step parents and ODD - help!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by sunxstone, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. sunxstone

    sunxstone New Member

    We're entrenched in a situation here. My difficult child and my fiance are stuck in this power struggle and I'm not sure how to fix it.

    They were best friends at first, until fiance had to put his foot down and say "no" to something. It's been a battle field ever since. I don't know how to make peace here.

    Fiance needs help, he's expressed he needs written tips on how to handle the ODD. difficult child is horrible to him, just horrible all the time. Fiance has his shields up on full all the time from all the constant attacks.

    Where can we start? Does any one have any tips?
  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Sounds like you, as MOM, need to take the difficult child "bull" by the horns. I thinkk Chris Honey should totally back off and you step up and make sure difficult child knows the rules and you issue consequences and you handle your son, at least until things hopefully simmer down. Somehow you need to take the reins. The less Chris has to deal with the bull for now, the better for all of you. difficult child needs to know from you that this behavior will not be tolerated.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My hub was the Stepfather and my kids would not listen to him and didn't like him until he backed off. The truth is, YOU picked him. They probably wish you were back with Dad, no matter how awful he was. And he's not his parent or even a stepparent. He's your boyfriend. in my opinion, he should back off and you should do the disciplining. My kids were not difficult children and they still had trouble accepting stepfather. When husband stepped back and let me parent the kids, along with my ex, things got a lot better really fast. Today they get along great! JMO
  4. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    Your fiance has to become a older buddy, mentor etc for your son. Maybe write an apology and try to spend fun time with him , getting the kid to open up by initally chatting about general stuff, what interests your kid etc and then sharing this is what makes him happy, sad or frustrated. It will take time , but all we have to influence the kid is ' relationship and connection. Mom is the parent . Not easy

  5. MuM_of_OCD_kiddo

    MuM_of_OCD_kiddo New Member

    Good morning Sunxstone,

    I read Chris' post the other day and took the time to read some of your previous ones as well. While you are getting well meant advice to the latest posts, I don't think the posters realize the seriousness of your sons issues. Perhaps you can update your siggy with all of his diagnosis's to give a better idea, as well as his treatments in addition to the medz cocktail.

    It looked to me that earlier this summer you all had been trying to get all of the agencies involved in his care to get together and come up with a common approach - what happened with this? You stopped posting after that - so did things work out satisfactory, or were things put on the back burner due to summer break? How is it going now that the kids are going back to school?

    Also in one of the earlier posts, I thought I understood that easy child remained with her bio dad, is she now living with you?

    It sounds to me that it is time for you personally to make a decision - continue to live with chaos, war and daily upheaval - and possibly risking your marriage/relationship over it. Try to get his medications changed/adjusted some more, perhaps changing his therapist/psychiatrist and both of you adults trying to work with him some more to see if you can come to a stage where you all can live/co-exist more or less peacefully together. Or make that hard decision to look for outplacement/residential care for him. If you still feel endangered, threatened, pets are getting hurt or injured - and if you have easy child living with you - putting her at risk as well - you do have the responsibility to see yourself and the rest of the family safe. It is hard to send a child away - but it may be something that needs to be done - not only to give you guys some rest and safety and a chance to recover from the upheaval, but also to provide him with the best professional care he can get to deal with his issues... Big Hugs to you all!
  6. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Have you both read The Explosive Child yet?
  7. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    I also went back and read you other posts.

    Did difficult child ever go to a residential treatment center? What happened with the level system that was working? Is he still into computer games as much? Does he still fear the police and want to stay out of trouble with them? How intense is the defiance? Yelling? Threatening to kill? Property damage? How big is he? How realistic are the threats? Is he still hurting the animals? How is he with easy child and you and school? Did you find anything to stop the smearing and peeing? Have the therapists had any ideas on this?

    I really hate to suggest this and please bear in mind that I have very little experience with this, but have you ever considered a Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) diagnosis? Sometimes kids push away people just to see if they really care. Or because they don't know what to do with someone who does care.

    This is from one of your posts.:
    "difficult child was texting back and forth with my boyfriend while I was in with the doctor, and the caseworker asked difficult child how much he liked my boyfriend on a scale from 1 - 10, and difficult child said "8!" So that was awesome. lol"

  8. sunxstone

    sunxstone New Member

    Hi MM, thanks for repyling. We've tried that, but Chris has a problem backing off. He thinks I'm too lax when I am actively ignoring the attitude, and he wants respect. He feels because of my depression that I'm overwhelmed, and oh my god I am. But Chris and I had a talk about how his way wasn't working, and we had to try it my way. He agreed, but he's still 'taking over' when my response doesn't equal what his would be. He says he needs a cheat sheet to look to, like we have all the visual aides for difficult child, the rules on the wall, his weekly schedule, the level system and how to level up, etc.

