be making the problems worse.

    I knew the problem wasn't bad parenting because I had my older two kids to display as examples of how good a parent I was. You haven't got this (I gather) and so while you are currently trying to find an explanation, your mind is still ranging into the "what can I blame?" area (this is natural, we all do it) and in the absence of his mother to discuss this with, this is the explanation your mind seems to have settled on for now.

    However, I also feel that the answer is going to be far more complex than this. Sorry. Too often, parenting gets blamed when there is often so much more to it.

    I won't go into too much detail - there is so much to share with you, so much help we can give you, but it needs to be in manageable doses. So here is the beginning, including summary to date:

    1) I do not think this is a parenting problem.

    2) I do think that regardless og whatever is going on with your son, he needs a neuropsychologist assessment. A good one. The good ones cost money and take hours, but the results are really worth it both now and for years to come. They are an investment in your child's education/upbringing/future.

    3) If your son has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), chances are he also has an underlying condition, possibly Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) but also there are other possibilities.

    Now the new stuff:

    4) Read "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. It might annoy you a lot to begin with because the methods described are possibly similar to the way your late wife handled him. However, I speak from personal experience - the book helped me find a way that worked, not only for my difficult child but also for my other kids. The standard parenting methods that I had begun with just weren't working for the younger two; when I made the change I didn't have to have two different methods for the different kids, I was able to make the change for all the kids and still see it work for the PCs. "The Explosive Child" helped me understand not only what to do, but why. And the WHY was what really helped me get a grip on this because it helped me learn how to think on my feet.

    5) You will find that punishment will not work, not in the long-term. It also makes you seem like a controlling, bullying ogre to the child and all he will be learning is that he has to do what you say because you are bigger and can impose your will. One day you will not be bigger. He is waiting for that day. With "normal" discipline, we count on kids understanding WHY we have these rules, before they get to the "bigger" stage. But if you have a difficult child you run the risk that he will not 'get' this by that time. There are a number of conditions where this can happen. Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) is one of them.
    Because punishment isn't the solution, you need to find a more workable alternative.

    6) You already know from your training that you can't risk taking on a battle with him that you don't win. NEVER lose. It is better to never take on a battle at all, than to take it on and lose. I suspect his mother instinctively knew this.

    7) A number of things you describe in him really stand out for me, as things which are really important to him and which you have wisely noticed but possibly not yet recognised the significance of.

    * He doesn't distinguish between himself as a child and you as the adult - in his eyes all are equal. This I know well, difficult child 3 still is like this although he now understands this intellectually. However, it is the ultimate in egocentricity. Example - difficult child 3 would read a story to a 6 month old baby and expect the baby to converse with him about the book.

    * Defiance - interesting. Another way of looking at defiance is, determination to do what HE feels is appropriate. In other words, he is weighing up all input from all concerned but when it comes down to it, what HE wants to do is given equal or higher priority to what YOU want him to do. Often the reason for this relates to the previous point, plus he has his own ideas of what is wrong or right, and it doesn't necessarily mesh with your own.
    Example - difficult child 3 was told that a school rule was, "Don't hit other kids." The trouble was, other kids would hit him, often. But if he hit them back, he didn't know to do it out of sight of the teachers. So the outcome - difficult child 3 would get hit. He would hit back. difficult child 3 would get into trouble. The other kids would not. So in difficult child 3's mind, the school rule was modified and became "difficult child 3 will get into trouble for hitting other kids. However, difficult child 3 must expect that other kids can hit him and not get into trouble. If difficult child 3 gets hit by other kids, he has to take it." Another 'rule' difficult child 3 learned, was that first they call you names, then the hitting starts. One day (at a new school) a boy pushed difficult child 3 roughly out of the way and said, "Get out of my way, idiot."
    difficult child 3 just stood there in the kid's way and said, "Well go on, hit me."
    The other boy, to his credit, ran and got a teacher (because he thought difficult child 3 was trying to pick a fight). The teacher was the one who finally worked out that difficult child 3 was responding to what he had thought was a prelude to a beating, and just wanted the kid to hurry up and get the beating over with. difficult child 3 had meant, "First you call me names. So I know the next thing is, you hit me. So hurry up and get it over with."

