By Guest Blogger Michelle Griffith
My 5.5 year old boy was recently diagnosed with ADHD and ODD. I think by now, most people are familiar with ADHD. ODD or Oppositional Defiant Disorder might be a term you’re not so familiar with. A quick Google search defines ODD as: an ongoing pattern of behavior that is characterized by anger, irritability, as well as argumentative and defiant behavior towards those in authoritative positions. I’m guessing that sounds like every 3, 4 and maybe 5 year old out there to you, right? Well, not so much.
If you go on to read further, this behavior can be something that kids only exhibit at home or at school, maybe not both. Also, it lasts for a long time, and happens quite frequently. More so than your typical child, even toddlers, as crazy as they are. And this is where I’d like share my story of being a mother to a child with ODD.
Before I tell this from my point of view, or use the analogies I’ve been using, please let it be known that I am in no way shape or form trying to demean or diminish or make light of any type of abusive situation. I, myself, have never been in an abusive romantic relationship, nor was I abused as a child. That being said, when I describe to friends or family or coworkers what it’s like living in my home with my 5 year old, those are the words I find myself using quite frequently. “I feel like I’m in an abusive relationship with him”.
Let me be clear on what I mean. And before I divulge what is my truth, ugly as it may be, I encourage you to please not judge unless you’ve walked in these shoes. These are very hard truths. Truths that are hard to even admit to oneself.
Most days of the week at this point, I dread getting out of bed to start our day. I dread coming home at night. I dread the most simple of tasks with him. I find it difficult to go into much with a positive attitude, because, quite honestly, I’ve been emotionally beat down. I dread social encounters, outings, etc. I dread staying home with him. I am filled with anxiety at the thought of being by myself with him. I can’t remember the last time I had a “fun” time with him. My life consists of walking on proverbial eggshells, never knowing what will set him off.
You see, with ODD, outbursts, screaming, fighting, and the like can occur at the drop of a hat. One minute, they’re hugging you, the next you’re dodging toys, and listening to blood curdling screams because you asked them to throw something away. And this goes on all day. Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.
Weekends are the worst. It’s such an ugly cycle. You go into the weekend with sometimes medium to high expectations. You hear your coworkers and friends talk about how they love to spend weekends with their kids. You think to yourself, “Gosh, I’m such a horrible mom, I dread the weekends because I have to be home with my child, what’s WRONG with me”? And then things are bad, and you cry. And you feel so angry, and sad, and resentful. And hurt. You’re so hurt, that the next time your child wants to be with you, hug you, love you, it’s hard. Because you’re a human being with feelings, and it’s hard to let go. So then, you feel guilty. You feel guilty that you resent this child that you do love SO much, but that you don’t feel like “liking.” And then you find yourself pulling away. Because you’re scared of those feelings. So, somewhere, in the back of your psyche, subconsciously, you pull away. Shut down. Try not to feel because it’s too much. You feel alone. Isolated. People don’t understand. You’re even at the point that when someone says, “Hope you guys have a great time/weekend/day,” you feel angry. They’ve said nothing wrong, but in the back of your mind, you’re thinking, “HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT I’M GOING THROUGH”? But, they don’t really know, do they?
The kick of all of this, at least for me, is that my child is an angel at school. And that’s where I started using the analogy of an abusive relationship. From the outside, things look OK. Here’s this beautiful, thoughtful, highly intelligent little boy, who follows all the rules at school. Literally never gets in trouble. Is friends with everyone in class, and is generous and caring. At home, that same child can be verbally mean, physically abusive, manipulative, and so defiant that asking anything of them is almost pointless. So, people think you’re overreacting. That you’re just overly sensitive to normal childhood behavior. And you start to think that maybe you are crazy. Not good enough. Inadequate. That it’s your fault. And this goes on for years.
Until finally, finally someone (a doctor) gives you the diagnosis. You’ve known all along that something wasn’t quite right. But these things take a while you see, for the reasons I stated above. There’s a Jekyll and Hyde situation going on. And nobody sees. And you can convince yourself that nobody cares and that you’re not going to make it. And if I’m being honest, I’m feeling like that most days.
This story doesn’t have a happy ending yet. It’s not even close to being finished.
Right now, we’re in the trenches. Fighting every day, living our truth, being honest, getting help, and doing what we need to do to survive. For us, that’s medicine, and therapy. Exercise. Using social media to connect to others going through this. And help. Lots of help.
As of right now I haven’t been able to find a support group locally for this, so maybe I’ll start my own? Right now, I’m treading water, and sometimes find it overwhelming to do anything more, so we’ll see. I hope this reaches some people that are maybe struggling like I am. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. Hearing the words, “I know what you’re going through” have such enormous power. As humans, we strive for a sense of community. Hoping I can find mine through outlets like this.
Can you relate? Do you have words of encouragement for Michelle? If so, please leave a comment below!
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My 18 yo son was diagnosed ODD at 16. I wish we’d known sooner. We thought we were crazy or awful parents. Please, PLEASE read “The Sociopath Next Door” and it’s sequel “Outsmarting the Sociopath Next Door” by Martha Stout. It has helped me not feel so terribly guilty and explains his behavior. He is ambitious, even the golden child to the outside world, but abusive to the family, impulsive in decisions, and deeply deceptive. We do not feel safe having him in our home, due to choices he has made and danger he has put us in. How do I still show love while distancing myself, husband, and other kids simply for our own protection? To anyone whose child has these issues and has had encounters with police or Child Protective Services, you can get a GRAMA report of each incident. This will make explaining the next encounter to the authorities easier. We have been accused of countless forms of abuse and been checked out multiple times by CPS. The police have come to our house due to his behavior, etc. Having proof of each situation will be helpful. Also, do not hesitate to allow choices to have natural consequences. We were advised by the last CPS Social Worker to press charges if he got violent again. He was still a minor at the time. The reason is that state resources cannot be implemented unless there is a police report. Once that happens, your child is eligible for more services, assessments, etc. It is also flagged in police databases so they know what they’re dealing with if you have to call them. Good luck, and prayers to everyone. Parenting this child is the hardest thing my husband and I have ever had to do.
Michelle, I can’t begin to thank you for this clarity you have given me. Although my 10 year old daughter hasn’t been diagnosed because I haven’t sought professional help for her life impacting problems, I can relate to everything that you and others have said, in a big way, and I have been beside myself over her dreadful behavior and abusive relationship with me for longer than I care to admit. Like you and everyone else here, her behavior negatively impacts me on a daily basis and impacts our whole family. It has sucked a lot of joy out of me; I have been consumed by her anger, hostility, defiance, and frequent outbursts, not knowing what was wrong with her or how to manage the situation. She is good one moment, and terrible the next. She is perfect at school, a monster at home. I live in the triad just like many others here and would love to get together for a support group if there is one. In the meantime, I have just joined a FB support group thanks to your suggestion. I have been living in this misery for years and you have helped me to feel less alone. Thank you so much for your bravery in writing this and helping other people.
Hey. Guys. Omg can I relate to all of these situations!!!my son is the only child I have that exhibits this SAME behavior! He has always walked to the beat of a different drum since he was 2 yrs old!! However I did not know he had a clinical problem. !!i just thought he was rebellious!! This did not stop into teen age yes and adult hood !! He has lost employment over arguing with the boss numerous times and is constantly negative to authority figures but in public it’s like a complete turn around!! People think he’s outgoing and wonderful!!!omg. Like one comment said a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde!! He is especially controlling with me and very negative about all my decisions and. BTW. He is now 50 yrs old!! I said something BACK to him recently and he blew up and left…haven’t heard from him yet!!
Michelle, have you started an online support group that is in real time? If so, I want in. You explained my life with my son right now. Thank you for putting the emotions and feelings into words.
This hits hone for me 100% literally line for line this is our reality. I’m in tears reading this because I feel the exact same way. People do not understand unless they live it. I hope you continue to reach out and share your story because just hearing it helps others feel less crazy and alone. I have 3 children which makes it especially hard when it feels for them like my ADHD ODD child seems to get away with things they never would.he also has sensory issues and refuses to eat to the point of being physically ill. He is wild and frequently injures himself and others. It is a long road and it’s barely at the beginning . Wishing you the best of luck .
Please feel free to email me. Nolegirlmitch@gmail.com.
I am curious if I could email you as well for support group meeting. That would be great for me. I have a 12 yr old boy and a 10 yr old boy who both have adhd/odd. It is hard and I cried reading your post. Because I feel for you and know the struggles you’re going through. How nothing seems to help. My boys were diagnosed at the age of 5 with this, and it is has been a struggle and a half all these years to current, please if you or anyone have any advice I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks kindly.
I want to comment because my son fit so many of all of the comments but he is now 23 and a wonderful man! It can happen. Hold on. Keep doing what you know is right even when you know the result will be chaos and extreme fights. Here is a brief history. My son fit all your descriptions…basically a Jekyll and Hyde situation. Our home has busted windows and doors and any ceramic pot is gone. Anger raged whenever authority was necessary. We did figure out that spanking didn’t work…so we changed to use choices with consequences set out in advance that he could choose. We also used running and push-ups for discipline as well as outside work. And if it wasn’t done, meals would be things like raw broccoli. I’m not saying any of that really worked well…just some things we tried along the way. A couple things that I think were important were that I had twice a day when my touch was gentle and my words kind…I woke him up by rubbing his back and praying over him, and I put him to bed in the same way. Even when he was awful, murderous, violent…those two times a day I made sure were peaceful and loving. For my mental and spiritual health, I got up early for time alone and I also was able to have a midday prayer walk that helped me to get my mind off the circumstances and give my burdens to God.
The ADHD meds definitely helped stem the violence…prior to the meds, we had several situations where my other kids were definitely at risk and so the meds were a necessity.
As you all commented, I knew if I held the line with boundaries, discipline, authority that there was going to follow explosions. But here’s the good news. My son got married last year and at the rehearsal dinner, his good friends circled me afterwards and thanked me for my impact on my son…that he had such an impact on them for good, that he was such a good non-judgmental friend because of where he came from, and even my son said he would not be who he was today if it weren’t for the fact that we didn’t back down from doing what was right. He wrote a beautiful letter to my husband and me thanking us for the boundaries and discipline. He grew up! and is not a selfish, self-centered man…but rather one who understands others and their issues. He still needs meds and he knows his issues and his wife and he are figuring things out. I am so thankful!
So hold on and keep on doing what you know is right…read books on it, get counselors to help, share with others, find times to be loving and kind, pray, pray, pray and be strong and it will get better one day.
Blessings to you all!!
Thank you. ❤️
The k you so very much!!
I needed to hear this ! My little man is 9 and I’m so over it now ! I just learned what it’s called he has ADHD AND ODD MAY E MORE TO ADD TO THE LIST OF Diagnosis ! ITS SO EXHAUSTING TO DEAL WITH HIM AND HAVE 3 other children in the home to try and give my ATTENTION TOO! He TAKES IT ALL ! I pray beg yell pray beg more and it seems like he feeds more on it laughing !
Hi. I cried reading your post. I know what you’re going through. I’m exhausted and drained and feel like I have nothing left to give. I am struggling with my health and weight because I have no energy or time for myself. I have a high-pressure job, support our family of 4, and I’ve had challenges with our 6 year old from the start, from colic, to hospitals, nutritional challenges, and now I believe it is ODD since the “terrible two’s” only got worse. I’ve struggled for a few years, but am at breaking point so started looking online. Every day is a screaming, fighting, kicking, door slamming match. Every single instruction gets a “NO” answer by default. The smallest thing will set her off. And at school, she’s perfect. But our home is a warzone. And she’s only 6. I’ve tried various methods. I worry. How will she handle life? I’m drained, and it’s wreaking havoc on my health. It affects the whole family. NO one understands what it’s like unless they’re there. I GET YOU! You are not alone. I’m glad I’m not. Thank you for your post.
