ODD Battle - Tired, Confused, and Weary

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Paul, Nov 30, 2007.

  1. Paul

    Paul New Member

    Me and my fiance are at our wits end, and we just don't know what course of action to take at this point.

    My fiance's son is 10 years old and she has had the not-so-good life until I came along. A few abusive and rotten boyfriends who took advantage of her and treated the family horribly. One (possibly more) instance with her son was with her ex-fiance who sexually abused him during a visitation several years ago. So her son has known nothing but turmoil in his life.

    Now, I am in the picture. Everything is terrific. My fiance has never been happier, she is well taken care of respected, honored, and loved, and so are her sons. They never go without, and they are all treated with respect, honor, and dignity. This has been adopted by my fiance and she loves being treated properly - and her older son is loving it too...then in comes the 10 year old...

    The young one was diagnosed a while back (before I was even in the picture) as having ODD for which they have him on a regiment of Clonodine. He has been to counseling, which he was removed from for punching his PREGNANT couselor in the stomach. Last year he had numerous diciplinary issues in school and at home including playing with fire, swearing in school, destruction of school property, and fighting.

    Present day. Over the summer, we worked on respect, and he was for a time doing well. Then he got caught breaking into someone's second-floor apartment because another child said they were moving and an item in there belonged to her (which was untrue). We read up on several articles and boards about ODD and how to better handle an ODD child, and we have tried it ALL. There were some spankings, and some groundings, but it seemed to hit home with him.

    Now we are well into the new school year. His behavior at school and grades have been EXEMPLARY! However, his behavior at home has been an almighty atrocity.

    He is increasingly defiant when it comes to homework. He frequently becomes beligerant when someone tries to help him, he asks for help, then when we try to help, he begins changing stories saying 'the teacher wants it this way' - only to find out that that is how HE wanted to do it. His lying has been increasing exponentially, we are constantly busting him on lying. Despite our reassurances that we want to hear from him and what is going on, he still lashes out, has fits of rage, destruction in the home, and the consistant lying.

    We have tried grounding, limiting computer / game console time, changed bedtime to an earlier hour, been firm with him consistently to keep the ODD in line and we were not going to succumb to it, taking away TV privledges, playtime with friends, and even tried a 'consequence' system - you do good, you get praised, you do bad, you do not. He wants off his medication - or at least a reduction - that was two days of hell that we are NOT going to revisit. He tells us one thing, and does another without telling us, and most recently was banned from a children's pet creature site for fighting with an 8 year old, the 8 year old's creature won, he threatens the 8 year old, the parents report it, he gets banned, and I find out from the admin exactly what happened and why - we approach him about it and he flat out lies AGAIN. Everything we do, he is insistant on finding another way to undermine our efforts and he goes into a rage if things do not go his way.

    We feel like we are failing. Like we are losing him to something we cannot control. Medication is only going to take us so far, and we are scared to mess with the dose because he turns into a hellish monster. We are thinking about revisting the counseling route, but have no idea if this will work. We have planned a private meeting with his doctor for next week so we can discuss this. But still - we are truly frightened for him. He really is a great kid, and he is smart as a whip, and has so much talent in him. He is 10 and on honor roll with all of these problems - go figure? We can plant him in front of a computer or a console game and he will go for hours with no issues - take it away and it is like taking heroin away from an addict.

    Is he really ODD? Is he ADD/ADHD? Is he heading towards CD?

    Please, ANY advice or personal experiences you can share would be outstanding. Thank you folks....
  2. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    I think I had a mini flashback. I would recommend getting a full evaluation and then going from there. ODD doesn't usually stand alone in my humble opinion.

    Getting him into a counselor you all are comfortable with may help. In the long run counseling for you might not be bad. I am just saying this because it can help.

    I know others will be along as well.

    Sorry you had to find us but glad you are here.

  3. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Hi Paul. Welcome to the board.

    OK. You and the fiancee. Deeeeeep breaths. You are not failing. Parenting a difficult child (that is what we lovingly call our gifts from God) is not for the faint of heart.

    Cat in the Hat is right. ODD almost never stands alone. Who diagnosed him? It is probably time for a re-evaluation. We heavily suggest getting our kids either a multi-disciplinary evaluation or an evaluation by a neuropsychologist. They do a very thorough job.

    If a child had sexual abuse in his past, no matter how terrific his new life is, that child still has that horror in his/her heart. It could be a very long time before he trusts again.

    Might I suggest the book "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. It is a FANTASTIC book that helps in dealing with a challenging kid.

    Keep posting. Weekends are slow, but come Monday, we'll be at full power again. Do us a favor and make yourself a signature. Click on the FAQ forum, it will explain it.

