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Hi. My name is Sandi and I've been feeling pretty lost. I have an amazing difficult child as you guys call it named Tobias. He's about to turn 6. Recently it feels as if his behavior has escalated and he's doing things I'd never imagine a 6 year old to be doing. Most often it seems as if he's deliberately disobeying me, he's confrontational, always has to be right. He's been threatened to be kicked out of daycare a few times and it's not uncommon for daycare to ask to have him picked up for the day. It seemed to start when he hit about 2 1/2. I thought it was just terrible twos but this was outrageous. I considered many times taking him to the hospital. There had to be something wrong with him! I've been told many times he needs to see a counselor, a therapist, a psychologist. As his behavior seems to escalate, I believe now that they are correct. I'm at my wits end. I'm a single mom of him and his sister who seems to be an angel in comparison, hardly ever needing discipline. I feel like I'm harder on Tobi but it seems as if nothing works. No spanking, time outs, time ins, I've taken every last toy from him, made him sit on the couch alone in the quiet for hours. NOTHING works. He just gets up the next day and does THE EXACT SAME THING. I recently spoke with another parent who's son was diagnosed with ODD. I did some research and Tobias seems to exhibit almost all the symptoms as well as be subject to the causes. His father says I'm blowing it out of proportion. I feel like I have nowhere to turn, no one that understands. My son is a very loving, fun, and smart boy. But when he goes into a tantrum, it's like world war 3. I just don't know what to do anymore. :(

unc tarheel

New Member
Welcome lifehappens!! You are describing my difficult child(who is 7) perfectly. We have been dealing with this since difficult child was 4. My son's preschool teacher ( who was wonderful and brave enough to clue us into what could be going on with our son) told us that our journey would not be a" sprint but a marathon". Solutions would not be quick or easy. I would try to get your difficult child in to see a develop./ behaviral doctor. So sorry you had to meet us this way. Gentle hugs to you.

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Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Welcome Lifehappens,

You are not alone; glad you found our soft place to land but sorry you needed to. I definitely would take him to a child psychologist and a therapist. I also recommend taking him to a neuropsychologist. They combined three can really give you a comprehensive look at your child.

I'm sorry things are so rough. While you are waiting I also recommend reading The Explosive Child by Ross Greene (not sure of spelling of the author's last name right now). It can really help with dealing with our difficult children that don't respond like other kiddos.


Staff member
Hi lifehappens. I'm sorry things are so difficult for you right now.

I agree with @Wiped Out about reading the Explosive Child. Many of the parents here have found tools in that book that they find useful.

The author is Dr. Ross W. Greene, is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

He has videos where he explains his approach.



Active Member
Hi Lifehappens. I agree with others. Seek out help sooner rather than later. We spent years thinking it was a phase, our lack of parenting skills and so on. Our difficult child is now 13 and clearly suffering from some mood disorder. Definitely a marathon! Get running :)


New Member
Thank you for all your responses. We don't have insurance atm but as soon as we do, hell be right in. I'm just glad I'm not crazy and apparently not alone.

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Well-Known Member
Oooooh you are not alone! My 8 year old grandson and your boy sound so much alike. The Explosive Child book really helped us look at things in a different way and we do things differently. It has gone better--less frequent melt-downs--but he is still atypical. We shared that book and worksheets from the website with everyone who works with him at school because everyone needs to be on the same page. But he is definitely better. When he was five, we thought he would end up in a special day class because he was doing so poorly. Not academically poorly; he started kindergarten being able to read, but socially he was (and still is to some degree) a mess. Simple maturing has helped, along with all the other stuff, but we still worry about what will happen when puberty hits. Oy. Yep, as others have said: lace up your tennis shoes!


Well-Known Member
Welcome, Lifehappens.
You are not blowing things out of proportion. Trust your Mommy Gut.
WipeOut has some good advice. I totally agree.
You have entered a world where normal parenting goes out the window. You will learn to parent your child differently. It's quite the journey.
Take care.


Well-Known Member
We understand. I will also urge you to read The Explosive Child. It will give you a little better picture of what is going on inside your son. At this age, there may be some expectations that are put on him that he just cannot deliver.

The ODD diagnosis at his young age is, in my opinion, not helpful. Usually these sets of behaviors signal other underlying issues that can be treated (not cured!) with therapy, behavior modification, and medications.

Unfortunately, the huge love we hold in our hearts for our kids is not enough. It's a tough and often frustrating lot but I can truly tell you that things can get better.

My son was in the same place - raging, awful social interactions with peers, susceptible to over stimulus, defiance, etc. But now, due in part to early intervention, therapy, medications, behavior modification, supportive IEP teams, and lots of hard work, he is 19, employed and a great young man. Oh, he's still a difficult child but you would never square who is is now with the kid he was at 7!

Life in the trenches can be all-consuming. Make sure you take time for yourself and your adult relationships as well as spending drama-free time with your daughter (sometimes our easy child's get a little lost in the drama).



Well-Known Member
Lifehappens, my difficult child was like yours, too. It was a long, long journey, and continues to be. But today my son picked up his uniform from McDonald's, where he got his first job on his very own. He is 17 and just got his license this summer, as well. It's been two weeks and no crashes or dents, either on my car or my body. :) I still take it one day at a time. Sometimes, I'm granted two days at a time.
There is hope.

by the way, when you say he gets up the next day and does the same thing, could you have a little chat with him about whatever it is (hitting the dog, breaking things) and then pause him the instant he starts (I'm talking 7 a.m.) and tell him, "Up to your room. We'll start over again tomorrow." See what happens.
Of course, the problem with that is, you're punishing yourself, too, because you have to stay home and monitor him. been there done that.
If his motor is running all the time, it is very hard for him NOT to do what he did the day before. I hate to say it, but that's where medications come in handy. I wish we'd done medications earlier, but there was no way. My husband is a chiropractor and was dead set against it. It took years.

Another thing is, explain things before you do them, and act them out. For example, "We're going to the store in a little while. That means I need to buy milk--" and show him a carton of milk--"and cereal" and shake a half empty box of cereal. Maybe he doesn't "get it," even though he understands the words. He can't transition to physically stop what he's doing to get in the car and face the fluorescent lights and the clack of the grocery cart wheels. So he has to work up to it. If he says he doesn't want to go, you can offer his fave toy to come in the car or something. And heck, maybe he needs sunglasses for the lights and earmuffs for the noise. Think outside the box.