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Parents of ADHD Children

Swearing, shoving out of anger

Our 9 year old son has had several incidences of swearing and shoving when he gets upset.  He has a mood disorder (unspecified) as well as ADHD which he is taking medications for both. 
I have had to leave work early to pick him up from school on many occasions and it is really wearing on me.  He does so well for weeks at a time and then has a bad day.  I am always the one picking him up from school since my job has more flexibility but I am getting to the point where I feel people are starting to notice how often I leave at the drop of a hat for some “reason.”  My husband’s job has very little flexibility so he can’t leave as frequently or on such short notice.  It takes a toll on both of us and our younger daughter, I fear, gets the short-end of the stick all the time since we spend so much time trying to manage things with our older son.
It would be nice to know if other parents are going through the same thing - just being in the company of others would be extremely comforting.


You are not alone. Before my 7 yr old was diagnosed this March, I like you was called away from work 3 sometimes 4 times a week because of my son’s behaviour. I was just grateful to figure out what “it” was. He’s still in therapy to help try to manage his emotions. His therapist is working with him on alternative ways to handle things, instead of all the swearing and hitting. Hang in there, you are not alone.

Posted by bgsmith1109 on Jun 17, 2014 at 3:35am

Oh boy can I relate! My now 13 boy ADHD/ODD had “problems” starting in K. 1st grade was a nightmare with near daily calls about “not sitting still” talking back”, pushing, touching other kids…got NO help from school. 2nd and 3rd better bc his teacher basically put an IEP in place without one, she let him take frequent water fountain breaks, walk to bathroom etc etc. By end of 3rd I knew he needed classification. Had to fight tooth and nail for it, almost got denied until I turned to them and said “do you really want a Columbine in your school district, on your watch bc you didn’t provide the right services”...oh my how they snapped to attention. After the meeting I went to my car and cried for an hour.

By 5th they though he was “doing better” (he started meds and therapy) and terminated IEP. Big mistake. Back to calls, suspensions, bus problems, fighting, calling names, taunting, defying authority. etc etc…nasty downhill spiral, family falling apart, divorce, older sib who is quietly suffering through it all. I was almost on my knees.

Got back on track, IEP again, more therapy, new meds, new psychiatrist, etc etc….it does get better!!!  Now of course we are in the “bigger kids, bigger problems” he’s on probabtion for a stupid prank, but alos getting into pot & cigarettes etc. So I have to be super vigalent, but the arguing, fighting, cursing, outbursts have all but stopped. Don’t know if it’s the meds, neural maturity , family life has settled down post-divorce or all of the above.

So…this was long, but my take home is: don’t give up, fight and fight hard for everything your kiddo needs. They are sick and they are broken and they need and deserve help.
Talk about your kid and what he suffers from and suffers through, educate the dunces in school admin about ADHD etc. I’ve sent them articles, talked about it left and right, probed and pushed and advocated and have moved past the shame and guilt. They deserve the same empathy and sympathy and care as any other child who is ill.
As for you, you need help, support and breaks or you will crumble. It’s exhausting and draining bc it’s a chronic illness and it’s like living with a live grenade that can and does explode at will. Find people who understand, find support groups etc etc and then give yourself tons of credit for living this every day…it’s not easy, but they are still our kids, and we will love them forever….behind all the anger and hate there is an adorable, loving, funny, clever, creative kid..don’t forget that. Gentle hugs to you.

Posted by AJGO on Jun 17, 2014 at 4:05am

HI I think AJGO’s reply is well cover.  To get you out of the hell, you need help.  You need support from other parent and the school.

In California, there is a group called Matrix  It serve family with special need children.  Try to see if there is a similar organization in your area.  An organization can help you to understand the help available from your school and get the help you child need. 

For my story, my son’s original teacher is very good with him.  But when the teacher had an accident and had to leave the school, my son’s Sub-teacher thinked my son has behavior issue.  She “complaint” to me a lot and I was crying every night.  A month later, my son IEP assessment is finally done by school speech therapy.  Finally the sub-teacher realized my son needs help to understand the social behavior.  After that, I have less complaint.

I also find a speech therapist to specialize social skill for ADHD and Autism child to work with my son.  It is expensive and take forward to see result, we do whatever we can to help our child.

Just remember, you are not alone.

