New Introduction

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by aeroeng, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three


    I am new and this is my first posting. I am a Spacecraft Flight Operations Engineer with a loving husband and three sons.

    CG - My oldest is 15 and attending a private school. He inherited my dyslexia but received lots of quality training early in life and is doing reasonable well. He is mature and generally a pacifist, but does eagerly engage in fights with number 2 son. Plays the piano and clarinet. Wants to be a computer engineer

    BG - The middle son, age 13 and the main reason I am posting or my difficult child. Very intelligent gets mostly strait A, but struggles with anger management issues. Received a variety of diagnoses the one that fits the best is ODD, but not totally. Plays the flute and harp (yes the big instrument with lots of strings). Wants to be a geologist

    GG - Youngest age 10. Very smart kid, but frequently fails to do his school work. Which makes him discouraged and he will do things like give all his favorite toys away and talk down about himself. When his older brothers fight he becomes very frustrated and just wants to get away from it. Plays the viola. Wants to be a vet


    Last year BG had several bouts of anger. At the beginning of the summer he deliberately cut himself on his hand, he told the therapist he wanted to kill himself. The therapist said to take him to the emergency room. BG did not want to go and ran away. About 50 police officers, two helicopters and a team of blood hounds later a family friend found him hiding in a local store. The police escorted us to the emergency room where BG described in great detail his strategy for saying he wanted to kill himself. It mostly describes using it as a technique to control his parents. The emergency room visit was followed by a week long stay at a day facility. The Dr.s there never gave us a good diagnoses, never gave us the release papers and never followed up anything. (We made lots of calls and keep getting the run around). He stopped using suicide as a manipulation technique. However is he is very intelligent and quickly developed other techniques.

    One thing we discovered at this time was how horrible he was being treated at his middle school. Other students would cuss, and threaten him and use all kinds of profanity. Not just an F or S word, but streams of non-stop cussing with threats. The Dr. said we needed to get him out of the school, but refused to write a letter saying so. With out the Dr. letter the school system would not move him. Long story but we took the kids college fund and purchased an investment house near a better school. The house is a lovely house, but was damaged and filthy because the previous owner was angry for being foreclosed on. We got a good price. We plan on fixing it up and turning it around, using the address and hopefully making a profit when it come time for the kids to go to college.

    A two weeks before Christmas BG was at home sick with a stomach flu. CG had a short school day. Around 2:00 I get a call from the police as they were fighting. CG did not like the level of violence and called 911. The police asked if I wanted to make it a parental or police matter. If I selected a police matter they would both be arrested as they both had assaulted the other. The house was a mess, broken Christmas ornaments every where, broken things and vomit all over the living room. (Not a good idea to fight when you are sick). I requested parental matter.

    Because of this event and the effect the fighting has on GG, we have fixed up the top floor of the investment house and moved all of BG's stuff there. Hubby and I take turns sleeping there with him. We do combine the house hold back together occasionally. When BG is kept away and only allowed occasional visits with his brothers he becomes very supportive and caring when he does get to see them. Also when he is with just one parent, he is a wonderful boy and lots of fun to be with. But if we put them all together, eventually kaboom.

    I am hopping this site will help us learn different strategies and give us idea on what has worked and what has not. BG loves control, has difficulty seeing things through others eyes, and will disregard any and all consequences when on an angry roll. But, he is also quite loving and plays the most beautiful and peaceful harp music you can imagine.
  2. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Welcome - I don't have any suggestions but wanted to welcome you!
  3. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the board!
  4. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Hi Marf
    I wanted to add a welcome as well. It is slow today because of the Holiday and the school break.
    I have a few questions that might help some of us point you in the right direction as far as how to help him and your family! :)
    Who has seen your child? Which Doctor's? What diagnosis's were given. What types of testing were given or used to determine his diagnosis. How long/how much time was spent with him and or you and husband?
    Is he or has he been on any medications?
    Any other Family history of issues besides Dyslexia?
    There will be more on the board in the next couple of days.
    Welcome, ask more questions, tell us about yourself. We are a friendly bunch!
  5. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Welcome from a fellow Marylander. I don't live that far from you.

    Given that the situation has gotten so extreme (to the point of having to maintain two households), I strongly recommend an evaluation that will give you a diagnosis so you can start to put the appropriate interventions into place to help your son.

    Has he ever had neuropsychological or personality testing?
    Does he see a child/adolescent psychiatrist?
    Has he ever been prescribed medications? If so, what?
    Is he still in the school where he's been bullied?
    How does he do with same-age peers in general?
    Any mental health issues or substance abuse in the family tree?
    Any developmental or speech delays?

