Reply To: 9 year old ODD is getting the best of me

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I totally and completely get it. I can give you some suggestions, but by no means do I have it down. First, someone else mentioned the Prozac and I feel that it is really something to look into further. My understanding is that Prozac should not be given to kids (it can cause suicidal thoughts and worsen the initial symptoms). This is what I was told by our pediatrician. If you can, maybe discuss with your son’s pediatrician?

My 9 year old daughter gets very angry and defiant too. Anything can set her off: Chores, dinner, air molecules, anything! One thing that has helped a bit is giving her Concerta ER early, first thing in the morning. I give it time to start working before she gets to school. I stay away from her (I know avoidance isn’t a long term answer, but it works for now and keeps me from jumping off a building). Her mornings have gotten better. A typical morning ended with both of us yelling. Hateful things just pour out of her mouth and no amount of pre-set consequences or additional punishments would work. When she’s in that state, SHE DOES NOT CARE. Sounds like your son is the same.

Afternoons, after school, were a nightmare as well. After I had a crying meltdown on the phone with the pediatrician, she suggested that perhaps it was the rebound effect from the meds wearing off. She finally prescribed a low dose of Ritalin to try and stabilize the evenings(for my daughter, not me :-)). This has also provided some relief from the rage, frustration and terrible mood swings that would have her sobbing for hours. I’m not saying she does everything I ask her cheerfully, but it’s manageable now. She has a bit more control and there is just enough of the sane and logical kid in there that she can somewhat control the outbursts. Sometimes she can actually stop the episode in its tracks and that is a huge occasion for both of us! She’s also able to focus on her homework more and I’d say when she takes her afternoon dose, her homework complaints are more tolerable and similar to those of a non-ADHD kid.

You mentioned threatening to call the police when he runs off and hear me out, but I think that’s a good idea! First of all, safety is the most important thing to consider and when they go off, it can be dangerous. We have to make the choices for our kids if they are not going to make good ones themselves. Also, if he knows you’re not bluffing, the thought of having the police come may be enough of an adrenaline rush (for lack of a better term) that he snaps out of it. I think that once they get into that full fledged defiant, ragey mindset, there has to be something dramatic to snap them out of it. When I lose it and yell is usually when my daughter comes back to earth and returns to the loving, sweet kid I know and love. Meanwhile, I hate myself for exploding and often question my own worth as a mother. Other than the safety aspect, the PCIT (Parent/CHild Interaction) therapist told me not to engage and stay calm (Hahaha, right). I ask her to go to her room and come out when she’s calmed down and if she refuses, I will be the one to walk away and ignore her until she calms down. She hates not having an audience. She will typically escalate a bit (or a lot) and then come back down. If I engage, she still goes through her “episode” but now I’m upset and on the verge of a breakdown as well.

You aren’t alone! Please keep us posted and if you find something that works, please let us know!!