ODD son refuses treatment


New Member
This may sound like poor parenting, but I assure you that it isn’t. B. is 16, diagnosed with Asperger’s, Social Anxiety, Selective Mutism (God, how I wish he would shut his mouth now), Sensory Processing Disorder and possible ADHD @ 6, borderline IQ (he is a genius, just not academically), and learning disorders. Fast forward 6 years and all the interventions this desperate mother could find and 2 inpatient stays that did nothing but exacerbate symptoms. Additional, and I think the most accurate diagnosis as of yet, ODD. Currently if it weren’t for his age, I would bet my life he suffers and causes us to suffer from ASPD. He ticks all the boxes except for hurting animals. He has, for about two years now, refused intervention. He has literally tried to strangle me while driving to the psychologist (age 13). He refuses medications and treatment of any kind. Can’t I MAKE him participate? Isn’t that my right and responsibility to make sure he gets the therapy he needs? I literally can’t. He has threatened my life more times than I can count, more than he’s ever said “I love you.” Completely out of control and I feel on the fast track to prison. Steals, lies, no remorse, no accountability, hurts others and is a school drop out. He has never passed a grade academically, but he is just pushed onto the next year. He has an IEP since kindergarten and had a 1:1 aide who he was unkind and inattentive to for years. No progress, just escalation of destructive behavior and absolute refusal of intervention. His Dad has thrown the towel in a long time ago and just talks to him about his behavior, which does absolutely nothing. Unmedicated, untreated and cruel verbally, he stays holed up in his room. He comes out to use the bathroom and eat or harass us. Dad works 4 to 12. Those are his hours of opportunity to verbally abuse, physically intimidate and destroy property. As if all this wasn’t enough, he is my main trigger. I have CPTSD and he organically knows how to trigger my fear. He knows exactly what to say, what buttons to push, how to startle me, to incapacitate me psychologically, leaving me more and more traumatized and incompetent to respond to his actions. He hates us all (we have a large family: Mom, Dad and our children. The boys are 21, 18, 16 and the twin girls are 14) yet his laser focused aggression is directed at me. HE HATES ME. There are many times when he’s kind to me and helplessly hoping something has changed and that we can have a healthy relationship, he manipulates me, gets what he wants and returns to his normal, abusive and vindictive self. I have let myself be duped time after time. Every time I tell myself I will not be fooled again, but he is so good at what he does. Daily death threats have left me afraid and alone, hopeless and so very confused. He was my sweet little baby boy. I would move the world for him, yet he SEETHES hatred, pure hatred towards me. I am at a loss. We are all punished by his actions, but destroying me seems to be his main objective. I apologize for the long post and must say I am so happy to have found you❤️
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Well-Known Member
Hi. Wow. I am sorry. Is he adopted? Had a traumatic birth? Anything?

Well, one thing about us is that we understand and think outside the box unlike people who don't have impossible-to-deal-with kids.

Whatever your sons diagnosis is, that is not as important as what to do for the family in my opinion. He seems like a danger to you and the others. I don't think he should live at home any longer.

If you are in the U.S. there is residential treatment, foster care or troubled teens boarding school. All would work to get him out of home.

You may need a lawyer. Have you left a paper trail? Called the police? Does his school know,? School is supposed to help pay. Sometimes you need a lawyer to force the issue. We did. If you have a big family and not a big income then you may qualify for Medicaid and they pay a lot of the burden.

I am very sorry you are hurting so badly. If God is in your life, trust your son to Him. If not, give him to any Higher Power or just let go and allow him to be. In two years at 18 you can make him leave.

Does he drink or do drugs?

Be well first.


New Member
Thank you for your response. No, he is not adopted, normal birth, no trauma. There is MH issues on both my side and my husband’s side. After all failed interventions, I’m resigned to believe that our gene combination created a Petri dish of disorder. Paternal uncle had a life long history of anti social behaviors ultimately resulting in murdering of a police officer during a robbery and many life sentences. My brother is a manipulative addict. My maternal grandmother was potentially borderline. My father, a violent addict, abused my mother, who ultimately replicated the abuse onto me. I suffer from a multiple list of mental health problems, both genetic and trauma based. Our other children (same parents, same environment) have some learning disabilities and anxiety, but not aggressive in the least, all with intact consciences. I’m tired and traumatized, literally. We can’t afford a specialized school or camp. I want him out. Hubby sees it a bit differently because I know that B. reminds him of his brother which he couldn’t save.


Well-Known Member
He refuses medications and treatment of any kind.
He has, for about two years now, refused intervention.
I will only speak from my own experience which of course is limited.