    * Talking when told not to - we have this problem as well. Again, it's social inappropriateness. People often misunderstand about autism and think it means that kids with it are socially withdrawn. Well, not necessarily. Socially inappropriate is the thing. Often this goes hand in hand with being withdrawn, but not necessarily. difficult child 3 is a very loving, outgoing child who loves being around other people. He always has, although when he was getting bullied a lot he began avoiding kids who hassled him and also learned to avoid noisy, undisciplined social situations which he knew were hard for him to understand.

    * The need to control his environment - the questions also. It fits. When everything around you is hard to define, then having control as much as possible becomes your way of understanding. A kid with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) who is undiagnosed and unsupported will often try to find his own way of coping. If the kid is bright (as Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids often are) he gets to be very adept at hiding the disorder (not to be deceptive, but in his attempts to appear as normal as possible, they really want to belong). The brighter the child, the more they adapt and find ways to fit in. That's when some kids use avoidance as a coping tool.

    So advice for now -

    organise the neuropsychologist appointment.

    read the book "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene.

    keep a diary on him, observe him, record the interesting stuff as well as the odd stuff and the frustrating stuff. Also 'analyse' him, write down YOUR assessment of your son; his strengths, his weaknesses, his interests, his likes and dislikes. Anything unusual.

    play fair with him. This will be VERY important. WHatever your discipline method, be consistent. Where possible, plan ahead and set up rules with his involvement also. For example if you want to write out a schedule for him for the evening, sit down with him and involve him in the choices. "What time do you think would be appropriate for lights out? Why do you feel it would be a good time? Do you think it allows you enough hours of sleep?" and so on. Work from there with things like, "How long do you think you need to bathe? Why do you feel you need that length of time? Is there any way we could make it possible for you to do it in less time? Some other way to do what you feel you need to to, without using up so much hot water?"
    THis is not "giving in" to him, it is involving him which is showing him respect. IN doing this, you are teaching him how to show respect. Kids like this, who have the same rules for themselves as for others, learn best when you do to them what you want them to do to you. So the more you punish him, the more you are teaching him how to punish you. The horrifying outcome of this (and I got it in stero!) is when you hear YOUR voice coming back at you. I still have nightmares about easy child 2/difficult child 2 at 3 years of age, standing there with her hands on her hips glaring at me as I tried to hand her a cup of milk. "I told you I wanted JUICE!" she shouted. "Don't you ever listen?"

    Oh, and if you try to punish this "insolence" you get exactly nowhere, because after all, you have modelled that exact behaviour for her, so of course she will use it back! She is 22, she still does it, but I handle it differently now. I have to stop and say, "Enough! Let's try this again. I was not being adverarial, why were you?"

    Your ultimate aim is to raise him to be respectful, obedient, hardworking. There are a number of very different ways to do this. You always need to have your ultimate aim in mind when you try to discipline and think, "What is going to be the best way to teach this?"

    There is so much more, I think that is enough for now. But a number of us have been there done that enough, to be able to help you. Also my husband is a member here ("Marg's Man"), I think you and he would find a lot of sympatico, I know he would be happy to help you also.

  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Wow, Marg. This is for YOU. Awesome post! You said what I meant to say only better. Yeah, there are Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) symptoms/Aspergers maybe. Could also have a mood disorder thrown in, but Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) stood out when I read that he thinks of adults as peers. Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids have horrible social skills and don't understand social norms and you can't make them think like typical kids. They do tend to think that all people are created equal. My Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) son, however, DOES understand that he is not the same as teachers, parents, etc. They are all so different.

    I'm really on board with that neuropsychologist evaluatioin since the child has never even been evaluated. Plain old parenting doesn't work with our kids. When we expect 1+1 to equal 2 because it SHOULD, it doesn't happen.

    Good post.
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    1 / 1 = 1

    1 x 1 = 1

    1 to the power of 1 = 1

    1 to the power of 0 = 1

    There are a lot of ways to give the answer "1" but if a person with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) makes all assumptions that only one particular operation is all that's needed, he won't cope when he meets a situation that requires different operators.

