A.R. asks from Fairdale, KY on January 12, 2009
3 1/2 Yo with Hyperactivity Issues
I am to the point of wanting to medicate my son for his episodes of hyperactivity. We know it's beyond normal 3 yo boy activity levels as he spends quite a bit of time with other children his age, and he is always disrupting, running around when he should be sitting, overreacts when told No, lacks self-control and mostly obedient, except during his episodes...proper discipline does not correct his behavior during episodes.
My husband and I just want to pull our hair out! He's going to get seriously hurt one of these days, and I feel unsure of how else to deal with it. He has received a diagnosis of ADHD from his pediatrician, but it was during one of his brothers appts, so it hasn't been written on his own chart, and so far we've not even asked for treatment options.
I think it's time...
But, I want to know what he might suggest before going in, so I can do some research first.
Please share your thoughts! I am very open to natural/alternative options. I do limit aggravating foods in his diet, as well as his access to media (television/video games), and does help some...but we need more help.
So What Happened?™
I appreciate everyone's responses and thoughtful advice!
I realize he's too young for medication, just looking for an easy way out! HA! :) Joking aside, I'm more frustrated with my & my husband's short fuse sometimes. We are just too tired much of the time to 'deal' with his activity level and lack of self-control. It is quite a sacrifice (although worth it) to be consistent in our discipline and training, and it is tough to keep it up when we're not seeing immediate results or the 'fruit of our labor'. I know it will come. I just needed some encouragement.
To the mom whom said no child this age should be allowed to play video games...let me be very clear...I am doing homeschool/preschool with my 3 yo, and use it as an educational tool. On occasion, daddy will play the Wii with him, as it is highly interactive and fun family time (baseball, bowling, tennis, golf). He really loves the play Lightsaber Duels with daddy and even exercise along with me on the Wii Fit...I don't see how any of these 'video games' are unhealthy for my child...rather the opposite.
Perhaps you did not realize game systems can be used in this way? I hope you will reconsider how video games can enhance your family's lives :)
Please keep your responses coming. I think it's helpful to have continued dialogue.
Oh, about the dietary restrictions...I am certain it exacerbates his overabundant energy issue...wheat, dairy, sugar, color dyes, etc... We have a mostly gluten-free household. I was limiting cow's milk until my youngest transitioned away from formula after 1 year old...weight is a concern here, so as long as my youngest can tolerate Vit D milk, the house will drink it...the boys need the fat anyway. We will ween off the milk as my youngest is able to eat larger amounts of table food. I personally have never dealt with issues relating to food. I've never had a food allergy, and never knew anyone whom did, so it was quite a shock to my carefree lifestyle when my dear husband 'decided' to become celiac! lol ;)
C.B. answers from Lexington on January 13, 2009
The only thing I can offer for advice is: DON'T MEDICATE!
He is too young, and once on medication, it seems to me, they need more and more of it, and the side effects are worse than without. Keep up the discipline and most important, LOVE. I work with troubled juveniles, some of who are on medication and have been told over and over again, it's not their fault, but the medication doesn't really seem to be working, most likely, due to just using medication and not any type of discipline. For ADHD, I never advocate medication, due to usually the children are overstimulated, no discipline, ect. Keep to a strict schedule, keep up the love and reasonable discipline, and most of all, let him run and play. There are good doctors, ect that can tell you how to discipline an ADD, or ADHD child without medications. This is one area where I am completely against medicating children for ADD and ADHD. Some of the parents I come into contact with, expect the medication to do everything, and it doesn't. While it may help sometimes, a schedule and discipline and love helps much much more.
K.S. answers from Hickory on January 13, 2009
Go see a child clinical psychologist for a complete assessment and then parenting techniques to deal with what you find. Any pediatrician worth his salt will want such formal assessment before prescribing meds long-term to such a young child. Don't be anti-med, and even try just behavioral techniquest to start, but get good professional intervention at the start so you will know you are on the right track.
K.D. answers from Raleigh on January 13, 2009
I used to say that if I didn't know that my son was hypersensitive to red food coloring, I would have put him on medication long ago. He gets very hyper, wild, and emotional after eating anything with this dye and, thank goodness, we figured it out when he was two years old. Since then I have run into other moms who have discovered the same thing and a grown man who says he still turns into someone he doesn't like when he accidentally eats red food coloring. Look at the ingredients of everything he is eating and make sure there is no red food coloring. For example, my son loves yogurt and there are certain brands that have no red food coloring (Dannon, Stonyfield) but there are many brands with it. Also, many chocolate cake like treats have red food coloring to make the chocolate darker looking I guess.
Of course, avoiding all food coloring is a good idea. Chocolate used to make my son wild too when he was little. He can handle it better now that he is bigger. This you mentioned your son has 'episodes' then I thought there might be a trigger. Although, some kids I know eat red food coloring all day long or drink coke (avoid caffeine too) or eat chocolate - so there is no way to see how they would behave without these foods. Dairy could also be the trigger, as one mom mentioned, and some kids eat dairy all day long too.
You might want to check out "Is This Your Child's World" by Doris Rapp, MD. http://www.drrapp.com/
Also, I noticed that you live in Kentucky and it looks like you there is a Child Evaluation Center in Louisville that you might want to take him to http://louisville.edu/medschool/pediatrics/wcec
Here is another place you might want to look into:
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J.D. answers from Louisville on January 13, 2009
continue with the elimination of foods, alot of adhd is caused by a chemical imbalance, my now 31 year old son could not have any red dye, or whole wheat each child is different and it can be quite a challenge to pinpoint cause factors, my grand daughter has to avoid chocolate and red dye which is in alot of foods, i found spankig did not work as i'm sure you have didcovered they just get in overload and time out seemed to work better or taking away privledgeshope this helps al least to know you are not alone as alot of us "older" moms have been there, done that, wore out the t-shirt God bless
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E.V. answers from Asheville on January 13, 2009
I think what also needs to be taken into account is the fact that 40 years ago hyperactivity was almost unheard of... those were the days when kids spent almost every waking hour outdoors playing (running around burning off energy). Kids NEED to be outdoors and allowed to do sort of what they want (we need to try stop hovering over them, but keep a responsible eye on them).
When I was little we were outdoors all the time playing in our yard without mom watching our every move and telling us how to do everything... I'm NOT saying you hover and control - just that there are big differences in parenting today than when I was growing up and when I raised my son... like todays kids have NO freedom when they play in the dirt and so forth, geez, some parents freak out if their kids gets a speck of dirt on their hands (not saying you do).
For what it's worth, there are micro-organisms in soil that are beneficial to humans and their development, studies have ALSO shown that these soil organisms are BETTER at treating depression than antidepressants!!!
We need to let our kids run around outdoors, explore things on their own (can be done within our eyesight without interference), let them fall on their own and get back up, let them get dirty and get dirt in their mouths (keep the pesticides and chemical fertilizers out of the yard!!!).
And get ALL of the processed foods out of their lives. Processed foods are notorious places for hidden sources of MSG and Aspartame. I would NEVER allow MSG or sugar substitutes in my child's diet - read labels, these poisons are in nearly every processed food. Here's a link to an article I wrote that may be helpful... http://aromatherapy4u.wordpress.com/2007/09/20/the-little...
It is not normal human behavior and for normal human development for a kid to sit still and be quiet for the better part of the day. Look at the animal babies, they run and play and run circles around their parents (not saying our kids should not learn good manners)... planned sports are not the same as having time to be free to grow and explore on our own for mental health (watch from afar so they're safe and yet allowed to have what appears to them, unsupervised time so they can develop mentally the way we're suppose to).
I'd try these non-invasive, non-drug techniques long before I'd allow some doc to prescribe any poisonous substance to my kid so I could get a handle on his behavior.
I think we need to remember... NO KID can sit for 8+ hours a day and behave like an adult and not go completely bananas in the process!
Hope this helps.
