My GS has severe ADHD, but no one will call it that.  I hate it.  What’s worse, is you can’t fix any of the ADD stuff because he’s also ODD (oppositional defiance disorder) and outside of family therapy I can’t see anything to fix the problem.  In addition, no one else in the house has a problem.  Son argues everything.  He just knows more about certain subjects, so if I have an opposing opinion or idea, I’m generally wrong.  H is very much the same, I never thought it would turn into such a big deal if left unchallenged.

I’m sick and tired of always being wrong!  Sometimes I’m right and we need to do something to fix this problem before this kid hits puberty.  I never thought his defiance was ever more than a minor character trait.  I saw similar attitude problems in his cousins, among whom he lived part time for the first three years of his life.  The three cousins were experts in throwing temper tantrums and fits of various kinds at all times and in any circumstance.  It was appalling and I always blamed their mother, a lazy slob if I ever saw one. 

Except S is not a lazy slob.  He doesn’t order his son around while he himself sits on the couch eating bonbons.  I cannot understand how this is happening.  Why isn’t he outgrowing this awful behavior?  He argues everything, and I mean everything.  If you said the sky was blue, he would tell you how it’s not actually blue, but a shade of blue, with some green, and yellow, and pink thrown in.  He argues compulsively and like a 9-year-old; full of odd reasonings, and flights of amazing fantasy.

Sitting down calmly with GS does not help.  He cannot see anything but the criticism which makes him feel ganged up on and terribly hurt.  You can’t seem to get through to him any better when he’s calm as when he’s upset.  I’ve been really losing my temper with him.  Yesterday I slapped his bottom when he turned away from me.

Now that I am aware there is the potential for a serious mental health problem I am more eager than ever to stop this before it becomes self-destructive.  I can’t afford therapy for GS alone, let alone therapy for the entire family.  Plus the condition runs rampant in S’s ex’s family.  They all argue about everything.  They are all insecure, and rather than offer their emotional support for the ex when she’s dieting, they call her “fat” and make her feel a failure for even trying to make herself feel better.

It’s an incredible thing, and I don’t think I would’ve believed it if not for the experience of the ex family.  Despite their claims of being close and wanting to remain near each other, they are destructive toward each other and all of them suffer with major depressive episodes.  I don’t want this for GS.  I need this to be taken care of now.  Not in Buddhist time either, but right now, before I have to emotionally withdraw from the GS I love so very much.

How do I give GS the help he needs when no one else sees the problem like I do?  It’s not a disciplinary problem.  As I said, he argues just because he thinks that’s how conversations work.  Nothing is ever worked out on that side of the family without a lot of screaming and yelling.  How do I prevent this from being GS’s future without professional help?  Books.  That’s what I always turn to.  Books from the experts that I will read and try to integrate their helpful hints into my life and dealings with my know-it-all, argumentative family.

GS is in constant trouble at school sometimes just for being fidgety!  He talks back, and tells the teacher “No.”  Needless to say, this causes a lot of anxiety for him and for S.  His third grade teacher is not helpful.  She sees this as a disciplinary problem and looks askance at my stay-at-home single dad Son.  I hate teachers like that.  Ones that simply want the kids to sit in tidy rows and never say anything out of turn or off color, and can’t work with the ones that don’t fit that mold.  She wants S to discipline GS at home for school infractions.  WTF?  No, if you have a problem with the child at school you have authority to provide discipline.  When your method fails it is not up to the parent to come up with new and inventive punishments to mete out on your behalf.

But I’m not willing to let GS lag behind in school.  He’s bright and he can do the work.  In fact, he’s generally in trouble because he finished his assigned task and has gotten bored.  But teachers are under paid and over worked.  They don’t all have the energy for a child like GS, any more than they could handle an autistic child in their midst.  Accept S won’t have GS tested.  He doesn’t want him “labeled” or put on drugs.  Noble choices to be sure, but not necessarily ones in the best interest of the child.  I don’t want to take drugs, but without them I’m a mess.

