New Situation

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Dunrock, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. Dunrock

    Dunrock New Member

    Likely very similar to many of you. I am a single dad with 14 year old son whom is living with me full time now. Diagnosed with ADHD and depression and suffers from anxiety. Personally i think he is ODD. Anyways, life is out of control. Not listening, cutting, threatens suicide, started running away, caught him with marijuana a few times and now has just started skipping school. I just read what i wrote and I just cant believe it has gotten to this level. Have seen psychologists, psychiatrists, numerous consellors. Now looking into a boarding school but likely cant afford. Really just lost at the moment. Have grounded, started taking away phone, ....Nothing works. he doesnt care about anything. A couple positives is he has stuck with playing school basketball and his grades are in the 60's and 70's so not failing out. Of course i get multiple suggestions from friends and family which i appreciate but are difficult to put in place given the situation. He has been an angry boy from birth to now. Always thought it was a phase but i now realize i was blind to all of his issues. Any help/discussion/ approaches that have worked for anyone i would be grateful for.
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I think it's always tougher to change behaviors that are embedded. Some of the things you speak about could be considered some typical teen defiance/experimentation (skipping, not listening) and others show deeper issues (cutting, threats of suicide). Since you have tried the grounding and the removal of privileges already, what about turning it 360 and rewarding the successes and good choices?

    I know you said he has been to numerous docs, but it he currently in talk therapy? Is he at all receptive to finding someone he can trust to speak to on a regular basis? Are there any positive male role models in the family that could step in and buddy him (not belittling your influence, but sometimes our difficult kids respond to someone "not in the middle of it")?

    Does he spend a lot of time on his own where he's left to his own devices? Idleness is never good for our difficult children!

    Your son sounds very much like mine son -- angry from birth, quick to temper, false sense of thing that really made a difference for my son was regular talk therapy where he was taught copying techniques for his anger. He was shown not only alternatives but the ability to recognize the signs within himself when anger was building so he could "nip it in the bud". He was much younger than you son when we began therapy, but this is an ongoing challenge he deals with even now at 18. It's one reason the role model/mentor thing might be good for your son.

    Is your son on any medication for his adhd? Some of the stimulates can make our boys more aggressive. My son was on a stimulant and then a couple other things over the years that "shortened his fuse" until he matured enough to focus on it himself and use what he was taught.

    One thing that was very important for my son when we were working on changing behaviors were positive constants in his life and a little more structure than normally necessary at home. It's not so much fixing or changing him, but teaching him how to deal with himself - making them aware of the realities that they will live with for the rest of their lives.


  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Where is Mom? Does she have any mental health issues he could have inherited? Substance abuse? A tendency to abuse alcohol and drugs IS inherited. I have two adopted kids I have had to tell many times that if they "experimented" with drugs they are at a higher risk to become addicted because they are genetically sensitive to that. Many of our kids are secretly and very craftily using drugs and we don't know it. Your son could be one.

    Has your son seen a psychiatrist? A neuropsychologist? You could have him completely evaluated and go from there. There is no magic bullet with these types of kids. They are very rebellious and it is hard to put rules down that they won't break. When my daughter broke the law, I did call the police in an attempt to shock her out of her drug use. One thing that did make my daughter at least TRY to do better was tying her behavior to use of the car. I'd tell him no Driver's Ed or car license unless he turned it around. That's one thing that teens really care about. Do you pay for his cell, his internet? You can cut that off if he refuses to listen to the rules. Have you ever checked his cell phone or Facebook to see what is REALLY going on with him? He is a minor and if he is being disrespectful and breaking the rules in your house (yes, it's YOUR house, not his), you have every right to snoop around to see exactly what sort of activities your child is involved in. He could be into dangerous stuff, even if he hides it, and as a dad I'm sure you'd want to know so you could try to curb his self-destruction. Only four years left until you can no longer legally do anything.

    If it turns out his behavior is not made worse by drug use, including pot and alcohol, then I would amp up the therapy. Cutting is serious. My daughter did it and told me "I did it to feel something" and also "it gets addictive. It was hard to stop." Anxiety and depression are both treatable, but the require hard work on the part of the patient and often medication is helpful. I have both (anxiety/depression). I found cognitive behavioral therapy far more helpful than just talking. Just talking didn't help me because nothing was taught. I just talked. Cognitive therapy taught me coping skills to temper my anxiety and help the depression. Just a few thoughts...take what you like and discard the rest.

    Eventually my daughter got her act together, but required a lot of heartache, attempts at helping her that she wouldn't do, and finally making her leave at eighteen. I like tough love on teens and above. She did end up quitting drugs, even cigarettes and is very productive, happy and loving today.

