Hurting other children

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    • #51494

      My seven year old son is very tall. Most people mistake him for a nine or ten year old. Emotionally, he’s about five. When he plays with other kids he gets so wild (even when he’s medicated) and out of control that someone always ends up getting hurt and it’s usually one of the smaller children. I don’t think he’s doing it on purpose but that doesn’t make the other parents feel any better. It’s so bad that at a boy scout event, at a park, I wouldn’t let him leave my side. I know that I’m paranoid, but getting a call from the police that another parent had filed battery charges against him really rocked my world. I’ve tried everything, neurofeedback, Himalayan salt lamps, he’s in OT, behavior therapy, speech, horseback riding and swimming. I’ve moved him to a very small private school (after the police incident) and send him for weekly tutoring. He sees a psychiatrist for ADHD meds. Both his birth parents (he’s adopted) were drug addicts, alcoholics and psychopaths. He was drug and alcohol exposed but was not diagnosed with FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome). His diagnosis is ADHD combined, ARND (Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder), SPD and anxiety. I want so desperately for him to make friends and have a happy childhood but I have no idea what to try next. I try talking about situations before they happen, I talk about consequences for poor decisions, I try to stop undesirable behaviors as they happen but when he’s acting out of control it’s like he doesn’t hear me and will pull away to continue the behavior. I threaten to take him home, if he doesn’t stop, and 99.9% of the time, I end up leaving. His current medication is Focalin XR 20 and 1 mg Tenex in the morning, a 5 mg Focalin in the afternoon, as needed, and 1/2 mg Tenex at night. When we are alone he’s a sweet, funny child. I want the rest of the world to see this side of him. Does anyone have suggestions???

      • This topic was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by celia.baiel.
    • #51496

      At his age, talking about it in advance probably isn’t going to be super effective, because he lives in the moment. What you talked about an hour ago isn’t really relevant by the time he’s acting out.

      One thing to look at is what triggers the behavior. Is he overstimulated by bigger groups? Avoid big group activities and instead have outings with one or two friends. Is he okay for the first ten minutes and then gets out of control? If so, maybe pull him out of the activity for calm-down breaks.

      Also, keep an eye out for precursors and interrupt the cycle at that point. Don’t wait for him to be so out of control that you can’t handle him, because at that point, he’s probably also too wound up to process why he’s in trouble anyway.

      You might want to do a little reading up on feed forward learning theory, which I think might be helpful.

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by anomalocaris. Reason: added a note about feed forward learnign theory
    • #51500

      I’ve never heard of “feed forward learning”, I’ll start reading up tonight. Thank you very much

    • #51503

      In case you don’t have time to track it down right sway, the basic idea is that one stimulus triggers a response which changes the environment, creating a new stimulus… creating a pattern that feeds forward. To simplify a bit… One behavior feeds forward into another. A great example that my sister uses when teaching the theory is that she goes into the small restroom near her office daily, flips on the light and goes about her business. One day, someone had left the light on. She walked into the brightly lit room and flipped the switch, turning the light off. Her previous experience had set up a pattern, so the act of walking into that room fed forward to the act of flipping the switch — even if it made no sense.

      R. Allen Gardner did the original work on the theory. That may help you track it down. If you can’t find it, let me know.

    • #51520
      Penny Williams

      @anomalocaris’s advice is right on. You have to identify the “why” behind behaviors before you can change them. He is really young to make much headway with prior conversations, but I wouldn’t stop talking about appropriate reactions and social skills. And, as you start identifying triggers, you can then start working on more appropriate reactions to those triggers (and avoid some environmental triggers, like too many kids at once…)

      Ask the OT to work on social skills with him and triggers as you identify them.

      I like the Social Stories books from Michelle Garcia Winner. Her Superflex series would be great for your son’s age.

      When “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” Doesn’t Work

      My last thought is on medication. I know many parents who have adopted kids with FASD, and a mood stabilizer seems to be necessary more often than not. That’s not to say it’s necessary for your son, but something to consider and discuss with his doctor.

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

    • #52121

      Hi, your son sounds very much like mine. Only my boy is four and looks six. Something that has helped my son tremendously is finding that he has food triggers. Corn and soy (which are in just about everything) make him extremely hyperactive and impulsive. It is a lot of work but so worth it. I used the Whole30 program (which is an elimination diet. I was already aware that corn was an issue but on the whole 30 I learned that soy also affects him. Something to think about.

    • #52134

      Celia: As s mother of an ADHD child, I feel your pain. I’m so sorry you, and your son, are having challenges. I too have a very similar situation to yours. But my child is six years old and I have two adopted six-year-olds boys. Not biologically related. My son is also aggressive but toward his brother and no one else. I have done tremendous amounts of research since his diagnosis. In addition to food sensitivities, which I noticed someone else mentioned, we’ve had a lot of success with amino acids for both behavior and sleep issues. was the resource we used. My son is sensitive to all nightshades – tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant – corn, soy, dairy, gluten (The last two are the most common.) We tested, the old-fashioned way, by illuminating the food for 10 days and then seeing how he reacted after ingesting it. In addition, he is very reactive to corn syrup, dyes and sugar. Even just the smallest amount can make him aggressive. The bad news is, it can take minutes to hours to days–to both have a reaction and get it out of his system. We’ve had to install locks on the cabinets in order to keep him from eating things he shouldn’t. But for the most part, we just don’t buy them.

      I’m happy to share more and be a sounding board for you. It would be nice to talk to someone who understands from real life experience, for me too.


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