Meltdowns at home with 7 year old daughter...please help!

Kristin - posted on 01/12/2011 ( 16 moms have responded )

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Hi Moms! I have an almost 7 year old daughter who was diagnosed with ADD this past summer. We are not currently medicating other than Omega 3's and vitamins, and she is doing GREAT in school! My question is, is it normal for an ADD child to have constant meltdowns once she gets home, after keeping it together all day at school? She will come home, have some TV/ relax time and then start homework without any complaints. But as soon as something doesn't go her way, so immediately loses it and is then out of control emotionally the rest of the night! I am trying really hard to not over-react to her meltdowns, but it is really affecting our family, which also includes a little sister with Sensory Issues! Any help would really be appreciated! Thanks ahead of time!

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Melissa - posted on 01/12/2011

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I can relate to what you 're talking about. My older daughter is very much like that. She is wonderful in school. When she was around your daughter's age, I was so confused. I could not figure out how this girl could be one way throughout the day at school and then could turn to be another way while at home. I began looking up different things and seeked our ped.'s opinion. When we were given the forms for the school and us (parents) to fill out, of course, she never scored to have ADD with the school. We began taking her to see a therapist and that's who explained to me the various forms of ADD. It was explained that she pulls everything within herself to work hard, do well in school, and the fear of getting in trouble or having the label of 'that kid'. So by the time, she would get home to her safe haven she would just let it all out. Her home life she could just release the frustraions of the day and exhaustions of trying so hard throughout the school day.
I'm not sure if I'm explaining it very well. At least, I hope I am.

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I have the same problems with my daughter she sometimes cries because her pencil broke. I know my daughter doesn't melt down at school ( she doesn't want her friends to see her crying) but she does have melt downs on the weekends and after school. My daughter also shows signs of OCD and if something is done out of order or not the way her teacher told her too she freaks out. I have noticed it seems to help my daughter during homework time I let her put on her head phones and listen to music.It helps block out the noises of her little sister and it seems to help her relax some while doing her homework.

Blenda - posted on 01/19/2011

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First off, the Omega-3 and vitamins are what we use to and they are wonderful to help keep him on task and not hyper. We do have him take the Omega twice daily once in the morning and then once in the late afternoon. This seems to help him more consistently through the day. If he doesn't have it, the meltdowns can occur. It seemed at the end of the afternoon in school the Omega effect would wear off and the focus and the control would be wearing off and he had lower grades in the afternoon. If he is takes it in the afternoon, it keeps him consistent and he won't have those meltdowns when he gets home and can consistently focus throughout the day.

Sherry - posted on 01/19/2011

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I agree totally with Melissa. My daughter is now 11 with ADHD and Compulsive disorder. She would act out at school and at home. The outburstd at home would be much worse than at school. Mainly because she is more comfortable at home and it is her safe haven to be herself. We needed to put some boundaries on her though and made her have her outbursts in her room away from others in the house. Lets face it we all have times we need to just let it all out and vent, even better when you can vent to someone. Well my daughter needed to be able to do just that.The old saying "storm before the calm." Soon she learned how to control her anger and now her outbursts are very few. We usually can talk calmly about things that bothers her and it helps get her through and shows her that someone is listening and cares about her feelings. It has been a long road travelled with her. Ever since she was 4 years and diagnosed. We still have arguements but they are dealt with much calmly. I know now to just not argue because that is the fuel that feeds her fire. When she realizes I am not going to talk to her until she can be calm she begins to relax and calm herself.

I hope I helped you in some way.

And YES, just remember you are not alone, and that you are the only person that will truly understand and be able to help your child live with the way they see life and how they are a vital part of it.

Tracy - posted on 01/19/2011

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My son used to have meltdowns, we got him in to see a psychiatrist, or psychologist. The meltdowns decreased. We now have a trigger word for him to use when he feels one coming on and we can talk to him before it becomes out of control.

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Jeanette - posted on 05/13/2013

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I am in the same boat with my 7 yr. old son. I think it might be a stage he is going through, part of normal development. I think this because of other moms I have spoken to with the same aged children who are not ADHD. Their kids are behaving the same way. I call them Two yr. old Tantrums!

Tammy - posted on 01/28/2011

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omg sounds soo familiar my eight year old son was diagnosed with adhd two years he is taking ritalin.but once in a while he still will have a meltdown it's usually from moving to one activity to the next or if I tell him it's time for homework the advice I have is lots of patience and keep calm I have days where I want to just rip my hair out,but I just take it one day at a time.

Loren - posted on 01/24/2011

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Oh hun of course it is. It takes a lot of mental and emotional energy to keep it together at school and the fact that she's doing it without medication is commendable. YOu are doing an excellent job with her. The energy that builds up in a child especially is tremendous. It can be equaited with putting baking soda and vinigar in a closed pop bottle. Eventually it will expolode. The reason she has her melt downs at home is because she feels SAFE to do so. Just console her the best you can and let her know that everything will be alright and most importantly that she will be alright. There a re many changes at this age that happen even within her body as she grows and matures and she doesn't understand them all. Simply being thre and not being hard on her will help her through the rouph patches. Helping her develop a hobby or something that she likes to do just for herslf will help a lot also. Feel free to ask me more if you like as I had a daughter just like that. I have another who is now 18 and she still on occassions suffers similar issues. It's tough for you to wathch but she will love you for it in the end.

