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**ODD - ADHD need advice...
April 20, 2007
5:42 pm
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My son threw such a fit yesterday at school that the teacher and the social worker both said it was the worst one this year..

WHY DOES HE DO THIS???? It all started in the morning, I was getting ready to take him to my sister in laws so I could go to work and I noticed he had this funny look on his face, so I said, "J", give me the lego's, he joked around, started laughing and said Aw mom, you caught me... I was just tricken ya... I wasn't going to take them I just wanted to see if you noticed!

So he gave them to me, well, I should have patted him down because he ended up taking legos anyway.. (sneaky kid)..

Now for the fun part. About a half an hour before school let out he was playing with the legos and wouldn't put them away, so the teacher took them, he got all sorts of pissed off, grabed his tote tray and started hitting the teacher, she had all the kids leave the class room (I guess they have "J" drill's for lack of a better term) she got him to calm down, he cleaned up his mess and everything was fine.. the kids were all freaked out because they have never seen this before.. which can you blame them? If I were a parent to one of those other kids I would come un glued and want to know what the hell is wrong with his parents.. Well, after school he went up to the teacher and asked for the legos back, the teacher and I have this deal where if he takes his toys to school she can take them away for the year or until I come into the room to get them. seems fair to me.. she wouldn't give him the legos so he then went on another rampage, started hitting the social worker, threw all the chairs off of the desks, threw the trash cans, etc. school was out so "C" picked him up and took him outside and said it is time to go home, he ran around to the back of the school and went into the building from there, his teacher had gone already and locked the door so he was hitting and kicking the door. he finally calmed down when "K" got to the school to pick him up, C told him he could either go home with his sister or she would have to call the police..

THE POLICE!!!

He is 8!!!

But what else are they supposed to do right?

I have no idea what to do..... Last night I ended up taking all of his toys out of his room, all he has left are books, and stuffed animals.

He yelled at me and said "YOU BETTER LEAVE SOMETHING FOR ME TO PLAY WITH!!! Yea right....

I also made him write his teacher and the aid a letter telling them he is sorry,

I talked to C today she is the social worker, she said the letter was so sweet, she also told me that his teacher ended up going home crying because J stressed her out so bad..

My dad went in today to talk to them and he said the letter made his teacher cry again, she is one tough teacher so he must have stressed her out pretty badly to make her cry twice..

There is no way in HELL this is ADHD, there has to be something more to it than that.. they said he has Oppositional Defiant Disorder too but I am not entirely sure what that is..

I thought I did but from what I read up on it isn't this bad....

How am I supposed to fix my son? he doesn't act like this at home because he knows I wont put up with it, he just acts like this at school,

It isn't like I can quit my job and sit with him in class everyday.

I am so mentally exhausted right now it isnt even funny, some days I would like to have a break and mentally dump the drama of every day life, I am not even sure what I would do if I had no responsibilities for a week, or even a whole day..

I have to get this off of my chest before I have a heart attack or start to cry here at work... LOL, that would be a good one to explain to my boss.

He really is a good kid, he just has his moments... I love him and I think he is one of the greatest kids in the world, if I would have known I would have had these challenges before I adopted him I would have adopted him anyway because the rest of the time is so great...

K, I am going to shut up now..

if anyone has advice on how to handle him please let me know...
thanks
Elle

April 20, 2007
5:50 pm
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thewall
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Wow, that is one tough kid. From what I have read, this is what you could try.
Make sure that anytime he gets in trouble at school he also gets it at home. On the days that he is good at school he gets to watch tv, play outside, etc. at home.

But on a bad day, he doesnt get to do anything. NOTHING except sit in his bare room until bedtime/dinner.

Personally I would also take away the stuffed animals.....all toys. And like I said, on a good day he can earn a toy or animal of his choice.

I work in a school and yes, they will call the police at age 8, especially for hitting and destruction of property.

good luck.

April 20, 2007
5:56 pm
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K, stuffed animals are gone tonight.. thanks for that advice..
I was just thinking they would be good in his room so he didnt feel so alone but you are probably right. they are toys too..

