Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD

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I am having trouble knowing when to implement and when to not...


I ordered your book and the CD's... I am having trouble knowing when to implement and when to not...

My son is probably going to be diagnosed Bi-polar soon.. it runs in the men's side of our family (grandfather, father, brothers, cousins)... he is taking risperdal now because he cycles into an agitated depression in the winter months... he is 17 years... a can see it coming on and this is the 2nd year that is is very noticeable....

He starts the school year doing his work and happy and by November he starts slacking down, starts having trouble sleeping and appetite starts to go down, and has to be pushed to finish the semester.... he gets C's and B's ... but then after christmas break... he gets worse... more argumentative... feels everyone is picking on him... and stops working completely... this year when i saw the anger and argumentative behavior. I asked the teachers if they were seeing anything different ... and they all agreed that after christmas this was not the same kid they had in class the previous semester... so i contacted his psychiatrist and restarted his meds

My problem is that he has to do catch up work ... to keep from failing this quarter... and he doesn't want to .... he has trouble accepting that he gets depressed and it takes all of us ganging up on him to get him to the doctor... once there he agreed to start back on the medicine ... i don't know how to discipline in this case when part of the problem is not due to his resistance but due to his body chemistry it takes two to three weeks to notice a difference when the meds finally kick in... his teachers for the most part are willing to let him do make up work...

In this last week i started taking the internet cord with me to work... and told him he has to start doing some of this make up work or can't be on the computer... he did some of the work but then by the third day... he doesn't come home because I am "treating him like a 4 th grader"...

It has been difficult for him in high school so far... in his freshman year I started him in a school that had special programming for boys with ADD and he was doing well... but then some boys at the school started a pornographic web page and put my sons face on the pictures and then sent it around to the other kids... it became a place where all the kids were looking it up and commenting some pretty ugly comments.... I could not get Face book to remove it, and had to have the FBI step in and force them to take the page down.... due to the severity of the harassment my son changed schools in the middle of his freshman year to a new school.... although he wanted to change schools.. he did not do well 2nd semester because of the disruption in his classes / routines / new teachers... it was hard for him to adjust to it all... but he did make all C's that semester

In the 2nd school (sophomore year) it turned out that many of those kids had seen the site and continued the harassing comments and nasty e-mails to my son.... even when I took this information to the school ... little was done about it.... in the midst of this problem my son suffered a grand mal seizure, stopped breathing and was resuscitated and hospitalized... and after that he started having problems with his mood and depression... last spring during the last week of school... kids were still writing and saying nasty things to him about being gay... or he should be "sucking someone’s dick"... and when I took the information to the school they just looked like ... all we can do is ask them to stop... I decided to transfer him again for fear that he would kill himself due to the stress...and depression ... or kill one of them. (he is being followed by a neurologist for an AVM on his brain found after he had the seizure)

Now my son is in his third high school... Junior year... and started as i said doing well but then is having trouble with depression again... he feels that he has had to put up with so much crap from other people in the past two years... that people should put up with him....he has lost motivation to do well for himself... he has made some friends... and does work a part time pizza parlor job that he likes. He recently had an episode of fainting, and is again being worked up by the neurologist and he will also be evaluated for possible syncope.

I want to get him on track with his education.... but am fearful to take too much away from him because of all that has happened this last two years... and for the most part he comes home on time... does his chores.... except for his room being a mess 3/4 of the time.. he does his laundry or other things i ask of him...

I believe that my son is out of control due to his ADD, due to me, due to circumstance that have happened... and due to choices he is making now because he feels entitled to act out since he feels he was unjustly picked on by kids he thought were his friends... he has many of the traits you describe on your CD's....

I just need some direction oh how to set expectations when all these issues are going on at the same time....

Sorry for the lengthy letter.... but i didn't know how else to go about it....

Looking forward to your response...




Hi C.,

Re: poor academic performance—

I guess you didn’t read the recommendations for poor academic performance yet. It is located in the section of the online version of the eBook entitled “Emails From Exasperated Parents.”

Re: cyber bullying—

More and more, kids are using the Internet to antagonize and intimidate others. This has become known as cyber bullying. Today's young Internet users have created an interactive world away from adult knowledge and supervision. Because bullies tend to harass their victims away from the watchful eyes of adults, the Internet is the perfect tool for reaching others anonymously - anytime, anyplace. This means for many children, home is no longer a refuge from the cruel peer pressures of school.

The anonymity of online communications means kids feel freer to do things online they would never do in the real world. 60 per cent of students pretend to be someone else when they are online. Of those, 17 per cent do so because they want to "act mean to people and get away with it". Even if they can be identified online, young people can accuse someone else of using their screen name. They don't have to own their actions, and if a person can't be identified with an action, fear of punishment is diminished.

