Child behaviour fracturing family

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Penny Williams 4 months ago.

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  • #124574


    My almost nine-year-old daughter’s behaviour has caused many family problems. She is very reactive and demanding and emotional so we have a lot of temper tantrums and aggressive behaviour.

    She was diagnosed with ADHD a year ago. Six months later I was diagnosed with it. Four months after that my partner (her father) was diagnosed with Aspergers. I’m pretty sure he has ADHD too. It’s a lot to process and deal with!

    I’m hating myself because I feel like I should cope better. Today she hit me, bit her sister, shouted, slammed doors and told me I am the worst mother. I also know she needs boundaries and consequences.

    I feel like I’ve tried everything: lots of understanding and empathy and cuddles, being too lenient, ignoring small things and choosing my battles, and much more.

    More than anything I want conviction in my beliefs and parenting (which is hard when I doubt much of what I do, die to my own ADHD shame and self-blame) and united front from her father but he thinks she should do what she chooses. He doesn’t believe anyone should be told what to do or how to do it. This is a common Aspie/ASD belief.

    I know I and her little neurotypical little sister are suffering. How do I ensure she suffers less and the madness doesn’t continue to escalate?

  • #124586


    First off, big hugs to you all! Handling a child with ADHD is a struggle all by itself, but add in your diagnosis and your husbands diagnosis and that is a minefield! Give yourself a break from the guilt; you are handling your own diagnosis and your partners at the same time as your child’s and that is A LOT!

    After her diagnosis, what was the recommendation by the person that diagnosed her? Therapy, medication, etc? What about you and your husband, therapy, medication, etc?

    My son is 9 and is ADHD w/ anxiety/depression. He is on medication (not for everyone I know, but that is what we choose), has had therapy (currently on a break per therapist) and my husband and I both go to therapy as well. Therapy has done wonders for our family. However, we needed to find the right medication for my son before we could give therapy a try, as his brain just would not let him settle enough to get the most out of therapy. We still have small daily battles, but are in such a better place than we were a year ago.

  • #124613


    Violet, I do believe there are times when some level of discipline
    and punishment are needed. A young person, ADHD or not, is going
    to grow up and will need to be able to responsibly and rationally
    interact with the rest of society.

    She needs to understand, without question, that you, and the rest of
    society will not tolerate that kind of behavior. Again, I have no idea
    of how you interact with your daughter, but in my experience an angry
    sounding MOM can generally gain a child’s attention in a big

    Does your daughter have a list of chores or responsibilities she is supposed
    to accomplish on a daily or weekly basis? If she gets an allowance, is it earned,
    or just given?

    Also, does she have activities that keep her busy? A bored child tends to
    pack away all that energy and frustration, and the express’s itself in the
    tantrums, etc. If she’s been busy all day (active physically and mentally),
    is she more likely to be calmer in the evenings?

    Violet, I’m just an old guy who was diagnosed over 50 years ago, so my comments
    and suggestions are based on my own childhood and life experience. Honestly, I’m
    no more qualified at offering advice than any other person, but do try to
    help where I can.

    You’ve got a lot on your plate right now, so remember that you can’t go
    through life walking on egg shells all the time in hopes of not upsetting
    anyone. Make the time to take care of yourself!


    • #124739


      Thank you for your kind words and guidance, JLynn37 and Mike. I really appreciate you taking the time to reply.

      I was very nervous about medication (as I’d believed the common myth that it’s bad for children and I could use solely natural lifestyle changes to help her feel less down and more focused) so didn’t give it to her for six months. However, when I got my diagnosis I tried medication and I couldn’t believe the difference it made: after over four decades of trying to “fix” my brain, I finally felt more like, from what I’ve deduced, neurotypicals do. My mind seemed much clearer and I felt calmer and more organised and, most importantly, emotionally level.

      I then did even more research about medication for children and realised that if my daughter DOESN’T take medication she is much more likely to go off the rails or become an alcoholic or addict or get debilitating depression or anxiety (like my siblings, one whose addiction and mental health issues led to his death, and the other who had major alcohol and addiction problems for 25 years) or just generally be incredibly disorganised and unhappy and stressed (like I have been most of my life).

      From the first day she took a small dose of Ritalin, my daughter became a more mentally stable and happier child. What a revelation!
      Medication isn’t a cure all, obviously. For three years prior to that I’d ensured she hadn’t eaten the foods that we’d witnessed exacerbated her hyperactivity, hyper-emotional behaviour and lack of focus (preservatives, glutamates, some colours and flavours – that makes a big difference), ensured she got lots of sleep and exercise and changed the way we patented her. Of course these all helped a lot but we’re still finding pieces of the puzzle that work.

      I really like your suggestions. JLynn37 – the doctor that diagnosed her ADHD never mentioned any adjunct therapies or lifestyle changes like the ones above we’d been doing for several years. She also didn’t mention counselling so thank you for suggesting it. What a great idea.

