New Here

Hi- just wanted to intro myself...glad to know that things can be better and worse and I am just feeling overwhelmed after fighting the problem with no help, no medications, being blamed for it all and being told it was all me and my parenting...though this is questionable in my mind as I was a childcare worker for about 20 yrs...been there, done that with the 'parenting' skills and stuff for years and classes :smile: difficult child is now 9 1/2 classic ADHD/ODD diagnosised after several rounds of testing from the time he was 1 1/2 until he was 5 when he told the psychiatric to go screw himself he wasn't doing it and then hid under the exam table screaming for over an hour until I could pick him up :smile: they wanted to put him on medications for the ADHD and told me the ODD was mostly like the result of bad parenting (uh, hello, I have an older child who is NORMAL). But anyways, I decided to not go the medications route and have done everything possible to keep from putting him on medications as I know the consequences biologically of some the stuff long term and too much isn't known and well, no good answers for some of the questions. I am a certified counselor, massage therapist, started nursing school (quit...too much stress at home) ordained minister, certified preschool teacher, certified herbal counselor and clinical otherwords I am dangerous lol, know too much and ask too many questions. But after 9 yrs of dealing with knock down, drag out temper-tantrums, defiance, and more I have had it. I do the options, I do requests and resort to spanking after being pushed to the limit for the millionth time in 1 hour. His impulsiveness is getting worse as he gets older to the point that my house has become a prison for my younger childerns sake. I do reiki with him (helps for like 2 hours) aromatherapy (problem is compliance with using it) homeopathy (compliance again) and now have a doctors appointment in 2 weeks for medications from his easy child. On top of all this I deal with my own stress related health issues of Graves disease which makes things difficult. My husband (my difficult child's step-father) is BiPolar (BP)/ADHD/sober alcoholic (10yrs) is no help and thinks I am nuts for putting him on medications finally but HE certainly doesn't help with things (by the way he is not on any medications himself, refuses) so I got double trouble and now my 3 1/2 yr old thinks that NORMAL is what her brother does and the 2 yr. old just looks at everyone like they are nuts own circus come home to roost.
I can and could go on and on. Parent education classes are for people with NORMAL children (these people make me mad beyond belief) and while some works some of the time most of the time the things taught just become fodder for manipulation by my difficult child (it takes him about 2 seconds to figure things out and then he's twisting it). The only thing that I have found that works to stop the power struggles and get compliance on any level is what I call my secret weapon...a flip flop...I will 'spank' with it...he screams and yells it is hurting him, cries like the dickens and the the rest of day acts like a normal before anyone gets of the hook about spanking I do not do this on a regular basis (have thought about it) and I am NOT HURTING HIM...I leave no marks (not even a slight red spot) it through clothing and it makes more noise than anything, in fact, he has been over heard bragging that 'my mom thinks she's hurting me but really she's not'. I hate doing this but at what point in the power struggle do you just do what you have to as long as no one is getting hurt?
He does well in school academically as long as I keep my hands off of things, socially he's pretty limited with only 2 real friends (both of which by the way are ADHD/ODD/BiPolar (BP)) and he's really very sweet and gentle when he's not 'in a mood' and left to his own devices (meaning does what he wants, when he wants).
Anyway...I am here looking for alternatives before I get really sick myself from all the fighting and trying to teach him how to live in this world and keeping everyone safe...stress plays a HUGE factor in managing my own disease and with no family around to help (his bio dad is on the MIA list again, dealing with his own crap)and not a lot of money at the moment..well, lets just say that short of stopping at a green light and running naked down the main road in town I need support from people who 'get it'.

anyways, that's my story and I am sticking to it :smile:

blessings and peace,
Rev. Laura Bradley, RMT, CCA


Active Member
Welcome, and I am glad you found us. I hope you also found the section of our board called Natural Treatments, you might find some new and helpful ideas there.

There is also a thread going on in this general forum right now called "strategies that work" that you might be interested in reading to get more ideas on discipline.

One of the books most of us recommend highly is The Explosive Child, by Ross Greene. He gives unbelievable parenting techniques that really work for the difficult child.

I am sure others will be by soon to say hi - you are not alone in your struggles, and you will find we have all been down our own troubled journeys with our kids, but it is wonderful that we can come here with the same common denominator and help heal and nurture each other.

