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normal teenager anger? ADD? Or something more?


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I'm so torn and with a heavy heart. Our family doesn't resemble what it did before our kids started PS 3.5 years ago. I hate the decision to put them in, and have been suffering the consequences of it ever since. One of my best friend is in the same predicament, and she and I cried together two nights ago. Dh cried on the way home from work. It's difficult. My friend described it well. She said it's hard to help her kids when they're thrown into the cesspool every day.

 

We are Christians, but my sons no longer believe in God. Deep hurt caused by the church and abuse and bad treatment by more than one pastor has also contributed to this deep hurt. So public school, then loss of faith is what our problem is. And, we have completely given up on church, but that's a whole other story. Unfortunately, church was a negative influence on our kids.

 

Now our family has been through a LOT in the past few years. But my younger son in particular is our issue, and I really think something more is going on with him. I want to go get him help and he refuses. BUT, we have to go back for a recheck with the neurologist next week and I'm going to call adhead of time with all our issues and touch lightly with them while there. I think it's time for medication. This makes me so sad that just typing it is causing tremendous pain in my stomach.

 

We have so much mental illness in our family. My Aunt was a paranoid schizophrenic, as is my brother. My sister is bipolar. My son was diagnosed as mild inattentive ADD in 6th grade. I put him in school because I didn't know what to do with the struggles I was having with him completing his work,. paying attention, etc. The teachers at the school had all the same issues with him and suggested testing and that's when we found out about the ADD. He does very well in school, thankfully.

 

In the past year (he's 14) he has become harder to deal with. He is more emotional. He has a hard time dealing with his feelings, which makes him cry. But most disturbing is his anger. It seems to be getting worse. We started a new policy a couple of weeks ago. Chores had become such a stressor on dh and I and we decided that the pain was going to be on the boys when they didnt' do their chores, not on us. So if they don't do their chores one day, on their own without being told, the next day they get no tv, computer or video games. We were a No Video Game family during the school year but because ds has become so restless, we decided that he needed something to occupy his time. He can have limited time IF his grades are kept up.

 

Well, when things don't go his way he just explodes. He refuses to listen. At this point, he's going to have to do his chores on his own, with no mistakes, for a week to get them back. Why? Because he's causing so much pain by his attitude because they've been taken away. And, he's intentionally not doing them now. He's making everyone miserable and is now not allowed to come out of his room.

 

Now his chores are easy. let the dogs out in the morning and feed them, let the dogs out in the afternoon, feed them at night, do the pots and pans after dinner. We don't have a ton of pots and pans, on an average night I'll say we have two. And if we have a pot of leftovers, which is frequent, he doesn't even have to do them.

 

Honestly, is that really asking too much? and please ONLY respond to this part of my message if your kids have chores. I know not all families do and that's fine, but I insist our kids help out. I can't have him help in the barn because he's too distracted and I'm certain he'll forget to feed someone. I used to have him scoop out litter boxes but took that away when he had pneumonia 3 x in 9 months.

 

I'm so tired of dealing with him that this week I've detatched from him. I can't talk to him. I'm just so DONE with this and find myself counting down the days to when he'll turn 18, graduate and move out of the house. And I don't feel guilty for it. I'm TIRED.

 

Now, I have to share something difficult to put this in perspective. We had a supposedly dear family friend who spent TONS of time with our family. He was the leader of the mens bible study at our church, and he and my husband became friends. We invited him to the house many times for dinner. He spent a lot of time with our family. My 14 yos considered him more of an uncle than his own. Our extended family is SO important to us as we have almost no family. Anyway, the only time he was alone with my boys is when we had to work in MIL's house the entire summer 2 years ago he offered to take the boys to the movies and to lunch. We let him that one time, both of them. Both boys are red belts in Tae Kwon Do and my oldest son is 6'2, this man was maybe 5'4. They were never alone. Why do I mention this? Because this jerk turned out to be a pedophile. He kept on asking to do more with the boys, dh and I didn't allow it. So after a few months of telling him no (he was good and patient, building on this relationship for a long time) he dropped our family like a hot potato and moved onto another. Unfortunately that family wasn't as protective as we are and their son was molested.

