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ADHD in Girls

how to handle emotional 6year old

Just for the record, I have ADD. I know all about the emotional whiplash that comes with everything else. My daughter has always been emotional, overly sensitive and drmatic. With her being my frist child i figures it was just apart of being a little girl,but when she started school and her attention became a problem her emotional state got worse. Now she has to repeat kinfldergarden and is being evaluted for learning disiblities. She was just officialy diginosied with ADD two weeks ago(altho i suspected this 5 monthes ago) so we are still in the process of figureing out medicine and a treatment plan that works for her. But i know that medicine alone will not teach her how to handle all the fear, anger, anxity, dissapoiment and sadness. She breaks down over simple slilly stuff. She might ask for a.favorite afterschool snack but when i tell her we are out she breaks out in sobs and lays in the floor crying. when we cant goto the playground on a weekend she might scream to the top of her lungs €i wana go to.the playground! € Over and over while crying. When getting in troble for hurting her sister or doing something she was told not to do she will cry and say i dont love her and every one hates her. If shes ever sent to her room she throws toys, kicks the wall and breaks things(like her glasses). Iv tried talking to her, but it seems to go in one ear and out the other. Iv tried scooping her up and just huging her(if shes not in trouble ) but that make her act babish. When i just cant take the crying any more i send her to her room and tell her she can come out when shes done crying. Most of the time that ends up in the angry fit i mentioned, but sometimes she stays in there and crys to her self. When shes done she comes out and gives me a hug and then we talk about what made her upset.
My point is this. I want her to be able to go cry it Out in her room if she needs to with out the throwing and breaking things. But anytime i tell her to go to her room to cry but do not break things.. It once again goes in one ear and out the other. Is there a way i can stress this and get it thru to her head. OR is there a healthier way to deal with her emotional out burst? And just how much will the medicine help with the emotional side of ADD?  (shes taken Focalin XR 5mg for the last 2 weeks but there seems to be no diffrance so eaither the doctor will need to up the dose or change the medicine)

Replies

She sounds like my daughter. Unfortunately, my advice is to wait it out. I mean, take the medication and look for something that can work, but ultimately it is maturity. My child still can have breakdowns over small things but now we can recognize that she might be hungry or worried about something (STAAR tests in Texas start tomorrow, for instance). It took time for her to not freak out over small things like being out of her favorite snack. It used to seem like a punishment to send her to her room to cry (we only wanted her to comfort herself and come back when she was ready) and now she actually walks herself to her room when she is getting mad.

I am sorry I don’t have advice for how to help right now. I think staying consistent and being loving when she is being difficult is the only thing to do at the moment. Good luck with the medication. I hope you find something that works.

Posted by momodoodle on Apr 23, 2013 at 5:18am

Also, said daughter is having a tantrum as we speak due to stress over the testing. Not sure it every truly ends.

Posted by momodoodle on Apr 23, 2013 at 5:20am

Ok, can I just say I feel for you, right off the bat. It is hard being an adult and dealing with an emotional child. Particularly one as intense as your child sounds.

As a mother of a daughter with ADD and one who is highly emotional (now 8) and having been through what you describe and having been a highly emotional child myself (though I do not have ADD I can still remember the emotionally intense times as a child) I want to assure you there is relief. Though not as you might wish any short cut or quick solution.

What I don’t think many people realize about children and emotions is that they just want to be seen and heard. What aggravates highly emotional children is when they feel adults are dismissing them. What makes ADD children different from “normal” children is the normal kids have the ability to squash their feelings more readily to accommodate the adults than ADD kids do. So who in this case is the winner, the normal kid who squashes what they feel or the ADD kid who fights to be heard because they can’t physiologically do any differently? 

In any case, kids need to feel heard and understood. Sometimes it is as easy as saying “I see that you are upset”  sometimes it is sitting with a child for hours as they sob. YOU wish they would stop because you have other things, other children to attend to, a life to conduct but an ADD child can’t help but lash out - they are suffering so inside. 

The only thing I have found that works is take a deep breath, set your ego that wants to fix it, put on your non judgmental listening ears and just try to hear and acknowledge what your child is trying to tell you.  That means no commentary, no “it’ll be ok"s or any other placating. Just listen. Don’t judge, don’t fix, don’t comfort. Put yourself aside and really listen. You have a powerful tool as a parent. It is the thing every child wants most in the world - your undivided attention. When you give it freely you will see your child calmed, comforted, and their stress relieved just because you are looking in their eyes.