Technology can also affect a young person's ethical behavior because it doesn't provide tangible feedback about the consequences of actions on others. This lack of feedback minimizes feelings of empathy or remorse. Young people say things online that they would never say face-to-face because they feel removed from the action and the person at the receiving end.

There are several ways that young people bully others online. They send e-mails or instant messages containing insults or threats directly to a person. They may also spread hateful comments about a person through e-mail, instant messaging or postings on Web sites and online diaries. Young people steal passwords and send out threatening e-mails or instant messages using an assumed identity. Technically savvy kids may build whole Web sites, often with password protection, to target specific students or teachers.

An increasing number of kids are being bullied by text messages through their cell phones. These phones are challenging the ability of adults to monitor and guide children because, unlike a computer placed in a public area of a home, school or library, mobiles are personal, private, connected - and always accessible. Kids tend to keep their phones on at all times, meaning bullies can harass victims at school or even in their own rooms.

Built-in digital cameras in cell phones are adding a new dimension to the problem. In one case students used a camera-enabled cell phone to take a photo of an overweight classmate in the shower after gym. The picture was distributed throughout the school e-mail list within minutes.

Schools are struggling to address the issue of cyber bullying among students, especially when it occurs outside of school. When real world bullying occurs in a schoolyard or classroom, teachers are often able to intervene, but online bullying takes place off the radar screen of adults, making it difficult to detect in schools and impossible to monitor off school property.

Young people should be aware that some forms of online bullying are considered criminal acts. Under the Criminal Code, it is a crime to communicate repeatedly with someone if your communication causes them to fear for their own safety or the safety of others.

It's also a crime to publish a "defamatory libel" - writing something that is designed to insult a person or likely to injure a person's reputation by exposing him or her to hatred, contempt or ridicule.

A cyber bully may also be violating the Human Rights Act, if he or she spreads hate or discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or disability.

Internet service providers (ISPs) are the companies that provide Internet access to consumers. Most ISPs have Acceptable Use Policies (AUPs) that clearly define privileges and guidelines for those using their services, and the actions that can be taken if those guidelines are violated.

ISPs and cell phone service providers can respond to reports of cyber bullying over their networks, or help clients track down the appropriate service provider to respond to.

Cyber bullying is everyone's business and the best response is a pro-active or preventative one.

What parents can do—

1. Create an online agreement or contract for computer use, with your kids' input. Make sure your agreement contains clear rules about ethical online behaviour. MNet's research shows that in homes where parents have clear rules against certain kinds of activities, young people are much less likely to engage in them.

2. Encourage kids to develop their own moral code so they will choose to behave ethically online.

3. Encourage your kids to come to you if anybody says or does something online that makes them feel uncomfortable or threatened. Stay calm and keep the lines of communication and trust open. If you "freak out" your kids won't turn to you for help when they need it.

4. Learn everything you can about the Internet and what your kids are doing online. Talk to them about the places they go online and the activities that they are involved in. Be aware of what your kids are posting on Web sites, including their own personal home pages.

5. Talk to your kids about responsible Internet use.

6. Teach them to never post or say anything on the Internet that they wouldn't want the whole world - including you - to read.

7. If the bully is a student at your child's school, meet with school officials and ask for help in resolving the situation.

8. If your child is bullied through a cell phone, report the problem to your phone service provider. If it's a persistent problem, you can change the phone number.

9. Report any incident of online harassment and physical threats to your local police and your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

What schools can do—

·Change the school or board's bullying policy to include harassment perpetrated with mobile and Internet technology.

·Educate teachers, students and parents about the seriousness of cyber bullying.

·Integrate curriculum-based anti-bullying programs into classrooms.

·Update the school or board's computer Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) to specifically prohibit using the Internet for bullying.

What kids can do—

Because most incidents of bullying occur off adults' radar screens, it's important that young people learn to protect themselves online and respond to cyber bullying among peers when they encounter it.

Take a stand against cyber bullying with your peers. Speak out whenever you see someone being mean to another person online. Most kids respond better to criticism from their peers than to disapproval from adults.

Guard your contact information. Don't give people you don't know your cell phone number, instant messaging name or e-mail address.

If you are being harassed online, take the following actions immediately:

1. If the bullying includes physical threats, tell the police.

2. If you are being bullied through e-mail or instant messaging, block the sender's messages. Never reply to harassing messages.

3. If you are being harassed, leave the area or stop the activity (i.e. chat room, news group, online gaming area, instant messaging, etc.).

4. Save any harassing messages and forward them to your Internet Service Provider (i.e. Hotmail or Yahoo). Most service providers have appropriate use policies that restrict users from harassing others over the Internet - and that includes kids!

5. Tell an adult you trust - a teacher, parent, older sibling or grandparent.

One last thought— Bipolar teens tend to respond very well to mentors, or Big Brothers. Find a trusted adult (preferably not a family member) who will be willing to be your son’s friend and confidant, and who will work with him for many years to come.


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