Week #3 of our trip through ODD land

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by needprayers, Sep 1, 2010.

  1. needprayers

    needprayers Guest

    The wife, difficult child, and I met with Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) for the third time yesterday.

    The weekend was great, difficult child was well behaved and happy all weekend. He was polite (yes mam, thank you) to just about everyone but his mom and I :)

    We told him before school that we were going to check him out and take him back to the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), and he was not happy about that. When he gets nervous or unhappy, it turns immediately to anger. By the time we made it to school, he was ok again.

    Not much came out of the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), difficult child was clammed up mostly, and after she met with him she met with us privately. Said we (wife and I) MUST get on the same page on dicipline and punishments, and post rules where he can see them. wife is too linient and I am pretty strict. Also be sure to reward him for jobs well done.

    After the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) meeting, we went to the pediatric doctor to get him checked out. We really like his pediatrician , and trust him. difficult child acted pretty ugly to the pediatrician (wouldn't follow directions, attitude). After checking difficult child out, wife and I talked to him privately. He assured us that he trusts Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), but gave us a pschologists name as well. He also strongly suggested we follow the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) suggestion of trying a low dose of zoloft for difficult child to help him get out of his "funk" , or as the pediatric doctor said, help him get over his anger quicker. We hope the zoloft will get him to open up more with his feelings.

    I honestly do not think there is anything going on but the ODD, with maybe some ADHD, although it's not often he is ever hyper ever at home. He is just extremely defiant and not trustworthy. For example, we do not let him take his phone to school except on rare occasions. This morning we asked if he had his phone and he flat out said no. After dropping him off at school, I had to go back to the house, and noticed his phone was gone. When wife picked him up, she saw it in his pocket, but he still denied it..

    So, he has lost the phone privileges and playstation privileges for a few days. Now he is really po'ed and telling wife he hates her. :mad:
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I hope the zoloft helps and I'm sorry he has been struggling so much. I'm sorry I can't remember if he has ever been evaluated by a neuropsychologist? They really can offer a lot of insight.
  3. needprayers

    needprayers Guest

    He has not been seen by anyone but the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). We are giving her about a month, along with the zoloft, before we change course and take him to a psychologist. Tonight he hates both of us, because we are, as he says, annoying.

    As soon as I can, I'm going to hit the bookstore and get the explosive child. i watched the videos today (posted in someone else's link) and I like his methods.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I strongly suggest keeping some kind of journal or log or diary of his moods. You can find basic mood charts, or just make notes on a daily calendar. A few years back quite a number of us here noticed that for the first few months that our sons were on zoloft they were fine. It helped, esp at first, and things seemed to go quite well. Then a seething anger started to appear. After several more months passed this anger was at an incredible high and present most of the time, esp any time they were not doing exactly what they wanted to do.

    The parents who noticed it had kids with all sorts of diagnosis's. Most of us discontinued the zoloft and used another SSRI (prozac, luvox, etc...) instead. We found that anger went away and did not come back. It happened to enough of us, and only on zoloft, that we felt it was significant. My son describes that time as being different from any other time that he was on antidepressants (which is most of the time since age 9). He describes it as being constantly irritated, like being in a bad mood with a low grade headache (not that he had one), with socks that itch and a burr inside your shirt that scratches every time you think you have it removed. So absolutely everything is piled on top of that state or irritation and annoyance and mild anger - making bursts of incredibly anger happen no matter how minor any provocation is.

    I am NOT saying that zoloft is a bad medicine, or that your son will react this way. My son did NOT have any physical pain from the medication, the irritation has not ever happened that way before or after, but was pretty amazing. If it had been just us I would not mention it either. It is just something to be aware of. Keeping a journal of his moods/outbursts and any triggers can help if this does become a problem, and if something else is going on.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    There is a fairly easy way to handle the issue of taking the phone to school. You and wife make a firm commitment to each other that if difficult child gets the phone taken away at school that you WILL NOT go and get it from the principal or teacher. IF it is offered at the end of the grading period (quarter or semester - up to you), you will get it then.

    Next time difficult child has his phone at school, or you think he does, call it. Repeatedly, unless it goes straight to voice mail. If he answers it, say what you want - ask how his day is, if he is having a good day, whatever. Don't tell him he is in trouble. He is smart enough to know you won't be happy. You don't have to say it.

