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Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by novangel, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. novangel

    novangel Guest

    I'll get into more detail later but I am a single mother to an 8 year old son that was recently diagnosed with ODD. All I know is I am so tired, frustrated and sad. I can sense that other parents talk about him and it really hurts my feelings.

    Everything I read scares me to death that he will eventually turn into a juvenile deliquent or addict. Now that the holidays are over I will be looking to get him into therapy. I just need to talk to other people that understand.

    I'm glad I stumbled upon this forum. Thanks for reading.
  2. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Just ODD as a stand-alone diagnosis? I'd be digging deeper, many other things can hide under that label. Glad you found us, sorry you had to. Others will be along with more experience and in-depth questions to help you out. In the meantime, have you grabbed a copy of "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene?
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Agree that ODD is not normally a stand alone diagnosis. I think that rather than the therapist, perhaps your first step should be a neuropsychologist evaluation to see what's wrong with him (why he acts out). I have a few questions that can help us help you.

    1/How was his early development? Did he talk on time? Can he communicate well in a give and take conversation? Can he socialize appropriately with his same age peers? Does he make good, solid eye contact, even with strangers? Can he transition from one activity to another without melting down? Does he have any obsessive interests? Is he sensitive to certain food textures, material, loud noise, crowds?

    2/Are there any psychiatric problems on either side of his family tree (biological) whether or not he lives with both parents. The DNA is still there.

    Others will come along, but you really didn't give us any information. We deal with our children depending upon what the problem is.
  4. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    I have an 11 year old who was diagnosed with ODD, but he was also diagnosed with general anxiety disorder. In our case, we believe that the anxiety he feels over everything that comes into his world is what drives the ODD behaviors. When his anxiety is under control, he is generally a pleasure to be around. When it's not, he can be...I think "challenging" would be a polite word to describe him. If you were give a diagnosis of ODD by itself I would keep digging. There is almost always something else that is driving the defiant behavior. I'm not saying that the ODD behavior will totally go away if you can figure out what the other underlying problem is, but it can help to lessen the defiance.

    Good luck.

  5. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Hi novangel, and welcome! So glad you found us.

    I know it's very painful to feel like others are talking about your child and his behavior, and judging you and/or him, but as you learn how to manage his behaviors and how to help him function more appropriately, the opinions of people who really just don't have a clue will become less important. It still stings a bit when someone says something thoughtless, but... I always comforted myself with the thought that I was doing my best, and there was never a doubt in my mind that my kid would have had those whisperers crying "uncle" in about 10 seconds flat.:wink-very:

    When my son was 8, I was absolutely convinced he was well on his way to a life of incarceration, no joke. I'm a glass-half-empty kind of person to begin with, and his behaviors were very violent and completely off the wall. I really thought there was no way he was going to make it in a community. Thankfully, he has had no arrests for violence or even incidents involving violence in a couple of years now. He's not the picture of functionality, but on the other hand he is doing better on his own than I ever dreamed possible when he was 8. When you think about it, 8 is so *very* young. Your son has a lot of learning, growing, and maturing to do, and you will become more knowledgeable about how to help him and guide him as he does grow.

    I remember how dark things seemed when my son was younger. It is certainly challenging raising a child with difficult behaviors. Right now it's very important to remember to take care of yourself, surround yourself with a good support system, and obtain the best services you can for your son. You are not alone.

    Again, welcome!
  6. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Hugs. A diagnosis like that would be very scarey. However, with the right treatment many people with the same diagnosis can live and work very good lives. One of the nurses I work with has a son who is schizophrenic and has chrohns disease, and he is some sort of boilogical engineer and very successful. Hang in there, find a good child psychiatrist, and learn all you can about the medications and the disorder.
  7. novangel

    novangel Guest

    Thank you for all of your responses. Here's the long version:

    It's not just ODD alone, there's also problems with short-term working memory (he lags academically in comparison to other kids of the same age) and his father has been in and out of his life most recently joining the Army. He spent the first 4 years of his life surrounded by our toxic marriage. He's also very immature for an 8 year old.

