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Avatar universal

Disrespectful 9 year old

I have two children, (a nine year old boy and a 3 year old girl). My children have 2 different dad's and my son's dad died when my son was 1 1/2. My daughter's dad and I split up last July. He stepped up and assumed the role of dad to my 9 year old. Since about Septemeber/October he has almost completely backed out of my son's life and rarely talks to him. My 9 year old has been suspended from school 7 times this year. He has the potential to be a great kid, but he has developed a sense of not having to listen to any authority figure. He feels like he can do whatever he wants whenever he wants and the consequences don't matter too much to him. He has an uncle with a 3 page rap sheet that he seems to idolize and I try to keep him away from that uncle. His grandma on his real dad's side of the family lets him get away with everything and his punishment while he is with her is being sent home. I have tried counseling and every punishment I could think of. I even went so far as to buy the Total Transformation Program which seems to work occasionally. I can't enforce my rules when he is with his grandparents while I am at work. I have told them what to do when he gets in trouble, but they don't follow through and then tell me that I have to do something with him because he won't listen to them either. I am at my wits end and looking for some advice on what else I could possibly try to straighten him out. It's pointless trying to talk to his step-dad because he won't listen to me and doesn't realize how much he has hurt my son. I don't think my son fully understands why he is feeling the way he is either, but he's basically been abandoned by the only dad he really knew. If anyone knows of anything I could possibly try to maybe help him understand his feelings and a better way of handling them and start listening.
34 Responses
189897 tn?1441126518
    Ya, its pretty obvious that you won't be getting help from the relatives.  The school however is a different matter.  He has been suspended 7 times.  Pretty impressive for a 9 year old (and I was an elementary school principal), so has the school done any thing besides suspend him to help him or figure out what his problem might be?  Actually, what state are you in?   The symptoms you have mentioned are classic ADHD.  If he has that the normal stuff doesn't work, but there is a lot of things that can work.  I have been posting on the ADHD forum for the last 4 years and do have some suggestions.  But, of course, gotta figure out whats going on.
   All of the family stuff you have mentioned is a contributing factor, but its (I don't think necessary) the cause.  So what has the school said?  Also, what is really important - what does his classroom teacher say.  Is he ok in that class and suspended for things outside of the class?  What are some of the things he has been suspended for?  Hopefully, I can help.  
Avatar universal
    To start the school calls me when he gets in trouble. The teacher has secluded him in the classroom by placing his desk in the front of the class right up against the white board. He even at one point put an X on the board for my son to stare at. Then I found out and talked to the teacher. He erased the X before I got there and then his desk was placed in the back far corner of the classroom facing the opposite direction of the class. He gets in trouble both in the class and outside of it as well. They keep asking me what I am doing at home with him and how he acts at home with me. They haven't done much to figure out anything thats wrong with him. I haven't had him tested for ADHD because I am afraid if he does have it then he will be put on meds and he won't be normal. He has played football and baseball for the past 4 years, this being his 5th year in each one and he excels in both. He is going to All Stars in baseball this year.
We live in California. The school he goes to now doesn't give detention and I have seen pretty much no homework this year. When I asked the teacher about it because I was concerned, he said that he didn't like giving homework and would rather teach the children himself. My son had been suspended in previous years, but never 7 times. The things he has been suspended for this year are repeating something that a little girl told him about another little girl (something about a sex pill, which he had no idea what that even was), not standing on the line when told to do so, mimicking a dance move from a music video,etc. When I have talked to the teacher he said that he knows my son is smart, but is more interested in making friends and being social than his schoolwork. I have asked the teacher for extra work or if I could take a book home to get my son to do the work and he has watched me take the book out of the class, then 2 days later I get a phone call from my son while he's at school telling me he needs the book back and the teacher said I was never suppose to take it home. Half the time I believe what he says about the teacher and half the time I don't because he lies a lot.
189897 tn?1441126518
  I just want you to know I am not ignoring you.  I spent most of the night answering this post - http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Child-Behavior/10yo-boy-not-sure-whats-going-on-anymore/show/1531336
  You might want to check it out since it is about a 10 year old.
  I'll try and get back to you tomorrow, but its midnight now and I'm tired.
189897 tn?1441126518
