My 7 year old son with ADHD is violent and aggressive to me. I am desperate.

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    • #92296

      My 7yo son was diagnosed with ADHD about 1 1/2 years ago. He has had his meds adjusted a few times. There was a huge improvement in his behavior last year in school. He was doing quite well.

      Recently he was been showing aggression, anger, and defiance that is out of the norm for him. I started taking him to see the counselor he had originally seen prior to the diagnosis. She suggested talking to his Dr. about the meds. That was adjusted a few weeks ago. It has not changed.

      He is very smart. He can be very sweet and polite. When he is his normal self it is a joy to be his mom. However, there have been multiple instances of him flying off the handle. For example, last night i asked him to shower. He did not want to until he had a snack. When i asked him to shower first, it led to an hour and a half of him having a rage meltdown. Screaming at me, calling me a stupid b***h. Hitting me repeatedly. All while saying if i did not let him eat first he would keep doing it.

      I did not yell back or hit. All the suggestions from his therapist and Dr. don’t seem to work. I am worried there is something else going on with him other than ADHD/Anxiety. He seems to fit the profile for ODD and maybe even some of the Bipolar tendencies. I have been googling different things. I am going to see a different Dr. to get a second opinion.

      I am a single mom. His father lives nearby. However, due to his alcoholism i am going to ask for full custody through the court system. A lot of the anger seems to be because he says he hates my house because i have rules. And his Dad lets him do whatever he wants so he hates me.

      I am at a loss. Is there something chemically unbalanced? Is this normal for a child who is angry about different rules in a divorced home? I am at a loss. And it feels like no one understands or knows what to do. Please. Any advice is truly appreciated. Thank you.

      • This topic was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by whitkit.
      • This topic was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by Penny Williams.
      • This topic was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by Penny Williams.
    • #92321
      Penny Williams

      What medications is he taking and how was it adjusted? If a new medication wasn’t tried, you still won’t know if this is a medication side effect or intolerance. My son had the same sort of behavior every time he was on a medication that just wasn’t right for him.

      There are two types of stimulants: amphetamine (Adderall, Vyvanse, Evekeo…) and methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, Quillivant…). Almost everyone does well on one type or the other, but not both. It could be that he needs to try the other type, if you haven’t already.

      A Patient’s Primer on the Stimulant Medications Used to Treat ADHD

      I HIGHLY recommend reading Ross Greene’s books “The Explosive Child” or “Raising Human Beings.” He explains why these types of behaviors occur, helps you determine triggers and lagging skills behind these behaviors, then offers a plan forward to reduce the behaviors and manage them.

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

      Punishment doesn’t work — understanding your child’s brain and offering empathy and compassion are far, FAR more effective.

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

      • #98133

        You’ve answeed your own question.
        It’s not meds.
        It is divorce and inconsistent behaviour between you aand ex.
        You have a highly sensitive son who has intense emotions.
        He is mirrorring you and ex invisible and visible dynamics.
        Good luck and all best wishes with you and your ex’s human revolution.

    • #92374

      My 8 year old son has exhibited the same type of off the handle behavior with his mom over the last 4+ years, as well as at school. He was even Baker acted by the school at a very young age, which was completely improper with a child with known, diagnosed and documented ADHD condition. They then removed him from his school and forced him into a Tier2 behavioral environment at a new school, which has not gone well. He is so incredibly intelligent and can be so wonderful to be around the majority of the time. I get praise from other parents when he is with me about how well behaved and well mannered he is with them and their children, even in their homes. But to hear of him and these fits of rage is un-nerving. He has exhibited some defiant behavior with me over the last 4+ years, mostly when going to bed, but maybe 3 or 4 times, and not for at least a year or more. I am worried the meds his mom and pediatrician have him on are wrong. Its been so long since he has seen a child psychiatrist because there are none here that will take her insurance. But with the statement “Almost everyone does well on one type or the other, but not both” gives me great concern because he is on methylphenadate and Guanfacine, along with Fluoxetine. I personally would love to see him off all of the meds entirely, (for many reasons) as he has been on them since 3 or 4yrs old and I’ve never seen him off them, (other than when he wasn’t given his meds) but thats a process in of itself and cannot be cold turkey. But we need to find help for him, because what the school is doing to him (not honoring or following IEP) and what appears to be improper medications is only going to get worse, and its spiraling out of control and it kills me because I see the greatness in him…….

      • #92381
        Penny Williams

        You should read Ross Greene’s book, “Lost at School” — while it’s written mostly with teens in mind, it is 100% applicable to your experience (and ours too when I read this book and my son was in elementary).

        The misunderstanding and, therefore, mistreatment of our kids by the schools is what causes this escalated and severe behavior. “Kids do well IF they can.” The stress of school is likely causing a great deal of what you’re seeing.

        I also agree with you that it’s time to explore medication changes, especially if he was not volatile before one or all of these medications. SSRI’s (Fluoxetine) can make some kids aggressive and angry, especially kids who are super sensitive.

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

    • #92461

      I can’t offer much advice on what to do. Our 7 year old son was very often violent from a young age and abusive. Saying and doing things that hurt our feelings leaving us feeling desperately sad. On top of everything else over the years it takes it’s toll.

      With my son, at some point, I just realised he needed to get it out, so I would let him do his worst while focusing my attention on managing my own feelings while it was happening. Yes it is upsetting and very embarrassing when it happens in public. Over time it has happened less and less.

    • #92462

      In addition to my previous reply above I want to add. When I let my son ‘do his worst’ I would lean forward as if I was bowing. This would make it harder for him to kick me or hurt my groin and area. Then I would tuck my chin in making it harder for him to eye gouge or scratch my face. Then I would hold out my arms in front of me, this would give him something to focus on – my arms. All the while I would be saying softly ‘it’s ok. You’re upset and angry, I can see that. You let it out. Let it all out. It’s okay. Let it out’ until he stopped.

      Yes it would hurt, yes he would draw blood, and yes it was upsetting. But I found it would end sooner and not esculate.

    • #92564

      I know how you feel. I feel the same way with my son. He is 6 and has been diagnosed with intermittent explosive disorder and disruptive mood dysregulation disorder in addition to having ADHD. He is currently taking risperidone to help stabilize his moods. He is the worst from 4-8pm. I like to call it the witching hours. They are hell on earth. I am currently looking into seeking weekly therapy/counseling sessions for him. I will be following this thread as well to keep up with any tips.

    • #98064

      I totally understand how you all feel,
      My 6 year old boy has aggressive tendencies, that feel like a volcano, appear from nowhere and just explode.
      He has not been diagnosed but he terrifies me often.
      He is very defiant and aggressive mainly towards me and his little sister (5yo).
      He hits me and calls me names such as stupid, smelly , fat…all sorts,
      When I try to comfort him I just say, I see how you feel, I’m here for you, you just feel you want to hurt me, it’s ok!
      He gets even more violent, kicking punching, threatening me to punch me in the face and he is reply is…but I want to hurt you.
      I feel a complete failure, it’s not a bad kid , as when he is calm he apologises and tells me what he did wrong…tells me he loves me etc.
      I love him to bits but at the heat of the moment I can’t control him , it seems like he needs to explore…with tears, shouting, hitting in order to regulate himself.
      Any advice please? Thank uou

    • #98065
      Juliana C


      I’m ADHD-diagnosed and, during my youth, exhibited extremely violent behavior, often for no reason. I was kind of a hellion.

      In my experience, such meltdowns are the result of a specific instance, most often a request. It doesn’t matter how politely phrased it is, it’s the fact that it’s a request and communication. He’s not doing it deliberately, he’s completely out of control of his emotions in that moment.

      What you’re looking for seems to be a way of quelling the outbursts while ensuring that he follows directions, right? That’s hard. It isn’t a choice to continue acting out once you’ve started. In that moment, I’d say that what he really wants is to be left alone. Trying to calm him down or talking to him is probably making it worse. You’re the source of distress in that moment, not comfort. Hunger often makes it worse, which is likely why the shower order made him fly off the handle.

      With regards to public incidents, it’s important to remember that he’s embarrassed by them too. Like I said earlier, he probably wants to be alone, even if he follows you if you try to leave the confrontation. Children are powerless when it comes to parental orders and in truth have little expectation or right to privacy. If you enter his room uninvited, he probably feels defensive and invaded.

      Really, the key to these episodes is that compromise is important. The best way to handle an episode in progress is to leave him alone and let him calm down on his own- don’t talk to him, don’t try to tell him he’s being irrational, and especially don’t reach out to touch him. He doesn’t want it.

      I’m not trying to say to let him walk all over you, especially when you’re trying to assert hard-and-fast boundaries, but commands that are absolute and make no sense to him are going to upset him.

      That’s my advice. Sorry for how long the post is and how the advice may seem to fly in the face of what you’ve been told or how you feel, instinctively, that you should handle it. Good luck and I hope this helps.

      • #98067

        Hi Juliana,

        Don’t worry about the long post, it’s so on point… with my 6 yo, hunger plays such an important role towards his behaviour, he often says to me to leave him alone, don’t want to see you… I should follow your advice and give him space but I don’t know when in public.
        Also, as you said … feeling embarrassed triggers his emotional explosion , in your experience what is the next step besides giving him space to calm down by himself?
        And why is he targeting only me and he is good with daddy? Sorry to ask so many questions, I would like to fix my relationship with him and not make things worse.
        Thank you,xx

      • #98093
        Juliana C

        It’s fine to ask questions! I just went to my mother and asked her what sort of th Nos she did to cope, haha, and she said that giving choices when she needed me to do something was the way to go. Even one, simple, not-so-different choice really helps because it gives a kid a feeling of agency.

        As for in public, meltdowns there are often hard to deal with. I believe my mother would guide me to a quieter place to wait me out.

