Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by unsure, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. unsure

    unsure New Member

    Hello everyone!
    I found your site last night while looking up ODD on the internet and thought a support group sounded wonderful cuz there are days I really feel lost and alone.

    I am a 41 year old mother of 3...two of my own and a step daughter (details in sig). I got divorced about 4 years ago and my son hasn't gotten over it or should I say moved passed it. He is bound and determined that he will live with his father when it's all said and done. He's already failed a grade once. He had to have tubes when he was in 1st grade and we originally thought that had set him behind. Last year he was put through the testing at school by the instructional support team and diagnosed as ODD. He has tutors and special classes for his academic support. We tried counseling for his 'bad' attitude, but he's too smart for that...said and did all the right things just to get out of it :/ He had calmed down for a brief while, but now he's up to his old 'tricks' again and full throttle this time.

    I just get so tired and frustrated I want to scream. Thankfully my 16 yr old. is a breeze to deal with...very dedicated to her school work, volunteering and very well liked by everyone she comes in contact with. She's a very passionate, kind, caring and thoughtful person.

    Our little 5 year old (my step daughter) is a piece of cake too really. She started kindergarten this year at a private school due to custody arrangements and so far she's very enthusiastic about it and love it. She's easy to get along with and loves to help up. She looks up to my older daughter and wants to be just like her.

    My husband is a good guy and knows how to value his family, but because of everything we go thorugh with my son I have basically forbidden him from disciplining and it's getting to the point of even interacting with my son at all. He has a good relationship for the most part with my daughter. There was some jealousy and tension early on in our relationship until everyone got used to each other. He is like myself and very strict person and believes in rules, guidelines and learning responsibilities. However, not that I'm perfect by a long shot, but he doesn't always go about handling things with the nicest tone. He can be very harsh/sharp with his directions and people take offense until they get to know him.

    The biggest problem for my children in adjusting to their step-father is that their father is the exact opposite of him and everything we believe (thus the divorce). There are no rules, direction, discipline and responsibilites at his house. Needless, to say this has cuzed a HUGE rift in my relationship with my son let alone my husband having any chance at one. My son worships the ground his father walks on. My daughter, being older, sees things with her own eyes and can tell the difference between right and wrong so it's easier for her.

    Anyway, that's the jist of it and I thank you for listening and I'll be happy to answer any questions. It's nice find people that can relate to our own struggles. I look forward to getting to know you and hearing your input.
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Welcome unsure! We're glad you found us, but sorry you had to.

    Has your difficult child ever had private testing done outside the school setting? Schools are not really qualified to diagnose kids in my opinion.

    ODD in and of itself is really not a diagnosis as it typically stems from another underlying issue or even a complex of disorders. The ODD is the behavior you see as a result of the real problem. Once you identify and begin to treat the foundational disorder, the ODD should start to resolve.

    It's got to be very hard for your husband to essentially not be allowed to parent his stepson. He needs to be included in whatever diagnostic process and/or treatment program your difficult child eventually receives if he's to ever be able to constructively help you in raising difficult child. And you surely do not want to have to do this all by yourself!

    Others will chime in here with some more suggestions on where to start in getting appropriate help for difficult child. I hope you find this site to be as helpful and supportive as I have!
  3. unsure

    unsure New Member

    Thank you gcvmom.

    The testing was done by the school psychologist and then referred to an outside counselor/psychologist. Otherwise, no further testing has been done.

    It is difficult for my husband to stand by and stay out of it, but there is too much resentment between them to allow him to get involved at this point because it just make difficult child harder to deal with. I also don't like the way husband handles it and until he gets educated on how to better do that, my kids are off limits to his discipline. He is kept in the loop however on anything that is discussed and any meetings regarding the children. Eventually he will be allowed to be more involved, but for not it's not beneficial to anyone and I get caught in the middle. I love my husband dearly but he can sometimes be just as immature as the difficult child.

    Thank you for your input and look forward to hearing more from others as well.
  4. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It is hard for an adult, who has never dealt with difficult child issues, to begin parenting a difficult child with compassion and understanding. So many folks outside our loops think the kids are just discipline cases. The hard-handed approach is rarely successful with these kids of ours (and very often makes it worse).