    Again, welcome. I'm glad you found us.
  6. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Welcome Marf.
    I am glad you found us. Hopefully we can share some things that have worked for us and offer some support as you go through this tough time.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi, glad you found us too. ODD is not a very useful diagnosis, and it rarely stands alone.
    I think he needs an intensive neuropsychologist evaluation--they are far more intensive than any other sort of evaluation and will gleam a lot of light on your child and what makes him tick.
  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Hi and Welcome!! Any clue what might have been behind the kids at his old school giving him such a hard time? I'm not suggesting that their bullying him was justified, it never is, I'm just wondering what might be unique about him or did anything seem that different that other kids picked up him and ostracized him for. I definitely think something more is going on with him than just defiance.

    Also, I realize the middle one is the big challenge right now, but I'd suggest keeping an eye on the younger one, too, and maybe trying to get him into counseling, just so he can have someone to himself for a while to talk about his own feelings and that it can be a professional who can help him work through things without feeling bad about himself. I'm a little concerned about his negativity toward himself and how it might cause more lack of motivation and damage to self-esteem as time goes on.
  9. ML

    ML Guest

    Welcome. I'm glad you found us and just know that you will find support, friendship and ideas. ML
  10. Nancy423

    Nancy423 do I have to be the mom?

    just wanted to pop in and say Welcome to you!
  11. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Another wanting to add their welcome. Glad you found us, you have found a very supportive group!
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    G'day, Marf.

    A few things stand out for me as possible red flags.

    The first - you have history with your older son, with diagnosed dyslexia/ADHD. You did good to get him help and it seems to have borne fruit. However, there are other things that can be seen as "only" ADHD when there can be more underneath, such as Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in some form (especially Asperger's). And those things are often hereditary.

    Second - you're obviously highly intelligent. You probably chose a partner who is equally intelligent. And there has been a strong correlation between Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) and high IQ in other family members.

    There are some interesting aspects to Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), people often only react negatively to it as a possible diagnosis but in fact, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids are often amazing in what they can do and in what sort of person they are.

    I'm not saying yor children (any of them) DO have Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), but it's certainly worth checking out. Sounds like you've not had much help from doctors so far. A neuropsychologist would be the way to go, check them ALL out. I'm speaking from experience here - when we were trying to get a diagnosis for one, we took ALL the kids because there were problems with just about all of them.

    So some suggestions:

    1) Get onto the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) questionnaire on and run it on each child. Whatever the result, print it out and keep a copy. Show it to whatever specialist you can find. It's also possible to have Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) traits, but not enough for a diagnosis. The test is not officially diagnostic, it's just a matter of personal curiosity.

    2) Read "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. It helps a HUGE amount. I found it made my life easier. There are some summaries and discussion, in Early Childhood. Check them out. There are other books that people here will also recommend, but this one has helped a great many of us.

    3) Watch out for the bullying at school. That's another red flag. Kids can be really cruel and it really hurts. If there is ANY chance that your child is not so skilled in social areas, then the bullying is going to lead to a big increase in problem behaviours at school and at home. My kids were recently in a feature film made in Australia, starring Toni Collette. it's called "The Black Balloon". It is about a teenage boy growing up with a profoundly autistic brother and the hassles it causes him. There is a segment of the movie that deals with bullying - bullying of the autistic boy as well as bullying of the brother. It's very real. As I watched that part of the film, I just cried because I remembered all the times I tried to sort out a problem for difficult child 3, only to be told by the teachers that I had misunderstood and that difficult child 3 had got things confused "not surprising, since he is autistic." In fact, difficult child 3 had been a superb witness, but had come to doubt his own observations because his teacher told him that being autistic meant he often misunderstood what he saw.

    It's a brilliant film, if you can get your hands on it. Uplifting, despite what I've told you. The boy gets the girl, she has more commonsense about living with family problems than the boy himself and teaches him the compassion he needs. Toni Collette plays the ultimate warrior mum - brilliantly done. I met the woman that Toni Collette's character is based on. She's amazing.

    You sound like you're doing absolutely everything you can, to help your boys. Good on you. But you may be working with not enough information. The suicide talk, for example. You correctly identified this as his attempt to control you - again, highly revealing. When a child lives in a world that seems Occupational Therapist (OT) be out of control, you try to understand and control as much of it as you can, so you can have some idea of what to expect. A good way of handling this is NOT to apply even more parental control, but in fact to allow your child some control back, as long as it is used wisely. Give him rope and let him learn to use it under supervision. The book helps explain how to do this.

    Anyway, welcome. This is a good mob. We have kids across a wide range of problems, someone will have problems like yours.

    In our family (as you will see from the sig) we have a combination of extremely high IQ and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in various forms. We've had the explosive behaviour but generally these days it's under control. We've found ays of reducing it. There are some things we've had to let go, but once we understood them better, we stopped worrying so much about them. Other things that seemed minor, we've dealt with before they grew.

    Welcome. Good people here.