Thank you. I hear you. Find a circle. Find help. No matter what. ❤️
Does she ever scream like you are trying to kill her when you come toward her during a fit? I have epilepsy and there has been many times she has thrown me into one. I know your pain. She is 10 and her actions are only getting worse, even with the help we are getting.
Yes I can relate. My 8 year old is so rude and disrespectful and refuses to do what we ask of him 90% of the time. He’s on ADHD meds and it doesn’t help all the time. He’s the same an angel at school and around others but a jerk at home. Traditional discipline does not work for these kids, rewards don’t either. They don’t care and they will tell you that. My son enjoys seeing me get angry and stressed out and react and he pushes me until I do. It’s scary because you see them going to jail in the future for this behavior but how do you change it when it’s just their brain and nothing works to improve it??
It is a relief I never expected to have to read this blog and the comments. I know everyone here understands each other. I’ve never found another person who understands what having a child with ODD is like to live with. Nothing us simple and that includes all of our stories. My son has Aspergers and ODD, tho the ODD has never been officially diagnosed. We have been estranged for 6 years. My narcissistic husband got custody of both our sons when after years of trying, I gave up and took an overdose of pain pills. I didn’t want to die. I just wanted to take a nap and things would be better when I woke up. I now realize how absurd that is. But my ASD/ODD son was in the house when that happened. He had been threatening to cut my head off in my sleep for at least a year at the point. I was going through menopause, I’m 99% sure my husband was having another affair, and my mom was dying of cancer. I gave up, but I didn’t want to die. My nearest family was a 3 day drive away. My husband’s family was 3 hours away. No one believed me. My husband who become furious when I tried to talk to him about it. He literally told me and my boys that all problems are the mom’s fault. No one believed anything I told them about my husband or my son. In the midst of this was my poor little boy, ASD/ODD son’s younger brother, whose personality was calm and peace loving. He used to beg me to go sit and talk with him at bedtime. I had gotten so beaten down and depressed, I couldn’t make myself do it. I would just go to bed, it was hard to get out of bed actually. Everything I did to try to help my son(s)was undermined by my ex. In fact, he refused to accept our sons diagnosis until after the third time. I felt do horribly alone. It was a nightmare. A complete nightmare. I have such guilt about it still. And if I’m honest, the guilt that is the most difficult to stomach is that my younger son was also a victim and then his father manipulated things such that I was not allowed to see my sins after my overdose and inpatient hospital stay. Among many other accusations and labels, I was “diagnosed” with BPD. That was 8 years ago. My doctors who know me now font think I had or have BPD. Living like that is a full-time nightmare. I’m so sad for my sons. Take care of your other children, parents. Please don’t neglect those victims. I almost “dround” to death. I worry about both of my sons, but I could have done more for my younger son. It breaks my heart that he got overlooked. I hope someone will create an online support group for us. Maybe I will.
Tha K you for sharing. Stay strong mama. I’m in therapy regularly.
Spot on 🙁 I’m so worried. Not only is is tough now, you stress like crazy about what their future will be like.
Sitting here crying while I read these comments along with the post. I(26) yr old mom of a 6 year old boy who is adhd and odd, every day is a struggle for me. He was diagnosed adhd at 4 1/2 he’s always had violent streaks and outbursts. Just like everyone in the comments he is good around who he wants to be good around. Sadly I am always the one who gets the crap end of the stick. He was diagnosed odd at 5 yrs old. I had no idea what odd was until I started researching about it. I have done all the research I can to try and find a way to help him manage his big emotions. I have been consistent and we have a strict routine when he is with me. (His father gets him every weekend when he wants to…) I’m considering it becoming every other weekend because he has no structure at his dads house. Having a child with odd and the other parent think “he’s fine just whoop his butt” or “the dr don’t know what they are talking about he acts just fine with me” it is even more defeating to have to try and explain what your child does or what’s going on with your child at your house to the other parent and then basically being made to look like I’m crazy and no help parenting (his father emotionally abused me for 4 years, I left when my little one was almost 2)
I have been threatened by my 6 yr old. Slapped, he has bowed up at me. When I vent to family members it always gets put back on me not being strict enough or it’s his fathers house. Or it’s im not doing enough as a mother. When quite frankly I am and have always done as much as I posssibly can for my child! It is so emotionally and mentally draining. I have no motivation to ever want to take him places or go places with him that would be fun to anyone else because every single time I do I get reminded that if it isn’t his way it is the highway. Knock down drag out fit gets thrown his blood curtailing screams when he hears the word no again after he has asked more than once and my answer doesn’t change. I’m so exhausted. I left an abusive relationship because I wanted more for my child. I’m supposed to start college for the first time in 3 weeks full time while working full time and appointments twice or three times a month with the psychiatrist and therapist and honestly. I don’t know if it was the right choice to start college. Mentally I am so so so drained. It’s sad reading the comments and seeing so many other mothers with similar experiences. It’s sad that we get over looked and called crazy. It’s sad there’s not a better way to get the odd under control because this diagnoses should have more options. Or a better scope on the severity and ways to manage it. My son told me today everyone hates him and he wants to die. All because he was upset about me telling him we would have to wait until we got home for me to help him find a word on a word search. I had to carry him out of the dr office and he gripped me hard enough like he was literally trying to hurt me. And when we get home he runs up the stairs then back down I had to chase him catch him and pick him up to get him to get inside….he almost ran out into the road
What do I do I haven’t done anything but cry this evening. I have no support system and my 6 yr old continues to walk on me every single day. This is hard
I am not okay 🥺
I’m sorry momma. I get it I do. I hope it gets better for all of us!
I am almost certain I have PTSD from raising my daughter (19) who has ODD. However, after decades of going through various counselors (of whom she succeeded in manipulating all of them), I don’t have the stomach to go see anyone else for a diagnosis for myself and after 19 years of never finding a reasonable solution or cure to the ODD, I have little faith anyone can help with what I know is my own PTSD at this point.
ODD girls are different than ODD boys. There is less violence but waaaay more manipulation.
Looking back, I have always been in a lose-lose situation.
I’ve followed all of the advice: only give 100% enforceable consequences; offer praise wherever possible (which is extremely rarely with an ODD child); ignore most of it; take time for self care; rely on a family support system… and more.
Ultimately, none of this ever fixes the issue – it’s all just one bandaid after another.
My family is supportive. My husband is supportive. Everyone understands just how difficult my daughter is and just how much I (and everyone else) have tried.
I can relate to every story here.
My husband (not her father) is astounded that I am not clinically insane after raising her.
Sometimes I wonder if I am though.
To this day, she still has absolutely zero regard for the feelings of others, unless it’s out in a public place and she can somehow come off as holier than thou or somehow make me look badly in the act.
Everything has and does seem to be a game of manipulation to her: if she is bored, she will find ways to get a reaction out of me regardless of the destruction it causes to herself or others; if she takes initiative in her life (which is extremely rare), it is always the most tenuous of situations: she hates praise, so will immediately self sabotage if praised, but she also hates criticism, so will self-sabotage there too, and finally she hates neutrality so will self-sabotage if she receives neither praise nor criticism but a neutral reaction. And when she self-sabotages, guess who is left to pick up the pieces and who she turned to for help: me. And the cycle repeats.
I’ve tried hard love (I kicked her out when she turned her bedroom into a literal dumpster and refused to cleanup as well as refused to stop leaving rotting food all over her room). She spent her first year of adulthood working a minimum wage job to which she was ALWAYS late, but they didn’t fire her because they were desperate for staff. Her job was part time and at a sports arena so it ended when the season ended.
She cried when she realized all of her friends are going to college or doing things with their lives and she isn’t. But… she still hasn’t done anything with her own life.
She is now back in my house. My husband and I moved across country to the most beautiful area imaginable and all she does is a whole lot of nothing. When she isn’t doing nothing, she is complaining… not about her own life, but about things around her.
She is like a life-sucking void in the house. Just her mere presence of sitting around doing nothing is draining. And as you all know, forcing her to do anything results in World War 3.
Husband and I are poised to make her either get a job or enroll full time in community college, and it’s like laying out battle plans. We have to think of every possible trick she could pull to self-sabotage and every possible way she could make our lives miserable as retaliation.
If we kick her out again, she will just go live at her grandparents house again, where she will slowly drive them insane again. Unfortunately my mother has told me she will never turn her granddaughter away. My daughter knows this and uses it to her advantage.
I’ve tried explaining to my daughter how much she affects those who love the most in such a traumatic and negative manner, but she couldn’t care less.
I truly believe that if we all died tomorrow and she got her inheritance, she would not only complain about it but she would use that time period to be as awful and self destructive a person as she can be. She would exhaust anyone and everyone around her all of their sympathy until they simply give up and run away, and then she would lay around doing nothing in self pity and self loathing.
Throughout her childhood, I can count one moment of actual joy that I had with her. Just one, and it was a two hour time span immediately before one of her largest drama productions ever (we went tubing for two hours and then she got her first period and spent the next two hours sobbing in the shower. No amount of sympathy helped. I finally told her to just get out of the shower and stop being ridiculous. To this day, she claims that was one of the most traumatic times of her life – yes, you read that correctly: my daughter was devastatingly traumatized by getting her first period, even though I and my mother were right by her side to help her through it as long as we could stand to be sympathetic through the extremely loud and excessive wailing – 2 hours).
So I guess the two hours of tubing prior to that was my only joyous time with her because I’m able to separate those hours in that same day.
Otherwise, every other single day of her life has been an enormous struggle. She has ruined every single outing, trip, vacation, and even day of my life with her never ending manipulation, spite, and abuse towards me.
I get it when you all declare that your small child is abusing you. I really do get it. They may not be physically abusing you, but mental and emotional torture is never ending… and if you try to explain it to anyone, you’re more than likely viewed as the problem. People just think you’re not doing something right as a parent:
I’ve seen so much literature on ODD children and am now horrified to see “professionals” claim that ODD is a result of upside down hierarchy and trauma for the child.
I have always been the parent. I’ve never had an upside down hierarchy in my house and I’m sure none of you have either. We parent and we make rules and we enforce consequences and we are consistent and we are unwavering and yet it still blows up in our faces. Because ODD. Ugh.
And trauma? I’m sorry but how does a toddler or baby have enough trauma in their life that makes them ODD forever?? I’m not buying it. I was the most loving and attentive new mother. In fact, I had always loved children and was a teacher for well beyond a decade (almost two). It is second nature for me to care for, nurture, love, and educate children.
Unfortunately now, because of my daughter, I can’t even be around children without getting triggered into a panic attack.
I thought the nightmare would be over when she grew up. I thought all she every really wanted was nobody telling her what to do – to be independent. But I was wrong.
Now I’m seeing more than ever that her goal wasn’t simply to not comply.
Her goal was to rob me of my own innate happiness and joy.
She will never stop.
Oh wow that’s a lot!! I know adults this way. I think it’s like living a hell on earth when you have to deal with such nasty human beings kids or adults. It shouldn’t be that way. Unfortunately that’s mental illness for ya, sometimes our brains are wired completely wrong and people treat others badly as a result. I’m sorry you have to deal with this and I hope it gets better.