    Grrrrrrrr, can't stand teachers like that.  Its so old school and doesn't help the child one bit.  You think that the teacher would figure out that if isolating the kid isn't  solving the problem, then perhaps the problem is something that the child has no control over.
   By the way, I assume your son is in 3rd grade?  When is his birthday?  Sometimes being the youngest kid in the class is part of the problem.
   Obviously, I can't make a diagnosis on this forum.  And frankly, there is still more information I would need.  I will say that all of the signs point to ADHD.  You HAVE to find out if this is true.  If it is true, then there are all kinds off ways to get him help at home and school.  (meds don't have to be one of them).  It would also explain why nothing the school has tried or you have tried has worked.
    Your statement that you, "I haven't had him tested for ADHD because I am afraid if he does have it then he will be put on meds and he won't be normal."  Is wrong on every count.  First, any med choice is always yours and no one elses.  You cannot be forced to put him on meds.  Second, if anything, the meds could (if done correctly)  make him more  normal - not the reverse.  But more importantly if he does have ADHD, either you or the school can develop an IEP or a 504 plan so that he can get help.  It also means his new teacher can't pull off the BS treatment he was getting from this years teacher.
    I don't know where you have been getting your information on ADHD, but you obviously need a lot more.  I highly suggest you order the book, "The ADD/ ADHD Answer book," by Susan Ashley.   It not only will give you a better feeling for if he may have ADHD, it also will tell you how to work with the school to get him tested.  And it has great ideas on doing homework, etc.  If you check out the forum post I noted above - down at the bottom of that long post are two web sites where you can get a lot of information (look for the space between paragraphs, its just above that).
    Finally, your initial question was, "If anyone knows of anything I could possibly try to maybe help him understand his feelings and a better way of handling them and start listening."   The problem with kids with ADHD is that they have no filters.  They do have feelings.  They do feel bad when they do things wrong.  Its just that they don't yet have the maturity to control their actions.  However as they get older and start gaining this maturity, a lot of damage has been done to them.  Their frustration and anxiety levels go way up.  Of course, they start having more and more problems in school which also labels them, and the list just keeps compounding.    You are really at a point where you need to figure out what is going on.  Hopefully, the resources I have recommended will help you do that.  If you have any questions, please post.  I will watch this discussion.  And I do check all the posts over on the ADHD forum.  Best wishes.
Avatar universal
I really appreciate everything you have said. I actually set up an appointment for my son to go to the doctor and I am going to talk to them about ADD/ADHD and get him tested because I would really love to see him succeed. He is a different kid when he is at home with me for the most part as compared to being at his grandparents house. He seems to listen a little more and cooperate without such an attitude and it's not because he gets away with murder with me, but I tell him how it is or what I want done and he seems to understand a little better now that if he doesn't do what he is suppose to at home then there are consequences for it.
Although more recently he has started to show a little jealousy about his sister and actually told me he thinks I love her more than him, but we talked about it and I told him that I love them both.
Avatar universal
Also to answer your question about him being in the 3rd grade, he is not. He is in the 4th grade about to be out for summer break and then start 5th grade in the fall. His birthday is in October so it falls just a little bit before the age cutoff. So he is usually one of youngest in his class.
Avatar universal
If he did not have issues before his dad abandoned him, I would not jump on the adhd bandwagon. What concerns me is this is extremely popular right now, putting labels on kids and giving them powerful medications. His brain has not even developed yet and these drugs do mess with the brain.
189897 tn?1441126518
     Contrary to what bbxx said, you are not jumping on the ADHD bandwagon.  You are trying to find out what his causing his problems.  Once you know what is going on with your son, then its possible to accurately deal with the problem.  If it is something like ADHD, a lot can be done without using medication if you have the right resources.
    I will say that your son is very young.  In fact, California recently changed the law making the cutoff for Kindergarten to Sept.  Chances are he will always be one of the youngest kids in his class.  Fortunately, he is intelligent, but the faster physical maturation of the other kids could effect his self esteem, so keep that in mind.  He will struggle with the age problem until it all evens out somewhere in high school or college.    
   Do get the book I mentioned and particularly look at the section on 504's.  You don't want a teacher pulling the BS the his last teacher did.  A well written 504 will help prevent this.
Avatar universal
I did not say she WAS jumping on the adhd bandwagon, I was suggesting she NOT jump on it. I stand by my advice. :)
973741 tn?1342342773
I applaud parents that do their best to find out what they need to do to help their children.  

