How to Manage a Child who displays behavioral issues due to ADHD

Nakoda - posted on 09/12/2012 ( 23 moms have responded )

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I am a single mom of a soon to be 6 yr old who was diagnosed with ADHD. My son is not academically challenged at all but he is suffering from behavioral issues in school and due to his behavior; he has been placed in Special Education. I've tried everything that I can think of to rid my son of his behavioral issues but nothing seems to be working. I am at wits end and I need help. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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User - posted on 09/24/2012

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Change his diet. Diet effects behavior more than you could imagine. He could be reacting to hormones in the meat, sugar, really anything, actually. Also figure out the way he learns, he might be a hands on learner and the classes weren't doing it for him and causing him to act out. The school just put him is special education because they dont want to deal with it and those teachers have to put up with a lot. You shouldnt accept that. All that is going to do is hold him back. You really need to figure out if it is a lazy teacher, or if there really is something going on with your son. This is a complete stranger you are talking about. Other than this person being his teacher you do not know them, why would you let them make such a big decision for your child. Because they have a degree? If your son is having behavioral issues it would be apparant to you in the way he is treating other children at the park, speaking to you when you ask him to do something, etc. If you do not see any of those kinds of behaviors then I would say maybe you need to speak to the principal, get him a different teacher, or even home school him. When I was a kid I learned differently than most. I had trouble paying attention and would do things like sit on the back of my chair during class, play with my bracelete, draw, or whatever else I could think of, but my teachers put up with it because they saw that I was getting my homework done and I was learning. But that was 15 years ago and things were different. There was no behavioral issues with me, and I never got put into a special ed class. that is just ridiculous.

Danielle - posted on 09/23/2012

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I am a bit taken back to read that the school resorted to placing your son in Special Education due to these reasons. My stepson has the same struggles you are speaking of with your son and we are at our wits end as well. However, I do not feel he should be placed in Special Education. In saying that, you should look into what your son's school offers for a 504 plan. If they even offer any such thing. We are located in Florida. The 504 plan is a structured method the school system must abide by in order to help children with adhd and learning disabilities succeed without placement to special education. I see the frustration when academically there are no issues.

As far as the behavior goes, I find that actually talking to my stepson makes him feel better and more important and he is less likely to act out. Then again, that only lasts so long because he jumps from one thought and emotion to another.

Ashley - posted on 09/14/2012

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My son who is now 7 has been on meds from day one of diagnosis. I strongly suggest them because they are a GREAT help. As soon as he started taking them it was a night and day difference in school. He was the same way with running around wild, not listening to single thing the teachers said, running out of the classroom, using the language etc. He started taking drugs and he shaped up almost right away. Its been almost two years now and we have to keep going into his therapist to adjust the meds but I will NOT have him off them. I brought him once when he wasnt on any and she could tell the major difference. He wouldnt answer any of her questions or do the simplest task of cleaning up his toys after we were done. He is on vyvanse 50mg, 5mg of an off brand of prozac for anxiety and depression like, guafacine 1mg 2x a day, and melatonin 5mg at night to sleep. Sounds like alot of different pills for such a little kid but it works wonders and he is a GREAT learner. He is one of the top readers in his class, has been since he started the meds, and only has had a few hiccups in school for his behavior that the teachers learned to fix those problems. Did you tell the school that he has adhd and such? Because if so they are spose to work with you on this. They can set up an iep or a 504 plan that will help him and keep him in the regular class. If they arent willing to work with you i'd find a different school. Good luck.

Adam - posted on 09/13/2012

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Dear Nakoda,



I am new to this site - my wife follows it and I am a psychologist specializing in helping boys with ADHD. My wife asked me to respond to your question. Many young boys with impulsivity problems demonstrate disrespectful behavior, which unfortunately get them into deeper trouble with teachers! The big mistake that schools make is to try to solve the problem by over-controling the child. My strong suspicion is that the best strategy your son's teacher could take would be to make your son a "special helper" in school, like giving him a job to help out in the class. When a teacher does that it makes boys feel important, and as if they want to identify with the teacher's goals. Adults tend to be stern with disruptive kids, but a better strategy id to be very serious - including taking the child's potential to be of help very seriously. It will also be helpful to reinforce those strategies at home. Give your son a job that challenges him to learn something new - and make sure that job requires him to make decisions. For better or worse, boys are wired to detect someone who is trying to make them follow rules, but not giving any respect in return. It may sound crazy to be giving a 6 year-old respect, but when we do, they tend to be much more motivated to work with us. And, BTW, the tone of your voice is the main way you or his teacher signal respect. Take all the emotion, good and bad, out of your voice, and make little eye contact. It will be easier for your son to take in what he is hearing. Sorry to be so long-winded. You can find additional strategies on my website if that would be helpful: www.DrAdamCox.com. Good luck!!! (In about two years, the part pf your son's brain that manages self-control will be somewhat more capable of better self-control - but two years is a long-time with a demanding child.)

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User - posted on 10/22/2012

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so now you are asking yourself, if he doesnt get the medication will you abuse him. if not, you stop what happened to roxanne before it happens. mental illness?? is he out in the yard strangling squirrels? do you catch him having full conversations with someone whos not there? pharmacutical companies want your kid on medication!!!! they want everyone on medication! having more activity than other children is not a fucking mental illness and I cant believe anyone would say so. some call me a conspiracy theorist, but I would rather be that than following all that bullshit. In my opinion adhd is not even a thing. its just another excuse for people to feel better about their hyper chld and not feel so bad when they get frustrated about it. My husband was put on medication he did not need and it made him gain so much weight as a child. he stopped taking it himself and he is perfectly fine, he now has not talked to his father for years for doing that to him. you cant compare this to an infection, you can PROVE that an infection exists, you cant prove that anything is wrong with him. if there was a disease shown to be in his brain causing this, of course you would do what you can to get rid of it. but who is deciding something is wrong? i suggest you find a doctor who prefers not to give a child medication and see what they say, im sure they will help you find other options. You know they now make medication for babies that dont sleep at night. baby insomnia??!?! are you fucking kidding? babies sometimes done sleep, and sometimes children act differently. please at least try to find the underlying problem before you dope up your child. Roxanne, i am sorry to hear that all of that happened to you, but I have to say that it is not because your parents didnt put you on medication, it was what they did as a result of you not having it, and not all parents will do that. they might have done that to you on the medication as well, and you would be saying my parents doped me up and abused me, which im sure you would feel to actually be worse. All i am saying is it saddens me to see parents, teachers, and doctors taking the easy route, making children dependent on medication for life.

Amanda - posted on 10/21/2012

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Have you had his sleep looked at???



My son has ADHD and sleep apnea. I have noticed that if he has a really bad night his ADHD is uncontrollable.

At the moment he is only 4, but I have choosen to ride out the ADHD and not medicate until we have done everything we can for the sleep apnea.



I would also look at your sons diet. Even some of the things that you think may be harmless may cause your son to react to it.

Roxanna - posted on 10/21/2012

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All points here are valid, but in my opinion, mental illness cannot be cured by diet and counseling alone. If he was a diabetic, would you NOT give him insulin? If he had an infection, would you NOT give him antibiotics?

As a woman who had major issues as a child and as an adult, I sufferred from not getting the help I needed because my parents REFUSED to medicate me and instead verbally and physically abused me. My drug of choice to numb the demons was alcohol and that just added to the problems. I am now 42 years old with two daughters 17 & 9 and they both have Bipolarity with ADD and OCD, milder than mine, but we manage it with redirection, flexibilty, diet, therapy and meds. THe last two years have brought enormous peace to our home because we all did this together. I only drink now in social settings and months will go by between drinks. I don't keep alcohol in the house and we have all learned to determine what our triggers are. We even give ourselves "time outs" when we feel we are uravelling! I have spent over 30 years of my life in therapy, the last 17 on meds of which only in the last two years did we find the correct combination for me.

There are several websites with great recommendations on diet changes that will help, along with supplements he can take as young as he is.

Educate yourself even more on the subject, this IS heredatary. And the 504 program saved my oldest academically.

Good luck!

Monica - posted on 10/12/2012

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That sounds very frustrating. Given that your son is getting into trouble at school, I would suggest that you allow your son’s school to continue to hold him accountable versus you holding him accountable at home for misbehavior at school.



With children who are diagnosed with ADHD, consequences are often not as effective as incentives. You may want to suggest to your son’s teacher that he/she start using a behavior chart for him at school. That way, he is able to earn incentives, such as extra computer time if he reaches his behavioral goal(s). Incentives can be very powerful motivators.



I hope you find this helpful!

