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out bursts hurting our family, please help

please help! our almost 10 year daughter has intense , emotionally out bursts!

We found out at five , that she had adhd and only 3% of self control so put her on meds. After four meds we found one that helps in many areas.

However when she gets so upset, about things that don’t even phase her younger siblings, we don’t know what to do. Her “fits” exhausted everyone in our family.

We do high protein diet, natural supplement and plenty of sleep 95%of the time.

Please does anyone else understand or can help?

Replies

There are probably lots of things that contribute. What you describe sounds like a “meltdown”...where she loses control of her ability to regulate her emotions. Often work with an Occupational Therapist can help immensely. Positive parenting strategies can help, too. My favorite is The Nurtured Heart Approach. There are certified practitioners in many communities…check out http://www.childrenssuccessfoundation.com.
Dema

Posted by coachdema on Jul 27, 2014 at 3:14am

My youngest son wasn’t diagnosed until he was in grade 4, going into 5.  He’s bright and at that point was doing well in school.  He had a few issues with friends here and there, and a few discipline problems in class (all things were he’d act without thinking).  But ADHD never really occurred to me.  I was baffled by the temper tantrums though.  I was consistent.  I stayed calm.  I didn’t give in or get dragged into the drama.  But they still continued well past when he should have outgrown them. I knew something wasn’t right.

Once he was diagnosed and I learned as much as I could about ADHD, I realised that that impulsivity affects their responses in all areas, including their control of their emotions.  They feel things so much more intensely!

The thing I’ve learned that helps the most is to keep calm myself.  If anyone gets upset when my son is upset (including our dog) things escalate.  After a certain point I can’t usually stop the blowout, but staying calm certainly makes it blow over faster.

The other thing I try to do is to prevent outbursts as much as possible.  I try to clearly lay out expectations beforehand, give plenty of notice when activities will be changing, and try not to overwhelm my son (help him break down tasks, etc.)  I don’t ask him to do his homework before he’s had something to eat, for example.  And I try to add a positive into my requests (e.g. you can play video games as soon as your homework is done… or, you can come right back out to play if you come in to eat dinner now).

I was worried that not disciplining the outbursts was creating a spoilt monster, but when I explained my concerns at the ADHD parenting course I was attending recently, the psychologist made a good point… I explained that things used to be worse, but that my son would still blow up over things, scream and yell and run to his room and slam the door.  A few minutes later he’d come down and be calm enough to do whatever I’d ask.  (Not every time of course, but sometimes.)  She pointed out that this was his way off coping with the stress and his way of handling it.  It wasn’t a great way, but it was better than ways he’d dealt before (hitting the walls or things, lashing out at people, etc.)  It’s another step towards handling those extreme emotions in a more mature way.  Hopefully, with time (and calm and consistency on my part), he’ll not yell as much and not need to slam the door.  Hopefully with time he won’t need to leave the room at all.  But it’ll take babysteps and time and maturity to get there.  (BTW, if he *does* lash out at me or anyone else, he is disciplined.  If he hits anything, he’s disciplined.  But if it’s just an outburst of emotion I generally ignore it now and he calms down sooner.)

What kinds of things are triggers for your daughter?

Posted by Rai0414 on Jul 27, 2014 at 4:18am

My son’s moods stabilized on Intuniv. Its a nonstimulant ADHD med. He still takes Ritalin. The Intuniv augments the Ritalin. You can start as low as 1 mg. It goes up from there. The only caveat is that it is very expensive,  the long acting kind is, $80 with insurance, $300 without for a 2 mg dose, as there is no generic equivalent. You also can’t miss doses. You have to take it every day. If you try Intuniv, it will also probably take up to ten days to see results. It has worked well for my son.

If that doesn’t work you can try klonopin or a low dose of one of the atypical anti-psychotics like risperidol. You can get that as low as 1/4 mg and it should be non-sedating.
 
All those other things you are trying will help to. If your not already doing this, you should also give her a five minute warning between activities to help her transition. We also send my son to a therapist, one who specializes in working with kids with ADHD and Autism.

Hope this information is helpful to you.
Sue H in PC, Ohio

Posted by SueH on Jul 27, 2014 at 1:26pm

I recommend reading the Explosive Child by Ross Greene. It changed our lives and we’ve hardly had a meltdown since.
Good luck
Anna

Posted by Anna from toronto on Jul 27, 2014 at 2:45pm

I second the suggestion to read “The Explosive Child” (http://www.additudemag.com/RCLP/sub/10272.html). Changed our family too. Another great book I’m just finishing up is “How to Talk so Your Kids will Listen, and Listen so Your Kids will Talk.” It offers equally amazing advice and I’m devastated I didn’t read it sooner (my youngest is 11).

As others have also said, it is paramount that you remain calm. When you get upset as well, it provides sensory input that they crave and fuels the fire. Modeling calm reactions will help them to calm down too. (http://www.additudemag.com/slideshow/81/).

Therapy can help your child with frustration tolerance and other triggers, but also help the family manage and cope better as well. I highly recommend it—just make sure you see a pediatric therapist who specializes in ADHD and behavioral disorders.

Lastly, consider medication. It can be life-changing for your child and everyone around them.

Penny
ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jul 28, 2014 at 5:04pm

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