View Full Version : New Member- Need a kind "ear"


Jenn4444
02-07-16, 11:13 PM
Hi. I found this forum out of desperation tonight for someone to talk to. A bit about me: 3 kids- DS 13 ADHD, DS 11 ADHD, DD 8; DH-40 something. Work part-time outside the home. DS 11 has been in counseling for a year.

So this was my late afternoon: We have a chart and reward system where our kids earn 30 minutes of screen time for exhibiting certain positive behaviors and doing jobs around the house. They get a ticket which they can redeem for screen time. DS (11) had earned and used three tickets today, plus had minutes left from a ticket the day before.

Therefore, he'd had nearly two hours of screen time. We set an egg timer so they know when their screen time is up. I warned DS that he was using his last bit of screen time as I set the timer and that he was out of tickets until supper time (they earn good behavior tickets for meals as these are a challenging time). The timer went off and DS insisted he'd earned an additional ticket. I told him, "no," and the meltdown commenced.

Following popular advice, we NEVER give in when a meltdown is happening, but this doesn't seem to deter future meltdowns. DS opened the front door and announced he was running away. Not wanting to show him this was affecting me, I said, "have fun." There was a massive blizzard raging outside and I figured he'd get cold and be back inside in 20 seconds. When he didn't reappear, I began looking out all windows. No son. His coat and shoes were still in the house. Then I started to panic. Got in the car and drove around the neighborhood. No son.

We live on the edge of an undeveloped area with ravines, a river and no roads. I was afraid he might have gone that direction, but didn't know if I should bundle up and go out on foot in the blizzard if he might not have gone that direction. I called my dad to come help look for him (DH was out of town). I positioned my daughter by the front door and told her to let me know if he came back in. I wondered if I should call the police, but he's done similar things before and I've found him nearby.

We live in a small town and DH has a high-profile job. Any type of scandal would sink his career and mean an end to our livelihood. We have two other kids to feed. I considered the possibility that he had only faked going outside. In a panic, I began to search the house, calling his name. I finally found him in my bedroom closet behind some boxes. At this point, I told him he had to go to his room. He goes to his room and I shut the door.

Immediately, he starts pulling on the doorknob to get out. He's telling me how much he hates me, how he hates his life, calling me "fat", calling me a "fuzzball" and "moron." He gets the door open and then starts wrestling with me and twisting my arms trying to get out of his room. I was at my wit's end and started crying. He had a change of heart and willing went back into his room.

I phoned my parents to tell them he'd been found. He's the favorite grandchild and my mom starts telling me that he's acting this way because he's bored and needs to come to Grandma's house for some Grandma time (read: more media, junk food, no rules). I told her that I didn't think we needed to reward a meltdown with a trip to Grandma's house. This would teach him that having fits means a trip to Grandma's, which is also unfair to my other kids. We ended the conversation.

Then my dad calls and says we should all go out for pizza. Because it's blizzarding and I had supper mostly done, I told him, "no thanks." My parents took turns calling two more times trying to convince me that DS should come to their house. So now, they're upset with me and I'm upset with them. In the meantime, DS has come out of his room, grabbed a sharp knife out of the kitchen knife block and proceeds to run with it behind the kitchen table, where I can't get to him.

I decided to ignore him and walked away. He then pretended to stab himself with the knife and fell to the floor. I continued to ignore him. His counselor doesn't believe he's actually suicidal, but this still bothers me a lot. Pretty soon he gets up, calls his grandma and gives her a big sob story about how awful his life is and how he wants to come go to their house, live with them, etc. I made him hang up the phone.

He found a second phone and called again. We begin to physically wrestle with the phone. I then gathered up all the landlines and then he went into the garage where we have a wall-mounted phone and made a call. I then decided to let that go and he continued to bawl to Grandma for another 15 minutes while I finished supper. She asked him what was for supper, he told her and she told him if he didn't like my supper, he should be allowed to find something out of the fridge. (She thinks I should only make suppers the kids will eat- cheese pizza, chicken nuggets . . .)

Finally, he asked if he could take a nap downstairs and went downstairs on his own. I ate supper, DH came home and I shut myself up in my room for an hour to try to cope. Yes, this whole thing was all because he didn't get another ticket for media.

He has these meltdowns 1-2 times per week, always in the late afternoon or evening when his meds wear off. He's on Zoloft for depression. We've taken him to a pediatric psychiatrist and had extensive developmental testing done, too. No one can find anything specific wrong. Our counselor just thinks he's really, really, immature. I'm to the point where I want to send him away to school, but we live in a small town and DH has a high-profile job.

