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Oppositional defiance disorder - anyone have experience with this?

(39 Posts)
LucyLamplight Fri 10-Mar-17 02:41:33

My DS has just been given a preliminary diagnosis of this by a psychologist. I am really not sure what to think or where to turn to. Does anyone have experience with this? The psychologist's words of "this won't be easy" are currently ringing in my mind. Anyone have any reassuring words to offer?

Thank you.

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 10-Mar-17 03:14:32

None of my own. But I know someone whose son was diagnosed when younger. He is an adult now and him and his mum have a good relationship now. There were issues at school and she, and he, needed a lot of support. But just wanted you to know that things work out!

Have you been offered support?

LucyLamplight Fri 10-Mar-17 03:28:35

Thank you so much MrsTerryPratchett - I appreciate it.

We have been given support by the school (which is where a lot of the issues are playing out). I feel they don't know which way to turn to make things better. He has been sent home from school (twice in the past 10 days) so obviously the behaviour is not at a level that is tolerable (and we are talking a 6 year old here). The school have said they feel torn as they can keep things happy for him but he is not pushed to learn or try and keep him learning so he doesn't fall behind, but he feels stretched and then acts out.

I don't see as much of this behaviour at home as we are obviously not in an environment where he is often having to learn (other than homework time). I get it though. The psychologist also suspects ADHD might be in impacting him also.

Both myself and my DH work full time by necessity and I honestly watch the clock every day and hold my breath until 2pm when I know that we might make it through the school day without a phone call saying he needs to be collected. We have no family support to be able to help. I feel very alone in this. I am university educated, hold a senior level job and feel like I should just be doing so much better at this parenting thing.

Thank you for your reassuring words - greatly appreciated.

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 10-Mar-17 03:33:52

DD has ADHD and kindergarten was rough. I used to dread seeing the teacher. She didn't manage to say one nice thing to me about DD for a year. But a year later and school is easier. She still struggles and is way behind her peers but I'd rather she enjoys books and likes school IYSWIM.

I took parenting classes three times! Like you, thought I should be better at it. But DD needed a different kind of parent.

LucyLamplight Fri 10-Mar-17 11:30:39

Yes - I have done parenting classes too. I was just thinking maybe I need to go for another round. I think in reality I need to just really look into this all as much as I can and try and make sense of it.

And I hear you - DS's first teacher never said a single good word about him. I actually stopped asking how he was doing as she could never find a nice thing to say and would snap at me. It has made me very grateful for the 2 lovely teachers he has had since who have found the positive for me even on the most trying of days.

Goldfishing Fri 10-Mar-17 13:50:54

Do you really see no evidence of this behaviour at home?

MusicToMyEars800 Fri 10-Mar-17 14:00:54

my little brother has ADHD and ODD, he was a nightmare when he was younger, he had to go to a school for children that have behaviour issues. He was put on medication for it which helped but if he didn't have the medication it was awful, he had to be physically restrained all sharp objects had to be locked away as he would threaten to stab people that he fell out with... I was the only one who could keep him calm by taking him away from the situation and stay calm myself. He has improved a lot now he's older he mellowed with age. have you looked into taking him out of mainstream school? I think he would benefit by going to speciality school.

MusicToMyEars800 Fri 10-Mar-17 14:04:39

unless you are going to parenting classes that deal with children who have these disorders I would say don't bother ( i don't mean that to sound nasty or horrible ) but children with adhd and odd need a different approach.

LucyLamplight Fri 10-Mar-17 21:35:50

Thanks for your replies.

Goldfishing I didn't say I see absolutely no evidence of this at home -my words were I don't see it as much. What has been discussed is that at home he is not sitting in a class for hours learning something new so the environments are very different and school is a place that this behavior is coming to the forefront. (Sorry if I sound defensive I am reading some tone into your comment and am pretty sensitive right now).