    I agree also that a more complex and complete evaluation is needed for your son. ODD is usually a name given for particular behaviors that are caused by something else altogether.

    A children's hospital or teaching university are good places to start. Also, you could get a recommendation from his peditrician.

    Have you read "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene? If not, run, don't walk, to your nearest library or book store and get the book. It's an absolute necessity for difficult child parents!

    Welcome to the site.

  5. unsure

    unsure New Member

    Thank you Sharon. I will do that tonight on the way home as I was looking over the book list and wonder which to start with.
  6. unsure

    unsure New Member

    Well, I purchased and have begun reading The Explosive Child. Thank you so much for the recommendation. What I've read so far, makes so much sense!
    I met with difficult child's IS team yesterday. At this point we are putting him back in in-school counseling. He seems to really like the counselor and responds better to her then the outside counselor we tried. They are going to do another Conner's and Bask (?) assessment as well both before and after counseling in an effort to rule out any underlying neurological disorder. We are going to arrange for difficult child & I to attend one-on-one counseling over the summer after his individual counseling is complete to try and resolve this rift between us. I am his target for frustration and he is wearing me out as I'm sure you can all relate. As far as his academics go, he has proven he is completely capable and understands so we feel sure it's his attitude getting in the way...if it's not of interest to him, he refuses to make the effort. I am pleased with the school and the staff and feel that they see my difficult child at true value and are willing to take whatever steps necessary while working together closely to resolve any issues he may have.
  7. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    That sounds very promising!

    Sometimes depression or some other mood disorder in kids can come out as a bad attitude. We started my difficult child 1 on a mood stabilizer about 3 weeks ago, and it seems to be helping him with his irritability, anger, and general I-don't-give-a-rat's-patootie attitude. He's not bipolar, but I'm fairly certain the fact that he's responding to this medication and he already takes an antidepressant points to a mood disorder.

    I hope the counseling is helpful. You are fortunate to have a school that works with you instead of against you!
  8. unsure

    unsure New Member

    Honestly, I won't be the least bit surprised to find that there is a mood disorder. Depression and anxiety runs in his father's side of the family and several members of that family have struggled with drug and alcohol addiction as a result.
  9. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    If you haven't already, I'd highly recommend seeking out a consult with a pediatric and adolescent psychiatrist. While the counseling the school is offering is great, it won't have as much impact if there's an underlying disorder that's not being addressed appropriately -- which in most cases does mean medication.
  10. unsure

    unsure New Member

    I am taking your advice gcv and getting in touch with a psychiatrist so I know without a doubt what his issues really are. He pushed me too hard last night by getting in my face and telling me that I'm worthless all because he wasn't gettting his way...I have reached my limit with his bs and his father's too. I know that it seems mild to some of the others here, but I'm not too stupid to realize if I don't do it now, it's going to get much worse.
  11. WolfeeDarlin

    WolfeeDarlin New Member

    Oh my, this was like reading about my similar, it's kinda scary. I just wanted to add that I just started reading "The Explosive Child" on Monday and it has helped me understand so much about my difficult child and thus, made it easier to go on. Now the trick is to get husband on the same page as me (actually in the same book would be a step up :().

    I want to thank gcv...I am new to this site myself and just learning how to get around and your comments
    "ODD in and of itself is really not a diagnosis as it typically stems from another underlying issue or even a complex of disorders. The ODD is the behavior you see as a result of the real problem. Once you identify and begin to treat the foundational disorder, the ODD should start to resolve."
    helped a great deal.

    Good luck unsure.
  12. unsure

    unsure New Member

    It's nice to meet you WD, but I'm sorry this is the nature of which we must meet. :( I will keep you posted on nay helpful information I gather on this lovely lil venture and hopefully both our lil difficult children will turn out for the best in the long run.
    I did receive a call today informing me that paperwork is coming home tonight and school based counseling will start on Thursday so in the mean time, one step at a time.
  13. helpme

    helpme New Member

    I too have suffered the rules versus no rules situation.
    It is tremendously difficult on all of the adults and children
    involved. I so totally understand.

