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Parents of ADHD Children

New and need help with son too young to be diagnosed

Hello I’m new here, my son is only 3 so he is too young to be diagnosed, but I need help/support. He is so hard to take anywhere. I have four kids 3boys and a baby girl. My 3rd son is like 10 kids in one. He is an escape artist and super fast. Now that I have a baby in my arms, I can’t go anywhere because he runs off the instant I let go of his had. He has no fear of danger. We have to look all our doors with a key from the inside, he destroys everything he gets his hands on. While I’m cleaning up one mess, he is making another. I just can’t go anywhere anymore and I find my depression getting worse as I see other mothers take their kids to splash pads, zoos, libraries. I feel like my other kids are being ripped off because they aren’t getting to do that fun stuff either. He is also speech delayed so communication difficulties just magnify the stress on both ends.  He qualified for state help and now goes to a preschool geared to help children with learning and behavioral disabilities. They use a compression vest for him and says it helps, so I bought one and it doesn’t seem to help at all. They said they use fidget toys with him and they help, well this makes me feel like a failure because I can’t get them to help at home. I was hoping to find other ideas on how to calm him down, get him to understand danger, and discipline. I’m in tears nearly everyday, because I don’t know if I am cut out for this as I have ADD myself so I’m struggling with making a game plan and implementing it. He deserves more from me. Despite my struggles with him, he is such a sweet cute boy.


Take him to a pediatrician who is familiar with ADHD.  My daughter was diagnosed at age 3 with ADHD (severe H) and ODD so it can be done. 

Good luck…it is NOT easy…..

Posted by TraciL on Jul 23, 2014 at 2:48am

Hi Thorz!

So sorry you are struggling with your kiddo! Preschool-age children can be diagnosed with ADHD (, but it wasn’t very common until recently. Even if you can’t get diagnosis and treatment now, the new diagnostic criteria stipulates it can be done at age 4 (

Here are signs and symptoms of ADHD in young children:, make sure your son fits the criteria and then get a 2nd opinion.

Whether you can get a diagnosis and medication now or not, you can definitely have him seen by a therapist (a play therapist is probably best at that age) who works with your children with behavioral needs. It will help you and him both. And occupational therapy can work with him on the hyperactivity and likely accompanying sensory issues. Get started on both of those now, and have him evaluated again at age 4 for diagnosis and medical treatment if need be.

Hang in there!
ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jul 23, 2014 at 1:46pm

Hi Thorz300.  My son was finally diagnosed in 1st grade with combined type ADHD.  We have used the Feingold Diet for years and have seen great improvement in his attention and temperment.  It is basically and elimination diet removing all artificial food dyes and preservatives.  Surprisingly, foods containing salicylates (such as grapes and apples) also have an effect on mood and attention.  Looking at his diet is a great first step and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg!  Good luck and remember you are a great parent who is doing everything you can to help your child.

Posted by legaleaglemioh on Jul 23, 2014 at 3:15pm

Hi Thorz
I’m so sorry. your post was like time travel to when I had my fourth. For. Some reason 4is so much more than 3.
I think a lot of us here can identify with hoe you’re feeling.
Is there anywhere and any place you could take him for half an hour everyday Just you and him where he can run unrestricted?
Some of his frenzy may be missing you. I started taking my guy to ‘the river’ every night and it has been really relationship recovering and the behaviors seem to be diminishing, some of that may just be me being more patient because I’m getting outside everyday.
hang in there it does get easier I promise

Posted by Anna from toronto on Jul 26, 2014 at 7:43pm

Look for a Developmental Pediatrician My son was diagnosed 1week after his 4th birthday due to a long wait time to see her with adhd of the combined type & o.d.d.

Posted by Imelda on Jul 26, 2014 at 8:02pm

You just described my son!  Also 3, and I also am ADD. The only difference is I have only have 2 boys,  4 and 3. Feeling the same struggles,  though.

Posted by palee on Jul 27, 2014 at 1:28am

What helped us were a couple of tweaks.

First, I got rid of all discipline methods but naughty corner.  Once I learned it and started using is, it was brilliant, because you can do it anywhere.  I have set my daughter in naughty corner in the grocery store, school shopping, at grandma’s house, at IKEA, restaurants - anywhere.  Look into the British Supernanny.  It is worth a try.

Second, I set out expectations each and every time I went somewhere with my kids.  I only have two so easier!  But it could work for you.  I would say “OK, this afternoon we have to do errands after lunch (or whatever it was).  First we are going to Target for a few things and then we need to go to the library”  Then, before you get out of the car, “OK, we are going into Target.  I am not going to buy any treats. I am just getting XY and Z and that is all.  What I want is for everyone to keep up and stay with me and I would appreciate it if you did not ask for anything today”  And all hands must be on the basket or you do not enter or exit the parking lot - that helps keep them safer in those dangerous zone.  Keep your ADHD child closest to you too.  And you can, since you have 4 can partner them, and rotate partners.

Each place you stop, before you get out of the car, explain how you want them to behave (try not to get into what you don’t want them to do - there is no better way to get an ADHD child to misbehave than to say “Don’t misbehave”  You put the possibility right on their radar!).  The more positive the better, “walk quietly” “Speak with an indoor voice” “Ask nicely” and I never hooked behaving with treats because I don’t know if I think that is a good idea or not.  So I just expected good behavior.  It worked wonders for me.  My daughter is now 10 so we grapple more with emotion now than running unaware through the parking lot!  But I still set out my expectations for new places, and every once in a while for the old standards too. 

It gives them a little control over their destiny if they know what is expected of them upfront.  It is hard enough being a kid and having no control over your life, but having ADHD and not being able to remember the particular expectations from one place to another is really, really hard.

And if you have friends and/or relatives nearby that can do things with you maybe they can take the other kids for a while and you take you ADHD child alone for half the excursion and vice versa.  It is easier for them to be one on one.  My daughter always behaved better when it was just the two of us!  At least your other children can get the experiences you want them to have.  Use your resources!  There is no reason you should have to go it alone!  Maybe you can have special time with your other children while your ADHD child is in preschool too if that works out.  They do get stressed out being around ADHD too.  They also need a break from it.

Best to you.  Keep searching for solutions.  You will find them!

Posted by YellaRyan on Jul 28, 2014 at 7:08pm

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