Because your daughter is an adult now I’m having a hard time understanding why you feel a need to continue to have her in your home. It’s clear that the only purpose you serve in her life is as a scapegoat and because you give her a free place to live. If your parents choose to enable her that’s their problem. Let her go. You are only enabling bad behavior and exposing yourself to horrific abuse which will never end, and you know this. I get it. The love of a child is strong beyond reason. But she will never learn to love you if you don’t first demand respect because you love yourself more.
Hi. I’ve been doing a lot of reading, and I’m wondering if she doesn’t have Antisocial Disorder (newer term for sociopath – people associate it with psycho’s but many of them pass through life just seen as nasty or difficult. But there are 3 disorders that I’ve been researching due to
the challenges in our home, similar behaviours but the core reason is different. I’m reading a book now called “Confessions of a sociopath” as I’ve taken interest due to all my turmoil. It’s written by a woman who is aware she is a sociopath and actually talks about it openly. I have a bit of an aging tough mother I’m dealing with too, also with mental health issues so have been researching a lot. Check out these 3: Narcississtic Personality Disorder, ODD and Antisocial Disorder (I can’t rememebr if that’s the exact name). The lack of empathy and manipulation for her benefit, etc, etc, may be one of the others. Just thought I’d mention it as there’s a lot of cross-over between the disorders but yet they’re quite different.
Read “The Sociopath Next Door” and the sequel, “Outsmarting the Sociopath Next Door” by Martha Stout. I think they will give you help and a game plan.
I feel you on everything you talked about in this post and many of the comments. My 11 year old daughter has ADHD and ODD. The way you describe the feeling of being in an abusive relationship is sadly perfect. Every single day is completely emotionally draining and my husband and I wonder how we will do this forever. We never know when she is going to want to go to school and when she decides she isn’t going it’s like trying to convince a mountain to move. she never wants to get ready to go anywhere so trying to do anything as a family is a complete nightmare. Our poor 8 year old son is constantly over shadowed by our daughters defiant behavior. Who knew being a parent would be this much fun…. 🙄
It is good to know we are not alone. However not too many comments gave me much hope that things will improve. We have tried medication and different types of therapy to no avail. So good luck to y’all, my thoughts are with you.
Wow..Reading this was as if I was the Author.Every little thing you described is my life currently with my 11 year old.I am yet to find a DR,Councillor,OT that believes me.My daughter is amazing at school according to her teacher but at home. I am scared to parent,talk,or get up daily. I have always felt guilty about the fact that I know something is not quite right but am yet to get anyone to help see what I see. I had to get my husband to record her violent meltdown tonight and he got so upset doing it he passed the phone to me and out mW in a situation that she was backing me literally into a corner. Im so lost. Reading this was exactly everything I feel.Daily.
Hi, you have described life with my 8 year old son. Especially how he is such an amazing kid at school – friendly, kind, empathetic, and helpful but at home it is a different story. We have yet to receive a diagnosis but my oldest son (14) has ADHD – the psychologist we have been seeing suspects ADHD and my husband and I definitely believe he has ODD as well. Medication has helped but it doesn’t help with everything – not the anger, the screaming, the “I’m such a dumb kid, the world hates me, I want to run away, I hate you, leave me alone, etc etc” throwing things, hitting himself, and just going into this downward negative, self loathing spiral. Like others have mentioned here, it doesn’t have to be a big thing to upset him. Today it was because he couldn’t blow up a balloon and so he was a total failure and the day went downhill from there. Therapy hasn’t worked yet – he refuses to use the strategies he has worked with the psychologist to create. I suspect my husband also has ADHD and so parenting in our house is inconsistent and he hasn’t learned to “pick his battles yet” and that makes an already stressful situation more stressful. I feel very alone most days too and like a bad mom – like a failed mom. But tomorrow is always a new day and I am learning to try and treasure the good and happy moments we have and be patient, loving and forgiving in the bad moments but it takes all of your strength and energy and it is so unfair, hard and difficult. There is no quick fix or magic cure for this – not even time I suspect. I worry about when he is older – how will we manage – how will he manage. I came across your posts today and it was helpful to know other moms and families are living this too and it helps to feel a little less alone. Thanks to all of you for sharing your experiences.
I have 5 children 2 have ADHD ODD
I would not wish this on any parent,I have read more books on ADHD ODD than anything,there is know solution,it’s just put up with it until they move out,it’s hard.
I am here with tears because I have just read my own thoughts that I feel so afraid to tell people. They will look at you like a bad person until they have loved it. I use the word abusive relationship all the time. My son is 5 and he is getting help but I’m not and I feel that I’m a bomb know. I have zero patience now. I wasn’t always like this. I am working on ways for myself. I do feel like I have no one to talk to or just someone who would understand. If you are like me and you need someone like I need some one please reach out. Aiden_mat@yahoo.com
So sorry you’re going through this. Would highly recommend therapy if possible. We’re still there. Still struggling. Hugs.
Where can I find a group or someone to talk to….please send me to sites numbers etc….I am a soon to b step parent..who is with this 7 year old 90% time…father works( younger than I)…n I feel used or brushed off…yet has an younger daughter who adores me( mother hasn’t been consistent til recent weekend visits)…solo much family…time n more revolves around him….I left good job…to help n wasn’t expecting this…am I wrong to feel trapped n I love them all…n worry…I’m spit on…I’m hit.. I’m screamed at…used n abused…depressed n when dad home … He is smoothed talk n manipulated…for us to argue n more….( the last year had full custody)…now he is out of school( which he didn’t do week w others but topped out academically)….now mom trying to swoop in…yet dcfs knows this routine…I’m lost n tired n w/o Dr Ord for 3 year old….
I felt everything I read from the author to the comments to the core. I have been in an abusive relationship before and now my relationship with my Child feels exactly the same. Not to mention that my mother who lives next door to me my husband and my odd 8 year old Child blames me for all her behavior in front of her and that makes everything 10 times worse. I’m so depressed and anxious everyday. I have taken her to the doctor and she manipulates them into thinking she is only depressed and that it’s everyone else’s fault. I don’t know how to fix this or to make it even the slightest bit better. Is there any medications out there that anyone has seen make any improvement? She’s on Prozac right now and it’s not working. She still hits me and cusses me out daily. She still refuses to help me do anything I ask so I just stopped asking. I’m desperate for help bc I can’t take this much longer. I feel so alone bc no one outside the house sees her act this way. They all think she’s a perfect little angel. And in reality she used to be but she’s no where near that anymore.
Are you still open to emailing? I really need that connection of someone who understands
Read “The Sociopath Next Door” and the sequel, “Outsmarting the Sociopath Next Door” by Martha Stout.
My son is 12. He was diagnosed at age 5. I love my son. I am completely devoted to him. I have had to change my view of what my life would be. Dealing with the an ODD child was something my husband could not handle. He left.
My son refuses to cut his hair. He refuses to brush his hair. He refuses to shower. Getting him to go to school each day is a struggle. Getting him to brush his teeth or put on deodorant is a challenge.
Fortunately, as he got older, he has better control of his physical attacks. I can no longer work. I never know which days he will agree to go to school. I cannot trust him unsupervised. He has taken money from my wallet. He has taken personal property from the house and sold it. He has shoplifted. He has damaged property belonging to others. He is fascinated with fire.
I have asked for assistance from every school he has attended. I have taken him to therapists, psychologists, a psychiatrist and local authorities. I hold him accountable for his actions although he denies everything. He has been suspended from school.
I try to be firm, loving, patient and always remain calm. I try to never escalate the situation with anger. I try to teach by example.
Medication has been offered, but I do not want to get him started on any chemical dependency. Additionally, he has refused medications for other illnesses in the past.
I hold out the hope that he may surprise me. I hold out the hope that by continuing to be loving, patient, calm and strong that one day he will become a productive citizen. At the same time, I am a realist and I have to prepare myself for a future for him that may not be bright.
People are eager to give me advice. People do not understand this disorder. People are quick to blame parents for a child who misbehaves. That adds to the challenge of raising a child with ODD.
I have two boys with Severe ADHD and ODD aged 6 and 8. Today I wanted to run away. I am very grateful to find this post. This is a very isolating experience and not at all what I imagined motherhood to be like. It’s painful when your child hurts you or when they are callous towards you. I had so much fight in me – for life and everything, and now I’m just too tired to fight. Everyday blows my mind, just shock that this is my life.
You described my oldest.. Dmdd, odd, adhd, asd, spd, generalized anxiety, depression, and ocd.. He won’t poop, threatens people at home and school, self harms, and screams and fights for all basic care.. I’m so lost on what to do.
Wow. I thought I was a horrible parent, I have had every one of these thoughts about my 11 year old daughter and more. I dredd interactions with her. She says she loves chaos and loves making me mad, and it hurts. She hasn’t been diagnosed with odd yet but my wife’s therapist secondhand diagnosed her without even meeting her. Right now she is on Prozac and zoloft. Has anyone found any combination that works? Thank you.
Quick question… has anyone’s child ever talked about suicide? Is that a common thing with this? She was just released from being committed for telling s counselor she wanted to hurt herself.
Oh gosh. I’m not sure that’s common to ODD.
My 9 year old son talks about suicide constantly. He has ADHD and ODD, suspected bi-polar, depression and anxiety.
– Didn’t stay in his chair for lesson so lost recess? “I want to kill myself”
– My friend stole the ball during the soccer game from me? “I want to kill myself”
-No one can play tonight? “I’m so bored I’m going to kill myself” (and he doesn’t use a joking voice either)
I adopted him at birth through foster care in my state. They have had a file on him since birth so you think they would understand the situation since he was heavily drug exposed in utero. NOPE! The amount of calls, home visits, investigations I have had due to his allegations this year alone make me so angry I want to throw up. Most recently he accused me of throwing a metal water bottle at his head and trying to hit him with my car at the school drop off. He alerted school authorities about this who then had a DCFS worker interview my son about the alleged abuse. Now I have an investigation going into my home and if I’m a fit mother for him and my other 2 children. I’m not worried because the school already had video footage showing I was parked during school drop-off but I am so angry that he would make claims that could land his siblings in the foster care system as well. He has no regard for the family. Oh and the reason he alleged abuse and was mad at me? I caught him sneaking a whole family size bag of chips into the school after I told him no. I feel like we are all being held hostage. If we don’t do want he wants he will make allegations with huge consequences.
After this latest situation I am finding it really hard to like him or even be in the same room with him. I spoke with my ex husband at length recently about swapping custody because I need a mental health break. I don’t feel like I am up to par to parent this child anymore (nor do I want to). Today is the last day of school before summer break and I am almost dreading it. He goes to daycare during the summer but they had issues with him a number of times last summer where I would have to come and get him.
I have done so many services for him over the years. We are currently doing or have done:
-Medications (was a mess to figure out but we have him on a good combo now)
-In-Patient Behavioral Program
-Out-Patient Behavioral Program
-School Behavioral Therapy
-In Patient Psychiatric Ward
Honestly I ended up here because I am at the end of my rope. My son was diagnosed at 4 and so this is not a new road for me. My personal mental health has taken a real beating the last 3 years. I have done so much counseling, tried so many medications, met with multiple doctors, tried taking me time, etc, but I am still as depressed as ever. Parenting a child with ODD has left me feeling at times that I will never be happy again, that I am an awful mother for having these thoughts, extremely depressed, with a feeling that I am messing up my child permanently and he acts this way because of me (my ex still tells me our child behaviors are my fault). Parenting this child has left me feeling trapped, that if I can just hold on til he is 18 then maybe I will be ok.
and EVERYONE judges you so hard which makes you feel even worse about yourself and like you are crazy. Even my own mother still tells me at times he is “just a normal boy and I am high-strung”.
