What to tell the other child

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by saintkas, Dec 11, 2009.

  1. saintkas

    saintkas New Member

    I am new to the grew with a newly "identified" ODD difficult child. I tried to find a previous thread on this topic but I couldn't, so forgive me if I am repeating something. If there is a thread about this already, please point me in that direction.

    I have a 15 yo who probably has ODD. He starts with a psychologist this week. I also have a 10 yo who doesn't show any of the same tendencies. The 15 yo is trying too convert the 10 yo to his way of seeing things, particularly trying to convince him that my wife and I are evil and wrong about everything we say.

    Since the 15 yo sucks up all the air in the room, the 10 yo struggles to get his fair share of attention and family resources. When the 15 yo acts out, the anger and emotions scare the 10 yo, he doesn't understand why his brother is so upset.

    Of course, the 10 yo idolizes his older brother.

    My question is, as we move forward what do we tell the younger brother about the nature of the 15 yo's problem? How do we explain to him that the 15 yo's behaviors are not the successful ways to behave? How do we tell him that the older brother has a disability that is causing all the anger and hostility? How do we tell him he needs to live his own life and not try to be just like his older brother?

    Any suggestions will be appreciated.
  2. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    ODD is not a real helpful diagnoses as it is very general. Hopeful y as you progress you will get a more detailed prognosis.

    One problem with difficult children is the effect on a younger sibling. My difficult child would absolutely destroy his brother. Which hurt all the more because of the idolizing. I referred to the younger one as "difficult child in training" because he learned a lot from difficult child. When this happens my proper response is to become very angry and hit the wall. Strategies we used include:

    - Separate them as frequently as possible. (Use, any before and after school activities available, have difficult child in training say at a neighbor's house, anything to keep them apart)
    - Take difficult child to his own counselor to talk about his feelings and frustration. Counselor used a lot of "play therapy" and that worked well for him.
    - Talk to difficult child in training frequently so that he understands what is going on. And that no difficult child's behavior is not appropriate. No special word to use. Just state it straight forward just like what you wrote in your posting. Those words work, kids are smart.
    - Recognize him for the extra effort he must put into be difficult child's brother.
    - Tag team with husband. I take difficult child, he takes difficult child in training. Then switch. When a lone with difficult child in training make sure he gets a lot of attention. (Which means we forget cleaning the house, fixing things, socializing with friends, no time for a real life).

    Good luck
  3. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I agree with Aeroeng. We did all of her suggestion with our younger ones. It does help.
  4. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Aerong describes well how we handle our household, too...

    husband and I are on constant alert to keep the kids separated and keep DS protected from his older sister.

    We even allowed DS to speak to a sheriff's deputy and report a threat that difficult child made against him. The police (who have been out to our home several times now) have always been great about talking to DS, they take him very seriously, they encourage him to do well in school. These interactions with law enforcement have been very empowering for DS. It helps him to feel less vulnerable to difficult child and also makes him feel good about making the "right" choices in life.

    Hopefully, things in your household will not get so bad as to need the police...

    But I agree with the others, these kids are smart....and they may be experiencing more than we, as parents, are aware of. Do not let them feel isolated--as it only makes them more vulnerable to an abusive older sibling....make available as many resources as you can.

    Sending ((((hugs))))

  5. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    First, welcome. We're always sorry someone HAD to find us but happy you did.

    You've gotten a lot of great advice regarding your younger son. I would chime in but can't really add anything else and as husband and I only have difficult child and no other kids at this time, I have no experience with this.

    I would offer some other advice and questions though. You said your older son has been diagnosis'd with ODD. Who diagnosis'd him? ODD is something that RARELY is a stand alone diagnosis and generally tags along with something else. For example, my difficult child (and I"m not at all suggesting this is what your son has) has a diagnosis of ADHD, Bipolar and ODD. The ODD is also sometimes used as a catch all when someone not experienced enough in the area has no clue what is going on. I would recommend that you get a full neuropsychologist exam by someone who is experienced in adolescent psychology/psychiatry.

    What kind of things is your difficult child doing? Has he had issues before this? Anything as a small child or things that people just chalk up to him "being a boy" or "being eccentric"? Is there any family history of substance abuse or mental illness?

    Welcome again. Others will be along with more questions and/or suggestions but know that you have found a place that is a great help.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have to chime in that ODD behavior almost never stands by itself, but is a part of a bigger problem. I agree with the neuropsychologist report. I also would drug test him at his age to see if drugs/alcohol are making matters worse. difficult children are far more prone to use drugs than TTs. And they tend to get more messed up when they experiment. So I'd really look closely at that, even if you think, "No, he doesn't. He can't." That's what we thought.

    How was your child's early development, like speech, strong eye contact, social skills?
    Is there ANY diagnosed or undiagnosed psychiatric issues on either side of his biological family tree? Any substance abuse? His bio. dad is very much with him even if he never shows up. 50% of his genes are in your son. Does he maybe have some problems he could have passed along? Does he have a good relationship with bio. dad? How about stepfather? Do they all get along?

    Welcome to the board.
  7. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    Making changes in the arrangement of things in my house was the best move I made to keep the children apart. I moved things around so that the children's typical, normal activities at home kept them mostly at opposite ends. This included moving televisions and moving computers and desks. Had I had a spare bedroom further removed from difficult child's room, I probably would have made that an attractive option for easy child to trade bedrooms, but since that was not possible in my case, I made easy child's bedroom unattractive for much more than sleeping. I was able to do it in a way that didn't make easy child feel that she was being shoved out of her "space." It was more in the context that easy child had more space for her activities. Since my bedroom is larger, I made part of it into a sort of "play area."

    I also rearranged so that easy child and I shared a bathroom rather than easy child and difficult child sharing a bathroom. difficult child had one all to herself. In the end, the only space shared on a daily basis was the kitchen. This made a world of difference to minimize problems in the house.

    As far as the negative influence of difficult child on the other child, I don't see anything wrong with gently and factually pointing out difficult child behaviors that hinder rather than help in accomplishing goals. I think unproductive choices can often be recognized for what they are, without "bashing" difficult child. I've been able to do that at times.