        Why he’s better wth his father could be attributed to a lot of things. It’s really hard for kids to switch between households, particularly if the rules are different between one and another. My agoraphobic ADHD cousin had a very lax, pushover father and a mother made of sterner stuff, and he struggled so badly wth how that affected his mental health that he dropped out of high school. Obviously, your kid’s situation isn’t the same, but I’d say that it’s due to a grass-is-greener sort of situation- when he’s with his father, he doesn’t experience the same experiences which push his buttons. He probably appreciates the structure you give his life, or will grow to do so as he gets older, but when he’s angry he probably only thinks “this wouldn’t happen if I were with dad”, whether or not that’s true. As long as he’s jumping between households that’ll be true. Once my cousin stopped going to his father’s house, his behavior and mental health improved significantly. It wasn’t a miracle cure, but he’s now on track to graduate college and considering grad school. Attaining full custody of your son, like you’re trying to do, will probably result in quite a few battles initially, but he’ll settle down over time.

        Getting him to calm down quickly is hard. After giving him time alone, I’d recommend approaching him carefully- if he shuts himself in a room, for example, knock and wait outside, staying there during the conversation. Don’t try talking to him about his behavior immediately; he knows what he did, and now that he’s calm he probably feels awful about it. If he’s still upset, ask him to articulate how he’s feeling and why he’s upset. Change the wording of your request, or change some of the conditions, and offer compromise, while giving a reason for why you want what you want. If he feels like you’re being unfair for no reason or like he’s been wronged, the anger is only going to come back. He’s not always going to be reasonable about it, so sometimes you’re just going to have to stand there and keep pushing until he gives in.

        Really though, don’t allow him to be violent. If he’s left a visible mark, later in conversation you can point out “You really hurt me.” Letting him act out his anger on you might later encourage him to be violent with others, which won’t help with school.

        I forgot to mention this earlier, but really push with his teachers and academics. If he’s in an uncomfortable environment at school and feels restrained there, he’ll take it out on the next available target.

        As a final note, something to say about medications is that while they help with symptoms, they don’t ‘cure’ behavior but simply make it easier to ignore or shrug off symptoms.

        Again, good luck, and feel free to ask any more questions if you need to.

    • #98072

      Hi, I’m new here and this is my first reply!
      My son is 7 is Autistic,has anxiety disorder and is and ADHD he has had explosive moments also.
      He has also been quick to anger, physically hitting,
      Name calling etc.
      I am also a single Muma.
      Firstly, separation of a family unit makes all kids have behavioral struggles as they try and process it all and the big emotions. If you can, get a psychologist involved….one that understands/ works
      With children with ADHD. Secondly, if there are
      Some additional challenges, like Dad has drug or alcohol issues, there is an extra layer right there!
      If Dad isn’t a great role model or has his own behavior issues, your son will be picking up on those. My son also has rules that are different at my house, which causes meltdowns and struggles.
      Eg. Swearing is ok at Dad’s…NOT ok at Mum’s!
      The list is huge! Anyway, sitting down and telling my son I get how hard it is going between houses, the rule changes etc etc , really helped. Telling him it is tough, but there will be different rules, and my expectations around the rules helped. Listening to his upsets at it all helped a lot also, and like someone else said…compromise is huge!
      Pick your battles as they say! Eg. If your son needs a shower, but wants to eat first, no big deal really which order it’s done in….so long as BOTH get done.
      Doing this means he gets his needs met,feels valued, and no meltdowns. I don’t compromise on all things Eg. Personal safety, manners, violence etc, but the little stuff….no problem to be flexible.
      Doing a Martial Art has been great for my son…learning about self control, discipline, self respect, community spirit, belonging etc has been great….plus we have great instructors make and female, who are great role models, and my son wants to do well. Great for energy release, and freeing up stores anger. I absolutely do NOT allow hitting me as a way to get anger out as someone suggested…even hitting arms. Violence is never ok.
      My son has been told by me it’s ok to be angry, it’s not ok to hit. So when he is very angry, we have a punching bag, pillows,trampoline and the like. I have said I will accept some raised voices(we all do it from time to time!) but will not accept abusive words towards me….I have explained that I do not accept that from ANYONE, and I expect that he will not accept anyone behaving like that towards him either. Respect runs both ways…child or adult.
      I do not try and comfort my son when he’s upset or touch him. I ask if he wants a cuddle when he’s calm, or if he wants me to leave him alone(often in the same room, just not close by). I never discuss anything in the moment of rage, always much later. I never shame him for rages, just talk them through afterwards. I see a Psychologist for my own feelings and struggles so my own stuff is delt with! Part of the struggle is controlling old patterns of expected behaviour from kids….times have changed….we still need rules, expect good behaviour, but I believe when we include them in choices or decisions it engages them more….if you think about what you would want or expect in the same situation….you usually strike a cord with your chikd’s needs. I hope this long post helps. Remember….we are all doing the best we can in the moment….and mostly….behaviour is communication(what it is communicating is your quest😊). All the best.

    • #98075

      When my DS acts this way, it is always (ALWAYS) due to high uncontrolled anxiety. Getting the anxiety under control by temporarily dropping some expectations temporarily, giving her more control of her life, and increasing sleep, exercise, protein, etc, usually gets those symptoms under control. You probably want to take a look at the meds. Stimulants can cause anxiety also.

    • #98076

      I’m fairly certain he has something in addition to adhd. I was never diagnosed as a kid and while I did have episodes generally with adhd the anger comes and goes quickly. I generally would stop within 15 min unless ruled up again. One thing that greatly helped me was getting some of the aggressive energy out with exercise, then a warm bath and I could focus better and wouldn’t have outbursts as frequently or badly.