I just can't take it any more. This has affected my relationship with my parents, my spouse as well as our social lives. DS lies and tries to pit me against my husband. We can't have company over because I'm afraid of how DS will act.

As DS grows bigger, this is harder and harder to handle. While he doesn't come right out and attack me, he's really hard to handle when he's in the violent throws of a meltdown.

Thanks to anyone out there who had the patience to read through all this.

Gryphonfyre
02-08-16, 01:12 AM
Wow, Jenn4444, I can't begin to fathom your situation or appreciate what you're going through, nor can I offer much in the way of any btdt advice, but I can sure say that I commend you for your patience! What a mom you are! I hope you're giving yourself some much-deserved credit for all that you've gone through and still managing to stay so composed.

The forum here is full of very knowledgeable folks who I'm sure will chime in with some advice. Until then, try to stay strong. You really are doing an awesome job keeping it as together as you have been. :grouphug:

BellaVita
02-08-16, 01:15 AM
That is quite a lot to deal with - :grouphug:

I see that your son is indeed medicated - how do the meds work? Maybe he needs a booster dose, or an adjustment?

An idea I have is: Copy this page you have typed out, print it, and bring it to a psychiatrist appointment with you and your son.

He definitely sounds like he needs better control of his symptoms, and might have another underlying issue. (You said he takes something for depression, maybe his depression is worse? Maybe he is developing another condition? Maybe an increase in dose is needed/switching to a different med?)

I do not mean this in any bad way - but it sounds like maybe your son is crying out for help. He is desperately trying to communicate something to you it sounds like, and is running out of ideas and having to take extreme measures. Maybe the intense want to have more screen time that turned in to a meltdown is because the screen time helps him cope - cope with what - I don't know.

I myself as a kid had meltdowns frequently. Something that helped, and maybe some parents are against this, but I was allowed to watch tv while I ate. That made meal time not so fussy, and I had a huge issue with forgetting to eat and not taking bites but the tv helped occupy my mind so in a way helped me find eating easier. It also calmed me down.

Maybe it is something to consider. It might be worth it instead of going through the heartache of meltdowns.

Back to the other thing - grabbing a knife and threatening to run away are very serious. I honestly believe kids don't do this unless there is something greatly distressing them. I think he needs psychiatric help fast. Your counselor might say he isn't suicidal - but counselors can be wrong. Especially since you mentioned he has depression.

Please also remember to take care of yourself during this time. Breathe. Treat yourself if you can.

Socaljaxs
02-08-16, 01:28 AM
:grouphug::grouphug::grouphug:
so many different things going on! I must commend you for being strong and thinking through all of this process and during the heat of these outright tantrums staying strong and using your head!

First about your parents. They need to NOT be underminding and overstepping your decisions! Plain and simple. If they don't know the severity of the issues, then you may need to tell them a little bit of the reasons as to why they need to trust you and what you are doing and even if they don't agree they need to not try to argue or go around you to your kids.

Maybe invite them to a group therapy session with out your child, and have a 3rd party speak to them about this. They most likely are trying to help. But this is making it worse for you.... So if you can't get them to understand the important since of not overstepping your authority as the parent.. Then have the psychologist /counsler,your hubby, sister, brother your other kids, other family members.next door neighbor anyone else.. I don't know but they need to respect your boundaries and respect you as a parent. Them undermining your decisions does not help at all.... in fact is actually hurting this situation.... It may have to be a very straight forward, no room for debate talk of either you respect my parenting choices and my need for my children's safety or you can't actively be a part of the process. They need to stand with you cause the next couple years as your son gets older wiser and physically stronger, you will need the support, not the conflict..

In a panic, I began to search the house, calling his name. I finally found him in my bedroom closet behind some boxes. At this point, I told him he had to go to his room. He goes to his room and I shut the door.

Immediately, he starts pulling on the doorknob to get out. He's telling me how much he hates me, how he hates his life, calling me "fat", calling me a "fuzzball" and "moron." He gets the door open and then starts wrestling with me and twisting my arms trying to get out of his room. I was at my wit's end and started crying. He had a change of heart and willing went back into his room. yikes, I'm happy he at least stopped when you started crying.. But his faking behavior and scaring you like that could have had insane negative outcomes. I would ask a specialist you are seeing to work on what he was trying to accomplish. And he needs to understand the severity of this form of persuasion and why it is unacceptable. The consequences of you didn't check could have had dangerous outcomes.

