5 Year Old Daughter with ADHD/ODD

Updated on October 25, 2010
S.G. asks from Norfolk, VA
16 answers

I have a 5 yr. old daughter that has ADHD/ODD and has been diaganosed with it since she was three years old. She has been on medication for it since the age of four. She has been on adderal, stratera and focalin. She also has trouble sleeping and has been on numerous sleep medicine. She now takes melatonin and that helps a great deal. The major problem I having right now is medication. Nothing seems to work. The last thing she tried was focalin, which was supposed to be some new wonder drug but made her more irratable, and jumpy. She started kindergarden this year and has started peeing her pants in school. She is getting into trouble in school with her behavior and not being able to pay attention. I am at the end of my rope. She sees a pyschiatrist and a therapist. If anyone knows of anything else that could help let me know, please.

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answers from Fayetteville on

I have a 14 yr old son who was diagnosed at age 5 as adhd and oddd......................put him on adderall and he ended up spending 2 weeks in the psych ward b/c they misdiagnosed him and he was really bipolar and the addderrall sent him into mania!! Wellbutrin which is really for depression is often used in kids to help them pay attention...................especially in bipolars b/c ritalin and adderrall set them off into mania!! Sometimes the roller coaster ride of meds gets really old...................you have to keep trying to find the right ones and the right doses!

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answers from Greensboro on


I can relate to your frustration! I,too, have a child with ADHD. Through my experiences (he was diagnosed in kindergarten, and is now in second grade), I have learned the following:

1)Contact your psychiatrist about your daughter's behavior. If you're not satisfied, get a SECOND OPINION. Not necessarily from a psychiatrist, but a NEUROLOGIST, preferably a pediatric neurologist. My son's pediatrician could not increase his dose of Straterra because of his wt. But, his neurologist increased it, saying it is a safe medication and we can go as high as we need to go, unlike other medications. (We tried stimulants and he developed severe motor and verbal tics, which he still has two years after being off of them!!)

2) Medications may help, but our children may suffer side effects from them, either now, or later. I learned that the hard way. And, medication isn't a cure-all. It should be used as one method to help our children, but not the main method! We should be helping our children learn to cope with their disability so that when they are adults, they will have these needed skills. We got our son involved in Martial Arts (recommended by a friend's Dr.), and believe it or not, within a month we began to notice a difference in his school performance! It has helped to build up his self-esteem and helps with focus and discipline. He loves it, and its not only for boys. The class is divided, half girls and half boys.

3) Get her teacher involved. We have a wonderful teacher who unbelievably, has ADD! Its great because she understands the challenges. She is very open to letting Joseph do things that others consider taboo. To help with his talking in class, she lets him chew gum. Believe it or not, it really helps. She lets him get up and move around, as long as it does not distract others. When he's having a reading lesson, she lets him go where he feels he'll be less distracted, either in a corner, or even under a table. And because she has been so supportive, my child is enjoying school! He used to say he hated school last year. But these simple little tricks have turned his attitude around, because he's experiencing success. ADHD kids experience so much frustration because they experience great challenges, and more failure; what's easy for one child is hard for them. No wonder they are so frustrated and angry!

4) Ask for testing by the school, to see if your daughter needs extra help in certain areas, such as my son needs extra help in reading. Its not that he isn't bright (in fact, he scored high academically in other areas; a child with ADHD can have intelligence as any other child, from high to low), he just has a hard time focusing long enough to want to read. Perhaps she's frustrated like my son was, and can continue to be.

5) Do you like to read? When I found out Joseph was diagnosed with ADHD, I wanted to learn as much about it as possible! His pediatrician recommended a fantastic book, with information for parents, information for Dr's, and information for teachers. Its called," ADD/ADHD Behavior-Change Resource Kit" by Grad L. Flick, Ph.D.The teacher's info is great for classroom support, and I even copied portions of the teacher's info for his first grade teacher. Just because she's a teacher does not mean she has specific training for children with ADHD. Remember, most teachers have to buy alot of their own supplies and books. This may help her to understand your child better without having to purchase information out of her own pocket. It is the most resourceful book I have, with information about medications, activities to help behavior, etc. I love it!
Also, I am in the process of reading a book, The ADD Answer, by Dr.Frank Lawlis. This book is recommended by Dr.Phil. Some portions are a little strange, but it does have some good tips. It tells about detoxifying them from lead, etc. I am not sure about those areas, but I am keeping an open mind!!