    • #98080

      Our 14-year-old son with ADHD had the worst meltdowns when he was hungry. They still happen, but not as often. The Vyvanse/clonidine combination he takes does really help his concentration, but I think the Vyvanse suppresses his appetite. Even a small disappointment or something else can set him off, and then he gets stuck in a feedback loop of anger, screaming, kind of a temporary insanity. If we can get him to eat or drink something to get his blood sugar up a little, it’s almost like magic. Poof! The tantrum melts away. Nutrition be damned, it’s all about getting him to eat something (anything).

      The trick is that while he’s in the middle of the tantrum he won’t or can’t listen to reason, so saying things like “look, you’re hungry and it’s messing with your mind and emotions, eat this and you’ll feel better” doesn’t work. It has to be something he really loves, and he has to come to it and eat it on his own terms.

      The other thing that comes to mind is that some years ago, he was taking Zyrtec for allergies. That stuff made him NUTS (rages, tantrums, screaming, you name it). We didn’t make the connection until his aunt mentioned in passing that she had to stop taking Zyrtec herself because it made her feel angry and strange and emotional. Since then some other parents we’ve talked to have said Singulair was making their kids into demons. Anyway, after a week of withdrawal (terrible itching mostly) the rage episodes disappeared.

      Hope you and your kiddo get some relief soon.

    • #98086

      My son is now 10 and he had rage from 7-9.5! We are Hispanic and we don’t use medications to deal with our emotions. We like to let it out. My mother used to say “bota lo malo” which means “get rid of the evil.” So my 10 year old was diagnosed ADHD after age 6 when I couldn’t homeschool him and kindergarten couldn’t teach him to read. His anger and frustrations grew each year after I put him into public schools again and let the IEP team take over. At grade 4 I discovered once again that teachers are not trained to deal with mental health. I used what I learned from obtaining my CDA (child development associates) to help my son. And that was always having an open ear, an open mind, and an open schedule for him to find his happy place. My son just wanted to be treated with respect and dignity. He highly appreciates routine and rules! Today he’s still homeschooled and he controls his anger himself and sometimes with reminders. We don’t use medications. We do still yell a little. But he trusts me. He talks to me when he’s calm. He knows his limits better. And he knows when someone is not being genuine. He values authentic behavior. Teachers were forcing him to follow the crowd. And he needed to do work at his own pace. We found that his anger came from lack of being heard. And today SSA finds him having autistic behaviors. Obviously extremely high on the spectrum but he’s a normal kid, socially delayed, but normal for any child born from alcoholism. You can email me anytime with questions. My son has helped me grow like I would have never imagined. He’s my life’s purpose.

    • #98089

      It could be that they blew past the therapeutic dose and the medications are creating the equivalent of road rage.

      My son found that with 18 mg of Concerta or 30 mg Vyance he would hit stages of uncontrollable anger very similar to what road rage is described as .

    • #98118

      My (9 year old) son found Super Nanny on YouTube. We viewed some of the clips together and talked about them. He began to see the parent’s side of the story and feel like that was not the kid he wanted to be. For what it’s worth I just wanted to share.

      • This reply was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by rbs.
    • #98124

      I hesitate to offer any “answers” here but just share experience. I have adhd myself but being female never raged. BUT I have been looking after kids with adhd and asd for a few years now as a carer. In several cases (7 to be precise) he kids are all 6-14 years old and I am often tasked with tasks which their parents said they find stressful. I didn’t know what stressful meant, as I have never had any trouble – all the kids do everything I ask with not a hint of protest. It’s only been a few times when I’ve happened to turn up early that I hear these horrifying tantrums…and get what they mean by “stressful”.I’ve since spoken to all the parents and this is what these kids all do *all the time* with their parents. Horrors!

      I have no idea why they are different with me. Whether I’m a novelty (although after a few days a week for 4+ years I’m hardly a novelty). Whether it has to do with some kid-parent battleground. But medications are the same…diet etc are the same. The “magic . powers”which their parents think I have come down to at a wild guess…I have adhd myself so my personality is very empathetic and playful. I empathise with them a lot about how unfair everything is and listen to them offload about their teachers, parents yelling and being hypocritical and unfair. I praise them a lot for every little thing they do – gush over them about how grown up and mature they are being. I am very huggy. Kids like that (or this. me) have low dopamine levels and go through life being criticised for everything. So thanking them and praising them gives them little dopamine shots in their struggling brains constantly.

      Oh and I ‘bribe’ them with something fun after they manage to do everything they find unbearable. A story, a cartoon, a huge hug, a walk outside.

      What the kids tell ME when I ask them why they raise hell with their parents is they are frustrated as their parents aren’t listening, they feel they are a constant disappointment and after a day/week at school where everyone seems exasperated, they say become overwhelmed and scared by their parent *again* being upset with them.

      I don’t know if any of these insights are of use…but maybe??hope so!

