Support or Advice, I just need help. PLEASE!!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by PinkBanana, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. PinkBanana

    PinkBanana New Member

    I feel perhaps I should start with a bit of background info. I am married for 10.5 years now, when my husband and I moved in together 12.5 years ago his son had just turned 4. His bio mom left when he was 3, and by then had been imprisoned for drugs. I have always thought of him as my son, never treated him as though he was an outsider (I am a step child myself and was treated as one). He was so kind, loving, well behaved and just plain precious. He literally stole my heart! I was in college at the time, but he and his father became my whole life. I taught him to brush his teeth, read, write, everything. When he was about 5.5, (I was pregnant with his little brother) his uncle had a child and we started seeing changes in his behavior. He began to wet the bed, as well as wet his pants at school, both things he had never previously done. We took him to doctors as we were concerned, however nothing was found to be medically wrong with him. Just after he turned 6, his baby brother was born. We did everything we could to involve him, we told him how special he was to us and how special he was to his baby brother. Shortly after his brother was born, he began having bowel movements in his pants, the wetting problem continued as well. As this was new, we again took him to doctors. Again, nothing was found to be medically wrong with him. He became extremely defiant, started having problems in school, teachers kept telling us we should have him checked for ADHD and that he should be medicated. Initially we were against medication and for several years tried everything we could to avoid medicating our son.

    By age 8, we could no longer deny it. At bedtime, he would scream and yell for hours. I was unable to put his brother to sleep or go to sleep myself. All day long he fought and argued, destroyed things, lied, the list goes on and on. He held his brother under the water during a bath, it was the last bath they ever took together. He also held a pillow over a 1 year olds face while he was napping (we were babysitting). He seemed to understand what could happen, but did not feel as though them dying was a big deal. He began to see a psychologist, who ran tests, placed him on medications and had regular counseling sessions with him.

    By age 10, he was urinating on his bedroom floor, pooping on his blankets and hiding the dirty blankets, turds and soiled clothing throughout his bedroom. He smeared his feces all over his bedroom as well as our bathroom. We tried the night time bed wetting alarm, but he would turn it off, finish wetting his bed and continue sleeping in it. He broke things, stole stuff from us, would hide food in his room which would rot, continually lied about anything and everything, argued constantly, began to be hateful, vindictive and just plain mean.

    Age 13, he started to behave somewhat violently. Pulling his fist back at me, throwing breakable things, chasing his brother with steak knives and butcher knives (he thinks this is a funny joke and does not see the harm in it). He took my husbands carpentry tools and hacked up his bed and walls. He spent his nights burning marks into his bed or CD's or whatever else he felt like burning. Not seeming to care that it was not just our family that he could hurt or kill by such dangerous behavior (we live in student housing apartments). He went to live with his grandparents for 3 months. Continued the same behaviors with them, at home and school. They caught him texting lies to his friends that they were beating him up and neglecting him (we dealt with this at home as well). Within 3 weeks he was failing every subject at school, because he lies back and forth between home and school about assignments (we dealt with this at home). Their home began to smell of both urine and feces. At the end of three months, they could no longer deal with his behaviors. He came home. Things got even worse. He laughed in our faces, told us that there was nothing we could do, he could do whatever he wanted.I eventually called the cops on him because I just did not know what to do anymore. He was placed on probation. I had to call the cops on him again, and his school called once on him as well. He held a glass vase over another students head as if he was going to hit him with it and when the teacher caught him, he threatened the teacher with the vase.

    At this point, his probation officer and support team with social services sat my husband and I down and told us we either needed to get him into a treatment facility or the state would take him away from us. {When we initially met with the support team, they could not give us any "helpful advice", as in the several years of my sons behaviors we had literally tried everything they had up their sleeves. Things they always recommend parents to try when dealing with such children. Behavioral modification plans, rewarding positive behavior and giving "consequences" not "punishment" for negative behaviors. Therapy, psychiatrists, medication, out-patient intensive therapy, etc, etc, etc. Unfortunately, they told us they did not have anything new for us to try.} At this time, thankfully our insurance covered a mental health treatment facility and he went away for 3 months. Just as he began to make progress, our insurance decided to drop him. We had no choice but to bring him home. He was diagnosed with ADHD and mood disorder not otherwise specified.

    He is now 16.5, is again on probation. He treats us with so much disrespect. I cannot leave my kids home alone at ages 10 and 16 for very long, because there is torment and fighting which never seems to stop. My home is chaos. I have been in counseling myself for the past 3 years because I began having panic attacks from all the stressful situations apparently. I take medications for both depression and anxiety. I feel horrible for my youngest son, because he has grown up in a life of complete chaos. He is quite well behaved, no problems in school, works hard to help out at home, is caring and kind. Of course not perfect, as nobody is, nor are they expected to be. However at this point, he too is so frustrated of dealing with his brother. My oldest steals his things, breaks his things, scares him, is mean to him, constantly antagonizes him, he treats him like he is a complete idiot and like everything he says is wrong. Oh wait, he treats me the same way and is slowly beginning to treat his father this way too.

    Last weekend we had to pull up his bedroom carpet because the urine smell was so incredibly strong, his carpet was discolored, we had to throw blankets away because they were crusty with urine. This weekend we are tearing out our downstairs living room carpet for the same reasons and throwing out the couch. In the meantime, he thinks he should have his video games back and that he deserves a new phone because he has somehow behaved better recently.

