past the end of my rope

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by jrdoodles, Oct 2, 2010.

  1. jrdoodles

    jrdoodles Guest

    Hello, this is my very first 5 minutes on this site. I came here because I googles support groups for parents with children who have oppositional defiant disorder. I don't even know where to start I'm so overwhelmed and tired of this. My son is 9 1/2 and in 4th grade. I was 19 when I had him and as a result of no money and trying to go to college and getting rid of my abusive b/f and my dad dying, I lived with my mom for a few years. Every time I'd tell Michael no about anything she would freak out at me and then literally turn to him and let him have what he wanted. So naturally, he determined I was not an authority figure.

    Well, my first husband died when I was 23, Michael was 4. He became obsessed with death, which, the therapists told me was natural, creepy, but natural. He was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD just before his 3rd birthday. He was looked at by some very special specialists I was told. Comparing him to my daughter's behavior at that age is like night and day, so I have to still agree with the DR. Anyway I have been with my current husband for almsot 4 years, married 2. Michael instantly disliked him. Neil tried to do everything right, but Michael constantly would push n push n push. Now we are so past the end of our rope with his behavior I could just strangle him. Obviously, that's not going to happen, but the metaphore seems relevant at the moment. I'm so sick of holding his hand to get anything accomplished the correct way the first time. I'm tired of his blatantly ignoring what we say for whatever reason. I'm tired of his being an angel at school and the devil at home. I'm tired of his stealing food and porking out in the middle of the night on snacks because he knows they are for everyone and not just him. I'm tired of finding rotting food hidden under couch cushions and stuffed under mattresses and in his toy box. I'm tired of his acting like a 2 year old and not the 9 1/2 year old he is.

    He's even started pulling his half-*****ed stuff at school. They will have assignments and he'll do one or two and leave them. "oh I forgot". He is one of the smartest kids in his class, he always tests above the district and national averages in those fun tests. I don't understand why he absolutely thrives on negative attention. He's never told me he loves me. I gave up telling him. I've even asked him, tonight in fact, if he loves me. he just stared at me. I get the "i hate you" rants that tweens n teens get. And believe me, I've heard enough of that from him, when he's been grounded from hanging with friends because he's gotten rude, lied, or flat out refused to do his chores. According to him I'm the worst mommy in the world because we don't watch tv and have game systems. I don't care. That's not the problem. I'm no where near the best parent in the world, but what do I do when there is no one to help me? What do I do when my mom is telling him it will be ok, and then she cons me into letting her have him for a month or a week, or even a weekend and he comes back worse than before because at grandma's he can do everything he wants, whenever he wants. It doesn't help the situation with my husband telling him he needs to get out and find his own place to live. It's really a childish reaction. I can't handle the screaming and fighting and power struggles. it's been 10 years and I'm drained, emotionally and physically.

    He literally acts just like his bio dad and I have to have such an internal struggle with myself as it is over that part. He can be a great kid when he wants to. But he doesn't ever seem to want to for me. He is physically abusive to the animals, especially when it's time to feed the dog. He is mean to his sister then sits there and lies to us about what he's doing, even when he sees me see him doing it.

    I've tried therapy, behavior therapy, read as many books as I could stomach (why bother publishing a book when the opening line says we don't know anything about this or what triggers it or why or even how to parent it), I've taken away toys, recess, and all kinds of things. Consequences have no bearing in his world and he even goes so far as to take toys or things he gets to school and gives them to other students. His grandma got him an MP3 player (a cheap one) for Christmas. It was gone withing a week or two of returning to school. Then he stole Neil's and fortunately I was able to get it before it, too went into some happy kids pocket at school.

    He's really become horrible because the school has been phenominal about partnering up with me and enforcing my rules and consequences at school. He's lost recess _AGAIN- this year, because he refused to listen to his teacher when she said you need to take this stuff home and complete and correct it (among other things, it was a big stack). The school has him seeing their counselor, and I want him enrolled in speech or at least evaluated. He intentionally (i assume) mispronounces many consonant blends or even consonant sounds. I know he can say them correctly, I've heard him do it many a time, but he knows how irritated it makes me that he speaks like a baby, so he continues to do it and it's become part of his speech habit.

    I live in rural WY and have literally exhausted all of the resources within my budget and driving range. He was going to this psychiatric that everyone in the region sends their kids to. Every three months we'd come back and have the same concerns, rather than make additional therapeutic appointments he just waved us on down the road. My last straw with him was when he told Michael, "you need to listen to your parents" then "see you in three months!" His dr now drives me insane, He keeps saying you need to take him to therapy. WHERE??? Where are we "needing" to take him and what kind?? There are no places that offer the kind of therapy he (and we) needs. Not here. What do I do to get him to listen? Where do I go to get information to help me be a better parent?

