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Posts tagged ‘anger’

Brief Visit – Visible Improvement (O.D.D)

This article is part 7 of a series. If you have not read part 1, part2, part 3, and part 4 , part 5 , and part 6 – I urge you to do so if you are searching for help on this subject. If you’ve read along with me already, I want to welcome you into the next few weeks of our journey and Knight’s recovery.

Week 10 & 11 were awesome weeks for us. They were awesome (challenging) because we had set-backs & problems from Knight, but we also received some much-needed encouragement. He was doing well with the re-enforced structure we had put in place and with gentle reminders, was doing better. He’d only had a few outburst of massive anger, sever aggression, and extremely argumentative behavior. Each of these had been very trying of our patience and required much love and prayer to work through. But, in the end, we seemed to be on the right track. We constantly reminded him that he was loved, was receiving a lot of attention (that he desperately thought he wanted), and we were not going to give up on him.

During week 10 or 11 (I can’t remember which), Knight had a visit from his out-of-state mother and another relative. They remarked about how he’d grown and seemed like a totally different child to them. They were not excited about him aspiring to play football in the up-coming fall, but were happy he was involving himself in activities to use his excess energy. Their visit lasted a few hours.

Hearing from someone else who knew him well before, that they could see a noticeable difference in him was a happy moment for me. I knew his father was still frustrated with him a lot of the time, but he was improving and I could see improvements daily too.

Exchanging one behavior for another

Knight’s explosive outbursts were becoming less severe and were occurring far less often. As what I understand as an outlet for his tendencies, Knight began to be defiant in passive ways. Some of his passive behaviors including:

  • Chewing on plastic and spitting the chewed up mess in the floor – When asked not to chew on the plastic, he would remove it from his mouth and throw it in a sneaky way behind furniture instead of in the trash can.
  • Spitting sunflower seeds in the floor – I can’t remember who bought them for him, but somehow Knight ended up with what appeared to be an endless supply of sun flower seeds in the shell. As a passive form of defiance, he began spitting them in the floor in every room. When asked to clean up his mess and reminded to spit them in a trash receptacle, he would just walk away and leave the shells. I made a new rule: NO MORE sun flower seeds in the house! After we moved back home, it took me 2 hours to remove all the sun flower seeds from the rental we were staying in. They were under furniture, stuck between the base boards and the walls, inside the tank of the toilet, stuck in the garbage disposal, in the kitchen drawers, and even behind the refrigerator and stove! I still have a no sun flower seeds rule in the house now!
  • Leaving his shoes & clothing in the living room (stuffed under the couch) – again, it’s a more passive way of being defiant that he was aiming at mentally. When asked about why he did these things, he would answer, “I don’t know.”

His passive defiance was more tolerable than his earlier behaviors, so I had to pick my battles wisely and not overwhelm him. This meant that I had to live with the lid always off the toothpaste, a cereal bowl with milk in the bottom of it in the sink several times a day, sunflower shells, etc. These things were really just normal teenage boys type behaviors anyway, and that is what we were striving for – normal or average teenager behaviors – not perfect!

Every single day, we were continuing to work on our main plan:

  • Maintaining open dialog
  • Pointing out annoying behaviors
  • Bringing lies to Knight’s attention (Taking Ownership of his Words & Actions)
  • Structure in his daily life
  • Consistency in discipline

…and

it was working!

Structure & O.D.D.

This article is part 6 of a series. If you have not read part 1, part2, part 3, and part 4 , and part 5 – I urge you to do so if you are searching for help on this subject. If you’ve read along with me already, I want to welcome you into the next few weeks of our journey and Knight’s recovery.

One of the most important parts of our plan to battle this Oppositional Defiance Disorder was giving Knight some much-needed structure without smothering him.

In week 8 & 9 Knight was showing significant improvements. His outbursts, physical altercations, lying, theft, annoying behaviors, & and destructive inclinations were becoming less with more time between them. I was proud of his progress & reminded him daily that he was doing so much better!

Knight was growing closer to his brothers. Fights & arguments between them were less frequent & all the boys were much more tolerable of each other.

