April 1, 2019 at 9:55 am #113014
My 12 year old has ADHD and I’m starting to think maybe some ODD too. She also seems to have anxiety and sometimes depression.
I’m trying to learn more about ODD and I just read this: http://www.yourfamilyclinic.com/ODD/ODD.html
During her extremely defiant outbursts, she is yelling, jumping, stomping, slamming, crying, and saying that I hate her and that she is sad every day. Then even after she calms down she says that she is sad because I have such a bad child. She says it makes her feel bad that I have to take her to a special doctor and spend money on medicine.
The article I read says to separate the child and the behavior. I hate the behavior but love the child. Praise her when she does something good. Build self esteem. Tell them you love them. I do these things and I tell her that I’m not sad that I have a child like her at all. She’s such a spark of light in my life.
My basic question is, does she really think that I dislike her? Or is she trying to manipulate me? Even possibly unconsciously? Because it really does break my heart. A quote from the article:
“Some parents have developed a dependence on their child to fill their emotional needs. In cases like this the child often makes statements like “I hate you” or “you don’t love me.” These phrases are, once again, used due to their effectiveness in getting an emotional response from the parent. In other words, the child has identified a “button.” Parents with dependency issues may need to seek the assistance of a counselor or therapist to deal with this problem if they feel they cannot control their emotions.”
Um… yeah I probably need help. But I think it would help me just to know if she really felt that way or not. If I knew she was just saying it in anger, then, even though it’s hurtful, I could tell myself that she doesn’t mean it. But the fact that she says it even when she’s calm makes me think she really does feel that way.
April 1, 2019 at 11:54 am #113062
She very likely doesn’t mean it. She’s saying whatever she can to try to communicate her feelings. In these situations, you need to stay calm and not take it personally.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
April 1, 2019 at 5:19 pm #113086
Without knowing more details, she sounds frustrated and lonely…She is trying to communicate her feelings but can’t completely figure out what she feels and why she feels it. She’s 12. And expecting you to know what’s going on (inside) and to be the one with the answers, like a favorite teacher could in school. She also maybe feels guilty for feeling like you don’t care and telling you out loud instead of just keeping it to herself. The image of a life preserver floating just out of her reach and bobbing away in the wind keeps going through my mind.
I’m sorry if my thoughts aren’t complete.
April 2, 2019 at 1:00 am #113091
I am a mom to a son who was diagnosed with ADHD, ODD, depression, anxiety…and highly intelligent. ODD outbursts are far greater than this. The defiance comes in, when to no avail, will your child respond to direction from you or any other authority. They will constantly defy your rules, judgements and argue with you for the sake of arguing. They do not wish to be wrong. I also have ADHD. And I do believe my 14 y/o daughter may possibly have ADHD, as well, but I can assure you that much of her behavior sounds very much like common teenage or pre-teen behavior, brought on by hormones, possible slight depressive thoughts, low self-esteem while trying to navigate their hormones with a twist of society or outside influence. I would be less concerned about ODD and more concerned with her feelings of not feeling adequate, possibly mildly depressed, etc., because everything you shared, sounds just like that. Especially if the frustration lies in not being able to pin-point her expression. With ODD, they are more apt to use terms associated outwardly, and have no trouble saying they hate you or wish ill upon you or even to more the extreme. Kids with ODD many times don’t turn anything onto themselves and will refuse to take blame, turn attention to themselves as being the problem, and their lack of respect will often cause very explosive arguments, to which someone else will always be the cause. But I think you’ve got a pretty normal pre-teen, with unbalanced hormones and the possible onset of depression. I would try to focus more on her diet, mindfulness, talking with her openly about her day and regulate her time on social media. And I will warn you as I’ve quickly learned at this age, that cutting is a very common self-harm technique nowadays, so I would just be aware of that and pay attention if the depression seems to worsen. But her outbursts sound like she has occurences of sadness