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
Welcome Laura! :grin:

You've found a wonderful place for support from other parents walking in similar shoes.

Have you ever read the book The Explosive Child by Ross Greene?? Many parents here find it a huge help.

Don't beat yourself up because you feel the time has come to consider medications for your child. I was a huge anti medication person, same reasons as you, for a long time. My older difficult child doesn't take medications except for his epilepsy. However, we finally got to the point with younger difficult child Nichole that medications were a certain necessity. (at 15) Life brings about changes. If your child requires medications to maintain a good quality of life it is no different than a diabetic child requiring insulin. And sometimes it really helps to look at it that way.

I have to wonder with all of your certifications and job titles how on earth you couldn't handle nursing school. :wink: I'm also well educated in the medical field and have always asked an over abundance of questions. If I hadn't my older difficult child would've never been diagnosed properly. But I hated the way some professionals acted as if you weren't to question their opinions. (I usually dropped them lol)

Oh, and does your son have an IEP in place at school?

Again welcome to the board.



Well-Known Member
Welcome! The medication decision is a tough one for sure. I only gave in when I thought her quality of life was really suffering. It has helped tremendously!


Well-Known Member
I have bipolar and in my humble opinion you need medications for this disorder. In reality, bipolar, unlike some disorders, gets worse with time if it goes unmedicated. Each cycle is worse. I remember how mine got worse before I got better. I would consider medications helping my son, with that sort of disorder. I believe ADHD doesn't get worse with time and ODD is sort of part of bipolar, but bipolar WILL degenerate if untreated medically.
You may want to pick up "The Bipolar Child" by Dimitri and Janice Papalos. It's a great read, really makes you understand the disorder. by the way, on the right medications, I'm doing great. Without the medications, I immediately hit the rocks. Take're a good mom...and wecome here!

Addition: I just saw that he's not dxd. with BiPolar (BP) yet. I'd get another opinion. His family history has red flags for bipolar, and if you put on medications for ADHD when he really has BiPolar (BP), that can be a big disaster.

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Just popping in to say hello and welcome! You have found a supportive group here-glad you found us.


Active Member
Hi! Laura: Is your son diagnosed with bipolar disorder? I know they gave you ODD/ADHD, but did they tell you anything more? The reason I ask is that a lot of what you're describing could be several different things. Have you gotten a neuropsychologist done? I learned about them on the board and man, I've got to tell you, they really tested my difficult child's to no end. We came up with aspergers syndrome, but there are many different disorders that could be impacting things.

We medicate one for the ADHD, but honestly, the Concerta really only helps that. We're doing behavior modification and counseling for the ODD manifestations.

You can get a neuropsychologist at a Childrens or Teaching Hospital or a research facility. Depending on your insurance (if you have mental/health coverage) it could be covered.

Good luck with everything!


Active Member
Just to get something straight in my head - he was diagnosed with ADHD and so it's ADHD medications you're talking about here, right? Is he on them yet, or are you still fighting to keep him off them?

MWM has a good point in that it would be a good idea to get a THOROUGH evaluation and some sort of diagnosis. ODD isn't something I like to see in a label, I feel too many practitioners see it as a garbage bin diagnosis - "Oh, he's got ODD, nothing you can do for that," when there is a lot you can do.

Several people recommended "The Explosive Child" - I endorse that. You see, you HAVE done all that parenting stuff and all the wonderful tuition to work in child care - so it's probably even worse for you, because you've never had to deal with anything like this before.

The trick with ODD, as I see it (and the book explains it well - or it did, for me) is that the usual, good parenting not only doesn't work properly with these kids, it can actually make them worse. So superficially, it IS your parenting style that is at fault.

Now this doesn't mean you're a bad parent - far from it. It's probably because you're a GOOD parent with your older child, that the usual, good techniques are such a disaster with this one. You will probably need to change your thinking considerably. Lateral thinking becomes very important. Good news, though - the different technique is also still OK for your other child - may even help, if he's heading for teens.