    Now he needs his medications adjusted and his dr refuses to try anything new, let alone adjust his dosage of concerta and stratera. Michael never sleeps, he looks like a racoon, and so do I because I'm constantly being woke up by the kitchen light and his climbing all over the cabinetry. I don't want to put him in foster care, but I dont know what else to do to get him the help he needs and to get the point across to him that he's not the boss. Not yet. And just because the other kids here don't have to respect their parents (oMG the kids here are rude!) or do chores doesn't mean his life is going to be all video games and candy.

    If anyone read this all the way down, i appreciate it. I really, really don't know what the heck to do at this point, I'm so over the struggles. I have enough on my plate right now but it's affecting my work my marriage, my parenting of my daugher, and my life. I have no one to talk to about it because none of my friends understand so why bother them with it? Help?
    Lasted edited by : Oct 2, 2010
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Welcome jrdoodles, I'm sorry that you've had to find us but hope we can offer you the support you need. You aren't alone anymore! I feel a certain affinity to you because I also have a 9.5 year old fourth grader. :)

    Frankly, it sounds like more than ADHD and ODD to me. When was the last time he received a comprehensive evaluation? Also, the wrong medications can sometimes make things worse so it's important that a thorough evaluation take place. Your son sounds like he may be a difficult case to figure out: he has been diagnosed with two behavior disorders, he may be suffering from emotional issues due to his father's death and his grandmother has routinely undermined your authority. It's a pretty potent mix. Was his bio-father diagnosed with any mental health or developmental conditions? Many of these conditions have a huge genetic component. Also, does he have any underlying health issues? His lacks of sleep could be caused by many issues: asthma & allergies at our house; anxiety or a mood disorder also come to mind.

    I'm very concerned about his treatment toward his sister and your dog. You need to come up with a safety plan to keep both safe. You may want to consider re-homing your dog at least until your difficult child's issues are better understood and controlled. And both your daughter and dog should never be left alone with difficult child (I'm serious).

    As for your mother... do not allow her to care for son going forward. I know that is easier said than done but it's going to necessary to regain control of your family. One book I will recommend is The Explosive Child by Dr. Ross Greene. It will not cure ODD or any underlying disorders but will help you to determine those behaviors to address first, second and so on.
  3. Jena

    Jena New Member

    hi and welcome!!! you aren't alone trust me we are all in the sinking boat together ha ha (sick attempt at humor :) ) you have found a great place where you can vent, get advice, encouragement and strength from.

    as far as what to do?? well i agree with absolutely everything tired mommy said!! is the school able to do any type of decent evaluation on him? i don't know your area at all. is there any surrounding city that has neuropsychologists where you could take him for a neuropysch exam? and if you did do you have insurance thru your job.

    also since your in the mix and in need of a quick fix. i think i read this here in one of the posts. come up with responses for him to certain requests, or the way he says things to you that you find can escalate a situation. hard to explain in writing...... like "pre rehearsed set responses to him" removing the emotion from it for you. because i can so hear in your voice your exhaustion level at the constant begging, pleading, etc.

    also set up some rules. yea i know you have done that lol, yet set up some firm consequences, if you do A B will happen sort of thing. try posting them on his wall in his room, and in your living room or whatever main room you guys hang in. just a few ideas for now.

  4. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Some ideas:

    1. Request a full and initial MDE from the SD
    2. Try to find a Childrens Hospital to take him to for a neuropsychologist evaluation
    3. If you have nowhere else to go for his medication management, go to his pediatrician (what is he currently taking, how much, and for what duration?)
    4. I agree to not let him stay with your mother - find respite care so you can still get a break, they are better equipped to deal with him
    5. I agree do not leave him alone with the pet or little sister - sounds like he could be bordering on his ODD turning into CD
    6. Find his currency - in other words, what is it he just has to have? Use that for when he does not comply
    7. Can you lock up the snacks? How does he eat during the day?
    8. I also agree - take the emotion out of your requests. Stop screaming. (So hard to do - I do too. It just fuels the fire.)
    9. I don't agree with taking away recess. For my son, he absolutely needs the physical outlet. Find another penalty they can enforce at school.
    10. For my son, one of the worst things for him is boredom. When he is bored, all heck breaks loose. Try to find activities he can participate in (that he wants to do). The busier we keep our son, the better.
    Realize he may not be doing this on purpose. in my opinion, it is the impulsivity part of the ADHD that is causing a lot of this.
    I agree he may also have other things going on (mood disorder - depression, anxiety, etc) - he may need to be treated for that as well as the ADHD

    Hang in there, keep writing, and welcome to the board.
  5. Mamaof5

    Mamaof5 Guest

    I'm no professional but he sounds more Aspie (aspergers) than ODD from what you've described. My 4 yr old is Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) (autism spectrum disorder) and displays at her age a lot of what you are describing. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) can and does present like ADHD\ODD\CD. My oldest is ADHD\Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) (sensory integration dysfunction - on the spectrum) and ODD. ODD\CD can be a co-morbid set of symptoms. Testing should be pushed to either qualify or disqualify things like Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), ODD, CD, ADD ADHD...etc.

