Some thoughts on diagnosis's and Raising our kids...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by totoro, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I have been thinking a bit about this topic and helping K with empowerment. Helping her feel like she is a strong person and not so anxious.
    I also have been thinking about others here and my own childhood, and what and how we can do to help our children get diagnosis'd and grow up to be self-sufficient!?!?

    My first thought was, how does a Doctor sift through our own, as a parent BS... and know, truly know who is telling the truth?
    How does a Doctor know if a child is being affected by chaos in the home, or truly by a Nuerological Disorder? Something on the Spectrum, or PTSD? Really ADHD, or just bad parenting???
    I know Nuero-psychiatric evaluation's can sift through a lot of this and a really good doctor can see through most of this...
    But most doctor's don't have time, they hear, my child is out of control give a diagnosis and medications... how do we as parents look at our own situation and really see and take a step back and maybe realize that WE are the problem??? I know husband and I can be Over-Indulgent... but at times it is necessary when your child is destabilized.
    How do we fix our home first and then try to help our child? What if it is truly a both case scenerio? For me I needed to fix my own Bipolar Disorder, so I could be stable...
    I think it was both for me growing up, a horrible home life mixed with Mental Illness... I am sure a lot here have similar situations.
    When we took K to one Therapist, she said I think she has PTSD, I looked at husband and was like, "From what!"
    therapist was trying to rule out BiPolar (BP)... OK so we listened... She tried to say K had PTSD from a traumatic birth... K did not have a traumatic birth. She had a long labor... She was never in distress, never had a problem. I was in a long labor!!!
    THis therapist tried to tie some connection to all of this as to ALL of K's problems... husband and I started laughing... I thought she was going to say, we fought or something!!!
    I have a nephew, this is why I am thinking about this topic also. He is subjected to a Drunk Dad and goes back and forth to visit Mom and Dad. His Dad has huge anger issues... So Nephew, shows signs of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified. Does he truly? Or is this a coping skill??? More PTSD? But if you took him to a doctor and they knew nothing about the drunk Dad or the fighting and anger... what would he think???

    My other thought was, my Father said to me the other day. (I detached from my Dad for almost 20 years due to drugs and alcohol) He said that one of the reasons he survived and has made it, was that his family did not turn their backs on him, which is why he can not turn his back on my Brother. Who is addicted to OXY, and an alcoholic... I have not talked to my Brother in over 2 years... mostly because I do not want the drama in my home with the Girls...
    So I look at advice on this board from everyone... and some of us with histories of drugs and what not... of having been kicked out or kick kids out... the whole detachment thing.
    The whole tough love.
    My Dad says NO... that would have killed him. My Mom was detached from/ by everyone... she killed herself.
    So when you are truly dealing with Mental Illness and not just some defiant kid does it change things? When you are dealing with any of our issues here on the board, yet they are not capable of living on their own... what do you do? How do you help them?
    Is there anyone here on the board that has older kids that has done these things and can truly say their kid is doing well???
    If there kid was dealing with more than just an oppositional personality? Or Drugs... Or a bad home life???
    I have no idea how I got through life, I think if I did not have friends who helped me at times...
    Do some kids just "make it" despite our best efforts or failures?
    Sorry I am rambling and thinking... with our move and changes coming up and the fact that K is doing OK... but not. The fact that I can see how messed up her little head is. The fact that she will need to be put back on medications most likely.
    I get SO tired of being the strong tough one... and she is only 6. The rules the structure... but it is the only way she has remained semi-stable.
    I just want her to know that she is a strong beautiful person... yet when I look in her eyes at times.
    I just hate Mental Illness at times, I want the good parts. Not the parts that make my Daughter want to die.
  2. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I would never discount the efforts of parents here, but I do think there is an element of what you have mentioned going on. I have put a ton of effort into difficult child but when I trace back to his times when he made the leaps, he did those on his own. I may have given him adaptions to tide him over, and given him time and training, but in the end he made the choices that I couldn't push him into.

    I also think the roads go all ways. Children with no neurological issues and favorable upbringings can wind up being troubled and/or unproductive adults and visa versa. I was one of three kids in a highly dysfunctional, totally chaotic family with very limited financial resources. My mom has bipolar and my dad has what we think is likely schizophrenia. Against those odds, two of the three of us live stable, productive lives free from mental health issues. The third did have problems before dying in a car accident but he did have brain damage at birth which could have accounted for his neurological problems.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Very good questions totoro.

    I wish I had a few answers.

    I don't know how docs of any kind sift through the info to find the "right" diagnosis. This is why so many of us struggle to find the right diagnosis and, even more importantly, treatment that will work for our children, or selves, our other family members.