Posted by Louisa_Leo on Jun 17, 2014 at 6:35pm

I hear ya. I feel like most of my time and attention goes to my ADHD daughter just to keep her from exploding and to help her manage her stuff, homework, life and my non-ADHD son gets short shrift.  And he really wants mama time and I end up feeling guilty.

But as often as we can manage I spend a day alone with my son.  And then of course I have to spend a day alone with my daughter because she feels bad!  I think ADHD people are not only in the present moment primarily but in themselves.  It is sometimes like reaching in and pulling them out of themselves and they can be so prickly when asked to pay attention to something other than themselves!  I have an ADHD husband as well which adds more complication to the whole dynamics

Posted by YellaRyan on Jun 17, 2014 at 10:05pm

My younger son started acting out due to all the attention my older son got managing his ADHD and dyslexia.

Most of it was attention getting behavior—in a bad way!  Finally took him to a psych and he has ADHD too, though to a much lesser degree.

One parenting skill I was taught, is everyday spend 15 minutes of special time doing something interactive with younger child.  Not reading or tv.  We play checkers or build Legos, etc.  this has been a huge help for him.

Keep advocating for your son.  Don’t give up!  And yes, we end up having to be super parents compared to other parents.  Celebrate the small victories, try to let go of all the negative stuff you go through constantly.  It will get better.  Hang in there.  Good luck!

Posted by Pdxlaura on Jun 18, 2014 at 12:01am

I could have written this. We started receiving calls every day from school. One week I left work every day for five days in a row to pick my daughter up from school. Luckily for me, my boss’s son (who is now a 30 year old hot-shot attorney, which gives me so much hope!!) had/has ADHD/tourettes/bi-polar disorder and so my boss understands what I am going through, so leaving work hasn’t been too much of a problem. But the stress of it all is sometimes too much to bear. I do understand.

For the last 2.5 weeks of school (thank God school is OUT), my husband actually went to school with our daughter and sat in her class. We have been seeing a therapist for the last two months (when it really became clear that she couldn’t go to school for one day without an incident) and it was her therapist who suggested that if we could manage it, one of us should go to school with her since there were only a couple of weeks left, otherwise, we would have had to pull her out it got so bad. She just couldn’t function any longer in that environment. We are applying behavior management therapy which is working well at home, but the school component is going to be more of a challenge. She has been in summer camp for two days and today I got a call from the head counselor. I did talk with them yesterday and filled them in on her ADHD and her propensity for wandering off. The counselor told me that she wasn’t defiant at all, but since they were on a nature walk at a huge nature preserve, her “wandering off” was putting her danger and if I could speak with her about it (and then she passed her cell phone to my daughter).  SIGH….SIGH….SIGH. I had hoped that maybe her being constantly occupied and moving while in summer camp would make a difference. But I believe she got bored on the nature walk and her symptoms kicked-in. How I dread….“the call.”

We are going to try the whole summer to get her in shape for the fall semester, but if she still cannot get through a day without incident, we will try medication.

Posted by Angelina3 on Jun 18, 2014 at 3:54am

Reiko123, I would like to know if the med’s your 9 year old is on helps his overall behavior/moods? I ask this because my daughter’s therapist believes that she may have an unspecified mood disorder and ADHD. We are leaning toward medication very soon because it is becoming very difficult for her to get through a day at school (and even though she just started summer camp this week, I am guessing that even this environment will become a challenge for her given that it is day-two and the phone calls are already starting….SIGH….BIG SIGH….BIGGER SIGH.

Posted by Angelina3 on Jun 18, 2014 at 4:03am

I can relate and sympathize .
My son who is now 16, was diagnosed with ADHD at age 5.  He took medication, but we never seemed to find the perfect fit. It either did not have an affect, or zoned him out. He had trouble at preschool, summer camps, everywhere. I knew it was only a matter of time before I would get “the call”.
Because I noticed a negative reputation among the staff when he went to middle school,  we took him out of his very good public school for eight grade and moved him to private school, specializing in kids with learning differences. This was a major positive turning point for my son. The staff was well trained in helping him learn self control and study skills. He was
able to mature and developed a sense of being able to succeed, which had a huge impact.
He spent a one year there and then was able to successfully return to public high school, no longer needing an IEP, but with accommodations for extra time on tests.
Private school may not be an option for everyone, the school he attended did have scholarships available
Just want to encourage those of you who are struggling .

Posted by Lucy Footlik on Jun 21, 2014 at 11:30pm

Hi Everyone,  I will not go into my daughter’s whole story - short version is 10-years-old, diagnosed with anxiety and ADHD (not to mention Childhood Absence Epilepsy) at 3.5 years.  Been on meds, counseling and whatnot since. We never would have believed anxiety since she is fun and very outgoing.  Doc made us realize she has severe “fight or flight” anxiety which is why she would hit or kick when very upset.  Stable involved mom and dad - only child.  Exceptionally gifted IQ-wise and very stunted in emotional maturity.

The reason I felt compelled to comment is because of the huge changes I have seen in her and other students in her school.  She started public school in NM after a horrible preschool experience- calls, conferences, etc.  the elementary school was awesome for K and 1st (mainly due to fantastic teachers who worked closely with me).  We learned we would move to Florida in the first quarter of 2nd grade - which had not been going as smoothly.  Since she had medical diagnoses and we did not know what would happen in FL we requested a 504 plan.  No time for full IEP testing -plus she was not failing (borderline in math).  The school did not feel she needed one since we were working well with teachers but agreed since we were moving.  THANK GOD IN HEAVEN I pushed and got a 504 plan that addressed intellect, maturity, and behavior due to manifestations from her medical conditions.

Got to FL in Jan and she did pretty well for the rest of 2nd grade.  We had high hopes when she started in 3rd.  It became a disaster.  Her teacher tried but because she had an older daughter with similar concerns she began pushing my daughter to try and thwart some of the behaviors.  Unfortunately this added to her anxiety.  Of course we did not know the extent because our daughter does not tell us much about her feelings.  By Nov she was having awful, sometimes violent outbursts when upset.  Since she did not express anything to anyone it appeared she was a “problem”. It came to a head when she finally broke down and let it all out.  No real bombs (today’s “regular” teasing/bulling) but she just could not handle the environment.  Even though we met with the school constantly they began to treat her as a problem.  If a child hears that they are a problem long enough they start to believe.  We knew something had to give.

Okay, here is the real reason for my post.  Luckily we were able to move my daughter to a small, Christian school nearby.  In FL, they have a law started decades ago by a senator that allows kids who have an IEP or 504 plan to move to another public school or to receive a scholarship for an approved private school (money based on services received via their plans) if the parents fell the kid’s need are not being meet at the assigned public school. 

The changes I have seen are phenomenal and sometimes heartbreaking.  I teach at the school part-time and volunteer a lot.  I have seen kids who were one step away from being institutionalized thrive.  It is almost impossible to believe that a change in environment and how they are treated can cause so much positive change in these kids. I often wonder how many others are slipping away since they are not able to find a place that works for them.  I love our school - but it is not really magic or anything.  We have small class sizes and treat all the kids as family.  We know all of their conditions (when possible) and therefore are able to respond to them in an appropriate manner.  There are rules and discipline but not at the cost of ignoring each kid as an individual and understand that two kids with the exact same conditions may manifest completely different - no expectations for cookie-cutter, automaton kids.

I tell our story not to brag or counsel but to encourage.  If you have not considered anxiety please do.  If you can get an IEP or 504 plan please do.  If a change in school setting would help and is possible please consider.

Posted by kkatra on Jun 21, 2014 at 11:48pm

Wow.  Thank you everyone for these uplifting messages and words of encouragement.  I can see why this community is such a tremendous help to all of us.  We do have an IEP and my son’s medications do help (he is on oxcarbazepine for his mood disorder and it has really helped) but they don’t eliminate all of the behavioral issues.  Thank you to the parent who wrote about dreading “the call” - I so know what that is like.  I too get “the call” from summer camp but not as often as during the school year.  We have noticed that his behavior improves when it is sunnier and he has more outdoor time.  Good luck to you all and again, thank you very much for helping me to feel I am in good company.

Posted by Reiko123 on Jun 26, 2014 at 7:17am

BTW, there are camps that specialize in ADHD programs e.g. SOAR. I’m looking in to getting my kiddo there.

Posted by AJGO on Jun 26, 2014 at 2:49pm

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