Help – My 8 year old son is testing me!

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    • #57521

      Hi, I have an 8 year old son with an exceptionally high IQ however he displays many traits and symptoms of ADHD. After many years of alternative therapy and treatments his teachers and I have discussed taking him to. Paediatrician for a formal diagnosis. I’ve had my head in the sand for a long time, I’ve been worried about the stigma but it’s at a point where it’s affecting everybody.

      He can’t work in a group at school and asks to sit alone as his head is too busy and he can’t concentrate – his words. He is very disorganised, always loses things, get so frustared easily and flies off the handle very quickly. He can get into a rage over simple things and can trash his room and have a meltdown then 20 mins later be completely normal again.

      He is very negative, glass half full mentality, and has a very bad attitude. He doesn’t like when things don’t go his own way. He is often perceived as lazy by those around him, friends, his football coach, afterschool carer, extended family etc I am always told he has so much potential but doesn’t make any effort.

      He has two younger brothers aged 5 and 3 and often atagonises them and causes trouble with them and sets a bad example. The house is a lot calmer when he is not here.

      He also often poos in the shower and pushes it down the drain and lies about it to us, is becoming a problem. He’s nearly 9. He says that it’s because he doesn’t want to get out of the shower to use the toilet. Please help me – is this a common symptom of ADHD, I am struggling to deal with the poo issue and on top of everything else I feel like I’m drowning. I love him so much but often don’t like him.

      Where do I start?

      Thank you xxx

    • #58214

      Wow, that sounds like a bad situation! I’m very sorry to hear you are struggling with this. I have to admit that the whole situation is outside my experience, including the poo issue (!), but here are my thoughts from I and family has experienced about ADHD:
      – Many people with ADHD experience very low arousal and boredom feels truly agonizing. An adrenaline rush helps this state, so they will pick fights as a form of therapy and they perceive it as not being able to stop themselves. Does he have any hobby or activity that he enjoys doing? It may even be computer games; anything where he could build mastery is ideal. Catching him at the start of an episode and redirecting him to an activity that he enjoys may teach him to self-medicate a different way.
      – Again, many people with ADHD sometimes cannot stop doing something that they think is fun despite disapproval, especially if there are no consequences or they feel the consequences are business as usual. The consequences have to be related to the offense — do not cut computer time if they do not behave responsibly in the shower, for example. If they don’t behave responsibly during an activity, there have to be limits and close supervision during that activity. Yes, it may not be fun for all, so pick your battles wisely and address one issue at a time. One battle won will have a lot of positive impact.
      – For people with ADHD there is often very little that goes their way, often for reasons they can’t control, and it’s not because they don’t make an effort. A blow up may be the last straw of a set of difficulties. If they keep falling behind and being disapproved of, they may conclude that nothing they can do is good enough so there is no point of trying. Try to catch him doing something right, even if it’s small and should be a given for his age.
      – Look into ODD (oppositional defiant disorder). This site has a lot of resources, if you do a search. No ADHD person I’ve met is ever comfortable with authority, and taking a hard line with no explanation based on status will always result in non-cooperation. I presume ODD could be this tendency taken to the limit, and sounds like what you are describing. I do not have personal experience though.

    • #58395
      Penny Williams

      It sounds like he’s developing a negative attitude and self-image due to untreated ADHD. He’s seeing that he cannot perform like his peers and, absent of another explanation, he’s assuming that he just can’t measure up. I would pursue an evaluation and diagnosis so he can get treatment. It can make a monumental difference.

      Here’s everything you need to know for that process:

      ADHD in Children: Symptoms, Evaluations, Treatments

      And the information you need to consider treatment:

      A Parent’s Complete Guide to ADHD Medications

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

    • #58585

      Medicate. Really. The right amount quiets his brain enough to let him make better choices.

      When my kids fight, they have to run laps in the culdesac outside. If anyone is still complaining when they come in, that person has to run more laps. My most argumentative kid once lasted 45 minutes this way! (She got water, of course.) House is quiet, and by the end, the kids are quiet, too, if only because they’re too tired to pick fights. After a while, they encourage the other ones to STOP fighting instead of provoking each other.

      Pooping in the shower? Then he wouldn’t get to shower without Mom in the room for a month, and his showers would be limited to five minutes. Act like a baby, get treated like a baby.

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by gentlygenli.
      • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by gentlygenli.
    • #99973

      I know this response is a year past your original post, and I hope you have found some relief in that time. I came across this and felt compelled to respond, though. I am the mother of an 8 y/o boy with ADHD characteristics (no formal diagnosis) and a mental health therapist. I would never make a diagnosis without meeting someone and completing a comprehensive assessment, but I have to ask you: is there any chance your son could have experienced a traumatic event, any kind of abuse? You don’t have to respond in this forum, but I was immediately tuned in to the description of your son pooping in the shower. There are multiple explanations for this kind of behavior, but it is common among children who have experienced abuse. Additionally, many symptoms of post-traumatic stress mirror those of ADHD (not that it is impossible for a person to experience both). I am not writing to be alarmist, but because there you mentioned several behaviors that may be important to view through the lens of other explanations than ADHD. A good resource is the National Child Traumatic Stress Network: Best of luck to you.

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