    Tdocs have tried to diagnosis Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) for my son because traumatic birth - they used hte vacuum thingy. NOT because he was in any distress, but because I was starting to be in distress. Or because he had ear infections. Mostly that was the end of our work, because most of these woudl not look at anything else as a diagnosis, reason why he behaved the way he did. Our very first psychiatrist, and the developmental pediatrician, both said Aspie, but higher functioning than most Aspies.

    Not sure why, or if, he is higher functioning. I am not sure how you make that call.

    For us, tough love, detachment came when it was clear we could continue to struggle to get supports and help for a child who was determined to destroy his siblings and me. I had to choose. Or none of us would have had a chance.

    So, we are ALL doing much better. But only because I MADE the choice. I still don't know if it was the best thing I could do, or the right thing.

    But it was the best I oculd do at the time, given what I had to work with. So it is OK.

    I hope you can find answers that give some measure of peace, and some guidance and insight into what you want to do on the rest of this journey with your girls.

  4. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat


    I hear so much pain and frustration in your post. I wish I had magic answers for you.

    You are SUCH a good mom. K is fortunate to have you on her side.

    Big Bad Kitty hugs.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member


    I have often wondered about the chicken and the egg thing as far as mental illness or behavior. Looking back in my family I know of some "problematic behavior" going back to my maternal grandmother. She abused my mom in some weird ways, my mom was sheer awful to me, and I truly believe that I have been at fault for some of my kids behaviors. I know I was not what most would say was a good mom for quite a bit of their lives. I said many things to them that should not have been said.

    My therapist believes without a shadow of a doubt that the things my mom did to me caused my borderline PD and impacted the bipolar emerging. The longer I am in therapy the more I believe her. However, by believing her, I have to admit I probably had an impact in Cory ending up with a personality disorder. I didnt mean to but it is what it is.

    How do docs tell things apart? I think that is difficult. Any psychiatrist who only spends a few minutes with someone monthly or quarterly isnt going to be able to see things that clearly. This is why I like therapists. My therapist knows me inside and out. Cory's did too. I could probably fool a psychiatrist if I wanted to but there is no way I could fool a therapist who sees me every week for years on end.
  6. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I don't know if I am frustrated or not? I am actually doing OK. I have a lot to look forward to with the move and hope for K. I think I am thinking of the future and possibilities?
    I am also reading a book... The Mom is at the point where she has to pull back and help herself, help the rest of her family and by doing that she is able to truly help the child who is mentally ill. She realizes at one point that she can not stop her from taking her own life. She can only be there for her.
    I think at times, if K is doing this now... how will she be in her teens? How can she get through this? husband and I are reading another book about positive discipline... it really gets into the birth order and empowering the child to help them do things on their own. Setting up rules and house guidelines, by letting the family make up the list... letting the kids have a say... but not too much.
    But like last night she has a choice of 2 things, bath or reading in her bed. The bath was what she was supposed to do, so the reading in her bed was a lesser option. If she chose bath then we would have watched something together on tv after and then read and bed. It turned into almost 2 hours of falling apart... this is no engaging on my part... here is the options. You may chose one.
    The thing is, is that she is a good kid... she wants to do well, it really upsets her to act like this. She was in her room sobbing, she has to leave, she has to die... for almost 2 hours. I end up having to hold her as she shakes and sobs saying she ruins everything.
    How do I start to set guidelines with this??? Or do I put things on hold some more... and wait until she is stable??? And then none of this is fair to N... she had to sleep with me last night.

    Just kind of thinking, you know? My Father is also trying to re-enter my life... which I am OK with. I have defenses built up. But I just worry about the girls. They don't need the B.S. I ask myself, do they need a Grandpa that bad???
    He seems like he has changed, no Heroin, no Coke... I honestly don't know if he is drinking.
    Just kind of thinking about the future.
    I am looking forward to the psychiatrist apt in a couple of weeks... she is destabilized. But is trying SO hard. It is such a no win situation at times. I want peace in the house, but can you have that when your child is not stable...
    Who knows? I love those kids SO much and we have so much fun together... I just wish I could teach her to hold on to that also.
  7. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Thanks Janet! You are one that I think of as far as some of the junk that I went through and how it impacts me now. That was one of the reasons I waited so long to have kids...
    I love our therapist... I can tell her like it is and not feel weird. The psychiatrist at times looks at me like I am crazy!!!
  8. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Totoro--when was the last time she's had an MRI done? If it's been a few years, it might be worth taking another look. The new digital MRI's yield far better images and are picking up stuff that was missed using the old technology.
  9. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I think some people are predisposed to certain behaviors, personalities, disorders, what have you and then environment determines whether it is going to come out or not.