    You are not alone as you can see. You've come to the right place.
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    You have gotten awesome advice so far. First, your son needs a LOT of physical activity. Taking recess away is counter-productive. Instead, if school will cooperate, why not have him walk or run in a circuit around the edges of the playground area. Here it is called "walk and talk" because the kids are allowed to talk but they MUST keep walking. Cannot go play though other kids can join them while they walk as long as the other kids are walking and are not teasing/bullying them. Often it is just for 10 min or 15 min of the 30 min recess, but it does motivate the kids. It also allows the kids to be FAR better behaved after recess than if they missed recess or had to sit on the wall (the previous punishments - used for decades until our state legislature mandated that every child must go outside to recess every day unless the weather did certain specific things). Kids with ADHD are NOT NOT NOT well served by missing chances to burn up energy.

    When you send the letter (certified mail is a MUST because it puts legal protections into place for your son, check out the sp ed 101 archives here for letters to copy to ask for the evaluations and IEP) be sure to include speech and Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluations. A private Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation is better, but if you cannot afford it, go with the school's Occupational Therapist (OT). Just be aware that they only test for how things impact school. Your son could have sensory issues (seeking or avoiding certain types of sensory input because his brain doesn't handle sensory input properly) that could be making things worse.

    Read "the explosive child" by Ross Greene, "What Your Explosive Child is Trying to Tell You" by Dr. Doug Riley, and Parenting with Love and Logic by Fay and Cline. Check out the Love and Logic website at . L&L is my favorite because it stresses natural and logical consequences while strengthening the loving bond between parent and child. I also love it because until I found L&L and MADE my husband read it there was NO method of discipline that he was on the same page with. Regardless of what we agreed to when we talked, he went and did whatever he wanted when something came up. It drove me nuts for years, and allowed our son to do what he wanted a lot of the time. L&L made sense to my husband, and is unique in another way. The authors of L&L are now grandparents. They raised their kids using L&L methods, and those kids are using them to raise the grandkids. At least one of the kids now works with the company, writing L&L books and giving lectures. I know other people who used L&L to raise kids - and have adult kids who have really turned things around. Many books don't have any long term evidence that the ideas work. OF course they don't always work, any more than tums fixes every stomach ache, but they do make sense and help in many many ways.

    Start writing a Parent Report. It is a report using an outline parents here figured out that will tell docs, teachers, etc... everything you want them to know about your difficult child so that they can help him. The outline is found through the link in my signature at the bottom of this post. You will need to work on it in several chunks, rather than all at once. Once done it can give a far better picture of what is going on than anything else I have encountered.

    The others have given a lot of awesome advice. Keep coming back here to read and to post. Don't forget to check out all the other areas of this site. Come here to ask for help, to vent, to share funnies, etc... We understand because we have truly been there done that. We won't judge you, or tell you that you are imagining things.

    Oh, and your mom does NOT get unsupervised time with your son. Period. If she is upset, tell her that it is her fault. She undermined your authority so completely that now you have to limit her time with difficult child, and that as soon as she tells him he can have/do something you say he cannot, or that is against your rules, you and difficult child leave. Immediately and with-o explanation. You have to retrain her to be a well behaved grandparent or else she will do the same wtih your daughter. Neither of your kids deserves to be at the mercy of someone who robs them of their acceptance of the primary authority in their lives, because it damages their chances of being successful, productive adults. Your mom doesn't have to like it, because you are now an adult. You have to protect your kids from her until she learns to be a "good" grandparent, one who supports your parenting.
  7. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    I am new to this forum, too, but I wanted to say that I completely understand how you feel. I have days like that with my difficult child, who is 11. The others have given you great advice. Take each day one at a time and hang in there.
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    If he's stealing food - why does he do this? Have you been able to work it out? Is he really getting hungry and sneaking more than he really has room for? (it's sort of like, 'you should never shop on an empty stomach' because you'll buy far more than you really need) or is this just some sort of compulsion to not allow others to have these snacks?