There is no bandwagon for adhd in my opinion.  It is a diagnosis given after criteria are met.  I do not believe in medicating children right out of the gate but at times it is essential to help a child 'feel' better.  Medication when their is a true diagnosis of adhd/add stabilizes the brain so that a person/child can function.  Your fear of him not being normal on medication is contrary to the fact that if his physician feels it will help him------ it may actually be what he needs to feel normal.  Certainly beats sitting by himself in isolation.  This has a grave social impact on a child and whatever you need to do to help him at this point, would be important.  

I am pro kid and at times, doing the hard thing of identifying WHY things are going a certain way in their life is what needs to be done.  You are at that point.  He could find the work difficult and hence, acting out is his alternative to doing it.  He could be having emotional issues from the issue with his father.  He could have the diagnostic criteria for adhd.  But I think you really have to find out and not be opposed to any outcome.  Remaining open minded will help you deal with whatever is going on in an effective manner to best help your son.  I say this as a mother of a child with a developmental delay called sensory integration disorder which can make things like sitting in a classroom a nightmare.  But I know why it is hard for him.  And that knowing why allows me to figure out what to do about it.  So, you need to find out why and not be afraid of it.  

I went through a period of feeling fearful of a diagnosis and fought it a good deal.  Our year of "limbo".  I did no benefit to my son during that year.  When I accepted it and took steps to help him----------- things got so much better.  So, I just tell you this to give you hope that no matter what the outcomes of evaluations might be---------  it will be helpful to get some answers.  

The book sandman mentions is good--------  please look into it.  Another avenue to make sure you are taking with your son is in the area of physical activity.  You list the sports------- this is excellent.  My son has sensory integration disorder and we spend much time doing what they call "heavy work".  Every day your boy should be doing something.  We swim a lot which is that combination of heavy muscle work and deep pressure that is very calming to the nervous system.  We recently went rock climbing at an indoor facility.  We jump on trampolines.  We do obstacle courses.  Even the monkey bars several times has a calming effect.  So do a LOT of that!

Also, some of what you describe sounds like "class clown" stuff which is a known cover for a child that is struggling.  It is a coping mechanism.  How does your son do with fine motor activities? He also seems to lack impulse inhibition which is troublesome in school!  I go back to uncovering the why it is going on.  

I do wish you lots of luck and offer support as another mother who has an "out of the box" kid!  I wouldn't change my boy---------- love him dearly.  I'm sure you love yours just the same.  We just have to help them---------  and that is what is about.  Helping THEM feel better.  Peace.
Avatar universal
Please be advised that the medications may help your son, and also they may help him temporarily, but you need to understand the drugs do alter the chemistry in the brain and sometimes there are terrible results, and sometimes the changes are permanent. There are a lot unknowns when it comes to the brain, not to mention a developing brain. All of us here can offer  you our advice, but that is really all it is. We each have had our own experiences that play a roll in the advice we give. If you are considering any meds, research them yourself, and I dont mean by reading the paper the doctor gives you. Research them online, and dont forget to research long term use, withdrawal, and also look and listend to the groups that are warning you against them. If after all that you are convinced its the best thing, then you have done your best. :)
973741 tn?1342342773
Yes, all offer their advice based on experience or in my case as well as educational and professional background (if they have it).  It is true that these medications alter chemicals in the brain------- um, that is the point of them.  That is why they work.