    I think some people are born the way they are and then environment is going to decide how well they cope and/or overcome.

    I think in spite of some parents best efforts, children are going to struggle. I think in spite of some parents worst 'efforts', some children are going to succeed.

    The mind is truly a fascinating thing. We are just beginning to have a grasp at understanding. There are just so many variables.

    I do think - and I have thought about this a lot with my daughter and myself - that we have to be careful with our understanding and compassion of our children. Speaking for myself, I know that at times because I *know* what my daughter is going through because I've been there myself - I think I've hindered more than helped. I've been too understanding, too compassionate. It's so hard to watch your child struggle. You want to take that away and make it as easy for them as possible.

    But, children learn through their efforts. They learn through failing. They also learn what we teach them. And hopefully, that will guide them through their efforts, failings and shortcomings.

    I have to remind myself daily that Wynter needs to be able to function in society. In the real world. Not something created just for her.

    One of the hardest things I've had to do - and still have to do - is let my child fail, let her fall down. I am there for her. I will support her. I will guide her. But I cannot do it for her. No matter how much I want to. She has to fail so she can learn to succeed. And so she can appreciate it.
  10. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    I've often wondered the same things. Maybe it is ME who caused this...yet I raised two other children with NO problems and there ARE problems in difficult child's bio family. We've been going to the same therapist for over a year now almost every week. Surely if it was ME and husband, the therapist would have said so by now. Still, I don't think we've gotten very far in eight years of intense therapy and medications. I really, really worry that he'll never be able to care for himself.

    Totoro, you said you have so much fun with your kids. That's nice to hear. I can't remember the time when I even liked being in the same room with difficult child. I hate it, but it's the truth. He's so negative and then so ugly to me with every breath that he takes. I don't know how to change it and I've done everything I can think of. It's not like I sit back on my heels and let it happen......then I wonder if he really can NOT help it or is he just an A**. All I ask of difficult child is to be NICE, nothing else. He just can't seem to do it. I worry that with an attitude like that he'll never hold a job or anything else. On top of all that....I'm tired of crying over it.
  11. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    SRL~ she has never had one... no one will do one. Our last psychiatrist said, "Well she is on anticonvulsants so it won't really matter" meaning if she did have some other issues, I am assuming you mean, siezures??? He said we didn't need to worry because she was on medications anyway!!!
    I argued with him... I was being the pushy Mom... again!!!
    I am going to ask, again at this new psychiatrist and when we get a new pediatrician. I believe this and allergy testing are the things that no-one would look into. Even though I asked.
  12. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Thanks you guys... the responses mean a lot... I was not looking for an answer but just thoughts. You know. Heather I think you are right, I look at my past a lot and want to shield her from what I went through. I think that is what most parents do, and most Mommies... especially if we have been hurt.
    I do need to let her fail... when she was left sitting in class in her own urine. Then her teacher called me at the end... I was so hurt for her. But she actually bounced back, no big deal. It was not right of the teacher, but K was OK. I tried to teach her how to ask for help, from that experience, demand help. I think it was a good experience in the long run. Even though it just tore my Mommy heart to pieces...
    Thanks you guys. I have to go pick her up!!! Smile everyone smiles!!!
  13. ML

    ML Guest

    It is a fine line. We get into the mode of helping so much that it becomes an occupational hazard. I kNOW that I do things for my son that he can do for himself but because it take him too much time, or too much of a mess, etc. etc., sometimes I will just take the easy way out. This is when I am failing as a parent the most. I have to cultivate the patience to step back and detach more.
  14. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Wow Totoro.........excellent food for thought. You brought up many, many things that I have thought about over and over. I do not know if there are answers to these questions, however, it is good to ponder and discuss these things.

    One thing I can tell you is try to not project too much into the future. My difficult children behaviors were far more aberrant and outlandish at age 6 then they are now. However, when he was 6 I was crushed by what the future might hold for him. I wish I had never even pained and burdened myself with the future, when the present was more than I could handle. Just one day at a time.

    As for a MRI she should definitely, most certainly have that - demand it. MRIs can tell more than seizures, they can define lack of blood flows, lesions, etc. Also, has she had a 24 sleep deprived EEG?

  15. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I find myself thinking this a lot. The good ol' "what if's".

    Its an interesting subject to ponder.
  16. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I think about that very thing myself. When I was pregnant with difficult child, husband's brother committed suicide. husband then started drinking more, and when difficult child was a toddler we separated and then husband was in jail for a while for duii. How could this not affect him? It was a horrible time. Then throw in the fact that husband is bipolar, just recently diagnosed and treated, and there were some hard times when he was untreated and I did not understand what was going on with him.