We too often throw this power away or belittle it. But your daughter knows you can’t solve her hurt. And she really doesn’t want that. She just wants you to see that she is hurting and accept that she has a right to feel that.

It takes time, sure. But this is effective for those really emotionally upset moments.

Posted by YellaRyan on Apr 23, 2013 at 11:12am

Hi kstarr88! I have been right where you are too. My son, ADHD and LDs, had the same emotional overwhelm you describe when he was that age. It took a lot of work but we managed to reduce the overwhelming emotional reactions.

YellaRyan, above, explains it beautifully. These kiddos just want to be heard and understood, two things that are rare for a child with ADHD generally.

I highly recommend Ross Greene’s book, “The Explosive Child.” My child is not explosive and this book changed our family. To address these behaviors and affect positive change, you have to show her empathy and compassion, you have to hear her out, and you have to help her problem solve. She doesn’t have the skills to handle frsutration, so the frustration overtakes her emotionally.

Dr. Greene recently did a webinar with ADDitudeMag.com and you can listed to it here: http://www.additudemag.com/RCLP/sub/10065.html.

I hate to point it out, but dismissing her to her room when she feels like she hasn’t been heard is actually fueling the negative behavior. But, by working together with her, and with time and maturity, you will see improvement.

Hang in there!
Penny
ADDconnect Moderator and Mom of Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Apr 23, 2013 at 4:53pm

I understand what you are going through. My daughter is 9 and is the same. The funny thing is, there wre never these issues before she started school. She was the most calm, easy going kid I had every met when she was little!

Now at the drop of a hat, like your daughter, she will freak out.  She will yell and scream, do the nonstop arguing thing, and cry in a way that breaks your heart over little things.

I think a lot of it is anxiety and not being able to deal with the feeling of tension and stress.  We are seeing a therapist but it is not helping at all.  I can remove as many stessers as possible but that does not give her the coping skills she needs.  I am at a loss as well! 

All I can offer you is “I know what you are going through and I sympathize!”

Posted by wypy on May 18, 2013 at 7:52pm

I understand what you are going through. My daughter is 9 and is the same. The funny thing is, there wre never these issues before she started school. She was the most calm, easy going kid I had every met when she was little!

Now at the drop of a hat, like your daughter, she will freak out.  She will yell and scream, do the nonstop arguing thing, and cry in a way that breaks your heart over little things.

I think a lot of it is anxiety and not being able to deal with the feeling of tension and stress.  We are seeing a therapist but it is not helping at all.  I can remove as many stessers as possible but that does not give her the coping skills she needs.  I am at a loss as well! 

All I can offer you is “I know what you are going through and I sympathize!”

Posted by wypy on May 18, 2013 at 7:52pm

I could have written all of the same things about my daughter when she was that age, and she’s now 13. At six she was too young to be able to handle the power of her own emotions, and she did not respond well to my attempts to comfort her. She wanted to be left alone when she was upset, and she is still like that! Once the emotional storm has passed, she may or may not talk to me about whatever caused it. At six, I think most of her tantrums were a hangover from the work of keeping herself together all day at school. You want her to be able to cry out her frustrations without breaking things, and I get that because I wanted the same thing for/from my daughter. But I had to teach her some other ways to release her frustrations (“beating up” a soft toy, screaming into a pillow, etc) first, and it took her some practice before she would reliably use them. Talk to her about how powerful her feelings are, and let her know that it must be scary for her to feel that way, and that it is okay. If you can teach her to deal with her strong emotions in a way that is not destructive to property, people, and relationships, you will do her a big big favor! I think you are doing the right things already, and I feel for you because I was there and I only had books to relate to. (Incidentally, “How to Handle Your Strong-Willed Child” is an excellent book.) Medicine does nothing for the emotions as far as I can tell. The only thing it does is allow the person with ADHD to focus. Best to you!

Posted by ral77851 on May 23, 2013 at 2:30am

my daughter is 7 yrs old and has adhd and she is on adderal xr. My daughter has the same fit I cant stand it I feel for her I really do. I don’t know what else to do.

Posted by buggsbunny20026 on Jun 25, 2013 at 10:50pm

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