19 answers

Behavioral Problems in My 5 Year Old...Need HELP!

My 5 year old son has ADHD/Oppositional Defiant Disorder and his behavioral problems are out of control. He has had temper tantrums since he was about 18 months old. We had him evaluated because we didn't really know how to handle them and were told that they were being caused by a speech delay. We worked with a speech therapist for over a year, but his behavioral problems continued. My partner and I both felt that there was more going on with him than just a speech delay. We had little to no success with any of the parenting methods that we tried. He would thrash around in his high chair, bang his head into the wall and would have complete meltdowns that would last for well over an hour. I wound up putting him into daycare because I just could not deal with the stress any longer...I needed a break!

In the past 3 years, we have worked with several different agencies, again with little to no success in getting his behavior under control. He was finally diagnosed with ADHD/ODD last April (one day before his 4th birthday) and was put on medication, but the behavior problems continued, even with him being in therapy. He wound up getting thrown out of daycare for flipping out after his medication was changed, so we were referred to a neurologist. His neurologist said that he does not see Autism, but said that he may have a mood disorder ( I have bipolar disorder/manic depression and so did my father). I had mentioned this to his psychiatrist and when I did, she ripped me a new one. She said that he was too young to be diagnosed with bipolar, that she was the doctor and I should let her worry about diagnosing him. Needless to say, he is no longer her patient. We saw another psychiatrist, but her answer was for me to "put him away".

Here we are now, one year after the ADHD/ODD diagnosis, with a 5 year old that we can't seem to handle. The amount of stress is so extreme that I have been put on blood pressure medication, not to mention that it is destroying my relationship with my partner. He will not comply with what he is told to do. He talks back to us, tells us "no" constantly, screams, yells, kicks, etc.. Everything is a struggle or an argument and he tries to be the boss of the house. We have tried SO many different things..123 Magic, time outs, holding therapy, taking away toys, re-directing, choices, games, etc..nothing seems to work! We are at a complete loss as to what we should do, especially since he does not exhibit this behavior in school (he is in the Child Find program). One last thing...he is SO, SO, SO attatched to me and follows me everywhere, even the bathroom!

If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them. I just don't know what to do at this point and I really need some help. Thanks for reading my post.

***I just wanted to point out something. When I said that I am over being a stay home mom, the reason is very simple. I am over it because I am tired of dealing with a completely defiant child 24/7 with no break, no time for me, etc.. A person can only take so much stress. At some point, you just reach a point where being a SAHM is not healthy for you or your child, or your family. As far as my son being jealous of my partner, that is possible, but he has to be the center of attention at ALL times! Someone sent me a post asking about what he knows about my relationship. He knows the truth. I am not ashamed of who I am, so pretending to be "just friends" with my partner is not an option. I don't think my relationship is his problem.***

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

You wrote that 'he does not exhibit this behavior at school.' I would focus on that fact and seriously consider finding a psychologist with a focus on cognitive behavioral therapy.

1 mom found this helpful

Hello stressed and over it,

Two things that are wonderful and you will see results very shortly. The Upledger Institute is on Prosperity Farms Road in PBG. Ask for Chloe for cranialsacral therapy. Also look into the Brain Gym. There is a therapist in WPB named Carol Ann Erickson phone ####-###-####. Between the two therapies you should be good to go in no time.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Hi R.,

Has your soon been diagnosed at the Dan Marino Children's Center? My pediatrician says that Dr. Heidi Toroscik is very good, and that all of the doctors there are excellent. Has he has a cat scan, brain MRI, etc. yet? That is step one, and they do it all at Dan Marino.

Second, if you aren't doing it already, please immediately eliminate all preservatives, food coloring, and all foods containing corn syrup from his diet. This can make a HUGE difference in some children. "Mental illness" reactions from food sensitivities can result within minutes, or up to 48 hours AFTER the offending food has been ingested.

If you haven't already, Google the Feingold Diet (book is titled "Why Is My Child Hyper-active?") to look into the possibility that natural salicylates in his diet are making him out of control. Unfortunately most fruits contain natural salicylates. Personal example with foor coloring and apple juice: my 8 year old son (who has vision disfunctions/learning disability, and angers easily) goes BERSERK if he has even a few M&M's or anything with red food coloring in it. (Red dye is in tons of foods you wouldn't even think of and it's all made from beetle shells.) He also goes berserk if he has fruit juice of any kind, even "natural" juice without added coloring, etc. But he eats fresh green apples without any problems. My older son who is 10 and has Tourette disorder goes completely nuts if he has ANYthing with preservatives, especially MSG: weeping, extreme defiance, his eyes bugging out of his head. Dairy and wheat products are other common sources of "mental illness" reactions in alot of children.

You have my full empathy and prayers, what heartbreaking challenges with you son. Please never give up trying to find the right doctor for him, someone IS out there somewhere who will help you.

(Am wondering WHY any doctor would abruptly change meds (that caused the freak-out at daycare)! Especially in such a young child and with such strong stuff, meds need to be changed over time. Hopefully that's one of the doctors you fired.)

Wishing you and your family ALL ofthe hope and help you need, and really soon. Please hang in there for him and for your family ~

C. N.

1 mom found this helpful

Hello stressed and over it,

Two things that are wonderful and you will see results very shortly. The Upledger Institute is on Prosperity Farms Road in PBG. Ask for Chloe for cranialsacral therapy. Also look into the Brain Gym. There is a therapist in WPB named Carol Ann Erickson phone ####-###-####. Between the two therapies you should be good to go in no time.

1 mom found this helpful

Wow, R., it sounds like you really have your hands full. I hope you do not mind that I am posting, even though I do not have experience in this particular area. But, one thing you mentioned that caught my attention is that your son "does not exhibit this behavior in school." I am not familiar with the Child Find program, but perhaps you could find out what they are doing in the program that is keeping him in check.... OR, maybe there is something in the home that is causing his outbursts... If he has a good relationship with his teacher or a school counselor, perhaps you can ask them to talk with him about what makes him "melt down" at home... Since you say he is very attached to you, perhaps it is jealousy - seeing you bonding with your 2 year old, or your partner??? It's just a thought. I hope you guys can work things out for all of your well being. Good luck!


1 mom found this helpful

You wrote that 'he does not exhibit this behavior at school.' I would focus on that fact and seriously consider finding a psychologist with a focus on cognitive behavioral therapy.

1 mom found this helpful

I feel for you and your son. You are on a rough road but don't give up hope. You just have to keep looking for the answers. When my son was 4 I used to fear that he would never be able to sit down in a school setting. The pre-school teachers used to have to sit on him to keep him still. Now he is in middle school, still needs Ridalin but he is almost a straight A student and very well behaved boy. So keep up your hopes.

Allergies to food can really do a number on children and it is usually expressed in bad behavior. It sounds like a strict diet is the only thing you haven't tried. I would try googl'ing for ADHD and diet.


I know people are very skeptical of chiropractors, but they have helped many children with these problems. If you are afraid of the chiropractors that do the manipulation (cracking and popping), check out www.gateway2wellness.com.

in addition to the medical side, which you're already doing (go mama!), I'd try to find a developmental pediatrician and also I second the vote for the dan marino center- I've heard good things about it...
I would also try an allergist to check for major food allergies. unfortunately there are also INTOLERANCES to foods as well and there isn't any formal testing, like allergy testing, just a lot of trial & error...
there are all kinds of positive results parents have found by altering their child's diet! gluten and casin are 'biggies' to avoid as are chemicals, etc. Corn is a 'new' biggie, as corn syrup is in everything!

one more 'new' biggie is supplementing w/ probiotics and fish oils- just google fish oil & ADD and voila! there is a ton of info....

as for what to do to 'supplement' Western Medicine: try & find someone to do cranial sacrial therapy and/or find a chiropractor and/or try accupuncture/accupressure

so much!! it must be so overwhelming!
one last suggestion, as you mention the behaviors aren't at school- just with you- try family therapy?
hang in there & let us know what winds up working for you!

Have you looked into any books by Becky Bailey, PhD? She also has a life-saving two-day conference about Conscious Discipline that changed the way we parent and made our home much smoother - minute by minute.
Go to www.lovingguidance.com

Just a thought. Since you say he doesn't "act out" at daycare, could your living arrangements possibly be a contributing factor? You did mention that you two got together when he was 11 months old and the behavioral problems started around 18 months old. Maybe he feels that your partner takes away some of the attention from him.

G. A.

Hi R.:
First of all, in defense of any other person who may condemn you for saying you are "over it" as being a stay at home Mom, I APPLUAD your honesty in telling it like it is for you. There may be pronatalistic bull---- about women and the instinct to enjoy mothering while loving it all. NONSENSE.
You have a lot on your plate. Taking care of your own needs will ultimately help your children as well.
I recommend that you start thinking about the use of whole foods and better nutrition. There's a website of a Doctor who has been giving his own child, who had behavioral challenges, a natural juice called MOnavie. I also have the name of a Mom on Long Island who has given this to her child with amazing results.
Let me know if you want these two connections?

Hi there. I have news from you, I work in a company Enzacta. https://www.enzacta.com/Customer/index.php?option=com_con... go to English section. Just been in a congress, all they talked about Alfa PXP Forte… is the answer to ADHD/Oppositional Defiant Disorder premature aging
and metabolic disorders. A true functional food,
PXP’s nano-sized micro-nutrients deliver potent
Glycol nutrients, second-generation amino acids and
antioxidants at the molecular level – directly to the mitochondria,
the power plants of your cells that fuel cellular function, repair and restoration . There’s a brochure and you can download it. if you need more information you can email me.

I am truly sorry for what you are going through and hope that things improve for you soon. I think it may be a good idea to get a second opinion about your son's diagnosis. A friend of mine's son was just diagnosed with Ashbergers syndrome and he seemed to exhibit a lot of the same symptoms you are describing. Also, I am just wondering if you have tested him for any food allergies or sensitivities. Also it may be beneficial for him to avoid sugars and gluten. I apologize if you have already taken these steps. I just wanted to mention them just in case you have not. Good luck to you. I will say a prayer that your situation improves.

Hi R.,
I agree with the diet suggestions. The more chemicals you can get out of your son's diet the better off he'll be. And that's true for all of us. You may also have to explore the possibility that he has a food allergy.

I have another suggestion . . .
Do you use products like Mr. Clean, Pinesol, bleach, laundry detergent and fabric softener? Do you spray Lysol, Pledge, Febreze and room fresheners around the house? Most – if not all – of the products under your sink contain harmful chemicals. Not only can they make you itch, cause rashes, headaches and breathing problems, they can affect your brain.

Have you seen a video called The Toxic Brew? You can watch it here: www.theglobalsuccessteam.net/resources/wmv/toxic_Brew_dsl

On a recent CNN documentary, they talked about chemicals that are showing up in our bodies. Babies have as many as 200 chemicals in their bloodstream at birth.

There’s a non-toxic cleaner for every brand name product you use today. We’ve used them for over 3 years. Even though we didn’t have the serious problems your son has, it made such a difference in our lives, we can never go back! What if it can help your son?

Non-toxic products are becoming more popular. But, be careful. Some of these products just barely meet the government’s standards, so they still contain harmful chemicals. We only use Get Clean Products by Shaklee. I'm a distributor. They're available online at: http://GC.StarTeamUSA.net . I trust their research and ongoing testing.

Good luck in your search for a solution. You’ll probably find it will take a combination of things to help your son. If I can help you in any way, send me a personal message.


Hi R.,

Reading your post was like reliving my past!! My step-son, who is now 16 - went through EVERYTHING that you are describing your son to be going through from the speech therapy to the getting kicked out of day care - the first time my son was suspended from school he was in Kindergarten - it went down hill from there - to psych hospitals, several different meds, getting kicked out of public schools, to tearing our marriage apart... I make it sound so negative, and trust me, it was - until we found the right doctor - my son has Aspberger's - which is a form of autism - basically he has a really hard time dealing with social aspects of life he sometimes isn't the most tactful with what he says, and sometimes he speaks without thinking - which is a symptom, but also because he's a 16 year old boy! - he was taken off all his meds - except for one - and just within the last two weeks, the dr cut the milligram in half - it has been a long long road, and a very hard struggle for all of us, especially my son - but let me tell you - now - he is thriving - loves school - has been on the HONOR ROLL ALL YEAR!!!! He still is not in a main stream school - he'll be a junior in high school next year, and is very comfortable with where he is - he understands his limits - and is able to control his emotions, and lives the life of a normal 16 year old kid - which is oh so much fun in and of itself!! :) Keep looking for good counselors, doctors and support systems - there are answers.

How about trying him at Karate (it teaches discipline and the kids love it), also there is horse therapy. I know that there is a place in Weston. A friend of mine took her son, who has the same issues and he also treats her mean, and she saw a different person during his sessions. Best Wishes for him.


I don't know if it is true or not, but I have heard there are studies that say ADHD can be cause by TV watching. I have given up tv myself in hopes that my son will do the same. He is only 2 and would watch all day long if I let him. He became had to deal with until we removed our tv. Its been about 1 month and he had completly changed. Goood luck what ever you decide to do. I wish you all the best.


There is a very interesting book that tries a particular approach on how to deal with difficult children. I don't remember the author but the title is "The Explosive Child" , you'll find it if you google it. Even when your son's problems seem medical, you might find this approach helpful to dealing with him, even maybe for your own sanity. Hang in there and good luck!

Hi R.,

I have a little boy with a speech delay and found a wonderful place to take him to. The Dan Marino center in Weston. It's part of the Miami Childrens Hospital and the center has doctors and therapist that specialize in all these types of disorders-everything behavorial like ADHD and Autism, and they do all the therapies there too. I'm not sure where you live but it may be an option for you. My son went to 3 different places for his speech delay and nothing worked. There at Dan Marinos we finally found a therapist that he "clicked" with and he's doing great. I know they have a website (I don't know it offhand) that you can check out. You can probably google it. Also have you tried changing his diet. Good Luck!

I am deeply sorry that you have had such awful experiences with the "helping" professions. There are not a lot of great people out there working with kids.
It sounds to me like your poor little son is just a very clear mirror of your feelings. You are so fed up with being a SAHM and you are so frustrated with every little thing about his behavior and he is just reflecting all that crankiness back at you. Also, the list of methods you have attempted to modify his behavior made my head spin, so goddess only knows how he could handle it. Also, I don't know how you have handled communicating about the difference in your families to what he sees in the media, etc. but it causes me to wonder if this isn't somehow his need to act out whatever he intuits to be his "masculine" role.
If my thoughts are helpful, please visit my website and contact me directly.
All the best!
: )

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.