New here

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hello. I'm glad to find this site which looks like it could be a valuable forum of support. I live in Europe so perhaps have somewhat of a different perspective on things - for example, reading the posts I have been amazed at how many small children are on what to me are "serious" drugs. Here, Ritalin is prescribed from age six but I have never heard of such drugs being prescribed before that except in exceptional cases. So this has been a real surprise to me. Also, in France where I live ODD is barely talked about, though it is known and identified, and ADHD is also not at all widely known though psychologists, etc, will obviously know about it. It is becoming more common and "popular" :)
    So with that little introduction, could I share a little of our story and questions? I am divorced and have an adopted son, adopted at three months. I adopted him with my ex-husband and he and his family still have a continuing and close relationship with my son. From an early age he was obviously physically hyperactive - constantly moving and full of energy. Was charming and vivacious, always wanting to interact with people, but bossy in his interactions with other children and frequently aggressive, usually because of over-boisterous play (pushing them down during games, etc). With me he had temper tantrums in which he would kick, bite, scratch, etc. We moved around a lot until we settled in France, moving between three countries, so he has had a lot of change in his life. He goes to a little village school here - tiny class sizes, which suits him perfectly - and this is mostly fine and containable an experience; the very devoted and understanding teacher lets him move around to some extent in the classroom and gives him a lot of individual attention. He writes his name, counts, etc and while boisterous and still "play aggressive" with the other boys (never or very rarely with girls), this has not led to major problems or incidents. The school is away of the possibility of hyperactivity and we have just begun on the round of psychologists and testing, etc. My son loves going to school and is eager to get there every day. It is so positive an experience for him, I am sure, because it is so small; there are five children in his class including him and there is obviously a family atmosphere. If he were in a large, anonymous city school, I feel sure we would be having many more problems at this stage. And if refused to go to school, it would be hellish to get him there....
    During the week, when my son is at school for a long day - from 9 in the morning to 6.30 at night (I work at home and there is a "childminding" service at the school from after 4.30) - things go reasonably well and smoothly. We have our routine and there is generally little problem getting him to bed on time. He goes to sleep very quickly but always wakes up early morning and comes into my bed although we are working on him staying all night in his bed - he has managed this a couple of times in the past week. I have a chart with stars for good behaviour and this seems to work fairly well as an incentive (when it is full he is going to get a Spiderman suit... Spiderman has always been an obsession).
    So far, so good... but it is at the weekend that things go pear-shaped as we say in Britain (horribly wrong).... A brief example... This past Sunday we were at home in the morning and he wanted me to come and play cars with him. I said I would play with him for a while after I got dressed. He continued to insist that I come "now" and when I continued to state that I would come later he went into a rage that involved shouting, screaming, throwing toys, kicking at the door, etc. When I tried to put him in time-out so he could calm down, it was rather farcical - he refuses to stay in the room and when I try to put him back, he hits, bites and scratches me, etc. Eventually he calmed down, and accepted that I should come back later. When he is really calm, later on, we go over the "rules of the house" - no hitting, kicking, biting, etc and he recites them dutifully and with an air of understanding. But i know that in the heat of the moment, they will be broken again...
    The rages are debilitating to both of us, the scenes exhausting and demoralising... My son also frequently "argue" with me - that is, to any statement I might make he will usually contradict it. In a pleasant tone of voice, often, but it is as if he has to oppose.... Getting him to do things seems to depend very much on my manner and tone of voice. If I ask him to do things gently and politely, he will usually comply. If I ask more brusquely or seem to be commanding him, he will instantly refuse and want to "fight". Generally speaking he cannot bear to lose and playing a game with him often turns into something of a fiasco because he wants to arrange things so that he wins all the time... frequently there is a tantrum if he does lose. He will almost always blame others for mistakes or wrongs and "lies" very easily even though he knows that I will not accept this and constantly urge him to tell the truth; I tell him I will not get angry, I just want to know the truth or I will not be able to trust him but he cannot (yet?) make the connection.
    In addition to these behaviours he is frequently sweet-natured, loving, very affectionate - wanting to give and receive lots of cuddles and kisses - funny, perceptive and empathetic: if he sees I am sad or in pain, having hurt myself, he will instantly come and try to comfort me... From the reading I have done, he looks like he has the symptoms of ODD. I wondered, initially, how many of you can relate to this and whether there are similarities. Obviously every child is unique and also more than just a set of behaviours or "labels". But I am clear that we need to tackle this anti-social behaviour that is impeding our lives while my son is still so young and we can do something (hopefully) about it... He has an interview with the psychologist in June - services are excellent here but waiting lists are long. Any input gratefully received!
  2. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

  3. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thank you, "The Explosive Child" sounds like a must-read.
    I've realised I didn't really set down in my original post what I'd most wanted to share/ask about. Probably shouldn't have gone into all that detail - I just wanted to give a bit of background :)
    It's to do with communication and how it affects my son's difficult behaviour (I could have gone into lots more detail about that!) Until recently I have treated him as I would any child - ie when I felt irritated with him, I got irritated, when he refused to do what I say or had a tantrum because he didn't get something he wanted (both of which happened frequently), I would get angry with him as though he was being "naughty" or wilful. As his outbursts of rage have got worse, however, and the more I have read and reflected, I have begun to change this. I have begun to imagine that he cannot exactly "help" his behaviour. And I have begun to be much calmer and more patient in my dealings with him and also more conscious about the "loving, appreciative input" I give him. And since I have been doing this his behaviour has improved... the incidence and intensity of problems have decreased. Of course they have not died down entirely - they still occur (tantrums occur only with me, never at school or with others) and I still feel demoralised and despairing when they do. But there is a clear and undeniable link between my son feeling loved and secure and "welcomed" and his difficult behaviour... So this is interesting to me and I wonder how it relates to your experiences and what you all know of ODD behaviour in general?
    One of the good things about my son's difference is that I appreciate the good times and the good behaviour so much more than an "ordinary" parent. When I give him something and his says "thank you very much, Mummy" or when he accepts not to do something he wants without a major crisis, I feel so absurdly proud and happy....
  4. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Sounds like you've learned a very valuable lesson already. Getting worked up when a difficult child is worked up just makes 2 exhausted, worked up people. It never solves anything. As for the ODD, I can't help you there. I agree with most of the others here that ODD is a catch all phrase given when they don't know exactly what else to call it. Read the book. It should help.

    Most of us are so very proud of those "good moments" more than most parents. For us, they are so far and few between that they are the rays of sunshine that give us hope. If we didn't have those moments to hold on to, life itself could feel pretty hopeless.

    It sounds like you are on the right track. Keep moving forward.
  5. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Yeah, it can hard not to get worked up about what they do and how they act at times, especially when the line between can't help it/intentionally manipulative behavior starts blurring, and that's a line that can become very wide and blurry and move around quite a bit. These kids will keep you on your toes.