The structure we’d initiated in our home was helping. Before Knight moved in, I thought we had structure, but hadn’t really given it much thought. Turns out, we weren’t as structured as I thought we were. These are the things we changed:

1. We established regular meal times. (I thought we had regular meal times before, but really we were independently eating when each of us were hungry.) Dinner time/Supper was the most recognised meal time. We were all going in different directions during the day & had separate interests/hobbies/jobs. So, for supper, we all slowed down, came together and ate together. I credit Knight’s father for this suggestion. It wasn’t difficult at first, but after about a week into it, some of us had a hard time stopping what we were doing & coming to the table. Within 3 weeks, it was an expectation for most of us & if one of us couldn’t make it home, several of us would be bummed out. Now, a year later, everyone coming together for supper is still part of our daily routine and is a therapeutic part of our joint successful family unit.

2. We invited Knight to help develop a smoother morning routine. I’ve always had a hard time waking the boys up in the mornings. Knight was a huge help to the family with that! He woke up relatively easy & we put his “annoying” to good use. I told him I needed his help waking his new brothers up & that he was welcome to annoy them to wake them up & help me get them moving. He seemed happy & welcomed helping me. It worked!! He was & is the best alarm clock ever 🙂 At first, his brothers complained, but I explained that the annoying would stop once they complied, got up, & started moving. 🙂

3. A regular summer chore schedule was established. They already had chore expectations, but it worked better this way. Each of the boys jade specific chores on designated days.

4. Rewards and treats we regular as clockwork. Privileges such as mall trips, going to the movies, and other favorite things became rewards.

5. A decent bedtime was established.

6. Shower/bath rules were established so everyone wasn’t trying to jump in there all at once & arguing.

These things should have been in place already, right? The truth is they were, but we just needed to start all over again, make sure we had communicated them clearly, and place emphasis on this restructuring. Let’s face it, every family has rules, but after a few years, rules must be re-established as a reminder. Especially during the teenage years when not all of a family may be going in the same direction, with each other, or have separated interests.

By the end of week 9, we had all seen a significant change in Knight’s behavior & reactions to others. We were still working on every key step we had enlisted in previous weeks. I was proud of Knight & still am 😉

Setting Boundaries & Establishing Consistency

Welcome to this Journey through O.D.D. (Oppositional Defiance Disorder). This article is part 4 of a series. If you have not read part 1, part2, part 3 – I urge you to do so if you are searching for help on this subject. If you’ve read along with me already, I want to welcome you into the fourth and fifth weeks of our journey and Knight’s recovery.

In our fourth week together, we were continuing to work on our previous plan of action: maintaining open dialog, pointing out annoying behaviors, bringing lies to Knight’s attention and being open to accepting responsibility for his actions and words. Knight was giving us signs that he was feeling overwhelmed with just these three items, so during week 4 we gave him a rest from adding more to the plan. We continued to focus on just the first three maintaining consistency.

More Open Dialog

Week 5 rolled around and our open dialog was giving me more insight into Knight’s personality & reasoning behind some of his actions (defiance). He spoke to me about his earlier school experiences & earlier life living in a large city. When he moved in with us, his environment changed significantly. We lived in a mid-sized city rental home & would be moving soon back to the home we owned in the country – within the year. He spoke of the differences in people here & how people reacted to him there. He seemed to like it here. This led to him reviewing his earlier school experiences with me.

I had a good understanding already from his transcripts, but his opinions were valuable to help me help him. He said everyone at his old school disliked him (especially the teachers). He failed many of his subjects through the years & was involved in many physical fights. He proudly explained to me that his mother had always “taken care of that for him”. He said she would go to the school and have a fit with the teachers & principle so he would be moved to the next grade. He was proud of his mother for “taking up for him”. He said she always “got him out of trouble” and once even had his juvenile record cleared so that no one could hold it against him. He felt as though she had “connections” and he could do anything he wanted to really.

I did not rebuttal anything he said or offer any comments. I just let him talk. In my mind however, I wondered why she would do that for him in a public setting when I was told by her that his physical altercations at home resulted in declaring that she “couldn’t handle him any longer”.  I am not judging her by no means. I was simply left wondering.  Knight had very bad school transcripts, a history of failing classes, provoking others to fights, threatening the safety of others while in school, in school and out of school suspensions, and many school initiated psychological reviews. His previous 2 schools had him on an IEP (Independent Education Program) and had marked him as *special needs* because of his behavior. I, however, did not see him as *special. I felt like that was a cop-out instead of addressing his real issue of O.D.D. They had him in classes for developmentally delayed children and he was/is by no means delayed! I set a boundary.