Only up to a point can he refuse treatment. First, he is a minor, and therefore you hold a large part of the control and responsibility for his care. Second, if somebody is a danger to self or others, they lose the ability to say no to treatment. Adults can be forcibly treated. And so can children and teens.

If somebody is violent, there are injections, for example that act to decrease this.
He has literally tried to strangle me while driving to the psychologist
I mean, this. When such a thing happens it is essential to involve psychiatric emergency services and/or the police. This is for your own, the community's and your son's best interests. When he turns 18 you will lose a lot of control. The more interventions (including legal) that can happen now, the more it benefits your son.

Yes. He benefits from interventions. The reality of his life is that he is out of control. The more he comes up against consequences the better.

You have no control over the course of his future life. That is really not your concern right now. As I see it your concern is this dynamic of abuser/abused that you live with.
Daily death threats
I would contact a domestic violence program. I would also start calling the police every.single.time he threatens you.

With the domestic violence program I would set up a plan, including your leaving the household. I do not understand why your husband is not involved with you to confront and deal with this extreme problem. Does your son threaten and abuse his siblings? (I also would suggest you begin to attend Al Anon which is a program for family members of alcoholics and addicts but most meetings are open to everybody. This program will help you to learn to set boundaries and to act from a place of self-care.)

If you were to involve the legal system there would be, I think, the possibility of residential treatment, which could benefit your son. (School should pay part of this.)

I think part of the problem is that your son seems not to have experienced consequences for his behavior. This is good for NOBODY.

I am glad you found us. Welcome. I hope you keep posting. It helps.


Well-Known Member
We can’t afford a specialized school or camp. I want him out.
There is also Job Corps, which is a federally funded, residential jobs training program with sites all over the country. They work with problemed young people. My own son went.

As I see it a big part of the problem is this dynamic that has arisen and come to dominate the family that the abuse is centered upon you and you deal with it alone. This is NOT your problem alone to bear. And to believe it only affects you, is a mistake. All of your other children see this happen and experience it. That your husband is not present to see a lot of it, does not take away his responsibility.

There are other jobs that would not take him away from the home. In my way of thinking you should NOT have to deal with this alone. This may require that you leave home and go to a shelter, as a means of protecting yourself.

The main *and urgent issue, as I see it, is that you and your husband and the system, potentially, come to recognize this situation as the emergency that it is. You should not be left alone with him and he should not be allowed even one more time to threaten you or to hurt you. In any way.

I would urge you to call the police, to file charges, and to leave the house, the very next time he does this.
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New Member
My husband is law enforcement, yet doesn’t want to involve them. They have been involved before and all they give him is a little talking to. He puts on his charming mask and they see an irrational mother who can not control her own child. There has been consequences, none which affected his behavior or lack of remorse. The police need to become involved again. I feel it is the only way. I want him gone.


Well-Known Member
The police need to become involved again. I feel it is the only way. I want him gone.
I repeat my recommendation to become involved with a domestic violence organization, and Al Anon.

Have you communicated to your husband how you feel about wanting son gone, and how you are unable (and unwilling) to bear more? Is there other domestic violence in the family?

As I see it you, your son, and the family would benefit from your getting on the same page with your husband. By that I mean that your husband recognize what you are feeling and what you need, and what you cannot bear. And that he become involved with dealing with his son's violence. This should not be your problem alone. Either in terms of solving it, or as target. Have you considered marital counseling in order to open the lines of communication with your husband, and to further joint problem solving?

As I see it, you cannot just want son gone, in isolation. This has to be communicated to your husband, and a joint plan worked out.
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Well-Known Member
You wrote this in your signature: "And she loved a boy very, very much-- even more than she loved herself.”
Shel Silverstein

This is what Al Anon helps with. We can't love others fully if we don't love ourselves.


Well-Known Member
I still think he needs to be out of the house. I do agree that as long as he is there he needs severe consequences but his genetic history matters. It is part of how he is and why he is, just like my daughter.

My daughter was raised in a loving home free of bad conflict or yelling. We adopted her and raised all our kids in the same environment She was the only adopted child. She alone is a huge problem. I am convinced a lot of her behavior is genetic. She is as confrontational and rebellious as the rest of us are calm and thoughtful. She has no love of rules or laws. She has no respect for anybody really.

I would plan for your son to leave at 18 if he still threatens you. Period. Help him pay rent if you must. We bought our daughter a home. We did not want her living with us. She threatened us, herself and broke our treasures. She stole. She lied. She shoved me. I had two younger kids to keep safe. If he leaves you can still try to help him if he lets you. My daughter refuses help and always did. Pot is her solution.

In the end it is up to you and your husband whether to house him or not. This IS domestic abuse. And it is hard when your child is the abuser.

God bless you.


Well-Known Member
I am the stepparent to two young adult men, both of whom have displayed violent behavior. You CANNOT tolerate this for one second longer - even if the only option is YOU choosing to leave this hot mess of an adolescent for his father to deal with.

Given the horrific circumstances in which you find yourself, I cannot imagine that you would not be able to find shelter at a domestic violence agency, potentially check yourself in for inpatient treatment (which frankly, sounds like a very good idea if the portrait you paint of life in your home is accurate); or even take your younger children and file for divorce. You don't have to actually go through with a divorce, but it may send a message to your emotionally absent husband that you are at your breaking point.

Don't let this son kill you, either literally or figuratively through wearing you down to absolutely nothing. The options raised above are all valid but take time. You don't have any more of that. You are out of time.

If this was me, I would leave.


Sending good vibes...
I'm so sorry for all you're going through. It's just horrible!

My first thought is that "your house is divided". Until if or when your husband gets on board with you I'm not so sure you'll be able to fight this. Maybe since he's law enforcement himself he feels it's a bad reflection on him but he's got to be made to understand that your life is on the line. I hope I don't sound too harsh but I feel he's more worried about his reputation and/or the way others will perceive his inability to control his own son than he is about your safety and well-fare and that of your other children.

This seems to me to be the first step. Then you will be able to work together and in agreement with some of the others have him removed from your home. I'd get a lawyer in this field and get guidance on what options are available to you in your area.

Maybe once he's out of the house and given mandatory medication there might be some hope for some normalcy for you and your other children..

I feel like you will have a hard time focusing on yourself and finding healing in this chaos.

Please keep posting and lean on God for guidance and direction.


New Member
“ I hope I don't sound too harsh but I feel he's more worried about his reputation and/or the way others will perceive hisinability to control his own son than he is about your safety and well-fare and that of your other children.” You called a spade a spade. He’s very narcissistic. I don’t use that term lightly.


Sending good vibes...

You are fighting two battles here. It would be bad enough if it was just your son's issues but not having the support of your spouse and his belief in you that you have done all you can but now need other direction, other guidance and support is not good. To me your safety seems paramount. Doesn't he a consider if something were to happen to you that he'll look even more negligent for knowing what his son was capable of but never doing anything about it?

In my opinion, you will not be able to implement a plan if he is not on board. Meaning all your time and energy to find the right path for your son will be wasted if your husband doesn't agree with you.

If it were me, however, I would still work on finding solutions and then at least present your plan of what you want to do for your son and for the betterment and welfare of yourself and family.

When we take baby steps that's when we are able to navigate and see if the decisions and plans we're making are going in the right direction and we are then also able to see where some other changes need to be made. Sometimes the full answer is not revealed to us all at once but it opens up to us as we move forward trusting in God and leaning on his power and strength.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

Your first step is coming here and finding us.

I do not have any experience in this, but as you have already found, many here do.

I think that you have been given great advice.

A good friend of mine was a nurse but died in her sleep because she would not go to see a doctor. She worked on the cancer floor of the biggest hospital in Chicago. Many coworkers told her that she really needed to get her cough checked out. She never did but was trying to treat it herself. She died in her sleep at age 40 and it was found she had a virus that was easily treatable with antibiotics. She left behind a 4 year old an 1 year old daughter.

Moral of the story is that those in their fields can be the worst at asking for help! He needs to swallow his pride and put his family first. This is NO WAY to live.

Hugs and sending you strength to not deal with this alone any longer!


Well-Known Member
You stated that your Father was a violent addict and that your Mom replicated his abuse of her onto you. I echo Copa's suggestion that you seek help in Al-Anon today . They have a meeting finder on their website. Go to meetings . You are the adult child of an addict and have been raised with violent trauma. I would also suggest therapy for you . There are support groups at domestic violence centers . See what your community offers.

The abuse is a pattern and I agree with everyone here that you have to come out of the corner and let law enforcement deal with your son. It is the only way. You owe it to yourself to protect yourself and you need help in doing that. Call the police every single time son threatens you or puts his hands on you.


Roll With It
I completely agree that Alanon would help you. Being an Adult Child of an Alcoholic really changes your entire worldview, and self-view. There are books about it that are also helpful. Ask if you want title recommendations - some of these books helped me greatly.

You need to get your son out of the house. When you are not around, he has other victims. It isn't fair to your other kids to have to suffer and to see their mom so beat down and abused. Go to a domestic violence agency and push until they work with you. As a parent abused by a child, many places still don't have full programs due to the stigma that keeps us parents from seeking help. They CAN and SHOULD develop a program for you if they don't have one for parents abused by kids. I know it is possible because my small town's DV agency did this for me. My son abused me, mostly because I was the wall that kept him from abusing his little sister. If I just stayed out of the way, he probably would have killed his little sister.