Music thanks for sharing your experience. That really scares me and I guess the only way out of this is day by day helping him. I don't even know which school might help him better but it is something to think about. I am open to medication as I will do anything to help him. He is a lovely little boy and I just want to help him as best I can.

MusicToMyEars800 Fri 10-Mar-17 22:52:33

my little brother was referred to camhs they can help, he attended a school inn oxford I think it was called chilworth house, it was a brilliant school and helped massively, with those disorders you just have to take each day as it comes it's hard to predict wether it will be a good day or a bad day. I hope you get the support you need OP, and if you need any advice or support don't hesitate to message me.

LucyLamplight Sat 11-Mar-17 03:06:09

Thank you Music -I meant to add before it sounded like you were a great support for your brother and how lucky he is to have someone like you, although I can't imagine it was always easy on you.

We live abroad and the system here is you wait extended periods of time if you are in the public system -I paid to go private as I couldn't wait a year to get help for him and still had to wait 4 months to see a psychologist and I expect it will be similar to see a pediatrician to look into medication which is our next step. I will look up the school you mentioned as I can ask people like the pediatrician if they know of anything similar. Thank you - I appreciate your kind words more than you know.

Kleinzeit Sat 11-Mar-17 15:53:32

Have you looked at Ross Greene's Explosive Child book and his Lives in the Balance website? They were originally intended for children with ODD but his strategies also worked very well for my DS who had a lot of ODD-ish behaviour but ended up with an Asperger's diagnosis.

You might also want to look at strategies for managing Pathological Demand Avoidance. It sounds as if your DS's behaviour is partly due to anxiety from the demands of school, and although PDA is a different condition you may find that some of the same approaches work for your DS.

I can only sympathise over the school stress. Getting calls from the school was horrible. I ended up giving up work for a while and using our emergency savings and then claiming disability and state benefits for him. That left me free to attend meetings, get therapy and help for DS, and to look after him outside school because he couldn't cope in out of school care. After his full diagnosis, when help was put in place for him at school etc and we were all more on top of things (DS included!), I was able to return to work.

And just to reassure you - despite his very difficult primary school years things got better for DS as he matured. He is now happily settled at university.


Squeegle Sat 11-Mar-17 16:05:34

My DS (13) has been diagnosed with ADHD and ODD. He is always in trouble at school and he is very rude and angry at home. The medication is helping a lot. I believe that ODD is iften a behaviour which is adopted when someone has ADHD and it's not recognised so the child is often told off a lot and they start becoming oppositional. Dr Greenes book is very helpful, seeing the behaviour as a cry for help rather than insubordination. There is a lot on the internet. I think that these children need consistency and firm assertive discipline which enables them to feel secure.
It's not easy, but I am hoping that things are improving. I hope that with you as your son is diagnosed young , you may find it easier to adapt your behaviour to support him- and look into getting him assessed for ADHD. There is no harm in assessment, but leaving it too long means the behaviours have time to set in. I wish I'd done it earlier with my DS now.

Squeegle Sat 11-Mar-17 16:10:04

music, how old is your brother now? What do you think made the biggest difference for him?

mollyblack Sat 11-Mar-17 16:18:41

This sounds like my child. We're un the middle of a referral just now. Its incredibly challenging living with a child like this. I am so tired.

Squeegle Sat 11-Mar-17 16:25:10

molly, I find it exhausting! Not what I was expecting sad. Him turning into a teenager was a whole new ballgame.

Cassimin Sat 11-Mar-17 16:29:31

I found groups that were aimed at parents with children with these behaviours were helpful.
I found one local to me and have been on lots of training with them.
My little one has ADHD and they suspect asd. We think pda but in our area they won't diagnose this it comes with an asd diagnosis or under the neurodevelopmental umbrella.
I found training around spd very helpful and use strategies advised for pda.
All of our behaviours are based around anxiety and the smallest of things can send anxiety levels sky high.
If you can join a group as other parents can help with ideas that they have used and give you support when you are struggling.

mollyblack Sat 11-Mar-17 17:09:45

Agree I have done an 8 wk course which was helpful, and great to meet other parents who understood. Learned lots of strategies that help, but even having strategies is exhausting. I am so tired from all the planning.