Getting Ready for a New School

I explained to Knight that I did not see him as *special needs. I told him I loved him & would do everything I could to help him, but I would not take up for him to get him out of trouble if he in fact, was guilty. I explained to him the new school I would be enrolling him in was a public school that has a zero tolerance policy for his previous types of behaviors. He said, “whatever”.  I accepted his whatever as a sign of understanding. I knew he heard and  understood what I told him. I also told him that the new school would probably not place him on an easy IEP. His father had said he was going to go to school and ask that one be created, but I knew from experience that the new school treated all children equally. They would test him and decide he was not truly *special. I was grateful I had an entire summer to work with him before he entered into the new school.

Altercations, Defiance & Random Outburst

By week five, I saw several physical altercation attempts between he and his father & a few between he and my boys. None of which were provoked by any reason of means – they just occurred as randomly as part of his need to annoy others.  Here, in random order, is an account of a few:

  • Knight’s father returns home from work. Knight is sitting on the couch playing his Xbox. His father says, “Hey Knight. How was your day?” Knight doesn’t answer. He is ignoring his father. Walking closer to his son, his father asks again. Knight angrily puts down game controller down huffing a loud sigh of disgust. “FINE”, he yells. “It was FINE, OKAY? OH MY GOD!” Not once did he look at his father. He returned to playing his game.  Knight’s father begins to yell back at him about respect, working all day and being happy to come home to him and receiving that reaction from him. (I’ll add that to the list of what didn’t work later.) Knight gets up from the couch. (1)Throws his controller down and wants to escape his father. Knight likes being oppositional and defiant, but detest anyone treating him that way. Knight goes into his bedroom and (2)slams the door. His father follows him. More yelling on both parts.  😦    After all yelling has ceased, both of them are separated. Knight begins (3)kicking and punching the closet door. The door comes out of its track. Falling, it slams into the back wall of the closet.

After about an hour, Knight came to me and asked me to help him.

 He was full of anger and resentment toward his father.

I told him I loved him but that I couldn’t and wouldn’t live in a home with violence. Violence is not love and will never resolve anything. He explained to me that a therapist his mother took him to advised him to destroy things instead of  people when he was mad. He could not see why slamming doors, punching walls, and throwing things was not acceptable. I explained to him that the therapist that told him that was probably correct when Knight was a younger child, but because he is a teenager now (almost a man), he needed to express himself verbally and not with his hands. We had a lengthy conversation about how physical altercations instill fear in people. He said that he felt it was a way of gaining respect. (He was consumed by “respect” yet showed no respect to anyone or anything.) I told him he was gaining my respect until he used his hands to physically display his anger or frustration. I also told him that if he crossed the line at any point with his aggression – he was out. HE asked me what is punishment was going to be. I answered, “I am taking the power cord to your Xbox for 3 days. You can sit on the couch and stare at it, but you can’t make it function for you. I am also taking your phone. I love you and you know I do, but I can’t help you if you don’t try”. He cried. He agreed to keep trying . He apologized to his father, his new brothers, and I. He began working on (and still is working toward) keeping his new promise of limiting or eliminating his physical aggression.

  • On another day, Knight and his new brother’s were hanging out in their room. As mentioned before the place we were living in was a mid-sized city home at the time. They all 3 teenage boys shared a bedroom. I am in my bedroom and it is late. Our rooms share a dividing wall and I hear cussing and foul language through the wall. I don’t know what or who started it.  I also hear, “Dude if you ever ___ I will stab you!” and “You wanna be shanked, dude?”

Threats are not tolerable. When picking battles, this is a one I chose. I quickly removed all knives and sharp objects from the house and locked them up, as though I was child-proofing for a toddler. I called Knight out on the threats. He denied them over and over. We spoke about accepting responsibility for actions and words we speak as I reminded him I heard them with my own ears. He continued to deny his threats. I told him I was disappointed in him. He had just gained his Xbox back and had played it earlier in the day. I took the power cord again. I took his phone and Wi-Fi from him. (He was very upset about that.) He lost these things for 3 days. To get them back he would need to show good behaviors for 3 days consistently.  His father spoke to him (actually more like lectured him) and in the end he promised to stop the threats…or at least try to. My boys came to me and told me they were worried for their safety. I expressed this to Knight’s father and he spoke yet again with Knight. He re-enforced that threats would not be tolerated. Knight was afraid of being shipped off to a disciplinary school and told me he liked living with us. He promised repetitively to end all threats and he made it almost 4 months before another threat slipped off his tongue. This has and still was a work in progress. 🙂