    If you can find a therapeutic boarding school you can afford, I've heard good things about them.

    I'm sorry you are hurting today.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2014
  4. Dunrock

    Dunrock New Member

    Hello Sharon and Midwest. Thank you very much for your replies. To answer some of your questions, i have never tried the approach of rewarding successes. He has been seeing a psychologist for about a year now whom he is just starting to conncet with. We had a session yesterday and he directed both my son and I to write out and agree on house/life rules along with the consequences if they are broken. We met today and the first section was times to check in your phone and go to sleep. I proposed 10:00pm for phone check in and 10:30 pm to go to bed...hoping we could end up at around 11:00pm which i think is fair. Well he lost it right away and said that he will go to bed whenever he wants and his phone will not be checked. i kept my calm and told him that i cannot live by those rules. He than said he would like to go live in foster care. i am literally almost ready for something like that just to hopefully get him to see that life is not so bad. Is having your 14 year old boy checking in his phone by 11pm being a hard ass? are there any other approaches out there? Midwest, mom is basically out of the picture. Had enough and cant deal with the disrespect and behaviour. i have tried to get her to stay with me but she cant as she has a short fuse as well. I was looking and speaking with boarding schools (i live in canada) and am looking at a large financing arrangement. He tells me he feels smothered, wants to be treated like an adult, and he can make his own choices now...really starting to feel like rock bottom is near...Dunrock
  5. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Welcome! How did the psychiatrist respond to him losing it over the proposed phone check-in and bedtime? Has your son been on any medications? I see similarities with my 11 yr old son with ADHD and ODD. I worry about this getting worse and have been searching for answers since he was diagnosis'd at age 5. It is so hard to live with and very tough on a marriage. Do you have other children? At this point I am considering either an antidepressant or Strattera since we have tried all the stimulants. I wasn't a fan of medications in the beginning but will do it if it helps. The sad part is they have to feel terrible inside. I think my son feels like no one "gets him". Does your son have many friends?

    Keep searching for answers and help for your son. You found a great place here for support and understanding.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    For the most part, our "differently wired" kids don't do well with behavioral therapy. In general, they operate outside of society's rules and, as you have found out, refuse to conform, even if rewards are promised.

    Are you sure no drugs are involved at this point?

    I don't know much about Canada's system of seeking help for these kids. If you can find a boarding school, that could really help him. Has he had a diagnosis? Any help offered in school or the community? Sounds like this psychologist isn't doing much good after one year...he is just connecting with her? Can you find another one whom he may better connect with? Has he ever been evaluated?
  7. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Both my easy child and difficult child have/had phone and computer rules. When easy child was in middle and high, the laptop and the phone were placed on the hall dresser Sunday through Thursday nights - 10 for the phone and 11 for the computer (as she got older and did her homework late at night in her room). My difficult child puts his phone and tablet on the dresser by 10 and has his old iPod which he falls asleep to. If they wouldn't follow those rules, they wouldn't have the devises. I paid for them and I could/can take them away. Period.

    I don't necessarily agree with MWM in regards to behavioral therapy or rewards. Both have worked well with my son and both were started when he was very young. Rewards proved a huge deal for him because of the self confidence builder at a time when he was discovering himself and therapy, often and intense, brought his issues into the light where they could be studied and worked out.

    If your son wants to feel like and adult and make his own choices, let him experiment first within the safety cocoon of your home. Take away everything electronic that has a monthly bill/wireless fee, etc., that you have paid for. Let him know he needs to work to buy his own possessions if he's an adult and he has to pay his own bills, buy his own food, arrange his own transportation, do his own laundry, buy his own clothes
    ……At 14 he's still a kid who is talking big. He has no idea.
  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    It sure sounds like you are giving your best shot at finding the happy medium. I have raised eight teens and some are more defiant than the others. It may, or may not, be of interest to you that the son that ended up most "out of the loop" is the one who never spoke inappropriately to me. Sigh! What does that mean??? I'm not sure. Perhaps the confrontational teen is not the one destined for problems? It is a crap shoot and whatever you do or say (if it is based on true love and positive motivation) may or may not work.
    From the bottom of my heart I KNOW how difficult it can be. Hugs DDD
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  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    The "specialists" you've been working with are missing the boat, in my opinion. This kid needs a comprehensive evaluation - the kind that take several days. Here in Canada, you would be looking for either a PhD-level Psychologist with a specialty in evaluations, or a behavioral/developmental team out of a teaching or children's hospital. It's not about filling out a few questionaires and getting a quick answer... it's about looking at a whole range of possibilities.