    What he needs is to learn, as if taught by rote lessons, that there can be a range of ways to get to the same destination. And it's OK for there to be more than one way. But it's tricky for anyone to learn this, although 'normal' people learn it eventually just by being immersed in it and living it. But someone with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) - they need help to learn it. Once they do learn it, though, it generally stayes learnt.

    Every kid is different, has slightly differnet gifts and deficits. A high-functioning Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kid is capable of learning a great deal even to the extent of seeming 'normal', graduating out of a diagnosis. difficult child 1 is definitely Aspie, but due to his history. I can still see it because I know what to look for. But his wife, who is very close to him, can't see it and insists he is "cured". In my opinion calling it a cure is to devalue the ongoing effort that difficult child 1 puts in, to make living a normal life seem so effortless. I look at daughter in law's mother and see Aspie traits. But she will never get a diagnosis because she copes with life too well. However, she does this by riding roughshod over people who get in her way. Now she is an adult, she can exert control over aspects of her enviroment which she feels entitled to control, such as her house. So when she insists on certain highly specific behaviours from people who visit, she gets what she wants or people are never invited back.

    A Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) person needs different handling in order to do as well as they can. But once they get their confidence and sense of self, as well as good self-understanding (which includes an understanding in a positive way of their own Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)) they can achieve wonderful things.

  7. Giselle

    Giselle New Member

    the other posters are more experienced than I am with specific recommendations and possible diagnoses and such, but I just have to say my heart breaks a little for this boy. Of course I'm not dealing with his defiance and whatever difficult behaviors that aren't described that might temper my feeling, but...I can only imagine how difficult it would be at his age to have what was probably his very sensitive mother to whom he was probably quite bonded be replaced by a stepmother, a stepbrother, a baby sibling, and a well-meaning but rigid father. He's no doubt got some issues that need therapeutic attention, but something about the initial post also makes me feel that there's a "culture clash" in what's going on internally with this boy and the way that the major authority figures around him are reacting to him. Suddenly all the rules in his life changed, and perhaps the way was not paved for him to handle them. He's probably very traumatized by all that's happened to him.

    Although I have a difficult child, I never was a difficult child myself. But even something in me bristles a little at the description of his life now. I think I would have reacted negatively to rigid authority too, and to go from being treasured and indulged by my own mother to a life of playing second fiddle to a baby (which is natural) and probably being treated a little second-class by his new mother relative to her own children (which is a little inevitable). In other words all styles of parenting do not work for all children; some parenting styles can probably make even certain temperaments of o.k. children behave in less than ideal ways; and it's hard to go from being treasured to being the low person on the totem pole and having a lot of what probably seem like arbitrary expectations suddenly put on oneself.

    I hope it's not out of line to say these things and I don't mean to be unsupportive. I don't know enough about the situation to know if it's accurate, just an impression.
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Giselle, you raise an interesting point about how this boy reacted to the changes, especially the baby. It would be useful to know, but I wonder - there may have been surprisingly little reaction. KYDad, you didn't mention any issues he may have with the other kids in the household. Not that it would be diagnostic (and we can't diagnose here anyway) but when you do eventually get to talk to someone, this could be useful information for them, either way.

  9. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I really don't think I can add anything, you have recieved some great advice. I would strongly encourage you to follow through with getting him evaluated.

    Just wanted to pop in and say welcome
  10. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    I too can't really add to the advice you have already received here. I'm sorry you had to find us but glad you did. This truly is a soft place to land and you will find a wealth of information and support here.

    I will add though, that I think you need to have one final talk with the grandparents. I don't know what your relationship is with them but I would definately talk to them privately and raise a few points.

    1. You know they love your son and I'm sure they miss their daughter horribly.
    2. You love your son also but his behavior is not acceptable. Period. You're not being unrealistic, you are the parent. Not your son and not his grandparents.
    3. You have rules at home for good reason. While it's normal and somewhat expected that grandparents will "spoil" a grandchild a bit more than the parents do, you expect your rules to be followed for the most part (or at least the biggies) while your son is with them. Not expecting him to follow rules at their house makes it even worse for your household and for him when he comes home. They are not doing this child any favors by basically teaching him that it's ok to act like this. He won't magically wake up one day when he's older and know how to act and behave like a mature, responsible person. It needs to be learned and worked on. That's part of what childhood and adolescence is about.
    4. While the last thing you want to do is keep them and you son from each other, if they still refuse to follow your rules, their visits will be greatly reduced and/or strictly monitored by you.