    Everything is a fight with him. He never accepts responsibility for anything he does. I am so frustrated with all of his behaviors. I am exhausted. Half the time I have no desire to be around him, he is just so hateful and disrespectful. Yet he thinks we should treat him with the utmost respect, he has a huge sense of entitlement. I am frustrated with myself for feeling this way about my son. My youngest son and I spend a lot of time in our rooms or in my room together just trying to get way from it. My husband is at his wits end too. We do not know what to do anymore. I don't know how much longer I or we can live like this. Home is supposed to be pleasant, your place of peace. The only peace I get is when I am asleep or locked in my bedroom or we are all at school.

    Part of me wants to take him to social services and tell them to take over. He does not want to help himself. All of these years, everybody else in his life has fought for him, bent over backwards trying to help him and never does he take the initiative to make any changes in his life. He says he doesn't want to change, what's the point, it's too hard, he just can't do it, it takes too much effort. He thinks we just expect too much of him because our rules are: go to school, do your best in school, treat people with respect, treat others how you would like to be treated, pick up after yourself, do your chores, keep food in the kitchen at the table, use the toilet every time, and to take care of our home and the things that we have.

    I am not perfect, I lose my patience, I yell, I try to walk away, he follows me. If I tell him to go to his room he refuses. He is as tall as me and weighs as much as I do, I mean he is 16, it's not like I can pick him hip and put him in his bedroom. So I go to my room. I don't think I am a very good mom for him. I do not know how to handle him. I have read books, done research, tried everything. I cannot get through to him. I worry about what happens to him when he is 18. I love him with all of my heart, but I surely cannot handle him after he can legally be out on his own. I don't think he is capable of being on his own, but I do not have much left in me. He is not my only child.

    Any tips, pointers, words of wisdom or encouragement. Anything please! I don't know where to go from here.
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Pink banana! I am glad you found our corner of the world but so sorry you needed to. This place has been a life saver for me and helped me to keep my sanity.

    I am sorry things are so difficult. It sounds like you have tried a lot. Have you ever had him evaluated by a neuro-psychologist. The evaluation can be very helpful in understanding what is going on.

    Is he still uninsured? One thing you might want to check into (even though it is only good til he is 18) is the Katie Becket Program. It is where they can receive medicaid without looking at a parent's income if the disability is severe. My son has been on it for years and it has been really helpful even though we have good insurance. It pays for anything our insurance doesn't cover.

    When my difficult child was young he used to urinate in his room and smear his poop and hide his poop in his bedroom. Fortunately we have moved past that point. For a long time my difficult child was violent and we were ready to have to place him out of the home (would have been the hardest thing ever)until the docs finally tried one last medication that while it didn't solve all problems did stop 99% of the violence.

    Please know that you have found a soft place to land and will find much support here. ((((hugs))))
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Did his birthmother drink or use drugs while she was pregnant? If so, this could have deeply affected his developing brain and cause damage.
    Did he have a very chaotic life in the early years? This too could cause problems...attachment problems and, if many men came and went, maybe he was sexually abused.
    You brought up his uncle having a child. Was this uncle a significant person in his life? Any chance he was abused by him?
    I'm sorry you are going through this. Often children who have very unstable early lives turn out to not trust anybody and become "me" centric and uncontrollable and, unfortunately, most mental health professionals don't recognize the attachment problems or know how to treat it. A great deal of adopted kids have this problem. It is not something any human can expect to fix. It has little to do with good or bad parenting.
    At his age, it may be best to find long term care out of the home. You need to be safe and so do his younger siblings.
    Hugs for your hurting mommy heart.
  4. PinkBanana

    PinkBanana New Member

    Thank you! I have looked at a few different types of forums and some peoples comments are so judgmental and kind of mean. It feels relieving already just to have a place where people have actually dealt with similar things (though unfortunate). For so long, I have felt alone. Family members don't seem to understand the severity of our situation, though I do not like to tell them everything that is going on for fear of them judging him or treating him differently. Unfortunately this is what has happened with my mother, as she was somebody I always confided in. I feel as though it is her defense because she sees the hurt and pain it has caused.

    The insurance still covers my son, they just would not cover the facility anymore. They felt he needed more intense therapy and to see the psychiatrist more often. However, he was at the highest level of treatment type program that we could find within a 24 hour drive and which was covered by them (because of the urinating and pooping problems most places would not accept him). We briefly took him to a 2nd facility. He was there for a week and a half. During that time they allowed his medications to run out, did not notify me for three days. He had not seen a psychiatrist or therapist. He was given a cot in the commons area, no personal space. He had called me about 5 times crying that other kids had jumped him, kicking him in the ribs, punching him in the face, etc. When I called to discuss this with staff they told me they had some rough kids and many of their staff members did not know how to deal with them. I was assured it would not happen again. When it did, I immediately went to pick him up. When I got home, he had girls panties in his back pocket. Clearly he had been left unsupervised. Home seemed to be the safest place for him.