The scaring of you and the physical and verbal behavior after, seems like you may not be too far off from sending him somewhere to get help. Especially if this is consistently happening. He can seriously hurt you and or your other kids. He's only going to get physically stronger and it may not be isolated to only behind closed doors. If your hunby job can be affected also due to this. I think this may be an serious option to consider especially since no one had found what causes this to control it. He may need a team to help him. And sending him for help may be the best thing for him provided he gets the right group of experts..

I phoned my parents to tell them he'd been found. He's the favorite grandchild and my mom starts telling me that he's acting this way because he's bored and needs to come to Grandma's house for some Grandma time (read: more media, junk food, no rules). I told her that I didn't think we needed to reward a meltdown with a trip to Grandma's house. This would teach him that having fits means a trip to Grandma's, which is also unfair to my other kids. We ended the conversation.

Then my dad calls and says we should all go out for pizza. Because it's blizzarding and I had supper mostly done, I told him, "no thanks." My parents took turns calling two more times trying to convince me that DS should come to their house. So now, they're upset with me and I'm upset with them
They need to learn to respect your boundaries. This behavior even if the intent is help.. Is actually going and will cause more problems for you. In the meantime, DS has come out of his room, grabbed a sharp knife out of the kitchen knife block and proceeds to run with it behind the kitchen table, where I can't get to him.

I decided to ignore him and walked away. He then pretended to stab himself with the knife and fell to the floor. I continued to ignore him. His counselor doesn't believe he's actually suicidal, but this still bothers me a lot. Pretty soon he gets up, calls his grandma and gives her a big sob story about how awful his life is and how he wants to come go to their house, live with them, etc. I made him hang up the phone.

He found a second phone and called again. We begin to physically wrestle with the phone. I then gathered up all the landlines and then he went into the garage where we have a wall-mounted phone and made a call. I then decided to let that go and he continued to bawl to Grandma for another 15 minutes while I finished supper. She asked him what was for supper, he told her and she told him if he didn't like my supper, he should be allowed to find something out of the fridge. (She thinks I should only make suppers the kids will eat- cheese pizza, chicken nuggets . . .)

Finally, he asked if he could take a nap downstairs and went downstairs on his own. I ate supper, DH came home and I shut myself up in my room for an hour to try to cope. Yes, this whole thing was all because he didn't get another ticket for media.

He has these meltdowns 1-2 times per week, always in the late afternoon or evening when his meds wear off. He's on Zoloft for depression. We've taken him to a pediatric psychiatrist and had extensive developmental testing done, too. No one can find anything specific wrong. Our counselor just thinks he's really, really, immature. I'm to the point where I want to send him away to school, but we live in a small town and DH has a high-profile job.

I just can't take it any more. This has affected my relationship with my parents, my spouse as well as our social lives. DS lies and tries to pit me against my husband. We can't have company over because I'm afraid of how DS will act.

As DS grows bigger, this is harder and harder to handle. While he doesn't come right out and attack me, he's really hard to handle when he's in the violent throws of a meltdown.

Thanks to anyone out there who had the patience to read through all this.

The knife stabbing is really scary and :grouphug: yikes girl big big big hugs all around

sarahsweets
02-08-16, 04:55 AM
We live in a small town and DH has a high-profile job. Any type of scandal would sink his career and mean an end to our livelihood. We have two other kids to feed.
Dont take this the wrong way...but I have concerns that this even factors in to what is going on with your son.

Immediately, he starts pulling on the doorknob to get out. He's telling me how much he hates me, how he hates his life, calling me "fat", calling me a "fuzzball" and "moron." He gets the door open and then starts wrestling with me and twisting my arms trying to get out of his room. I was at my wit's end and started crying. He had a change of heart and willing went back into his room.
Dont take the name calling personally. He is letting out something and may not have the words to say things. But he is strong and he did hurt you.

I phoned my parents to tell them he'd been found. He's the favorite grandchild and my mom starts telling me that he's acting this way because he's bored and needs to come to Grandma's house for some Grandma time (read: more media, junk food, no rules). I told her that I didn't think we needed to reward a meltdown with a trip to Grandma's house. This would teach him that having fits means a trip to Grandma's, which is also unfair to my other kids.
Do your other kids know he is the favorite. This is really concerning as well.