I don't advocate that people go straight to medication but am not a fan of scaring people who find that their child requires it.  That's all.  

All should definitely do their own homework and research all options.

For the original poster, a full and comprehensive evaluation is your first step.  If you go through your local public school system, I would recommend asking for the full gamut of testing--------  all areas.  Speech, occupational therapist, and psychological testing.  In many states, you can only evaluate once every three years-----------  so you would want to cover all of your basis.  

If you go private in terms of seeking evaluations and treatment, I'd be sure to choose a psychologist (PhD only) who specializes in children or a psychiatrist that specializes in children.  

Bottom line is helping our kids.

Avatar universal
I agree helping is what we want. Degrees do not make the person all knowing or honest. I realize you are offended by my advice here, and my intent is not to offend those of  you who feel you have the answers. My intent is to let parents know there are people being hurt by these powerful brain altering drugs, and they need to at least hear the other side to these things bing popped like candy.
973741 tn?1342342773
I am not offended by your advice.  But I do think it is insensitive to a family that is trying to understand their child.  Reference to jumping on an add/adhd bandwagon probably came across differently than you intended.  

I do not have a child with add/adhd but feel bad for those who read a post like this one.  

If a child is indeed diagnosed with add/adhd, there is a variety of things that can and should be done to help them.  Sometimes medication is necessary.  

I also don't have an agenda.

So, back to the poster.  My sincere hope is that no matter what means it takes, that you are able help your son.  Try the 'heavy work' activities I talked about as I've seen a true calming effect in my own child with them.  good luck
973741 tn?1342342773
Oh, and my disclaimer-----------  all posts made by myself are only my opinion and nothing but my opinion.  
Avatar universal
I guess we will have to agree to disagree here. I was not being insensitive to a family. I dont think labeling and drugging her kid is the answer in this situation.
People are failing to see the obvious here. The kid is hurting and angry. If she takes him to a (therapist) or whatever, they will say (yes, he has adhd, let the experiments begin) He is a boy with a mom who  loves him and is trying to do the right thing, but she has to work and is exhausted. The family sounds like a fine mix of issues, so the mom is basically alone in this. The kid is really hurting and angry that his father has abandoned him. He is going to act out. Its not a disease, it is the result of his abandonment and he is being rebellious because of it. Sandman says in the very first post he made that the kid had classic adhd symtpoms. Sandman is not a doctor and sandman in my opinon has made a dangerous assumption. Many parents are so desperate for their dysfunctional family life to have some peace, that they are willing to try anything including labeling and drugging their kid, and when they are truly trying their best and not in a hurry to do this, the schools and therapists are in a hurry to convince them this is the answer.  Also, many people on here will see someone as yellow stars next to their name and some people are not mature enough to realize that we all have yellow stars whenever we answer lots of questions, but it does not mean we know the answers we are giving.
I hate, HATE these mind altering drugs. They are used FAR too often. If sandman was a doctor, look how quickly he said "classic symptoms of adhd". Chest pain is a classic symptom of heart attack but it does not mean you had one. You have to look at the whole picture.
I am not opposed to people giving their kids meds that NEED them, which should be very few children.
I do want people to know if they are going to give them meds, they need to know they have very real risks.

973741 tn?1342342773
I am under the assumption that most parents really would prefer NOT to use medication.  A few out there may be looking for a chemical babysitter or the ability to claim disability on their child-----------  but the vast majority of parents I come across in real life aren't thrilled with the idea of medicating their beloved child.  I know I wouldn't be.  

While I do agree that diagnosing of add/adhd was all the 'rage' a few years ago------ things in the mental health community have shifted slightly.  There is now a stigmatization to the diagnosis in which parents are made to feel like maybe it doesn't even exist and they are wrong for seeking full treatment that may or may not require medication.  