S., I hope this helps. I know its a struggle, and there's no quick solution. But there is support, and feel free to email me anytime. The best advise in the second book, is to remember that our children are children first, NOT ADD FIRST. Don't look at them as a diagnosis, but as a child. They need us to help them, and to love them, and provide positive encouragements. For every negative comment, be sure to make three positive comments, because its the negative that they remember the most.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Mobile on

What response has your pyschiatrist and therapist given for the wetting? Do look into the side effects of both medications that your daughter is taking which very well could be causing her to wet her pants. Any behavior modification techniques installed at home?



answers from Mobile on

I havd a son with ADHD/ODD and he was on medication to treat the ADHD that didn't seem to help. It made him more irritable/angry and he acted out alot. When he was in kindergarten he stabbed a teacher with a pencil. I told her not to bother him if he timed himself out by going under a table, to just move the other kids away and keep teaching, that he would come out when he was okay. She tried to pull him out and he stabbed her. She actually had to press charges for me to be able to get him any help for his problem. They upped his dose and it made him worse. They then started looking into other problems. They found out he has Bi-polar disorder as well as ADHD/ODD. ADHD/ODD often runs hand in hand with Bi-polar and often cannot be treated with regular ADHD drugs. Our doctor treated his Bi-polar and ODD which in turn calmed down the symptoms of the ADHD. He's 18 now and has no more outbursts(unless intentionally provoked. He gradutes high school next year and is in special ed classes but he is only a step down from a regular diploma. He may live with me for a long time but his medication mixture has him under control. Ask your doctor if there are any other disorders that may have something to do with the ADHD/ODD. She may not be able to take any of the standard medicines. I too have Bi-Polar mixed and ADHD. I have a regimen of 5 medicines I have to take to be a productive member of society. I hold down a full time management position and am doing well too. Good luck. If you have any other questions just ask. I have already been through what is happening with you and I can let you know the routes we had to take.



answers from Norfolk on

I am sitting here looking at the list of medications your daughter is on and I am wondering if she is not having these symptoms you speak of because the medications are not interacting well together. Some medications will affect you with irritablilty and make you emotional (which could be the potty accidents. Have yo uthought about getting a 2nd opinion and taking your daughter to another pediatrician. Have you spoke with your daughter's other doctors? Maybe they could reccommend another pediatrician and give you some advice.



answers from Norfolk on

Hi S., my name is K. and you are my first mom to talk to on this space I was just invited a couple of days ago to join this space. I am a registered nurse and I am a mother of two exceptional boys and a step daughter My oldest son is John and he is 21 and he has ADHD also and my younger son has Aspergers Autism a name for all of the special unique children we have. I feel your pain and anxiety and have been in your shoes it has taken years to find what was wrong with my youngest son because he is so high functioning try a gluten free diet it is no wheat products which is hard and no processed foods whole foods like protein, fresh vegtables, there are stores like farm fresh that have gluten free products if you want to know more you can email me and we can talk in greater detail I know your struggles but there are ways to help your child she is blessed not cursed once you learn to help her and she learns to help herself you both will feel alot better and realize the blessings an ADHD child is.
By the way my son John is 21 and is working at Walt Disney world right now on a college program he is working in MGM studios and living in florida and has been for the last 7 months on his own. Take care and let me know if you want to chat further. My email is [email protected]____.com