 

My son's anger issues started around the same time. He's insisting nothing happened, and honestly, this man never had an opportunity to be alone with our son. He took the boys to the movie that one time, but he never had my younger son alone with him. My son cried and cried at the pain of that, and we had juts lost a close family friend due to cancer at the same time. Then my dad died, then my mother came to live with us. So it's been hard.

 

We spoke at length to the police about this man and my son didn't want to go speak to him. He felt so betrayed. My older son confided in me recently that he has dreams about doing horrible things to this man. I cam understand, he's very protective if his brother. But again, this man was at our HOUSE and other than that one time, did NOT have opportunity to be alone with our son.

 

I really want to go get help for him but he says he won't talk to anyone. But I think his anger is really starting to be unhealthy. On Sunday he lost his chores for Monday and has not spoken to any of us since amd is not doing all his chores. I'm at my wits end with him. Dh and I are torn. If things aren't going his way, he's spouting off.

 

How much is typical ADD behavior here? I've been doing some reading about ADHD and although he has plenty of time where he can relax, watch tv, read (he's a VORACIOUS speed reader) etc. his symptoms are more typical of ADHD than ADD. And, I'm questioning ODD, but for that wouldn't he have to have problems OUTSIDE the house? He did say that even his friends have told him he takes things too far, and he admits he can be a real jerk.

 

I'm sorry this is so long. Off to get ready for our co-op now.

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I will pray. One thought I had to maybe share with your son, he is right to feel hurt and angry. He may not have been molested but he was betrayed. Someone pretended to care about him, when ne really only wanted to hurt him. That hurts-a lot. Seeing a counselor may help him better able to deal with all these feelings.

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we have mental illness in our family as well.

 

Did you know that most teenage boys express depression as anger? We had an angry young man, too, that we didn't know was depressed until he threatened suicide. Would he agree to a psychiatric screening?

 

First off :grouphug: Secondly I agree with the above statement. My own depression presents as anger not sadness. I posted recently about my struggles with my oldest. He has severe ADHD and conduct disorder(a more severe form of ODD). His anger is intense, same thing as your son, it flares when things don't go his way etc. I do recommend getting him better evaluated. We have been working with shrinks for my kids since the oldest was in a mental hospital for kids just before his 6th birthday. We use meds for his adhd but so far the meds typically used for the CD have not worked the way we hoped. You may find however that your son responds well to a med regime and things improve for your family immensely. Given the family history of mental illness I strongly suggest though that you get him a thorough assessment. At 14 you still have ultimate say in medical stuff like this, so you don't need his consent to have him evaluated. Once he is 18 that will change so now is the time.

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I would gently (and know there will be an explosion of anger directed at you) tell him that it's time for some outside help. Not going is no longer an option.

 

I would present this at a time when he is calm, and perhaps someplace neutral, where he is less likely to act out, perhaps a casual restaurant at a table in the corner.

 

"You are our son and we see that you are unhappy and you yourself have acknowledged that sometimes you take things too far. That's probably a little bit scary to you. The brain is a complicated organ; we don't know all they whys and hows of it; you've done nothing wrong. As your parents we need to do whatever is in our power to help you feel like yourself. We can't do this alone. We are going to the neurologist and we are going to follow any recommendations she has. That might include medicine, talking to a person who understands about growing brains, like a counselor, or both. Or maybe something else we don't even know about. There are people who can help us, and help you be yourself. You've suffered a lot in the past, we need these other people to help us".

 

When he brings up how he doesn't want to go, won't go etc, gets angry, you stay firm. "I know you're worried and scared about seeing someone. I understand that. I'm a little nervous too. That's natural. We're all doing something we haven't done before. We need to do this. We're doing this. "

 

I would say this calmly as many times as you need to, whenever he starts to perseverate. On the day of the appt, you go, you all get in the car and go. On the way I would gently say "I really appreciate that you're here with us. We're all in this together. Thank you". I would also make sure that after the appt, you all go somewhere that is pleasant-- maybe his fav restaurant. What he needs to do is not easy, and is frightening, and there should be some bennies. (Besides getting well).