This is MY LIFE! My 6 yo story to a T (adopted at birth, NAS). Except she says she’s going to kill everybody instead of going to kill herself. My husband (I adopted her before we were married),does not get it. She doesn’t have an official ODD dx but it describes her. I feel defeated, alone and abused. I’m constantly late for work, my house is always in a mess from her meltdowns. I can’t find a better paying job because I’d be giving up the flexibility I have when I need it due to the unforeseen events daily. I love my girl more than life, but somedays I wonder if I’m the best thing for her. I feel like such a failure as a parent because like today, I LOST it! When she threw a wrench and it flew by my head and almost hit the dog, I LOST it.
Thank you for sharing. It’s so hard. Xxoo
My son used suicide as a manipulation tool. It is very common, according to his psychiatrist. Read “The Sociopath Next Door” and the sequel, “Outsmarting the Sociopath Next Door” by Martha Stout. They helped me understand and not feel crazy. Try to find a counselor who is experienced in behavior disorders. Regular counseling doesn’t work.
I cried when I read this.
It’s been 3 years and it just get worst and worst each day. No law, therapy, medication or counseling works.
We literally must lock up our own child otherwise he runs away, longest at 48 hrs this last time. This mental condition just seems to get meaner and uglier the longer I tried to love him and help, the more he pushed me away.
How is this parenting?
We are at the point we’ve been told he must be locked up for his safety, he will either eventually run away or get himself killed. And this isn’t a life….I feel myself slipping into feeling nothing because how can this go on when there is no end? No hope to get better. Just watching as he follows the exact footsteps of bio dad (who didn’t even raise him) towards homelessness, dependency on substances and not a single try from him. I feel so hopeless. No one told me this could be what it’s like.
It sounds to me as if your son suffers from more than ODD. Fascination with fire? That speaks more to sociopathy.
Please look into sociopathy… the red flag was raised when you mentioned fascination wtih fire. I happened to read that yesterday. Just thought I’d mention. I mentiond it in another reply as well. And please do NOT keep meds away from him. Many parents hold back not reaslising how much worse the damage is NOT taking the meds (I held out with my son’s ADHD as well – it’s not worth it, it can make a huge difference). It affects their entire outlook on life, their future, etc. Rather go with meds if you can find something suitable and he’s willing. Just personal experience. If they don’t work for him you can always stop. He’s young enough for you to still control it, it may too late when he gets to 15+.
Oh sister…you are describing my life. All of it. My spicy girl does have a genetic mutation that caused brain changes and epilepsy as we as an ID dx. But her behavior is literally the hardest part and the physical abuse is mostly directed at me (occassionally little brother and the dog). When she was younger and I was struggling all I would hear was “kids are hard” or “parenting is tough” so for years I truly believed I wasn’t a good mom or capable of being a mom. That I was the problem. Even though she was my second and I never had these issues with my son. It took years to get all our dx. I have PTSD from when she was younger in ways no one undertands. She’s almost 9. The meltdowns are still severe but happen less often. Daily but not all day. I’m dreading puberty though. Anyway…there’s a facebook group called Extreme Parenting Community. They are OUR people. They get it. They listen. They let you know you aren’t alone. Because you aren’t! Sending you love and hugs!!
Thank you! Xxoo
Thank you! I will definitely join!
This post is exactly what my husband and I go through day in and day out. The holidays were even worse for us. I have also tried to find a support group in my area, but to no avail. Trying to explain to friends and family about my son’s behavior issues is like speaking another language. I have been in an abusive romantic relationship in the past, and this all really triggers me in the worst way. My son (he’s 6) is currently on medication and starting to see a new therapist. I feel like every day is a war zone – holes in the walls, TVs/furniture destroyed. Some days are good, some days are bad. You just never know what may trigger the anger. Everything is an argument/fight. We rarely ever go out anywhere as a family, nor go on vacation as a family. I get anxiety at just the thought of it. Some days I wish I could just run away and never come back, or even put him up for adoption. It is a constant struggle – mentally, emotionally, physically.
Thank you for sharing this. I would love to find a support group online. I am not on Facebook. Suggestions are welcome, or even starting a new group would be an option.
This is our life too. My 7 year old stepdaughter.
I can relate to these comments very well. My advice as an older mom is to let someone else take care of your child as much of the time as possible since they tend to do better with other people. Even to the point of putting them in a boarding school or something. As far as treatment, I do recommend medication and/or natural treatments to save your sanity AND THEIRS. One thing people don’t seem to know is that these kids are miserable. They need help. Medication has it’s problems but you have to calm the constant anger and wild thoughts. GABA, B Vitamins, L-Theanine, diphenhydramine, melatonin and other natural options can help. Another option, IF they will agree to it , is to get them involved in a very physical activity such as daily workouts and running outside or on a treadmill. This will help their brain chemicals and also provide positive self-confidence, two things they need. Yes, they take out their irrational anger on their parents, but we are the only ones that trust. If necessary, when they become adults, get them their own apartment and get them onto welfare . They seem to start turning a corner in their early to mid 20s if they make it that far without getting put in jail or killing themselves. The need our help because the world will not have pity on them. Good luck to all of you.
I feel you! I have actually packed a bag the night before work planning my escape. I have two neurotypical boys as well. My marriage has suffered immensely and I often find it difficult to like her or enjoy being her mother. But saying those things out loud makes me feel terrible too. I shared in my post but the only group I have found helpful is Extreme Parenting Community on Facebook. Its my favorite group. And a safe space to vent where no one will judge you and everyone will understand you.
So glad I have found you guys
Your life sounds like mine,
I have 5 Children 2 of them are on the verge of getting a diagnosis,the other 3 a good well behaved children,my 15 year old girl and12 year old boy are very similar behaviour wise,my son is in the verge of being permanently excluded from school,and my daughter now attends a behaviour school,my eldest daughter who is fine is studying medicine at university.
I would love to set up a group so we could all meet once a month for coffee and a chat,we could help each other with ideas,I have read countless books and still find myself searching ODD kids when ever I get a minute.
This is my daily life! I would gladly join a support group.
I could have written this.
I would love to join your support group.
Hi Dawn! Unfortunately no support group right now. But please feel free to email me at email@example.com if you need to talk. 🙂🙂🙂🙂
Count me in on a support group!
Count me in on a support group! This exactly defines my daily life.
I read every single comment on this page….and I am foolish to ever believe I was the only one experiencing this kind of hardship. Thank you everyone who commented as it has definitely made me feel not alone. My 13 year old son was just diagnosed with ODD, possible autism. Still in the early stages of evaluations etc. I have several questions for some parents on here if they’re reading this:
1) does your child have urination issues? Bedwetting nighttime and during the day?
2) Suicide rants? Rants about how he wishes he had a different life?
3) self-inflicting harm? Like punching
4) sensory issues? Not wanting to be touched, thinking clothes are contaminated?
5) cutting school? Failing?
6) sneaking and watching gory things online? Also pornography?
8) shuts down?
Some of the things I’ve been personally experience. My son has never hit me but he has shown aggression towards his grandmother.
I absolutely understand what you are all going through and it’s so heartening to read of others in the same complicated situation.
My son has just turned 7 and we have received a diagnosis of ADHD recently.
We have yet to explore the option of medication only because he requires an ECG before we settle on which to try first.
I have been pushing for a diagnosis for years but he is ahead for his year in all areas of schoolwork so, despite his aggressive outbursts at school and home, they were not keen to help in any pursuit of a diagnosis telling me that his issues were down to immaturity.
Lovely as that would have been the pandemic helped us in many ways to properly document his moods and behaviours and we were seen after an 12 month wait.
Like others have said, my son tends to focus all of his rage on me, which is emotionally and physically exhausting.
I hate that I never know from one day to the next how he will behave. Never know when he will turn into this hatful child who will kick, punch, bite, swear, pull hair and generally cause as much mayhem as he can until he stops, says sorry and wants a cuddle.
I too feel like I’m in an abusive relationship with my 7 year old. Two days before Christmas his meltdown resulted in a burst lip and gum, after he had stopped and needed me to hold him I caught sight of myself with him on my knee-chatting away about something he’d already moved on to- blood all over my face.
I just hope that 2022 can help us all get positive progress.
I’m wondering if someone on here would even start a virtual support group – like a zoom meeting??? I am not skilled with setting that type of thing up but maybe someone else is?
Mine is now getting to be the opposite. 5.5 years old, ADHD and anger issues came from dads side. He was terrible coming up. We put him in school this year, he was good for about a week. then all hell broke loose. He is now on medication for adhd, but he is increasinly angry and violent with the staff at school. not so much at home. I feel terrible like somehow it is all my fault, when i know it isnt. he is failing and we are starting counseling but I feel powerless right now. And he hates what happens when he goes off the deep end but he cannot really explain or control it
I am in a similar situation. My son is 4. Can I reach out to you?
I like many others on here, cried while reading your words that could very well be my own. My oldest son is 5.5 and was just diagnosed with ADHD, ODD and general anxiety. Throughout his life I knew the tantrums were worse than other kids and with transitions he’s always had a hard time. He is amazing at school, a “star student.” And at home it feels like complete hell most the time, I have no idea which version I’m going to get at any given moment or if I’m going to say or do something that is going to rub him the wrong way, I started laughing this morning when he was telling me I was saying what we were going to do that day “wrong.” He was so frustrated that I wasn’t saying whatever it was how he wanted me to and Because I’ve run out of tears so I just laughed. Obviously that didn’t help but I’m just at a loss and feeling helpless at how to help him, myself, our family. I have a three year old boy who idolizes him and will follow whatever he says. And is also a victim to his anger and physical abuse at times as much as I try to shield him from all of it. I also have a newborn girl, and we moved from nyc to miami in January. A lot of change and at the time of the move I did not know the diagnosis and the day to day was not nearly as bad. All of the change has really not helped him at all.. he’s struggling and so am I. I know we are better than this. I know he’s in there and wants to be good. We’re in therapy and moving to CBT soon. I’m praying that things will get better soon. It’s been unbearable especially because I’m in newborn exhaustion land as well. Though his behavior is still more exhausting than anything. Knowing I’m not alone is helpful although I still feel so alone scared and sad. Would be great to be an in person support group. Please let me know if that exists! Community is everything.
The tears are flowing as I read all of your stories. I myself have an 11 year old that exhibits these explosive behaviors. He has ODD and ADHD and like most of you I dread getting out of bed. I cry most days because I too feel like I’m in an abusive relationship. Although I’m married I often bear this behavior alone as I am my child’s target and I am the one that spends the most time with him. This leads me to be resentful of my spouse. Some days I don’t know how I will make it through. When he is medicated things are much better! Sometimes I just want to run away.
I can’t stop crying as I read these posts. I am also the target for my 15 year old son who has pushed me, screamed at me for years. I have often said I am in an abusive relationship. I can so identify with dreading going home, dreading the days he doesn’t work. He manages to ruin every dinner out and will not eat anything but Mcdonalds. He works there and therefore orders out daily. I refuse to buy it. He will not eat anything I make, because it’s all “garbage.” I bear this alone too even though I have been married for 25 years. My husband does a super job with ignoring what is happening around him. It’s embarrassing to even be outside with him because he starts screaming about anything and everything. He calls my husband and I stupid on a daily basis. I am so tired of being angry with friends and family that have “perfect children.” It’s jealousy and I can’t help it. It has made me isolate from friends and family because no one really knows what I go through. Most days I feel like I can’t get through the days. I really wish that there was a support group for this… I can identify with every thing that was said in the original post….