    This is just my opinion but something I would do given the same situation. My husband and I have cut off or restricted time out difficult child has spent with people for similar reasons although not with people as close as grandparent. It hoovers (our board has a self sensor feature so hoover is our "code" for s u c k s) to have to do that but sometimes it is in the best interest of the child.

    I just went back and reread some of the responses you have already received. Discipline types and expectations were mentioned and I want to add to it. Parenting styles, so to speak, vary from parent to parent but also from child to child. What you could allow/trust one child to do (difficult child or easy child), may not be the best thing for another child. As an example, when I was about 16, my grandmother was in the hospital a couple of hours away. My parents stayed with her and not only was I by myself for up to a week, I also went to her house twice daily. I had to feed and water the cows that she had and keep her wood stove going in addition to keeping OUR stove going. (Only source of heat and it was in the winter). I was mature and trusted enough to do this but given the same situation with my son? No way in hades he would be able to do this. Even the kids of some of my friends. Some of them I think could do this, others not and these are so called easy child kids. My point is, like others have said, you may need to change your style and your expectations. If it turns out that there is something else going on besides ODD (and as others have said, that is RARELY a stand alone diagnosis), you will have to adjust your handling of him and of situations to what can work best for him. My son can't be trusted with a lot of items in our house. We've talked and talked, grounded, told, worked on it in counseling....all kinds of things. In the end? We keep these things literally locked up. I hate living like this but it's the only thing that works. Would I like to see him realize and get that he can't mess with other's things? Sure. But, he hasn't gotten it yet so this is what we do. Punishment just doesn't work on this with him no matter what we do, say or want.

    Get some further testing for your son, see where that takes you and go from there. Pick your battles for now as, much as we all want obedient kids, sometimes it's just not worth the fight.
  11. KYDad

    KYDad New Member

    Oh boy. I wasn't quite prepared for the responses I'm afraid.

    Let me see if I can clarify myself.

    It wasn't an issue of "indulgence" (poor choice of words) so much as no follow up to saying no. No would be repeated, over and over and over but nothing was ever done to enforce the no. This was my wife, her parents, and her sister who all did this. It was ok to them to threaten a punishment, with no follow through. Eventually, any parent must back up their words with some action so the child understands that the word represents an action that "could" come their way if they don't stop what they are doing. This was not the case with their family. Eventually, after hearing "no" enough (which was around about the fifth or sixth time) I would intervene and enforce the no. According to them I was being too harsh. I think it is harsh not to follow up, because to not do so would be to confuse the child into thinking that there are no consequences for inappropriate actions.

    Ok, the treasured issue. He wasn't really treasured, he was allowed to do whatever he wanted to do. The adults (in her family) did what the children wanted. They were cruise directors really. They were the source of entertainment, food, snacks, candy, toys. You name it. They were not taught any form of respect for adults. I witnessed son's cousin yell at his mom "You're stupid" with absolutely no response from his mother. None. This is an incident that was repeated over and over again.

    It wasn't treasured, it was put upon a pedestal and revered. That is not what most people would determine to be normal by any degree of standard.

    OK, what the heck is a difficult child? I like to think myself a resonably intelligent person, but I can't figure this out.

    Thank you Marguerite for your repsonse. It was quite insightful. Let me elaborate on the areas that you are missing.

    My son is quite intelligent. He is going into the 3rd grade this fall. While he was in second grade he read at a 5th grade level. All of his assesments indicate that he is one of the brighter students in his class. And again, his behavior at school has been normal. There have been instances where he feels that he can do what he wants, when he wants. After talking with me, the teacher employed what I suggested and he corrected. He gets along with the other students pretty well, no issues that come to mind.

    He has instances of displaying rude behavior at school. This happened twice. The first time was just before winter break. The kids had exchanged gifts at random (boys bought for boys, girls for girls). My son didnt' like what he got, so began crying and was noticibly angry over his gift. It was so obvious that the teacher contacted me about it to let me know what happened. For that, if it's wrong it's wrong, I made him write a letter of apology and read it to the class when they got back form break.

