Out of control 9 year old....SUGGESTIONS PLEASE!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by muts80, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. muts80

    muts80 New Member

    I am in desperate need of some good advice from mom's who know my pain!

    I have a 9 year old son who has been diagnosed with bipolar, ODD, and ADHD. He is seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist, and is currently on Abilify and Adderal. The medications are working ok....but he's still having great difficulty with melt downs. Most of them are a result of his "friends" (which are not good friends at all). He isn't grasping the concept of what friendship should be. They are mean to him, they reel him in just to bully him, they call him names, and they know what buttons to push to make him explode. But yet, he still wants to hang out with these kids. It breaks my heart, because he is so desperate for a friend, he is willing to put up with it. I don't know what else to do. I have tried keeping him away from those kids, but there's a girl that he is "in love" with, and he is unwilling to distance himself from her. He tells me "you aren't in control of who I can be friends with!" Of course, I explain to him that when he's 18 he can do whatever he wants, but he's just a child and I determine who he can and can't be friends with...for his own good. He doesn't get it. Tonight was really bad. He had a huge meltdown in the middle of the neighborhood. I was so embarrassed. He screamed like a 2 year old. I am at the end of my rope of what to say to him. PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!!!
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Hello muts and welcome to the board.:bigsmile:

    If you haven't already, you might want to check out "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. Many parents here have found it very helpful.

    You've landed in a wonderful place full of parents who have been there done that and know where you're coming from.

    A little background can be helpful to us in making suggestions.

    How does he do in school?
    Did he meet his developmental milestones or were there delays?
    How does he do at home? With sibs? Parents?
    Who diagnosed him with the bipolar, ODD, ADHD? Do you feel the dxes are accurate? Do they "fit" your son?
    Do you have anything in place to help him in school such as an IEP or 504?

    I'm sure others will be along shortly. I don't have personal experience with adderall, but I'm wondering if it might not be making his rages worse? I may be remembering wrong, but I believe it can do that with bipolar kids. (someone correct me please if I'm wrong on this)

    Tie a knot at the end of your rope and hold on. We're all in this together.

  3. muts80

    muts80 New Member

    I'm definitely going to check out that book.

    He does ok in school. He attends a private Christian school for Exceptional students. They have what's called "Pace Books", and the students work at their own pace in each subject. It has worked out really well there. At first, they had problems with him trying to run away and getting physical with the teachers...which resulted in a week of suspension (and that was only the 2nd week of being there). But since then, they have learned what works...and he's done well.

    He developed at a normal pace. The only developmental problem he had was potty training. He wasn't fully potty trained until he was about 6. To this day, he wears Goodnights to bed. He was a WONDERFUL baby...never cried! We did start noticing at an early age (around 1 1/2) that he fixated on certain objects. Mainly things that went round and round...like wheels and helecopter propellars. He would sit there for HOURS just turning them. We just thought he liked wheels. Then when he started preschool at age 3, the teachers noticed that he was having a hard time socializing with the other children. He wanted to be on his own, and not involved with anything the class was doing. He was very hyper, and would not follow directions. So that's when we first took him to a psychologist and psychiatrist. The doctors diagnosed him with ADHD, and started him on medications. We went through every medication you can think of...and none of them seemed to be working. He developed motor ticks with some of them, and with others he was a zombie. Then when he was in elementary school, they put him on an IEP and labeled him as "severely emotionally disturbed" and started him in ESE classes. The teachers were unable to control his rages, and the school he was attending (public) said they didn't have the resources for him. We then moved him to a school for SED kids. That was unsuccessful as well. He would have fits of rage and defocate in the "time out" room and smear it everywhere. After a year there, we said no more. He was not improving...in fact, he seemed to be getting worse...and the staff was rude and seemed heartless. At age 6 he started seeing a different psychiatrist, and she diagnosed him with bipolar. He responded well to the medications...but still seemed to be having problems with mood. At one point she thought he might have a form of autism. So far, they haven't said anything more on that. But I tend to wonder, because smells bother him, he's very particular about how his clothes fit/feel on his body. He's a germ-phobe too.