The spanking - I do understand, we used to use a fly swat (bright red) - it was visually obvious, made a whistling sound but could barely be felt. Increasingly, though, we're facing legislation that prevents ANY physical punishment. We just holidayed in NZ where spanking of any kind is now illegal. In Australia the use of spanking is questionable legally and if you use anything other than a hand, on any kid other than your own child, you can be charged with assault. If it's your own child, they can use it as an excuse to get other child protective services in place.
Hey, my mother used a belt, or wooden spoon! My schoolteacher used a metre rule and broke it each time.

Also, with ODD kids, you're teaching them that violence and power is needed to resolve a dispute - a very bad precedent to set because one day he will be bigger than you.

There are other ways - get the book. Or grab a preview in the discussion on Early Childhood - as a child care worker, you might find that discussion particularly interesting.

Now, to medications - I feel your pain. I too am into herbs and aromatherapy, although I'm self-taught (lack of course I felt were relevant or of value). I also have the academic knowledge in physiology to back it up.

HOWEVER - I'm also a sceptical scientist. It's important to look at the broad picture, which goes way beyond 'natural' vs 'manufactured'.
How would you treat Type 1 diabetes in your child? These children WERE treated with natural remedies and strict diets, before insulin was isolated and extracted. These children's lives could be prolonged for up to several years with strict, low-protein diets and various natural remedies, but in the end, they all died.
Insulin saved them. At first they extracted the insulin (dogs pancreases, I think; then later, pigs) and now they can manufacture a human insulin, produced by genetic engineering in bacteria. Of course, the best long-term treatment would be transplantation of stem cell Islets of Langerhans, but we're not there yet. Close, though. We were very close when our government banned stem cell research. Is this ethical? Is it right? I'm not buying into that, it's not what I'm trying to say here. At the moment they're trying to use adult stem cells, anyway. But the problem in Type 1 diabetes is that the pancreas islet cells have karked it. Often an auto-immune response following a viral illness, but there it is. And some way of replacing the insulin is the only cure.

ADHD can be managed without medications, in some cases. It's harder for the child but if it's not too severe and if the child has a greater level of adaptability, doing without medications is not going to be a disaster. Over time, those coping skills and adaptability can be a positive advantage. But they learn a different way and need to be allowed to do so - something which an increasingly rigid education system is preventing in a lot of cases.

medications can be like insulin to a diabetic, in other cases. Certainly with my boys, and also easy child 2/difficult child 2, the medications seemed almost miraculous. Now these are stimulants - why then, do stimulants seem to slow these kids down and help them sit still? Surely they'd be bouncing off the walls?
The answer we've been given - in a lot of 'normal' kids, stims would have them bouncing off the walls. But in ADHD, there is a switch not working properly. The child in some cases and under conditions where it's easier to concentrate, CAN sometimes close that switch, but it's much, much harder for them. In a noisy, distracting environment it's almost impossible.

Which switch? It's the one leading to the inhibitory centre of the brain, the switch which helps the child kick in the caution circuit. You undoubtedly know that the brain has positive loops and negative loops - some are hormonal and some are neurological. When a child is getting escited, positive neurological loops are kicking in everywhere in response to stimulus (ie visual sighting of tickets to Disneyland). But the inhibitory circuit needs to also kick in at a certain point, to stop the kid tipping over into hysteria, for example. Especially as they get older, this is at least partly under voluntary control. Less so in ADHD.
A ball rolls onto the road - a 'normal' kid, especially one past the age of six, will be able to kick in the inhibitory switch and check first to see if a car is coming, before they go onto the road. A kid with ADHD - no chance.

The medications help the child get a 'feel' for how life can be like, with a functioning inhibitory switch. it's not a cure, it just helps them function. And it can also help them learn to do it for themselves, providing they're not being mucked around too much (ie on medications,; off medications; on medications; off medications).

As parents we try to make the best decisions we can for our kids. Sometimes no matter how hard we try, we still get it wrong. At best we can only make educated guesses.

What I suggest, if you're considering medications - do it in a scientific manner which suits your enquiring mind. Keep a record, just for yourself. Note what time he's dosed and what with. Record his behaviour (good things, bad things). Ask him how he feels. See how he goes on, and off. Most stims wear off really fast. Some issues to watch out for - rebound can be a problem for some kids on some medications. This is where, as the medications wear off, they seem to be worse for a few hours. If this happens a change in medications can deal with it.

Also make darn sure that it's nothing more than ADHD before you medicate - some other conditions such as BiPolar (BP) can be made a lot worse on stims.