and she may require more hugs in the process. Vitamin D may help ease some of these symptoms, being outdoors and away from electronic devices, for sure. If you don’t notice any changes in her overall demeanor within a couple weeks, or it starts to seem worse, make sure you bring her in for a blood test and evaluation from her doctor. Sometimes even the chemical imbalance of hormones can wreak havoc in a household. Especially if she’s not sure where to express them or associate them to. If she’s hurting she’ll project them toward to the one she loves the most first. I would establish an open line of communication with her, so long as she can discuss her feelings between the two of you, in a way she isn’t deflecting any of her feelings outward, and let her know that you can’t help her unless you have an understanding of what she is feeling. One thing I have learned also, is teenagers have a way of absorbing other kids actions and emotions on social media, youtube, and other social networking and video sharing sites, so make sure the behavior is hers, and not just a result of what gets rubbed off onto her, be aware that much of this bs on the internet is kids making videos for reactions. Sometimes they have the illusion it will work similarly for them, when they present it to the right crowd. If the behavior is that of defiance, they won’t change their behavior because they see it is upsetting to you. In fact, it will probably become worse and more aggressive. Depressive behavior can be periodically outwardly, but also very isolated/introverted behavior. And mood swings, as intolerable as they can get, are a good sign that her hormones are in control. ODD is a a horrible disorder to experience and I know it neary desroyed our family. But I hope you put your mind at ease by hearing other experiences. As much as hormones can fluctuate, the ODD brain seems to function on one wire only, and it isn’t anything that you want to live through or wish on your worst enemy.
April 2, 2019 at 1:26 pm #113131
The more I was reading about ODD, including what was written here above, the more I see that it’s pretty extreme and I’m happy to realize that that is probably not what I am dealing with.
I really appreciate all the words of wisdom.
April 15, 2019 at 11:52 am #114010
I feel for you as we have lived through similar episodes. Here is what helped us:
a) We realized that our son’s meds were having a negative effect on him emotionally. Moving away from Focalin (which many people say have a terrible emotional wash out effect) to simple Ritalin made a huge difference. Further adjustment to long release forms (Concerta) vs ER or IR (which give a bumpier release) was also helpful.
b) we signed him up for a “boys group”. It was a small group of boys who met once a week, hung out, played together with some interaction from an adult LCSW. I have no idea how this helped but over 6 months, his state of mind was much improved. I thought this was way more effective than a 1-1 counselling situation.
c) sports – right after school, every day, made for a positive after-school transition.
Hope this helps and take care. She does not hate you 🙂 You are the most important person in her life.
- This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by Mommylove.
April 15, 2019 at 12:16 pm #114018
Are you sure were not in the same household?? My 12 yr old acts like a crazy woman. Saying she wants different parents, threatening self harm etc.. then next day a normalnperson.
April 15, 2019 at 12:38 pm #114025
This sounds just like my daughter (10 y/o). She has done this for years & I’m still not sure whether it’s true/a worry or if she’s trying to get a reaction– or a combination of both. The article saying that this happens when parents have “developed a dependence on their child to fill their emotional needs” doesn’t really ring true to me. I’m not perfect but don’t depend on my kids for this. When she says it I do tell her I don’t like her saying that and that I do love her but I don’t go overboard with the response. It’s super frustrating and I hate having her worried about this 🙁
April 15, 2019 at 1:08 pm #114035
I have been there and at times go back there. I think many of us have experienced this and it’s heartbreaking. Our 16dd was diagnosed with inattentive ADHD and anxiety at 10 years old. Took us a bit to find the right med for her but when we did she was happy with how it helped her. She did well in school the next couple of years, but when she hit 8th grade things started to fall apart. She was having trouble keeping friends, was very aware of how much harder she had to work than her peers, and noticing how different she was from most of her peers. She became depressed, started cutting, acting impulsively and making bad choices.