Edited by LibraryLover
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I would gently (and know there will be an explosion of anger directed at you) tell him that it's time for some outside help. Not going is no longer an option.

 

I would present this at a time when he is calm, and perhaps someplace neutral, where he is less likely to act out, perhaps a casual restaurant at a table in the corner.

 

"You are our son and we see that you are unhappy and you yourself have acknowledged that sometimes you take things too far. That's probably a little bit scary to you. The brain is a complicated organ; we don't know all they whys and hows of it; you've done knowing wrong. As your parents we need to do whatever is in our power to help you feel like yourself. We can't do this alone. We are going to the neurologist and we are going to follow any recommendations she has. That might include medicine, talking to a person who understands about growing brains, like a counselor, or both. Or maybe something else we don't even know about. There are people who can help us, and help you be yourself. You've suffered a lot in the past, we need these other people to help us".

 

When he brings up how he doesn't want to go, won't go etc, gets angry, you stay firm. "I know you're worried and scared about seeing someone. I understand that. I'm a little nervous too. That's natural. We're all doing something we haven't done before. We need to do this. We're doing this. "

 

I would say this calmly as many times as you need to, whenever he starts to perseverate. On the day of the appt, you go, you all get in the car and go. On the way I would gently say "I really appreciate that you're here with us. We're all in this together. Thank you". I would also make sure that after the appt, you all go somewhere that is pleasant-- maybe his fav restaurant. What he needs to do is not easy, and is frightening, and there should be some bennies. (Besides getting well).

 

:iagree:

Yes. Actually this is what we should have done before the situation turned into a crisis.

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Once he is 18 that will change so now is the time.

 

Yup, speaking from experience with my own family -- once they are 18 -- it impossible to get them help for mental illness. The law says they are adults and parents have no rights. You want a formal dx and med plan begun before that. God help you if you have to call 911 when he is an adult and they put him in for a 72 hr hold. That is a nightmare. :grouphug:

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I had a long talk with my son today. He truly doesn't feel that he has a hard time dealing with his emotions. I told him how I felt and I told him that his father and I only have the opportunity to help him for the next 3.5 years, and that if we feel he truly needs the help, we're going to get it. He told me to do what ever he thought was right.

 

After talking to him in great detail, I'm not yet making the decision to get him help. But I am going to talk to the neurologist to see if she thinks we should investigate medication for ADD. I'm on an online support group for kids with ADD/ADHD and I can say for sure he's nothing like them, but I do think his anger is worrisome.

 

He told me today that he blew up when his youngest sister pushed his buttons. I somehow forgot that even took place. Our youngest is adopted and causes many, many problems and he won't have anything to do with her now. I am allowing him to have his feelings. His sister has put tremendous stress in our family (she came home the year before I put the kids in school, so if I'm going to be realistic, I have to say that a lot of the stress is due to her, not just that our kids were put in PS) but she's been doing real well lately. Still, he has his feelings and the scars will always be there. I told him he was allowed to feel anything he wanted, but that he was not allowed to speak to her harshly or rudely. He understands.

 

He was teary eyed and told me he was just thinking how far he'd come over the past few months. Last year was very hard on our entire family. I hate that my kids experienced such stress and loss. Both my boys were at my mother's side day and night the final few days of her life. They adored her. But he feels that he's doing much better. He did tell me, however, that he'll try medication if we think he needs it, and he'll also get treatment if it's what we want. But he was clear that he's not depressed, he's doing better, but that he wishes we never adopted our daughter. I can understand that, and only a family who has bio or well, healthy kids AND troubled adopted kids can understand the predicament we're in. I fully understand WHY this has been so stressful for him and unfortunately now that she knows she's upsetting her brother, she's going to go out of her way to push his buttons. I made it clear to her just now that it's not allowed.

 

I'm going to take a wait and see approach for a little while. And he is right, he is better. He was depressed after our friend was arrested. It was very traumatizing. It's just hard because he won't go and *talk* to someone. He's not that type of person. My older son, yes, he's a TALKER. My younger son ISN'T and that's why I'm not certain speaking to someone could help him. I do know of a person who does neurofeedback and works with ADHD kids in the area, and I may be making an appoint for my son. I'm going to give it a little more time.

