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Parents of ADHD Children

feeling lost

Hi all,
I am so glad I found this group. Both of my children were diagnosed with anxiety when they were young. My daughter is now doing well on medication. My son (who is 7) has been having major meltdowns and tantrums, so much so that our entire family is getting overwhelmed. The psychiatrist just diagnosed him with ADHD and we are going to start him on Concerta. I guess I am looking for reassurance that there is hope out there. I have never felt so lost or helpless as a parent.Since he was a baby, he was never “comfortable in his own skin.” He had EI for sensory seeking behavior, never slept, was always restless. The temper tantrums, though, are by far the hardest to deal with. I had always associated ADHD with not being able to concentrate at school, not really temper tantrums. He is usually able to focus at school but doesn’t do well with unstructured time. Does anybody else have a child who has major outbursts from ADHD but can sit still to read, etc. It has gotten to the point where even my parents won’t babysit for him bc they don’t know what to do. Sorry for babbling…Thank you!

Replies

My son has ADHD but I am going to have him re-evaluated for ODD, I have realized that while the medication for ADHD is helping, when he is not on the medication (sometimes on weekends or during the summer) he frequently has major outbursts that get worse when I try to control him but he does better if I give him options and tell him that when he calms down he will have to deal with his consequences for his behavior. When not on the medication, he yells, screams, is threatening, slams doors, and does the complete opposite of what I tell him to. When he takes his medication he is the complete opposite. He is still very active child but does what he is asked most times, follows the rules, handles frustration, and is respectful. Not sure if i was helpful but I just wanted you to know your not alone :0)

Posted by cheroyley on Jul 30, 2014 at 8:56pm

Thank you! I hope we all have some peaceful days ahead. smile

Posted by starfishmama on Jul 31, 2014 at 12:54am

Hi starfishmama!

Yes, meltdowns can be part of ADHD, often a result of low frustration tolerance, poor social skills, over-sensitivity, sensory troubles, and feeling like they have no control over themselves.

I strongly recommend you read the book “The Explosive Child” by Ross Greene. That book changed our family and helped me reduce meltdowns substantially. As well, “How to Talk so Your Kids will Listen, and Listen so Your Kids will Talk” is very helpful.

Here are some articles on meltdowns and how to reduce them as well:
http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/9142.html
http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/6555.html
http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/721.html

Growing older and gaining self-awareness and self-regulation will help a great deal too (happened for my son around age 9).

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

Posted by adhdmomma on Jul 31, 2014 at 2:41pm

My son loves to read. If we go to the library for new books, he could literally read all day. But he has a hard time getting started on his homework or working on a long project. ADHD isn’t an inability to focus so much as an inability to focus on what they should. Or especially on what they don’t find interesting!

The clue for me that something wasn’t right for my son wasn’t the focus issues (he had them for sure, but his fourth grade teacher saw them before I did), but the tantrums. I couldn’t figure out why he was still blowing up and being SO overly dramatic in spite of everything we were doing (keeping calm, being consistent, not giving in, etc). Once he was diagnosed I learned as much as I could about ADHD and quickly discovered that regulating their emotions and especially their frustration levels is hard for them.

I’d suggest learning as much as you possibly can about ADHD. I ditto all the sources Penny mentioned and would add that Dr Russell Barkley is awesome too. (He also has many very interesting talks on YouTube.)

Posted by Rai0414 on Jul 31, 2014 at 5:08pm

cheroyley, if the ADHD medication is working with your son’s opposition, wouldn’t that mean it’s the ADHD?

I attended a parenting group through our local ADHD clinic and most of the experts there (psychologists and psychiatrists who specialize in kids with ADHD) generally feel that ODD is over diagnosed. They would tackle the ADHD first and if that took care of the ODD, they would conclude that it was just the ADHD to begin with. If not, then there was cause to look into another diagnosis.

I’m not sure it matters in the end. I think the treatment for both is the same (medication, behavioural therapy, etc.)

Posted by Rai0414 on Jul 31, 2014 at 5:14pm

Structure as much of his time as you can. Set out expectations and schedules but you have to be the timekeeper. He can’t do that part at his age.

A discipline that worked well for our ADHD child was naughty corner. I only ever used that because taking things away does nothing to an ADHD brain. They just move on to the next thing and it is no discipline at all. Naughty corner is 7 minutes of nothing to do which is why it works I think.

And yes it does get better as they get older. Our daughter had horrible in public meltdowns at that age and younger. She is now 10 and I probably haven’t disciplined her in over a year.  And talk a lot about your expectations of his behavior in specific places, talk to him about the day and what to expect, where you’ll be going, what project you might have planned etc. I found keeping an open dialogue going about their world helped my kids to behave appropriately.

Posted by YellaRyan on Aug 01, 2014 at 1:06am

My son ended up having ODD and ADHD and he acts just like your son….lots of meltdowns, screaming, violence if things are going his way or if he is asked to do something.  He only takes Concerta.  There are a couple anti-psychotic drugs his psych recommended but I didn’t like the side effects.  I just bought the Explosive Child book, so I, too, hope to find some help with that.  I also frequently listen to parenting podcasts on my i-phone from this magazine and others.  Hope that helps!
I also have my faith in God to help me and it also seems to help my son. He regularly attends Sunday School.  He also is involved in a theater group and a robotics class.  He likes to belong to something. It helps his self-esteem.

Posted by Liz A on Aug 02, 2014 at 7:34pm

thank you all so much. You have made me feel less alone. I just bought The Explosive Child. It looks great. I am eager to learn more ADHD bc, like I said, I associated with not being able to sit still at school. Like Rai said, he can sit and read for hours, but I realize now that’s bc he loves reading. He cannot sit still at a concert or play or really any big venue. He has always had sensory issues, so I thought he didn’t like those venues bc of sensory stuff. I realize now that it’s probably a combination. Thank you for helping me get through a rough week. smile

Posted by starfishmama on Aug 02, 2014 at 8:06pm

My 10 yr. old daughter exhibited a lot of behaviors you listed. She was initially diagnosed with ADHD.  I kept thinking a normal girl just doesn’t get upset over some of the things we argued about. After visits to her physician, psychiatrist, social worker and school social worker. The psychiatrist added ODD and added more another med which was denied by my insurance. She was becoming unmanageable and as I was “going through it” I was thinking I don’t know if I’m up for it. I read this book called Your Defiant Child by Russell Barkley and my daughter attitude is much better. I am only 2 mos. into this “program” but she is more accepting of rules and compliant. She is not perfect and has her moments, but I am more confident and able to deal with her minor flare ups.

Many prayers to you.

Posted by Van1 on Aug 04, 2014 at 7:37pm

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