    I'm thinking, this could be more down the compulsion road. In which case, having the stuff around but unavailable, is torture for him. Since everyone else is missing out anyway, you may as well not get the stuff in the first place. Or if you do, you buy it and share it around immediately. Then when it is gone, it is gone. No more until next time you buy it.
    For example - when we do our grocery shopping, it is in a store that is 40 minutes' drive form where we live. So I can't buy ice cream there, or most other frozen foods. BUT - a very special ice cream bar (Aussie-made), one of our favourites, comes in a 4-pack. So if there happen to be four of us shopping together (me, mother in law, husband & difficult child 3) I will buy one pack, and immediately share it. In the supermarket these ice creams are half the price they would be from a takeaway food store. So we get the treat, but we all get to share at the same time. It is a valuable lesson for an otherwise egocentric difficult child.

    Otherwise - stop buying stuff, if it gets raided.

    We had to go through this. easy child was actually the worst culprit, but she was very skilled at ensuring the blame was difficult to apportion. She muddied the waters very effectively, so we weren't sure which kid was stealing snacks. We had begun buying the snacks as lunchbox treats for school, but they were often long gone before next shopping day. So I simply stopped buying them. I also stopped making biscuits & cakes. There was of course always food available, but it was one 'real' food. I would grill sausages and leave them, cooked, on a plate in the fridge. Carrot sticks and celery sticks were in a sealed container in the fridge. Everyone could help themselves but there was one BIG rule - eat all you want, but eat all you take. Do not waste it. One other rule we worked towards - eat all you want, but when the last is eaten, TELL MUM so stock can be replenished.

    Doing it this way meant that the kids would fill up on 'meal' food and not junk. If they were hungry at 4 pm and ate two sausages, a carrot and a celery stick, then at 7 pm were not hungry and refused dinner, I didn't worry. They had already eaten dinner.

    Dessert - if it gets sneaked, then the whole family has to miss out. Or you can make something and serve it all, immediately. For example, I sometimes cook fresh pineapple. Dipped in brown sugar, pan-fried in a little bit of butter in a non-stick pan until it caramelises, then a splash of rum (if you want - flambe it for visual effect) and finish with a splash of either real cream or coconut cream to make a butterscotch sauce. It's an instant dessert. The thing with pineapple - if you have it around, raw, then you can't et too much because the digestive enzymes do things to your mouth. But cooking it removes this, but if the only cooked pineapple is what you have cooked and then you serve it all, then it can't get sneaked. Not much of it, anyway.

    Kids can do without luxuries if they have to. So can we. It's often easier than locking up food.

    Another important point - teen boys (often it starts in pre-teen years) even more than girls, get the munchies. Badly. I've seen it with friends' kids as well as my own. having good food available freely means that when they HAVE to eat because they are irritable and hypoglycemic, the food is there. No fast sugar hits, though. And go easy on the comfort food (mashed potato, or crisps). A grilled sausage is a good protein hit and can be eaten cold. Same goes for salad sandwiches. But when a boy gets hungry, it's often too late to grill the sausage then. He has to eat NOW. It's teen hormones to blame and it can be scary how hard and fast it hits. It just doesn't seem to happen like this with girls.

    If the food is openly, freely available then he doesn't have to sneak it. Make him be open, but do not criticise at all. Instead, ask him to let you know how much is left, so you can ensure supplies are maintained. However, if he is deliberately eating it all because it is there, you will need to find to why this is happening. He himself needs to get out of that habit. It can come form fear that the supply will dry up (so if I eat it all now, I won't have missed out). It's the lion syndrome, I call it. Lions will kill for a meal then eat as much as they can, because once they stop eating, other animals move in and the lion can't come back to finish it later. So the lions gorge themselves in order to capitalise on the food they have. It can be a long time between successful hunts, for a lion. The way to begin to ease this off, is to make food more available, but also make it clear that it is only healthy food. And the food can be easily replaced, ONCE YOU KNOW IT NEEDS TO BE.

    Teen boys are very immediate. I want it now. I eat it now. I forget to tell mum we need more because I've eaten now and I'm not hungry again right now. Very frustrating.

    I agree with the others who posted - your mother has done a lot of damage and can't be allowed to undermine you any more. Make it clear to her - YOU are his mother, if someone had undermined her, how would she have felt? It is not acceptable. But I don't think that alone is responsible for your problems with him. I also think some look at Asperger's is worth considering. We can't diagnose here, but we can say, "This sounds familiar."

    I know you've read a lot of books, but the ones suggested are the ones that have worked for people here. We don't recommend books lightly. Also, to begin your consideration of Aspie possibilities, do the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) questionnaire on Regardless of how he scores (and run it on his bio-dad too) you can print out the results and show the doctor, ask his opinion. Only the doctors who see your son can diagnose, but the online test can give some clues.

    Welcome. Sorry you need us, but glad to have you join us.