    The other instance was when the teacher was playing a music CD that she personally brought for the kids. It was music for children and the other kids liked to dance and sing to it. On several occasions he expressed a dislike for it. Well, the last time this happened he said to his friends "This song is stupid and so are you!" This was loud enough for the teacher to hear. Knowing the situation, she contacted me right away.

    Now, just in case you are thinking that the teacher is an awful person, I requested that she tell me when these things happened so that I could respond to it.

    If he doesn't win games he gets upset and frustrated. If he doesn't get his way he will sulk and pout, and then let his frustrations out on others. Not violent, but backtalking and rude delivery of his statements.

    On average he gets along well with the step-brother. For the most part they act like siblings, with the normal sbling rivalry and bickering. On occasion it has escalated to one or the other crying and decrying something as unfair.

    Our daughter is something a little different. We are protective of her as she is small and defensless. Due to my son being sneaky and manipulative, we have erred on the side of caution and kept my son at some distance from her. Simply put, we can't trust him with her because we can't trust him to do what we say when we aren't around. We let him interact with her as long as one or both of us are present, but not alone. He likes her, and has expressed no form of negative feelings toward her. He smiles at her, and tries to get her to laugh. I don't see much wrong with him in that department.

    The one thing we did notice is that he seemed overinterested in her genitalia. He made the comment that he "wants to see her butt." We disuaded this quickly and he keeps his distance.

    We have made progress with my son, that is what gets me to think that this is able to be dealt with. He used to throw tantrums and yell and scream. He hasn't done that for over a year now.

    He takes his punishment now without whining or complaint. We had significant issues with him lying. He "appears" to have learned that lesson and has been telling the truth more and more even when it get him in trouble. He now understands that if he lies it only makes it worse, rather than telling the truth and getting less punishement.

    What prompted him getting everything taken out, was a series of events over a two month period of time. We kept telling him that his behavior was going to get him there. Well it did. When he was babysat last Tues. he was grounded to his room for the day. He had all of his toys and books at the time, so he had plenty to keep him occupied and entertained. The only rule was he had to stay in his room until he was called down by the babysitter. When we come home, we find that he came down numerous times on his own to ask questions and to show the babysitter his things. When we found out, that was the straw that broke the camel's back. It is at that point I took all of his stuff and put in the closet. Now, once he has behaved for a reasonable period of time, he will earn back his stuff a little at a time. That is the plan.

    I have made great strides at being consistent in his discipline. I wasn't so good at it, as I felt sorry for my son for a long time. I can't do that anymore because I don't want to cripple him.

    He reponds to what I have dubbed a zero-tolerance policy. If he's done' something wrong or inappropriate. I explain why, make him restate it, and then inform him the next time he does it there will be no warning only punishment. Believe it or not, he does in fact respond to this. He remembers not to do it again. Ususually he tests the boundary a few times, to see if it is actually there. Once he realizes that it is there to stay, he stops.

    I will look into a neuro-psychiatric assessment and see what can be done.

    MDW- The grandparents smoked weed, I think the Grandfather still does. His mothers family are all difficult people, who are more than likely undiagnosed. His development was on par with his peers, accelertated in some areas. He has speech issues (pronunciation), and is a little shorter than others his age.

    To all others, thanks for the responses. At least I know I'm not alone now.
  12. KYDad

    KYDad New Member

    Ok mstang...have you been looking me up or googling me? kidding.

    This is precisely what I said and did with the grandparents. About 2 years ago, I limited their time with him. I explained and explained what I wanted, why, and the reasoning. All they did was circumvent it, or try to get me to back down. "Is it really all that important that he not sleep in the same bed with his Grandmother?" or the classic line used by all of them at one time or another "What's it hurting?" huh????

    I finally did tell them to keep their distance for a while, so I could get him into counseling and attempt to get a hold on his behavior as they were enabling it. A month later they sued for Grandparents rights. "You forced us to do it." right.