  • #124740


    Mike – I think you’re right about being tougher with our daughter. I’m absolutely too soft. I’m constantly trying to implement more appropriate consequences and boundaries but am struggling with that because her father doesn’t agree however, since his diagnosis and the counselling we’re having together, we are getting better at understanding each other and coming to agreements about parenting.

  • #124741


    JLynn37 – I will look into adjusting her medication too.

    Mike – She doesn’t have an allowance and I’ve tried to give her chores but again, her father doesn’t agree, so we’re lacking consistency. She’s pretty busy and active but you’re right: the more busy she is and more energy she’s expended, the calmer she is and quicker and easier it is to get her to sleep hence she has a longer sleep and a better next day.

    Mike – how old were you when you were diagnosed? I’d love for you to also share you best tips for adults with ADHD, please? And, btw, totes not an old guy. 60 is the new 30, and 70 is the new 40!

  • #124743


    Violet, I appreciate the kind words, but in my case it’s not so much the
    age, but the mileage. As for the story, my family has been after me to
    write a book about it. Might happen “someday”, but in the meantime if
    my life experience can of help to someone else, then I’m happy to share
    what I can.

    Here’s the highly abridged version:

    If I recall correctly (odds are good) I was diagnosed at age 7 or 8, and
    did take Ritalin for several years, and it helped tremendously with my
    school work, etc. At around 12 years old I asked my parents if I could
    stop taking it. I know it made me “different”, and I wanted to go through
    life being the “real me”, and I’d just have to learn how to overcome
    the challenges.

    The next 40 years were rather tumultuous.

    Started taking medication for the ADHD again about 2011.

    If there was anything I could change in life, I’d go get those 40 years back,
    and would never stop taking medication. If I had, without question my life would have
    been far different due to being able to think through a decision before a [usually wrong]
    choice was made.

    Odds of that happening aren’t too great, but then again, I can still be a dreamer. 🙂

    My feelings on it were that the rest of the world could care less if I’m ADHD,
    or not, so I best learn how to find ways to overcome my issues if I’m going to
    have any chance for success. Did OK in some areas, and in others it was a complete

    Hopefully, you and her dad can agree to some type of punishment for the bad behavior.
    I’m not taking “corporal” punishment at all, but a “time out”, or losing a favorite
    object for a week or two. I believe what’s most important in all of it is that she
    knows and understands why she is being punished. She will learn that her bad actions
    have consequences, and appropriate/good behavior is rewarded. As she gets older, those
    “bad action” consequences that life dishes out will be much more serious. She needs
    to begin learning her “behavior boundaries” now, as it will definitely be much more
    difficult to establish those boundaries when she reaches teenage years.

    Gonna repeat what I suggested in my first post:

    You’ve got a lot on your plate right now, so remember that you can’t go
    through life walking on egg shells all the time with hopes of not upsetting
    anyone. Make the time to take care of yourself!

  • #124759

    Penny Williams

    Being “tougher” won’t change her brain. Her brain simply works different, and it’s lagging behind with many skills, like frustration tolerance, self-awareness, emotional regulation, etc. The path to improvement is to set clear expectations that also take into account that she’s 2-3 years behind in these skills, and to work on building these skills with understanding and compassion.

    Remember, your child isn’t giving you a hard time, she’s HAVING a hard time.

    Your Child Is Not Giving You a Hard Time. Your Child Is Having a Hard Time.

    I am a huge fan of Ross Greene’s CPS model and it’s the foundation of what I teach parents as well. I recommend you read his book, “Raising Human Beings.” Implementing his approach will change your lives and your family.

    Time for Plan B? 10 Tips for Dealing with an Explosive Child

    ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #124918


      Penny, I always appreciate the hard-won wisdom you share with those of us struggling to raise our ADHD kids. However,for some reason, your comments always show up with each sentence cut off on the right side when I try to view them here on the forum page. It’s frustrating to not be able to see everything you wrote. Has anyone else experienced this? I have no problem viewing the complete comments of regular participants. Perhaps your moderator status uses a different input format that causes this problem? I’ve done everything I can on my end to try to rectify this. Hoping you can look into it on your end. Many thanks, Ann

    • #125240

      Penny Williams

      We are looking into this. It’s not cut off for me so I’m not seeing it.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

  • #124935


    AnnW, I am seeing the same with Penny’s message being cut off on the right side. Denise