    He tends to only display defiant behavior in school towards adults (escalating this year) when he becomes frustrated with himself, and thus brings on low self-esteem. Many teachers don't know how to connect with him and other do. The ones that he feels confident around experience little to no problem at all. I have made some classroom changes and things have quieted down by 80% which is a huge weight off of my shoulders. Things were hairy for a while there. He still does display some disrespect toward his reading teacher but we're working on that.

    He is in a special class for reading 3 times a week.

    I had him go through a very comprehensive evaluation because at first we were suspecting ADHD. After 6 hours total of testing the psychologists came up with ODD, along with some learning problems, fears of abandonment (probably some anxiety there) and low self-esteem. I will also be willing to admit that while he was very young I let a lot of bad behavior slip under the radar because I was too self-absorbed in my failing marriage. Trying to start discipline late in the game was difficult.

    He tends to do well with other kids for the most part, sometimes getting a bit too hyper but no more than some of the other boys. He's not very distructive but will throw or knock over objects in anger at adults if he feels that an adult is angry with him, or does not approve of his behavior because in his mind that means they don't approve of him. He says very frequently "people don't like me". :(

    He tends to talk too much and I think some of the kids find that annoying although he can relate and get along well with kids of various ages. He does have friends. What upsets me is I think the parents at daycare worry that he's capable of hurting the younger kids which really he wouldn't do. I feel that he's very misunderstood and it bothers me because I feel I have been shunned from some of the other parents. I'm not ready to approach them just yet.

    He's never mean toward animals, breaks property or hits other children. He does have a guilty conscious and doesn't like to hurt people's feelings. Usually he apologizes for his behavior on his own if things escalate too much after he calms down. Like I said a lot of this is aimed toward adults that do not understand him and that show frustration toward him. It's all about pleasant talk, encouragement and positive renforcement and he will do whatever you want.

    I do not experience much issues at all outside of school. Home life is pretty good. :)

    His father has major aggression issues stemming from some alcohol abuse and has never been able hold down a job or a relationship for very long. It's a catch 22 but I believe that his father being away at the Army is better for everyone. I don't want my son exposed to his temper, drinking, and his father refuses to do anything about it. That ship has sailed.

    I do have a very nice man in my life for the past 3 years that can kind of fill that void. I know you can never replace a parent, I don't expect him to but it's nice having a positive male figure around. step now that I have all of the paperwork is to take it to a counsellor and nip things in the bud before he gets to highschool.

    Sorry for the novel..any other questions or input are welcomed. Thanks. :)
  8. novangel

    novangel Guest

    I don't know maybe this isn't the right place for me. Reading through most of these threads I see that my problems with my child are very minor in comparison. Almost seems silly of me to even complain. I have also noticed that most of you seem to dismiss ODD as a diagnosis. I guess I can understand that since I have often doubted such disorders existed myself.

    If my child does have an actual defiance disorder I would say it's fairly minor or borderline..I'm sorry to the rest of you that are truly dealing with serious issues.
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Novangel, stay with us.
    Don't compare yourself or your son. You are in the right place.
    Pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee, and read through the rest of the notes. There are so many different people here it's amazing.

    The one thing in your note that stood out to me was your thinking that other parents are shunning you or thinking bad things. My answer to that is "to heck with-them." Find some good friends, join a support group, confide in one or two people who can help you.
    You would be surprised by how many people have issues and hide them.

    You should be able to Google ODD and ADHD support for My Hometown (where ever you live) and see what comes up. If you can't find an in-person group, than just stick with-us. In fact, stick with-us anyway. :consoling:
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, one more thing.