    Then call the school. Tell them that difficult child has his phone at school, and it is on. Even if he doesn't answer and you know he has it, tell them that it is there. Ask them to confiscate it and only give it back if you or your wife come to get it from the office. All the schools here have the policy that phones, gameboys, mp3 players, etc... will only be returned to a parent if they are being used at school (mp3s if used inappropriately). Don't go and get it back until parent/teacher conferences.

    You can call the phone co and have it be put on "vacation" or "inactive" status, which costs less.

    If the phone was so that difficult child could have freedom to be in an area of a store like games while you shop, well, he cannot do that because he has no phone. YOU didn't lose it, did you? If it was so that he could go do things with friends and not call home everytime plans changed, well he needs to stay at the first friend's house or stay on plan, doesn't he? Otherwise he cannot go out.

    The other thing you can do is to take the battery out of his phone when you see it at home. Then he can take it to school all he wants. Cannot play games on it, cannot text, cannot get online, cannot call, but he has it to look cool.

    Put the battery back in when you feel like it, or when you want him to be able to use his phone.

    Some schools may have other consequences for students who bring phones to school. If he has to experience those because you called and let the school know he has the phone there, that is entirely HIS problem. Don't own it, don't admit to alerting them (unless you want to for some reason), don't try to get him out of whatever they impose. And don't go get the phone!
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Zoloft has worked brilliantly for difficult child 1, but not for difficult child 3. It's different.

    Trust me, there is more going on. I'm thinking that possibly one of the areas of conflict between your methods and your wife's, is you are focussing on the ODD and trying to find ways to fix it directly, while she is leaving that area entirely alone.

    Neither method is correct, although in their ways, both are intuitive.

    You will find as you read Explosive Child, that there are some very different strategies which SEEM to be leaving that behaviour alone. But they're not. Mind you, from what you say I doubt your wife is actually using any strategy other than the "too hard basket" which, in the early edition of Explosive Child, is actually Basket C. If his bad behaviour is linked to anxiety, then for now at least, forget the bad behaviour and focus on helping him with the anxiety. Try to get into his head and work out how he is feeling, then work from there.

    When difficult child 3 is stressed and anxious, he lashes out verbally. Or he used to. badly. But over time he has learned that we will help him, he doesn't have to draw our attention to his distress by getting aggrtessive and rude. With people who keep chiding hi for bad behaviour, he still can get rude with them. We explain to himt hat getting angry with people like grandma is a bad idea - she will never learn to not needle him, she feels it is her duty (since in her opinion, we are neglecting this) to chide him for bad behaviour.

    But she is wrong. The secret for us has been, we work on the underlying problem (anxiety, generally) and from there, once he is calm, we can then discuss the way he behaved and we then model for him, as well as instruct and rehearse with him, a better way to behave. We do this without recrimination and without any sense of "I am your superior, you must respect me," because frankly, that achieves less than nothing. He actually responds better to "let me help you understand a better way."

    When you are strict with kids like this, they don't understand the full message you're trying to teach. They see that you are bigger than them and for some reason you seem to be able to yell at them, to "throw your weight around" and get firm and strict. So you achieve things tat way, it's obviously good. So difficult child thinks, "I'll do it that way too, since it works for my parent."
    But coming from a kid, it doesn't work.

    I just had another talk to mother in law, who is trying to get it and sometimes does, but at other times falls back on "Why should I be the one to have to make accommodations?"

    Every kid learns differently, difficult children especially so (depending on what the underlying problem is). The brighter the kid, the faster they try to adapt and the more difficult it can be to get a diagnosis because the problems get masked. Not out of deliberate deception, but because the child is desperately trying to fit in.

    Susie's suggestion to keep a journal, is a very good one. Both you and your wife should write in it, and if you can get the teachers to also write things. We had a Communication Book which travelled in difficult child's school bag to and from school. Alternatively, emails to and fro can be really good. But keep them copied to one file so you have them altogether, it makes it easier to recognise patterns which you can use to help identify problems before they escalate.

    You're here, you're asking questions, you're trying to find solutions. This is good. If you're not getting it right, don't get caught up in blame. It can take a while, especially if the problem is complex or masked.

  7. needprayers

    needprayers Guest

    Thanks for the comments.

    I like the comments on the phone, especially taking the battery out :D

    We are keeping a daily journal on him.