    I'm not sure really how to explain this, but it may help
    someday. Please remember that there is a ton of "phases"
    we go through dealing with difficult children. We are mad, we are
    frustrated, we are guilty, we are remorseful, we grieve,
    and on and on the roller coaster ride goes. This I can promise you,
    that sooner or later, the adults do change their "emotion".
    My STBX is took years to get through the denial phase.
    He is now in the what the hell have I done phase. Personally,
    since I have other children with him, I first most am a mother.
    My role as a parent has always come first. So I am there to
    teach/train and then have my emotions. I am fully detached, but I am also struggling
    with "hiding" my blame against STBX for allowing and enabling
    difficult child to behave as he did, or permitting him to get into so much
    trouble. I know that it would not be good for difficult child to manipulate
    me because he suddenly realized I think or he thinks his father
    is a X, Y, or Z. difficult child needs to learn accountability and responsibility,
    and he won't learn that if I let him see how much his father has
    ruined his potential. The kid really could and still can go somewhere
    in life.....but he's gotta figure it out himself, unfortunately.

    I also must be sensitive to our other children. Because they are
    blaming. They are blaming each other and their father and their
    mother (me). They too have a ton of phases and emotions.
    It is a very painful situation.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that you are the support center
    for your son. The stronger you are, and the more information
    you have from here, the more ammunition your support group
    has. The other people (father) will go through a ton of emotions,
    as will the other people around (father's family and your husband
    and his family).

    Try to always have a plan. Prepare and plan for the kid(s),
    plan for yourself, plan for your marriage. You have the best support
    group here, use it, and remember to value your marriage and self
    right now, so you can be as strong as you can be for all of your

    Best of luck, I know its hard. We all know how hard it is.
  14. unsure

    unsure New Member

    You are so right...this is a wonderful, supportive, helpful place to be and I for one am so glad I found it. I have good days and my IDGS daya, but thankfully the good overrides right now. I am ever changing to accomplish whatever needs accomplished. I don't shy aware from the difficulty things. Yes, I get tired, anger, frustrated, etc. but I step away, take a deep breath and revisit with a new prespective. I have the attitude that absolutely my children are above all else that matters. I detach when i need to detach, but I DO NOT give up. I am all they have (positive) to get them where they need to be later in life so if I don't do it who will!?!? It was my choice to create them and give them life, now it's my responsibility to see it through no matter how difficult it gets. When all is said and done, I'll be able to look back knowing I was there and gave it my all and hopefully they will see it someday too.
  15. unsure

    unsure New Member

    Well, I got a call at lunch time from the school nurse telling me that my difficult child was in her office and had gotten sick to his stomach twice and had a low grade fever (100). She said she had tried to contact his dad since it was his day for custody, but of course he was unreachable. So I left work and picked him up and I'm sitting here on my couch waiting for easy child to get home from school and for their dad to come get them. difficult child and I got his homework done and out of the way, he hasn't eaten a hot dog and yogurt (YUCK!) and I took his temp which is now 98 without any medications. Hhhhhhhhhmmmm...emailing school nurse to let her know that he is fine and will be at school tomorrow and I will be unable to pick him up if he should happen to be ill again. So tired of the BS!!!
  16. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Did he actually vomit at school? The fact that he does have a low grade fever means he does have a bug. I don't think I'd send him back so quickly -- our district has a policy of 24-hours fever-free (with no fever medications) before they are allowed to return to school.

    Something else to consider, sometimes behaviors worsen when an illness is brewing.

    I'm sorry you feel like you're being "played" by difficult child. It doesn't help when he's been a PITA on top of everything.
  17. unsure

    unsure New Member

    Yes gcv, the nurse checked the wate basket cuz she's on to his lil tricks as well. However, I'm starting to wonder if he 'made' himself vomit in order to come home, which is going to open up a whole new can of wroms to deal with...ugh! I took his temp when we got home and it was 98. That was about an hour after she took it at school. Neither of course gave him any medicine. His temp never went up again and he never vomitted again. I sent him to school today.
    He went to his dad's last night for his normal Tues. night visitation and got home at 8 p.m. He brought 2 lighters home with him that he wants to trade his sister's boyfriend for a pen knife...NOT!!! It's a 'neverending story' with this kid. He was using the lighter as a test to see if I trust him or not. Against my better judgement that will probably bite me in the butt as usual I'm proving my trust. We agreed that he would put them up out of reach of his younger sister until the boyfriend comes over tonight. I'm going to have the boyfriend take them and then give them to me later. He isn't going to give him the pen knife however...I'll stop at the dollar store and pick up one of those switchblade combs to give him instead ;)
  18. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    The following sites are good resources for the CPS approach - and - check the video clips.
    in my humble opinion the way to go is to just start chatting with your son , taking perspectives , addressing concerns , problem solving other peoples issues . It is also about helping our kids learn to trust us , building a relationship of trust without blame. it is not easy . Buddy tutors or just buddies , older brothers , a great teacher who takes an interest in your child in my humble opinion is very important. Positve friends are also important

