New to site--an ODD house

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Turningitover, Sep 6, 2008.

  1. Turningitover

    Turningitover New Member

    Hello all,
    I'm very glad I found this site. Nice to know I'm not alone, but sad to see so many struggling families.
    Our difficult child is a 10-year-old boy, diagnosed with ODD and treated by a Ph.d therapist. That's it. No drugs, no other conditions diagnosed, no hospitalizations, no police action. But it's enough, because everyday brings another nightmare, and every morning I wake up and wonder what's in store for us.
    We've been living with difficult child's extreme behaviors since he was around 5, and been in therapy for it for about 2-3 years. After reading many of the threads here, I can't help but wonder if there is more we should be doing. The therapist never suggests any testing or any causes or possibilities of comorbidity. Just the same behavior management, and we seem to be stagnating. And I fear worsening of behavior as he progresses toward adolescence. I don't want to create diagnoses, but I don't want to miss any possibilities of treatment.
    Any thoughts and suggestions would be welcome!
  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hmmm ... sounds just like what we were going through until a cpl wks ago, although our difficult child was on Adderal and still is.
    He broke into a neighbor's house (technically, it was unlocked) and they called the police, which sent us to a new, higher level or care for him.
    I had wanted our therapist to be more aggressive anyway, but be careful what you wish for. :)
    I was all set to have difficult child tested for bipolar and Asperger's (there is no one test, but there are places to start) but that's when all ^*@& broke loose.
    When my son was 10, he hit puberty, developed hair under his armpits and major league BO. He's almost at the point where he is sprouting a mustache. Boy, the behavior kicked in, too.
    In a sense, that's a good thing because it helps others see and identify what you difficult child may be going through. with-so many of our kids, it's so hard. (Not to mention, so many kids tend to hold it together at school and then explode at home.)

    One thing I noticed with-our difficult child is that we have to build in a calm, quiet time every day. If he gets too wound up with-video games, for ex, he will explode.
    We tend to visit relatives at Christmas, and have a s-i-l who is SuperMom, and always has people running to and fro. I always felt obligated to go with-them, and difficult child would be obnoxious. The last time we visited for the holidays, we skipped going anywhere for a day and just vegged out in front of the TV with-footballl, and difficult child napped a lot. It was EXACTLY what he needed.
    Trust your gut. Keep your eye on him.
    Have you read The Explosive Child and The Manipulative Child?
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Welcome! I'd take him to another place and lose this psychiatric. There is no excuse for letting this go on for 5 years without being straight with you and it appears to me (although I'm no expert- just my 2 cents here) that he hasn't been straight with you. First, ODD rarely stands alone. Second, if this psychiatric was on the right course with this I don't think things would have continued for 5 years without improvement. Third, any professional worth his salt would have recommended neuropsychological testing or some form of evaluation by now.

    So, my suggestion would be to make an appointment with a neuropsychologist and have testing done. Personally, when there is a shread of reason to think a mood disorder could be involved, I like having a psychiatrist on board too. A neurologist can be helpful (I'm talking about to get their opinion- not see him weekly forever) but in your case, I don't know that they would be needed- if there was doubt in that area, I would think it would become clear through testing and a psychiatric evaluation. After those two things are done (assuming the psychiatrist and psychiatric discuss things and usually they would), you should have a pretty clear picture what is going on with him and be steered to a therapist or whatever means might be able to support you and him more.

    I'm so sorry you have gone through this- it just sounds to me like this psychiatric is not barking up the right tree and it's hard for me to accept that he doesn't know it.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Welcome, glad to have you join us, but sorry you need to, if you know what I mean.

    I would not take the ODD diagnosis as the final word. ODD is a description of a set of behaviors, but offers NO reason as to WHY your child has those behaviors. Many many of us here have found that ODD almost NEVER stands alone. There is another thing going on - whether past abuse (NOT saying you abused your child at any time, just that SOME people find that it can be a reason for current behaviors!!) or an underlying neurological condition or other problem. ODD is just NOT the entire story.

    PLEASE find a psychiatrist (MD) and a neuropsychologist to help you figure out what is going one. The psychiatrist or developmental pediatrician can help find any medical reasons, and the neuropsychologist should do a LOT of testing to help figure things out. Diagnoisis is NOT an exact science, so you may get a number of them before you figure out what is really going on. It takes time and effort and patience.

    If the phd therapist is not helping you may find more help with a different one. Therapy can be very important to help the entire family. But it has to be the right therapist, and not every therapist is right for every family or situation or time. Don't be afraid to look around.

    Others will have more questions, and tehre is a LOT of experience and information that floats around this forum. Don't be shy, and stick around!!!
  5. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Turning and welcome to the board.

    I agree with the others regarding ODD rarely standing alone. It seems strange that he has been under the docs care this long without any improvement. Adolescense is a really tough time, especially for boys.

    Question, how are things going with him in school? Does he comply there and only act out at home? Just wondering if he has had a referral at school.

