View Full Version : Back to ADHD, WitsEnd


ToastedParent
09-08-14, 11:01 AM
So, seemed to have lost track of this forum. No offense is intended in my tale, and as parents we love our son and have done above & beyond. He has many positive traits, but obviously, that's not why I'm posting here:

Our 12-year old son is a disaster in the home who has finally realized his "power" he has over the whole family. Yes, the dynamics can make us stronger if we're all on the same page - we are practically there at this point, bc he is manipulative genius who know how to play 3 ends against the middle (mom, dad, MIL). Anyway, he goes in cycles who he targets. But we all agree on one thing, we've all had enough, exhausted and tired. The disruption to the entire family, including my wife's physical health, my ability to work, and my girls left in the shadow of his required 24x7 attention leaves us with not many options...We turned away a residential school that we were told we must be crazy to give up in CT, and gave him another chance to attend a normal private school local. He does so far have desire to go, he came home and did his HW, and we have him off all meds - was only a smallest does of Zoloft.

However, he has become a greater disrespectful monster at home, cursing and wishing bad things to his parents. If I take something away, its takes exhausting hours of long battle, including physical restraint until he calms down. He is spiteful and angry, and oppositional. We are ALL on eggshells around him, only to stroke his fur the right way, or BOOM! He will have a meltdown. After several diagnoses (he presents himself well and intelligent), we're back to ADHD, as I was observing last night:

He get's caught on a topic and would NOT STOP talking about it until 11:00pm (even though he had a bad cold/sore throat), literally following my wife into the bathroom to continue the conversation. Disrupting every other word uttered by anyone else, and figurative case of diarrhea of the mouth. Heaven forbid we'd even turn one ounce of breath to another topic or do adult things, it just goes on and on and on. I cannot even think this is something OTHER than ADHD, and probably ODD.

The above paragraph would be somewhat acceptable and dealable if it weren't for the daily aggressive and angry outbursts, and threats if we touch him (which we DON'T) he'll call police on us - which is a royal joke when he is running around the house breaking and throwing things.

Relieved that he is off MEDS, we never truly tried as a course, ADHD medicine. We believe perhaps this is the missing link, but worried about side affects and awful stories we heard. We once tried Kapvay for a few days, which seemed to slow him down (really should we give BP meds to him?). Stimulants we feel would be disastrous, as he already has anxieties and developed motor tics (we think from the Zoloft). Any experience with these that are positive?
The other thing, even if we were to consider ADHD medicine, he has become SOOO oppositional, that he will ABSOLUTELY refuse to take any medicine in his mouth (he hated taking Zoloft). But is it kind NOT to medicate him? Would this allow him to stay at home with us?

Did we make a HUGE mistake in not sending him off? We really got to a point of no return....He "hates" all of us, and he is spoiled rotten. Anything to this regard, we should have gotten under control at least 5 years ago. Many psychs failed us, and he tells tall tales to his psychologists, and comes off as believable, even though we can prove impossible. We are at our wits end! What are we to do when he doesn't respect us, and he doesn't fear us?

Some folks tell us it's time to send him on his way, and give our girls the attention they deserve! I feel they are right. I had second thoughts, but he is IMPOSSIBLE. NO ONE could put up with this as long as we have. We wish we could find a middle ground short of sending him off, but there are no good options. Thoughts? On sending him away/meds/total transformation program?. Many thanks!

Lunacie
09-08-14, 12:56 PM
So, seemed to have lost track of this forum. No offense is intended in my tale, and as parents we love our son and have done above & beyond. He has many positive traits, but obviously, that's not why I'm posting here:

Our 12-year old son is a disaster in the home who has finally realized his "power" he has over the whole family. Yes, the dynamics can make us stronger if we're all on the same page - we are practically there at this point, bc he is manipulative genius who know how to play 3 ends against the middle (mom, dad, MIL).

