What is going on with my stepchild (mental illness)

Sarah - posted on 09/04/2014 ( 4 moms have responded )

4

0

1

I'm positive my 11 year old stepchild has some sort of mental illness. Within the last week, he got Child Services involved, hid our rent money, and stole my phone charger. Thank God those accusations were proven false to Child Services and they aren't involved. When our rent money went missing off of my bedroom dresser, we searched his room from head to toe and he was laughing. My husband and I were obviously upset and he was in a wonderful mood asking if we could play the happy song. He never got offended or even asked why we were searching his room,. We called the police but couldn't do anything because he's a minor and it'd come back on us. We found the money folded in my husbands shorts pocket. There is absolutely no way we put it there. He enjoys pushing and shoving his siblings who are 4 and 5. He will have a big smile on his face while they are crying their eyes out! He thinks things are funny that most people wouldn't. He has zero friends at school and is very disrespectful to adults and teachers. He has a serious problem lying. My husband took him to a psychologist a week and a half ago and they gave him an antidepressant. The appointments are $170 a pop, so I can't afford anymore at this moment. Help please because IDK what to do anymore. He's mean and I just don't understand. This last week has been hell and he's getting worse!

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Guest - posted on 09/05/2014

460

0

26

You are absolutely right about him needing love love love! A note about the lack of remorse you are worried about. It is very possible that he does feel remorse and sorrow but he cannot express it. ODD is a diagnosis of exclusion. That means that doctors use it as a diagnosis when they know something is wrong, but there is no specific condition they can diagnose. I know that sounds like a quack thing to do, but I promise, there are good reasons for doing it.
The symptoms that lead to an ODD diagnosis are often caused by a lack of stable relationships, or by very important relationships being very unstable--like what you described with his mother. This can cause enough conditioning to make a physical change in the brain chemistry of a child, and what happens is that their emotional synapses stop firing. They hurt, but they cannot express the emotions in the ways that we understand as a society. They also often believe that showing any form of hurt, other than anger, will result in a loss of control. Anger is safe because people around them are forced to act upon it, however sadness is dangerous because it exposes a weakness (if someone knows you are sad, they can usually figure out why and use that to make you sad again), and it exposes the child to the possibility that no one will care that they are sad--that no one will react and give them what they need, which is attention.

Showing sympathy means that he is expressing that he cares about another person, and that can be a weakness because if someone wants to hurt him, they can take that other person away from him. By showing no sympathy or concern, he is protecting himself from losing that person.

Right now, one of the best things you can do for him is to prove over and over and over again that you will not leave or disown him, no matter how awful he is to you. That said, do set clear boundaries and expectations for him, and praise him when he complies and firmly, but lovingly discipline him when he steps out of line. When he is angry, he is probably actually sad, hurt, or scared. Do not react to his anger, just tell him, "I know you are upset, something is wrong, and I will help you fix it, but not like this. Go in your room until you can talk with me and we'll find a solution together." It is important that you use the word "upset" and not "angry" because he very well might not be angry, but if you tell him he is, he won't know the difference, then he will realize that he is angry about something he should be sad about and he'll be even more upset and confused. It is also important that you never react to his anger--always be proactive, so that his anger has no effect on you, that will diminish a lot of the security and comfort that he gets from using it in place of other emotions. Once that starts to happen, you can reinforce the other emotions. Give him as long as he needs to calm down--5 minutes, 3 days, it doesn't matter, just don't approach him about the issue until he is ready. You can ask him, "Do you want to talk about why you were so upset yesterday? Maybe we can figure out a way to make you happier." and if he says yes, talk, but if he says no, say, "Okay, whenever you are ready, I'm here." Knowing that you are there and concerned and want to spend time talking with him will do wonders.

Guest - posted on 09/04/2014

460

0

26

You need to find money in your budget to get your child the healthcare that he needs. If he had cancer would you say, "we don't have the money for treatment, so he'll just have to do without." I doubt it. There are places that will treat him for an amount based on income.

Second, your husband could not have taken him to a psychologist and gotten a prescription for anti depressants because a psychologist cannot write prescriptions. Is it possible he took him to a psychiatrist? That would make sense, but I would be very wary of a doctor who wrote a prescription for antidepressants for an 11 year old child on the very first visit. There is now possible way that doctor could have learned enough about this child and what he is going through to make a proper diagnosis and develop a treatment plan. I wouldn't go back to that on--probably just a drug hawker.

The symptoms you described sound more like puberty paired with some emotional disturbance and insecurity than any mental disorder on the books. You will get better results if you address the disturbance and insecurity with a psychologist and work together to develop a cognitive behavioral treatment plan than sending him to a psychiatrist who just wants to drug him.
That said, drugs DO have their place, and he may need them, or he may not, but he needs a more in depth evaluation first in order to determine what he needs.

4 Comments

View replies by

Sarah - posted on 09/05/2014

4

0

1

Wow! that makes so much sense! Thank you for your time. I can't wait to share these ideas with my husband. What I've been doing hasn't been working so at this point I'm willing to do anything. Thank you for a solution and I can't wait to try it. I think he will respond good to this also. I'd hate for this to ruin my marriage because it absolutely affects it. His mother has told him things that makes him think he's going back home to her. No judge would ever give her that privilege

Sarah - posted on 09/05/2014

4

0

1

That was a typo. A psychiatrist is the correct word. He gave him 25mg Zoloft. You're absolutely right about that follow up. My husband and I are in the process of getting the funds for a follow up. He was diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. They have a name for everything these days. He does have depression and addiction in his family history. I guess the main part that concerns me is the absence of remorse, sympathy, etc. I'm getting him involved with youth at our church and also found a wonderful teenager to mentor him. Thank you for your feedback. I believe he does have insecurity issues and he's very overweight. I told my husband that we are responsible for his weight as we control what he eats and his activities. He's been living with us for 3 years now and his mother is in and out of the picture. His 5 year old sister calls me Mom. So, I can see how he might be jealous. For now, I think I need to love love love him! Even when it might seem hard.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms