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Help need reassurance
  • Hi my son was diagnosed with ADHD, PDA and ODD he is constantly angry and nasty to everyone. He has started to become violent and I am very concerned for our younger children. He is constantly being nasty to his brothers to the point my 5 year old will tell everyone that he has two brothers but he doesn’t like one of them. He is only 14 but he is physically much stronger than me and when I tell him no then he can go crazy. He has stolen from us/ his brothers and he gorges on food and drinks so for example he would eat 4 doughnuts in 1 hour. We are waiting for a referral to CAMHS as we are close to breaking point with his behaviour and he physically has attacked myself and my husband. My son I think suffers from low self esteem but he will not talk about it. I am close to think about contacting social services to say that we can’t cope anymore and I am very concerned incase he gets violent with his younger brothers. His behaviour has got significantly worse for about a year. He is also like a Jekyl and Hyde type character as sometimes he can be so lovely although at the moment we don’t see much of his nice side. Not sure what I am looking for in this post but I am crying as I write it as it’s so horrible to say these things about your child. I guess I am looking for a magic wand or just some reassurance it won’t last forever. My Mum has got terminal cancer and we also run a business which doesn’t help with the pressure our family is under.
  • webbwebb
    Posts: 2,578
    Hi Worried-Mum

    Hello and welcome to the PDA Society Forum, I hope we will all give you lots of support at what seems to be a very overwhelming time in your life.

    I am relieved to hear that your son has received a diagnosis of PDA etc but as many parents have discovered this does not always lead to the support parents hope for.

    Have you read any of the books on PDA and how to Parent a child with PDA as the parenting styles are very different to traditional methods? Take a look at our Strategies Page on our website -

    There are also some very good courses available to help you and your partner to learn more about your son's difficulties so that you can help him to cope in the world around him -

    How is he coping at school? Children with PDA usually find school a place full of requests, demands and expectations that they just can't cope with. Does he need any support at school? Are school aware of his diagnoses? Does he have an EHC Plan?

    Your son could be angry and sometimes violent for many reasons. He could be very anxious due to feeling out of control, unable to cope with all the demands placed on him at school and at home therefore he is so anxious he is panicking and lashing out?
    He could have Sensory Problems ie doesn't like bright lights, loud noises, unannounced touch ie a cuddle (but likes to cuddle you).

    I don't have the magic wand you are looking for but the answers are in meeting your sons needs through good support in School, Health Services and possibly Social Care.
    CAMHS - Childrens Mental Health Service - PDA isn't a Mental Health condition but some children can go on to develop mental health problems. CAMHS may be able to offer 'Counselling' 'Psychotherapy' CBT or medication for the anxiety.

    Some times childrens behaviour due to PDA can be turned around at home by the parents adopting all the PDA Strategies and giving their child with PDA lots of time and encouragement. Plus making sure that the child has the right educational placement that can meet all his needs.

    Some families feel that the child needs an Independent Specialist High Functioning Autism Residential School with all therapists on site for a few years.

    If you reach out to Social Services you may be awarded some 'Short Breaks' ie 2-4 hours per week. Or you may find your child in a Childrens Homes.

    Try to be sure of what you want/need before you approach each agency for help.

    Hope some of the above helps

  • Hi worried mum

    I seriously know how you feel: I’ve got 2 with special needs: my 8 year old boy who has pda and my 18 year girl who has crippling anxiety so bad that I’ve had to accept that she wil not be ready to take on board being an adult for some considerable time. Both of them constantly tell each other how much they hate each other and my little boy tells his sister to die and go to hell etc.

    It’s all heartbreaking. Both need considerable support and I am a lone parent with complete emphasis on “lone”. There is no help from anywhere in my family, not even moral or emotional. My family is constantly critical of me and I am their scapegoat and have been since I was a child. My heart breaks for what each of my children go through and they have no wider family to turn to. It’s all a long story for another day, and the main reason for my response to you worried mum is this: for gods sake don’t alert children’s services to your difficulties because they will start an investigation into you and, with your son struggling as he does to contain the violence, they will intervene. I had social services called in on me by the head at my sons school for having been ill and because of my sons pda.

    The condition is now close to diagnosis now and it is becoming increasingly apparent to all involved that my sons behaviour is a result of real special needs and not the result of bad parenting. They tried to take him from me because his behaviours were so extreme. That was after 2 years of forcing me to drill the wrong routines, force him into school and apply the strategies that we now know are the worst thing for a PDA child. They said any diagnosis would be meaningless because the same strategies would be used regardless of diagnosis. Now we are 3 years on and Nearly free of the horrendous process that caused my children great distress and exacerbated their situations.

    My son now has an almost irreversible school refusal and is one of the most extreme cases of PDA that I have heard of. He has suffered unbearable stress and anxiety as a result of too many demands and judgements and, despite protestations to the contrary, had to put up with agonising disapproval from staff that made him cry at home. He said “they hate me there and it’s torture every day”. I was even blamed for this for failing to get him to respect authority and, allegedly, “being negative about the school” with him. I did not want him feel negative and it was me who had to apply the emotional band aids at the end of each day. Why would I want to make it even harder for him by telling him the school was a bad place.?

    Anyway, there is so much to say about all this, but it’s all just too big to pour it all out in one post. But the school was just one problem of a multifaceted situation involving social services. Please, if you want to keep your son/children, do not bring social services into your life. Please heed this post and not look back on it in two years with irony when social services have wrecked your life. They are not there to help families, just to see if the children need removing.

    They are there to assess your parenting and assess how safe your children are with you. They will always be over cautious and the standard of evidence for judging parents is non existent. They will log every bit of judgementalism, opinion and hearsay as if they are solid facts, or “reports” as they call them, and will not consider your evidence or views or statements. It would take an awfully long time for me to explain all of this, but unless you want your son to receive alternative care provisions, do not go down that road. Trust me, there is honestly nothing good down there except breakdowns and wreckage. Figures for children forcibly taken into care have rocketed in the past few years since the government reformed social care.

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