    I will be checking into the Katie Becket Program. I truly appreciate your advice and support! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
  5. PinkBanana

    PinkBanana New Member

    Unfortunately the verdict is out on whether there was drug or alcohol use during her pregnancy. I have always suspected this. My husband does not think that there was. They were teenagers when she became pregnant, her parents kicked her out and my husbands parents took her in. They had not previously been in a relationship. Her mother has told me that she was an extremely difficult child/teenager as well. She had been placed in a couple of rehabs by her parents, so use during pregnancy is highly likely.

    My husband's and her relationship was very chaotic. They attempted to be together until she finally left when my son was 3. My husband worked long hours to support them, she was always more concerned with herself than with her child. Apparently by age 3 months, she lost interest in really being a mom. If my husband and/or family members were not around, my son had to fin for himself. The two of them fought constantly and had a very unhealthy relationship.

    There weren't any men in and out of her life, as far as we know. My husband has had our son since the day he was born. His uncle is and was a very significant part of his life, but no chance of abuse from him. My son has made sexual abuse allegations against his aunt, he says he was 7 or 8, which would have made her about 12 or 13 at the time. I do not want to be one of those parents who does not believe their children when the say somebody has hurt them. It is very difficult to know what is real when it comes out of my sons mouth. We have been investigated 3 times by the child protection agency based on false accusations my son has made against us. This incident has been attempted at addressing several times by myself and his therapist, but he refuses to talk about it and will not give any details of what might have happened.

    Thank you for your support. We have been contemplating out of home care. It's such a difficult decision to make. I want to help him, I want him to get better. I could not imagine what it feels like to be him, or to understand what goes on inside his head, his feelings, emotions. All of these years of negative behavior from him has led to so much negative attention, it seems like its the only kind he seeks. I know he must want good things for himself, but just doesn't know how to go about it. He seems to know right from wrong when it applies to other people, just not himself, or maybe he does and he just doesn't care. He identifies inappropriate behavior in other people and seems to understand common courtesy, however he refuses to identify any of this with himself or think that he should treat people with decent common courtesy. He has a twisted way of thinking about things. For example he blames me for not having many friends, because I want to know who his friends are, where he is going to be, what they will be doing. If he is going to stay the night at a friends house I want to speak to parents. If he is wanting to hang out at a girls house, I again want to speak to parents to ensure there will be adult supervision as well as to make sure the girls parents are aware he will be there. In his eyes, this is unacceptable behavior on my part.

    When I find rotten food and food wrappers or dirty dishes hidden in his room, he accuses me of planting these items in his room. When he breaks things of his own, he thinks his father and I are obligated to replace it, because it is never his fault that he broke it. When I witness him behaving inappropriately, he still argues that it wasn't him, he did nothing wrong, my eyes are playing tricks on me. If I praise him for doing something right or doing a good job on something, he somehow turns that into a fight. Before we know it what was good has been lost. I can barely ask him what he wants on a sandwich without him being completely rude and hateful to me.

    Anyways, I love him and that is why this decision is so difficult. I want us all to be safe, healthy and together, I just cannot seem to make this happen.
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi PinkBanana, I am so sorry you are going through this!

    I think the reason that people are suggesting that he was abused is because of the change in bowel habits, urinating and pooping in his pants, and the sudden onset of the behavior.
    While it may seem like the birth of the baby brought on the behavior, his self-centeredness and odd behaviors may have been there all along, but excused because he was so cute and sweet and was a little kid, after all. I know that people made up tons of excuses for my son early on, when in fact, he should have been getting help.

    There is a lot going on and I would suggest that you approach it one behavior at a time.

    First and foremost, is the safety and violence issue. If he is physically attacking you, you tell him that from now on, you call the police. Period. He has already exhibited the mindset that he is not responsible for anything, and there's nothing like facing charges that will teach a person what cause and effect is.

    If he is verbally attacking you, you'll have to sit down together (or stand in the hallway if he won't come to the table) and tell him that if he says XYZ, his Gameboy, TV, phone, whatever it is goes away. Expect him to have a fit. He'll blame you for making him mad. Try your best to ignore him and walk away. Don't give in. Give him back whatever you take when he apologizes, even if he's not "feeling" the apology. He's got to learn how to behave in society, which begins in your house, even if he doesn't feel it.

    I noticed in your last note, that "I can barely ask him what he wants on a sandwich without him being completely rude and hateful to me." Taking that literally and using it as an example, I would suggest that he is old enough to make his own sandwiches. Leave out exactly what he needs to use for a sandwich and direct him to it. He is old enough now. Even if he makes a huge mess, praise him highly for making the sandwich on his own. It's going to seem weird, especially since it will probably look like the kitchen exploded, but it is important to find something constructive for him to do, no matter how small, because the situation is toxic and negative, and you've got to turn that around somehow. Praise was the hardest thing for me to do with my son. It seemed like no matter what he did, it was rude, loud, smelly, violent or crazy. But I found things--"Thank you for shutting the door quietly and nicely. I like that." It made a HUGE difference in our ability to communicate with-one another.

    In regard to the urine issue, do you think he knows what he is doing? Is it a sensory issue? Or is he too into whatever he is doing--sleeping, gaming--to get up and go to the bathroom?
    My son smeared feces on the walls, too. It was a sensory issue with-him. (Took us forever to figure it out, too!) We use WetWipes now and it really helps.
    Did he help you to rip out the old carpet? That's part of cause-and-effect. He's got to participate.

    I have no idea if your son is suffering from Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), his biomom's drug use, or Asperger's, or borderline personality disorder, or all of those (!) but it would really help to have a solid diagnosis. I like the advice and info here about insurance; I would definitely follow through about medication care and a diagnosis.

    Take care!
  7. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time Staff Member

    You talked about trying to understand how he thinks, how he feels, what he wants for himself. I have spent a lot of time on that too.

    I don't know about you, but I am directed daily by my work, goals and plans for the day, along with time out for relaxation and things I enjoy doing and daily tasks/responsibilities, like cleaning up the kitchen and making up the bed. I am also directed daily by my overriding vision and purpose for my life and bigger goals about the kind of person I want to be, helping other people, being kind, growing my business, getting my master's degree, etc.

    I don't think they think like that. And that has been really hard for me to grasp---what is going on inside him.

    As far as I can tell, my difficult child thinks about what he wants and what he needs, right now. And he seems to spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to get what he wants...from other people. I think he spends a lot of time worrying. He is anxious.

    He has grandiose ideas---I would not call them goals. He always talked about being rich and living in a mansion.

    I used to absolutely TORTURE myself trying to figure out what makes him tick. I wanted to feel some sort of connection to him, my child. I wanted to believe that we are alike, after all, down where it counts. I was going to UNDERSTAND or die trying. If I could UNDERSTAND, I could say the right combination of words, or take the right actions, that would penetrate his shell and catapult him into corrective action. In short, then I could fix it.

    Here is what I have concluded about that, for what it's worth.

    We are never going to understand. Maybe they are just like us but they can't put it into action. Maybe they operate on a whole 'nother set of guidelines and motivations. I know the disease brings with it a lot---it's like a smothering blanket that covers everything.

    If you can, stop trying to figure him out. When you first taste stopping, even for a short time, it feels like blessed, heavenly relief. It feels so good you will want more of that. That is what I work toward.

    Letting Go. Letting Go. Letting Go.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I was thinking about Terry's lines. The bizarreness of such an old teen having poop and peeing issues is a big red flag for abuse. They are also symptoms of attachment problems. The first three years of a child's life are critical. If they are full of chaos and loss of one or both parents, attachment problems can happen and those attachment challenged kids are probably the hardest children to raise of any. They have no conscience and pretty much like children with antisocial personality disorder. They are oblivious to punishment and just do mean things to be mean...and without thinking or remorse.

    This is a very hard question to ask, but I lived for three years with a child who had attachment disorder: Has your son ever acted out sexually toward anyone else, notably your children? Are you 100% sure? Ours did and he scared our younger kids into not telling us until he was finally gone. Is he nice or mean to animals? Any fascination with fires or any history of starting fires?

    Regardless of what is wrong, although home may be the safest place for him, what is the safest place for you, your husband and your other kids? You said he tried to smother one once?

    There are good and bad residential treatment centers. There is also foster care and special boarding schools to help these challenged kids. Often t hey do better there because they are not particularly happy being at home.

    Trust me, nobody here will either judge you or give you a hard time. Most of us sort of know what each other is going through.

    Also, sounds like Mom was mentally ill. He could have inherited something.

    Here are some symptoms of reactive attachment disorders and some causes:

    Attachment Disorder Symptoms

    • Superficially engaging & charming
    • Lack of eye contact on parents’ terms
    • Indiscriminately affectionate with strangers
    • Not affectionate on parents’ terms (not ‘cuddly’)
    • Destructive to self, others and material things (‘accident prone’)
    • Cruelty to animals
    • Lying about the obvious (‘crazy’ lying)
    • Stealing
    • No impulse controls (frequently acts hyperactive)
    • Learning Lags
    • Lack of cause-and-effect thinking
    • Lack of conscience
    • Abnormal eating patterns
    • Poor peer relationships
    • Preoccupation with fire
    • Preoccupation with blood & gore
    • Persistent nonsense questions & chatter
    • Inappropriately demanding & clingy
    • Abnormal speech patterns
    • Triangulation of adults
    • False allegations of abuse
    • Presumptive entitlement issues
    • Parents appear hostile and angry

    Any of the following conditions occurring to a child during the first 36 months of life puts them at risk:

    • Unwanted pregnancy
    • Pre-birth exposure to trauma, drugs or alcohol
    • Abuse (physical, emotional, sexual)
    • Neglect (not answering the baby’s cries for help)
    • Separation from primary caregiver (i.e. illness or death of mother, or severe illness or hospitalization of the baby, or adoption)
    • On-going pain such as colic, hernia or many ear infections
    • Changing day cares or using providers who don’t do bonding
    • Moms with chronic depression
    • Several moves or placements (foster care, failed adoptions)
    • Caring for baby on a timed schedule or other self-centered parenting
  9. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    Wow Pink Banana so much in your post has taken me on a trip down memory lane, you truly are not alone... I lived a lot of what you are describing from the time Angel was 2yo till she was around 15yo. I don't think Angel was stable for a solid 72 hours during that entire time. For her Lithium prescribed on the 15th or 16th psychiatric hospital stay was the light at the end of the tunnel. If I had it to do over again she probably should have gone into a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) when she was around 8yo.

    (I paused for about 10 minutes here) Trying to figure out how to tell parts of our story that will help you without writing a book; take what you can use and dump the rest. My main focus was safety - keeping myself & all 3 of my children alive ...

    1) I often felt like I had to deal with more locks cooking dinner then entering a maximum security prison - no joke I locked up or got rid of just about everything. No little projectiles (nick nacks)or frames with glass to break and put the pieces in my bed (woke up bloody a few times)

    There was a time that every sharps, glass anything, ropes, medications, cleaning supplies, tools, producers of fire or anything else dangerous was kept under lock & key... food cabinets, the fridge and freezer had padlocks on them also - side note if do this have sitting out available peanut butter (protein), bread, apple & banana (cps will claim depriving food if don't) I provided 3 balanced meals & 2 snacks per day, if they didn't like what I made would point to the peanut butter if didn't have easy alternative.

    Sounds extreme I know but Angel once stabbed a pencil 2 inches into her brothers back because she THOUGHT he ate her cookie. There had been issues with her eating raw meat & eggs etc. Locked up the keys in a combination lock box when sleeping.

    2) The 2nd time I had to clear out & wash down her room, throw out the carpet & mattress... It occurred to me the law said I had to provide a roof, a bed, clothes & food; it didn't say anything about TV or enough toys to furnish a daycare.

    So I tiled her bedroom floor and put a new mattress with 2 very thick mattress covers on it in the middle of the floor with pillow, blanket and her favorite stuffed animal... the rest of her stuff was privileges that she had to earn back. Clothes stored outside her room.

    Suggest visitation rather then give back because if try to turn off the TV she earned back be prepared to catch it being thrown at you. That day I think we had like 8 cars & a dozen police officers that got involved - she smashed the window & bolted after she threw the TV at me.

    In closing I feel should disclose that with Angel the poop smearing was tied into some severe medical issues - hypothyroidism, food sensitivities and medications were causing cronic constipation to the point that on 4 occasions it became life threatening. Even with medical explanation the only way I survived was by mixing oxy clean & laundry soap into a paste smash it into the mess then keep going over it with carpet steamer with hot water in it (love my little green machine).

    I worry with his age if he isn't on board to getting treatment it's not something you are going to be able to force him to do. None of you sound like in a safe situation and maybe an out of home placement is needed as it is impossible for you and your husband to monitor him 24/7 and it sounds like that is what is needed. With the right treatment there is hope for those this severe but they need to be willing to receive treatment and the treatment needs to be the right kind. Some kind of intervention is needed now because if he is still like this at 17/18yo he is probably gonna end up in prison or worse.

    I'm so glad you found us and don't give up hope; I'm not saying it will be easy... for now focus on surviving and have faith that this too shall pass. Sorry this got so long, I never would have made it without the parents here to help me.

  10. PinkBanana

    PinkBanana New Member


    You may very well be right, about his behaviors being present prior to the addition to our family. Such drastic things began occurring around the time new kids were born, that I have always associated it with that time frame. Also, lots of people, including myself made excuses for him in the beginning. We felt sad for him since his mother abandoned him. I eventually reached a point where I decided that he had been given every opportunity, he had been given love and shown so much kindness, that making excuses for his behavior was only enabling him.

    I understand focusing on one behavior at a time. This is something I have struggled with for quite some time. I seem to get so overwhelmed by the chaos, that focusing on one behavior becomes short lived. My 10yo son and I just came up with a code word that we can say to each other when we feel like we are losing control of the situation, or we are beginning to lose our temper, the word is "Pink Banana". He came up with it, and so far it has been successful.

    Luckily he has not been physically violent lately, perhaps because he is on probation still. He does go overboard when rough housing with his brother. My 10yo will typically end up hurt, crying and yelling for his brother to stop, problem is he does not stop when asked to do so. I have told them many times they should not rough house as someone always gets hurt or they end up fighting.

    So we kind of have that rule in place that if he does XYZ he loses his privileges. My question would be, if he does these things and apologizes as I am taking them away simply because he does not want to lose them, should I still take them. At that point I feel like if I do not take them for at least a little while, he is not learning anything other than that he can behave as he wants and apologize so he does not lose anything and therefore the negative behavior is reinforced. Please let me know your take on this, I have struggled to find anything which is truly effective on him. I try to always be consistent and follow through with the consequences we have in place.

    He does actually make his own sandwiches (the kitchen does look like it has exploded, lol). So not that situation literally, but things which are simple turn into a negative situation. The following statement you made:
    "Praise was the hardest thing for me to do with my son. It seemed like no matter what he did, it was rude, loud, smelly, violent or crazy. But I found things--"Thank you for shutting the door quietly and nicely. I like that." It made a HUGE difference in our ability to communicate with-one another."
    I feel this way completely and I think you are on to something here. I will definitely start finding even the smallest of things that I can praise him for.

    I do believe he knows what he is doing when he urinates on things. I am not quite sure I know what you mean by a sensory issue.?. Part of me thinks he does it sometimes out of laziness, or being to involved in what he is doing. Part of me also thinks that it's how he deals with emotional distress and stressful situations in general (my therapist suggested this and thought it was perhaps something similar to an individual who cuts themselves, it is something they feel in control of). So I recently researched cutting to try and understand that.

    We did make him help rip out the carpet!

    His psychiatrist had once thought Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), however when he was in his 3 months of out of home treatment they only diagnosed him with ADHD and Mood Disorder (not otherwise specified). They were looking into Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and Schizophrenia but our insurance dropped him before anything conclusive came about. The doctors seem to have a very difficult time diagnosing him with anything, perhaps why things have been so difficult and therapy so unsuccessful.

    Thank you so much for all of advice! I am already feeling a sense of relief and like I am not so alone in the world.
  11. PinkBanana

    PinkBanana New Member


    So, I earned a bachelors degree in psychology. After so many years of raising my 16yo son, I decided to completely change course. Because if I couldn't' help or understand my son, how could I help anybody else? After several years in the workforce, I went back to school. I am currently working towards my PhD in Anatomy and Cell Bio. I could not be happier with the direction of my educational and professional life, I have found something I truly have a passion for. However, I have never given up on trying to understand what goes on with my son. It has been a relentless and unsuccessful 10/11 year journey.

    Do you have any pointers on how to stop? It's almost second nature to me, I have been trying for so long. I want that blessed heavenly relief feeling! It sounds wonderful!
  12. PinkBanana

    PinkBanana New Member


    For starters, your description is spot on, almost like you have met my son.

    Before my son went into the out of home treatment facility, I woke up one night to find him standing at the foot of my bed completely naked. It truly scared me. I had a hard time sleeping for quite some time after that. I began having my younger son sleep in my room and I locked my bedroom door at night. (My husband travels for work and is gone Sun through Fri). It was the only way I felt we were both safe. I brought the incident up with his therapist and my son denied that it ever happened.

    Another time, one of our neighbor kids was staying the night. He is between my kids ages and he was basically friends with both of my boys. This kid was sleeping in the downstairs living room. I went downstairs to turn lights and TV's off after kids had fallen asleep. (We only allow our 16yo to sleep in his bed due to his enuresis.) I found my son completely naked laying under the same blanket as the other kid. I noticed because his clothes were on the floor next to him. I panicked. As far as we know he never touched the boy. My son had several excuses as to why I found him in this situation. We stopped having other kids stay over. Again it was brought up with his therapist, he would just become defensive and rattle off all of his excuses.

    He is not mean to animals, but he does like fire. I found several burned CD's in his room. His old bed was all charred up from him burning it during the night. He burned a whole in our couch. We have eliminated all traces of lighters or matches from our home, but somehow they keep popping up.

    Trying to find a good out of home placement that our insurance will cover is difficult. My son is miserable being at home. I cannot do anything right. If I punish him, of course I am mean and evil, however he thinks his brother should get extremely harsh punishments. I am constantly being told by him that I am a horrible mother and how much he hates it here. I know he loves us, but he does not seem to have any idea how to treat people you love. He does not pick up those cues from us.

    My son displays 80% of the attachment disorder symptoms you posted. Wow.

    His mother is mentally ill. She was released from prison about 5 years ago. We attempted to let her be involved in my sons life, as he thought he wanted this. She was not very present when she was around him and soon started being very manipulative towards him (a trait I now know he inherited from her). She would go months without ever trying to contact him and eventually he decided he did not want much to do with her. Since getting out of prison, she has given birth to 2 more children which one of her sisters has adopted both of them. She likes the idea of saying she is a mom but does not behave as though she is a mom. She has also been in and out of the local psychiatric ward, sometimes being there for several months at a time. She pops a bunch of pills and then calls her therapist to tell him that she is attempting suicide. She cannot or will not (not quite sure which one) hold down a job. Her father is an OBGYN and bought her a home and a car and supports her.

    I want to thank you for your advice, support and all the info. This forum actually brings tears to my eyes! Everybody is so kind and so full of helpful information! I wish I would have found this years ago!!
  13. PinkBanana

    PinkBanana New Member


    I know what you mean, I feel as though you have surely walked in my shoes. I am sincerely sorry you have had to live through this. I really did think we were alone in having a child who behaved these ways. Until joining this forum, I have never met anybody who has experienced what I have. I have not found a doctor or therapist who has experience dealing with my sons unique behaviors.

    I too have to keep things under lock & key. I will be taking your advice on the peanut butter, bread, apples & bananas. Both my bedroom and my younger sons rooms have locks. If we are not home we lock our doors. However, my older son has figured out how to break into our bedrooms. We live in apartments so we cannot install deadlocks, instead we have to set up traps to at least know that he has broken into our rooms, so we can then figure out why. He thinks it is acceptable to break into our rooms as long as there is something he wants that is in there.

    My son has attempted to eat frozen food from our deep freezer. It now must be locked up too.

    This time when we "overhauled" his bedroom, we did many of the things you had done. We made him help rip up the carpet. We then had to remove all of the adhesive, his carpet was squares laid down atop the concrete floor around his waterbed. The entire basement is polished concrete floor (his room is in the basement). We are allowed to put carpet down as long as we remove it when we leave. Anyways his bedroom is back to a concrete floor. We got rid of his dresser for several reasons. 1) From all of his urinating on the carpet, it had started to warp his dresser. 2) Even if I put his clothes away, he would pull them all out and throw them all over the floor. If its not being used for clothes why have it. 3) He used his drawers to hide things which did not belong to him or belong in his bedroom. There was egg shells, ranch dressing bottles, chip bags, pudding cups, seasonings, movies, my CDs, his brother hand held games, etc, etc, etc. We let him keep his night stand containing 2 drawers for socks and underwear. We put a small hanging cubby thing in his closet. One cubby fits a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. We got rid of toys and other types of things a long time ago, rather we no longer allowed these things to be in his bedroom. So he has what he is required to have, but not much extra.

    I like your visitation idea! Each day he would have to earn privileges based on good behavior. This could potentially reinforce positive things. Rather than simply taking things away for inappropriate behavior and requiring him to earn things back slowly. He would essentially start each day with a clean slate. I can see him not being too happy about this in the beginning, however in time I think it might help. It surely could not hurt.

    I think our current hesitation with out of home placement and the 24/7 treatment that I know he needs, is that I do not think our insurance will cover any of it again. The next step is to sign over our parental rights to social services. That is a difficult thing to do in and of its self. Then I worry, what if they just put him in foster care, that is not the type of treatment he needs. Simply placing him in another families home is not the answer. I want him to get help, to get better, to have a chance at a future. I also worry that he will hate us or resent us. I do not want him to feel as though we are abandoning him too.

    I meet with our care coordinator from the wrap around services at our local NE Human Social Service center on Monday to discuss our options. She has been amazing and has worked with us for about 3 years now. She meets with my son several times a month. This gives him a break from us and us a break from him. They go bowling, put in time at the food pantry, at Christmas and Thanksgiving he helps her deliver turkeys to families in need. She is in the process of setting up a mentor for him to encourage positive behavior and thoughts of his future. She also attends school IEP meetings with me to make sure the proper things are being addressed and put into place for him at school. Having a care coordinator is something I highly suggest for any parent in our situation. Her services are completely free.

    Thank you for sharing your story with me. I have now written yet another novel on this forum post, but doing this has eased my heart!
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Pink...we tried adopting an eleven year old boy. Obviously, his life before ours had been hard, but he acted charming to adults and we loved him. We did not k now he was sexually interacting with our two younger adopted kids because he was scaring them to death. He had a knife and told them he'd kill all of us if they told on him so they didn't.

    Get this child out of your house. I know you love him. You have younger kids and you don't know what he has done. I first learned about attachment disorder up close and personal with this boy. As soon as we learned what he had done, he was gone. He'd lived with us for three years and, when asked in his residential treatment center, why he had done all he'd done, he could not answer. He had no insight to his behavior. Most of the time kids who are as sexual as these two are have been abused, but don't remember so they act out.

    When I hear about a young kid with no conscience I think "attachment disorder." Psychiatrists don't catch it unless the child was adopted and sometimes not even then. It is very dangerous and hard to treat if the very specialized treatment is not started very young (it actually is treatable, but by now your 16 year old is a teenager and probably too dangerous to treat while he lives at home). He may be cruel to animals. Our son was kind to animals in front of us. He killed two of them, although we didn't find out he was responsible until the second one. That's when his entire cover was blown.

    There are three red flags for a budding sociopath/attachment disordered child:

    1/peeing and pooping inappropriately. Our son did it closets, etc. We thought it was our dog.

    2/Fascination with fire. Our son set little fires in his room in front of the younger kids to scare them. He constantly threatened them that he'd burn the house down. He told them he was the devil and he wanted to burn in hell. This was while he was acting like Perfect Child in front of all adults. Adults loved him. That's why we had no clue.

    3/Cruelty to animals, which is something you can't know for sure. Our son acted nice to animals too,k like he loved our dogs. That's why we never thought he'd killed the first dog. The second dog, well, circumstances made it impossible for me NOT to think it was him. Only he and I were home and he hung the dog by his leash. This makes me cry to think about.

    With his early years and possible substances in utero, in spite of her denial, he is a danger to you and your other kid(s). Please...find somewhere outside the home to place him. You will not be able to be one, big happy family with him and your family, like mine, could ge traumatized for a long time. He does not have just ADHD or ODD. He is dangerous.

    I may add that once he was gone, my younger kids told me that once, when I had fallen asleep watching television, this child touched ME inappropriately and laughed.

    You didn't cause this and you can't fix it other than to find somewhere else for him to live while getting treatment. The cops got involved with our child a nd charged him with First Degree Assault of a Minor Child (daughter was six years younger than him). He was found guilty and taken to a residential center for young sexual predators. The last I'd heard, he had tried molesting another child in there while in the bathroom (sigh). You don't have to do what we did, but we cut ties for the sake of our other chlidren. He didn't miss us anyway. He said, when asked, that he missed the money and the toys. But he can't get attached to people. He doesn't know how to love nor does he want to be loved. Love scares attachment disordered people. It makes them act worse.

    If this child acts out on your other child, or any child, you could lose your other kid. Please...I know you love him, but he is not safe.

    Last edited: Jan 31, 2014
  15. Sabine

    Sabine Member


    I tend to go on and on, frequently losing my audience. This is so important, I'll make it extremely brief:

    1. I can tell that you are at the end of your rope, and have posted here as a "last ditch effort" before giving up and sending your son away for good.
    2. You have gotten some very good replies. I'm here to agree with those before me, and to add one more thing.
    3. Your inquiry is begging "WHAT SHOULD I DOOO". Here it is:

    Give your boy 1 month. Just one. If things haven't changed at all by the end of the month, it is time to give up and send him away where someone with more knowledge/skills/experience can help him... or not.. it will no longer be your responsibility after that time, and whatever happens, it ISN'T YOUR FAULT.

    During that month you need to change his nutrition completely. You'll have to also change the nutrition of everyone in the household during that time too.

    -Go through your entire house and 100% get rid of every single piece of food that is there
    -Go to the grocery store and only purchase brown rice, whole chickens, and some form of nonstarchy green vegetable (spinach, green beans, etc).
    Keep iodized salt and pepper available.
    Purchase cod liver oil and centrum silver vitamins and kelp (capsules of dried kelp.. may have to go to a health food store for that one).

    Feed everyone in the house chicken, rice, and green vegetables ONLY for the next 30 days. Everyone needs to take the vitamin supplements/oil/kelp as well (and any prescription medications, of course).

    Keep your son home for the entire month so he has absolutely no way to sneak other foods. Hire a sitter to come and help (and give you a break). Remember, this is only for 30 days.. it's not too expensive for that length of time.

    Expect things could get worse during the 30 days. Keep a calendar and record how things are going each day so you can track progress.

    If there is no improvement, then you can safely say you tried your best.

    If you're afraid for the safety of your 10 year old, feel free to send him with relatives or friends for the trial period. Safety for him comes FIRST.

    Good luck!
  16. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time Staff Member

    Hi Pink, to try to answer your question, I can't give you a specific way I have/am stopping this incessant thinking about why?

    I have done a lot of work in Al-Anon and otherwise about acceptance. I think moving toward acceptance of "what is" and getting past "why" and the need to understand is a process and part of the whole recovery piece/journey that WE are trying to do as we stop enabling our difficult children.

    My MO has ALWAYS been to solve a problem, you must first master the problem, and to master a problem, you must understand the problem and its potential solutions. So (lol), when I realized my husband (now ex) was an alcoholic (very high functioning, binge, so it was hard to identify and realize), that was just another problem to solve.

    I ordered dozens of books about alcoholism, brain chemistry, yada, yada, yada, and would read incessantly about it. Sometimes I stayed up all night reading about it (couldn't sleep anyway). I was obsessed. I was crazier than he was. I knew more about HIS disease than HE did. Funny now, thinking back. But that was the way I had ALWAYS handled problems, to spring into research mode and then ACTION! Get it done! Get it solved! Get it behind me! Move on to the next mountain to conquer!

    Very definitive step by step process and guess what? It had always worked pretty darn well for me. And why wouldn't it work now?

    BUT...I had never realized that it doesn't work with people and relationships. I have learned it doesn't. Any of them. And especially addicts and addiction.

    So then what? Then we do the hard work of detachment, and as we make progress here, we learn humility, acceptance, patience, maturity, respect, compassion...all of the things our difficult children must also learn to be healthy, strong, fully functioning adults.

    We have lots of similarities with them, and our behavior can be just as dangerous to ourselves and to other people. I also have realized that, and that is humbling and life-changing.

    Hey, Pink, sometimes it's not about being smarter and "getting a handle" on something. Sometimes, it's about stepping back, admitting we can't solve it, and letting our Higher Power (whatever that may be to each of us) do the work.

    In fact, the more we learn, the more we realize that's really the only healthy way to live.
  17. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I totally agree!
    "I used to absolutely TORTURE myself trying to figure out what makes him tick. I wanted to feel some sort of connection to him, my child. I wanted to believe that we are alike, after all, down where it counts. I was going to UNDERSTAND or die trying. If I could UNDERSTAND, I could say the right combination of words, or take the right actions, that would penetrate his shell and catapult him into corrective action. In short, then I could fix it.

    Here is what I have concluded about that, for what it's worth.

    We are never going to understand. Maybe they are just like us but they can't put it into action. Maybe they operate on a whole 'nother set of guidelines and motivations. I know the disease brings with it a lot---it's like a smothering blanket that covers everything."
  18. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    MWM, lol--we thought it was our dogs, too!

    Pinkbanana, think that Bittykitties advice about food is to see if you can take the edge off of some of the behaviors that may be allergy related. For example, gluten and casein can cause huge behavior changes in kids and adults with-Asperger's and even schizophrenia.

    in my humble opinion, from a mom's point of view (remember, we're not doctors here and cannot diagnosis) I'm thinking that your son has inherited either or both a combination of Asperger's and possibly borderline personality disorder, and has Attachment Disorder. What a horrid combination. This is so hard. My heart goes out to you.

    I often wish I were an extrovert who was either a football coach or an army sergeant, so that rules, regulations, follow-through and a thick skin would be more natural. As it is, I'm an introvert and an artist and a writer. Ack! Even if my son didn't have the issues he has, it would be a personality mismatch.

    I am so so SO glad that you have someone to come in and watch him so that you can get a break. Respite is so important.
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, I didn't think any PERSON would do it in the closet, on the floor (where everyone can see), behind the bar...lololol. I guess if you don't laugh, you'll cry, right? :)
  20. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    That's for sure! But when the level of um... markings ... was so high, aka higher than a dog could lift his leg, we realized and admitted the worst. Although I'm not sure what was worse--figuring that out, or figuring the times he had gone in Coke bottles and cans and lined them up. Reminded me of the scene in The Shining where the wife goes into her husband's home office to read his novel, and sees thousands of pages of the same sentence typed over and over again. Aaarrrghh!