ODD, the teen years

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by hopeful, Nov 12, 2007.

  1. hopeful

    hopeful New Member

    Hi, I am new to this site so if I do this wrong, bear with me. My daughter was diagnosed with ODD when she was six. She is now 15 and we are really struggling. She is about to go to a youth Psychiatric program, she lives there during the week and comes home for the weekends. (for one month) This program is supposed to help us (caregivers) to understand her better and to assess her in all ways. Psychiatrically, physically, education - everything. At the end they will have a care plan to help get her back on the right track. I am hoping it helps and terrified that she will hook up with other kids there that support her "beliefs" and/or will be hurt by them. Because she was diagnosed young and I really worked hard to be the right kind of parent she hasn't crossed certain lines. Having said that she has done almost everything and I have few illusions about the diagnosis that often ODD leads to jail time. But right now she is open and wanting to find answers too. I am afraid this experience may not be a positive one, I am also overwhelmed and undergunned and need help...

    I am looking for research on ODD as behavioral modification and parenting lessons only work so much. I also have to deal with the other kids and their reaction to her... very complex relationships of love and hate.

    I am also hoping to connect to parents dealing with this issue themselves, to hear from them some of the "what works, what doesn't" experiences they have had.

    Thanx and looking forward to feedback.
  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    LOTS of us have kids with-ODD, LOL!
    What else does she have? It is rarely a stand-alone diagnosis. Does she have ADHD? Is she adopted? What happened b4 she was 6?
    Sorry for so many questions. It just helps to be able to respond to you more helpfully.
  3. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am not familar with this program. I'm not sure what it compares to in the U.S. I can understand why you are worried.

    My story is similar in that my difficult child was diagnosed with ODD at about the same age. Now that she is 16 we have typoical teen worries but in spades. She is still defiant but in different ways.

    We've never found any other disorder with our difficult child, couldn't blame it on ADHD or anything other than the fact that she was born defiant and since she is adopted we also have those issues. I believe she also has a mood disorder but even that is not clear.

    I am afraid for her future. She seems to have no ambition. She likes all the bad boys and acts very immature for her age. She hates school and only wants to work at a job that's "fun". She is a junior in high school and while all her friends are thinking about college she's thinking about how she can sneak her next cigarette or drink.

    There is not much of a relationship between her and her sister. Her loss, but sad nonetheless. She did spend a weekend in juvenile detention after a string of unruly charges for sneaking out of the huse, running away, cutting school, and experimenting with drugs.

    Hope to hear more of your story. You are not alone.

  4. Irene_J

    Irene_J Member

    Did something specific happen to warrant the psychiatric program? My difficult child is now 19, in community college and works part time. She didn't really start to change until she wanted to change. And when she did change, I was there to support her; if she had not changed, she would have been kicked out as soon as legally possible.

    I found that picking my battles carefully worked best for my household. I didn't compromise on safety or school attendance, but I let alot of the other items go. This is not to say that she complied on the two issues, but when she didn't that was when I imposed consequences. When she was your difficult child's age, the cell phone and the computer meant everything, and these are the items I took away.

    I also believe wholeheartedly in natural consequences. When she was out past curfew, I called the police. When she was in a house filled with teens and no adult, I called the police. When the school wanted to suspend her, I let them do it and did not petition for something different. She was even expelled once and had to finish out the rest of the semester with a one-on-one teacher meeting daily in the library (our school district had to supply an alternative when expelling a student).

    When she should have been a junior, she only had enough credits to be a freshman. I was fully prepared kick her out at age 18, but something happened. She "saw" her future and didn't like it. She came to me for help and along with the CST, we devised a plan to help her graduate on time. She had to take extra credits at another high school (giving up her lunch time). She attended summer school the last 3 years and because she has a learning disability, I got some of the requirements waived. And she graduated on time. She heard people talking about proms, senior picnics and colleges, and decided she wanted that life too. And she came to me for help, and I was glad to give it.

    She didn't qualify for a 4 year college, but hopes to transfer after she finishes community college.

    So my difficult child turned it around when she decided she wanted to turn it around. I was there to help after she made the decision, but it really has to come from the person.

    Another thing she did was to drop her bunch of loser friends. This is almost as important as the other stuff.