I have moved all of his toys up to the room in the front of the house, he has to pay me tickets to play with them, he gets tickets when he is good, like for every smile face he gets at school he gets 3 tickets, for every frown he gives me 3 tickets and there is nothing for the face in the middle. he also gets 10 tickets for bringing the contract home..

when he wont listen to me he gets tickets taken away, like when I say J, its time to do your home work, or clean your room, etc, I will take up to 3 away at a time, this works for the most part but what do I do at school??? he doesnt haave the tickets there for the teacher to take away, and sometimes when I take the tickets it is another fit..

Now, 30 minutes of TV is 30 tickets, 30 minutes of Video games is 60 tickets, tramp is 30, play with friends is 30 tickets, etc.

April 20, 2007
5:58 pm
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Oh, one more question before I have to leave work what will the police do? I totally understand calling them and I am all for supporting the school, but he is so small, he is mentally a 6 year old. they wont hurt him will they?

April 21, 2007
8:49 am
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risingfromtheashes
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I feel your pain.

Few things....first of all, he MAY have ODD....which causes kids to be defiant no matter what the situation.

You mention he is adopted...at what age? Perhaps there is some "damage" done that needs some intervention from a counselor? It may be wise to get medical intervention no matter what.

On a positive note...I will tell you that your story is alot like my best friend...who's son was thrown out of many day cares because he was ODD and ADHD. He "tested" the teachers. His mom ended up saying he had "little fucker syndrome"...cuz some days he was JUST that...he was mostly good at home...like you, she knew how to deal with him...could see when he was about to rage and redirect him so it didn't happen.

But sadly, teachers can't be that vigilant about ONE child, when they are overworked with too many other children in the room.

My friend's son was defiant, he hit, slapped, kicked, argued, cursed, you name it. And he didn't "transition" well...meaning you had to give him ALOT of advanced notice that it was time to end one activity and move on to another....lest you cause a meltdown.

These kids don't WANT to lash out....just something inside them causes a meltdown and they don't have the maturity to deal with it.

Now - the GOOD NEWS was that my friend's son was tested and found to have a GENIUS IQ. And the problem stemmed from his not being stimulated enough mentally, so he lashed out physically. When a teacher told him to do something and he asked "why"...he wasn't being defiant...he wanted to KNOW...he wanted a full length explanation of things...not a three year old explanation of things...he would ask deep questions and expect full length questions...and given his age and size (he was little for his age)...nobody really took the time to speak to him at the level HE needed.

He ended up skipping ahead two grades and mentally was better...tho his social skills still lack because he's so small and so smart that he simply can't "relate" to his peers...who are two years older than him now. BUT, his temper has calmed down.

Don't give up....your son is not doing this intentionally....get medical help....and work with the teachers to find ways to help ease his outbursts.

My friend also had her son is a special class with smaller teacher/student ratios...they had a behaviour system like red light green light....and you start at green light and as you misbehave, you move toward red light....which is a time out kind of thing...loss of priveleges...you can earn your way back to green light and such...it helped kids focus and realize that being bad for the moment doesn't mean they are bad for the day...or for the week.

THese kids DO feel bad about their behaviour...but they are often helpless to control it and need help learning it.

Knowing yoru childs medical history and such before his adoption may shed some light on things too.

April 21, 2007
11:18 am
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thewall
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Good job! I can see you really mean business with resolving this issue. I'm proud of you!

I also would suggest maybe some support from a parenting class for other parents who are also going throught what you are going through. or a therapist. Check your local mental health center or call private therapist for help in finding it. You need all the support you can get as you go through this time.

Dont forget to praise him everytime you see him doing something good, obeying you, had a good day at school etc. Even if he cleaned his room but forgot to pick up his clothes, say good job for the stuff he did do right, make a big deal out of it, then say "lets just make it perfect by picking up your clothes too".

For alot of kids they will misbehave in order to get attention-even negative attn. Soo, if they get more attention with praise when they do something right, then in theory alot of the bad behaviors will go away. Of course there is always that one lil Dennis the Menace exception but try it and see if it works for you.

