Monday, October 25, 2010

The Joys of ODD and Attachment Disoroder.

This morning D8 had the assignment of sweeping the kitchen.  Remember he is 8.  He can do it.  He didn't want to.  He had other things he wanted to do.  So mom said he would have to finish sweeping before he left the kitchen.  Funny then he needed to go to the bathroom.   I wouldn't budge.  Just calmly told him guess he needed to sweep faster.  Finally he got all but one LARGE clump of mud pretty well swept up.  I caught him looking at and sweeping around this nice oh maybe 1/2-1 cup clump of mud more than once.  I had each other child walk around the kitchen to see if they could still see mud that needed sweeping.  They could!   I enjoyed the computer time at the bar where I could keep an eye on him holding the broom up.  He told me he was "thinking".  I agreed that was a good thing.   TWO and 1/2 hours later after much yelling on his part and stomping and trying everything to get out of the kitchen he suddenly "saw" the mud.  Quick as a flash it was sweep up his pile put in the dust pan and life was good.   Funny he never did go to the bathroom after he was finished, yet HAD to go a long time ago!   He did get a drink. I'm sure all that yelling was drying on his throat. 

This is called ODD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder
Symptoms of ODD may include:
Throwing repeated temper tantrums
Excessively arguing with adults
Actively refusing to comply with requests and rules
Deliberately trying to annoy or upset others, or being easily annoyed by others
Blaming others for your mistakes
Having frequent outbursts of anger and resentment
Being spiteful and seeking revenge
Swearing or using obscene language
Saying mean and hateful things when upset
In addition, many children with ODD are moody, easily frustrated, and have a low self-esteem. They also may abuse drugs and alcohol.

The only one of these things that D8 doesn't do daily is the swearing.  He has stopped that.  When he came he did that one too.   That said I see so much improvement.  It is a daily battle in all these areas, but most days it isn't an hourly battle.  

As you think about dealing with these you will see many of them look much like what is known as the terrible 2s.  Much of his actions seem to be emotionally that age.   Think about how you would handle an 8 yo who did all of these things not when they were tired but 1-50 times a day.  

As you consider ODD and how it looks let me add another layer to it.  It is called Attachment Disorder, and ALL children coming out of the foster care system have it to some degree.   Here are the signs of it.

Signs and Symptoms of Attachment Problems

A child who exhibits several of the following signs and symptoms should be evaluated by a licensed therapist:
Superficially engaging and charming
Lack of eye contact
Indiscriminately affectionate with strangers
Lack of ability to give and receive affection on parents' terms – not cuddly
Inappropriately demanding and clingy
Persistent nonsense questions and incessant chatter
Poor peer relationships
Low self-esteem
Extreme control problems—may attempt to control openly or in sneaky ways
Difficulty learning from mistakes
Learning problems—disabilities, delays
Poor impulse control
Abnormal speech patterns
Abnormal eating patterns
Chronic "crazy" lying
Destructive to self, others, property
Cruel to animals
Preoccupied with fire, blood, and gore
 Would anyone like to guess how many of these D8 has in spades?   ALL but the last 2!!! The next to last one he may have, he gets to rough with the kittens but I don't see it to bad, more as not knowing how to play.   The blood, gore and even death isn't a big deal.  Maybe a little more than most boys but not to preoccupied.   

Next time you see/deal with a child that has never met a stranger.  That hugs and hangs on strangers and ignores mom and dad don't feel flattered they "like" you.  They are playing a mind game.  They will also tell you how mean and abusive mom and dad are.  How they don't get to have any fun.   Remember the "Chronic "crazy" lying"?   You just got a dose of it.   When you are flattered and allow this child to hang on you, hug you and otherwise treat you better than they are treating the parents you are not "befriending" the child but hurting the child and his parents and the parents attempt to teach this child to attach. 

The good news is with consistency and no middle ground these children can usually heal.   What the world sees as grace these children see as weakness.  The floor is a good example of these battles.  If I had allowed him to go to the bathroom, which he didn't need to do he would have gained "power".  In his eyes I would have just proved to him how much smarter he was than I am.  I would have confirmed his mindset of why should he trust me, I am not smart enough to control him.  If I can't control him, how can I keep him safe.  Once he saw I really was standing firm, yet not battling him, or being upset by his choices then he  willing and even joyful  finishing his chore and starting school. 

School became the next battle ground.  He made a 25 on a history quiz.   Funny he is quite capable of passing these subjects, or at the very least coming close.   He did this the other day and mom was slow at catching on.  I re-did three times before I told him if he failed it he would be setting the rest of the day.  He failed it!  Next morning he made an A on it the first try.   Power struggles are part of my day.  Some days we have few, some days, like to day every breath is a power struggle.  I am learning, (after 6 adopted kids), to short circuit them as much as possible.  Today D8 will spend his day on the stool in the living room.  He will watch the day go by.  IF he wants to converse about life then he is more than welcome to talk with us.   If he wants to play games he may sit and just watch and think about his choices.    We do lots of talking during the day about why what ever child is sitting and what they could have done instead of the choices they made.  This is something we talk about to help them come up with ideas on ways to deal with life and make good choices.  

This link has lots of information on attachment and how important it is.

I just ask those of you that know people struggling with ODD and Attachment issues to prayerfully seek God and see if you are helping or hurting with your words and actions.   I know until I walked the attachment walk I hurt others in words and actions as I thought "befriending" these children was helpful.  It is harmful!   It feeds their power and their understanding that their parents aren't in charge. 

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