  • We were all sitting around the dinner table having supper. During conversation the subject of my boys’ deceased father was brought up. When the boys felt secure in the company they kept, they would mention him and want to talk about memories. They were becoming more comfortable with Knight. They mentioned how they missed their father and loved him. Knight (who was in a particularly defiant mood that day) began to laugh loudly. 😦 He said “HA!  Death is funny!” I stopped eating and said, “Death is not funny Knight. Haven’t you ever lost someone who you loved before?” He replied, “Yeah, so!?! I don’t care. Death is Funny. Who Cares anyway? It’s stupid.” Knight’s comments were angering my boys who were recovering from PTSD caused by watching their father die – literally. They loved their father and grieved deeply for a long time during their recovery. 😦  I glanced at my boys to reassure them that this was just one of Knight’s attempt to annoy, defy them, and cause dramatic confusion. My reassuring look was not working. Both boys were filled with anger. My oldest stood up and told Knight “he’d better watch what he said or he wouldn’t be responsible for what could happen if he was enraged”.  Knight had fear in his eyes and I could tell he regretted what he had said, but through defiance – couldn’t bring himself to take it back or apologize. I stood up and announced dinner was over. I sent my oldest son to his room to cool down. I told him I’d be in to talk to him soon. My youngest who was giving Knight a look of total disdain was sent to the bedroom also. Knight jumped up from the table and yelled, “Do it man! Come on. Hit me. I dare you.” He knocked over the chair he was sitting in and said, “I don’t need this. I don’t need you. I’m running away!” He did. He ran out the front door. I went to the boys in their bedroom who were crying. I hugged them, reassured them they are entitled to miss their father and reminded them that Knight is still testing his limits with us. I asked them to bear with me because I was not giving Knight what he wanted. He would not provoke a response from me. I was not giving in or giving up. They told me they loved me. Then, I went out to search for Knight. I didn’t see him in the neighborhood. I drove to the ball field. I didn’t see him. It was getting dark. I called Knight’s mother. She said she would speak with Knight. I called Knight’s father. He said he would speak to Knight and not to worry about it, advising me Knight would be back very soon – he wouldn’t go far.  😦

Knight’s father was correct. He came back within the hour. He knocked on my bedroom door and apologized for his outburst. He said he didn’t know what made him do it or why he had said what he did. I told me he was jealous of my boys’ love for one another and their relationship. He told me he was jealous of how everyone loved each other in our family and that he wanted that. I reminded him that I loved him and that I had already welcomed him into our family. The invitation had been given and he had a choice to take it or not. He said he felt as though he was being treated differently. I promised him that he would be treated equal and reminded him that included following the same rules and requests that the other boys followed daily. Knight’s father lectured him for his actions. Knight’s mother lectured him for his actions. I continued to love him in spite of his actions, so I punished him…again.

Consistency: 3 days of No Phone, No Wi-Fi, No computer, his Xbox was available (all cords this time) – but with No controller, No more outings with me (which he enjoyed), & he had to spend 2 days with his father. He assumed these things were all punishments, but really it was a re-connection time for he and his father.

There is Hope

Of course there have been many other outburst and acts of aggression than these alone. There is no need to write about all of them. The point of this article is to give hope to those parents out there who may be dealing with a child or teen who exhibits O.D.D symptoms and behaviors. We have lived through them all. Encountered them all. Survived them all. Hope comes from knowing that these types of actions and behaviors only very rarely occur now (a year later).

The key for us during this stage (only 5 weeks into Oppositional Defiance Disorder) had been:

  1. Maintaining open dialog
  2. Pointing out annoying behaviors
  3. Bringing lies to Knight’s attention (Taking Ownership of his Words & Actions)
  4. Structure in his daily life
  5. Consistency in discipline

Please stay tuned for Part 5 to come soon.

Oppositional Defiance Disorder – It’s Someone Else’s Fault

Part 3 (If you need to catch up,  you can read part 2 and part 1 in this series.)

Let’s Build Something

Please keep in mind that working with a child that has ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder) is like building a pyramid. While you are laying a foundation, you must keep working on the original cornerstone pieces as you continue to move forward – continuing to work on the next piece. If you neglect one of the cornerstones you’ve laid out before, your entire structure will tumble-down.  So remember as you read through these articles that each week we added 1 new item to work on as we continued to work on the previous things.

Three weeks into this new ODD journey, We had addressed open dialog and bringing annoying behaviors to Knight’s attention in a constructive way so we didn’t sound like we were all against him. On our third week we met an old friend, “Someone Else”.

Someone Else Did It!

No one in our house likes “Someone Else”. “Someone Else” was the most annoying member of the entire family unit. “Someone Else” kept adjusting the thermostat on the heating/air unit. He was always causing drama, defying the rules, and challenging authority. “Someone Else” was a huge nuisance! He was always making messes that everyone else was blamed for. 😦

Taking ownership of our actions and telling the truth are basic fundamentals that we teach our children soon after they begin toddling around and speaking. As parents we emphasis this more so once our children begin to intermingle with other children (Daycare, Pre-School or Kindergarten). It’s a continual thing that we all work on and hope we succeed at once our children have become adults.  I would be a hypocrite if I claimed that my boys were perfect at this when Knight came to live with us. They have and always will be (like everyone else’s children) a work in progress.

Children/teenagers with ODD have an exceptional case of  “Someone Else” though. They deny ownership of issues and actions so much that their reality becomes their lies and denial. After a time, they don’t realize their own lies. It becomes second nature and they incorporate it into who they are (their identity).

I spoke to Knight about the lies I noticed him telling. He denied them. He denied everything he did, everything he said, and everything he was caught in the act of doing. His responses were, “I didn’t do it. Someone else did.” 😦   He lied because he said he thought it was funny. He said he lied to be cool, to be accepted, to make himself feel better, and to annoy people. He said he lied so much even he was unsure how to stop. I offered to bring his lies to his attention as he was in the act of doing so, if it would help. He agreed. Once again, I found myself in a position where I was going to have to call out a negative trait to bring his denial into reality for Knight.

I wanted positivity to focus on though, so I had to search pretty hard. I prayed about it and the Lord planted the answer in my heart. I knew I had to pick my battles and not overwhelm him, but I had forgotten how awesome celebrating small feats with verbal rewards could be! Picking my battles meant that I could not expect him to follow the house rules just yet and I had to look the other way in many situations. My only exception to this was in the event of harmful or abusive threats or behaviors. Those I had to stop immediately. As for the putting the lid back on the toothpaste – that would wait. We celebrated an avoided argument, a door being shut instead of slammed, laughter & smiles, admitting faults, or owning up to truths, talking to his mother on the phone without yelling, speaking to his father without running away or raising his hands to hit. (I’m not saying these things didn’t happen. I am just saying that when a day went by without them happening – we celebrated ) 🙂

Make Every Day a Good Day

Every day we had, no matter how bad it began or ended was “A Good Day”. A good day for a child/teen with ODD may look like the worst possible day for any other child, but if you don’t celebrate even the smallest accomplishments, progress could begin to slide backwards. At the end of the day, I would congratulate Knight on a job well done and tell him it was a good day. At first, he looked at me puzzled (because he was becoming more aware of his behavior and lies). I would tell him that everyday is a good day because I won’t give up on you and you are trying 🙂 The first few days he heard this, he blew me off and went to bed thinking I was crazy. After the first week of hearing this, he began to believe it with me. He also began to look forward to hearing it before bedtime.

On the third week, I purposefully neglected to tell him it was a good day. He came to me and asked me if it was a good day. I answered: Yes honey, everyday is a good day… and he finished my sentence “as long as I try?”  🙂

Believe it or not he was getting better – still very very difficult to live with and be around, but he was healing!

So at this point, I had three major things I was focusing on:

  • Maintaining open dialog
  • Pointing out annoying behaviors
  • Bringing lies to Knight’s attention

To maintain fairness, I shared my plans with my other two boys so they would not feel as though they were being treated unfairly. They know me and their limits and I wanted them to be involved in Knight’s progress plan also. I never shared explicit details, just the basics and kept the conversations Knight and I had only between him, his father and I. My boys were happy to be included because they were feeling they were being treated unfairly.

If you have other children in the home, I would suggest sharing your progress plans with them also (if you feel it appropriate) so your family can grow stronger during this process and not drift apart.