    They now get 3 hrs. every other weekend, not in their home and not around the cousins. The day of court I offered them 6 hours everyother weekend with no stipulations. They rejected it because as I later found out..."it wasn't enough time." Now they want me to just forget the whole court case and put that behind us. Sure they do, it didn't work out for them trying to bully me and get a court to do it for them.

    Trust me, I tried and tried to talk to them to get them on board. They just refused to hear any of it. "He's as good as gold when he's over here?!" Of course he is, he is getting exactly what he wants, when he wants it, and how he wants it. It's like the lunatics running the Asylum.

    But I digress...this is one topic that gets me started and in a hurry.

    For the record, I don't display any of this to or in front of my son. Unlike them, I don't want to bias him against his grandparents.

    They are not the source of the problems with my son, but they certainly didn't do anything to avoid it either.

    Also, I read a few times where it was stated that my late wife "instinctively" knew my son, and how to handle him. Not to argue but...she complained repeatedly about his behavior and why he did the things he did. She didn't understand it either. She also didn't like her parents going against our wishes on what we wanted done with our son. Or her sister coming over to our house to swim with her brats, trashing the house, and then leaving it to the cabana boy (AKA me) to clean up when he got home from work. Did I mention they all did this while she was dead tired from the Chemo??

    Can you say enablers??? I can. Good...I knew you could.:D
  13. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Wow. Sounds like such a lovely family. Maybe they thought all of the chaos would distract her from the chemo? Poor woman. :hammer: I think you are related to some of OUR families! LOL

    As for the difficult child, it means Gift From God aka the child that brought you here. Being a military man, you'll understand that we have our own language and acronyms here. You can go to (I think) the FAQ page and find the post about this. For now, here's a quick rundown:

    difficult child = gift from God
    easy child = perfect child(dren) (or the ones that don't drive you unusally bonkers)
    psychiatrist = psychiatrist or doctor that does medications for the child
    therapist = Therapist or counselor
    husband/wife = Dear husband or Dear wife
    SO = Significant other

    We have also developed our own dialect here because of the censoring feature on the site. I mentioned in my previous response that something hoovers because the site will censor the "real" word. Carp is also used alot as the word (when you switch the a and r) will be sensored also. Curiously though, hell is allowed.

    You may also want to make your own signature like the one that shows at the bottom of my post. I believe there is a post on that also at the FAQ page and you can go to USER CP and edit/create signature. This helps us keep things straight and know who/what we're talking about when we respond to someone.

    I had to chuckle about the grandparents suing you for rights. I always love it when people try something like that and have it (and deserve it to) backfire. Just evil like that I guess! :tongue:

    A note about school behavior vs home behavior. That is actually pretty common with our kids. There are many theories or supposed reasons for this although it can vary from situation to situation. Sometimes it's the child that can hold things together just long enough to get through school, sometimes it is the medications wearing off once the child is home, sometimes the child feels safe to "unload" only at home and sometimes it just is. Whatever the reason, I know a lot of folks here have had difficulty with their child's school getting on board with treatment plans or services because the child is "just fine" at school and doesn't give them a bit of trouble. Then you have kids like mine who threw chairs and cussed out the teachers. :slap:

    My honest opinion though would be for you to stick with getting an assessment done. It sounds like there are some mental health issues on his mother's side (you think?) and just like anything, they can run in families. No one here is qualified to diagnose but the combined experience and knowledge on this board would put quite a few professionals to shame. Marg for example is one of the "experts" on autism. Others are quite knowledgeable on education laws, Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s (residential treatment center), available services in various areas and drug use/rehab. You tend to pick up information here that may be outside of what you are dealing with but we have our "specialists" also.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2009
  14. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    mstang quote, "Curiously though, hell is allowed."


    Of course it is "allowed". If it wasn't we would not all be living it from time to time or day to day!

    KYDad, I applaud your involvement with your son. It looks like he has come a long ways and I know your interest in him is helping with that success. Your teachers were great to include you in your son's schooling experience. I think being able to personally be the authority figure at the school has helped your son stand up and recognize you as the authority figure at home. He knows that you will always know where he is at behavoral wise.