The last time he abused me, he threw me across the room into the bar that divided our kitchen and living room. Literally picked me up and threw me. He never spent another night in our home. My husband was NOT terribly supportive at the time. He backed me up because that is our dynamic - if I was really adamant he would always back me up in public, though we often had heated discussions about things in private. It wasn't until we were getting ready for court 3 days later that he realized how bad things were. The bruises had finally showed on my skin (it takes a few days with me) and he saw them on my back. He was astounded - how was I even walking around with that level of bruising on my spine? What I didn't tell my son was that when I finally got an MRI on my back, one vertebrae was chipped from being thrown into the bar. I won't ever tell my son about it. He has changed dramatically and now would feel so bad it would send him into a depression that might end in suicide. I won't have that. He was sick and he had gotten better. At the time we thought my son was ASPD. He had many of the diagnosis that your son has.

I had pretty much told my husband that he either backed me up with sending our son elsewhere to live or he went with our son. Period. The risks for all of us were way to high. What will your husband do when your son finally lashes out and seriously hurts you? How will he look for refusing to get treatment for his son at that point? Not just psychiatric help, actual residential help? If nothing else, your son needs to leave so that you and your other kids can live a life without fear. My son first went to a Youth Shelter. He couldn't follow their rules, so he was kicked out with no notice - just a call to "come pick up your son". I refused. My dad had just retired from teaching junior high, so my son went to my parents (2 miles from our home). We were lucky to have my parents there and willing. He ended up staying there. I arranged for him to go to a Boy's Home that is excellent, but my dad really wanted a chance to help his grandson. So my son stayed with them. I honestly think it worked to turn my son around not because my parents are magic, but because my dad would be given an Asperger's diagnosis if he was ever evaluated. Teaching junior high for almost 40 years was just a plus. He had all the tough kids, the delinquents, so he was equipped to deal with my son. My mom drew a few lines in the sand for him, and he learned not to piss her off pretty fast. Before that she was just Grandma who bought him things. He didn't realize that she would wait until he was sleeping and bring the Wrath of Grandma down on him if he threatened her.

I understand how it is when your husband is gone during the hours your son is home and awake. Your husband cannot see what your son does to you. Get some video cameras and set them up while your son is not home. Then make your husband watch and listen to them. Ask him what he would tell a parent he met while on patrol if the parent had a child who treated them like this? Tell him that it either gets better or you are gone. Not necessarily divorcing him, but out of the household at least with the younger kids. He can deal with the teenagers on his own like you are doing now.

I am so sorry that you are going through this. Alanon could be a big help to you. So could calling around to get a Boy's Home placement for your son. And video cameras to document why you need this and to show your husband what is really going on!

One POWERFUL tool you can use from here is the Parent Report. It tells ALL about your child, good and bad, and helps you keep all the records and notes organized so that you can handle appointments, therapy, whatever in an efficient manner. The link in my signature will take you to the thread on the Parent Report. It really is worth the time. And maybe seeing what all your son has done in print will help wake up your husband to the reality that you live in.


Well-Known Member
I don't know if a military school would accept him, but that is another thing I would be looking into. I agree that he needs to leave. I wish your husband would give you more support. Have you tried to have your son committed for a three day hold? Talk to a social worker.


Well-Known Member
Military schools toss out behavior problems.

My husband was in the military. That's how he rose out of poverty and paid for college. Many kids joined the military because family pushed them to do it, thinking that the military would straighten them out.

It usually doesn't work that way. They tend to get into trouble in the military too, and there are plenty of drugs and drinking and partying in the military too.

If people do not listen to authority, they aren't going to succeed in an environment where you are basically told you had better conform. Where you put up with being screamed at, bossed around or discharged. Disordered kids get thrown out of the military a lot, often worse for wear. And it's the same with military school. They are not a school that is there to straighten out difficult kids. They really don't want them.

I never think it's a good idea to send a struggling kid, older or younger, into a place associated with the military. Not until they are in good shape. It in my opinion will make them more defiant and/or mentally ill. in my opinion a terrible solution. Yet I see it mentioned here a lot as a good idea. From what I know of the Military, I can't see most of our kids succeeding there.

Jmo and.blesdings to all.


Roll With It
Just the idea of my Wiz in the military sends shudders up my spine. Military schools are great for people who want to be there, but not for kids with true ODD. Not unless they have tried ROTC and loved it for what it is. But then they probably don't truly have ODD. Just my opinion, of course!