Jacqui - posted on 01/19/2011

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i like the idea of a trigger word. Unfortunately, this was not thought of with my first foster child. She was diagnosed with adhd when she was just 7 after my constant requests. She would be disruptive in class but almost impossible when she got home. She would refuse to do homework with me but then couldn't grasp what she had to do and would end up breaking, throwing things across the room and aiming at me (i was the one 'making her mad' as I was the one asking her to sit down and do her hw) it is very hard as they will try to impress their peers by 'acting normal' but by the time she gets home she would be totally worn out and would have no energy or reason to pretend. At home she felt safe enough to 'be herself' meltdowns and all. I have a saying - sort of mantra that helped me through the darker days:
I am the ground that supports the volcano. when the volcano erupts and spills, the ground collects and with it creates new land. You must have guessed that she is the volcano and I am the ground. every day is new and very unexpected and the smallest thing can set her off. Chill time i call it - very important and make sure to avoid foods such as ketchup or others with lots of colourings - tends to make them more hyper and sensitive - you are not alone xx

Kristin - posted on 01/19/2011

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Thanks to all of you mommies out there! It really helps to know that we are not alone in dealing with this. Your kids are all so lucky to have you as their moms!

Deanna - posted on 01/19/2011

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Sounds alot like my 10 year old. The teachers have no clue. He is fine all day and throws fits all night. I have found putting him in his room for a while seems to help. Allows him to reboot and have some quiet time. Too much stimulation throughout the day and then he reaches his limit and can't handle anymore. Doing homework after a snack may help as well. They need constant food to recharge or they can't handle life.

Hope this helps. I know it is a constant battle to find what works for each child.

Maurin - posted on 01/19/2011

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Kristin, you are definitely NOT alone. My daughter has ADHD and she acts just like your little one. She does reasonably well in school when it comes to the academic side. Socially, she has a bit of a problem. It's gotten better since she's older now (11), but at 6 until about 9 it was absolutely horrible. She would melt down and throw fits if another kid entered her "bubble" or came up to play with her but got too close. It's gotten physical a few times. At home recently, she's been breathing hard and giving the "evil eye" to either myself or her dad. A couple times she's gotten physical and actually hit me. She's currently on 50mg of Vyvanse. We had to go to a 12 hour pill because it would start to wear off before she got out of school and we like her to be compliant at home at least until she gets her homework done. Once it's out of her system it's really difficult to get through the rest of the night without some sort of breakdown. That's when we usually start "asking" her to do stuff. If it's phrased like an order she usually won't do it, but if we phrase it in a way that makes her think she's in control it will get done.....most of the time. Once her chore is done and she's done with her homework she'll spend the rest of the night playing by herself in her room.

Phyllis - posted on 01/13/2011

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My son would have meltdowns as soon as he got home from school. He really had to have alone time for at least half an hour to make the adjustment from school to home. Otherwise he would snap if you asked him even a question. Now he is better, but a half hour of computer time alone in my room usually did the trick.

Rebekah - posted on 01/13/2011

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Yes, it is a normal ADD/ADHD behavior! She is most likely using every ounce of her energy and focus to get through the school day that she has nothing left by the evening. As frustrated as you are by the meltdown, she is also about having one. She doesn't know another way to release the combination of energy and frustration in another way. The key is to prevent the meltdowns instead of responding to them....I know, easier said then done. ADD/ADHD folks feel out of control regularly and can't figure out how to get control back; releasing the frustration through meltdowns is the only way to decompress, so to speak. Things that help these kids feel more comfortable: being extremely organized (so they can always find their things), be on a tight schedule and make lists for EVERYTHING (they know what's coming next and can prepare themselves, no surprises and feel a sense of accomplishment as each is completed), keep them busy with games/activities/chores (idle hands usually lead to boredom, accidents and meltdowns) and no rushing (if they feel hurried, it will ruin their day). If you react to a meltdown, remind her that your not mad at her, you just don't like the behavior and that you two can figure out another way to help her feel better. Give her a warning and then a consequence if the meltdown becomes destructive or physically hurts anyone...such as going to her room or sitting and writing sentences (doubles as great for spelling and learning patience also). If you are the target of most meltdowns, remove yourself from her path until it passes.

Kristin - posted on 01/12/2011

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Thanks, moms! Joy--I will talk to her Ped. soon, as I agree, something needs to be done. And Melissa-it helps to know someone else has had the same experience, so thank you too!

Joy - posted on 01/12/2011

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While I'm no psychologist, what do suppose is the difference between your home and school? What do you mean by great? Academically or socially great at school? I'm just shocked that she'd find so much more stress in your home than in a room full of other kids.
So, that said, I think you've reached the place where most ADHD parents decide that their quality of life at home is worth further review of the situation. Many of us decided at this point to "pull out the big guns" and medicate with stimulants or non-stimulants--all in the sake of preserving the family and keeping the peace. If Omega3s and vitamins are truly working at school, I wonder if you actually have the correct diagnosis.
You may double back with your psychologist and pediatrician for a re-look at what's making her so sensitive at home but not in the classroom. You cannot keep walking on eggshells around her.

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