Oh my goodness. At 15 yo my son cornered me between my bed and a sliding glass door, proceeded to pummel me with his fists in the head, and neck. He beat me up. I walked around afterwards not knowing who I was- am I a mom anymore? What did I do wrong, why did my child suddenly attack me? He’s been horrid- refused to go to school, do homework, or chores. His language is so hideous, when he calls me an “f’n b” I’m not even phased anymore. And all his shortcomings have become my fault. And the “ bad parent” stigma is soooo true.
It’s hell. Life is hell and nothing is fun. I’m crying now. I wanted this child so much- I still do – but I’m so afraid for him, his future.
And mine. Will he be with me forever? Will he grow out of this? What is coming? Prison?
Yes counseling helps but not much. I’m so tired. I’m so sad.
I completely understand where your coming from,I feel your pain,the thing that gets me through the bad times is,this is not going to last forever they will grow up hopefully become good people,and we will have peaceful homes x
My daughter (18) has oppositional defiance disorder. We refused to allow a written and formal diagnosis on her though and chose to just get through her childhood – because the military does not allow entry to those with ODD. And now – lo and behold – she has chosen to join the military (but done little to nothing to make it happen).
Her childhood was pure hell. I can recall ONE moment of joy with her and it lasted for about an hour when she was 14, right before she got her first period.
Other than that one moment, she has ruined every single vacation or outing, made every day of my parenthood miserable, and every year of school has consisted of her charming teachers with her “quiet grace” in the beginning only for them to realize later in the year that the more they try to help her, the more she digs her heels in and the worse she does. I gave up trying to explain her to teachers after her freshman year of highschool.
Highschool was the worst, by the way. I recall actually hoping that she would carry through with her attention seeking threats of suicide just so that the nightmare would end for us all. I had to physically drag her out the door (sometimes half dressed) just to get her to go to school every day.
She would lie to her teachers about me and manipulate everyone around her.
She could not keep friends and to this day has no close friends.
She spends most of her time coming up with new or repeating old ways of constantly annoying me, my husband, or anyone who makes the mistake of spending time with her.
She sabotages job interviews, and we had to put a key lock on our bedroom door ten years ago because if we took away electronics, she would simply take them back when nobody watched.
Like the rest of you, telling her or asking her to do the simplest of tasks, such as brushing her own teeth or throwing away an empty water bottle she left on the counter, often erupted into World War 3. E.v.e.r.y.t.h.I.n.g. was and still is an argument.
When my husband and I interact with her we have to choose our words carefully because she turns things around to annoy – it’s a lot like either constantly being in court or a psyche ward (and she is the patient).
I loathe interacting with my own daughter. I have to walk on eggshells and always be wary of anything I say or do as she will find a way to use it against me later or use it to self-destruct. For instance, if I say “You need to study and do well in school so you can do well as an adult, and not wind up in a homeless shelter.” She will later tell people that her mother says she is going to be homeless ans poor when she grows up. It’s exhausting.
Every time she is told or asked to do something, when she is done arguing, she will ALWAYS find something else that she HAS to do prior to doing what she was told/asked to do.
All I want is for her to move out of my house and start her life.
It seems like she doesn’t want to though, despite saying she does, because she resists getting a job (even though she has worked every summer for the past 4 years), and she is doing nothing to join the military.
I saw 18 and graduation as the light at the end of the tunnel. But it seems like she enjoys torturing us too much – at least more than the prospect of beginning her own adult life.
Husband and I have given her a deadline to either be employed or get out. We bought moving boxes and told her that if she does not meet the deadline and has to leave, whatever she doesn’t pack is being donated to charity. These are the types of concrete consequences we have always had to create and deliver, because she cares nothing for the stress, heartache, financial problems, etc that she causes to us or anyone else. Even her consequences aren’t real until they are. She KNOWS that I will kick her out but she still refuses to go get a job. And when moving day arrives, she will act like a victim and as if it is a total surprise, despite being reminded almost daily.
I do not envy any of you who have ODD children. Please try to prepare for this end game early on (the end game of getting the adult child out of your house).
As getting an official diagnosis does not help in any way at all (other than giving you confirmation and validation that you’re not the crazy one), I would advise to skip that route as you’re limiting their future with any type of mental diagnosis. Take it or leave it – that’s my two cents and I know many will disagree and that’s ok.
I do think that an ODD child is an incredibly CRUEL joke played by Mother Nature on excited and eager new parents.
I feel as if I have been gypped of a real parenting experience. I feel as if the last 18 years of my life have been a living nightmare with brief moments of escape, happiness, or relaxation.
I envy parents who say “Sure, raising children can be tough, but the joy outweighs the tough times,” because I could not ever and still can’t relate to that statement. For me, like all of you, parenting has been my own personal hell. I feel like two decades of my life were stolen from me. My husband calls it abuse – our daughter abusing us psychologically and emotionally.
All I want now, is to transition her out of our house so that I can finally live my life.
I don’t even know who I am even more or how I want to live my life. I just know that anything is better than this.
I am hearing everything you are saying. The diagnosis stuff, I do think, varies from state to state. But I will also say, I had a SEL coordinator at my children’s school confirm for me that the diagnosis does create a stigma for the child in school and for Black and Brown kids it’s not a good idea if you can help it. For us, we have gone outside the school system and the diagnosis came from a child psychiatrist that recommended meds. Now, because my kids are Black and come out of the system, I REFUSED to put my son on meds while the state(s) had control of their lives, their dosage, their therapy, etc. Now that WE have the control, we’re taking the summer to try everything – every drug and alternative therapy the Dr. recommended. Because I can’t live like this. I won’t make it. My beautiful marriage will die because of this, and I can’t allow that. I also feel too justified and too saddened by the joy I get out of taking my son to lunch when he’s 16 and handing him signed emancipated minor papers. This is a sick, sad world they have created around us. I pray you and your husband can find the relief you desperately need and deserve. I hope your daughter finds whatever help you couldn’t find for her somewhere out there in the world – that only God knows.
OMG!!! Reading your post with tears in my eyes after and 1 1/2 battle on eating something and getting out of the car. My daughter is 13 and is the master of creating chaos for the sack of chaos – the littlest task and ask often escalates and drags on for hours. She is in mood stabilizers and ADHD to curb impulsivity issues… but the struggle is real.
I found myself avoiding her to avoid conflicts that escalate for no reasons other than to ignite chaos and the battle begins. There is only so much I can handle; I feel completely isolate and a failure as a parent. Hate is such a strong word but if I am honest with my self.. I hate being around her.
She also twists everything that comes out of mouth while refusing to be accountable for any action. She openly talks about wanting to hurt classmates and has posted about wanting to kill me and how she would do it to get away with it. The drama is never ending and difficult not to let it bleed over into my work life.
I am purely exhausted.
Michelle et al,
YES! Yes to everything you said! Our younger child (both of whom are full siblings adopted from a traumatic bio home) is a living nightmare! I am in more than a bad place with him: I actually have past dislike for him months ago, and feel like just recently I even past resentment into pure contempt. We worked so hard to adopt them, took so many years, so much trauma to us dealing with the system that claims they want to house children and then treat adoptive parents like there’s suspects. But none of the hardships we went through feel worth it. Everyday he gets more and more purposefully obnoxious and defiant and hopelessly disrespectful. He’s in therapy now, but he’s been in therapy many times and nothing has helped – mostly because we can’t keep his therapists around. His last therapist switched him to in-person despite the pandemic because she finally experienced from him in a session what we experience every day. While she thought she was hiding her frustrations from him, she was not: he was pissing her off to the point where she ended the session early and sent us recommendations of what to do next which was switch to someone who would see him in the office despite the persistence of COVID. There are no adults in his life that are not vexed by his behavior. He used to be able to hold it together in school and not show teachers and staff who is really is, but that’s over now. All his stealing from classmates and teachers, his know-it-all self-important behaviors towards his classmates and his inability to follow basic instructions all create a cocktail of frustration for everyone who knows him. Precious few adults have not verbalized their thoughts that he needs some “old fashioned discipline” for all he puts the family through on a daily basis. While that’s a dead end in terms of a solution to his behavior, it is at least something that other adults see what we see. At least we know we’re not crazy and it’s not us – it’s him. He’s a nightmare and he directs a lot of his ire, disrespect and hostility toward me. Once upon a time mommy was mean to him in a way he’s decided was unjust (which is any time he is asked to be accountable for his behavior) and now she is the enemy of the state. He literally shouts at me: “you are making my life harder!” The irony of that statement is always too much to bear. I’m making HIS life harder. The kid who was lingering for a year and a half in foster care whose parents neglected him so badly he was literally filthy when child services finally came and got them. The parent who fought to ensure he would NEVER have to have visits with those animals. Meanwhile, I married an amazing man that I love dearly. Our marriage was amazing – not perfect, of course – but amazing. We were so happy in our lives and now we’re considering separation in the Fall. I have already started looking for new apartments because I cannot live with this kid anymore. My husband is much more patient with him and therefore can handle him better than I can. I simply do not have the emotional bandwidth to continue in the abusive relationship – that at this point might be seen as symbiotically abusive. Sometimes the words that come out of my mouth are horrendous – simply horrible things you shouldn’t say to a child. I know that. It doesn’t make me feel good, it makes everything worse especially my mental health and the status of our home. But there is something about this kid and the way he specifically triggers me and my hatred of bullies and jerks. Some people like my husband can be forgiving and patient. I don’t have that ability – I never have. I feel a compulsion to tell bullies and jerks where to go and how to get there. I spent so many years in my life NOT doing that, that I no longer have the ability to stay silent now. Enter my child. I was never 100% sure that parenthood was for me, and adoption is fraught with its own challenges and second guessing. Add this behavioral issue to the situation and you have a recipe for a hard life. I feel like my life is ruined by this child. Sad part, he knows it….because after a day of nettling, intentionally annoying behavior and public embarrassment, I told him that. That tension and my inability to not respond to his hostility is wearing my husband down. He doesn’t even like me as a person anymore – that’s clear. I don’t even know who I am as a person anymore. I’m in that kind of a dark place. I have been holding onto that feeling every single day of my life without reprieve for 5 years – that he ruined our lives. As terribly as I feel about saying that out loud and directly to him, I am also surprised that I held it in that long.
I am hoping there will be a parent support group where my child has therapy, but we’ll see. In the meantime, I pray for all of you as well that your situations somehow improve, that you find the supports and relief that you desperately need and most certainly deserve.
Oh my goodness. This is all so hard and so so unfair. Thank you for feeling comfortable enough to share your thoughts and feelings about this. They’re all valid! I hope that you’ll find a therapist for yourself, I have, and it helps. I really resonated with your description of being triggered. I’ve realized through this process of raising him, that I had some very unresolved PTSD that gets triggered when there is too much chaos. And my son represents chaos to me. I always felt like being a mommy was harder for me. I didn’t know or understand why. And now it’s all becoming clear. It IS harder for some of us because of the paths we’ve walked. We don’t have the proper coping mechanisms to handle these children. I never offer advice, because we’ve all heard it all, ad nauseum. I will keep you in my thoughts. I hope you can find some help for your entire family. That’s all we can do. Find help. ❤❤❤
Greetings Michelle! I am also having a hellish time with my 8 yr old son whom has been diagnosed with Adhd plus ODD! I have been hoping to find a local support group for us parents to these passionate little out of control humans as well! I am married so I am not technically parenting him alone, but I might as well be because my husband works for a big company in Charlotte and he’s constantly gone. I call myself a single mom because I may as well be. My son was diagnosed in Kindergarten w Adhd and then a year ago was diagnosed with the dreaded ODD. I used to read about this ODD and I remember thinking that surely it was simply made up because some doctor decided it so! Years later I finally believed it to be true of my own child, and infact with my first two kids I remember thinking surely the parents of these kids just are over analyzing their situation. Wow was I ever wrong!! I’m wondering were u ever able to find any local support groups for moms like us & if not I would be willing to put all effort into starting one?