Brain chemistry is something important to understand. The reason why, for example, someone has depression of a clinical nature is because their brain chemistry is out of whack.  This is studied, documented . . . there are even pictures of what a brain of someone depressed looks like verses someone who is not.  What medication does in that instance is to right the chemistry.  It does alter the brain but back to the way it should be.  For years there was a stigma to taking antidepressants and it really hindered the treatment of those clinically depressed.  Not all required medication but to get better, many certainly did.  I'm thankful that while it still exists, the stigma is lessening in that regard so that people can get the help they need without public scrutiny.  

All medication have risks and I do not think all kids who are medicated should be.  I don't think it is the first line of handling children and would try other things first.  

Bringing to the attention classic symptoms of a known disorder is not jumping to something.  It means that you should look into that to rule it out or work on it if that is the problem.  Not sure why you would be opposed to that.  And Sandman has worked with kids for a few decades.  He has wonderful insight for families and actually is one of the good guys here for being pro kid and wanting to help them.  

There are those here that are vehemently against medication and I respect them and understand where they are coming from (and remember, I am not PRO medication and see it as a painful choice families have to make at times).  I like how they say what they have to say and also offer something positive that a family CAN do.  
Avatar universal

The whole issue of brain chemical imbalance is not able to be proven.
I have had meetings with psychiatrists about this very thing, and THEY will admit that. They can not prove it.
There are psychiatrists out there in their own words admitting to the fact we really do NOT know what will happen to all these kids down the road. There are those admitting that no one can be certain how a brain altering medication will affect their child.
There are children placed on these drugs, only to start displaying bizarre behavior as  a result of the drug, and then doctors will often try to ad another drug to cover up that effect.
This is reality.
Sorry, but  I have worked with children for many years as well, and I dont agree with sandman.
FYI-one of the classic symptoms of adhd is a child having no respect for authority. Its also a classic symptom of sin, but no doubt you dont believe in sin and consequences.
I will continue to warn parents, and you can continue to do what you will. THis discussion has gone as far as it can go.
Avatar universal
I just got your message. lol It seems we are playing message tag.
I will bow out of this conversation, I have said all I wanted to.
I have no hard feelings towards you or anyone for that matter.
Based on my experience and research I have my own opinions, and based on your experience you have your opinons. Its ok for us to not agree and I dont mind you having the last word. lol
Anyway---you dont know me, nor I you, but as a fellow human being, I mean no disrespect. :)
973741 tn?1342342773
I'm bowing out too but . . . the brain chemistry connection was proven long ago.  Sorry but I had to . . .
Avatar universal
Ugh, you are relentless. lol Please pm me with link to prove that they can measure the chemical imbalances in the brain, and how they measure it.  I would love to see this research.
189897 tn?1441126518
   Two fairly complete references.  The first by the Arizona Supreme court
http://www.supreme.state.az.us/casa/prepare/adhd.html   -  also check out their section on Pharmacological Treatments.
    The second is from the University of Arizona and is one of the more complete reports I have seen - almost too much info  -  
         http://www.healing-arts.org/children/ADHD/#Neurobiological  -  See the section on  Neurobiological Theories: Pathophysiological Views   and more specific info here  http://www.healing-arts.org/children/ADHD/mri-imaging.htm
Avatar universal
So far not seeing the proof.
There are organizations also in opposition to the psychiatric industry and pharma. I trust them. I have my own reasons why.  I have my experiences and you have yours.
I guess we will just agree have to disagree. Its ok.
No hard feelings. :)
973741 tn?1342342773
What I love about Sandman and why I find his posts so valuable is because they are well rounded with concrete things meant to help posters and their families.   He has great ideas of actually what a family CAN do to help.  Ideas on many levels with not one single agenda that he speaks of.  I love those without an agenda that take each post individually and really put thought into what they have to offer.  Several here at med help do that and I really want to thank them.  I know, for example, that Margypops is antimedication but does not just post that.  Instead, she also offers other ideas for a family.  I think that is great and appreciate it.

I've been on the side of as a mother trying to figure out what is going on with my child.  It can be difficult and having good ideas from other knowledgable people as to what you can do is really comforting.

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