Anyway, he goes in cycles who he targets. But we all agree on one thing, we've all had enough, exhausted and tired. The disruption to the entire family, including my wife's physical health, my ability to work, and my girls left in the shadow of his required 24x7 attention leaves us with not many options...

We turned away a residential school that we were told we must be crazy to give up in CT, and gave him another chance to attend a normal private school local. He does so far have desire to go, he came home and did his HW, and we have him off all meds - was only a smallest does of Zoloft.

However, he has become a greater disrespectful monster at home, cursing and wishing bad things to his parents. If I take something away, its takes exhausting hours of long battle, including physical restraint until he calms down. He is spiteful and angry, and oppositional. We are ALL on eggshells around him, only to stroke his fur the right way, or BOOM! He will have a meltdown. After several diagnoses (he presents himself well and intelligent), we're back to ADHD, as I was observing last night:

He get's caught on a topic and would NOT STOP talking about it until 11:00pm (even though he had a bad cold/sore throat), literally following my wife into the bathroom to continue the conversation. Disrupting every other word uttered by anyone else, and figurative case of diarrhea of the mouth. Heaven forbid we'd even turn one ounce of breath to another topic or do adult things, it just goes on and on and on. I cannot even think this is something OTHER than ADHD, and probably ODD.

The above paragraph would be somewhat acceptable and dealable if it weren't for the daily aggressive and angry outbursts, and threats if we touch him (which we DON'T) he'll call police on us - which is a royal joke when he is running around the house breaking and throwing things.

Relieved that he is off MEDS, we never truly tried as a course, ADHD medicine. We believe perhaps this is the missing link, but worried about side affects and awful stories we heard. We once tried Kapvay for a few days, which seemed to slow him down (really should we give BP meds to him?). Stimulants we feel would be disastrous, as he already has anxieties and developed motor tics (we think from the Zoloft). Any experience with these that are positive?

The other thing, even if we were to consider ADHD medicine, he has become SOOO oppositional, that he will ABSOLUTELY refuse to take any medicine in his mouth (he hated taking Zoloft). But is it kind NOT to medicate him? Would this allow him to stay at home with us?

Did we make a HUGE mistake in not sending him off? We really got to a point of no return....He "hates" all of us, and he is spoiled rotten. Anything to this regard, we should have gotten under control at least 5 years ago. Many psychs failed us, and he tells tall tales to his psychologists, and comes off as believable, even though we can prove impossible. We are at our wits end! What are we to do when he doesn't respect us, and he doesn't fear us?

Some folks tell us it's time to send him on his way, and give our girls the attention they deserve! I feel they are right. I had second thoughts, but he is IMPOSSIBLE. NO ONE could put up with this as long as we have. We wish we could find a middle ground short of sending him off, but there are no good options. Thoughts? On sending him away/meds/total transformation program?. Many thanks!

You're not alone. Many others have "put up with this" kind of behavior.

Most of these behaviors are not being done as manipulation,
they are an attempt for the child to control what he cannot control,
a way to get what he needs when he doesn't really know what that is.
He is just a kid after all.

I know you said you don't want to hear it,
but some of this sounds more like Asperger's or Autism Spectrum Disorder.

My granddaughter is 12 and was diagnosed with Atypical Autism when she was 6.
Even with meds and great therapists and case managers, it's been very rocky at times.
She has also developed type 2 diabetes, which has resulted in tinkering with her meds.
As a result she had a bad meltdown a few months ago and threatened us with a knife.

No, she wasn't really serious about hurting us.
She was telling us in her own way that she needed help.
We still called the police and they gave her and mommy a ride to the psych eval unit at the hospital.

They agreed she wasn't a danger and let us bring her home.
And we went back to the psych to tinker with her meds some more.
She spent the first half of the summer at special needs day camp,
but then got upset with someone and refused to go back.
So she spent the last half on the summer on the computer.