    Our three boys are typical brothers. They argue and fuss constantly...but Logan is different. It's very hard to do anything as a family because we never know what kind of mood he's going to be in. He tends to think he's the boss, and wants things done his way. If he doesn't get what he wants, he either has a melt down or questions the decision persistently, until you just want to throw yourself in front of a train! We try to be as consistent as possible, but sometimes it seems impossible to get through to him.

    I know this is lengthy...but I have a lot to say.
  4. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Welcome! Glad you have found us.

    My son is also 9 years old with- bi-polar/adhd. He is very socially immature and explosive. He thinks kids are his "best friends" when actually they are pressing his buttons because it is fun to watch him have a temper tantrum in the middle of the street. I have tried explainning this to him numerous times to no avail. The best I have been able to do is cut down on the amount of interaction he has with the neighborhood kids. I've done this by keeping him busy with activities like tae kwon do and challenger baseball (a league for children with special needs). We have made the backyard entertaining with a swingset and trampoline. He has one friend who he plays with often in the back yard. It is sad but I seldom let him play out front because the nextdoor neighbor's son if very mean to my difficult child. When he is out front, I am always on the front porch monitoring the interaction, seems over protective but I feel it is necessary at this point. I know there will soon be a day when I can't keep him so sheltered but right now, he doesn't have the sociall skills to deal with mean kids.

    Good luck with your situation,
  5. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    muts80, in reading through your description of your son I'm seeing red flags for Autistic Spectrum Disorders all over the place. The fixation on the wheels should have been a HUGE red flag to any diagnositician, early socialization problems continuing on, hyperactivity, bothered by smells and fit of clothes, anxiety, explosive, etc. I'm not saying your son has Autism but someone with expertise in dxing Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)'s should take a close look at him (don't rely on a psychiatrist for extensive diagnostics).

    Children who are misdiagnosed are frequently medicated with medications that mask the Autism, and make behaviors worst in such a way that it further suggests other diagnoses such as bipolar. It also leads to issues being overlooked--such as sensory problems which can contribute to behaviors and be misread for hyperactivity.

    Here's some info on Sensory Integration Dysfunction. For more see the book The Out of Sync Child by Carol Kranowitz.

    If this were my kiddo I'd want to start from ground zero with a whole new evaluation including a pediatric neuropsychologist or Autism Clinic for the possibility of Autism and/or reevaluate current diagnosis, speech pathologist to determine levels of social speech skills, occupational therapy for sensory and fine motor.
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Actually, I was wondering if perhaps you're not actually dealing with autism too. Some of what you're describing reminds me of my son as a child, and at around age 9-10 I noticed marked changes because school began to demand much more of him, plus they began to change classrooms and that really threw him for a loop.

    If it were my child, I'd have an evaluation done by a neuropsychologist. It's an involved evaluation that can take up to about 8 hrs to complete. The evaluation is for a broad spectrum of things such as behavior, disorders, learning issues, ect. Even if it would turn out he isn't autistic, it would probably give docs and you a more accurate picture of what you're actually dealing with as far as your son, and what might best help him.

  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi Muts,
    I agree, there are clear signs of autism there. And obviously, his "friends" love the show, having him melt down. I would just find activities after school so he is not available, even if it's just taking him to the grocery store.
    You've already gotten some great advice. Take care.
  8. muts80

    muts80 New Member

    Thank you all so much for your much needed advice!! I am going to call Tricare (our insurance) to have a referral put in for a neuropsychologist. Sounds like you all see what I see. Don't ask me why his doctor's didn't pursue it further. Also, I think the afterschool activities sound like a good plan. That way he's not tempted to play with the "neighborhood brats" as I call them!
  9. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Good morning and welcome! I also found that after school activites helped with Miss KT, especially karate. She started when she was 7, and eventually earned her black belt, which gave her a major sense of accomplishment.
  10. muts80

    muts80 New Member

    Well I called our insurance company to see about a referral for a neuropsychologist. Of course, it's going to take a while for them to get their ducks in a row. But atleast we are on the right path. I'm just worried that Tricare will come back and say "we don't cover that".