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C.F. answers from Lexington on January 13, 2009
Three years old is much too young (in my opinion) to diagnose a child with ADHD. I have three little boys (7, almost 4 and 1) myself, and taught preschool for many years before deciding to run a preschool from home to be with my family. Although I do not know your little boy, I have known lots of little boys, including lots of three year olds. They are all active, and they are all different. We should not compare one child to another. My three year old does not stop moving from the time he gets up until he goes to bed. In fact, he even moves a lot in his sleep. His diet is very important in how he behaves, as is a pretty rigid schedule. Little boys, especially energetic ones need a routine with lots of opportunity for vigorous physical exercise. We even got our little man an exercise trampoline for his room to help with the activity! Putting a little boy of three on medication is a HUGE step, and I would get several more opinions before you make your decision. Children nowadays are way overdiagnosed anyway. Are you home with him during the day? Is it possible to try him on a schedule and good diet before trying the meds? Good luck.
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T.F. answers from Knoxville on January 13, 2009
My little man, who is now 5, was about to drive us up a wall as well. His hyperactivity was so bad that he is still receiving therapy for both speech and fine motor skills. To say he was on constant go is an understatement. There was no way to disipline him...he couldn't even sit still long enough to finish a meal. Then I discovered Sensory Processing Disorder from one of the many therapist I had dragged him to. It fit my little guy to a tee and after reading up on it, I realized that one of the causes of it is dairy allergies. Took him off all dairy products (you really have to read labels! Don't make assumptions that there's no dairy in it just because it's bread or something)and poof...I had a normal, happy healthy little boy who does everything in his power to please. He is currently recieving treatment for his allergies and we now can give him small quantities of dairy in his diet occassionally. People thought I was crazy...but I can't tell you how many moms at his school have taken their hyperactive kids off dairy and seen a noticable difference. It takes about 10-14 days. Hope it helps for you. I know what you are going through. It's awful. Know that it's not you. Good luck!
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S.S. answers from Charlotte on January 13, 2009
Sounds VERY similar to my nephew who was finally diagnosed with food allergies (thanks to my sister's persistance that something was not right) When my nephew eats proper foods he is well mannered, well behaved, smart and very witty, but if he eats anything that is processed with preservatives or food dyes/coloring he is bouncing off the walls, won't listen, has a smart mouth and is generally unresponsive to any disipline. During these episodes my sister noticed that loud noises or too much visual stimulation (movies, tv, games, loud public places) just added to things and made them worse. It took a lot of patience to discover his allergies as they were not the typical "get sick, get the hives, rash or breathing problems" that a lot of food allergies have. Straightening out his diet made ALL the difference in the world! You may want to consider an allergy for your other son with red splotches and a fever too. That could be an allergy to food or a household irritant as well. Good Luck on both!
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S.D. answers from Nashville on January 13, 2009
My three boys were very active too. We took them outside to play every morning and every afternoon. As they got older we put them in sports and that really seemed to help. The older two boys played soccer, baseball, football, in-line hockey, basketball, wrestling and track. My oldest son played two sports a season until high school and he played 4 sports in high school-football, wrestling, baseball, and track. My second oldest son played football, wrestling, and baseball in high school. We are waiting for our little one to get older to put him in sports. Sports really helped them expend their energy and not drive us crazy!
My friend is a nurse and she said that boys get a burst of testosterone from age 3 to 4. That may be what you are experiencing right now. That usually gets better by the time they are school age. Try taking him outside to play more and see if it helps. My mom always said to bundle them up in a warm coat, hats, mittens, and scarves and take them outside every day until they tell you they are too cold to play out any longer. She said the fresh air and playing outside is the best thing for little kids. My kids always napped so well after being outside. Good luck!
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A.R. answers from Knoxville on January 13, 2009
I am bald from pulling my hair out. My daughter is very hyper as well and has been even in the womb. I recently took almost all of her toys away and just left a few things. Her bahavior changed from running all over the place acting crazy to sitting quietly and playing. It was insatnt. Of course she is still hyper but she has been focussing. I wonder if all of the stuff our kids have is making them crazy, confused, spoiled and overwhelmed. I have got her on a better diet now too. I cut out her sweets and that seems to have helped some. I don't know what the answer is to this problem but I know that I was diagnoised ADHD and they gave me meds for it and that were awful. I am going to stick with this for a while and cross my fingers. Oh yeah my daughter used to be really reckless too and fall all over the place. That has improved this year. Good luck.
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