But for a kid with ADHD, when you've tried to manage but still can't, there's really nothing to lose. because if you keep going as you are, what is going to happen to him in the long run?

When difficult child 1 was 6 he was told that he had ADHD. He was so relieved - at least he realised it wasn't his fault, he wasn't a naughty kid at heart. Simply feeling better about himself made it easier for him, although he still couldn't concentrate in class.

Then he was started on medications, after we found that dietary control was nowhere near enough. Again, a magical transformation. He realised that with help, he COULD focus.
We later had rebound problems and his dose was very high (without a high dose, there was simply too much still to cope with). He was changed to a different stimulant and finally put on slow-release.
Then autism was diagnosed. So why did the medications work? It just happens that way sometimes, I think. difficult child 3 was begun on medications at age 3 - yes, there were howls of protest. But the effect on him was almost miraculous. Without the medications, he would not be doing as well as he is today. Before the medications, we were told he wouldn't be able to learn. He may never talk properly. He was a savant, with no real understanding of his talents, just a trained parrot.

Now we think he's headed for a career either in computer programming, or law.

We still get explosive behaviour - we can't do the Ross Greene thing in entirety, we have to modify things, and the edges of our modification plus the damage we did before we changed discipline direction - it's going to take time. But we've made amazing progress.

difficult child 3's best friend is also autistic/ADHD. He was prescribed stims after several years of his mother trying to do without. A friend of hers is very persuasive (plus friend's husband is a pharmacist with weird ideas) and so t his boys' mother gets pulled this way and that. She finished the prescription but because she kept stopping it and putting him back on it, then stopping it - it took her a lot longer. She was supposed to take her son back to the specialist to report how he went on the stims, but hasn't been back for several years and is too embarrassed now to go back. Meanwhile I see this kid at school and he's all over the place - not staying on task, making silly noises (can't help it), really annoying his classmates, extremely impulsive - but on medications, he's brilliant.
She's tried everything her pharmacist wife friend has suggested. Nothing else works but it's sending her broke.
Meanwhile I got attacked by pharmacist wife friend. SHE has ADHD, she told me, and takes caffeine for it. Works for her...
I said that's great. it's NOT good for my boys, we know from experience. She said, caffeine's natural and a stimulant. better than chemical stims. I said, natural is also chemical, I used to have a bottle of caffeine on my laboratory bench. And caffeine is a blunt instrument compared to the stims we can get prescribed.

OK, these stims are not perfect, by any means. medicine is NOT an exact science. But they're better, for our kids, than the 'natural' alternatives. Sometimes something naturally obtained IS better because of all the sub-chemicals occurring naturally. But sometimes it's not, for the same reason.

We could still be taking willow bark for analgesia. But it's far harder on the stomach than even aspirin, the manufactured substitute. I can't take either.

There are a lot of natural substances that are NOT safe - heroin, arsenic, cyanide - we need to examine each option carefully and impartially. Where something available and easy to make yourself can help - great. But for a serious medical condition, sometimes it's best to rely on something where the dose has been carefully assayed and results tested (with any adverse findings reported and recorded).

You seem an intelligent, educated person, You can use this to help your son, whichever path you choose to take.



New Member

I understand your reluctance to medicate; we were determined not to medicate our difficult child, too (to the point where we've been homeschooling him JUST to keep from having to medicate), but we, too, are ready for whatever will provide a little relief. Truth to tell, your difficult child may well be happier being under control. At least, I hope so! And something else--I was on ritalin from the time I was 7 until I started flushing them down the toilet when I was 14. I'm 38 now, and if there have been any long term effects, I've never noticed them. I'm healthy, usually optimistic, and on no medications except for a thyroid medication (thyroid trouble runs in my family). So while there aren't a whole lot of long term studies, I think the medications for ADHD are pretty safe. (And man, oh, man--I HATE those people who assume it's just bad parenting. Of course, I used to be one of those people, before I had difficult child--I think God must have a sense of humor! And then God gave me my little easy child, to reassure me--and an alarming number of people who know us!--that it really isn't the parenting.)

Welcome. This is a good place to be.



Active Member
Good suggestions, Sara. Then whatever decisions you make concerning treatment/management, these decisions will be made with a much more accurate knowledge base. More likely to get it right.