  19. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I am really worried here. I don't want to offend, I know you love your son and want him to be open and honest with you - but I'm wondering if he actually is, more than you realise.

    All through your posts, I'm 'hearing' your frustration with him and with the situation. What deeply concerns me is, I think, also a facet of the "ODD" label which includes the word "oppositional". It implies the child is being deliberately difficult and obstructive, when often they are not.

    You say you're concerned about the BS, you feel "played" and so on. You're suspicious of this latest episode of the vomiting and the low-grade fever. I don't blame your suspicion, but EVERYTHING you have here, including this last bit, is what we have been through with difficult child 3. And yes, we also blamed difficult child 3 for trying to get out of school by "making himself sick".

    Boy, were we wrong!

    We had the advantage of knowing that difficult child 3 has autism. However, we had no idea of the extreme pressure difficult child 3 was under. A 'normal' kid wouldn't have been so pressured, of course.

    For a long time, the attitude towards difficult child 3 was, "He's doing this on purpose. He means to be mean and nasty, he means to be difficult. He knows how to push my buttons" - the whole deal.

    Of course, we were wrong.

    Now we have a much better understanding of how a kid reacts when extremely anxious, and extremely stressed. Especially a kid who isn't socially able to 'fit in' as expected.

    What changed for us - when we began to treat difficult child 3 as a kid who really couldn't help it, a kid who was stressing out so badly, because while for us the world is easy to manage, it certainly is not for him.

    Schoolwork - difficult child 3 could do some stuff easily, but the level presented in class was too low for him, he was bored. He had trouble concentrating because he is so incredibly distractible. Sensory integration problems meant that the scrape of a chair, the tap of a pencil, a cough, the teacher saying, "Don't forget to answer all the questions," meant that he kept getting his train of thought totally derailed.

    Some topic areas were also surprisingly difficult for him. difficult child 3 was an excellent reader, he could pick up a book and read aloud from it fluently and with expression. But he lacked understanding, and if asked questions about what he read, if he couldn't 'key word' the answer in the text, he was lost. As the work became more complex, he would really fight doing those subjects in class.

    Add in bullying, other kids belittling him, the attitude of some teachers indicating their impatience with him and their belief that he was deliberately causing trouble - he was giving up and fed up. Always angry, always "in your face".

    But despite all this, I realised - he, like all kids, was basically good and wanting to please. Kids don't start out naughty, they don't choose to be troublemakers. But if the expectation is there that they will cause trouble, or if they themselves believe they are bad, you get what you set up.

    Generally speaking, kids want to do well and want to please us. But when they begin to feel they have no chance of doing that, that is when they begin to be a problem. And you don't fix that problem with more disapproval, that is how you got to this point to begin with.

    Your home discipline methods - you mentioned your strictness. Again I speak from experience - husband & I were raised with strict control. And with these kids, it is disastrous. However, these kids are themselves control freaks, as I'm sure you've already noticed. The way he screams at you, gets in your face - he is trying to assert control. So in fact, given "Explosive Child" methods, you can teach these kids SELF control, often at an earlier age than other kids, by tapping into this inner need to control everything around them.

    They do not respond well to you trying to exert tight control though. It often makes things a lot worse. Instead, they respond well to you listening, ignoring the shouting and tantrums (generally they really can't help it - ignore their age, it no longer applies here). You CAN turn tis around, but it will take a major direction shift from you. But as Dr Phil says, someone has to the hero and it should really be the adult in the situation to be the first to make the change.