Then my dad calls and says we should all go out for pizza. Because it's blizzarding and I had supper mostly done, I told him, "no thanks." My parents took turns calling two more times trying to convince me that DS should come to their house. So now, they're upset with me and I'm upset with them.
In the future you will have to have a tough conversation with them and tell them that if you have told them No and that your son is in the middle of a meltdown then if they cant support you , they need to hang up if he calls. There is no other way to handle it. They need to stop undermining your authority.

In the meantime, DS has come out of his room, grabbed a sharp knife out of the kitchen knife block and proceeds to run with it behind the kitchen table, where I can't get to him.

I decided to ignore him and walked away. He then pretended to stab himself with the knife and fell to the floor. I continued to ignore him. His counselor doesn't believe he's actually suicidal, but this still bothers me a lot. Pretty soon he gets up, calls his grandma and gives her a big sob story about how awful his life is and how he wants to come go to their house, live with them, etc. I made him hang up the phone.


This is a real concern as well. What makes his counselor so sure he isnt suicidal? I found out my daughter engage in self mutiliation, and thought about overdosing so we had her hospitalized for 2 weeks, then outpatient for a month. Best thing we ever did. All the coping skills she learned and therapy made her like a new girl. She was 11 at the time. You may think he doesnt mean it but either he does and you are ignoring it, or he will accidentally hurt himself or someone else.


He's on Zoloft for depression. We've taken him to a pediatric psychiatrist and had extensive developmental testing done, too. No one can find anything specific wrong. Our counselor just thinks he's really, really, immature. I'm to the point where I want to send him away to school, but we live in a small town and DH has a high-profile job.

Then you are going to the wrong doctors,Of course something is wrong! He is telling everybody with his actions that something wrong.
And also you need to get over the high profile job thing, your son is more important.
I just can't take it any more. This has affected my relationship with my parents, my spouse as well as our social lives. DS lies and tries to pit me against my husband. We can't have company over because I'm afraid of how DS will act.

As DS grows bigger, this is harder and harder to handle. While he doesn't come right out and attack me, he's really hard to handle when he's in the violent throws of a meltdown.

You are doing the best you can and your parents arent helping and it sounds like your spouse isnt doing much either. Your other kids are suffering because your son takes up all the attention.
It doesnt matter if hes manipulating, sad,depressed, immature...he needs help.

midnightstar
02-08-16, 12:37 PM
There's some good advice in this thread, all I can add to this is some :grouphug:s for you :grouphug:

It does sound like you're trying really hard and I agree that rewarding meltdowns isn't the way to go :grouphug: Family need to listen to you :grouphug:

Noubarian
02-09-16, 11:41 AM
I really feel for you, you must feel like you are failing....however you are not!

All kids go through the testing stage, which is what it sounds like. Your boy is smart enough to trick you into thinking he left but was smart enough not to go outside and freeze. Boy sounds smart just needs a sport or something for frustration to vent. You sound like a good mom..reward system and being able to stick to it, that takes alot of guts right there!

Has your son been tested for ODD? You need to tell your parents firmly that they are not to interfere with the raising of your son and when he calls crying to them they need to tell him he needs to talk to you, tell them they are done raising their child/children and that this is your son, your rules. That probably came out harsher than I meant but I hope you know what I mean. And now I'm sure I'm going to get told off many times for this one...I don't spank my kids regularly when they are bad AT ALL, but sometimes when they are pushing, pushing so far they need a good spanking (doesn't matter how old they are - they need to know you are in charge and sometimes just the shock that "oh my god, I must have pushed too far, Mom actually spanked me" is enough to have them think twice beforehand next time.

Please don't get me wrong I'm not talking a beating at all just one swift spank and they are shocked. As for the hubby - he needs to help you more, maybe he needs to do somethings with just that one child - go out for ice cream or something just some dad and son time alone. Don't give up! If he stopped when he saw you crying than there is light at the end if the tunnel. I have ADHD, I was diagnosed at 6 and have been aware of it for as long as I can remember... I remember vividly Sometimes when I did push too far that one spank my mom would give me would make me realise I pushed too far or that I was hurting her.

Jenn4444
02-12-16, 12:18 AM
Thanks so much, everyone!