    Most of us agree that while ODD is sort of a diagnosis, it is more of a symptom. For example, my son has high functioning Asperger's, and the ODD is part of the immature way he overreacts to his environment.
    You want to know WHY your son has ODD. It sounds to me that some of it is genetic ... you mentioned that his father has anger and attention issues, so there's a big clue right there. Maybe his father has other undiagnosed issues, too. See what I mean?
    This doesn't mean that you have to become a doctor, but frankly, once you get into the whole diagnosis thing, you are going to meet so many doctors and hear so many different diagnoses that you're going to be very well versed. You'll be able to pick the good from the bad, and unfortunately, there are too many quacks out there.
    Also, given that your household was toxic from the get-go, I can see that your son needs anger management and social skills training, which my son needs as well, and we have standing appointments with a talk therapist. It seems silly to pay someone $120/hr to tell my son the same things I tell him, but when it's a stranger with-a bunch of diplomas on the wall, and a man, my son tends to listen.

    Take heart.
  11. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    My son was "diagnosis'd" with ODD and anxiety as well. I have been continuing to dig for reasons for his behaviors. As it is beginning to look, I am fairly certain, and am waiting for psychiatrist to evaluate, that difficult child is actually on the Autism Spectrum. My difficult child's defiance comes into play more when things don't go the way he'd intended or when "life" doesn't go along with whatever thought popped into his head that he can't let go of. That was also driving his anxiety. He would get very anxious when routines, schedules, staff at school, or other "routine events" were changed, especially if he wasn't informed about it way ahead of time.

    I would take everyone else's recommendations and continue digging. I had to change the way I thought about difficult child's behaviors to figure out the WHY in them. Read the Ross Green book "The Explosive Child". That is what got me to think about the behaviors differently so I could begin to find the truth.

    Good Luck. You've come to the right place. Without the advice and support of these ladies, I can't imagine where I would be right now.
  12. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Novangel - the whole purpose of our board is to support parents who have children with challenging behaviors. We are an amazingly diverse group from all over the world and while none of us are doctors or have *the* answer to solve our children's difficulties, we do have a huge range of opinions and experience to share. We have kids who have behaviors and diagnoses that run the entire spectrum, from relatively mildly challenging to over the top out of control. The best advice I can give you is to take the information you can use, that you think may be helpful to your particular situation, and skip the rest. At the very least, we can offer a shoulder and some comfort to you when you need it. Having a child with challenging behaviors can be isolating for parents. When I first arrived here 12 years ago, I was so relieved to be in the company of parents who understood meltdowns, who didn't think I just needed to "control my child" (school advice) or "spank him" (infamous parenting advice from my parents, LOL).

    We want you to be comfortable here. If you feel we may not be your cup of tea, that's fine, but please know that we are always here and we do not judge and we most certainly do *not* ever compare severity of behaviors.
  13. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    That's my kid right there as well. We're going to be doing genetic tests and we got an appointment with a neuropsychologist. Mine also has a father that stepped out when she was young and doesn't bother much with her in any way. When he does call her, it just stirs up her "Why am I not good enough?" issues which of course adds to her anger, anxiety, and frustrations, leading to more frequent and violent meltdowns. She feels she should be "perfect" and therefore feels that everyone expects her to be perfect, and that when she isn't perfect that everyone thinks she's stupid. Which again adds to the whole meltdown thing. It's been up and down with her for years, and adding in more complex social expectations from adults and peers as she gets older hasn't helped.

    No problem with any kid is too minor to concern a parent. I sometimes feel the same way, that so many here have kids with problems much worse than mine, and I'm pretty sure a lot of times it's true. Of course, mine is still young, and we have a long road to go, and she may get better or worse. But she is certainly not within the "normal spectrum" in many areas, so even if I feel our particular case is insignificant by comparison, I can offer support, my experience with my own life and kiddo's, and know that there are people here who "get it" that my parenting methods have to be different from those that are considered "normal". And there are some really good recipes floating around, too. ;)
  14. Please don't leave! There are a lot of things you can learn here! A lot of tips to help your child and also help you deal with all of the issues that arise. This board is great because people here DO understand and can help when the "regular" people in your life can't.

