Tired of parenting explosive pre-teen

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by AgentP, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. AgentP

    AgentP New Member

    Hi all,

    I am new here. I am the mom of a beautiful, difficult, explosive child who makes our family life often very unpleasant. I am so tired battling her and I am working hard on husband to consider Ross Greene's approach to explosive children. I hope that I can bring him on board and start implementing Greene's strategies.

    I read the book a while ago, husband hasn't. I am "making" him watch videos of a introductory speech by Greene, so hopefully that'll be a good start. I wondered whether there are good summaries out there of the book. husband is very smart and will be better able to use the philosophy with straight forward pointers.

    Any other tips to motivate a spouse and for implementing the philosophy are most welcome too because I know I will struggle with this as well and I don't want to have to run to my room leafing through the book every five minutes LOL.

    Oh and do you have a glossary with all the abbreviations? I am not familiar with most (I use the "d" for "dear" or "****" depending on their behavior lol, and then of course "d" for daughter, "s" for son and "h" for husband).
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Welcome to our board, although sorry you have to be here.

    Has your daughter ever been evaluated to see why she is so explosive? Have you just tried to do it yourself? How is she in school? Does she have a lot of friends?

    I recommend, beyond just The Explosive Child, evaluating her. She is close to being a teenager and not to scare you but my own daughter started smoking pot at 12 and it lead to many other bad things, parole, the police visiting, her behavior blasting out of control, etc. The Explosive Child is a way to have more peace at home, but I'm not sure it stops your child's issues from ramping up, especially once those hormones kick in. I'm not sure we as parents are equipped to handle our differently wired children by ourselves. Sure, we have advice, but the majority of us are working alongside professionals too. If your child is ever violent against people or animals, this is also serious and can get dangerous. Can you tell us m ore about your daughter's background? Did she have chaotic early years? A difficult birth process? "Different" development? Constant problems? Strange quirks? Is your husband daughter's biological father? The more we know, the more we can try to steer you right. The Easy Child is a good start, but not an answer to finding out what is wrong and helping her (or both of you).

    husband-dear hub
    ds-dear son
    daughter-dear daughter
    easy child-precious child (usually means our more normally wired children)
    difficult child-Gift from God (tongue in cheek reference to our differently wired kids)
  3. AgentP

    AgentP New Member

    She is a model citizen at school, highly motivated to learn and please the teacher. She has friends and is very popular, although she and her best friend are at odds lately (the latter is very strong willed and they clashed several times over the last weeks. Both just started to develop so I figure hormones are at play here too).

    She is super good with little kids and several moms here want her to baby sit as soon as she is old enough. She loves animals and is very gentle with them. When she is moody and explodes she usually is not aggressive towards people but she has hit her brother in the past and swatted me, but usually in reaction to me touching her. She will through things (not directed at people), slam doors, scream, punch the walls etc.

    She has been in therapy before but we've never found anybody to come up with some working model for us, mainly because she is mostly very well behaved when we are in sessions with her. The only therapist who saw her in action moved away before we really could get started. I feel we mostly need help to parent her more effectively, so that she can learn the skills she is missing to moderate her emotions.

    daughter and I had a rocky start with breastfeeding after a largely uncomplicated birth but she swallowed meconium and had to be suctioned. I felt out of sync with her in general from the getgo. She'd nurse, then scream her head off, with a rigid body and it was difficult to calm her. She proceeded to be a willful and inflexible toddler and she can still have temper tantrum today, where she'll wail and throw herself on the floor. I wish I had known about Ross Greene then, but I didn't and we had many battles of will (I have to admit that I am also inflexible and have a short fuse - ugh, we are all on the spectrum of something, right?). As much as I have bemoaned having to raise her, I learned a lot about me and I love her to bits. I really feel this is the time to get this right, because soon she'll be a teen and I don't want her to have the same relationship with me than I had with my parents. There is also some substance abuse in my family, so she might be prone to that as well.

    She professes to hate her brother (will say so often, to us and/or him), who is two years younger and she will pick on him often, which gets my blood boiling. But they can also play together for hours and she's very empathetic towards him if something happens (he gets hurt or is sick).

    To me it seems that she is often in a pissy mood and then looks for someone to pick on to make herself feel better. Like she's looking for a release, which she gets when she sees to it that a situation escalates and she can blow up. She absolutely cannot handle sudden changes in routine a change to something she expects/had planned in her head. In general she has great difficulty with transitions. She has some sensory issues, like not liking the feeling of water on her skin, certain socks, shirts and pants don't feel right as well.
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    (my turn - MWM got here first...!)


    There are three common points where problems seem to explode - when they start school, somewhere in the middle years (5/6/7), and HS. Because... the whole environment and expectations change dramatically. Sometimes, they sneak by for an extra couple of years because they get exceptional teachers, but that isn't enough.

    You DO need to know WHY she is this way.
    If she's always been difficult - has she ever had a comprehensive evaluation?
    If she was more 'typical', then... things like drugs might be in the picture.

    HOW you parent needs to be driven by the problem, not by the symptoms.
    Until we got accurate, concrete dxes... we didn't have much to go on.
  5. AgentP

    AgentP New Member

    I knew the first three :) but what is Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)? I know what ADD means but there are others I've seen I am not sure about - not otherwise specified, ODD, ADP etc. Is there a glossary?
  6. AgentP

    AgentP New Member

    All the therapists (play therapy at age 5, behavioral therapy at age 9 and then age 10) though she was fine, not on the spectrum of anything, other than her explosive temperament. But I hated the first therapist (thought she was useless, she told me that patient/doctor confidentiality meant that she couldn't tell me what came out in the sessions! She was 5 and I tried to understand her issues!!!), thought the second really missed her persona entirely, and the third left after about 4 months. That one thought we needed to help her with her temper, but that all was fine otherwise.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Autistic Spectrum Disorder Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
    Not Otherwiwse Specified not otherwise specified
    ODD-Oppositional Defiant Disorder (many of us don't think this label is useful)

    Is there a reason you don't want to get her evaluated? Is husband dead against it? She really should be evaluated before she gets worse in her teens. Teens are rarely a time when difficult kids get better...most of our difficult children start getting into serious trouble as teenagers and she's getting there and you don't really know what's wrong with her other than she explodes (and I'm not sure what you mean by that). She can verbally explode or actually explode on other people. Both are red flags. You really should get professional help and not try to do this yourself. in my opinion it won't work. If she is hitting you or even her brother and/or breaking things, this is far beyond normal anger and it needs to be brought under control. We aren't trained for that. Has she ever seen at least a therapist?

    If you don't want to answer, you sure don't have to. That's your business. But it is unusual to try this alone and to go without an evaluation. And in my own humble opinion, you really can't handle these kids alone. You need help outside of the family...for one thing, we are very emotionally involved in our child and can get too lax or too harsh. Or it's easy and safe for us to pretend that the child is really ok, just a little more extreme than a normal kid (until bigger stuff happens, if it does. And then it's way late).

    For another...we don't have the training. The Explosive Child is more effective for younger kids, but also is not done without outside help too, at least not by the vast majority of us here.

    Good luck! :)
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) - auditory processing disorder
    Aspie - Asperger's Syndrome

    Sounds like she's had tdocs but no formal, comprehensive evaluation.
    We got nowhere with tdocs.
    Took 4 rounds of comprehensive evaluations to peel back the layers... !

    Have you ever kept a log or journal of her daily life? the mundane, and the "problems" - because the two can be linked. It helps to look BACK over a number of weeks or months, patterns show up that you don't notice when you're in the daily trenches.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Yep. Therapists are not good diagnosticians.They don't have the schooling. They wouldn't really know if a child had, say, high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or reactive attachment disorder or ADHD or anything. And, as we all know here, behavioral therapists and play therapists don't work often on our differently wired kids. And we don't know if she had a hard first few years, which also matters. Lots of stuff comes into play. I'll stand my ground on a full evaluation and I prefer neuropsychs. I'm not a fan of therapists at all, except in conjunction with a psychiatrist (the big guy with the MD). I'm in the mental health system myself and you really have to look long and hard for a therapist who is good, but neuropsychs tend to really get a grasp on things and I've had many good psychiatrists in my life. I'm 60 so I've had a few as some have quit and I have moved around, etc. I wish my parents had helped me early on. It made things worse for me to first start when I left home. And I had such a bad image of myself too. I believe in early intervention.
  10. AgentP

    AgentP New Member

    I wrote a long reply to her life story... I guess I didn't post it after all.

    So here is the summary:

    Difficulties from the getgo (daughter had swallowed meconium, had to be suctioned), breastfeeding issues, ended up nursing for a bit then screaming with a rigid body. Always felt out of sync with her. Toddlerhood showed rigid, willful behavior. She does well in school now, highly motivated to learn, to please teachers. Has many friends (although lately with best friend there are issues, both are strong willed and started developing so I guess hormones are partially responsible). She loves animals and is very kind to them. Hates her brother and will pick on him often. But then she plays with him for hours. When she explodes she throws stuff (not at people), slams doors, punches the walls, calls names etc. She does not well with transitions, with changes to her plans/routines and becomes very rigid and goes off. She seems to be often moody and looking for an escalation. As if the explosion brings her relief. She is mostly apologetic afterwards and may cry.
  11. AgentP

    AgentP New Member

    Neuropsychiatrist or neuropsychologist?
  12. buddy

    buddy New Member

    They are specially trained to link behavior with how the brain works, whether developmental or mental health issues.

    There are other areas they consider but do not do in depth testing in, and the only one that really sticks out to me here (given that she has no problems in school etc) would be occupational therapy. If she has sensory integration disorder she could get irritable and while she may be able to control her reactions for most of her time, she may unload on those closest to her. You know how you can feel kind of off but at work still be ok, then suddenly when you get home you want to scream or have little patience for others? Her every day could be like that if she has some form of sensory integration disorder.

    Or not.

    But you can check it out by going to a pediatric occupational therapist who specializes in sensory integration disorder.

    There is a book and web site info called The Out of Sync Child.
    The good thing about that is there is some really good therapy available.

    The truth is there is usually a combo of things going on by this age especially. So I think you are on a good track to seek a different parenting idea like Ross Greene and to seek evaluations where you can.

    Welcome! We all share from our own experience but one thing we all "get" is how tricky and exhausting it can be to parent a difficult child. Hugs.
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    The other often-missed diagnosis is... Auditory Processing Disorders (APD). Especially the ones that have less impact on language development - like auditory figure ground and auditory discrimination. If a child has this, they really fight to "hear" - especially in a classroom setting where there is so much background noise. The mental fatigue can lead to behaviour issues (been there done that)
  14. buddy

    buddy New Member

    True, but the level of school success and social success might make me look last at that. Unless there is more to the story?
  15. AgentP

    AgentP New Member

    Our insurance won't pay for a psychiatric evaluation unless I have a regular evaluation by a psychiatrist or psychologist. Luckily they were able to give me a list of places who do both. So I am trying to get an evaluation by someone who also does psychiatric evaluations ...

    ... and I just got off the phone lol - the place called me and there is a doctor specializing in explosive kids who will do the evaluation and then we'll take it from there. She'll call me in a bit to take some history over the phone and then we'll schedule a meeting. I am excited!
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Sounds great!!! Good for you!

    Also, your child sounds like her problems are very workable and not that severe to me. If you stick around, you'll read much worse :) The point now is to keep her from getting worse.
  17. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Good job! Hope you get some good info and support. We are still always here for the day to day stuff!
  18. AgentP

    AgentP New Member

    Ugh. So they won't take her as a patient because she is not getting her pediatric care at that hospital... But they have a study she might qualify for and then she'd be evaluated. So I crossing my fingers that she'll get in and that she'll cooperate because it entails some blood drawing...
  19. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Keep knocking on doors. Investigate each opportunity as it comes up. SOMETHING will work.
  20. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    There is something called lidocaine cream that numbs the arm so they can't feel the blood draw.