  13. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome Marf.
    Glad you found us but sorry you had to.
    I can't add much, except that I agree, taking the online Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) test(s) and reading The Explosive Child are good starts.
    I am so sorry about the anger issues. It sounds like typical sibling rivalry has taken on a life of its own. I wonder what triggers your middle son? Certain phrases? Insults, yes, but what about perceived insulsts? And perhaps you could teach your youngest son to walk away and come to you for help. Not easy, I know.
    I have often wished we had an apt or another house so we could separate our kids. On the one hand, it's a good solution, but on the other hand, it's a stop-gap measure, because it hasn't addressed the actual problem.
    Best of luck.
  14. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    Wow! What a response! More then I expected and it brings me great comfort.

    I'll start by answering the questions:

    He has seen:
    - A family practice therapist (holds a MS, can not prescribe drugs)
    - Child psychiatrist (did not say or do much, offered to prescribe drugs)
    - Dr. at Potomac ridge (not enough room for my grumbles here)

    No one has provided a formal diagnoses, each Dr. gave a different "theory", I clung to ODD for researching books and online thing (like this group).

    No testing was done, and I don't know what to look for or where to start? I went through my insurance. They only offer a couple Dr. each one has a 9 to 12 month waiting list. Then fail to perform. His primary Dr. would probably sign any referrals we need, as BG had a major issue in is office once and he understands the need well. But where should we go to find something?

    BG is not on any medications. Because his anger bouts only happen every few months and is not consistent the psychiatrist felt it was probably not a chemical imbalance. Potomac ridge recommended Prozac, (without any tests or diagnoses) but my husband and I did not like the side effects. I did some online searches to see if there are any natural food supplements that help the brain produce saratones. It turns out the coco in chocolate does. We give him a small piece of 70% coco a couple times a day. It does seem to work but wears off quickly. If he is angry or just has that look about him, I will put a piece on a plate somewhere near him. He like it and eats it quickly. 15 minutes later I can see a significant difference. This does support the Prozac idea, but husband is not a supporter of the idea. At least just yet. When he is away from his brothers he is quite calm.

    Family history: I am dyslexic and struggle with spelling (which is why I can't find the correct spelling for saratones). I had self-worth issues as a child, but feel the school environment caused it. I believe my husband has Asperser's, no diagnoses, just my observations. Hubby's uncle and nephew are also autistic. I thought about BG and Asperser, but he seems to have a much stronger understanding of social skills. He doe tend to like to be the center of adult attention. This annoys his peers and sometime causes conflicts or teasing. One of the things we are working on. There is no history of drug or substance abuse in ether side of the family.

    BG is not in the school where he was bullied. That is why we purchased the investment house. BG likes the new school much better. He says everyone respects each other more there. I believe the main reasons he was harassed are do to racial and poverty levels. I over heard one parent tell another parent strategies she taught her son on how to fight without getting caught. Something so far from my perspective I had a hard time believing I heard it. I think he is still being teased, but I don't think he is being harassed anymore. There is a difference. We are looking for ways to support developing social skills. (His parents include an engineering mother and Asperser father we have no social clues).

    Besides competing for adult attention, he seems to do well with peers his own age. He makes friends easily. He does very well in the school environment. My sister-in-law likes having him over because he is one of very few kids who understands and can work with her 13 autistic son.

    Yes he experienced speech delays. He also struggled with reading, but not enough to be diagnosed as dyslexic. When younger he saw a speech pathologist and academic therapist for the reading. He did well on his last MD State Assessment (MSA) reading test.

    Yes GG (the youngest) is seeing a therapist. He responds well to it. He seems to want to get the causes of his frustrations out and is open to work with the therapist. Which is why I know his brothers fights are a major contributing factor. I am more then a little bit concerned about the self negativity. The school counselor stated that after giving away his stuff they usually start hurting themselves unless there is intervention. But one difference with GG and BG is that I have a plan for GG and it seems to help. For BG I feel like I am flowering more.

    Thanks for the ideas! I am going to look up neuropsychological testing, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), check out and read The Explosive Child. It helps to have something to pursue.
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would take him to a neuropsychologist. They are at Childrens and University Hospitals. ODD is sort of a catch-all. It won't really help you...Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is very easily helped and is also inherited. Kids can SEEM friendly, but do they know how to socialize? Can they hold give and take conversations? Do they have a variety of interests?
    A neuropsychologist pretty much looks at everything. I wouldn't trust a plain therapist or even a Psychiatrist unless he does neuropsychologist testing. JMO

    My two oldest are 2 years apart, and also fought like crazy, due to my oldest daughter's violence, and many other problems. Police were called a few times, even the day of my son's high school graduation when she tried to attack his g/f. For several years she was in a foster home due to the safety threat she posed to the other children. My son has several scars from her, both emotional and physical.
    Now they are 22 and 20, and although they don't live in the same house, have actually become friends! I never would have believed it, and still wouldn't want to test it by putting them under the same roof for any length of time, but it is amazing to me.
    I think keeping them apart was the only solution at the time, and you are lucky to be able to work things out the way you have. There was never a solution for the violent rages, drugs helped with some behaviors but also added 100 pounds which she has never lost even after 5 years drug-free, and we simply had to survive those years until she outgrew some things and added some coping strategies.
  17. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Hello Marf, and welcome.