Still, that’s the thing.  It’s my GS not my S.  I have no right to talk to his teacher.  I can’t take him to a therapist for testing without his dad’s approval, which he does not want to give.  Again the argument is labeling.  We’re all labeled.  His teacher right now has him labeled as “troublemaker.”  Next year it will be worse and it will turn into this awful cycle, keeping him in the principal’s office instead of the classroom.  Leading him to drop out of school before highschool, like son did.  Luckily, we lived in AZ and there were no curriculum requirements as to teaching your child at home.  In CA it is much different, and more difficult to teach your child at home.  You are still required to follow the curriculum and to have the child go through standardized testing to make sure he is learning.  Of course we could try online learning, but he really needs the social aspect of public school.


15 thoughts on “ADHD/ADD/ODD

  1. You’ve covered the problem and the possible solutions but without agreement from S. nothing is going to change. The brain is responsible for so many things and so many issues that can be not quite right. ADHD is a real problem and being labelled as having it not as great as being labelled a ‘trouble-maker’ or many other negative labels. In order for GS to grow and flourish emotionally and socially he needs help for the chemical imbalance in his brain and that’s all it is…My hope is someone …somehow can get through to S. to realize it is a medical issue and there is no shame in taking medications for that than there is for taking antibiotics for a severe throat infection for example. My granddaughter suffered in her early years with ADHD and was on meds and it helped her to concentrate and to not be so impulsive in school which is what got her into trouble all the time. So I will hope that he would listen to you and perhaps the doctor who could explain more fully what is involved. ….Hope that this happens for everyone’s sake not just GS.’s…Diane

    1. Sometimes I think his teacher is being a little too strict, but I know what it’s like to live with a kid like this. Can you imagine a whole classroom? Yikes. But kids like my GS get left behind and that’s not fair. I was left behind and S got into trouble for similar (though not nearly so severe) issues. In fact, he got into far more trouble than I ever knew! I know he doesn’t want that for GS. I’ll be working on him. I’ve got two months before I’ve got to go back to work. Guess he’s my pet project.

  2. as someone who has been in the classroom and has experience with therapy let me say it is imperative your son have his son tested. by the way your son does need to work with the teacher, she is restrained by laws and educational boards that are deathly afraid of suits by parents. so they look to parents to provided appropriate consequences. that leads to the next thing when he is acting out he needs what we call natural consequences. as far as arguing that is such a common problem. really just keep in mind that he can not argue if no one is arguing with him. once they get you to argue you have lost. these have to be with the cooperation of everyone in the family. he must be so angry that he is not with his mother, living in a home with a dad that doesn’t work like other dads and how many people are tellling him what to do? this must all be so confusing to him. ODD is something that should not be diagnosed at that age.

    when i lived in calif i was the clinical director for an agency that provided family counseling free of charge. have you investigated that possibility? it must be so frustrating for you all. family can be so complicated.

    thinking of you

    1. Thank you for your kind advice. I’ve been in therapy and I’ve seen kids in therapy still fail. I’m so glad to have your positive input to try to balance how I feel about this whole thing.

      I am familiar with the type of care received from the county mental health facilities in the area. I went through that with S, so I’m hesitant to go that route. I just want a book to read with maybe some worksheets for the family.

      You said “ODD is something that should not be diagnosed at that age.” What age do you mean? Nine? Should he have already been diagnosed by that age. I sort of thought the schools looked out for this sort of thing nowdays. (Obviously, I’m wrong.) I’ll be researching this tomorrow.

      1. most county mental health (as far as i know) outsource their referrals to agencies like mine and we had very well trained staff. schools cannot and should not be diagnosing such disorders as ODD and that is a diagnosis that should be made only after many sessions and usually when they are older. their behavior at that age is so often as a result of the acting out as the cannot articulate exactly what they are feeling and experiencing the way someone older would.

        there are lots of free worksheets online that you can print out for the family but this really is a family situation that will take the cooperation of the entire family.

        continuing to wish you peace

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