Living with O.D.D

Part 1

The definition of  ODD:

[Oppositional Defiance Disorder]: a child or teenager exhibiting a persistent, regular (occurring multiple times a day over a period lasting more than 6 months) pattern of  random outburst tantrums, argumentative with everyone over anything and everything in a raised voice, angry, hostile, and aggressive behavior toward all authoritative figures, spewing negativity in all forms, completely defiant, disobedient, refusing to comply with requests, purposely annoying others, provoking others, blames everyone for his/her mistakes or misbehavior, acts touchy and is annoyed easily by others, feels much anger and resentment, is spiteful & vindictive, has difficulty maintaining friendships, feels socially unaccepted, acts aggressively toward peers, has academic problems, and most importantly – has a serious lack of self-esteem. A child/teenager with ODD is deliberately destructive to other people’s property, lies often about big and little things, has tendencies and desires to steal from people they know and do not know often – shoplifting, feel entitled to the objects they steal and will justify their actions when confronted about the theft, will often break curfew, skip school, has run away from home (or attempted to or talks about it), may experiment with drugs and sex at a young age, and engages in physical fights often in public – school – home (attacking parents), threatens or attempts suicide.

Diagnosis:

What leads a professional to diagnosis this disorder is the severity and length of time the child has demonstrated these signs. Let’s face it, what child hasn’t shown some or all of these traits during their childhood? Many people see a child in this description as a troubled teen.  Most people will say all children have and they would be justified in saying so. These behaviors are normal for all children at different stages in their youth. But what makes ODD significant is the length of time and the severity of these behaviors.

The significant difference in this disorder and normal youth disobedience is that the child/teenager’s behaviors affect not just themselves and their parents, but also their peers, teachers, friends, grand parents, church members, and everyone that comes in contact with them in public – everyday over an extended period of 6 months to several years. Many people interviewed have stated that they can not stand to be around a child with ODD even though they love them and want to see them recover. Some people have even gone so far as to have said that they hate their child with this disorder. They feel as though they have failed miserably as a parent and some parents, sadly… simply give up 😦  A child with this behavior disorder is not uneducated or of low intelligence. Actually the opposite is true. I have discovered that this disorder is driven through high intelligence in a child with a serious lack of self-esteem.

What causes ODD?

Oppositional Defiance Disorder affects only a very small number of children/teenagers and often times it exists in a co-morbid state with another physiological disorder such as ADD/ADHD, Bipolar disorder, sleep disorders, and depression/ anxiety.

Professionals have also linked the onset of ODD to a lack of supervision, lax – inconsistent,  or  harsh parenting (harsh discipline), abuse, neglect, an imbalance of serotonin in the brain, a strained family environment (a lot of arguing, yelling, and marital separations/divorce), and developmental delays in brain development. ODD is considered more of a “personality disorder” really and if addressed early enough can be corrected before a child reaches the teenager years. If treatment for ODD has not begun until the teenage years, there is still hope, but the treatment period may be a more lengthy and need much more time and effort.

I understand how you feel!

It’s very common for a parent with an ODD child to feel like a failure. They feel as though they are at the end of their rope, can’t take it anymore, and often feel like giving up.  And the saddest part is…some parents do give up. Some parents say they hate their children and they hear other people tell them they hate to be around the child also. Many of these children will end up out of the home on their own at an early age, in juvenile, or being packed off to live with someone else.  As a parent you will hear debasing comments from the child with ODD often. Please don’t allow the harsh things you hear from your child “stick” in your mind. Many times, these children don’t mean what they blurt out in an episode anyway.

It’s a challenge. You’ll cry because they have insulted you, lose your temper also from time to time, and want to react to the child in the same way they are acting toward you. You are not a failure though. Youth with Oppositional Defiance Disorder will use anything they can think of to hurt you and enjoy causing a rift in your marriage or home between all family members. If they know you have a weakness, they will exploit it. I promise you though, your child is not the spawn of evil and there is hope!  We must maintain our composure and when you implement a behavior  modification plan, you’ll be the one in control of this seemingly disrespected and destructive child.

What do I do?

If you think that you have a child that fits this description, behavior modification is the best and most effective approach. Therapy is helpful also (according to articles on-line.) Some professionals recommend a cocktail of medications, but there are many resources available to help parents that feel as though they have reached the end of their rope that will not have any medical side effects as such medications can/may/do have.

In the next few articles, I will share with you our journey through raising a teenager with Oppositional Defiance Disorder and the things that have worked for us and the things that have failed miserably. We are 1 year into this journey and have made huge massive amazing large life changing significant progress that I hope will bring hope to other parents or authority figures out there that are dealing with this commonly undiagnosed disorder.