answers from Charlotte on

My 6 year old son Is also ADHD w/ ODD,and I soooo understand your frustration.My son has tried several different drugs(starting around age 3) Focalin being the last before finding Metadate.It has been wonderful.It comes in a capsule that can be taken or opened and sprinkled into food.If you sprinkle it the food should be strong in flavor ie.. choc. pudding,tomato soup,ice cream.My son also has a sleep disorder..he kicks 74 times an hour in his sleep.Results of a sleep study.He has also been on different meds for this and I really have a problem with over medicating.I have found the meds for the sleep problems reaally make no difference.One of the big factors for us is a steady bedtime.He goes to bed at 8:00 sometimes he has earned a little tv time but regardless he is in the bed at 8:00 and his body gets used to it.Evevn if we have to skip shower or homework til morning ..in bed at 8:00.He also has a night light and a dream catcher.When he gets up I walk him back to his bed remind him I love him and will see him in the morning.If he gets up because his legs are bothering him I will rub/massage his legs while he lays down and sometimes we do squats?seems to help.I hope something here is of help to you.Good luck.



answers from Dothan on

I am a mother of five of mt own kids and 2 step kids and have helped raise two others of those I have four diagnosed with add or adhd.I am very suprised to hear that your child was put on medication so young,most are not until after they have been in school for some time.I have been fortunate that I have found a Dr who believes that treatment for an adhd child must include testing for behavioral problems as well as learning disorders.We thought oud daughter was adhd but found out from her tests that she was dyslexic and that the acting out was only a symptom,Please be patient with your child and give her more time to grow and have her evaluated by a neropsychiatrist if possible.They are able to evaluate children better than the school or a regular psychiatrist can, Also seek out a chapter of Chadd if you can it is a suport group for add /adhd families.I would Be sure what you are dealing with is really adhd and not a learning problem or even a social anxiety problem before I would try anything else new, ask your Dr for a referal.



answers from Dothan on


My story is so similar to yours, all you would really have to do is change the names. My son is currently on adderall and melatonin. We are also seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist. The therapist is doing exercises on "you talk, i talk" giving him stickers when he does well to encourage him so he can do better in social situations. (Social situations are sometimes a problem, he becomes withdrawn.) I have to say, these excercises are good. As a product of therapy myself and as psychology was my major college, I would say to you don't give up. How long has she been in the therapy. Keep going. But keep a journal. Write everything down. This will help them with the appropriate diagnosis, meds, excercises and activities for your child. In my opinion, I wouldn't go off the meds just yet. Sometimes it can take a few years to get them strait. And your daughter is everchanging at this point in her life. (I am actually suprised they started her so young though. They usually won't until they are four or five.) My son also suffers from OCD. Although this disorder was already there, the medications enhance that. Do you see the therapist as a family? We have started doing that too. Again, I stress the journal. Most insurance companies will work with you on family sessions. Involve everyone involved in the childs life. It will be hard, but she's worth it, right?

However, at the risk of sounding harsh, which I don't mean to at all, it sounds like you have a lot going on in your home. Does the new baby belong to your 16 year old? I know this has been going on since she was three, but sometimes sudden changes in the family cause children to act out. And a teenage pregnancy and new baby to the mix is enough to do it. She may seem okay and just acting out on the outside, but she could be really hurting on the inside. (If this is not the case, please disregard, of course!) However, if so she may be feeling, leftout. I would talk to the therapist about this and different ways you can make your time "quality time" instead of "stressful time."

I hope this has helped. I am so sympothetic to your situation. Take care! Please feel free to contact me for added support!!!


EDIT: By the way, we tried putting my son in some team sports. This was not good right now. Although he needed the socialization, the team sports weren't doing it. Too many meltdowns dealing with crowds, going for the ball, etc. (He didn't know when to stop sometimes when the whistle was blown or on the bench he started to try and wonder off the court!) We have him enrolled in dance with his sister. He thrives on it! He is even going to compete this winter in a hip hop number. It is good because it is one on one. He also plays tennis and swims. Again, not team sports. We are also looking into enrolling him into boys gymnastics. He can focus on these things and they just seem better for him now. Team sports will come in due time! Besides, he has a blast with what he is doing now! Have you considered this for your daughter? Dance, Daisy Scouts, swimming, tennis or gymnastics would be great! Even if money is an issue, sometimes, your local YMCA will offer these things for a lower price! Just a thought...good luck! ~Lee