 

I explained that teenagers display depression as anger (thanks for telling me this! I did some reading on it today.) and he told me his life was going well and he had no depression issues. I do believe him.

 

I have always talked to my kids about mental illness because of the issues with family members. He knows he's at risk. I also told him today that depression DOES happen after concussions, and he had TWO within minutes and has post concussion syndrome. So I told him I was going to talk to the neurologist next week when we see her again.

 

I'm glad he knows that we're concerned, what's concerning us, and that it won't be an option - if we feel he needs help, he's goinmg to get it. I started to cry and told him I loved him and I just wanted what was best for him. He cried too and said he knew, but that he really felt he was fine. The fact that he's having no issues outside the home is telling, too.

 

Again, I don't know what is normal ADD/ADHD issues (I know they have problems controlling their emotions) and normal teen anger, but I do know other friends with kids the same age are having difficulties right now, too. My older son was just "easier" as is my oldest daughter. Also, I really need to educate myself about ADD/ADHD.

 

Thanks to everyone who responded to this. I feel so much better now that we've gotten everything out in the open. Now that he knows what my concerns are, maybe he'll work a little better at not getting angry like he has been, especially with his little sister.

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I had a long talk with my son today. He truly doesn't feel that he has a hard time dealing with his emotions. I told him how I felt and I told him that his father and I only have the opportunity to help him for the next 3.5 years, and that if we feel he truly needs the help, we're going to get it. He told me to do what ever he thought was right.

 

After talking to him in great detail, I'm not yet making the decision to get him help. But I am going to talk to the neurologist to see if she thinks we should investigate medication for ADD. I'm on an online support group for kids with ADD/ADHD and I can say for sure he's nothing like them, but I do think his anger is worrisome.

 

He told me today that he blew up when his youngest sister pushed his buttons. I somehow forgot that even took place. Our youngest is adopted and causes many, many problems and he won't have anything to do with her now. I am allowing him to have his feelings. His sister has put tremendous stress in our family (she came home the year before I put the kids in school, so if I'm going to be realistic, I have to say that a lot of the stress is due to her, not just that our kids were put in PS) but she's been doing real well lately. Still, he has his feelings and the scars will always be there. I told him he was allowed to feel anything he wanted, but that he was not allowed to speak to her harshly or rudely. He understands.

 

He was teary eyed and told me he was just thinking how far he'd come over the past few months. Last year was very hard on our entire family. I hate that my kids experienced such stress and loss. Both my boys were at my mother's side day and night the final few days of her life. They adored her. But he feels that he's doing much better. He did tell me, however, that he'll try medication if we think he needs it, and he'll also get treatment if it's what we want. But he was clear that he's not depressed, he's doing better, but that he wishes we never adopted our daughter. I can understand that, and only a family who has bio or well, healthy kids AND troubled adopted kids can understand the predicament we're in. I fully understand WHY this has been so stressful for him and unfortunately now that she knows she's upsetting her brother, she's going to go out of her way to push his buttons. I made it clear to her just now that it's not allowed.

 

I'm going to take a wait and see approach for a little while. And he is right, he is better. He was depressed after our friend was arrested. It was very traumatizing. It's just hard because he won't go and *talk* to someone. He's not that type of person. My older son, yes, he's a TALKER. My younger son ISN'T and that's why I'm not certain speaking to someone could help him. I do know of a person who does neurofeedback and works with ADHD kids in the area, and I may be making an appoint for my son. I'm going to give it a little more time.

 

I explained that teenagers display depression as anger (thanks for telling me this! I did some reading on it today.) and he told me his life was going well and he had no depression issues. I do believe him.

 

I have always talked to my kids about mental illness because of the issues with family members. He knows he's at risk. I also told him today that depression DOES happen after concussions, and he had TWO within minutes and has post concussion syndrome. So I told him I was going to talk to the neurologist next week when we see her again.

 

I'm glad he knows that we're concerned, what's concerning us, and that it won't be an option - if we feel he needs help, he's goinmg to get it. I started to cry and told him I loved him and I just wanted what was best for him. He cried too and said he knew, but that he really felt he was fine. The fact that he's having no issues outside the home is telling, too.

