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ODD or ADHD?

(10 Posts)
nopunintended11 Wed 08-Mar-17 00:35:03

I posted in parenting but think I may receive more help here.

Does the below sound like ADHD or ODD to anyone?

My DS is generally exceptionally well behaved and mature. He is responsible and understands situations so I have not really had any rules, even as a toddler. When he was a toddler, he had no tantrums and was also very amenable to requests/directions. Just generally exceptionally sweet.

However, since about 5, he has one I guess I could say behavioural trait, which I struggle with and is similar to his dad's, whom I'm no longer with.

He is stubborn. If he doesn't want to do something he will downright refuse to do it. We have in the past been through this with showers (went 2 weeks without one, but then just one day did it and no problem since), homework - but now will self regulate and gets on with it as soon as he gets home from school (he has a fair bit) so I'm grateful that this is no longer a battle (this used to go on for hours. Sometimes him hiding under the bed -- when I for instance hadn't washed a particular top he had wanted to wear.

At the weekend we were getting ready to go to a friend's birthday. He decided he didn't want to go and threw a massive tantrum. Not a stomping foot type, but stood at the front door and refused to leave. On another occasion, I would have just cancelled but I had promised that I would also pick up a friend of his to take to this party. There wasn't any screaming or yelling . Just a silence and glazed over look to say "I don't have to listen to you". As he is still small, I picked him up and put him in the car without his shoes on and left.

Today after school he had swimming. He had packed his bag but on arrival realised that he hadn't packed a hat, and his teacher had said that he needed to wear one from the last lesson, which I was unaware of. But he could have borrowed one from his friends once he got in. Refused to get out of the car. Coaxed him out of the car and then silence. Refused to move. After about 10 minutes said that the teacher would tell him off if he didn't have a hat, but I said that we could borrow one.

So he refused to go home and refused to go in. What would everyone else do?

I carried him again, with some squirming, and I understand that I won't be able to do this in a few weeks time when he is too big. My point was to show him that there wasn't anything to be worried about in this instance and he could deal with the situation.

Eventually got into the pool. Got changed and then started crying saying that he didn't want to wear someone else's cap. Got changed back into his clothes and refused to leave.

So this went on for the hour until the rest of his class were done and eventually coaxed him back into the car.

Similarly in school. He is top set in all classes. When he started the year, his handwriting was illegible. The teacher made him re-write work if it was not neat. It did not deter him and it continued for six weeks, with me pulling out my hair and the teacher thinking he wasn't capable of any work and previous reports from year 2 teacher were lies. Suddenly one day, he decided that he wanted to do work, and end of term exams he scored one of the highest marks for English and Maths.

No amount of bribes, compromises, threats, reward charts, help. His reception teacher commented in his report that he didn't respond to rewards, even at the age of 4. I am not soft and have not given into these demands and yet they go on and on.

I always smugly thought I was lucky as he is generally very capable and amenable and has great behaviour. But when he gets into one of these moods there is nothing I feel I can do. And at times I have lost my temper and end of screaming and losing any sense of control.

After each episode, when we are both calm, we have a chat about why he behaves that why, and why it's not appropriate to do so, and yes it may not happen again at swimming, but it will be another stand-off in another situation.

Over the years, we have gone through hitting, kicking and aggression. But again we talked things through after the events and again he is receptive and understands that it is not appropriate behaviour and has stopped. Particularly after he saw that I had bought the Explosive Child book and said that we may need to go to the doctor to help us work through things. This last explosive behaviour was in October 2016. Miraculously overnight it stopped.

Surely if it was a "real" behavioural issue then he wouldn't be able to self-regulate? There is also the defiant back chat, although I have actually seen his school friends speak to their mothers the same way and I wonder if it has to do with school being too harsh or too strict, because this behaviour is only at home where he feels safe.

He is great 90% of the time, but these 10% are so extreme I just don't understand. How can he go from complete competence and maturity to utter nightmare and irrational behaviour?

Admittedly, the length of the outbreaks have shortened. Where once he would spend hours under the bed, it will only be for a very short period of time and he will listen to reason.

Is it my parenting? I've always treated him fairly. Given him options and don't have any rules per se, but it's not like he breaks rules as such.

minipie Wed 08-Mar-17 00:42:47

How old is he now?

I must admit it sounds like normal child defiance to me (which is just a shock to you as he didn't really do it before).

nopunintended11 Wed 08-Mar-17 10:18:41

He's 8. It is so severe though. Could it be oppositional defiant disorder?

minipie Wed 08-Mar-17 11:15:20

I'm not an expert but if it's only 10% of the time it doesn't seem that extreme. Though I accept his behaviour on those 10% of times is quite extreme.

It's possible he has some sort of anxiety about not "getting it right" which seems to be what underlies a lot of your examples. What does he say when you ask him why he reacted that way? Is he able to explain?

By the way, I'm not sure how busy this board is - you might get more replies (from more knowledgeable people!) if you report your own post and ask for it to be moved to SN Chat or SN Children - those are much busier. Or you could get it moved to Behaviour & Development.

Ooogetyooo Mon 13-Mar-17 18:17:44

Nothing in your post suggests ADHD to me.

SauvignonPlonk Mon 13-Mar-17 18:20:37

I dont rely buy into ODD as a diagnosis, to be honest with you.

PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance) is often misdiagnosed as ODD> Its part of the autism spectrum. However, for a diagnosis, this would have to be severely affecting his life in more than one setting (ie. home and school).

I'm not getting ADD at all from your post. Has he had any formal investigations or assessments? Does he suffer from high anxiety, do you think?

Chippednailvarnishing Mon 13-Mar-17 18:20:43

I am not soft and have not given into these demands and yet they go on and on

But you've used the word "coaxed" more then once. I'm not saying that he doesn't have an underlying issue, but I think you might be softer than you think and being a bright child he knows it.

SauvignonPlonk Mon 13-Mar-17 18:20:53

* don't really buy into

Mary21 Mon 13-Mar-17 20:09:04

From the little bit you have said it sounds as if he can't cope with unexpected change. If he knows what's happening he is ok.
You have probably always accommodated for this as you know him so well.
Unexpected change is causing a high level of anxiety
How is his imaginative play? Does he have any obsessions? Is he quite rigid?
Does he have any problems at school?

nopunintended11 Mon 13-Mar-17 22:26:06

No problems in school. I spoke to the teacher who said she didn't think he was on the spectrum and didn't show any form of anxiety at school. Just really bright, sensitive and a deep thinker.

The teacher tried to pair him up with another boy at his academic level but he kicked up a big stink (ie: refused to do any work) until she noticed that he got on with another boy who was not on the attainment level is no where near where he is, but he just really wanted to help that child out.

Anxiety maybe. He used to suck his bottom lip as a baby to soothe himself about to about 2.5, and then bit his nails until his front teeth fell out and he longer was able to do so.

So if only anxiety, what do I need to do?

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