    Also, don't children with autism have poor eye contact? difficult child has great eye contact. Maybe he just has a mild form. We will hopefully find out soon.

    Until then, any good suggestions on how to control his meltdowns? He had several today just because he couldn't beat a level on his nintendo ds. Should I take the game away, or try to redirect his anger? I don't know what to do anymore....I'm losing my mind! LOL! I am having a hard time figuring out what discipline is appropriate for a child like him. Obviously just grounding him doesn't work, because most of the time he doesn't even understand why.
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I agree with SRL. I"m seeing red flags for maybe Aspergers everywhere. Sounds a lot like autistic spectrum disorder. Of course, WE can't diagnose. To get everything done right, I'd take him to a neuropsychologist. They in my opinion are the absolute best evaluators. They do tons of testing. My son had ten hours of it (he's on the spectrum, also high functioning). I wouldn't let this go. I'd have the NeuroPsychs. Often Psychiatrists miss this because it's neurological, but mimic ks psychiatric problems. My son has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified. He has good eye contact with people he knows, but tends to look down when he doesn't know somebody well. Higher functioning kids are harder to spot, but they need the same interventions of lower functioning kids in order to "get" life skills and social skills. My son has really improved with interventions. It took us until he was 11 to get him dxds. yet we, his parents, knew. It was a relief to get the diagnosis., and he also then qualified for more help. Good luck.
  12. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    If you can't find a neuropsychologist, a developmental pediatrician or Autism clinic would be other good options.
  13. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat


    You might want to pick up the book "Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. Lots of help in there as far with dealing with meltdowns, and more importantly, preventing them in the first place.
  14. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Travis can have great eye contact, but he can't mantain it for extended periods. Travis is very affectionate, when he stops and thinks about it.

    One thing to note on the "signs and symptoms" aspect, you don't have to have all of them to have a disorder. Each child is different. This is for any disorder. Your child might have signs or symptoms that my child doesn't and vice versa.

    Glad you got the ball rolling. Like I said, even if it isn't autism, the evaluation will give you a clearer picture of what you're dealing with.

  15. muts80

    muts80 New Member

    One thing that I forgot to mention is the way difficult child eats. Since he was old enough to eat table food, he has been the messiest eater I've ever seen. We used to joke about it and say "he has to kill it before he eats it". To this day, he is still like that. He gets food all over his face, hands and clothes. I have tried over and over to get him to use a napkin, but he says he forgets. He uses his sleeves instead. It is so frustrating! Especially when we are in public.

    I cannot wait for his next therapy appointment so I can get a recommendation for a neuropsychologist. I think we are on to something! FINALLY!
  16. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    If you can provide him opportunities to meet new friends or even better find him a mentor or an older brother , these new relationships will help him loose interest in these friends. One needs only one or two close , good friends. A mentor , older brother , buddy etc promotes so many cognitive skills, self esteem and of course provides relationship and healthy connections.

    You could try some problem solving , putting his concerns and yours on the table and trying to define the problem and come up with solutions

  17. muts80

    muts80 New Member

    Allan, thank you for the list of resources!! I read over them, and I am going to purchase "The Explosive Child" book. Thank you for your help!! It is MUCH appreciated.

    Thank you EVERYONE for your help!
  18. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    It is not easy , but the way to go in my humble opinion is to lower the rope and relax the atmosphere, more dance and music , plenty of genral chatting, dialog, conversations - general bonding, relationship building , one on one = and then try to generalize that dynamic.
    Our greatest tool is conversations that build relationship and trust and promote so many cognitive skills. When kids learn to think better , can think of more than one solution to a problem , they are less likely to become frustrated. Education is a process and even when there are bumps in the road , when you are working in the right direction , there is always learning taking place.