Partner and I have custody of his 2 youngest grandchildren. 4 year old is autistic and severely developmentally delayed with behavioral issues showing up. The multitude of services, specialists, etc for this kid is totally crazy. Appointments all the time, lists of goals, objectives and tasks to work on at home. Etc etc etc. Then there’s the 5 year old without a diagnosis yet but the behaviors and issues are definitely present and have been for a very long time. I don’t know if it will be an ODD diagnosis or not but I can so relate to so very much of what’s been posted.
Everything is a challenge. Every day is really hard. I’m drowning in it all.
With the 5 year old It’s never knowing what today will be like. Will it be the defiance, yelling, screaming, sarcasm, all of those or just some….or will it be the sweet kid who listens, wants hugs and kisses and EVERY SINGLE MOMENT OF MY TIME ALL DAY LONG. Either type of day is exhausting and can send my anxiety thru the roof. Anxiety that once upon I time I didn’t have issues with.
There’s the dread, constantly being beyond stressed out, fight or flight mode most days never really an in between. It’s my own feelings of loving these kids but not ‘liking’ them or raising them most days, being overwhelmed and over run most days and feeling like a failure because I can’t handle all this better. And feeling so very alone in it all. The list of feelings could go on and on and on. And every feeling thats not rainbows and unicorns towards these kids filling me with guilt.
Its the people (including my partner) who don’t understand. Much of the 5 year olds behaviors are directed at me and she does not demonstrate them in front of a lot of other people. Its other people (including my partner) who say I just need to give her a couple good swats on the bottom or give other fabulous disciplinary and parenting advice. They don’t get that nothing about raising this kid is typical. I just want to scream everytime someone has said “well if you would just do this” or ” you have to act like the parent, just take charge of the situation” or the absolute worst to hear “well, when my kids were growing up, they knew better than to act like that”. Hence, adding to my feelings of being a failure and why I don’t ever talk about this anymore to anyone including my partner.
It’s that my life got flipped upside down and then my life just slowly disappeared so to speak. I no longer have a life. It’s just these 2 kids. It’s that I’m exhausted, no longer feel joy or much thats good. It’s that every day is just going thru the motions of what must get done today and being filled with anxiety and frustration from morning till night.
Fears of the future…oh my what will this 5 year old be like as a teenager, knowing the 4 year old will likely never be able to take care of herself. Thank goodness I don’t have time on any given day to think about that stuff too much.
I have done lost my mind and can only wonder what will happen to these kids when the stress kills me.
I feel the same with my oldest son. I thought I was reading something I wrote that’s how much I connected to this article. I’m in a very dark place right now my oldest has odd and autism and I swear he has no basic common sense. Im at a loss and don’t know what to do anymore! I’m a single mom too. I feel so alone I’m tired of life and I have no one. His father is useless. I’m just surviving every day trying to do better than the last. But after my mental breakdown yesterday realizing I’m 31 years old and then I look back and realize I’ve done nothing. And my kids have been such a burden in my life I have no friends and neither do they because no one understands them. Or me I could say too. I feel like such a waist and I’m tired every day. I’m glad to see I’m not alone but what the heck is the answer?! Also where I live there is like no resources at all and I don’t have enough money. I’m so tired of this bullshit life. End vent.
All I can do is send you the biggest hug. Most days I’m in no better shape mentally. We’re still in therapy. His ASD eval is next month. We just got back from a trip and I legit had a mini nervous breakdown because I felt trapped. There are lots of Facebook groups also!
You are not alone!!! You’re right people don’t understand. Most of the time peoples answers are to just beat your kid. That’s not the answer. I am mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted every damn day. I feel for you so much. What state are you located in?
I am in such a truly dark place right now, and reading Michelle‘s words about feeling like you’re an abusive relationship, summed it up!I’ve been using that example to my close friends and family for so long, they just don’t get it. I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you for everything you wrote, it makes sense to me. Michelle
Sending hugs and support. We’re out of town, and I feel like I’m in a nightmare. A year later. I wish I had more to offer. ❤❤❤
Good morning all. Look, I’m not a parent (father) who directly has this in my life. However, I do have a girlfriend who is struggling with this and I’d like to help. I don’t know how, though. Having read a lot of your concerns, it seems as though a support group might be somewhat helpful. I, myself, am in AA and it’s what I need to live life. So, I understand the importance of support groups. I know you’re all swamped (swimming, almost drowning), so may I be of assistance in maybe trying to set up a group (zoom or whatever) for you all to get together and discuss? I’d like to help because I see it (well, hear about ODD and ADHD) via my gf who I love dearly but can’t expend energy to me because she’s got her hands full with one of these children. What can I do as an advocate to your cause for help?
Thank you so much for your comment. Pretty amazing that you’re trying to help!
I have been scouring the internet looking for a support group for parents of children with ODD. My son is a bit older now but i have still have trauma flashbacks and am still walking on egg shells never knowing what his reaction will be. if you are interested in starting a weekly/ biweekly online zoom support group. Please message me directly. I watched the latest episode of New Amsterdam on television this week where there was a support group in this episode that i so felt i could resonate with.
I really really really could use some mom friends/support right now. There isn’t much locally here unless you want your business around town and to be judged by everyone. I’m losing it. I love my kiddo so much I just feel awful I can’t fix this.
WOW to finally hear other parents are having the same problems. I am not a horrible person but I can not take anymore of the constant barrage of negativity. I am a single parent. My son is 11. The behavior increased when school started. Six years of this and I am now wishing I was not a mom. I have no life. My friends have dwindled to nothing. My son does not have friends because of his impulses. It is just a revolving door. Not one single doctor or counselor will help and yes I have asked PLEASE help me. Give me an outlet PLEASE. I think the online group chat may be the first time someone has even suggested something for ME.
Is there a way we can all get in contact like maybe via email?! I’m also a single mother dealing with the same! I felt so alone until I found this page last night.
I feel the same with my oldest son. He has odd and autism and I swear he has no basic common sense. Im at a loss and don’t know what to do anymore! I’m a single mom too.
I would love to start a group also. Zoom, chats, texts, email exchanges. I think anything would help us all trade information and provide actual support and understanding. How can we trade contact info?
Where are you in VA? I’m experiencing everything that other parents have stated here. I feel terrible for resenting my son, and feeling trapped and unable to socialize with anyone who doesn’t understand what I’m dealing with.
Single parent here as well, and as lonely and isolating as this is, having someone else in my life is always so much worse. The misunderstanding, explaining, increased behaviour challenges, more emotional needs to be met.. i just can’t. And yet it would help in so many ways.
My son is 14 but developmentally, he’s maybe 10. In some ways more, in some ways less. But the abuse… the feelings of wasted efforts all these years, the resentment of a failed system, and the sacrifices I’ve made… it’s overwhelming. His father works counterproductively, as he’s the old school parent but also the parent who bond with him through the “men’s” activities. His father has a property and a home and I sacrifice mine to be able to support my son. Who is the stable one, in the eyes of others? The one who has the home, the fun, the bond and the “he’s fine, you just let him walk all over you” attitude. Why consider the reality of the situation, right? If I have mental health issues due to these years, it’s the first thing regarded. Not the reason, not the source, not the effort or the love and sacrifice and lack of support. No. I’m regarded as unstable if I seek help. Competitive if I compare. Unloving if I complain. Abusive if I reach my limit and yell, or mess up my words, or retreat to another room to gather myself while he melts down. These are all important strategies and yet we are punished for them.
I empathize with each one of you, and I am also proud. To endure such things, and for so long, means that you care deeply. You allow yourself to break, for them to repair. You work so hard. You have a love for your child that actually gets brutally tested every day. We do, definitely deserve a support group. And I would be more than happy to help arrange this.
Hi! Gosh, I’m so so sorry. I wish so much that there was a garaunteed happy ending. I’ve found a lot of support and understanding on some of the Facebook ADHD/ODD support groups. I would definitely try those. People on there get it. Xo
Hi! I think something like that would be great and would highly recommend checking out the Facebook Support groups! I still haven’t been able to organize something locally, but I think the Facebook groups are a great alternative!
I also feel alone, hopeless, helpless, completely inept as a parent and at the end of my rope with my ADHD/ODD 9 year old. I too have been searching for a parents of ODD support group. I would LOVE to be a part of that. Please provide info or reach out if you want to do it. I don’t care if it’s just 2 of us. Anyone who understands what I go through will be a lifeline.
Maggie! Were u ever successful in finding a group for parents like us w Adhd/odd kids? I too am in need & very willing. Thanks kindly
I would love this. Has anyone tried to coordinate a zoom meeting. I just found this blog today while searching for a prayer online for my ODD son. I feel like I hit the jackpot finding it. Finding other mom’s who feel exactly like I do…it’s priceless to me, because I feel so alone with it.
Omg ive been dealing with exactly the same things. Sadly cps has got called way to many times and now because i didn’t cave and give my 6yr son what he wanted on mothers day, he went to school told them i used a belt the week before. There was 3 tiny yellowish bruises on his buttocks and lower back. We live in a income bases apartment full of unsupervised refugee children that hit each other with twigs. No matted how many times i would throw them in the dumpster all the kids manage to find them and swing them including my son. Long story short ive begged and pleated with each cps call on me and called my mom crying and saying i cant do it anymore. Cps took my son and now i am being put off by cps on what i need to do to get him home. This is horrible feeling of failure ive ever felt. That it comes to him being removed to come to my rescue. Not to sound horrible but grocery shopping turns into a nightmare. Saying i need to do anything to my son about bedtime, needing to go get something. Anything if i tell him now im in a horror flick. Ive came out to notes on my car saying maybe if i talk to my son nicer, etc there isnt enough words to explain everything. But now im in a situation i possibly will not get my child back. Every thing has waiting list to do. Where i live is in jeopardy and no one seems to care. My past use of mj keeps coming up. Which is unfair i was depressed and feeling worthless as my son got older and more difficult to parent. I can’t help but feel this is all my fault. Thank you for sharing your life i know its hard for me i can only imagine anyone else having difficulty.
Wow, this is me to a T. We have known something was off with his sleeplessness and overactivity from being a baby. Not one single childproofing item could contain this baby boy! He is now 7. Mine however, does not behave at school either. We have stealing, threatening, lying. He has kicked MULTIPLE teachers at school. I do find myself crying at times and wondering where I went wrong and just feeling immensely guilty. My daughter which will be 6 soon (14months apart) has front row tickets to all this, and it kills me. Like he is on medicine but it doesn’t seem to help. He admits he is too big for rules. It is like he has lived another life and has an old soul. Never been one to play with toys much, but always into everything that isnt his. His #1 want on Santa’s list …a robot sweeper. We go to dollar tree and he wants a padlock. Just bizarre and I dont know what to make of things nor do I know if we are on the right path. I just don’t want things to get worse. So good to hear there are other people out there that can relate, but I do wish none of us had this behavior near us to relate about.
me too!!!! I always felt so guilty amd horribly punished by my child, the only one ill be able to ever have due to how hes been since he could walk which was 9 months. I have wondered which day in walmart i would get baker acted trying to grocery shop with my terrorist son, whom i love more than the air i breathe every day and is beautiful, way too intelligent and as sweet as he can be at times.
