The meds are working at school, but home is difficult

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    • #40239
      Penny Williams

      This discussion was originally started by user Allieloves3 in ADDitude’s now-retired community. The ADDitude editors have included it here to encourage more discussion.


      My 7 year old son was just diagnosed with ADHD along with learning disabilities a few weeks ago.  Because he was having a tremendous amount of trouble at school and his confidence was dropping we immediately put him on medication.

      Within days we saw a positive change in his ability to focus at school.  He has improved dramatically and his teachers are so pleased.  More importantly his confidence has improved and he is happy to be at school.

      Now that we have been able to address his school issues, I am now trying to tackle his home issues.  I was hoping that with the diagnosis and medication it would improve on his behavioral issues but it hasn’t.

      All in all my son is a sweet boy.  He’s funny and creative and on his terms loves to cuddle.  He’s a special kid, friendly and becomes friends with the new kids at school.  But I feel that once he is home, and especially if Dad is not around there are times where he totally takes advantage of me.  He is extremely strong willed and if he believes that he is right, you can not argue with him (I believe he will make a fabulous attorney one day) but If I ask him to turn off the ipad, it’s an argument….  and sometimes he responds with aggression and a ton of anger.

      His emotions seem to spiral at times and it’s almost as if I have to walk on eggshells around him. He can be moody and almost depressed…  Because of his disability , I just do not know how to discipline him and finding it extremely difficult.  I have tried behavior charts and the like but is there something else I should be doing?  Does he need behavioral therapy to regulate his emotions and frustrations?  What is behavior therapy? Is it a boy whose 7 thing?  Is it related to ADHD?  I always try to talk these situations through with him and sometimes that does work but lately the anger I see on his face is concerning.  Any suggestions on how to parent?

    • #40941
      Devon Frye

      This reply was originally posted by user adhdmomma in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      There’s a saying in the ADHD community: “Pills don’t teach skills.” While medication helps kids with ADHD slow down and focus, it doesn’t teach them lagging skills, it just makes them more able to learn them.

      So, yes, behavioral therapy in addition to medication is ideal:

      I found Ross Greene’s book, “The Explosive Child” very helpful to determine and address lagging skills, but also to determine behavior triggers and address them collaboratively. I recommend it to every parent of a child with ADHD.

      When we talk about lagging skills, we are talking about frustration tolerance, time blindness, emotional communication, emotional regulation, self-awareness, self regulation, organization, etc…

      It’s important to consider a medication adjustment as well. It could be that his medication is not lasting as long as it should or as long as he needs it to. And/or he could be experiencing rebound in the afternoons, which deteriorates mood and behavior:

      Finally, traditional parenting tactics don’t usually work for kids with ADHD. A positive parenting approach is much more successful:

      There’s a lot to think about and learn starting out, but you will get there.

      ADDconnect Moderator, Author on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #40944
      Devon Frye

      This reply was originally posted by user Allieloves3 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Thank you so much for this! Huge help!

    • #40949
      Devon Frye

      This reply was originally posted by user keeks in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Also recommend The Explosive Child. Great ideas for effective discipline for our kids. I remember that age and it was exhausting, so I think his age is a big factor. Be consistent with your responses and help him understand that ADHD doesn’t mean he can say whatever he wants or throw things etc! It means he (and you) have to work harder than other children (and parents), to learn and teach him how to master more acceptable behaviors. But the good news is that with your help, he will! I always felt that I got more of the difficult behavior than my husband did and apparently this is a common theme in marriages (according to my son’s psychologist). Perhaps it is because we are with them more than some husbands are, especially during homework time. It was hard at times not to take my son’s behavior personally but I have learned not to, over the years. Now, thankfully, his behavior isn’t an issue anymore. At 17, he has learned how to control a lot of the stuff he struggled with. Hang in there, it gets easier!

    • #40951
      Devon Frye

      This reply was originally posted by user Sandman2 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      The above comments are great. And I highly recommend Penny’s links on discipline. Dealing with an ADHD child is very different then dealing with a “normal” kid. One thing to keep in mind is that besides what ADHD does to a child with impulsiveness, etc, the child has also had (in your case) 7 years to shape his behavior. That behavior will not change overnight. The skills he has learned to compensate, will not be changed by the “magic” pill. That is why Penny’s links are so important. It will take time to change his behavior. Experts say that if you constantly and immediately reinforce a particular behavior, it takes about 3 weeks for it to take effect. So don’t expect things to happen overnight. But, it will change.

      Finally, Penny’s point on medication is important. The Golden rule for doctors is to go low and go slow. Unfortunately, they don’t always communicate to parents what to expect. And many times the dosage is stopped before it reaches its full potential. All meds have a certain time of duration. If the medication does not last as long as it should, it typically is a sign of under-medication.

    • #40953
      Devon Frye

      This reply was originally posted by user livingwith-adhd&add;-infamily in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      It will be a struggle for awhile until he gains confidence. I suggest a little tea with caffeine so the withdrawal at night isn’t so bad. High protein diet and OMEGA gummies for his diet. Look into Cogmed, Fastforward and Visual Therapy in addition to weekly psychologist therapy. Set immediate consequences, reward the positive.

    • #54197
      Uncle Dharma

      I still have this same problem, and I am now semi-retired.
      At school, or at work, there is one main thing to do. At home there are many more options.

      To get work done, I sometimes go to a coffee shop. It is noisy, but I only take notes and writing pad for one thing. There is nothing else to do. Another option is the university library, and again I only take one thing to do.
      When I was at work, there was only one thing to do – get on with work.

      At home, I have to have an office. When that gets cluttered or I start to browse the internet (and chat about ADD) I move to the dining table.

      I my case, I have to remove distractions.

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