Mikki - posted on 02/27/2010 ( 2 moms have responded )
My daughter, a seven year old who was diagnosed with ODD when she was five, has been in respite care since August '09. At the age of 4, she tried to kill her then 1 y/o brother using cleaning chemicals that I'd forgotten to put away and were left on our kitchen counter. He was burned, first degree chemical burns, from the waist up. His right eye was swollen shut and we were told that it would be at least six weeks before he was fully healed, scarring was probable. Miraculously, he was fully healed in a week and a half with NO scarring. She has since taken a knife to him, burned him with a lit stick of incense, taken a bottle of liquid arthritic rub and tossed the liquid in his eyes (the liquid containing menthol and eucalyptus) which had me holding his eyes under the tub faucet (not fun). My daughter was admitted twice to two different local children psychiatric wards.
The first time was after she burned him with the cleaner. She was there for a week. They sent her home and told me that "there's nothing wrong with her". I knew at that point I was in for a hell of a battle, knowing that had she been in her teens, she'd have been arrested. Had she been an adult, she'd be arrested and charged with attempted murder. The second time she was admitted, they listened to me, but since I'd had to take to the living room just to try to catch her in the act before she destroyed our house room by room (yes, this was every day) and often failed at doing so due to sleep deprivation, I fell asleep once or twice during my initial meeting with that doctor. They called CPS and reported me for neglect.
When CPS arrived, I was in the midst of cleaning up a mess that was three days in the making from her deciding that she wanted to trash our house, head to toe, every room, kitchen included. My husband, though physically capable, did nothing to aide me in the cleaning process. He had, at that time, quit his job at UPS to play his XBOX 360. I was still recovering from a previous back surgery, so the pain was unbearable, but it needed to be done. Needless to say, we lost BOTH of our children that day due to the horrendous mess my daughter had created. They were returned to us two days later and it has been an uphill battle ever since.
Flash forward to 2009. My husband and I are no longer together for obvious reasons. Last August, after witnessing the burning with the incense stick, my daughter stabbing my son repeatedly with a pen and waking up at 2 AM to the sound of my daughter beating my son about the head for no reason whatsoever, my daughter finally vocalized her wishes. This was a first. One day, she simply looked up and said, "Braeden wants me to kill him." I'd had enough. I looked at her, shaken and scared to death, packed a small bag for her and took her to the local children's psychiatric hospital.. the same one that I'd fallen asleep at.. and the one that, now, I was absolutely frightened to be at but was desperately seeking help from.
She stayed there for three weeks while they tried to figure out what was going on. I updated them with her current history, her medication, her violence, her fits, her outbursts, her intelligence and how scared I was to even go to sleep at this point. At the end of the three weeks, the doctor in charge finally suggested respite care. It is also known as treatment foster care. It is NOT, I repeat, NOT foster care. Do not mistake the two. The parent has control over all decisions made. The parent is not relinquishing guardianship in ANY form whatsoever. The parent must attend weekly therapy sessions, medication meetings and have visitation with their child in order to see the progress their child is making.
My daughter has been in respite since her stay in CPH ended in August of last year. Why so long, you ask? Because her case is rare. Between her intelligence, her logic, her understanding of adult issues and her mental disorder(s) (they think that she may have more than one issue going on, but have yet to fully diagnose her), the only other children known to behave the exact way she does are children in their mid to late teen years. This makes her extremely dangerous. She is capable, cunning, swift, decisive, understanding, logical and intelligent beyond her years. When a teenager does the things my daughter does, rarely are the parents blamed for the teen's decisions. When my daughter does these things, however, and especially considering how absolutely adorable she is.... the state, the school, fellow parents and even so-called friends point the finger in one direction: the parent. Me. Why? They have never lived through the hell that I have. They don't know. The only one besides my father and my son and myself who has lived through this recently and is as scared as I am is the one who is currently taking care of my daughter and helping her try to get some things straight. This woman (who shall go unnamed) is a hero to me. She builds me up and helps me understand that I should NEVER blame myself for these things.
Above all, she lets me know that I should never, EVER blame myself for my daughter's massive case of APATHY. My daughter has no compassion for others, no sympathy and no empathy. She has only apathy and self-love. This is interesting considering her self-esteem is very low. Regardless, she has no concern for others in ANY manner. She was caught by the woman caring for her, recently, just about to stomp on the head of a infant. Had she not been caught, I have NO doubt that she would have done it. These things are REAL, my fellow group members.
If your child has ODD, if they are resembling things like this, violence this way, hatred, apathy... get them help. Fight the uphill battle and don't give up. Don't blame yourself. It's painful and it's tough, but you're doing the right thing by getting them help... do all you can to help them... and get them help early. The earlier... the better. Trust me. I know.