You’re definitely not alone! I have definitely felt how you do. I didn’t take the time to read all the replies, so I apologize if there are any repeats, but here are some things that have helped:
*The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. I read this when I was “on the verge” with my son and feeling totally lost and helpless. It gave me the direction and hope I needed.
*The Power of Positive Parenting by Glen Latham. EVERY parent should read this and apply, but it’s even more critical for our situations.
*Driven to Distraction by Hallowell and Ratey
*Secondary activities — fidgets, music, etc. My son can accomplish the boring tasks a lot better if he’s got something else to keep another part of his mind busy at the same time; sometimes the more unrelated the better: funny rhyming games help him stay on track getting ready for bed, doodling/drawing helps him listen, etc.
*Sleep — Don’t underestimate the power and importance of enough, good sleep (for both of you).
*Structure, routine, a heads up on things. Their chaotic minds need the framework so they can have something to hold onto.
*LOVE! Be his biggest cheerleader, his teammate in solving problems (while still being the parent).
*Apologize. Besides powerfully healing, this teaches our kids that everyone makes mistakes, that we can all grow, improve, and learn, and that we’re not locked into who we were or our mistakes or bad behavior. They need to know how to move on and forward.
*One on one time. 15 minutes of me sitting down to play Legos with my son is just as or more powerful than any rewards system, discipline strategy, etc. Sometimes it’s just me chatting with him before he falls asleep, watching a show we both love, playing a game together (board/video; Minecraft, 20 Questions, etc.).
*Try to carve out some time for yourself, and take care. Then you can help him better too.