    I believe another doctor is in order Turning. Follow your gut on this. I think you feel there is something else going on or you wouldn't have found your way here. I would begin by asking your therapist for some psychiatrist or neuropdoc referrals. Insist that you feel your son needs further testing and evaluation.

  6. ML

    ML Guest

    Welcome. I love your name, it's perfect. Nothing to add beyond what has been said already. My son turns 10 at the end of this month and we're still shopping for the diagnosis(s) that fit.

    Look forward to getting to know you better. ML
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there.
    I would definitely seek further testing. ODD rarely stands alone and there is probably a lot more going on and a lot more that you can do than the same ole same ole that isn't working. I suggest a neuropsychologist. I personally wouldn't bother doing what isn't working. Sounds like the therapist is taught to do one thing and stick with it--not a very helpful thing to do.
    It's best to move on when something is broke.
    Did he have a normal development? Any speech delays, pecularities, obsessions? Does he know how to socialize? Any psychiatric problems on either side of his genetic family tree?
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I wanted to make this separate so it wouldn't get lost in the "book" I was writing (I can get too wordy, sorry).

    Here is a link to help you make a signature that will show at the bottom of your posts - it helps us keep everything straight and not mix up your family with others.

    Here is a link to teh Parent Report. It is a way to organize the information about your child so you have it on hand to share with the professionals who help you. I found putting a photo of my child at the beginning of each section was helpful for the docs. They then knew exactly which child the info was about. Anyway, many of us find the report is very helpful. This also describes the MDE - MultiDisciplinary Evaluation - this is having a group of professionals (usually at a Children's Hospital) evaluate your child - it helps you get a more in-depth look at what is going on.

    This is a link to the abbreviations we use here. It can help you understand the "code" we use.

    There is a lot of other useful stuff in the FAQ forum, as well as in the archives.

    Again, Welcome!
  9. Turningitover

    Turningitover New Member

    Thank you for all the replies and advice. I've added a signature =).
    And I think it's time to explore some other avenue of evaluation. I'm not sure how to get started. This is a small town. I want to be open with current therapist about getting 2nd opinion and actual evaluation. I'll check with my insurance and see where I can go, I guess.
    Is there a difference between a psychologist and a neuropsychologist?
    What kinds of things do they do in a "neuropsychologist evaluation?"
    Thanks again
  10. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome and I hope you find support and help here.

    Sometimes ODD is just that ODD. Whether another therapist says ADHD or something else just doesn't change the ODD behavior or a child born with a defiant personality.
    My daughter was diagnosed with ODD at age seven. She is now 17 and I'm here to tell you that no one has ever been able to diagnose anything else that changed her behavior either with medications or therapy. Oh yes, her psychaitrist calls it not otherwise specified mood disorder for insurance purposes but everyone agrees she is defiant and based on her inherited genes she is fighting demons that no medication or other diagnosis can even begin to touch.

    I'm not saying that you should stop looking. We didn't. But we ended up spending thousands of dollars and ten years later we have the same thing we had when we began our quest. Very rarely does anyone find the magic medication that fixes everything. We are doing the best we can, taking ne year, one day at a time. Sometimes we make progress and othger times we go backwards.

    I'm interested in what kinds of behaviors your son is exhibiting. Does he have siblings?

  11. Turningitover

    Turningitover New Member

    Thanks, Nancy for your input. Although it's a little disheartening. Wouldn't it be great if there was a magic pill for everything!
    Yes, I've read Explosive Child, but not Manipulative Child (same author?).
    Did my signature not get on my last thread? I'm still trying to figure this site out. I don't see my second post on there.
    My son has trouble coping with any negative emotions, especially disappointment, frustration or anger. I expect some anger and defiance, but to him it's all a catastrophe. Instead of sucking it up and "oh, shucks!"-ing it, he must blame someone and then avenge against someone or something.
    That may be, calling us "Jerk, Stupid, Idiot", etc... Or it might be breaking things, messing things, hitting, kicking, throwing things, running "away." (We own acreage and he really just goes to the end of the 1/4 mile-long driveway and stews for awhile).
    I used to see the good, nice person underneath sometimes. But now I'm just seeing a child with just his interests in mind.
    I don't want to lose him.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Although, in the end, he may not change, I still suggest getting a neuropsychologist evaluation. Some kids can and do change for the better. My daughter and son were both hellions and both are living really good, productive lives now. And that would never have happened if we hadn't kept searching for the reasons behind the behaviors. Neither of my kids are currently on medication, but my daughter is now 24 and back in school, off of drugs (this behavior, if not dug into deeper can lead to drug use) and as straight as an arrow. She won't even take an aspirin. We are both shocked at the turnaround and bursting with pride. My son was diagnosed as ADHD/ODD by his first doctor, but he is actually on the autism spectrum. We didn't get the proper diagnosis. until he was 11 and everything changed for my son for the better after that. We understood his triggers and what made him tick and he's been doing great every since. We just never quit trying to find the root cause of his strange behavior, and it paid off (it doesn't always, but in my opinion it's always worth the fight).
    We never dreamed the day would come when we could think about college and him living on his own, but he's actually at that point. His interventions have made him into an "almost" normal teen. He would never have responded to typical talk therapy or behavioral modifications. It is your choice whether or not you take this one doctor's word on his diagnosis, and just decide that nothing can or will change (and maybe it won't). But if you want to give your son a better chance at a good outcome (and, yes, it can happen) I strongly recommend a total evaluation by a neuropsychologist and looking hard into your own genetic background because mental illness and neurological differences are usually inherited. Every child here could have been labeled ODD at one time (and probably has). But the outcomes are not all the same. And there are other underlying causes for most of our kids ODD behaviors. Your son is likely not a bad kid. He is most likely wired differently. There is hope, but you have to keep looking. Good luck, whatever you decide.
  13. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member