Teen years are hard enough, ADHD makes it even harder especially for girls. I know with our daughter she felt badly about herself and suffered from low self esteem. It is really helpful to make sure to let her know the ways she shines and remind her about all the things that she excels in. Our daughter started DBT therapy a year ago, and it has made a world of difference. She has been learning skills to help her with her anxiety and her emotions as well as how to effectively communicate. It has also helped us realize the importance of validating her even if we don’t agree with what is being said. Using validation has dramatically decreased the drama in our house and has also made me better understand her and realize how my reactions to her often made things worse.
Hang in there and know you are not alone!
April 15, 2019 at 1:21 pm #114039
It sounds like your child has identified a hot-button for you that they are going to push, push, push, push consistently until you stop reacting to it because they thrive on conflict, and are masters at using deflection. All in an effort to avoid or an inability to handle how they feel and what they are experiencing. First, second, third, etc. Don’t take it personally. It has nothing to do with you. It’s how they choose to express how they feel which is to hurt you because sadly, they are hurting themselves and don’t know how to stop the pain. And that is a sad thing. That is why they need therapy consistently so they can talk to a professional about what they are feeling, because if you haven’t noticed, YOU are not the person to handle that. ODD children will respond much better to others in therapy and to others period than when you try to handle it. Why? Because you are their target. They will unleash upon those that love them, why? Because THEY KNOW you love them. It’s safe in their minds to unleash upon on you. Best learn to accept this sad fact earlier rather than later and get professionals in who are much better suited to helping your child manage their over the top emotions. As to articles, sometimes they are helpful and sometimes they are not. The best judge as confused as you may be about what your child is going through is you. I counter this emotional explosivity with what I call stone face. I don’t express any emotion because that’s what my child looks for… an emotional reaction so that he can try to rope me into a fight and start hurling insults or worse. He’s not rational at these times. There’s no point to a discussion. I have the same litany and I don’t deviate. You know I love you, but even if you think I don’t, that’s fine too. I’m here for you. Once you calm down if you want to talk, I’ll be here to listen. Do not feed the raging Hulk. Their minds cannot process anything you say because they are in some excitatory mental state that you have nothing to do with. You are just the unfortunately target. You just need to wait it out. That having been said, I agree with someone posting here that what you DO need to watch for are signs of cutting, depression, low-self esteem, anxiety or other related mental issues that could cause your child to take impulsive actions. Be ready to pick up the phone and get them hospitalized if necessary to balance them out with whatever medication may be useful to treat the presenting condition.
April 15, 2019 at 1:57 pm #114046
No, I don’t think she really thinks you hate her.
I’ve had very similar experiences with my teenager. He only says things like that when he’s mad. It’s hard to keep emotions under control in those times, but it’s really the anger talking. I’ve see more and more that emotions flood in with ADHD, and he tends to act on these intense feelings right away, where other people could filter through things, and realize that their parents don’t really hate them, even when things seem rough at the time.
I find my son says things like that (at least partly) to get a rise out of me. I just remember that it’s the anger talking, keep firm and steady, and consistent. I will calmly tell him, of course I don’t hate him, I’ll ignore it as much as possible, or I’ll just say we need to take a break and talk about things later.
I highly recommend the book “The Power of Positive Parenting” by Glen Latham. I think, along with the articles you mentioned, will give you the tools to know how to handle it.
I’m glad to say, my son doesn’t say stuff like that much anymore (he’s 15), unless he’s very, very upset. But now I know from experience, that the storm will pass, he knows I love him and I’m there for him, and things will get better, so it’s much easier to handle.
Best of luck! Hang in there!
April 15, 2019 at 11:42 pm #114106
She does not actually think that, at least, deep down she definitely doesn’t.
I am now 23 and at the time had undiagnosed ADD but I can clearly remember saying this to my mother. Not on purpose to make her feel bad but subconsciously to get the reaction seeing how much she cared and to get the overload of reassurance that it was all okay. I always knew my mum didn’t hate me. As a 12-15 year old girl, my mum was the most familiar person to me so it was where I could and would release all my emotions. I remember hating the bad behaviour too and feeling awful after it happened and like I could not control it.
It will get better! The comment above from Anne seems very helpful.
I hope that helps in some way!!
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