      Cheers, Max

    • #98129

      Now hold on just a second here…why are you operating under the assumption that these episodes are the result of his ADHD diagnosis? Haven’t you already had him evaluated? And hasn’t his medication been adjusted several times now? I’m going to give you another avenue of thought–one that I already know is not going to sit very well with you, but one that I would sincerely ask you to consider.

      A. Your son may, indeed, have ADHD. NOW…where, oh where, is it written that having ADHD gives you a pass to hit your mother and call her filthy names? Where is it written that he doesn’t have to mind, and that he gets to have melt-downs and throw hissy fits with impunity? Think of other adult authority figures in his life–people with whom he has a vested interest in staying in their good graces–does he treat his Little League coach like that? How about his Sunday School teacher? Somehow I doubt it. Having ADHD may, indeed, make it a little harder for the boy to remember whom he is talking to and filter his responses–but that means he needs to learn to be especially careful and needs MORE structure and accountability, not less. And the LAST thing he needs is someone telling him he has some disorder, blaming it on the meds, and giving him an excuse to act up.

      B. You stated that your son continued this tirade for AN HOUR AND A HALF–and that he let you know that it would continue until he got his way. Let’s be reasonable here: flashes of anger do not last for an hour and a half. And if he had the presence of mind to let you know that he would continue this garbage until you gave in, then he most definitely did NOT do this because his medicine needs adjusted–he did this because he believed it would work. At this point, his medicine does not need to be adjusted; it’s his entire child-to-parent paradigm that needs to be adjusted. This behavior is a choice on his part, and you need to treat it as a choice.

      C. You let us know that you “did not yell back or hit”. Okay…so what consequences DID you provide? Did you provide any at all? Because ADHD or no ADHD, when he pulls stunts like this, you need to be making him one sorry little boy. This is outrageous…you SHOULD BE outraged–and he ought to KNOW you’re outraged! At the bare minimum, he ought to be grounded to his room and lose his electronics privileges for a lengthy period of time–and really, I’m being generous. I’m not sure you are really grasping just how outrageous this whole thing is.

      Please…for the sake of this little boy who, God willing, is going to group up to be a teenager (for you to raise), a young man (who will need to make a living, marry a nice girl, and raise a family), and become a full-fledged adult, lower the proverbial boom on this, NOW. Don’t wait for things to get worse–if he is hitting you, cussing at you, throwing baby tantrums at seven years of age, and threatening to keep it up till he gets what he wants, then things are already terrible and you should not be living this way or putting up with it. I think your boy needs to see a whole new side of his mother…one he possibly never knew existed.

    • #98131

      New here. My son’s behavior radically changed about a year ago. Long story short, he got diagnosed with ODD. The thing is with ODD, a strict environment is what they need. However if you throw in anxiety, ADHD and executive functioning issues, stricter envioronments aren’t going to work. These kids literally don’t know how to handle their frustration and are missing the life skills to learn as typical kids do. Many of these kids are medicated and treated for (we are too just not for the ODD) for DMDD, bipolar and even autism! It’s awful when you are dealing with a child that angry and sometimes violent! Research ODD as it pertains to kids with ADHD. I’m in a terrific support group (online) that helps

      • #99354

        @ Lisa S 777. can you please give me the name of the ODD group.

        I have a 10 yo son diagnosed at 5 with ADHD with impulsivity ..that has slowly graduated to ODD which I have noticed is getting worse due to electronics…I took them away for awhile ..and slowly introduced them back in but I have noticed when I try to take them away when’s time is up even though we have discussed time on and when he has to get off it is major explosion…I never have had an episode with him in public or when he is with friends just usually at home with me …He has a difficult time in school even with his IEP..and recently a harder time going to sleep ..His explosions are getting more and more violent and I have to hold him down or his hands and legs just so he doesn’t hurt himself..I could use any direction towards help with the ODD…sleep issues or the explosions …

    • #98121

      I suggest starting with the Empowering Parents Guide to Consequences. Our eight-year-old had horrible episodes at school and we finally came across this program to help with the outbursts. I also suggest talking to your pediatrician or psychiatrist to get a prescription of Sertraline, Ritalin and/or Guanfacine to help regulate his outbursts. Our child returned to being the sweet wonderful girl we knew before the ADD kicked in.

    • #98087

      This is very likely DMDD. My child has this disorder. They are not psychotic but in their rages they have an “emotional seizure,” a total redline of their emotional regulation abilities and they revert to primal fight or flight. They are not logical during this time and cannot be coaxed out of the rage, it just needs to unwind by itself. Do not touch them, only look at them or speak to them in a quiet and calm voice if you have to. You may notice that your child is sorry afterwards and may even have diminished memory of the event. Take a look at this for more info about the disorder and feel free to message me with any questions.

    • #98160
      Penny Williams

      Another possibility is co-existing autism. For years after the ADHD diagnosis and decent medication help, counselors and behavioral MD kept suggesting a mood disorder was also at play. I just didn’t see it. Outbursts were situational, not consistent. Finally, at age 10, we started seeing some possible symptoms of autism and he was diagnosed with that in addition to ADHD at age 12. The autism traits explained the outbursts (and other things) completely.

      Is My Child with ADHD on the Autism Spectrum?

      [Self-Test] Is My Child on the Autism Spectrum?