    Last night after he calmed down, I got him to tell me "why" he hated his mother.

    difficult child says its because:
    1. she (we) take his stuff away
    2. Tells him to do the same thing over & over, and
    3. Yells at him upstairs. (children rooms/playroom upstairs)

    So I told him we would work on the yelling, and instead walk up the stairs to tell the kids to hurry up :)
    I explained to him if he did what we asked the first time, we wouldn't tell him over & over (he gets three chances to comply). We would work on telling him one thing at a time, but he must do what we ask.
    Then I explained we take his stuff away as a direct result of his actions/insubordination. If he follows rules for a few days, then he can earn his stuff back.
  8. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member


    Good to see you having a discussion with him. I don't have much faith in withdrawing priveleges or taking away stuff - we have to deal with the issues - get his concerns on the table , then yours and then come up with a plan , it is a process , not a technique . The key is conversations , perspective taking etc you want to show him that you want to hlp him , work with him , not do to him - my 2cents

  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Needprayers, if you can - make the punishments more as consequences. For example, if his inattention is because he was playing a game, take the game away for a little while until he complies, then let him have it back when his chores are done. You took the game away (or rather, took it into custody) because the game was distracting him.

    What he will be more likely to get, is the natural consequences. You explained things well, it seems it is what he needs.

    The more you describe, the more I feel your son should be considered for high functioning autism. With this, the child is desperately tying to work out what the natural laws are, because everything seems chaotic and he can't work out how to fit himself in to the picture. Logic in te extreme is what he is trying to use to understand things. It's like a kid watching a large skipping rope turning fast, waiting until he's worked out the rhythm of the rope before running in and having a few jumps - you don't just run in if you haven't got the pace in your head mentally. You have to be in tune with it. Similarly, High-Functioning Autism (HFA) kids are trying to mentally get the pace of life (and te rules) but have a much more difficult time; they need help to get it. Logic is a valuable tool. ANd they will work out for themselves what the rules are, and the rules they work out mau not actually be the real ones.

    For example - difficult child 3's school had a rule that children may not hit other people. difficult child 3 saw the rules written down. He knew the rule. But his experience told him differently - when the teacher wasn't looking, other kids would hit. They would hit him, they would hit other kids. Sometimes the other kids would hit back. But difficult child 3 could never get the rhythm of it - the other kids who hit (or hit back) generally did it when the teacher was distracted. difficult child 3 would hit back and get caught. Also, I suspect there was a strong element of "watch out for difficult child 3; he is dangerous and unstable" and so the slightest step out of line, even an accusation not proven, and difficult child 3 would be in serious trouble. Meanwhile the kids who had provoked him got off scot free. So the rule in difficult child 3's mind became - "Hitting is not allowed and will be punished, if you're difficult child 3. Other kids hit and don't get into trouble. They hit difficult child 3. difficult child 3 must accept being hit and not hit back. Therefore difficult child 3 deserves to be hit."

    Another rule difficult child 3 worked out for himself was, "First they call you names, then they hit you. You must endure this."
    We transferred difficult child 3 to a different school, one which happened to be very strict about bullying. Soon after he arrived he was standing in the way of a mass exodus (the new kid not knowing which way to go) when a boy behind said, "Out of my way, dummy."
    difficult child 3 didn't move, he just stood there looking at the boy. Then he said, "Go on, hit me."
    The boy, to his credit, went to get a teacher. He thought difficult child 3 was trying to start a fight. The teacher, to his credit, realised what was happening and told me about it later. They kew his history (he was a traumatised kid from years of systematic bullying) and realised he had a great deal to unlearn.

    With your son, I suggest you also ask him why he took the phone to school. Find out why he felt it necessary. Maybe he felt he needed it for the status thing ("other kids take their phones to school even though it's not allowed." Or "This other kid said he didn't believe me when I said I had my own phone; he said he had to see it." Or "I need to know I can call you or mom if I need you.") There can be more than one way to resolve a kid's concerns, and he needs to learn to find these other, more acceptable ways.
    The natural consequence for him taking the phone to school, is reduced access to the phone and much closer supervision of his access by you guys, because he has broken your trust. the breach in trust covers a larger area and lasts longer, and is more directly connected to his actions. That connection is something he will understand better, than loss of Playstation privileges, for example. Chances are he's more upset at the moment by loss of PlayStation than loss of phone, so he won't be mentally connecting this to the reason why. And if he doesn't connect to why properly, he will be more likely to forget and do it again.

    You seem to be doing amazingly, needprayers. It is frustrating at times, but when you find some sort of system and balance, it suddenly can become a lot easier.

    Keep us posted on how you get on.