    I have come to the realization that I cannot change the past, I can only try to impact the future.
  17. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    It never ceases to amaze me, I have a brother very close in age to me, who lived the very same history I did, and yet we are profoundly different. Ironically, at a mere glance, HE appears to have the more traditionally considered successful life. If you look harder at him, long term, you find he has a very roller coaster life----but his cycles are very very VERY spread out, so few people notice.
    We can be quite opposite in our reactions to things around us, in our social interactions and in our ability to function cognitively.

    When I began to have my own kids, I found it utterly fascinating how different each was from the other. My girls are about a year apart in age, my son is a few years younger. Most of my daughters early experiences were identical. My easy child functions at a high level, my difficult child does not. It is my difficult child who has the higher is my difficult child who begins relationships quicker. She also holds them harder, longer. My easy child seems to keep things a little more distant from herself, but then, she has more stamina to hang on better.

    There is no way I buy into the idea I parented them vastly different, exactly. BUT what I have tried to do (and not always succeeded) was to parent them in whatever way they needed to be parented at any given time. And when you read here, you will probably see, many of us do this. Each of our kids has different needs.
    Here at home we seldom use words mental illness or disability etc. Mostly we simply say Buffy is just Buffy, thats how she is. Thats who she is. Lil dude is Lil Dude, just being himself. Oh, thats easy child. easy child does that. Thats how my kids describe each other. (oops, I have lost my train of thought here, sorry)

    I do think I influenced them by my parenting.but they also interpreted the parenting in their own ways. what might have been perfect parenting for one may have been completely wrong for another. And we are simple ordniary human beings, too. A "perfect" parent can still have a less than perfect child. And a non perfect parent could have a "perfect" child.

    BUT what I have been noticeing more and more around me? There seem to be a whole lot of people who seem to have everything on the ball- BUT....if you get to know them better? They DON'T.
    I know many people in very high standing in community, in positions of power and authority who get great respect, but....then we find out, they have drinking problems, substance abuse problems, infidelity issues, ebezelments (sp).....BUT in public eye, they SEEM to hold things together SO well.
    I also know people on the other end of it all- who APPEAR to be HUGE difficult children......but you go into their homes and you might find the cleanest little shack with the most love anywhere.

    I think the point I am trying to make is that your questions are as old as the world. I am not sure if there are any "right" answers. I think a lot of the time we just simply have to do our best. and hope and pray that it works out good.

    NOw, as for the MRI etc? WHew, been there done oldest child, I never ever did manage to find a single doctor anywhere ever who would do any objective type tests at all. And yes we also had a therapist who had this idea difficult child was difficult child becuz she had PTSD becuz we had to go and have another child on her. Yeesh. I did not buy into THAT.
    My son? He had no "mental health" issues that were obvious, BUT due to some mobility issues etc- he got an MRI after I begged his orthopedic doctor, go figure. And it was then that they found his heterotopia, and finally realized he really WAS haveing seizures. Prior to that, believe it or not, his inability to toilet train, even with in home behavior mod docs here daily was blamed on my parenting. His inability to tie his shoes was blamed on me being "too soft" LOL at the same time my difficult children therapist was telling me I was too strict. Too hard. Hmmm, interesting it is my difficult child who has the agoraphobia. Interesting given a little bit more time my son ties shoes and did potty train. LONG after the behavoir mod doctor left here.

    My difficult child has been suicidal. It scared me. I do not push hard. I try to simply nudge hard enough. I guess for me, what I tell myself is, I would rather have her alive and here, than suicided becuz I pushed too hard. If she were not here, we would no longer have ANY opportunity to guide her and nudge her. So long as she IS here.....we can still work on things. Thats how I cope with the whole thing. Some days I wonder, hmm, maybe it is just meant to be she is still home, still under my feet.....I do not know what the future holds. Maybe there is some reason she is to be my permanant shadow? Maybe she will be gone from Earth before me? Maybe she will be my caregiver in my old age? Maybe she will be keeping the homefire going here in my house after I am gone, to provide a safety net for siblings in crisis? Maybe she will one day save one of our neighbors lives? - Just becuz she is HERE.
    I really do not know. I have NO idea. And yes, maybe I just did do a not so great job with her. I tell myself often, the world is full of all kinds of people. ANd really, it TAKES all kinds of people for the world to keep turning. My difficult child is just a little "different" than some other people. Well, anyway, thats how I have come to terms with it over the years. :)