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

    • #98168

      I had the same problem with my son. I took him to a therapist that ordered a blood test of his copper/zinc levels. He was too high in copper and too low in zinc. Now that I supplement his zinc, he doesn’t punch holes in the wall and is back to his sweet self. You might want to look into testing of his levels. Good book to reference is “Nutrient Power”. I can’t remember the author’s name right now, sorry. Good luck with everything, Kim

    • #98169

      My grandson is also showing signs of aggression over the last few months. I have found that:
      1. When kids feels out of control, they act out and look for someone to provide the consistency and boundaries he needs. He is also struggling with three different homes, mine, my daughter’s and his dad’s.
      2. By setting clear rules, he or she will understand what is expect of them and if they push the rules, they need quick reminders of what the rules are.
      3. Give him choice so he can feel he has some control over his life. Maybe a better approach would be, “would you like your snack first or a shower?”
      4. Counseling is a good idea since there is inconsistency in parenting. Through therapy he can work on his feelings and understand why he is so explosive.
      5. School is just getting back in session so maybe now would be a good time to talk to his teacher to see if there is any concerns at school.
      6. Jumping to the conclusion he is ODD and medication would not be my first choice. Looking at the medication he is on and possibly adjusting or finding another stimulate may be a better choice right now. Don’t do too much changing until you know exactly what is going on.
      7. Have some fun with him. Laugh and be playful.

    • #98304

      Hi, I feel your frustration. I am not a parent, just aa 30 years old lady with adult adhd. I grew up with aadhd tho back then there was no such thing.

      I was a quite but smart kid with anger inside. I was afraid that it would just come out without warnings. I always wished I could do martial arts cuz it let you run, scream, hit and let the anger out properly. My mom did not let me cuz I am a girl and martial arts was not for girls she thought.

      I think you can bring him martial arts class and learn how to let things out and how to control the emotions. Hope that it helps.

    • #98324

      I noticed a difference in my son’s behavior when I changed his medication. Sometimes it’s not easy knowing when the 14 tear boy kicks in or when the medication is letting you down, but I made the change from Concerta to Ritalin. I tried him on Concerta in two separate times (under psychiatric approval) due to trying to keep costs down (single mum whose medical aid doesn’t cover adhd meds). But on Concerta, my son is belligerent, confrontational and hard to be with. He constantly challenged me. I was reluctant with Ritalin because of the stories I had heard about children becoming withdrawn and introspective, but it hasn’t happened with my son. When he has his morning tab (40). He is a different person. I can actually have a conversation with him and it’s a joy! We breathe easier in the home. So all that to say, is that found changing meds played a factor in my son’s behavior and his own outlook towards family and school, etc.

    • #98384

      one thing I didn’t mention in my post a few days back is that is all the homes I go into (hundreds) the ones where the ASD and/or ADHD kids are raging,tantruming etc – where medication/diet changes haven’t just occurred,in every case there is some heightened tension in the house,or disruption which the kids is reacting to. The parents are so focussed on what they are doing for the kid, what they are saying to the kid…but nowhere is it acknowledged the environment which is surrounding the kid.Often the parents are fighting which each other,or another sibling,or a neighbour or relative or friend (and insist the kid isn’t absorbing the tension like a sponge).In some cases the parents have some form of autism themselves and clash terribly with the adhd kid. I get given lists and explanations about what is wright what is wrong, what they are doing,sacrificing for the kid…when it is plain the kid just needs a hug.

      But also under no circumstances do I ever allow bad behaviour. If that child screams at their parent but not at some stranger at the shops…then they know the difference and are choosing the behaviour. There is some 40-years expert on autism – he has kids and grandkids and is some university expert…he says unless there is intellectual impairment, the only difference between a normal child and an ASD child is 10 seconds-10 mins.Processing delay.So you have to calmly gently explain steps to them to make up for executive dysfunction. But they know and understand everything else fine. they will never have friends or a life independent of you if they are appallingly behaved.

      So when a scream starts I hug them,remind them gently that I know they are frustrated but they can do this and we’ll do it together.And over several hours a week over many years none of them have ever tantrumed for me,ever!

    • #99002

      First off, I’m sorry for all you are going through. A divorce alone is difficult. Compounded with alcoholism and an extremely upset child, I can imagine that you must be exhausted. I have been through much of what you have. Here are some of my thoughts based on my experiences. Hopefully at least one thing will seem like it applies to you. Grab it & throw out the rest.

      If your gut is telling you something is still not right with his diagnosis, his medication, etc – keep digging. Your instinct is rarely wrong. Since ADHD often co-exists with other disorders, it is possible your son has not yet received an accurate diagnosis. 7 years old is really young, and a lot of behaviors might not manifest themselves fully until he gets older.

      You’ll often get bits and pieces of information from doctors/teachers that don’t seem right at the time. Later, you might realize they are a piece of the puzzle. Sometimes it’s because you’re just not ready to accept it. We are now seven years into this, and we’re possibly coming full circle back to a mood disorder. Even knowing that this might have been the case years ago, I don’t know that I would have been comfortable with a bi-polar diagnosis at 7. Medication is a big deal and we are always trying the balance the fact his brain is still developing – with the possibility that it might need medication to develop properly. As a doctor friend told us – you won’t know unless you try.