 

Again, I don't know what is normal ADD/ADHD issues (I know they have problems controlling their emotions) and normal teen anger, but I do know other friends with kids the same age are having difficulties right now, too. My older son was just "easier" as is my oldest daughter. Also, I really need to educate myself about ADD/ADHD.

 

Thanks to everyone who responded to this. I feel so much better now that we've gotten everything out in the open. Now that he knows what my concerns are, maybe he'll work a little better at not getting angry like he has been, especially with his little sister.

 

Please don't watch and wait. It often takes weeks to get in to a doctor. Then a few weeks (or months) of observation and treatments. It can take a long while to get the ball rolling and really get to the part where it helps your son. Don't waste this time....all the grief your son has experienced is festering inside him. This has less to do with ADD than it does with grief and depression, IMHO. Those things just don't go away in kids. They have to be pried out. Your son is young. He has little life experience to base his feelings on.

 

My son walked a similar path--grief, depression, anger. Please don't waste these weeks and months. Your son deserves to feel good about his life. I can (and will be happy) to tell you stories of the troubles and problems my son has had in the last 14 years. I'd love for you NOT to experience what we experienced.

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Please don't watch and wait. It often takes weeks to get in to a doctor. Then a few weeks (or months) of observation and treatments. It can take a long while to get the ball rolling and really get to the part where it helps your son. Don't waste this time....all the grief your son has experienced is festering inside him. This has less to do with ADD than it does with grief and depression, IMHO. Those things just don't go away in kids. They have to be pried out. Your son is young. He has little life experience to base his feelings on.

 

My son walked a similar path--grief, depression, anger. Please don't waste these weeks and months. Your son deserves to feel good about his life. I can (and will be happy) to tell you stories of the troubles and problems my son has had in the last 14 years. I'd love for you NOT to experience what we experienced.

 

I appreciate what you're saying, but honestly..... weeks is nothing for him. It's not like he's having blow-ups all the time, he isn't. Waiting a few weeks will likely not produce anything - this isn't a constant struggle.

 

I've been scouring the internet to read about teens and read about ADHD. He's not severe like most ADHD kids are, but he has his moments. But I still don't know what's the norm for teenagers. I need to educate myself BEFORE we move ahead for treatment.

 

Dh and I still need to talk more (he's visiting his mother right now) but now that we've cleared the air with ds, I do feel better. He did admit he was overwhelmed and depressed over everything he had to go through last year. I can tell you for SURE he had to deal with more than any 13 year old should ever have to. I do believe he would tell us again, especially after our long talk. He assured me he wasn't struggling. He's doing well. He doesn't feel that he has a hard time controlling his emotions, dh and I disagreed and we told him so.

 

 

ANd still, I'm going to talk to his neurologist next week. I can tell you for sure things were magnified after his head injuries. I already spoke to her about his behaviors last time and she said it could last 6 months to a year. This is a place that also deals a lot with ADHD so it's going to be good to get her input.

 

 

thanks again

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Most people who seek counseling seek it later rather than sooner.

 

With your year, your background, your biological risk factors, with something as foundational as religion and spirituality being turned upside down, his school orientation/hazing........

 

I'd get him (and the rest of you) into counseling as soon as possible.

 

Good families don't avoid counseling or never need counseling; good families seek help when it's needed. Your family, each of them, deserves the best.

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Most people who seek counseling seek it later rather than sooner.

 

With your year, your background, your biological risk factors, with something as foundational as religion and spirituality being turned upside down, his school orientation/hazing........

 

I'd get him (and the rest of you) into counseling as soon as possible.

 

Good families don't avoid counseling or never need counseling; good families seek help when it's needed. Your family, each of them, deserves the best.

 

you are so sweet, and that is so true. If I insisted on everyone going into family therapy, my guys (dh and sons) would begrudgingly go. But my guys, all of them, really don't want to. Guys don't typically open up easily. It's ok, I can open up the proverbial can of worms, ALL of it, and then hope that the professionals can help my kids, and dh and I, process it all. Dh and I have just become numb to everything.