Here are some on-line resources for further reading:

What Are You Looking At?

Yesterday, after school, we attended a football parent meeting. It was a mandatory meeting for all players in all grades of the High School and was very informative. Since we have 3 boys attending (1 played last year & 2 will play in the Fall) we never thought a thing about attending.

It was a good meeting – very informative. I’m new to this whole kid playing sports thing because X & Z never played any sports in the past, but Y who came to live with us a year ago has played sports his whole life. All I knew of sports from last season was the endless shuttling of kids from one place to the next, sitting in the stands and washing uniforms. Y moved in with us in the spring and just joined right in with the existing football team, so we missed any and all parental information meetings last season. Shoot, we never received any communications from the coaches or anyone else except Y. This year is different.

Anyway, after the meeting was a “cook out” which consisted of hot dogs wrapped in aluminum foil, tiny bags of chips, water, and cookies. There was no seating, so we all just stood around and ate off paper plates and looked around at the other people, kids, coaches, etc. interacting or just standing around like we were.

I noticed several “clicks” or grouping of people who must have known each other from the previous years. My husband hasn’t lived here long, so knew no one really, but I have lived here my whole life. I went to this school. I saw a few people who I knew. And surprisingly something happened.

Memories!

Since hitting my head a while back and losing a ton of memories, I get super happy when some return! They were pretty happy memories too. I remembered the wings/halls of the school (which classes were where) and began to remember some happy, funny, or eventful events that occurred 🙂

I guess I was kind of zoning out after a few minutes because I suddenly realized my husband was talking to me. Listening intently, I tried to catch up on his conversation when I noticed over his shoulder that a group of women standing behind him were staring at us. There were 4 women in this group. The one in the front was covering her mouth and she spoke to the other ladies as she cut her eyes toward us. At several times our eyes met and locked on each other as she continued to talk to the other ladies. She would slant her eyes our way, nod in our direction and point with her elbow. Basically, she did everything except point a finger at us.

I looked back at my husband who thought I was upset about something and was refusing to look at him as he spoke to me. He walked away from me for a minute. I looked him over to see if he had toilet paper stuck to the bottom of his shoe or his fly was open. Nope. Nothing there to see. I found no reason they’d be staring at him, so I examined myself. I’m always dressed modestly, so I had no body parts playing peek-a-boo, no spilled ketchup running down my shirt, nothing on my face, and my hair wasn’t sticking up in an odd Something About Mary way.

My husband came back to where I stood and we spoke for a little longer. I glanced over his should a few more times and then it hit me! Bad memories…Not my memories though. I thought about the horrible stories about kids making fun of other kids, bullying and such 😦 I’ll admit that when I was in school I had my fair share of insecurities, but I was never bullied at this school over them. In fact, at this school, every kid is just…a kid. There were a few small “clicks”, but not very many and even the people in those groups were nice to the other kids. It really is a great school as far as that goes. Everyone is accepted.

I tried to tell myself that I was inventing something that wasn’t there. But…I just couldn’t shake the feeling that there truly was 😦

It was at that time that I lost my temper and knew that I needed to exit the facility in order not to embarrass my children. Afterall, X is going into his senior year and I don’t want to ruin that for him. You see, when I lose my temper (which is an extremely very rare occasion), people part from me like the parting of the Red Sea. I am not very pretty when I blow up which is why I have managed my anger very well through behavior modification. I pray and leave the situation quickly.

After much prayer last night, I found peace. I’ve decided that I will be seeing these women on a regular basis now and that I need to at least find out their names. As the school year goes along, I will also find out why they were staring at us also. I’m just blunt like that 🙂

PTSD Flare ups

PTSD flare ups are terrible, but I’m dealing with it. My son is dealing with it in a different way. Tomorrow will be his hardest day. This whole week has been my hardest. Sometimes, when a person thinks they’ve made huge leaps and strides in progress, there are still flare ups. Someone with PTSD knows they have come a long way in their progress if they can talk about it. It doesn’t mean the event is not as traumatic, but it does mean the brain has accepted a new neurological path to deal with it. The new path could be better or worse.

What can trigger a flare up?

It could be the weather. 2 years ago today, it was raining on this same day, Oct 19th.

It could be a song on the radio that was playing, or something on TV, a smell, or anything really.