And that left her so bored she was happy to go back to school.
She was moved to a special ed class in a different school last year.
Wonderful program, wonderful teacher, but she still has times when she refuses to go to school.
When she was at the awful school her behavior was so bad we were seriously considering
sending her to a psych in-patient care program.
We were set up to have them do a home visit, but we changed meds and schools and she improved.

And yes, she has an older sibling who has suffered through all of this,
and waited too long for her own diagnosis and treatment (ADHD)
and doesn't get her share of attention. She's a great kid.

Well, this is our experience.
I can't tell you whether to go to a developmental pediatrician for further diagnosis,
whether to give your son meds, or which ones to give.
I just wanted to let you know you're not alone.
:grouphug:

sarahsweets
09-08-14, 01:17 PM
The first thing I would recommend is therapy for you and your girls. Clearly you have some resentment towards your son for something he can't help. It can't possibly be a healthy relationship for him. Regarding meds, the side effects you read about are possible but the horror stories are like anti med propaganda. Meant to scare parents away from medicating their kids. I personally would not send him away. That kind of rejection can be extremely hard to overcome.

ToastedParent
09-08-14, 02:06 PM
Thank you, Lunacie, and Sarahsweets. Lunacie I totally empathize with you, and appreciate that in return.

"Most of these behaviors are not being done as manipulation,
they are an attempt for the child to control what he cannot control,
a way to get what he needs when he doesn't really know what that is.
He is just a kid after all.

I know you said you don't want to hear it,
but some of this sounds more like Asperger's or Autism Spectrum Disorder."

I understand, and sounds right - My wife, daughters and I left early in the morning this w/e to walk the dog around the block, and goto a store around the corner. He woke up, and hit his grandmother, and cursed at her. He said bc he wanted us to come home. (which goes to what you're saying). I said couldn't you call me and ask where we are and when we'll be home? Then he said, what I did was more effective and got you to come home faster (this part scares me) I mean I feel he knows what he's doing at some point, even if its wrong, and psych said according to their "tests" and "evaluation" he is aware of what is right and wrong.

On Asperger's - we go down that road before, but more than one (a few) doctors/psych said they don't believe its this, but again, they see him for like what, 45 minutes of best behavior?

Most times, after Hiroshima (always quiet after the A-Bomb goes off), he's a different personality like it never happened. Could this be bi-polar?

The thing is, as I see w/your daughter, you somehow get her to comply (ie going to this special ed class). Knife deal nothing new here :-( My kid wants to BELIEVE he is normal, says he knows what he's doing (maybe his own denial and attempt to cover-up his struggle that he recognizes within himself?)

We probably NEED intervention of another compassionate and knowledgable HUMAN being, without the trimmings of anti-parent, bad parenting, polices and children's services. I tried to search for someone as a "BIG BROTHER" type to be with him (like a para professional), but resources for this are far and few between. We have a small family, and no-one else but our small circle involved (or wants to be involved). Days when his "part-time grandpa" shows up and takes him (passed by the whole summer) he is good w/him, but a selfish person.

SarahSweets - seem a little bitter - I am looking for answers, and I don't resent him - I love the child, and hate the condition. I have put in tons of father-son time. But if you allow his world to overcome ours, how will he function in our society as an adult? We have been becoming part of his world for far too long, bc we are at a loss for how to bring him into ours. Some days are better than others, and not saying its his fault - just describing what we go through. I agree with your sentiment on sending him away. He is also became quite homebound and dependency on us (separation anxiety), but that's why we are at this point. We'd rather not, but are suffering mightily (as I am sure he is too) Thx

Lunacie
09-08-14, 02:45 PM
The first therapist suggested my granddaughter had bipolar, but the reading we'd been doing and the videos we'd seen pointed at Autism.

Autism is a spectrum disorder, everyone has a different combination of traits in differing levels of severity.

Too many people, even doctors, try to put autism into a small box and it just doesn't fit.

Autism and ADHD can look very different between boys and girls, and that made it harder to get the right diagnosis.

We had teachers fill out evaluation forms, we filled out evals for our house, and daddy filled out an eval for his house on weekends.