    I'm more laid back with a lot of stuff, maybe a little too much stuff, and it feels like he wants to rule with an iron fist. I have such a hard time doing that. So difficult child is playing down the middle.
  9. sunxstone

    sunxstone New Member

    That's what we're trying to do now. I totally agree with you. We were advised in the beginning that Chris not be a disciplinarian, but he steps in to the role as Savior/Protector when he feels like I'm being threatened, and that's when they just get more entrenched. I dunno how to make him see I can handle it in my OWN way, and have him trust it's for the best.
  10. sunxstone

    sunxstone New Member

    I totally agree with you. Thank you. It's just a matter of getting there from where we are and undoing a years worth of difficult child making everyone his nemesis. (he actually says that)
  11. sunxstone

    sunxstone New Member

    Hi :) I get really overwhelmed and I'm so burned out on talking about difficult child's issues. With 9 hours a week of behavior therapy, 2 hours of coaching, plus family and treatment teams it's just so much.

    I'm not sure what you mean about the rest of difficult child's issues, I have them all listed (well, besides the encopresis). He's been diagnosis'd with Aspergers, Bipolar, ODD, and ADHD. I'll update my signature with the rest of what treatments we're trying.

    They are working on the re assessment now, his school is still on summer break as it's a day treatment program. Right now they only have half days and the person who does the assessments is still out, due back the first week of September. easy child is with her dad, we have her summers and Christmas.

    His medications were recently readjusted, he's now taking 1200 mg of lithium daily, and it's stabilized his mood quite a bit! We're dealing with a lot of just the ODD now, along with him just being 14. Lots of attitude, disrespect, using things and breaking things that don't belong to him, not cleaning up after himself and him wanting the rule the roost. Constant demands and "this is how it's gonna be" from him.

    His behavior therapist believes he's not going to improve more than what he has in this environment. We've reached the peak with him, and he feels difficult child would do better in a residential facility. Chris feels the same. On one hand, I do too, but on the other, I'm his mother, and I want him with me. I just can't handle the bickering and being stuck in the middle and trying to get difficult child to understand he is the CHILD and we are the ADULTS.
  12. sunxstone

    sunxstone New Member

    Yes we have, and I just pulled it out again the other day to go back through it with Chris Honey, along with Transforming the Difficult Child.
  13. sunxstone

    sunxstone New Member

    He hasn't gone to a residential treatment center yet. We're waiting on the reassessment process. We've been told however that unless difficult child is actively chasing us with a knife in hand, he probably isn't going to get into one. So we need to make this situation livable.

    He isnt as much into computer games. He lost his DS until a door he punched is repaired, and he's working through a work thing at school to raise money to get it done. He does still fear the police but he's becoming more open with them. Our last PERT call the officer told us he can tell he's very mentally disturbed and he recommended residential. The defiance is a rollercoaster. Some days he's fine and everything goes off without a hitch. Those are the days where the word "no" doesn't come out of my mouth. Others, everything is a fight. He'll ignore requests, do exactly what we asked/told him not to do, etc.

    He was great with easy child while she was here. He didn't hit her or anything. They got along amazingly well. With me, he tends to be somewhat sweet and follow my directions unless I've had to tell him no to something. He still smears and drops nuggets everywhere. The peeing isnt happening anywhere but the bathroom, but it is on the tank of the toilet, on the floor, on the side of the cabinet, etc. :/ The therapists and his GI doctor agree it's a power thing, totally voluntary.

    He still yells constantly but the threats have all but ceased. He still damages property regularly, usually something belonging to Chris.

    He's now about 5'5 (I'm 5'3) and about 115 pounds. We dont know how serious the threats are, but he has gone for the big kitchen knives a few times "playing". I'm putting them away and he'll reach in and grab it play fighting with his behavior therapist, etc.

    difficult child likes Chris Honey, or at least says he does. That he wants to get along, he seems to know all the right words to say, then he'll turn around, sometimes minutes later, and threaten Chris, yell that he hates him and Chris is the source of every thing in his life that's wrong. Even birthdays years ago where Chris wasn't in our lives yet. :/

    Wrap therapist suggested difficult child might have Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), but then we discovered that every kid in the program had recently been diagnosed with it, so we were like ehhh.. they'd all been recently trained on recognizing Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and then started seeing it in every kid. difficult child's prior school therapist said he had some symptoms of it, but not enough to warrant diagnosing him.
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    THAT would be an issue for couple counselling. You two have to be on the same page in how you approach the kids, and that means working the bugs out of your own relationship.

    Don't take this as a suggestion that this diagnosis applies... but I'm suggesting you look up Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) (attachment disorder) - we did that at one point, and discovered signed of "detachment" that were troublesome. We invested significantly in relationship building with difficult child - and it is NOT done with negative discipline, trust me. Your S/O needs to find activities that are so positive for difficult child that he will work with and cooperate within that framework. The ticket to getting more of what he wants needs to be his relationship with S/O - but not on a "rewards" basis. Building the relationship has to be on mutually acceptable terms - which means it cannot be overridden by "discipline". S/O needs to act more like a "Big Brother" volunteer. Get difficult child to bond with S/O. Leave 200% of the discipline to YOU. That is the only way to break difficult child's feeling that "everybody is against him". Break that - and you have a hope at making other changes.
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I'm going to agree with this... in terms of diagnosis. But in terms of what difficult child needs? Find ways of integrating "reattachment" concepts... you don't have to be bad enough to qualify for the diagnosis, to benefit from the concepts and ideas that work.
  16. sunxstone