My gosh. I could have written this, only my child is nearing 13 and is far worse now. We’ve seen countless doctors, tried countless medications and therapies. When he was younger it was still easier. Now he’s more defiant and rejects therapy. He just sits and refuses to speak or just makes things up. He makes it a game now. He takes the medications we give him (mostly) but begrudgingly, and most only work a short time before we are onto a new one. He’s been through psychological testing multiple times. His latest was severe ADHD hyperactive and impulsive type. ODD, anxiety, depression, and some early signs of avoidant personality disorder. The rageful fits he had as a toddler have ramped right up as a pre-teen with 12 being his worst year yet. Our entire family is exhausted. I’ve contemplated suicide though I’d never actually hurt myself. I love my family too much. It’s just miserable escapism because I feel trapped in what feels like a never ending cycle of stress, shame, fear and anxiety. I found this article tonight because I googled, “please tell me this hellish teen stage of ADHD passes”. I really am at my wit’s end. When he reject trying literally anything, what else can be done?
I truly hope the author and all those in the comment find their way through their children’s ODD journey. <3
0h my I thought I was cursed now I know I’m being tested.I pray my lord I do the right things because I’m so tired!
Praying for strength for your heart. Father, We thank you so much for being allowed to experience the beauty of motherhood. We do not understand why our families are going through this and why our precious children have such anger in their hearts. God, please strengthen us so that we can stand when we feel so beaten down. Strengthen us so that we can lift our eyes up to you again and again when we feel so hopeless. Pour your spirit into us so that we can be your Love and your strength for our children and families.
In Jesus’ name.
I 100% get every single thing you said. I have searched for support through ADHD and Autism groups, but I always feel like there is still no one who really understands what MY family is dealing with.
I can tell that you and some of these other Mamas commenting here are dealing with EXACTLY the same thing. I am sending love to you all. I’m so sorry your family is going through this.
If I can’t find a way to get together with you ladies, I will definitely be searching for an O.D.D. support group.
Finding the right therapist is a lifesaver. My daughter was diagnosed with ODD at the age of 4. A very good pediatrician referred us after a discussion of trouble sleeping since birth and regular outbursts that started cropping up. Progress has been slow and steady. We specifically see an art therapist, which I think is really helpful for smaller kids. Hang in there. You are definitely not alone. The only “advice” I could ever give is to try and find a good therapist to help. Consider getting a separate therapist for just yourself and your own sessions too!
I’m sitting here crying wondering what the heck I did wrong as a mom, as I search “how to survive life with an ODD child.” My kiddo is 10yo and for YEARS we have walked on those same proverbial eggshells. Today was our first time sitting in a therapist’s office after I finally accepted that my kid needs help and I can’t give it to him. I’m worn down and weary feeling like every * single * day I am getting out of bed to enter the battle field. I homeschool and have no reprieve, so this is my 24/7 reality. COVID isolation and changes have only exacerbated all of it internally for him. Then add to it a VERY recent celiac disease diagnosis. I’m in the trenches too, and I’m just here to say thank you for making me not feel so alone.
My best unsolicited advice. As hard as all of this is, and even with Covid, try your absolute best to surround yourself with a network of people that you can call when you need a break. Some days feel so dark and hopeless. Some days, the only things we can do is just walk away. That has been the lifesaver for us. We enlisted the help of sitting services, family and former daycare teachers. Teachers at special needs schools, or people who have worked in a facility for neurodiverse children. Take care of yourself! Hugs!
God bless you in your hurdle’s to to overcome.
I found this article today and I couldn’t help but cry because now I know that I am not the only mom who feels this way. My son was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD when he was 5 years old. Like your son, he is an angel at school with no behavioral issues. Our sons like they are two peas in a pod. Thank you for sharing your experiences.
YOU ARE NEVER ALONE
Thank you for your article. I have a 10 year old son diagnosed and ADHD, anxiety and DMDD. We, as well, have great behavior at school, like you. The further I read on your article, the less guilty I felt about the similar feelings I’ve had lately about being home on snow days and weekends and dreading them. I just keep telling myself that God never gives me more than I can handle. Hang in there!
This is just what I needed to read today. My son is almost 6 and he can be the best little boy but my god…things can turn bad quick. It could be something as simple as saying I can poor your milk for you and he will flip. Destroys his room, screams for 30 minutes – goes into a manic state. This happens several times a day. It’s exhausting and sad – I feel like I’m deal with two individuals. One I absolutely love and another I’m terrified of.
My grandson is almost 5 and has been diagnosed with ODD and ADD as a grandparent who works full time I am at a loss as to how I can help
It is heartbreaking to hear my daughter talk about what goes on all the time
holy wow. I just found this blog in a moment of such despair. thank you Michelle. Please do start a blog, please do. Thank you to everyone on this thread, it feels so lonely and scary and now I have a ton of things to google and research. and I know I am not alone.
So today I cried At the new headmaster. I rarely cry, I broke down with concerns over my son’s behaviors. worry that he isn’t coping in the current lockdown. worry that his violent behavior is becoming worse and I don’t know how to stop or help him. THIS IS HARD. I love him more than I could Ever explain or show. I wonder with huge Guilt if I did this to him or made him this way. this is O.D.D (i think)..
I too am a struggling with a child that has been diagnosed with ADHD and ODD. She is 8, and my middle child. Everyday is a struggle! My oldest daughter is 13, and my youngest is my 6 year old son. And I feel guilty, because my middle takes up so much of my time, and they are often around when she has her meltdowns. I have been a single mom for years now. We currently live with my boyfriend of 2 years now, and it my daughters ADHD/ODD affects our relationship, significantly, he has 2 of his own, and doesn’t understand. I dont have any friends out here, and am basically at my wits end, trying to find some kind of support group or someone to talk to that understands. This article was super good!
Hang in there !
First off, know that your words are still reaching new readers even after almost two years! I find myself searching the net for help, answers or support all the time for the very same reason you were so brave to post about.
That being said, I am a personal slave/punching bag to an almost 13 year old. Who has pushed me to a point that I dont even know who I am anymore. My daughter received her formal diagnosis of ADHD and ODD 6 maybe 7 years ago. At the time, I was granted full custody and her biological father (who we call “ass face”) was stripped of all of his parental rights. In the months leading up to this, I married my now husband and a year later he would adopt her. Cutting all physical and legal ties to “ass face”. Her behavior in the years after were up and down. Not specifically sticking to one more than the other. The last 3 have been the hardest years of my life!! After 6 long years, I am finally pursuing my dream of becoming a nurse. A dream that has not been easy this far. You know what they say though “if it were easy, everyone would be doing it”. I like to think I use nursing school as a crutch to get me through the next two years, however I know that the stress of nursing school has nothing to do with it. My daughter, who is taller than me and weighs more than I do is down right nasty! But only to me! In the last few months i have all but moved into my guest room and placed locks all all the bedroom and bathroom doors. She steals from me, lies to me, and has started getting physical with me the last few months. She was recently suspended from school for smacking a boy in the face, then proceeded to choke him. She has never been fully out of the bedwetting phase and I tend to turn a blind eye on daytime wetting. She has 100% no problem wearing clothes with 3 day old urine stains. And cares even less about sleeping in urine soaked sheets. She is like a damn dog, peeing on anything she thinks she owns! I do not remember the last time I sat on my couch and watched a movie. Everything she wears or sits on has pee on it. This has put a stop to overnight traveling. I have such bad anxiety about her peeing in the bed that I simply dont travel with her anymore. I actually stayed home for Christmas while my husband and daughter spent the holiday with my inlaws. And that is the happiest I have been in a very long time! I feel so guilty that I am dedicating all my time and energy to nursing school. It also pisses me off to no end that my husband and daughter cant seem to hold their shit together long enough for me to graduate. My marriage has suffered tremendously!! So much that I tell him that if I had the fininical means to move out, I would. No questions asked. I feel like I am being so selfish. I feel like my daughter makes it her personal goal to make me absolutely miserable. All while my husband does nothing. He thinks that shuttling her to and from soccer practice and games is his way of supporting me. My daughter plays us against eachother and picks who’s side she wants to be on that day. I feel like a prisoner in my own home. My daughter has been with the same therapist for 6 years. She no longer participates in the sessions, so I have stopped taking her. We have had her on multiple medications but I thought I was being a “better and caring” mom when she told me she didnt like the way the medication made her feel. She said she didnt feel like her self. She has started running away, once with no shoes… in 20 something degree weather. She lies about where she is, saying she is at the after school study hall when she is really at her friends. She knows when I am at my weakest and clearly uses it against me. I just feel lost and like this will never end and she will never end. I lock myself in the guest room anytime I am home. And it seems that she is a perfect angel to my husband when I do this. And that drives me nuts!!!! My husband does not seem to understand, no matter how I explain things to him. And my daughter whether she says she does or not, does not care one bit about how her actions are effecting my, or the family. The one thing I know that my family and friends do not understand is the dark place I am in. I hate my child. I have looked into putting her up for adoption. I have looked into inpatient treatment. I am just at a breaking point and dont know what to do anymore. What I do know is that I can not go on like this anymore.
Thank you Michelle, and everyone for sharing your stories. I know we are all feeling alone, but even reading posts from total strangers can help. Please, please let me know if anyone has found an online support group.
I also enjoyed reading this very much! I now know that I’m really not alone!
Thank you!!! Just knowing there are people out there who also experience this is so validating. Some days are just mind bending. I would LOVE to come to a support group, even from Raleigh! Please keep me posted if you set anything up. 🙂
My son has ADHD and I’ve been seeing the symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder and it’s making me worry.
Omg did your blog hit it on the head. My husband and I got into a “discussion” about his daughter (my step-daughter) last night because of her ODD behavior and it is the most horrible thing I’ve ever endured in my life. Especially since she’s a step-child, it brings on even more. My husband feeling at a loss because she’s so awful to all of us but mainly me. If you set up any virtual support group or Facebook group? I’m in!
Trying to get a diagnosis for what seems to be ODD, most days for over a year my daughter has said she wants to kill me (and eat me). She is 5 now, I know she isn’t going to try, but society doesn’t always give you that room for nuance… so I worry will she be perfect at school someday, will she be locked up for the horrible things she says?
Been to a lot of parenting classes that don’t help us, perhaps they do work for standard minds, but not us.
Looking for any books that would possibly help. The Explosive Child helped somewhat, helped me change my perspective, but not the behavior. My ODD child is the oldest and I have so much guilt the baby doesn’t get to go to the few places we could go to, because I can not deal with the melt downs in public anymore, I’ve become too worn down to carry both kids. Just tried to grocery shop today, that was a mistake, had to carry her out screaming and hitting at 5 just like at 3 and 2…
You are not alone. You are not alone in your feelings, your guilt, your hopelessness, your mental decline, your tears or anything else. Reading this I felt like you lived at my house and were writing about my life. It’s almost scary to think that I birthed a human being that gets mad and calls me a b**ch at age 6. Abusive in every form and yet so loving. Everyday is like 50 first dates with a twist. Just to wake up and say “good morning” could mean war, yet when he calms down and resembles a little boy with tears in his eyes, all I can do is cry because I don’t know how to comfort him when he’s the Incredible Hulk. Thank you for this post. I still don’t have any answers but at least now I know that when I cry, I’m not the only one.