    This has been a long answer. I hope you can take a little bit from it. I actually think the middle school years were worse than the high school years. I still shudder when I think about what I went through in middle school.
  5. hopeful

    hopeful New Member

    They diagnosed her with ADHD and ODD, put her on ridlin at six. She is our natural daughter, her father is very similar in temperment and after the divorce... I can say confidently - ODD. lol

    At about 2.5 she began having terrible temper tantrums. I am an early childhood educator, a mother of 4 (shes the youngest) and her tantrums were frightening, lasting as long as 45 minutes. After the fact, she would sob and fall asleep. During she would freak if we tried to touch her, comfort her and we eventually would back carefully out of her room and she would scream it out.

    By five I'd heard a million times that it was normal behavior, I was an overprotective mom... the usual :censored2:. I used all my training with her and it did help but it was not normal. She was aggressive, sweet, angry, angelic, all over the place.

    In kindergarten, the teachers were stunned by her behaviour, after clearing our family of abuse, D&A issues, they agreed to support my plea for evaluations, she also refused to write, read or participate so it was labelled developmental delays...

    The psyciatrist diagnosed her, recommended ridlin, offered me his best wishes and sent me home..
  6. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    Unless one lives with a child who has ODD, one has no idea how difficult it is. My son was diagnosis at age four with severe ADHD and ODD. Now he has many more dxs added to the mix, but by far, the ODD is the most difficult to handle. His defiance is unbelievable and has not lessened in severity and he's now twelve. I don't know what it's going to take and I really worry about his future. He knows everything, just ask him. Anything I tell him to not do, he HAS to do it one more time. He/we have been in therapy since he was four and we've behavior modified ourselves to death with very little results. I keep hoping he'll mature a little and outgrow some of it.......but I'm still waiting.

    I'm so sorry you're struggling. I wish I could tell you that this worked and this didn't, but I've found NOTHING that has helped for more than a day. My child now has many dxs and he's on many medications........and time marches on.
  7. hopeful

    hopeful New Member

    We are experiencing the same situation. The variation being that at 14 she "ranaway" (she had disappeared on a regular basis prior to this, 5 days being the longest - I always called the cops, once they picked her up the 5 day time, because the last we heard she was sitting at a busstop coming home and then disappeared)to live with a friend and his father "she wanted to be with people who liked her for who she was". After two years of trauma like I described above (including drugs, sex and alcohol) I was bankrupt. I had lost my job earlier that year due to downsizing and the pressure of all of it was too much, additionally, her older brother had come to the family and admitted to a drug problem (he is in recovery and doing well!) so I fell apart. She was gone for two months, lost about 10 pounds, did god knows what and in Canada if she is 14 I can do nothing about it. I went to the top of the social services system and demanded they help us, reluctantly they did, due mostly to her conduct disorder clinician speaking up regularly. She called to come home 3 weeks ago. She is abiding by the rules, checking in and coming home, the partying has stopped except the occasionally pot smoking (I suspect, she is careful to try and conceal this) and we are slowly rebuilding. She wants to go back to school but this is a challenge, she is two years behind and her reputation precedes her. After the psyc program we will go to the appropriate Special Education program and get her caught up.

    My dilema has been and always will be... no matter how I educate, teachers and community orgs they always come back with "whats happening at home, do you have drug,alcohol, abuse issues?" I have to retell my story, our hard work, love and devotion to a cynical audience and it is exhausting. I feel so shamed as a parent. When her brother admitted his problem I thought I was going to die. I feel/felt like such a loser. I know I have gone the whole 10 yards and think in the end it will be okay but societies view of childrens mental health issues being "the parents fault" is really hard to handle. I've met many really good families, parents, together and alone, who are doing the right things, working hard, educating and improving and we are all tarnished with this brush. It is a spirit drain.

    Yes, we got a divorce, and yes her father is an absentee parent but we did not abuse, traumatize or neglect her. We worked hard most of her life together and then seperately to make her feel safe, loved and respected. No one seems to address the impact that she has on us! I cried every morning until she was 11 because just getting her to school was so challenging. We had healthy boundaries, consequences and escalated everything as much as we could. She mostly didn't care... In grade 8 she made friends for the first time in her life and they were not the kind of kids that I wanted in our life. Thats when the terror began.

    She really seems to want to change that now. I like to think it is because of all the hard work we did, that somehow our morals, values and vision were instilled and that she will be okay. Thats where I am now... lol whew...