To answer some questions:
-Yes, my older son figured out some time ago that DS2 is grandma's favorite and this hurts him. My mom is aware of how we feel about this, but doesn't seem to care. My dad is fine when my mom isn't around and seems to treat the kids fairly.
-We've tried several sports and activities with DS 2. He's not very athletic. Currently, he's in scouting, band and taekwondo. We've had some issues with him using taekwando on his dad. We've told him that if he continues, we'll report this to his taekwando instructors. This seems to have helped. We don't want to pull him out of taekwondo as the instructors are so awesome at building him up and he's actually having some success in this activity.
-Hubby is generally helpful. He dealt with tonight's meltdown. I just got mad at him in the heat of the moment for not wanting to leave the swim meet to come home and help, so I can totally see where this makes him not appear to be helpful, and I guess he wasn't super-helpful that day.
-I do know that hubby losing his job sounds really petty. The thing is, this is a small town where everyone knows us and hubby works in a high-profile job involving children. Having one of our kids institutionalized would be known around town very quickly and would probably mean the end of his client base. Moving to a larger city isn't an option right now because we have elderly parents and a mentally handicapped SIL who have retired/moved here just to be near us and it would be hard to uproot them and get them all moved. I know, though, that getting DS help somewhere else might be a step we will have to take.
-I don't think DS will hurt other children. He can hide his behavior and control it in school. His teachers think he's angelic and he doesn't lash out at non-relatives. He actually treats other kids very well. I had to videotape some of his behaviors so our counselor would know that I wasn't making this stuff up.

I agree about a possible med change. We can't up the dosage of his current meds as he's maxed out on the dosage for his current weight.

Again, thanks so much for "listening." I really appreciate it.

acdc01
02-12-16, 09:27 AM
Since the outbursts are always in the late evening or night when his meds have worn off, I wonder if there is a med you can have him take at night too?

I know as an adult, they offered me guanfacine or something that sounds like that (can't remember exact name). Don't know if kids can take that but I do wonder if there is something for him in the evenings.

If what you said about the outbursts always being at night is true (and not just cause he's not with you during the day time), then his meds are working and I wouldn't switch his daytime med unless you can find one that doesn't have large withdrawals at night.

TygerSan
02-12-16, 11:10 AM
I don't have any lived experience as a parent, but much of what you describe in your son's behavior I can relate to on a personal level.

In terms of what triggered the meltdown, for me transitions were insanely difficult. It wouldn't have mattered how many tickets I had earned, if I was intensely focused on a game on my iPad, or watching a television show, if it wasn't over, or I had just died, and you said "screen time's over" there would be a meltdown. I know that there is a visual reminder in place in the form of the timer, but my attention would definitely be elsewhere.

My meltdowns were pretty intense in my pre-teen and teen years. I was very much like your son in that I was really good at hiding how anxious and stressed I was during the school day. I thrived on the positive feedback and doing well in school, so I was able, somehow, to stuff all of the frustration and anger at not fitting in at school down until something at home triggered frustration, and then I would just erupt. I honestly don't know how to deal with that type of thing as a parent (and I can only imagine how horrible it is to watch).

I did want to say, however, that I'm pretty sure that he isn't happy about his behavior, either. I would say that his grabbing the knife is a pretty good indicator of that. When I was out of control, frustrated, sad, angry, whatever, in the middle of a meltdown, I would sometimes self injure. I hated my brain, I hated my behavior, and in some ways I hated myself in those moments. I wasn't trying to be manipulative (though ignoring the behavior probably wasn't a bad thing to do, as drawing focus to it would've probably perpetuated the negative spiral I was in), I was trying to express the sheer depth of my despair *in that moment* (and the moments often passed perplexingly quickly).

That said, I also needed time to decompress from my meltdown. Talking to me about my behavior and the consequences thereof right afterwards, when things were still very raw, often times would perpetuate the cycle of self loathing, and I would be likely to melt down again in pretty short order. It is a fine balance between a debrief, i.e., what would help you deal with this next time?, versus a finger-wagging session in which an already sensitive teen is told, in no uncertain terms, that they screwed up (believe me, in the case of a meltdown I *already* knew that I'd screwed up . . . badly. I didn't need the reminder).

acdc01
02-13-16, 08:47 AM
I forgot to ask, do you know what it is that has your son so upset? With him threatening to stab himself, I do wonder if he's just upset at the small things like lack of screen time.

Do you think this reward system of yours might make him feel bad about himself? Like the other kids always get more rewards than him? I'm not sure if this really is a problem - just throwing out the idea.