    I am another one who had to move one child out of the house in order to gain peace and harmony for the rest of the family. My difficult child is living in an assisted living facility, and we are all much better off since he moved out.

    I am not a doctor and can't diagnose, but your descriptions of BG really sound spectrum-ish. I agree that a NeoroPsych evaluation might shed some light for you. Some Aspies learn social skills intellectually or even by rote, and can "pass" as almost neurotypical (I fall into this category...most people think I'm a bit odd, but wouldn't guess Aspie) and your son may have learned to adapt as well.

    So glad you found us!

  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    That's good feedback, Marf.

    Still keep an open mind about Asperger's or some other form of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), it would still fit. Autism and being socially inept doesn't necessairly mean being socially withdrawn; they can be very outgoing (difficult child 3 is) but not be appropriate with it. difficult child 3 loves people, when little he would have just as readly gone home with a total stranger, as with us. Same with his older sister, easy child 2/difficult child 2. There were often times when we would be out in public and she would run TO any male with facial hair, and cling to them as if they were her family. It was quite bizarre.

    difficult child 3 still will walk up to a total stranger and start a conversation. He likes people, he enjoys social interaction. he's just not good at it, because he can't do small talk. Instead, he will talk about his favourite things (computer game stuff, mostly). He takes his Nintendo DS everywhere with him and will often use it to start an interaction. I've come out of a store to find difficult child 3 sitting on the bech where I left him outside, but beside him will be an older man or a woman, being taught how to use this game.

    It's interesting that you have noticed the benefits of dark chocolate. It's not necessarily due to effects on serotonin (I think that's what you were trying to say) but it COULD be the caffeine effect from the chocolate. That would impy that stimulant medication could be of benefit. There is a school of thought that considers that Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) is also connected to ADHD. Certainly with my kids, there is a 100% correlation! Iinterestingly, difficult child 3 was 3 years old and still had sever language delay when he started taking dexamphetamine. At the beginning of medication, difficult child 3 was only speaking with nouns and the occasional adjective. Naming things. Nothing more. After a week on medications, he was speaking in full sentences. ADHD medications aren't supposed to work like that!

    There is also a correlation between dyslexia and ADHD. There are also other causes of dyslexia, including social issues. For example, I have a nephew by marriage, whose mtoher refused to let him go to school. She abused him in other ways but I think it was primarily the lack of schooling that prevented him learning to read. His wife (my niece) has been working with him, teaching him to read; however, due to the time delay and other issues, he will probably never be a big reader.
    Another nephew of mine is badly dyslexic despite all the remedial help my sister provided to him from the age of 6. We picked it up early with him because I was fortunate enough to be studying it in my uni course, at the same time as I saw samples of his schoolwork, and was able to point my sister in a positive direction. Pure fluke, but it was the right thing for the boy. In his case, the problem is something in his brain development, possibly Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-connected. He now has a son with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). Interesting.

    I suggested you read "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene - darn good book. It could help a lot with the discipline issues as well as their self-esteem problems. I have also written my own summary of the book, if that would help you. You could share the summary with your husband, where reading the whole book to him might be onerous.

    I did find that my kids often fought when younger, but as they got older they got on better. There are ways, but you also need to work on the kids individually. Not easy when they have these problems. It just adds to the list of problems.

    Keep us posted.

  19. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Welcome, Marf.

    Trinity, I don't think you're at all odd. Besides, normal is so boring. :tongue:
  20. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    Thanks for the post. It contains lots of good information. I aggree that clearly BG has some social issues and we are looking at aspergers stratigies to help. But I had to giggle when I read marguerite's posting. I've lived my life as the engineering nerd, and absolutely love my job because my work environment is full of other engineering nerds. We talk about our computers, show off our nerdy toys. (Guy in the next cube got a light up christmas tree and nurf gun that are powered by his USB drive - cool huh!) The thing is we nerds have grown to a new demention. We are social, just not in the traditional way. We are no longer those nerdy kids on Animal house. We are Bill Gates, Jobes ect. And, we are happy and proud with who we are. Your difficult child 3 would fit write in with us.

    On the International Dyslexia Association (IDA, website we would say your nephew has distaughtia. It is not too late for him to be a good reader, but the training must be approprate and it is like climbing a huge mountain.

    I have ordered the book the Explosive Child. This weekend went well. Thanks for your support.