    Your husband, I feel very sorry for (you too, and your difficult child too, of course). But your husband is feeling overwhelmed and powerless, as well as frustrated. It is a very difficult situation for all of you but I can see you have all tried to make things work, to find some way to make things work well. I do think the choice to keep your husband out of the discipline side of things was made for good reasons and I know you don't all agree with me - I think it was a very clever choice of yours to do this. However, I think there are even better ways, ways in which you can involve your husband in working with your son.

    First step you're already doing - read the book.

    Second step - keep in mind, your son is probably a really good kid, but the world just won't do what he wants it to do. And he doesn't know what to do from here, he needs you to support him and guide him. Chances are, he will respond well to you as his facilitator. It certainly should reduce the current tug of war you have with him that is producing the ODD.

    Third step - keep posting here and involve your husband in these posts completely. Again I speak from experience: my husband began lurking here and in doing so, he found what I was writing tended to condense thoughts and ideas which helped him really 'get it'. We are already close, but we found this made our communication even better and more productive. Of course it does mean I can't vent about him, but I don't really have cause to. We already were great mates, but now we're also a great team. And because he is now a member here in his own right, he often discusses with me how we feel about this person or tat, and he doesn't always agree with me, of course. It is interesting for us to discuss our different views, and also very helpful.

    The outcome - difficult child 3 is doing so much better. Also, this group gave me the confidence to see difficult child 3 in a more positive light and make some drastic changes where they were needed, as a result we're all a great deal happier.

    Welcome to the site (if I haven't already said so) and I hope you can take what I have said as constructive support, which is what I have intended.

    Read other threads, browse around everything and pick everybody's brains. There are resources we can help you plug into.

  20. unsure

    unsure New Member

    Hi Marg and thank you so much for your helpful adivce. I'm not offended and I do take it as constructive criticism so no worries. Beside you all have been through this already so who am I to question what you have already learned. That's why I came here to seek the expertise of those who already have the experience.

    The book recommendation has been one of the most helpful resources I've had in some time. I have already begun to adjust my attitude and approach with difficult child and much to our delight. As I'm no longer sure "it's just his attitude getting in the way". You hit the nail on the head when you said 'they just want to be heard' and now I'm very much listening instead of controlling difficult child.

    He had a bad day on Friday and it all boiled down to him becoming frustrated over not being able to control a situation so therefore he took that frustration and anger out on everyone when he got home. He had called me and I told him to go into his room and close the door to get away from everybody and relax and do something fun like play with his trucks or PS2 til I could get home and talk with him. Instead of yelling at him for acting out like I would have in the past I treated him with understanding and compassion. Once I got home I went to his room and sat down with him and talked very clamly and quietly instead of yelling. I let him tell me his side of the story without interrupting and let him know that I was intune/aware of his concerns. I explained to him the different things that could have resulted from the interaction with him and his older sister and we discussed how things sometimes effect other people we aren't even aware of (ex: his lil sister that was frightened by him and big sister yelling and slamming doors). I also assured him that big sister and I were also going to have a talk about things because it takes two to tangle not just one. After everyone had talked, they apologized to each other and the rest of the weekend went along very peacefully and they even interacted in a positive, fun way which they haven't done in quite some time.

    I have also found that in the past I was reluctant to give him a definite answer as to our plans and why he couldn't do whatever it was he had asked to do. I would do this to keep if from getting disappointed if the plans fell through, but realize now that it only frustrated him more. I've stopped doing that and I now tell him exactly what we have planned to do and what we will do instead if things don't pan out as we hope. If he makes suggestions, I listen to those suggestions and let him know that they are taken into consideration. He seems much happier and is able to look forward to things instead of becoming anxious that it'll be something he doesn't want to do.

    I appreciate you sharing your advice and experiences with me and have started implementing many of the suggestions you made. However, I'm not ready to start involving stepdad more because I am very uncertain of our future right now. There are many things that I've not shared in regard to him and his life because I know this would be upseting to him. He will not be joining us on the forum as he doesn't feel comfortable sharing personal things with others let alone in this type of setting. He has ALOT of his own issues he needs to deal with and overcome before he's going to be able to positively interact and contribute to someone else.

    Thank you again for the input and I will continue to ask questions and post progress/lasps as they happen.
    Have a good day! :)