We had lots of notes from the therapist, and my daughter had taken videos of the meltdowns.

The developmental pediatritician at the big city teaching hospital said there was no doubt she had autism (PDD-NOS) and that we were doing the right things to help her.

It was still difficult, at times felt impossible. We keep reading and watching videos and going to the therapist and the psych.

And we joined a facebook group for kids with ODD. I will pm that link to you or do an invite if you're interested.

zette93
09-08-14, 07:08 PM
You might try getting a recommendation for a psychologist in your area from the LivesInTheBalance website, and reading the books The Explosive Child and Lost at School. The author, Ross W Greene, has worked extensively with kids with ODD and other diagnoses, including at residential facilities.

LynneC
09-08-14, 08:47 PM
Does this behavior that you describe in your initial post also take place at school?
re meds, there are non-stimulant meds like Tenex or Strattera that might be an option, if he will agree to take them.
Who's managing his mental health care right now?

Pilgrim
09-08-14, 09:23 PM
Yeah who's managing his mentalhealrh care program.

Autism trait behaviors can be hard to manage.
(hitting)
I think it's a complex problem.

As a job I have taken over the care of autistic people. And you take your hat off to the parents.
A good neurologist perhaps?

zette93
09-09-14, 04:08 AM
Neurologists tend to focus more on things like seizures. I'd look for a developmental pediatrician or developmental psychologist.

I also wondered about Aspergers from the original post. A good book is Parenting Your Asperger Child by Alan Sohn. The gold standard is a test called the ADOS (autism diagnostic observation schedule).

sarahsweets
09-09-14, 06:01 AM
I'm not bitter and if it sounded that way then I apologize. What you are going through is to much I meant that family therapy could help you and the girls and your wife. Of course this is hard and I don't mean to take anything of that away from you,I just wanted you to see that there was other options for you and your families well being.

ninaballerina
09-09-14, 08:31 AM
You have to be able to reach him, before you can teach him. I tried the meds (after trying everything under the sun first) at my absolute wits end. That was last November and his behaviour has improved so dramatically. We are now trialling half the dose at school and on weekends I can sometimes leave him unmedicated. He's learning how to deal with the rage and temper tantrums by other means than screaming.

jlynn30
09-09-14, 09:32 AM
It sounds like you are still need to find him a really good doctor that can give him a proper diagnosis and get a treatment plan in place. If the previous doctors don't find anything wrong because he "acts normal" when he's in the appointment and you know if your gut that something is wrong; you need to find the right doctor. I can't imagine how exhausting it must be to keep hitting a wall, but that's what we do for our kids...we press on. It sounds like everyone in the home is scared of him and his actions; I would think that should get you an appointment with a doctor fairly quickly.

It sounds like trying to manage things at home isn't working, so it's time for the next step. Whether that is an in patient treatment or a different docotr or something else. Good luck.

Lunacie
09-09-14, 12:08 PM
A neurotypical child having a temper tantrum can be distracted.

A child with Asperger's, Autism, ADHD or ODD having an emotional meltdown cannot be distracted.

The meltdown must run it's course.

Taking a video of the tantrum or meltdown and the child's response to intervention from others can be very helpful in making the diagnosis.

Flory
09-09-14, 03:04 PM
Toasted I'll write a more meaningful response when I get a little more time , but I've been the kid that's pushed my parents to their whitsend.and I also know as an adult what I out my parents through as a child and I just want to say that I know it feels endless but I can assure you things won't be like this forever. You aren't alone and there's so many people here that can help ! I'll write you a better response a little later but wanted to drop in and say there are people here that have been where you are and where your son has been

ToastedParent
09-14-14, 04:19 AM
Sorry for my delay in coming back....SarahSweets - No worries, I agree that we should goto family therapy - that's not offensive to me. Thank you.