No, the police won't hurt him but hopefully the uniform will scare him as they come to the school for a firm little talk. Sometimes they will schedule a visit to the juvenile center with the parents, in hopes that when the kid actually sees the jail, it will scare them into behaving..at the very least to stop the hitting.

parenting is the hardest job in the world. Its exhausting. I'm sorry its especially hard for you.

Some parenting info you might want to take a look at would be to google "Nurtured Heart" or "the Nurtured Heart approach" .

Hats off to you! good luck.

April 21, 2007
3:44 pm
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readyforachange
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ellechim...I am a special education teacher, and I see situations like this all the time.

First of all, the adopted piece of the puzzle. Many adopted children have something called RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder). It is the result of being abandoned by their parents early in life, and they have difficulty forming bonds with adults and peers. It is usually diagnosed by a psychologist or psychiatrist, and counseling is a BIG piece of the puzzle. You may want to do some research on that.

Second of all, the school called the police because he was physically violent, and that is what they are told to do, no matter the age of the child. The police do not hurt the child, but their presence sometimes sends a message to kids.

Third, if he does have RAD, these children are very manipulative. They can be very sweet, almost overly sweet...but can turn on you in an instant.

A good mental health professional should be able to make a diagnosis for you. The school should have documentation of everything he has done conduct-wise while at school. There are rating scales that they can also fill out for the doctors.

Another avenue would be to ask for a special education evaluation to see if there are supports that can be provided to him at school by the special ed. staff. If he has a mental health diagnosis, he may qualify for additional services at school to support him.

It sounds like you are being consistent and fair at home, and providing consequences appropriate to his age. A good counselor can help you continue to discipline him appropriately.

More than anything, you can let him know that you love him and you aren't going to give up on him.

I wish you peace.

April 21, 2007
5:05 pm
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utmom
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ellechim,

I have a son that had similar problems at school or with other authority figures. He would be the greatest kid in the world, but would turn into a stranger when confronted. At one point we wondered if he was bipolar or had some type of split personality disorder.
I came across a book "7 types of ADD" by Dr. Amen (he has the Amen clinic in CA) We had him tested and discovered he had a type of ADD called "The Ring of Fire". When angry he would literally lose complete control and would just act out verbally and physically. He would have little or no recollection of the "episode" afterwards. Because of behavioral issues, he never did complete traditional school, but when he got his GED he tested out in the top 3% of all high school graduates (not bad for a kid with out a passing grade since the 9th grade).
There was medication that we considered, but we found a great therapist that specialized in this type of ADD and anger management issues and went that route instead. It has been 8 years, and we had some really tough years in there, but I now am happy to say I have a healthy, happy and thriving 19 year old, currently going to the local comm. college.
Every bit of information will help and you can find the right combibation for your son. Just hang in there and go with what feels right to you. Noone knows your child better then you do.

Good Luck!

April 21, 2007
9:29 pm
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fantas
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Hi Ellecim, I am in the education field too and everything said here is bang on! I would also like to add that it would be nice to talk with your son at a time when he is happy and carefree, in a non accusatory spirit and ask him to explain his thinking to you. Like you can go over the rules of not taking toys to school and ask him if he understands that and then ask him why he does it, even though he knows he will get in trouble. I have a feeling there is more to this story it's very situational and environmentally induced. He seems to be fine at home and looses his control at school. With some kids it's the opposite. They are great at school and really bad at home. It's also possible that his toys are his safety and comfort "blanket". It would be really harsh and emotionally confusing to be punished for his emotions. Another way could be to read a book together that dealt with breaking rules and you and he can talk about the whys, whats, of the story and you can relate it to your experience. I am always amazed at what kids are thinking and just how deeply and profoundly they think. Your son sounds very intelligent to me. Just a thought. All the best.

April 21, 2007
9:29 pm
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fantas
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Hi Ellecim, I am in the education field too and everything said here is bang on! I would also like to add that it would be nice to talk with your son at a time when he is happy and carefree, in a non accusatory spirit and ask him to explain his thinking to you. Like you can go over the rules of not taking toys to school and ask him if he understands that and then ask him why he does it, even though he knows he will get in trouble. I have a feeling there is more to this story it's very situational and environmentally induced. He seems to be fine at home and looses his control at school. With some kids it's the opposite. They are great at school and really bad at home. It's also possible that his toys are his safety and comfort "blanket". It would be really harsh and emotionally confusing to be punished for his emotions. Another way could be to read a book together that dealt with breaking rules and you and he can talk about the whys, whats, of the story and you can relate it to your experience. I am always amazed at what kids are thinking and just how deeply and profoundly they think. Your son sounds very intelligent to me. Just a thought. All the best.