      The divorce alone could be the thing triggering your sons’ outbursts. Check to see if there are some Parenting After Divorce classes you and your ex can take. Do not underestimate the importance of developing a low conflict post divorce relationship. It will be one of the hardest challenges you face, but it is usually in the best interest of your child to have access to both parents. I have no doubt that your ex has created problems for a long time, but remember that your son is half of each of you. As well, it’s hard on kids to have 2 different sets of houses & rules. Maybe if your ex hears it from somewhere else; he might be willing to reach a compromise to make the transitions easier for your son. It’s also possible your ex doesn’t have any rules because he’s feeling guilty about the effect his alcoholism had on your son. Here are some links: (for divorcing parents) or for never married parents).

      If you haven’t found a medical professional that you really feel confident in – keep looking. If you don’t see progress being made within a reasonable time period – leave. So much about therapy is having the right fit, and money doesn’t always buy this. Once your son finds this person, you will see results.

      Check to see if your school district has any collaborative programs with a local hospital. They are often hidden in plain sight. None of the school administration told me about ours because they didn’t know themselves. Look through the school district online page for ‘school based clinics.’ They often advertise themselves as places to go for immunizations & physicals – but they usually do so much more. Ours does not charge us. If you have insurance/medicaid, they will bill them, but if it’s not covered, they absorb the cost. If your district doesn’t have these, check others nearby and at least use them as a resource for possible medical professionals. Ours has been a godsend.

      Remember that parenting is a process. Parenting a child with a learning difference or mental health issue is even more of a process. Kids evolve and so do their needs. Accept that you are doing the best you can do right now. Later, you may find something different that leads you down another path. That is the process of parenthood. Keep reaching out to others for help, but be discerning of what you are presented with.

      Good luck to you and your son!

    • #99200

      Daniel Amen has written a number of books about ADD, and has identified multiple different types involving multiple areas of the brain. One specific type he identified is an ADD/ADHD involving rage, and how medications targeted towards “classic” ADD/ADHD can be really counterproductive. I don’t have the book in front of me. 🙁 It MIGHT be “Healing A.D.D.” His books are easy reads, and sometimes available in my local library system. I hope this is helpful! Kids can be really difficult, and I know you are frustrated (He is too!) and doing your best. Hang in there!

      Kara Rogers, LPC

    • #99340
      Jessica Paret

      My 7 year old had the same issues – major meltdowns, rages, anger, constant irritability and unhappiness. It was nonstop once school ended and he was acting out in ridiculously unacceptable ways. We went to see the psychologist that diagnosed his ADHD and she immediately referred us to someone who works with kids with mood and anxiety disorders as she knew it was not just ADHD. Our son was diagnosed with DMDD and they recommended Abilify to help with the anxiety and mood regulation. (Seeing the behavior as a result of anxiety is a whole new lens and it makes so much more sense now) The abilify has been a lifesaver and now we can actually work with our son on behaviors and helping him learn how to regulate whereas prior to the meds, he was so wrapped up in his anxiety, anger and irritation we couldn’t reach him. I was so appreciative of the explanation that the mood dysregulation manifests as behavioral problems and finally having someone validate us as parents that we have a behavior problem but not a discipline problem. The abilify was not an easy decision but we were desperate and it has made all the difference in the world. Good luck.

    • #99392

      Hi I am new here. My almost 8 year old daughter was diagnosed with ADHD just at a year ago. She was firs put on Methylphenodate liquid, as she could not swallow pills. The first couple months, roughly were like a light switch! She was sooo much better. Even her angry outbursts lasted less than 1/4 of the time they used to and they happened a lot less. But gradually her meds started to not work like they used to. And we started having a rebound effect that was almost unbearable. She she learned to swallow pills and was switched to Strattera, as her half brother was successfully on it for 10+ years. It made her worse. SHe was getting in trouble in school even. So after a month of trying that her Dr. took her off and tried her on Concerta. But because she has SUCH a high metabolism it did nothing after an hour or so. So he swiched her back to Methylphenodate and upped the dose. She seemed to improve, at least in the behavior area, and in the mornings at school as well. We opted to do the Genesight test in the meantime. THe results showed a moderate drug interaction with the Methylphenodate, she he changed her to Vyvanse. This was just a week ago, tomorrow. But the first day we noticed that she was VERY irritable and angry. She would scream kick, hit us, hit herself, cry, etc. at the drop of a hat. Way worse than on the Methyl. But she said she notices she can focus more in class. And at home she has wanted to read a lot and work on her learning game that they do in school. When we went shopping over the weekend, she still seemed pretty hyper and impulsive to me though. I was really hoping that spending the $ on the Genesight test would be fruitful and we would find that “Aha Med”. But it is not looking that way at least yet. I am thinking she may need a combination of meds?? THoughts?? My other concern is that she is almost 50 inches tall but only weighs 42 lbs, and this med make her eat VERY VERY little. We are talking maybe 2 bites of her lunch, a few bites of cereal in the morning and only a bit of her dinner at night. And less snacks as well. Thanks in advance for your help and advise!