My 11 yr old daughter has had ODD since she was able to talk. I have felt abused, sad, depressed, angry, and even suicidal from guilt and hopelessness. As a person who was abused as a child this behavior brings up many negative thoughts and can be so isolating. It is helpful to know I’m not alone. Thank you for your candid story.
I googled this in hopes to find a blog. So thank you. You have shared my story completely. Hell on earth and we have such little support. So little help still. I hope to hang out here and see if you have found any relief
Michelle, I am so proud of you for taking the step to connect with people who can relate. You all are like family to me now. I have watched your angel grow with these behaviors that I myself could not understand when you told me he did at home until I saw the videos. He is so sweet to me and I love him dearly. As I know now that’s another part of him. Nevertheless don’t give up and always love your baby no matter what. I am here if you need me. Talk soon.
🙌 Oh my goodness, I love this so much. I’ve said several times already during this social distancing period that this is nothing new for my family. I feel like we’ve been practicing social distancing for 10 years now. The only difference here is my daughter has explosive impulse behavior. I’m not 100% sure what the difference is b/c if I’m honest, it all feels the same. We went through a sweet period where I thought things were improving and then all the sudden last spring it’s like she’s three years old again and non verbal, except she clearly has the negative words down pat. I worry that the wrong person will hear her and report us. I mean the story about the little girl in Florida not so long ago, could be my life. My husband and I say ALL the time that no one truly understands and its so hard. Our wonderful developmental pediatrician is amazing and constantly assures us we’re doing everything right but I still feel like we’re failing. Failing my typical developing child as well as our ASD child. My poor eight year old has the most boring life and she knows it. Occassionally she’ll look at me and ask “can I just say stupid please, because this is stupid”. We monitor everything in our house and somehow we’re still struggling with the aggression and words, the words sometimes are worse than the physical aggression. I don’t even know where she hears some of these things. Its exhausting knowing that I’m doing my best limit her exposure to negativity but somehow she still aquires it. I live in a small community and think all the time that I need to start a support group but there’s no one else who has a child like mine in the close areas. I am part of several FB support groups but like so many other things on FB its hit or miss. Some of these moms who claim to be experiencing the same things are down right mean and judgmental. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Hugs and Prayers to momma, I know you’re doing an amazing job with him!
My son is now 11. He was diagnosed with ODD at the age of 4. By the time he was six the diagnosis turned to DMDD. I could literally write a book on my journey. It was filled with many tears, frustration, anger, resentment, and hopelessness. Giving up was never an option. I knew as a single mom to a brown boy I was running against the clock. I knew that if my son did not get the appropriate intervention I would eventually lose him to the juvenile justice system and that was only going to happen over my dead body. I’ve been to countless IEP meetings my son has been to five schools because I refused to let him stay at a place where he is not being helped/not welcomed. It became my mission to literally save his life. I took many parenting classes, we did lots of therapy, psychiatry, and medication. I was relentless with the school system. It took many years but I’m proud to say that in January 2020 he was mainstreamed into a regular class and has had little to no behavioral issues. Don’t let anybody tell you that this is it. The great thing about oppositional defiant disorder is that it isn’t a mood disorder per se… It is a behavioral/conduct disorder and it can be adequately treated with appropriate behavioral interventions. I advocated for an ABA therapist and eventually the school system brought one in but even then it required me to stay completely on top of them. I’ve been there… Where are you don’t see an end in sight and I feel robbed of so many years with my son because of it but I’m glad to say but all the suffering was worth it. In my desperation I came across an advocate that helped me understand how the school system really works When it comes to children with behavioral challenges. USF HotDocs, positive tools for parenting, PBS, ABA therapy, parent child interaction therapy (PCIT). My single biggest struggle was getting through to the school system. If you can’t get them on board it will be very challenging. As of right now my son no longer has a diagnosis of ODD or DMDD, he only has a diagnosis of ADHD… I can’t tell you if it’s because he grew out of it or because all of the interventions worked. I do agree there definitely isn’t a support group for this but often times connecting to those people taking the same parenting classes you can help. Constantly reminding yourself that your child’s behavior at school should never dictate your relationship with your child is also vital. Stay strong.
Daisy, thank you so much for your message. It’s amazing what an amazing advocate and mom you’ve been for your son. What an amazing story you have to share. And how wonderful that he’s now in a mainstream education class. Amazing! Thank you again and best of luck.
Yes! This! We don’t have a diagnosis other than ADHD but I feel like I now know what to call it! I jokingly call him bipolar because he will flip from angel to demon if his hot dog is cooked wrong (any little thing). Absolute eggshells. And of course he’s an angel at school.
My son being an angel at school and only oppositional with us was absolutely maddening. I started taking videos to show his pediatrician and his teachers bc I felt like I was crazy. Of course, when he caught me videoing, it made it 1000 times worse. Ugh. Please feel free to reach out any time ! Nolegirlmitch on IG !
I am so sorry, Michelle. No fabulous words of deep wisdom, unfortunately, but definitely sending strength and compassion.
Thank you so much!
Omg! I just love reading through this blog, and the comments… I am in tears… my son is 9 and though I have tried every outlet, we are still alone… I say that with tears in my eyes… we are alone! He was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD at 5 we are at 9, he beats me down and calls me every name in the book… but I love him. He is mine. As the neighborhood kids play he is often grounded for being unruly put there, and not one of these parents care what I am going through.. no one reaches put unless to complain… my family is alone in This fight and love battle. I am so happy I found your blog. I am loosing it over here and I am so glad there are families going through the same thing, because I feel so alone on all this. So so alone.
Thank you so much for your kind words!
Thank you so much for this post. My son is 7 and has been oppositionally defiant since 15 months. He was recently diagnosed with ADHD – as was I – and his ODD symptoms have worsened with the pandemic stress and frequent changes in schedule. It feels like no one understands, because it’s only at home that he terrorizes us. I’ve used the Jekyll & Hyde and Bruce Banner & Hulk analogies, too, because it’s like two different kids when he is doing something that he wants to and when we ask anything of him.
We recently started him on Ritalin, and I think it’s making him aggressive. He defied me all day when he was supposed to be doing virtual school. Tonight he kept trying to lunge at and bite his dad, little sister, and me. He was like a rabid animal, and it really scared me.
I’m in tears and despairing because we are spending so many resources on him and I don’t know if and when things will improve. I wasn’t able to do any work for my job today because I was battling him. I’m so tired and feeling grateful to read this post and the comments. Sending love and hope to all of you. It helps to know that you get it.
Michelle, thank you so much for being candid, real, and painfully eloquent in speaking the truth of this disorder. For the first time in years I feel like someone understands my life. Tears…every. single. word. Exactly…it’s like living in an abusive relationship but you can’t leave the abuser. My now 11 year old, was diagnosed at 5…although I knew something else was going on with him even as a baby/toddler. I would LOVE to be a part of a support group of some kind and appreciate you reaching out to others about this. ❤️
Hi! I have been thinking of starting a group! Even if it’s just dinner and drinks with people who understand. I’m not on Facebook, but I friend requested you on IG to try and connect. Thank you so much for your sweet comment.
I am going through a lot of this with my child. Everyone thinks its lack of discipline or that I don’t have enough time to teach him to behave. I the process of trying to write this I have been slapped, and head butted. We are waiting on testing to get the diagnosis but I have known that something is not right. I am not on Instagram
I dealt with other people blaming us for our parenting for years. And they’re wrong. We’re still in therapy to learn how to parent this child. That’s all any of us can do. Keep talking, keep trying to get help.
Thank you. He just turned 4 and we were just referred for testing when the world went into chaos
You are not alone..trust me!! I felt the same way with my daughter. My daughter was originally diagnosed at 6 with ADHD, Anxiety, and ODD. Then diagnosed by another team of doctors with ADHD, Anxiety, PTSD, and DMDD. DMDD and ODD go hand in hand and have alot of the same traits. I use to cry everyday and dread for the next day because I knew exactly how horrible it was going to be. She is currently in therapy and on medication as well. There are support groups on facebook with parents who have children with ODD which might help you. If you ever need someone to talk to or just need to vent, please reach out to me.
Keely, thank you so much! I honestly had to Google dmdd by I wasn’t family with it. Wow, does seem so similar. I appreciate so much your offer and I hope that when this is all over I can use this forum to get some of us together to have a nice support group.
I’m really looking forward to starting something as soon as we can meet in person! So glad you found me! I’m always here to listen.
Thank you so much for your honesty in this article. I truly appreciate the insight you shared into your daily life, and my heart breaks for your family. I think it is a great wake up call to some of the trivial problems I complain about with my kids, especially during this time of isolation. I hope that someone who can relate is able to read this and start a support group with you!
Thank you, Rachel! Always appreciate your kind and thoughtful words of support!
I read this and started bawling, it’s such a relief to know I’m not alone. My 9 year old step daughter has ADHD and ODD. She was diagnosed in December. Unfortunately her mother just had a new baby and doesn’t see a need to follow any of the psychologists recommendations for psychotherapy or for parenting support groups etc.
My husband tries but due to being in the same position often shuts down as his way of coping.
I do feel like I’m in an abusive relationship some days.
I love her so much, and I go through a cycle of feeling guilty when I’m not at 100% and than I beat myself up for not being a good step mom because she’s just a kid but some days it’s so hard. Some days I have panic attacks in the bathroom. I dread our sleepover weekends because bedtime has been a fight for years.
Sometimes it drains me of everything I have. The fighting, the walking on eggshells.
Thank you For sharing. I really needed to read this today!
Thank you so much to everyone who has commented on this! I can’t wait for things to settle and we can all get together, and have some GIANT glasses of wine! I will absolutely use this forum to let everyone know! Hugs to all!
You are my VOICE TODAY😓
You are not alone, my 5.5 year.old daughter is going through the diagnosis process now ( which is taking so long nowadays to find anyone to take on new patients)
I was not familiar with ODD before a friend suggested I look into it, and boy am I glad I did.
Everything you said is as if I was talking about my daughter.
We avoid doing most activities with friends and family who doesn’t understand. We also struggle with family who watch her during the day and doing what they “think” is the correct way to help them. Not everyone being on the same page.
I feel.so guilty for my withdrawn behavior towards her but I honestly have no control over it at times.
Then I feel guilty that we don’t do as much as her friends or family so we bring her places and end up regretting it cause the slightest of things will set her off.
In desperate need of a support group!
I am also a mom with a child with ADHD and ODD. My son who is now 10 was diagnosed early on and I have been trying to get help for years!
I’ve tried therapy an psychiatrists…everyday is a struggle and I’m at a point to where I can barely keep it together. I’m not sure what to do anymore. Nothing I say or do works. I too need a support group!
I was really moved by this post. Thank you so much for sharing your struggle. I am sorry you are going through what you are going through. It sounds incredibly stressful. I think there’s power in numbers and sharing stories and I know you are not alone. I hope the comments from others helped give you encouragement and strength. I too can relate. Not as the biological parent, but the partner of someone who has a son with ADHD and ODD traits. While pregnant. During a pandemic. With a hyperactive puppy and cats that do not get along. It is hard. I pray for us all to have the strength and peace we need to get through our days and I hope we can all find some joy in our lives amidst the struggle.
Thank you all so so much for your support. Here we are, a year later, and today was a hard day. I was hit, had a remote thrown at me, and watched my son urinate himself most of the day. I feel so fortunate that this blog has helped me feel less alone. ❤❤❤