    I know what you mean about some people here having children with more serious issues. I used to feel guilty sometimes venting about my difficult child when I knew others had much more serious problems. When they were grappling with arrests, out of home placements, and violent behavior, I was dealing with my son being suspended (again) and eventually expelled. But I found that people here were eager to help, to share their experiences to make mine better. People here don't try to top each other with a perverse "well, my kid is worse!" game. They want to help. I honestly believe you can make your life and your child's life better by participating here.

    My son's psychiatric refused to put an official ODD label on him; said he was too young for that and there were other avenues to explore. The boy surely fits the description, though. Some of the things you said about your son sounded very familiar. "The Explosive Child" book is truly useful for these children with a low tolerance for frustration. Please get it.

    And yes, the brain chemistry can be genetic. I remind myself frequently that my son didn't choose that brain chemistry -- no one in their right mind would. He has no space between a stimulus and a response (virtually always anger) yet. He will improve and I will do my best to teach him techniques of dealing with the anger. Anger is still my first response to almost any stimulus -- but I don't hit people or break things because I've learned some techniques.

    I've learned a lot of useful stuff here. It's great to have a group you can't surprise and where you aren't the oddball. It is truly sucky when you go to the school and the other parents look sideways at you and stop talking or some kid runs up to you to tattle on yours. You'd never get that with this group!

    Hang out here and learn -- and good luck!
  15. novangel

    novangel Guest

    Oh, I HATE that!

    Well today was my son's first appointment with the psychologist that i'm pretty confident can help me to deal with his self-esteem issues and his defiance toward frigid teachers. He needs to learn that not everyone you cross in life (school/jobs) is going to be upbeat sunshine and roses and you just have to deal. Hopefully as he matures that will make a difference too. I'm scared about high school! :scared:

    NOW I get to the daycare last night and see that they changed the teacher that comes in at 4:30 (*facepalm) after I finally got everything settled there. My first impression of her was not good...I walked into a nightmare after 3 weeks of peace and quiet. I stormed into the assistant manager's office and told her to please have a talk with the new teacher immediately about having a better disposition with my son or he's going to start going into aggressive/defiance mode again. Pointing and shouting at him that he has "bad behavior" is going to backfire. I'm not saying you can't discipline him but there's better ways to go about it. Once he feels inferior or that maybe a teacher "does not like him" he becomes VERY disrespectful. I can't go through it again and it needs to be nipped in the bud. Thank God he will be done with daycare in about another year, I don't have much strength left.

    It will be nice to only have to worry about one school and not two. :starplucker:
  16. novangel

    novangel Guest

    by the way, the psychologist is going to read through the entire evaluation this weekend but he's not 100% sold on the ODD diagnosis...he also agrees that he's not ADHD, but agrees with the learning delays.
  17. Hang in there, lady.

    My son's success in school has been closely tied to how his teacher feels about him. The years with a sympathetic teacher were much better. Others got him expelled. [Yes, they will say "he got himself expelled" but that's a whole different discussion.] We eventually gave up on after-school care since there wouldn't be enough supervision and there were too many different authority figures, most of whom didn't want to deal with him. I hope that you are able to either get the either teacher back or get some other arrangement worked out. Good luck!
  18. novangel

    novangel Guest

    Exactly. That's when I run into a problem. If a caregiver/teacher is kind and treats him with patience and respect he will be kind and respectful in return. If not well then good luck to you...and any punishment I give at home in order to try and reinforce him to respect said teacher will be totally ineffective.

    It's all about disposition.
  19. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Glad to see you didn't give up on us and you're making some inroads with the school.
  20. novangel

    novangel Guest

    At first I was very passive but recently have become demanding and speaking up so that my son's needs are met. I pay way too much money in taxes and daycare per year to sit and watch them be counter-productive with my child.

    My belief is that if a teacher does not want to "deal with a child" then they shouldn't be working with children. If that's the career path they decide to take on then you have to be prepared and have the patience to deal with ALL types of children, otherwise do us a favor and choose a different career.

    Sorry I'm just sick to death of it... /end rant