    • #102887

      I was reading about your concern and i totally understand you.
      But to answer you and share my experience on the exact same problem this is going to be a long response. But I try to give you the most important stuff. In my family, almost everybody has Adhd. My wife has Adhd, My son was born with Adhd. Attention deficit, And hyper Activity. My two daughters have attention deficits. But it is by far worst for my son which is 11 now and within the last 2 years, My son shows exactly the same symptoms as your son.
      our psychiatrist(Here in Iceland we must see a child psychiatrist first which then refer us to a doctor who is a specialist within this field)He concluded, after a 2-hour strict test that my son also has Emotional disturbance disorder (I think that is the right pronouncement). and this can only be treated with medicine. He is now on(i don’t know if it,s the same medical name in your country ) Sertral. Medicinet CR and Rison. And He is like a new kid. Some type of medication he was on slowed down his appetite so when they ran off, usually late evening he was unstoppable. His head was constantly in the fridge, eating everything, And I must say, he out eat me and I am a grown man. That changed when he got a different type of medication, Buth there are children that need medication to get the appetite up because it’s to soon to change medication.
      When he wakes up in the morning he is calm for the first 10 min but then the Adhd take complete control and he is all over the place, screaming and shouting. BUT as soon as the 3 tablets kick in he is a completely different person. He always takes a deep breath and says “now I feel so much better” and he is off to school, Don’t get me wrong he still has bad days.
      But, one thing is very important you absolutely must implement. That is a strict schedule. That he does the same thing every day, at nearly the same time(That’s the difficult one).because children with Adhd need a tight schedule, if not they get “lost” and then confused and angry.Especially when they have this type of deficiencies.
      So my son starts and ends his day in the same way as every other day all year around. In the weekends he gets to stay up a little longer but except for no homework, everything else is the same. If he is behaving badly we use a proven tactic that is called “time out”.we put him in his room, take a cheer with us and sit in front of the door(My son is 11 and it is 1 min for every year)for 11 min and totally ignore him,he scream and curse to get my attention but he is totally ignored during 11 min. When ending I ask if he is ready to come out and behave well. he always says yes and no more talk about it. If he starts again it’s back in and starts over, and he knows it. But seriously it works. in 11 min he has lost a lot of bad energy and he is relaxed and he also has had the time to reflect over his behavior and he always apologize to either us or his sisters.
      Computer games are strictly limited. Children with these Deficiencies only get worse if they have been a long time playing. My son has PlayStation 4 and Fortnight and other violent games are completely forbidden. My son is far more angrier and stressed after playing these games. and I hear from other parents that have “normal”(what is normal today)children that even they are far more angrier and stressed after playing these games,but for a child with ADHD its much worse, For them, it’s like getting drugs.
      My son loves Lego and he uses my phone to watch Lego building on youtube. BUT only 30 min. That’s it. If he refuses to stop we tell him that he only gets 20 min tomorrow is he doesn’t listen, and the phone is off and returned. The thing is, the more calm you are the more they listen because as soon as you lose your temper or start to scream you but “more gasoline on the fire”.They get even more out of control. It’s difficult, I know, we are only humans and we sometimes lose it. but 19 out of 20 times I stay calm.on the 20th time, when I feel the anger come I walk away, take a deep breath and calm down. When I return, he is calm too and we get the work done.
      Another thing is that most Adhd children are very competitive. sometimes I or my wife use that to get him dressed.”I bet I am done dressing before you, No way, You want to bet??” and he always wins. and the smile on his face, Priceless and the day saved. If he wants cookies before showering, My son like to start with 2-3 pcs, so we try different things to get him to shower first but here is one: Ok, why don’t you shower first and I’ll give you 3-4 pcs when you are done. a short break to let him think and then. If not you only get two. This always work for my son: We don’t normally have cookies in the house because it is without strict supervision it’s gone within 10 min. Another thing to remember, try to use short sentences when you talk to your son. Long sentences do not work, for example, ”go to your Room and put all your toys in its place and make your bed”.THAT do not work.
      The only thing he gets is Room and toys and he thinks you tell him to play. I only say.”Your room, take your toys away, now” and when he is finished and before he leaves the room “and make your bed, now”. This short sentence sounds hard, like its Military but it’s a necessary evil and it goes in. He listens and when he is finished, we always give him credit, lift him up and praise him because children with Adhd have very low self-esteem and need constant approval.
      I would love to chat more with you and anybody else about ADHD and problems you are facing. I would love to shear and help what I have learned after 11 years of constantly working with my son and Adhd. If you or anybody like to contact please don’t hesitate to send a mail to

      • #102911


        Greetings to you all my fellow parents i have been going through your comments here and i must say it is pity that our children are going through all this i must say its very disturbing as a parent my 13 years old son has been diagnosed of ADHD a few years ago he was very aggressive most especially in school always put up a fight with fellow students and lack of concentration is class lost of appetite at times he even cries when his friends in school tell him he is not nice it will take me to convince him he is a good guy. I took him to several hospitals put him on different kinds of medications and therapy but wasn’t positive till i found out CBD OIL which worked perfectly well with zero effect i wasn’t convinced until i tried it out

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