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Anger - Strategies for ADD children

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  • Anger - Strategies for ADD children

    I just found a great question asked on the ADD Connect Discussion board:
    So- what do you do when your almost 7 year old gets so angry at you, starts screaming he hates you, says hes going to get a baseball bat from the garage and bash your head in and wishes you were dead all while throwing stuff at you??? This happened in the morning before school all because I wouldn’t let him get on the computer and seemed to escalate from there. I tried to ignore it, thinking that he was just trying to get me to react.

    Moderator note: there is a lot of discussion about ADHD medications in this discussion.
    Please remember that some ADHD medications can sometimes make Tourette symptoms worse.

    There are a few answers that I think might be helpful and I've reposted here:

    Posted by LimbicLilly on Mar 29, 2012 at 4:17am
    I would have to agree that you are not alone. What I found is the “ignore” the negative behavior is not what works in our home. Without proper leadership, our children would invent their own rules. We are the parents. Our children will learn and follow our rules.

    As soon as the negative behavior rears its ugly head, its time to halt the behavior, sit our young ones down, and lay out the expectations AGAIN. Then immediate involvement in some type of an activity that will allow me as a parent reward positive behavior.
    The concept of medium to long term punishment was ineffective. The child goes to his room, broods of the issue, distorts the issue, convinces himself of his own distortion, and plots the next negative act.
    When I reengage my son into an event, willing or unwilling, say like setting the table, and making desert with my help, or say tilling the garden, which actually is a great stress release, during and at the end of his accomplishments, I am able to compliment, and use the term ” I am proud of you” Of course I don’t get the immediate smiles of joy from his face, and big hugs like little house on the crapper, but I did get his mind off doing his negative behavior, helped to guide him onto positive behavior, and did not need to draw out a punishment list that lasts days.
    As I worked this process, the behaviors subsided bit by bit. The children learned over time, that EVERY TIME there was a negative behavior, there was interactive talk between parent and child. EVERY discussion, my son(s) would recognize who they should be mad at, and making themselves AWARE of there negative behaviors, and the pain they caused others. Not just listening to me drone on about when I was a kid, and what were you thinking, but interactive talk where my sons were required to participate. Yes many times a very challenging task to maintain.
    Another issue that we had to address with our sons was MEDIA. Much of this bat bashing behavior and worse are seen many times in TV shows, movies, Video games, and you can hear it in the lyrics. We had to work hard as parents to find movies that were not boring for the boys to watch, but still did not have gruesome violence, and bad language.
    There is light at the end of the tunnel, Replace every bad memory with a good one. Every bad act that occurs, generate an activity that will allow your child to redeem himself , and turn the negative into a positive. Then both agree to forget the past, and move on. It works!
    Good Luck!

    Posted by Deenie on Mar 30, 2012 at 4:43pm

    We have been dealing with the possiblity our son is ADD since he was 6 years old. He was finally officially diagnosed at age 9 when his grades started dropping, was quick to anger, experienced uncontrollable emotional outbursts and became physical with us. This was after 8 months of a series of tragic events, including a car accident, murder of neighbor and January 8th mass shooting in our city.
    His pediatrician and two different psychologist diagnosed him with ADD, PTSD and anxiety. They insisted the main issue to deal with first was the ADD and it could only be properly treated with a stimulant. After doing a ton of research, most information concurred with this philosophy and suggested nothing would improve without a stimulant. All doctors were concerned about the PTSD and anxiety and how he may react to the stimulant but insisted it was the only way to go. We wanted to try more natural things like dietary changes along with counseling for the PTSD and anxiety but were told dietary changes never work.
    Three stimulants later, hallucinations, out of control emotional episodes and attempted self harm (had to hide all knives, scissors, sharp objects), I contacted an old work collegue who is a neurologist and his wife a psychologist. He immediately connected us with a child neurologist. Without hesitation, she told us stimulants were not to be used when PTSD and anxiety were a part of the problem and that non-stimulants would more than likely be a waste and ineffective. She told us that ADD is naturally exacerbated by external things like PTSD and anxiety is common in people with ADD.
    She recommended making changes to his diet [no white carbs (flour, rice, potatoes), no sugar, no fast food and increased protein especially at breakfast time as the major changes], wonderfully explaining how the brain is influenced by the nutrients it receives. Sugars (which is what processed foods and white carbs turn into in our bodies) prevent our brains from properly processing information and thoughts. Young brains are still developing into their late 20s and in today’s America, are not being properly nurioushed due to the fast/quick food concept we tend to live under these days.
    Although we thought we were pretty healty eaters, we immediately made the recommended dietary changes we weren’t already doing and added a sugar-less mulit vitamin, fish oil and zinc to his daily routine. This along with finding a wonderful ADD/ADHD counselor had our son turned around within a couple of weeks. It has been 8 months now and things are so much better - not perfect, never will be. He has not had one violent outbreak, is slower to anger, has not attempted self harm, never trys to hurt us and seems more at peace. His grades have stayed steady at Bs & As. His counselor has armed him with tools for focusing and problem solving which have really helped. A family member who is a psychiatrist has also taught him tapping techniques to help him with self calming. He willing turns down food items he knows are not good for him and when he does indulge, immediately recognizes he doesn’t like how they make him feel.
    The counselor has helped more than our son. We have learned a lot about our parenting skills and parenting a child with ADD. We try to be more consistent with our rules and consequences for unacceptable behavior. We are learning how important it is to validate feelings but not give into them. We try very hard not to allow ourselves to be engaged in arguments, letting it be okay for him to work through his feelings regarding the issue and not trying to justify our position; and, believe me, he tries hard to engage us. When we allow ourselves to remain calm and level headed, it really does make a difference. I am also realizing I don’t have to issue a consequence right away. It is okay to say, “I am very angry right now and I need to think about what the consequence is going to be for your poor behavior choice I will let you know once I decide.” When I use this, I tend to think more clearly and come up with more reasonable and related consequences. I also find that by the time I tell him what I have decided, he is also calmer and the impact of the consequence more meaningful.
    I know this isn’t the answer for everyone but thought I would share in case it might help even just one person. I wish I had found more information like this when I was beside myself 9-10 months ago, frustrated with a child I actually thought might hurt me or himself. I haven’t had those feelings in over 7 months now. I don’t really know how to explain it but I see a calmer child, able to be more rational, less reactive, learning to help himself focus and problem solve more and more.

    Tina, Forum Moderator, TSFC Staff Liaison

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