 

The sad truth is that we've been through even more that I haven't shared. But we've all been traumatized and I do believe there are lingering affects. It's only since July that we are finally "resting" and have "normal" issues. But we still do reflect on all we've been through. We discuss it all the time. And I think it would be healthy and good to talk all of this through with someone who can help us process this. Where I hesitate most is that doctors of all kinds (specialists in the medical field, therapists for youngest dd) have all let us down. If we could find someone GOOD who could help us process it all, I do think it would benefit us. That's a HUGE if, though....

 

And if we need to get my son additional help, dh and I have decided that we WILL take the bull by the horns.

 

I told my son today it's the people who DO something about their issues that are the strong ones, and the ones who benefit most. We've had NUMEROUS discussions about my brother, who really doesn't help himself. I'm glad that he's fully willing to get help, even though he doesn't think he needs it. And to be honest, I can tell you FOR SURE that DH and I are suffering serious burnout and have a hard time thinking straight right now. We're tired, tired, tired. We still have so much work to do to settle the affairs of my brother, parents and MIL. We can barely see straight. Dh is not only trustee of mom's estate, but he's managing 5 properties on top of just being husband and dad.

 

I've been wanting our FAMILY to process all our trauma for awhile, and your email really struck me. I want to do my research to see if we can find someone, perhaps someone actually GOOD in their field, to help us process all of this. I think that's the first step in helping our son, let alone the rest of us.

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I appreciate what you're saying, but honestly..... weeks is nothing for him. It's not like he's having blow-ups all the time, he isn't. Waiting a few weeks will likely not produce anything - this isn't a constant struggle.

 

I've been scouring the internet to read about teens and read about ADHD. He's not severe like most ADHD kids are, but he has his moments. But I still don't know what's the norm for teenagers. I need to educate myself BEFORE we move ahead for treatment.

 

Dh and I still need to talk more (he's visiting his mother right now) but now that we've cleared the air with ds, I do feel better. He did admit he was overwhelmed and depressed over everything he had to go through last year. I can tell you for SURE he had to deal with more than any 13 year old should ever have to. I do believe he would tell us again, especially after our long talk. He assured me he wasn't struggling. He's doing well. He doesn't feel that he has a hard time controlling his emotions, dh and I disagreed and we told him so.

 

 

ANd still, I'm going to talk to his neurologist next week. I can tell you for sure things were magnified after his head injuries. I already spoke to her about his behaviors last time and she said it could last 6 months to a year. This is a place that also deals a lot with ADHD so it's going to be good to get her input.

 

 

thanks again

 

I think you should strike while the iron is hot and he is willing to get help. You might consider going for family therapy because it truly sounds like it's all interconnected, but he and all of you could get some support and help with the stress you've been under, etc. and you've have someone who could evaluate him individually. Just a thought.

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I think you should strike while the iron is hot and he is willing to get help. You might consider going for family therapy because it truly sounds like it's all interconnected, but he and all of you could get some support and help with the stress you've been under, etc. and you've have someone who could evaluate him individually. Just a thought.

 

Dh and I have discussed this before and I'm emailing him this entire post tonight. My only hope is that we can find someone GOOD to help us process this all. I don't know how to explain how I'm feeling, and how my dh and kids are likely feeling, but my best attempt would be this: we're trying to operate as normal but the trauma of the past several years is stored in the cells of our body. We need help to process and release it all, and it will also help us all to be close.

 

You've all been such a tremendous help. I, too, was thinking just minutes ago that the time to act is now, while he's willing, and while my oldest is still at home. My oldest will leave for college (seemingly) before I take my next breath.

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I'm sorry your family has had a bad experience with church. Without our church family and other Christian friends, I don't know how we would have made it through this past year. Our 16 yo daughter struggles with depression and an eating disorder. She was hospitalized for two agonizing months. She still sees a therapist regularly and we've had counseling as a family. It was very difficult for me to begin counseling. Now, almost a year later, things are going much better. I know God has answered the prayers of many on our behalf. The counseling has helped us look at some areas a little differently, but I know in my heart that the only lasting peace and comfort we can find is through knowing God and seeking Him daily.

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