    I think you are doing a great job and will find a lot of common ground in "The Manipulative Child" book. Don't let the title mislead you. It is not a negative look at any child. It explains how the behavior comes about and gives suggestions on how to correct it. Maybe it should have been titled "The Manipulative Behavior" instead.

    I am glad you are finding things that do work for your son and are looking for more options. Every kid and every situation is different and the more options we have to pull out the better prepared we are.
  15. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I do like what you've arranged with the teacher. We also found that having really good, fast feedback form the class teacher was very effective.

    I won't be at all surprised to hear of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) diagnosis, or similar. The reactions, the now-acceptance that telling the truth is better than always getting caught in a lie (because he's bad at it); the extreme concern of wanting things gonig his way all the time (including loudly expressing his own distaste at others' choices on his behalf, as in a present, or music being played). On the topic of music, we've also noted that certain types of music are preferred, others disliked, often based on whether there are shrill notes being played. There can be all sorts of reasons for an extreme like or dislike of music, in much the same way you can get extreme like or dislike of certian textures. I found that some clothing would be refused to be worn by some of my kids. difficult child 1 had some shirts he refused to wear until I removed the label from inside the collar.

    It varies - difficult child 3 doesn't seem to worry about textures in clothing these days. He used to have a preference for towelling but otherwise would wear whatever I wanted him to.

    I know I recommended "The Explosive Child" - as with anything, read it but choose what feels right and leave the rest.

    Nothing you told me about your son surprised me. In fact, it all sounded very familiar. I really hope we can help.

  16. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    My father was retired military. My older brother is a retired Air Force colonel. I have great respect for the military BUT...;)...military men are not usually acclimated to providing the kind and gentle touch that is needed by many children. Furthermore there is an inherent difference in
    the parenting styles between sexes. in my humble opinion the bond boys form with their Moms in the early years really define their role in later life. My brother is highly educated, charming, attractive, served in Korea and Vietnam. He also attends mass more than once a week. His son was very tight with his Mom. His son was bright and handsome but did not jump to attention when his Dad spoke. At the age of 15 my brother solved the problem of having a difficult child by showing his the "gate" at the Air Force base where they lived. My sister in law stood by "her man" and let the teen go.

    I am giving all this background for a reason. You probably are all that my brother was/is and perhaps lots more. Your post, however, sounds alot like a lopsided game of Who's Good - Who's Bad. Your little boy is alone on one side of the net and you, your wife and the others are "united" on the other. You are expecting him to conform and move on. He is a child who needs a proper neuropsychologist evaluation and the very firm belief that he is loved and will be loved as you seek the right answers together.

    After raising (for the most part) four girls and four boys over a span of almost fifty years (with only one still at home!) I can assure you with 100% certainty...IF your son knew how to be exactly what you want him to be HE WOULD DO IT! No child wants to be the unpopular, odd man out in his own home. Find professional help for him and for you. I'm betting that the future will be much brighter once everyone understands each other. DDD
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think that there should be an emphasis here on taking this child in for a professional evaluation (NeuroPsychs are best). He can't do this alone. None of us are doing this alone. We are too emotionally involved in our kids, and we don't have the skills to diagnose. I think that should be the first thing you do--evaluate him by a neuropsychologist and don't guess. JMO
  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I must be missing something. You wrote that your son fit the criteria for ODD and he was allowed to make adult decisions when he was a child (when his mom was alive). Ummm...he is still a child. A young child. As far as I can tell from the things you have shared here, I cant see much that would give rise to an ODD diagnosis.

    He talks back? Ok. He asks annoying questions? He is a kid. They do that. He wont stay in his room for an entire day? I couldnt get my teen to do that.

    I think you are expecting too much out of an 8 year old. Maybe therapy would be good so you could get some parenting classes to learn how to parent more effectively. Kids arent little soldiers.
  19. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Having him evaluated is definitely a good idea. We have had many issues with the kids' biomom and, although I'm pretty sure difficult child 2 will have a spectrum diagnosis, difficult child 1's issues all see to be related to being allowed to do whatever she wanted with no consequences - except being beaten for no reason.

    So now that difficult child 2 is being allowed to do whatever he wants on the weekends, we're starting to see some more adversarial behavior from him. So... working on that too.