  • #125074


    Hi Violet, WOW!! You sound like a VERY strong woman even if you aren’t feeling like one.
    I am so sorry to hear of all the action happening in your life/household, and there will
    Be a light at the end of the tunnel, it will take time, but you will see it. I have
    Two boys 11 and 14 who were both just diagnosed within the last four months as well as me
    Also having Adult ADHD! It’s been a real party
    Here, especially this summer! The things
    That we are trying is essential oils,
    Crystals (shungite, black tourmaline,
    Amethyst, labradorite and Rose Quartz
    Have helped a lot too. The first two crystals
    Help with grounding and protection and
    With EMFs. We turn wifi off at night which
    Has helped with sleep. We all sleep better
    And feel more rested in the morning. Salt
    Lamps help with EMFs too, but also clean
    The air. We threw away all of our personal
    Products like shampoo/rinse, soap and a
    Big one was toothpaste! We use a remineralized
    Toothpowder that detoxes the mouth, reverses cavities and polishes our teeth like we
    Just came from the dentist! I also threw
    Out all our chemical cleaners and air
    Fresheners and diffuse or make cleaner
    Using essential oils. I am NOT crafty,
    I like convenience but I want to help my
    Boys more. I’m also checking into the
    Neuro-Feedback that PlayAttention has
    Introduced me to. We are a one income
    Family and I’m going to see if the disability
    Program, offered here in Canada, will fund or help us to get it to help improve their
    Executive skills. I’m also trying desperately
    To get it into our local schools to help
    Other students that are struggling and will
    Continue to struggle through their lives!
    This program would give at risk children
    this important information, that they most
    Certainly won’t get any other way, into their
    Lives, making what I think, a SIGNIFICANT
    Impact and difference in and on their
    lives! I have been learning everything I possibly can about ADD/ADHD and how to
    help our boys to be successful and boost
    their self esteem. There’s a website I
    Just found called Totally ADHD Rick Green
    is the guy it’s about, but he makes it
    interesting as he’s a comedian as well as
    has ADHD himself, and full of great information.
    I am struggling too as I have just gone on
    ADHD meds myself for the first time in my life,
    and I’m feeling somewhat less anxious
    and scattered. So it’s a bit of a gong show here
    too. I swear my husband (their dad) has
    It too, but of course he doesn’t see it
    at all! Lol I’m very discouraged some days,
    Plus I just had my 4th bowel resection
    Last August and a total knee replacement surgery
    Three months later, so still recovering
    From the knee surgery. But knowledge is power and I told my boys that. I said learn all
    you can about ADHD so you are informed
    and not a victim. Having this doesn’t mean
    mean a death sentence or anything bad!
    it is something we all have and is like
    having blonde hair or brown eyes! It doesn’t
    have to ruin your life. Find what interests
    you and make a goal to learn all you can
    about it and see if it’s something you
    really want in your life. Baby steps can
    turn into the greatest things in life. When I
    Give time outs, I put a TED talk on (if I can
    Find something that they just did then I use
    It as a teachable moment, or it’s just funny
    To me to watch them squirm because they HAVE to
    Listen to it. It’s amazing what they have learned.

    • This reply was modified 4 months ago by  MamaBear2.
  • #125077


    I have started shopping at our 3 health
    Food stores here and when they have their 20%
    Off sales then I can get the more natural
    Shampoos/rinses, underarm deodorants,
    Ingredients for dishwasher soap, laundry
    Soap, toothpowder,essential oils,
    Reusable straws, grew some tomatoes,
    Purple peppers, squash and cucumbers.
    Tomatoes are the only thing that has
    Produced anything as of yet. We’re
    Using olive oil and coconut oil now
    And can use them as carrier oils with
    The essential oils so they don’t burn
    Our skin. We are also trying to have smoothies
    Every morning too. Our 11 year old
    Is on supplements and in a study at
    Our university and our 14 year old is on
    ADHD Medicine, his third try. It’s been
    Such a struggle getting them diagnosed
    And then learning all of the changes
    And implementing them that I feel like my head
    Will explode. So adding in some adults
    Who can’t be bothered to learn about
    This disorder, is last on my list.
    I don’t have time to educate, then
    Re-educate them because they can’t seem
    To want to learn because then THEY
    Have to change their ways. They are
    Missing out/missed out on two awesome boys
    and I feel sad for the 4 of them People
    Make their own choices and then they
    Have to live with the consequences.
    I have zero patience for people who
    Expect everyone to change just for
    Them and then act like a victim! Your girls are
    Obviously old enough and mature enough to
    Make those connections, and as sad as it
    Is, it is what it is until they buck up
    and stop making everyone uncomfortable
    Because they don’t understand. You are so right
    About if it was a visible disability
    They would treat her differently! Maybe
    Your youngest got ADHD from one of
    them? Lol I am not special nor am I
    Boasting about anything, and I hope
    That comes across. I like Mike, like to help if
    I am able, that’s all. I believe and
    Have believed since pregnancy, that
    It takes a village to raise our babies
    And I still believe it, maybe even
    More now.

  • #125121


    as a therapist with 8 kids, some of whom have ADHD and having inattentive adhd myself, there is so much more to dealing with it than JUST parenting or medication. although parenting is especially important, just to do that is going to differ with each child. what each child needs is consistency. decide what your boundaries are and where you need to draw the line with your child, write them down and what the consequences will be and go over this with your child, in a very matter of fact way. explain that when they act a certain way, what you as a parent hear is that they really want negative consequences. There are potentially negative or positive consequences to everything and it is their choice what they receive. Make this clear. then FOLLOW THROUGH! this is the most critical point as it teaches them that others will do this as well, in job placemment and as well as with their own children, who will be your grandchildren.

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