What occurs during a flare up?

Many of the same emotions associated with the traumatic event are experienced again in the mind.

Mine is anger.

What does a person with PTSD do during a flare up?

Each person experiences PTSD in different ways. Therefore each persons reaction during a flare up could vary drastically.

I close the door on the world, crawl into bed with my boys, & just exist. That worked in the past, but now that they are older, it’s not cool to huddle round mom. I’m supposed to huddle round them. So…I will. I think I’ll take my anger out on the zombies in their video games.

Why experience anger? Why not depression or sadness?

Anger is an emotion that can be released during a sense of loss, hopelessness, helplessness, or could be a reaction to others misunderstanding of the circumstance.

I am going to lay my anger out in hopes that it may benefit someone else dealing with PTSD. Dealing with anger is healthy. Facing it head on is better. Holding it back, repressing it, or just rushing it to the back of your mind is what becomes detrimental to your health. What you read below I’ve undergone therapy for and do not have the rage now that I once did. This is the “I’m just angry/miffed” version with ALL rage behind me now (thank God).

I’m angry at the surgeon for removing a large unidentified mass from Nick’s body in June 2009 during a simple umbilical hernia surgery…and NOT telling us about it.

I’m angry because that @ss could have biopsied the mass THEN, but DIDN’T tell us about removing it, that it was present or that he listed in the medical chart it had to be cut out from its existing mass.

I’m angry because this surgeon, Dr Kent, was so highly recommended by our primary care Dr (which I love and trust deeply) was a Jerk-off when he told us Nick had cancer.

I’m angry because that sh1t face little man couldn’t face us with dignity and break the news to us….he processed us like just another number. “Hello Mr. & Mrs. Bruner. How ya’? Test results are back and yeah…you have cancer. Sorry ’bout that.”

I’m angry that I worried about my job so badly, I organized family to come from miles away to sit with him a few hours a day so I could work. It was at his request, but still…I am angry about it!

I’m angry that I worked long hours and extra days for too long and lost so such of the small amount of time I had with him.

I’m angry that I had enough dumb luck to reach a brand new employee at Knoxville 911 when I called for help!

I’m angry that the new employee said, “Ma’am if you want me to help you, you are going to have to go somewhere quiet so I can hear you.”  I yelled back, “THAT’S HIM! HE’S MAKING THAT NOISE! HE’S TRYING TO BREATH! PLEASE HELP ME!”

I’m angry that the untrained employee at Knoxville 911 couldn’t help me because he was looking up a script to read to me.

I’m angry I had to say my address 20 times and then finally throw the phone to my oldest son. “Talk to this idiot“, I said.

I’m angry this affected my oldest son. I’m angry he had to help me lower his father to the floor so I could do CPR.

I’m angry because the fine outstanding folks at Rural/Metro Of East Tennessee took over 30 minutes to show up.

I’m angry that when they finally made their appearance, they drug their feet, moved slowly, and didn’t even attempt to resuscitate Nick for 10 minutes after they got here.

I’m angry that they had no professionalism in the least!

I’m angry that the “investigation” of the incident by Rural/Metro Of East Tennessee was swept under the rug and dropped with no answers, no replies, nothing.

I’m angry that my children cleaned up the materials left behind by the Rural/Metro Of East Tennessee workers. Why did my children have to touch needles? I don’t remember what I was doing when they cleaned all that up or where I was.

I’m angry that the employees from Rural/Metro Of East Tennessee that were in my home, drug Nick on the floor by his feet. I’m angry that they strapped him on a gurney,  took him out the door, loaded him in the ambulance and did not answer my question UNTIL I smacked one of them on the back of the head. “Where are you takings my husband?”

I’m angry that the stupid chaplain at St. Mary’s Hospital wouldn’t GO AWAY. I told him nicely I knew his job, had performed it before myself, but that it would be better if he just left me alone. He followed me, followed me, followed me….until I screamed “I’M NOT CATHOLIC. GO AWAY LITTLE MAN!”  That, I have always felt bad for. I know he just wanted to help, but I asked him several times to just leave me be 😦

I’m angry that I still carry this anger!!!!

I share this, my anger associated with my PTSD, with you bravely.  I am on a recovery track. Talking about what traumatized the victim is part 1. If you are experiencing PTSD, don’t be afraid to talk about it. It’s all part of PTSD flare ups.

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