April 22, 2007
5:07 pm
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You may need to re-think the consequences for his outbursts. I am my school district's parent advocate for students with ADD/ADHD and ODD. I want to clarify that ODD is NOT a medical condition. It is a behavioral "label" which translates (for us laymen) as "defiant and out of control...rebellious...wants what he wants when he wants it and to heck with the consequences." In short, it starts in toddlerhood (usually we are talking about a highly intelligent, strong-willed child with ADHD, to boot) and poses extremely difficult parenting challenges, especially for the mother (who is usually the "heavy" in the home when it comes to disciplining and figuring out how to handle this child). The fathers frequently "cop out" and hand over the entire ordeal to the mothers.

Anyway, I would recommend that you talk to this child as you would an OLDER child. He is highly intelligent. He will understand everything you are saying. Quit reasoning with him and simply lay down the law. And I mean "Law" with a capital "L." Such and such (be specific) will NOT be tolerated. If you do it, there will be immediate, unpleasant consequences. And make good and sure that those consequences are EXTREMELY PAINFUL AND UNPLEASANT. And immediate. These kids have short term memory difficulties and poor impulse control. Logging up tickets might not be much of an incentive when he wants to throw a fit in a given moment over a given situation. Follow my reasoning?

I found with my own two sons (yup - I had to raise two of them), the older one responded only to calmly administered, immediate spanking. I tried EVERYTHING else. Nothing else deterred him. And he was beginning to endanger, upset and hurt others. So, I had no choice, but to tackle the spanking approach. I hated it, but it WORKED. He bucked me (tested me) quite a few times, but (ultimately) he caved and began to comply both at home and in school. He hated being spanked. And I did it calmly, with no anger, using a little switch that stung, rather than my hand. It never bruised him. It simply gave him a quick, unpleasant and just punishment.

The other son only needed to be spanked ONCE. Other consequences (such as losing cherished activities or rewards) worked for him. Depends on the individual child.

- Ma Strong

April 23, 2007
3:37 pm
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Thank you all for your advice,
I placed a call with his psycologist on Friday, he called me back today and left a msg, so I called him back and left another msg. hopefully we can get together today sometime..

I am going to take all of the advice given and discuss with his doc. you have all been a huge help..'

thanks a ton..

Oh, one more thing. the toys, I never thought of the toys as a comfort thing, but that makes total sense, he is so attached to 3 blankets and one stuffed dog, when he gets adjetated (LOL, I dont know how to spell that) he grabs them and sucks his thumb to calm himself down, (sounds like autisim huh)he told me that he sucks his thumb to make him feel better, when I ask how he is feeling he cant really tell me the feelings, only that he is upset, he isnt sure if it is mad, sick, happy, sad, etc. he cant take his things to school so the toy might be something that comforts him in their place and it is small enough to sneak in his pockets I will be talking to him about that tonight when I get home..

thanks for that as well.

thanks again
Elle

April 23, 2007
3:48 pm
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Ellehcim, I am so happy for you and your son...it seems there might be a breakthrough for you both soon. You might wanna consider using the emotions chart to teach your kids how to identify their emotions. It basically has faces of kids having different emotions and the kid can point to the one that closely matches his feelings. All the best to you both!

April 23, 2007
5:15 pm
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Dear ellehcim,

It sounds like an incredible challenge. It sounds so nice to hear your love and concern for him come through so strongly.

I think there is plenty of good advice from people who are experienced here -- one thought I had was along the lines of what is so often spoken about here....the idea that "I" cannot control his behavior at school, nor can the other adult authority figures when I am not around.....only HE can control his own behavior so he can achieve the results he wants. So, even at 8, he's a smart little guy and maybe he could see the logic in that if someone could present it to him in the right light.

I hope things will improve and the counseling will help.

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