Sonya - posted on 09/18/2012

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I am so glad you posted this my son is having the SAME issues but we haven't had any family issues, I am not with his father but he is a constant in his life. He is an identical twin so I can clearly see the difference between their behaviors and breaks my heart to see him having such issues :(

Nakoda - posted on 09/17/2012

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I know that Ashley, and I was told by physicians that as children gets older they tend to be able to manage it better. But thanks I am aware of it, I have do countless research and spoke with endless amount of people. Please share anymore info you find :0)

Ashley - posted on 09/17/2012

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There is no cure for ADHD just letting you know. It will be a lifelong battle for him. However there are some that do outgrow it.

Nakoda - posted on 09/17/2012

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Hello Cas, No, medication is not an option. If it cured, then I would consider it but it doesn't and I do not like the effects it has on children.

Nakoda - posted on 09/17/2012

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Thank you Ashley, your advice is very helpful! I honestly do not want my child on any medications what so ever. My brother and nephew were both diagnosed with ADHD, my brother was medicated but my nephew was not. I noticed a big difference in behavior but it was not (in my opinion) normal. Medication does not cure the issues, it will temporarily subdue the issue. If it the medications cured; then I would consider it but it doesn't and I do not want my child dependent on any medication unless it's really needed. It was hard but I have accepted the diagnosis and it will be something my family and I, along with teacher and peers will have to deal with. We will just have to find ways to work with my son because medication is not an option.

Kristen - posted on 09/16/2012

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As a child from a similar situation, in that my home life was messed up and I had major behavioural issues in school, once the teachers are on the right page as Dr.Adam suggested, the single most important factor will be you, his mom. My mother was never able to change despite years of councelling for both me and her, and thus nothing ever changed until I left home at 14. Location, Dr. Adam, is nothing in terms of success compared to the mother/parents capacity to truly change. My mother would lie through her teeth to our councelors, saying she was doing everything they suggested, when in truth she would try once and then give up. In fact most councellors I spoke to alone flat out told my mom nothing was wrong with me, I was a normal kid and they had no idea why I would outburst at home and at school. I wish there was a magic detector for other responsible adults to discover when a child is not being raised in a healthy environment. Please be honest with yourself and others, Nakoda, and don't give up.



*spent years from the age of 7-14 on multiple medications, diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, Depression and Anxiety disorder all prior to grade 8. Left home, took a few years to fix myself without medications, and I currently have NO mental issues and live a happy, normal life.

Cas - posted on 09/16/2012

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I struggled with my sons ADHD for years before they would even diagnose him does he take Any meds for it? Aderal saved my life

Adam - posted on 09/14/2012

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Yes, counseling would be helpful - but not to discuss feelings, etc. Your son needs activity-based counseling with someone capable of respecting him, and commanding his respect. For example, when boys see me in my office, I ask them to help me with some type of interesting physical work before we talk about anything. This establishes rapport and a structured relationship. It also surprises boys because usually they think they're in trouble for something when they see a psychologist. A psychologist's office that feels like a workshop is more interesting and effective with boys than an office that looks, feels, and smells medical! Try to find someone close to where you live because convenience is the key to following through with treatment.

Nakoda - posted on 09/14/2012

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Thank you so much Dr. I will definitely work on putting in place the information you have provided for me. It's crazy because the things you have stated are exactly what's going on!! I am also eager to check out your website! So kudos to you sir :0) Oh! Also, would you suggest counseling? Would that help any?

Cindy - posted on 09/14/2012

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How familiar are you with alternative medicine? I am passionate about educating people that alot of the the illnesses, diseases, and behavioral issues we face can be treated /cured by natural means. Check out Mercola.com. There are tons of artiicles on ADhD. Even if you are sceptic, give it a try. My nephew is autistic and I can somewhat relate to your fustration. "Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food." God bless.

Nakoda - posted on 09/13/2012

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Well, teachers are reporting that he has to be constantly redirected, talking back, loud outbursts, not fully completing his work, untying his shoes, some times taking off his shirt, using foul language as well. Dad has been in and out of my sons life and also my son has witness dad physically abuse me. Although I have move on from this, my son seems to be carrying this with him. He has been in 3 different schools and displayed this behavior at each school. Also he has expressed to the teacher the abuse he has witness between his dad and I. I have tried just about everything in my power to rid my son of these behaviors in school but nothing seems to work. Now I am seeking counseling and praying this will suffice....

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