Thanks to all repliers. zette93 - gotta get that book; ADOS will look into it (is that by doctor's diagnosis?) -

thx Lunacie - thx for your ongoing posts and sharing your stories. Would like the support group link. It does seem they MUST run their course - but what does one do while it happens? Talk to him, restrain him, hose him down (jk :-) what is the right "method" Recently, he had a meltdown (out of nowhere), starts cursing, taking swings at me, runs up to his room and turn video game on (which is progress in his way to deal), 5-10 mins later comes down like nothing happened, and say hey let's go out.

Someone asked if he acts like this in school - so far he's been trying real hard, and no complaints, even taking the bus home himself. In some respects very independent, but in the morning can't multitask ex: tells us to get his clothes (like at 12 should be able to himself), but then we say ok, go eat breakfast in the meanwhile - NOPE! he will sit there in his pajamas until we do so, and only then he'll eat breakfast (remember we have other kids to help get ready)

Primarily, the issues are in the home, but surely these diagnoses would mean it should be anywhere. (knock wood)

Bye for now - thx again everyone

LynneC
09-14-14, 08:51 AM
Someone asked if he acts like this in school - so far he's been trying real hard, and no complaints, even taking the bus home himself. In some respects very independent, but in the morning can't multitask ex: tells us to get his clothes (like at 12 should be able to himself), but then we say ok, go eat breakfast in the meanwhile - NOPE! he will sit there in his pajamas until we do so, and only then he'll eat breakfast (remember we have other kids to help get ready)

Primarily, the issues are in the home, but surely these diagnoses would mean it should be anywhere. (knock wood)
Have you tried to sit down with him and come up with a routine that both you and he can agree upon? My 12 year old has a list taped to his dresser in his bedroom that helps him remember what he needs to do to get ready in the morning. This helps somewhat with the frustration of getting him out the door in a timely manner on school days. When he's lolling around on the couch in his underpants I ask him if he's finished the things on his list...when he says 'Yes', and it's clear that he's not done those things I ask him to double check his list (instead of telling him specific things to do). This takes the 'stop telling me what to do' aspect out of the equation, somewhat.

You might be able to try something like this, and have him designate things that he needs to do on his own and things that you (parents) can help him with. Let him come up with the list and be an integral part of making the choices.

He sounds extremely oppositional and very rigid in his thinking, and things like lists (that he's had a part in creating) take the power struggle away.

Lunacie
09-14-14, 09:50 AM
The morning list LynneC suggests is a good idea, it helped a lot with my ADHD granddaughter.

Mommy puts out a set of clothing for her little autistic sister at bedtime, so in the morning it's ready to put on.

I will PM you the link to the ODD group.

zette93
09-14-14, 04:36 PM
A few random thoughts:

My understanding is that a psychologist has to have test-specific training and be certified in order to administer the ADOS. It takes about 2 hours (my son's appt was 4 hours because they also did an IQ test and some OT screening) and has a series of tasks and questions that are designed to bring out differences between those who are neurotypical and those on the autism spectrum. (For instance in the toddler module, the psychologist pretends to have a birthday party and observes whether the child joins in the pretend game by doing things like singing "Happy Birthday" or pretending to blow out a candle. There are different modules for toddler, preschool/elementary, teen, and adult.) So when you are interviewing diagnosticians to decide who to go to, you want to ask specifically, "Are you certified to administer the ADOS?"

Ross Greene says that once things have reached KABOOM stage, the only things you can do are "de-escalate, distract, and keep everybody safe". You have to focus on prevention so that the KABOOM doesn't happen in the first place.

The book Smart But Scattered has very good methods for teaching skills like getting ready in the morning. There's a new version I haven't read yet called Smart But Scattered for Teens.

I heard a clever tip from a lecture once. Instead of just a list for the morning routine, you actually write the tasks on the face of an analog clock, at the time they need to be done. She said it works best if you use a dry-erase marker on a glass, not plastic, clock face. It also probably makes a big difference to have the child help decide the order and times rather than just imposing them.