    sunxstone New Member

    Thanks InsaneCdn. I'm going to try to get him to post more so he can tell his side. I know this is hard for him. I know he feels he's providing so much for difficult child and gets it thrown back in his face, with insults to boot. But he needs to hear this, that he has to trust me to know my child and that I'm handling it in a way that will work *long term*. Not just in the short term.
  17. sunxstone

    sunxstone New Member

    I forgot to add that we are still using the level system. It's being tweaked a bit, but we still use it every day all day long. difficult child is at the top and has been for almost a week. He spent the week in the bowel levels last week, totally disregarding the level system and me. He was out of school and bored out of his ever lovin', and determined to be miserable no matter what I came up with. He's tending to get in my face a lot more, trapping me in enclosed areas (laundry room, bathroom, my desk chair) so he can yell at me and give his demands to a trapped audience. Chris was upset with me because difficult child was running wild, but I told him there was NOTHING I could do when he's totally disregarding everything but put my hands on him, and I wasn't going to do that. For one thing, he's too old for that and for another, he's bigger than me. So we're both kind of in the trenches sometimes of "what the hell do we do?!"
  18. sunxstone

    sunxstone New Member

    Can you recommend any books, websites to help us get started with this?
  19. MuM_of_OCD_kiddo

    MuM_of_OCD_kiddo New Member

    That can seriously become an even bigger problem once he works up the courage [or rage] to start pushing and shoving you. That tends to escalate to hitting, slapping and throwing stuff at you as it progresses. I bet he doesn't do that to Chris, or does he? It would really surprise me if he had the nerve to do so = this is a respect issue. This looks like early stages of "parent bully-ing" and you need to figure out how to put a stop to that, or sooner or later he will lay hands on you and then it is all the way down the drain...

    I went through this with mine when he was late 15/early 16 and my life was miserable. I kept telling myself, how the heck am I accepting this BS from my own child, when I wouldn't accept this type of abuse from a husband or SO. I wanted to divorce him so bad [yes = my son, if he would have been a man in my life he would have been so outta luck!]. I wanted to run away and get a name change. I wanted to drop him off at the church steps in a basket if I could have figured out a way of keeping him in there, LOL. Anything to get out from under him!

    When I got to that point, I came to the conclusion that there was no way in h*ll that I would live like this for another 2 years, before he was old enough for me to officially being able to kick him out and I made changes. Not in him - there was no talking or reasoning with him at that time - in myself. And consequently [long story short] - he responded to those changes in myself and grew through them himself. For fairness reasons - he did not have as long a line of abbreviations [;o)} as yours does - he had however the worst case of pure thought Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) with a nice healthy dose of ODD for good measure. We made many changes. I asserted myself as head of household and the bullying stopped when I stood up to him and got in his face instead everytime he tried. We ate healthier and cut out a lot of fast food, sugar and over processed stuff - I cook mostly from scratch, very rarely do we eat anything out of the box these days. I got him on a good exercise routine which did wonders for his aggressions. I made him work physically around the house and our rural property - wearing him out, making him tired, so he could sleep better. I made sure he went to bed earlier, slept more - sometimes he would need the help of melatonin. Now he sleeps fine most of the time with-out it, but on occasions when he forgets or gets carried away on the computer and doesn't sleep enough - he sure gets irritable again.

    He has grown a lot emotionally and maturitywise too - you can talk to him about most things now, without the defense mechanism kicking in. He is mostly in control of his temper now, and has learned to deal with a bad mood coming on. And guess what - he is now 18 and still here, and probably will stay quite a bit longer too - and welcome to it too. I had never expected for him to make such a thorough change for the better - I now actually have hopes for him to have a good life. I would not have said that 2 years ago.

    Anyways - to sum up - as long as he feels he can bully you, harass you or possibly even injure you and nothing worse is going to happen other than you and Chris having a fight over it - he is not going to stop or even think about the consequences about what he is doing. I have often thought that mine was just pushing my buttons simply because he could. Not saying that he didn't have genuine problems there - but there was also a certain amount of willfulness, hatefulness and just ODD contrariness there, that was hard to deal with. And I cannot say how many times I had looked at him and thought - "Oh my gosh - he really hates me! If looks could kill, I would be dead!" There were times when he was so angry and in so much rage, I thought he would give himself a stroke. And oh yeah - those looks I got while I was actively trying to help him and being accomodating to his issues; after I made up my mind about stop being pushed around and walked all over by him - they gradually changed to wary looks, respectful looks, polite when disagreeing looks. Today I get hugs and kisses again, we can agree to disagree about certain subjects without all h*ll breaking lose, and he comes several times each day to just sit and chat with me or share his thoughts. I actually do not only love my kid again, I like him again too! There is hope for all of us!
  20. sunxstone

    sunxstone New Member

    Do you mind if I stay in touch with you? I could really use your calm and wise counsel!