    Anyhow, thanx for listening.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. Been threw three teens, have one and one is almost twelve.
    My suggestion is to have her re-evaluated. SIX YEARS OLD was a long time ago and ODD rarely stands alone. Often it's really a mood disorder, and needs mood stabilizing. Sometimes it is high functioning autism. THere are many things it can be, but it is usually more a symptom of a bigger problem and, wow, she is overdue in my opinion for a new, fresh look. I like NeuroPsychs--they do very intensive testing. It doesn't seem like her facility is willing to test her to look for anything else and it seems that your daughter is dying to find out what the real problem is. I was like her and wanted to delve deeper--I have bipolar, which went undiagnosed. That made me out of control when I desperately didn't want to be that way. I'm not a big fan of just an ODD diagnosis. I don't believe your daughter needs to end up in jail--perhaps she needs different people looking at her problems. If she's getting worse, you have nothing to lose by getting a fresh perspective.

    t to do a signature like I did below)
  9. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Irene I am so hoping my difficult child sees her future too and does not like what she sees. She told her friend recently that she didn't dump her old druggie friends until she was ready, until she was tired of getting in trouble. She still flirts with dangerous and risky situations and people but nmothing like it was.

    And I too called the police everytime she didn't come home or was at houses where drugs and alcohol was used. She hated/hates my for it but I also think it is the only reason she didn't continue down that road.

    You give me hope. She told a friend yesterday that junior year is the most important year for grades for getting into college. We never thought she would get that. I think community college is more for her too but at least she's thinking.

  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Oh, hon, PLEASE don't let the cynical people make you feel ashamed. You are a :warrior: warrior mom! You fought for your kids no matter the problems. You did what you could, with what you had, and your child somehow could not or would not accept parenting. This is NOT YOUR FAULT.

    I do believe that you need a new, complete and thorough evaluation. It should include a developmental pediatrician or neuropsychologist, a psychiatrist, a CHILD NEUROLOGIST, and lots of testing.

    The child neurologist is because the sobbing and then falling asleep makes me wonder about seizure issues. A sleep deprived EEG will rule these in or out. An EEG that is not sleep deprived will MISS the things that matter. They thought my daughter had ADHD and was refusing to do work. She has EPILEPSY, a type that has unnoticeable seizures but as many as 70 or more an hour. They last a few seconds to a minute. I think there may be more there, but so far we have not found it.

    The developmental pediatrician will do testing, as would a neuropsychologist. Both of these docs do intense testing, and very thorough testing. A psychiatrist should also weigh in, though in my opinion they do not do very in-depth evaluations.

    I have rarely seen ODD stand alone. It is more a pattern of behavior thataccompanies many problems. I was told this by the docs we saw that I had good reason to trust.

    Good luck, and hold that head up HIGH!!! You are a WONDERFUL mom, a bad mom would have ignored the problems and never tried to help her kids!!!

    Sometimes even the most normal, recommended parenting just is not what works.

    http://www.loveandlogic.com has some interesting stuff for parents. Even the teacher stuff helps with my kids.


  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Forgot one thing. In the General Archives forum, all the way at the back (last page, bottom) is a thread about a Parent Report. This has much valuable info, and if you can put one together with all the info you have gotten over the years, you will have a document to help you get what you need.

    I found it an invaluable exercise, and the docs I immediately did not trust are the ones that refused to even look at a summary of it.

    Our developmental pediatrician READ it ALL!!! And had the people working with my son read all of it. It helped tremendously.


  12. Irene_J

    Irene_J Member

    Nancy--I hope you continue to feel hopeful. Your difficult child is following the same pattern that mine did--starting to think about the future in her junior year. Mine knew that she would be either working, in college or out of the house. I was fully prepared to let her go, even though it would have broken my heart.

    No matter what we do, it only changes when they decide to change. It took me a long time to really get this. And once I let go of trying to change her, she did it herself, using the foundation already set for her.

    Dropping loser friends is a big key. Of the 5 or so friends she ran with, not one graduated from high school. One became a mother, 2 went to jail and another was sent to live with relatives in another state.

    Since my difficult child also has learning disabilities, community college has been great in easing into harder studies. She's also proud of being a "college student."
  13. Mary A.

    Mary A. New Member

    I'm so thrilled to find this forum and know that I am not alone...or crazy, but I'm surprised to see people saying that ODD isn't a cause of the behavior, but a symptom of other problems. My now 13-year-old son is, and has always been, ODD...and that's all. He's intelligent, witty, perceptive, personable, humorous...and ODD. He has uncontrollable tantrums. His dad is the same way.