    Again, welcome!
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi, Paul. Welcome to the board.
    ODD rarely stands by itself and in my opinion he sounds like more than just ODD. Does your fiance or the boy's father have any psychiatric or substance abuse issues? These are big red flags for possible mood disorders, and Clonadine wouldn't help enough nor do these kids respond to traditional behavioral interventions. They really need to be medically stabilized. Add to that the fact that this kid may have a predisposition to mental illness and was sexually abused and I think you need a lot more than a counselor and Clondine to try to help him. He isn't a bad kid (as you noted). He may not be in total control of his behavior.
    I highly recommend a neuropsychologist exam. To many of us on this board, NeuroPsychs do the best evaluations--they certainly do extensive testing and can spot things that other professionals can't or don't take the time to find. Until you know what is really wrong, you can't help him. Plus if the child has had ten years of instability even your love and stability doesn't guarantee he can overcome it. All kids have different abilities to handle stress. If a child (or adult) is genetically predisposed to psychiatric or neurological problems and does not handle stress well, then love won't cure him. He really needs another evaluation and in my opinion he needs a child psychiatrist after that to decide on the medications. Counselors just aren't adequate for problems of this magnitude, at least not by themselves. Since you mentioned certain disorders, I would NOT want to medicate this child for ADHD. I think this behavior is also beyond ADHD, but you need a neuropsychologist for that. CD is usually the result of untreated mental illness and in my layman's opinion, no, he isn't there yet. My guess (and there is nothing beyond it other than a guess--I have NO credentials) is he possibly suffers from childhood bipolar disorder. How was his early development? I'd also want to test him to see if he's on the autism spectrum. That's where the neuropsychologist comes in. If he has a mood disorder medications for ADHD will make him worse. It's important to try to nail it right. Yes, I know it's hard and my heart goes out to you. I'm the mom of four adopted kids who has had a lot of experience with difficult children, and I can pass along what worked for us. And it's all JMO.
  5. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    First, welcome. Your fiance is awfully lucky to have you, so are her kids. It sounds like they have had been through he11 and back.

    I agree that the first thing that needs to be done is full evaluation -- preferably by a neuropsychologist (check with your nearest Children's Hospital, they should be able to help you find one). ODD rarely stands alone.

    If you haven't done so, do read The Explosive Child. It works for many of us, some not. Either way, it does give you insight into the reasoning of your child.

    The sexual abuse and the "changing of the guard" so to speak might also have caused some Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) (reactive attachment disorder). If so, this is not pretty and needs a lot of therapy. A good book to help you on this is Raising the Hurt Child by Keck.

    We can help give advice with specific behaviors. You'll have to decide what works for you and yours.

    Don't give up on him. He's still young and there is a lot that can be done to save him -- it may take medications, it may take therapy, it may even require an Residential Treatment Center (RTC), but he's not a lost cause. As strange as it sounds, I saw a plus in his break-in -- he didn't go to rob the place but recover something that he thought had been stolen for another. That shows empathy. He used poor judgment but he's young. Kind of to be expected.

    Many of our kids do well in one arena (school) and then let loose all their energy, frustration and anger at home. Even though he is getting good grades, he may still need an IEP for behavior/homework issues. The school will fight you on this tooth and nail but if you go to the education forum, you'll a lot of help and good advice on how to win that battle.

    Again, welcome and so sorry you have to be here.
  6. Paul

    Paul New Member

    In response to MidwestMom - Finace used marijuana for 24 years but NEVER around the kids,since she met me she has been clean and sober with no relapses or cravings. Fiance was diagnosed borderline personality disorder, and clinically depressed, she has been off medications for 6 years and she is doing great. The father was in the military but was never diagnosed with anything, sexually abused 10 year-old difficult child 2 during visitations, passed away from rectal cancer last year - go figure.

    In response to BigBadKitty - Counselor diagnosed him as ODD, family doctor followed her recommendations. Same counselor as before mentioned that was pregnant and punched in the stomach by difficult child 2.

    Today: Not much out of difficult child 2 - seems a little detached, not very motivated.
  7. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    Since you asked for ANY advice, I will tell you what worked for us. It is not an easy or popular remedy but it did work for us.

    My daughter was diagnosis'ed with ODD and depression. The depression seemed to fit but was really even considered because of the ODD. Her main problem was the ODD. Her therapist and I thought she would end up with a bipolar diagnosis. She was fine at school but a totally different child at home.

    We started the gluten free diet because of her sister's celiac disease. I had read gluten could cause behaviour issues so since we were doing the diet anyway, I made this daughter do it, too. Within the first few days, I could tell that gluten was affecting her. We ended up having to eliminate casein (milk) also but without these foods in her diet, she is truly a easy child (perfect child). Sometimes she cheats, and I am right back in that old way of living but for the most part, she is fine.

    When we started the diet, she was taking 20 mg of Lexapro and we were looking at adding an antipsychotic or a mood stabilizer. Now she is taking no medications.

    This daughter didn't have any stomach issues but if your child or his family have a history of IBS or other stomach problems, this is especially likely to help.