    " Instead of sucking it up and "oh, shucks!"-ing it, he must blame someone and then avenge against someone or something."

    I was just talking about this with difficult child's therapist last week. The issue of "resilience" is not understood very well. What makes one person resilient and another totally unable to deal with life's problems in a consturctive and healthy manner. Take two individuals raised in the same family, my easy child and difficult child. easy child has the ability to accept life's difficulties and become stronger because of them. difficult child cannot accept any frustration, needs to have immediate gratification, and instead of roadblocks making her stronger, she gives into the frustrations and temptations and reacts in a negative way.

    My father was an alcoholic. The chaos I grew up in was at times unbearable. I was determined I would get an education, make something of myself, and never ever allow that weakness to destroy my life and it hasn't, I was resileint. My difficult child grew up in the same environment as easy child, there are no addiction or defiance problems in the house and yet she is not resilient. She has been in trouble over and over and she has no resilience to overcome those problems.

  14. tmay

    tmay New Member

    Your house sounds just like mine. I have requested from our psychiatrist a neuropsychologist evaluation and I am still waiting on him to respond. It has been over a week now and tomorrow I am going to get louder and if he still doesn't respond I will move to another who will. That's what I am so frustrated with right now; trying to get doctors to call me back. I realize they are busy people but over a week is way to long to wait for a response. I understand what you are going through, for what its worth. We are going on 12 days now without an explosive tantrum. I am very thankful for that but I still want the evaluation. I don't want to go through his treatment guessing at this and that when this evaluation may give us some answers (or get us closer to some) that will take us in a who new direction.
    I hate to see so many families going through the same torment ours is going through but I am glad to know I am not alone. Hang in there.
  15. tkjfamily

    tkjfamily New Member

    I have read this thread but want to post one of my own. Can anyone tell me how??

  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Click on "New Thread" and type :)
  17. Turningitover

    Turningitover New Member

    Thanks tmay. Your house sounds alot like mine. Mine is just at home too.
    Tomorrow is the day, I'm going to start making some calls about get evaluation'd.
  18. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Turning - welcome!

    I see in your profile that your son is excellent in academics. Is he gifted? Sometimes a gifted child feels so different from everyone else they get frustrated because nobody sees things the way they do. He may actually make complete sense in his mind...but you are the 'idiot' because you do not see it the same way he does. Gifted does not always mean logical.
  19. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member


    I am sorry about your child's struggles. in my humble opinion I think an evaluation should also focus on the lacking cognitive skills in attempt to understand the pathways and possible triggers to your child's behavior. see the link to the care givers handout below , also - see also the inventory list .

    I think we should try to relax the atmosphere as much as possible , lower the rope and show the child that through discussion his concerns will be addressed in the best way. The child has to learn to trust an adult and this means plenty of one on one time connecting with the child , sharing perspectives etc starting with non emotive issues , other people's problems and coming up with solutions and trying to to generalise this win-win dynamic into the rest of the day. It means discusion , asking questions rather than telling and explaining, it means getting the kid to think , helping him with the process and providing an environment which is more predictable , less frustrating , doing role play , going back to the drawing board and dealing with matters out of the moment. I encourage mentors , anything that builds relationships , perspective taking and thinking. It is not easy and often we need to be pretty proactive and creative problem solvers

    Besides the latest edition of the explosive child , I found Myrna Shure's books for eg raising a preteen excellent in helping with problem solving /dialog and scripts. Alfie Kohn's Unconditional parenting has been useful in changing my paradigms which in my humble opinion important in seeing problem solving in the broader context of building trust and relationship.

    Again it is not easy , it takes time to build trust . I believe that this cannot be done if the child's thinking is purely - what's in it for me = what will i get or what will be domne to me

    Education is a long process. Medication may help some children to be responsive to your teaching , but it is only part of the plan. I don't find the typical approach of putting kids on medications and treating the symptons with behavior modification appealing.

    Sending positive thoughts and prayers in your direction

  20. Turningitover

    Turningitover New Member

    Thanks for the input. I agree. The websites look very helpful too.
    But interactions always appear easier in the textbook, compared to when you are actually trying to act them out and use the suggestions. Sometimes real life is overwhelming and desperation leads me to think of anything and everything, like medications even, as a possible adjunct.
    We'll see.
    I'll keep on tryin'.