Hi! I am new to the forum. I joined because I am at the end of my rope and in need of a place to vent out my frustrations about my 7-year-old difficult child, "Peanut". My story begins 3 years ago around the time my difficult child went into preschool. He was such a quiet child. Shy, really, you could say. He would hide behind mine or my mother's legs when we dropped him off in the morning. He would not engage in playtime or speak to the other children, choosing instead to wander around the classroom and finding one toy to fixate on or hold. The other kids all seemed to like him though, despite the fact the he wasn't all that playful or talkative. Eventually his shyness wore off and he started engaging with the other children in his group. However, other problems persisted, like not being able to sit in his seat, not participating or paying attention to what the other kids were learning, always wanting to keep one toy in his hands, wandering around the room and walking on his tiptoes, a trait he had since he began to walk. I started to get comments from the preschool teachers that something seemed "off" about my difficult child. One even went so far as to say it was possible he had a mild form of autism. I was appalled, after all, he was only 4 at the time and it was my opinion that it was very hard to classify a child as autistic so early. Beginning in his kindergarten year, things started to get progressively worrisome. Again, he was shy and uninterested in engaging with the other classmates for the first couple weeks. His teacher commented that he wandered around the room during her lessons and twice in the span of a couple weeks, he had wandered out of the classroom. The second time he even managed to follow a stranger out of the building until they noticed and escorted him back inside. This is when alarm bells started going off for me. I about lost it. Luckily, after we explained stranger danger, he refrained from ever doing that. I think he was so shook up at the idea of never seeing Mommy or Grandma again to even attempt a third escape. After the first month, my difficult child started to warm up to the other classmates and started making friends and participating in class. I thought this was a good thing but this is when our problems truly began. He had some incidents of taking things from the teachers desk and or from the other children. He would lie when asked about it and say he didn't do it even when it was clear he did because the evidence was in his hand or just shrug and tell us he didn't know why he did it. Despite this, his teacher doted on him and the other kids in the class all seemed to like him a great deal, much to my relief. He continued wandering around the room and only sometimes participated in class activities. During the parent/teacher conference meeting his teacher brought up the possibility of mild autism. Again, I wasn't swayed but agreed to take him to his PCP to have him checked out. Even his PCP wasn't quite convinced it was autism. She thought he was just a quirky child that would grow out of it with time. He ended up passing his kindergarten year even though there was some talk of holding him back. Then began his first grade year and again, the same pattern persisted. Shy at first, eventually warming up. He also continued to wander around the class at various times, not wanting to sit in his seat. His first grade teacher happened to be a lot younger than his kindergarten teacher. In fact, she was only a year older than me, having attended the same high school I had so I knew her experience with dealing with difficult children was low. I started getting calls right away that he wasn't wanting to listen in class, that he had broken all of another child's crayons or tore up a girl's pencil grip, or that he would sit on the floor and refuse to do his work or tests. She also told me that the only way she could get through the day with him was to have him sit beside her and work one on one with him and for me, getting him to do his homework at home was like pulling teeth. This is when others started getting involved. The principal, the school therapist, and his former kindergarten teacher. They were all pressing me to label my kid as autistic so they could put him in special class and be done with it. Even my mom, who I've never had an ideal relationship with anyway, turned on me. This is when I decided that enough was enough. At the end of the year, we were not returning to that school and if a private school had pushed me that much, a public school would be worse. I had already done enough research over the school year to know that homeschooling was our best bet. If he would not work in a classroom setting, one one one was the only option I saw that would work. This past summer, at home, things started sliding down hill further. His behavior was out of control. If I tried to get him to listen I was met with him jumping from couch to couch to get away from me and to not have to do what he was told. He would fly off the couch and tear into his bedroom and start screaming so loud I thought the neighbors were going to call the police. Once he realized that this got me to leave him alone, he would do it and sometimes even randomly, for no reason at all. He began to like screaming. Screaming was only the tip of the iceberg. I could not leave him alone to watch a movie and do things around the house. If I did, I'd come back to find things destroyed. Book covers removed, jewelry missing, and forget about things I bought for him for when he was acting good, he would get into those the second I wasn't looking. He also started going into the fridge by himself. Again, telling him no resulted in a high-pitched, ear piercing scream. If I walked over to remove him from the room he would cling to whatever was closest and I would have to pull him off it and drag him over to the couch which he would then jump on no matter what we said. He jumped on it so much that the inner springs from the reclining mechanism have bottomed out and now scrape on our wooden floors. Threats no longer work, rewarding him for good behavior doesn't work because he's not swayed by the reward, spanking is never something I was a fan of but even after trying that, it does not work, taking things away doesn't work. He's resilient! If I take away the TV or all of his toys, he cries for a day or two and begs for these things back but after that, he's no longer interested and the punishment stops working. He's learned to wait it out. I have been told by my mom and other family members that taking these things away for too long is cruel and that as a child, he has to have "something to do" so most of the time I cave after a week and he gets them back. Things started to hit rock bottom a couple months ago right as we were gearing up to start homeschooling early. This is when the threats of violence started. He began telling me he was going to hit me or kill me or that he hated me and wanted me to go away and die. If I try to get him to sit down in his seat, he bounces around and will not focus. It's like he's off in his own little world. If I try to get him to engage, he starts sticking his tongue out and putting his finger in my face and telling me he's not going to do it. He'll scoot his chair back and put his legs up so I can't push him in to the table. I have been able to get through some lessons but certain things leave us both in tears by the end of the day. I finally decided to contact his PCP and see about having a behavioral assessment. She told me based on my answers it sounds like he has ODD and ADD. My first thoughts were that he had ADHD because of how bouncy he is and that he always seems to be "on the go". She told me that he's so shy in her office that she doesn't see it. I tried to explain to her that he's always been like that with strangers but with people he sees every day, he's very hyperactive. She referred me to a child therapist that works part time out of her office. I scheduled an appointment and had my first meeting with him last Tuesday to discuss my difficult child. He told me based off what I am saying and the assessment, he also thinks it's ODD and ADD and wants to also screen him for autism because of the fact that he still walks on his tiptoes. I don't want to put my child on any medication yet, as I am wary of those kinds of things, especially for children but he's going to look at behavioral therapy and see if that will work. I see him again tomorrow but I am at my wits end here. I am ready to throw in the towel with my difficult child. I feel like a failure of a parent and I am not sure what else I can do for him at this point. It has our family in shambles. My mom (who I live with) has to leave the house for hours at a time because she can't stand being around him. She's even threatened throwing us out because of it. I have no current job because, among other reasons, I spend all my time homeschooling my son. My SO, "The Bear", was so supportive for the first 2 years we were together but over the past couple months he seems to be tired of hearing me talk about my woes when it comes to my difficult child. He says it's all I talk about and he doesn't have the answers for me anymore than I do. I just don't know what to do. I don't want to have to wash my hands of my child but my life is falling apart because of it. Some days I just feel like walking out the door and never looking back. I know I won't do that, but unless we find a solution to the problem, I am afraid of how this will destroy our family, his life and my life.