Squeegle Sat 11-Mar-17 17:34:44

I support the parenting courses. I have just finished one on managing conflict. Hopefully it will help. I've learned useful stuff; now just have to put it all into practice

MusicToMyEars800 Sat 11-Mar-17 19:28:18

squeegle he is 18 now, he just changed massively when he turned 16 i'm not sure what the turning point was tbh, but he was easier to talk to, I think he understood more that everyone who loved him was only trying to help him and not everyone was against him, which it seemed that way for a long time, he believed everyone was against him and had it in for him. He also had trouble learning how to read and write in school, I do believe though that a big key is to always stay as calm as you can because the more my mum raised her voice or shouted when she was at the end of her tether the worst he got. I remember an incident where he had an outburst and was kicking and punching anyone who went near him my poor mum was trying to restrain him, it made me feel awful I went in the room picked him up from my mum carried him upstairs to my room gave him a cuddle told him how much we all loved him and put a film on to watch together, it worked wonders.

mollyblack Sat 11-Mar-17 20:02:14

Musictomyears its so nice to hear that. I feel my child is just rubbish at being a child the adult world suits him better, in terms of independence, freedom, choice, less strict authority etc.

LucyLamplight Sat 11-Mar-17 21:41:14

Thank you for your suggestions and support. I will look into those books and see what support I can find. Making it more tricky, my DH doesn't agree with the ADHD provisional diagnosis and thinks DS has just learned how to play everyone to get his way. He doesn't want to give the school the outcome of the assessment so far and wants to wait for the formal diagnosis so he isn't labeled with something that is incorrect. Meanwhile the wait for a pediatrician assessment could be months. The school know we had this assessment the other day and have already asked how it went. I think DH and I need to be on the same page with the reply, and I don't want to share the info he isn't comfortable with sharing. This whole thing is just so tricky. I feel like I am falling apart and don't know which way to turn.

Squeegle Sun 12-Mar-17 12:04:17

Thank you music, that is good to hear and it's good advice. I try to stay calm and walk away if I'm not. I definitely don't always manage but I do my best. I also do deep breathing and I try very hard always to say why I am not allowing something.

lucy, my ex was very much of the opinion that "he is absolutely fine, all boys are like this,", and that's why I never got my DS assessed sooner. I now wish I had as I think it would have been better for him and also better as all our family would have understood why he can be so Challenging. Also we would have got the right strategies in place. I only really pursued it when he started getting into trouble at school. You are quite right that your DH and you need to be on the same page as inconsistency of approach is difficult for your son. But I would say that it would be unusual for a child of that age to be able to be so manipulative. One of Dr Greens saying is "kids do well when they can". In other words if they're not doing well or being oppositional, it's because, for whatever reason, they can't do what is asked of them. And our job is to help them.

LucyLamplight Sun 12-Mar-17 12:27:52

Thank you Squeegle -your words resonated with me. My DH has said we are pursuing this because I want to and yes, I do want to as I am by no means an expert in what we are dealing with and i want someone who is an expert to guide me. I really agree with that statement -Kids do well when they can. I think my best approach is to be patient with DH as I know it's not easy on any of us. He is open to meeting with the pediatrician and I have asked him to share his thoughts with an expert so they can guide him better than I. My DS's teacher just sent a lovely email that made me cry saying she seems him so happy in the playground and wants to see that happiness in the classroom.

wannabestressfree Sun 12-Mar-17 14:51:07

My eldest has it along with Asd and severe mental health problems. He 'peaked' at 14 and ended up in hospital for nearly two years but has been much better since he turned 18 and his hormones settled.

My youngest has now just been diagnosed and is on meds.

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