    I homeschool him because I fear the drug and alcohol exposure at school. With his attitude, I know that's exactly what he would go for. So, right now stealing money from me to sneak junk food is his "high." We eat an all-organic, additive-free, optimal nutrition diet...so of course he wants to eat only junk food. The doctor I took him to when he was one (because I thought maybe an ear infection was causing his abnormal screaming) advised me to start with his diet. He does have more difficulty controlling his mood when he has been eating junk, but it didn't cure him.

    The problems have escalated drastically since he became a teenager, so I'm still trying to chart and figure out how to navigate this new person, but what I have found works best is routine. If the routine dictates a chore or school task, he is more likely to do it than if I told him to do it.
  14. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    I'd rather deal with the terrible twos anytime than the terrible teens. ACK! lol It just further complicates an already difficult situation in children with neurological disorders....

    It can be really difficult to get an accurate diagnosis. Unfortunately, coexisting disorders are the norm rather than the exception for almost any disorder -- including ODD.

    I believe the Chandler papers are still on the FAQ/Board Help forum. If I recall correctly, Dr. Chandler addresses the high probability of coexisting conditions.

    I haven't done any substantial research on ODD in years, but there was a time that my son met the "symptoms list" criteria. There are just so many behaviors on the list that are also on other "symptoms" lists....

    "Oppositional Defiant Disorder is defined as having 4 out of 8 diagnostic criteria on a regular basis, over a period of at least 6 months."

    For example the criteria of ODD include(from the DSM-IV-TR)the following:

    Often loses temper
    Often argues with adults
    Often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults’ requests or rules
    Often deliberately annoys people
    Often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehaviors
    Is often touchy or easily annoyed by others
    Is often angry and resentful
    Is often spiteful or vindictive

    Going back to how difficult child "presented" when he was 5 - 8 yrs old, he met 7 of the 8 the criteria. I'll put some examples of the unidentified underlying problems contributing to the behaviors.

    Often loses temper - yes, emotional problems, language delays, sensory issues, Auditory Processing Disorders (APD), social skills delays, general Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified related
    Often argues with adults - yes, ADHD (still does -- primarily reserved for parents ARG!!!)
    Often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults’ requests or rules - yes, misunderstood directions, fine motor skill delays, anxiety, sensory overload resulted in frustrations and shuting down.
    Often deliberately annoys people - yes, had zero social skills [ADHD], unable to read other's body language [Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)]
    Often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehaviors - yes, ADHD (improved but still happens occasionally)
    Is often touchy or easily annoyed by others - yes, sensory integration problems (improved, but still has some tactile defensiveness, texture issues [clothing, food, and smell, loud noises, etc.])
    Is often angry and resentful - yes, never really saw resentfullness, but there were anger issues [emotional, anxiety and just trying to climb mountains everyday of his life. We had more than one meltdown. Sigh....]
    Is often spiteful or vindictive - no -- there have been a few instances, but never anything that could be classified as "often."

    In short, while difficult child met the criteria for ODD, that wasn't the problem.

    Thought the following comments from Dr. Sutton might be beneficial: "...I’ve always held to the notion that effective intervention must follow accurate assessment. Otherwise, a condition could be treated as one thing when it is actually something else. In such a case not only will interventions not be effective, appropriate diagnosis and treatment are overlooked. This could cause the real problem to fester and worsen.

    There are a number of childhood conditions that present much the same symptoms and behaviors as ODD. These include depression, anxiety disorders, ADHD, stress disorders, bipolar conditions, emerging personality disorders, medical conditions and other concerns. An evaluation and diagnosis of ODD must consider all of these and determine that they are not the child’s primary condition or disorder, or that two or more conditions coexist (comorbidity). An accurate evaluation of ODD must also determine the severity and impact of the child’s symptoms and behaviors over time, exactly how the behaviors affect others, and the overall clinical significance of the disorder as it could affect the growth and development of the youngster. In short, an effective evaluation is a complete mapping of an uncharted region … the inner workings of a child."

    Shoot, it even happens that a child has allergies and it presents with ODD behaviors -- just like seizures can. It takes a lot of time to sort it all out.

    That's not to say that ODD doesn't exist. It's just that many kids meet the ODD criteria and too many times underlying problems are not timely identified or treated.

    Welcome aboard. :smile: