unable to handle son's complete defiance & disresp


New Member
I am new to this site. I feel very alone. I have a 14 year old son who has literally destroyed our family life. (I have 7 kids ages 5 - 21) My 14 year old has been a challenge since he was 3. When he was 9 he was diagnosed with tourettes syndrome, ADHD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Depression. Although he has never been officially diagnosed with ODD, I know he has it. He has never been able to listen and follow rules. I am so afraid he now has CD. The last month we have been called from the school almost everyday. He has had plenty of detentions, ASR's, Saturday school, and now he is suspended for 2 days. The school recommends that we homeschool him. (I think they just want him out of the school). It looks like he won't even pass the year. We are in a constant battle everyday. He is just not a nice person. My younger children are becoming affected. We can never do anything or go anywhere. I have lost all friends and family because of his meaness. Does anyone have any suggestions. He was on Strattera and Prozac for 4 years but I recently had to pull him off his medications because I couldn't get the doctors office to call me back for refills. The medicine never seemed to work. He also had years of counseling which only seem to make him worse. Help


Going Green
Sorry you had to find us but welcome to the site. First of all........you are DEFINATELY not alone here! There are many, many people here who have been or still are in your shoes, myself included. (Well, with the exception of the number of kids! lol) More people will be along shortly with more information or advice than I have but........

Who diagnosis'd (diagnosed) your son?
Has he ever had a neuro evaluation?
WHat kind of issues is he having with school/home/peers?

Also, you may want to read some of the categories on the FAQ page and in the archives. Setting up a profile like the one at the bottom of my post is also helpful. (You can do that under MY STUFF)

Welcome again. This truly is a soft place to land and here you will find support, understanding and a lot of advice.


Well-Known Member

Who diagnosed him when he was 9?
5 years is a long time to go without improvement. What has been tried?
Have you noticed any changes without medications?


Welcome! I'm glad you found us.

Sorry about all the questions, but your answers will help us point you in the right direction for help.
What kind of doctor diagnosed him and what kind of doctor is treating him? Was his last evaluation at age 9?
Has he seemed better or worse or about the same since you pulled him off his medications? When exactly did you take him off the medications?
Does he have an IEP at school?

In terms of the school, you might want to post on the Special Education 101 about what the school is telling you. If this is a public school, the school cannot simply tell you to homeschool your son. If the current placement is not working, the school must find a suitable placement to allow your son his right to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).

You might want to pick up a copy of The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. It has helped many of us on this board parent our extra-challenging children.

Again, welcome. You will find a lot of support here.


New Member
Thank you all for responding so quickly. He was diagnosed at age 9 by a child psychiatrist. He started just on Strattera. At age 11 he was put on Prozac for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and depression. The prozac did seem to help the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) alot but not the depression. He also went to counseling during this time which didn't help at all. I would try to pull him off the strattera during the summers and every summer I regretted it so maybe the medicine helped a little. We had to change doctors one year ago at age 13 because of insurance. I tried a pediatric neurologist and she recommended Mental Health due to his anxieties. He has severe sleep problems and I thought maybe neurology would help but they said the anxiety keeps him up. I then went to a new psychiatrist and tried counseling again. No help. This psychiatrist just increased his strattera and prozac 1 month ago. After one week of increase in medications his behavior got much worse. (calls from the school everyday for bad behavior which usually he would average once a month getting in trouble). I thought maybe this was due to the increase in medicine. This new psychiatrist only has an answering device to leave messages. You have to rely on them to return your calls. I also needed a f/u appointment. They didn't call back after 2 messages. I had no other medicine so I had to take him off both medications. I have no idea who to go see next. His pediatrician is not comfortable prescribing these medications. No one has ever addressed his ODD issues even tho I bring it up a lot. He does have an IEP but I don't see the school putting forth much effort. At home we can never get him to do homework or even open a book. Some problems we have been dealing with - inappropriate behavior, language, makes fun of others, bullying, utter defiance. (At a store recently we told him we wouldnt buy a box of cookies so he just opened it up in the store and started eating it so we had no choice but to buy it). I can go on and on . . .


Well-Known Member
Has he ever had neuropsychologist evaluations? Did he ever have social or speech problems? (Trying to sort it all out here).


New Member
He has had psychiatric evaluations and 1 neuro evaluation but not a combined. He has never had speech problems but has always had social problems. I don't believe he is liked very much. He has never had good friends. He doesn't say very nice things. He teases a lot. He bullys. I have done lots of reading and have tried many things - nothing has helped. I desperately want him to be NICE. I can handle most anything but I do not handle bullying and unkindness and inappropriateness. He always thinks he is joking but he is so hurtful to other people.


Well-Known Member
Did he have a long, intensive neuropsychologist evaluation? What did he/she think was wrong? What kind of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) do you see? Does he obsess over certain topics or do things over and over again? Do you feel the medications did any good?


Active Member
The best way to tackle the school problem is to arm yourself with information. I am by no means an expert on the law when it comes to IEPs, FBAs, and FAPEs, but I know more than the schools do. I had to because the schools kept telling me what they couldn't do. Once I knew what they could do, and they knew I knew, it was more of a partnership and we worked together.

With an IEP, you have certain protections. They can't suspend him for more than 10 days without a meeting. You can call an IEP meeting whenever you think it's necessary. They can't force you to homeschool, and if they do want that, they have to help pay for it (home tutors, etc.) Check out the Special Education forum and ask lots of questions.

If you haven't read it, The Explosive Child is really a good book. I don't use everything in the book, and probably should more, but it just changed our lives because it changed the way we looked at our difficult child's behaviors. It's still really difficult, but we have a better understanding and so we handle it better.

Our difficult child has changed medications many times over the years. It can be really frustrating. It took awhile to find a medication that worked, and then it seemed he outgrew it. We're trying to find the right combo again.

Welcome to the board! I hope we can help you as much as this board has helped me and my family.



New Member
I think he had an extensive neropsych exam. I have not really been happy with any of his doctors. They just say Tourettes syndrome, ADHD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Depression, ?ODD. Before Prozac he would wash his hands fequently (at least 50 times a day). He obsesses about many of his fears. I am definitely going to check out that book The Exposive Child. The books I have read deal more with a younger child and not with the teen years. I hope this one deals with the teen years.
Welcome to this board. I can not offer you any specific advice, except to tell you that you will find a wealth of experience from other Moms and Dads here. Please feel free to ask any questions that you have, and I'm sure that there will be someone who will have an answer for you. I have a 13 year old son who is also extremely defiant, and he has to have his own way all the time. I know how difficult it is for you, and you also have to be there for your other children. I am sending you best wishes for better days ahead.


As you probably know, Tourette's is a highly co-morbid condition. ADHD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), anxiety, depression and learning disabilities are all common co-morbid conditions with Tourette's. I'm wondering if you would find more help for your son at a Tourette's Clinic at a university or children's hospital. You might have to drive a distance, but it would be well worth it if you could find doctors who have a good understanding of your son's disorders.


Jencita - just to clarify, a neuropsychologist is a neuropsychologist which is very different from a neurologist or a regular psychologist. From what I read in your posts, your son has been evaluated by psychologists and/or psychiatrists and a neurologist, correct?

Other than that I just wanted to welcome you to the board.


Active Member
I am sorry about your son's struggles. in my humble opinion it would help if someone could reach out to him, a mentor or older brother , a young adult in whom he could confide and would help him be part of the solution. The home often is a difficult place to provide structure in a nurturing environment , maybe a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or emotional growth schools , ones that are not behavior mod oriented may help. I also find if I relate to my kid not as a defiant, difficult or aggressive child but rather a child with difficulties poor coping skills and other challenges , it helps me to cope better , not be in a confrontation, quick fix mode, be calm , respectful and creative in my thinking. It is so tough and stressful and the negative thoughts are understable , but they usually interfere with my positive outlook and happiness.

Take care


Well-Known Member
Hi Jencita, so sorry I missed this post. As you can see, you are not alone. I am so sorry you have to go through this, and so sorry for the rest of your family. Wow, you have an entire family of G'sfg! I don't know how you do it.
You've gotten some good advice here.
One thing I'm wondering is if you can change the family of medications he's on... maybe go from Prozac to Effexor, because of the anxiety issues. (I just know too many people who space out on too much Prozac.) You've really got to have a much more hands-on approach with-his pediatrician and psychiatric.
I hope you can take some time out to read the books recommended here, and just be alone for a couple of hrs in a coffee shop or something. It will really help.
Good luck and stay with-us!


Well-Known Member
Oh, I forgot to ask, are you seeing a family counselor weekly for behavior modification? Because the medications won't perform a 100% miracle. I know you can get your ins. to cover it... just dig in and keep calling.

Hi Jencita,

Don't have a lot of advice on the boy. Just wanted to add my welcome to the board, and tip my hat to ya. That's a lot of difficult child in one house.

One more vote here for "The Explosive Child".

Hugs and prayers being sent your way.


Active Member
I also find if I relate to my kid not as a defiant, difficult or aggressive child but rather a child with difficulties poor coping skills and other challenges , it helps me to cope better , not be in a confrontation, quick fix mode, be calm , respectful and creative in my thinking. It is so tough and stressful and the negative thoughts are understable , but they usually interfere with my positive outlook and happiness.

I agree so much with Allan in regards to the above, tho this is hard to do. I hope something helps, I do not have experience with teenagers, and dread those years. Make sure to find some time for yourself somewhere, you must be busy.


Regarding the medications thing.... Strattera works great for one of my kids, made the other one even worse!! I agree with all the earlier posts, you need a good psychiatrist & therapist that will work with you.Keep looking, it makes such a big difference. This is a tough age for difficult child boys, not that any age is easy but you get the teenage thing along with the difficult child thing now.
What about county Mental Health services, would those be an option?
Hang in there.