    I agree that you should have your son evaluated and start therapy, more for you than for him. You will need it and it never really helped my daughter at the time. While you wait for your appointment, you could try this diet and see what happens.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi Paul, Welcome.
    I can't speak for the horrendous things that happened yr ago (Yikes! So sorry--sounded awful) but I can really, really identify with-the homework issue and the lying.
    Our son was/is the same way.
    He is much better now so there is hope.
    One thing you have going for you is consistency.
    Keep it up--don't just try one method and give it up. If, for example, you tell him he can't have TV because he did XYZ, then make sure you don't break down if he begs (and these kids can beg so nicely, LOL!)
    It is typical that he acts out more at home. I'm not a psychiatric, I just know that it's typical.
    I agree that you could look at dietary issues, too. Our son is much more hyper and rude after he's had wheat and dairy.
    In regard to the lying, I have learned not to get angry and get into shouting matches about that. I just say, matter-of-factly, that this is what happened and these are the consequences. The conscience thing will come later; just work on the behaviors at this point.
    Keep breathing!
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Paul, I asked about substance abuse because that often goes hand-in-hand with psychiatric problems that can be hereditary. It's kind of a red flag for mood problems. Good for your fiance for getting clean! However, did she drink at all or use drugs while pregnant? I adopted a child who was exposed to drugs and alcohol in utero. I'm not judging her. It can be relevant to her son, however. I think an evaluation is the way to go, and again I recommend a neuropsychologist.
    I think you're a wonderful man. There are few jewels like you. I am in no way criticizing you or your fiance. Everyone should have a second chance and you gave her and her kids a wonderful chance. WHat she did in the past is in the past. Most of us have regrets about things we've done. I hope you stick around. It's nice to have male input!
  10. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Welcome to the board! Sorry you had to find us but this is a very good place for support, understanding, venting and advice. You have definately gotten some good advice so far. The full evaluation is a must at this point. As it's been stated, ODD is almost never a stand alone diagnoses and there is definately more going on with your difficult child. He actually sounds a lot like my son with the lying/arguing/legal issues, etc. Before I say more, please keep in mind that none of us are doctors and aren't qualified to diagnose. But with our experience, we recognize certain signs/symptoms and frequently recommend that you have your child checked for X or Y. I think someone previous to me mentioned that it sounded like BiPolar and I agree. My son is ADHD, BiPolar and ODD and alot of things you said this child is doing really rings bells with me. My son also had a very chaotic childhood before the age of 9. We got him as a foster child when he was 9 and adopted him at the age of 10. Bio mom drank, drugged and had various men around during his early childhood. Around the age of 4 or 5, my son was permanently removed from her care but had a lot of placements and 2 failed pre-adoptive placements. I don't know if any of this actually caused any of his issues but it didn't help at all.

    But yes, I would definately look into a full evaluation for this boy. Also, I would suggest you and his mom document everything you can. Behaviors, possible triggers, school issues, and especially any history previous to you joining the family. This should include any abuses, drug/alcohol exposures, bio family medical and mental health history, basically anything and everything you can think of.

    As been pointed out, there are bright spots with this kid. You just have to find a way to let those out and help him deal with the rest. Good luck!
  11. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    Welcome Paul!

    How does your difficult child do socially? Does he have friends? The same ones year after year?

    It is important to be flexible with a difficult child. Traditional parenting does not work the same as with a easy child - as you have learned. It is time to think out of the box. Parent like you never thought you would. I hate the way I am forced to parent. It is not comfortable for me. But, it works best with my difficult child. Every now and then I fall into listening to someone else's suggestions and things begin to spiral again. I now recognize when I start to go back to my normal, natural parenting techniques and stop myself. It makes my household alot less stressful.
  12. Paul

    Paul New Member

    Wow is all I can say - me and my fiance are shocked at the outpouring and responses, and we appreciate everyone's input. We are definately sticking around here!

    But seriously, thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you for giving us more insight. We felt so alone, and sure, we only got 10 responses but 10 is better than none and for the first time we were actually able to smile about the subject, you folks are great!

    PS - MidWestMom - no, she did not use while she carried. When she got pregnant, she stopped outright and did not slip.

    Today: Went to difficult child 1's Junior ROTC Exhibition. difficult child 2 ran around like a complete nutball and burned off ALOT of energy but had alot of fun because 'mom & dad were not there to keep any leashes on him' - the ROTC kids are like a big family, so no matter where he was on school grounds, we knew he was safe. Towards the end of the exhibition when it came time to sit still - he got very fidgity and intentionally annoying. His cousin took him out of the gymnasium and took him riding up and down in the elevator - this worked?! If I knew THAT was going to be a treatment method, I would have started taking him to work everyday long ago!
  13. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    I guess it's true: life has its "ups and downs"! :smile: All right - I'm sorry!

    Make sure you schedule a neuropsychologist asap! It often takes MONTHS to get an appointment, but its a worthwhile effort! You can usually get them done at a teaching or childrens hospital.

    Welcome to the crowd!