answers from Louisville on

My son was diagnosed with ADHD after several tests at MUSC. He was also given a full pysical to rule out any medical reasoning for his behavior. After 2 years on Adderall XR, he started to behave as though we were giving him candy instead of meds. After a few discussions with his doctor, we switched him to Concerta. Wow,what a difference! He doesnt act zoned out, or any other strange behavior. He just acts like a child in control of his behavior. Also, it doesnt stop his appetite, or cause him to lose sleep like the Adderall did. The best part is that it is long lasting, and it doesnt cause him to have that "crash" when the meds wear off. I dont know if it will work for your daughter, but it is worth a shot. I dont know where she goes to school, but Charleston County has a program that keeps a counsellor from Charleston County Mental Health on site in several of its schools. They will work with your child at the school, and will be there to help her if she needs help controlling herself at school. Your insurance pays for it, including Medicaid. Very much worth looking into. Hope this helps!



answers from Roanoke on

My oldest D. is 12, and has been suffering from ADHD for a while. Nothing worked for him either. We have settled currently with Concerta, though I feel it does not help as much as it should. My suggestion to you is to contact an organization called Blue Ridge Behavioral Health. These individuals promote wellness and focus WITHOUT medicine. Your daughter may be just like my 6 year old son---bored to tears with school and just trying to occupy herself during the time she is there. Many times teachers(from my experience) tend to push medication when it is not neccessarily needed.

Here is a link...I do believe this organization can help.




answers from Spartanburg on

I am a mother of four and actaully have 6 children in the house all ages varying from 4 to 11 years of age. There are two boys in the house with ADHD. My 11 year old nephew and my 7 year old son. It was hard for me to except that medication was needed to calm them down. And yes after a while on one medication there bodies do become immune to the drug. Jacob my nephew takes 57 miligrams of concerta and it does wonders on him, James my sone was on metade for a long time and did great then for a couple of months it was a living hell keeping up with him, i mean litterally climbing the walls. We have now switched him to adderall and it has helped alot. The age of your daughter is a very critical age though to diagnose. I also have an 8 year old son that was treated for nearly two years for ADHD and id cry many times trying to figure out why nothing we did or game him worked it was a god awful mess. We now know that he is bi-polar. Very hard to diagnose in a child and drugs for ADHD will make a bi-polar child worse than they already are. This is something you may want to bring to your doctors attention. Good luck hun and congratulations on the new grandbaby



answers from Norfolk on

This is the most shocking thing I have ever read. All 4 and 5 year olds are strange sometimes. They are sad, happy, hyper, have trouble concentrating, and act different than every other kid. ALL KIDS HAVE THOSE SYMPTOMS.

Here is a thought. Accept your daughter EXACTLY the way that she is. I feel so sorry for her. How can someone diagnose a three year old with ADHD/ODD. There is a tremendous amount of development going on. You have no idea what the child is going to be like later when they are three years old. Many extremely gifted children act very crazy at that age.



answers from Columbia on

Hi S.!

My husband is an adult w/ ADD and my 8 yo niece had been on medication for ADD for many years. Both went through exactly what you describe. We investigated the medications extensively and any alternative therapies. My husband read a book, also, that was a holistic approach to managing and growing through ADD - I will get you the title, if you are interested.

In the end, what has worked for both my husband and my niece has been to wean off the medications (esp. since they weren't really helping) and to make corrections to their diet - no additives and artificial colorings, etc. Both see psychotherapists for behavior modification, which has helped tremendously.

For your daughter, I recommend Dr. Sears Book on ADHD, which you can find on his website:


Lastly, don't be afraid to shop around for other care providers. If what you are doing isn't working and they don't have any suggestions, you may need a fresh pair of eyes on the scene.






answers from Dothan on

When my oldest was three(he is now six) he was very active and my mother-in-law suggested that he may have ADHD and being a first time mom I talked to his doctor, who then told me that they do not usually diagnose children that young they usually wait until the age of six because it is normal for a three year old to be active and have a short attention span he said that when they are six and still showing those symptoms that is when they are concerned. He is now six and does not have ADHD he grew older calmed down and is a great kid in fact his conduct grade is always an A. Maybe you should find a new ped I believe that these disorders are greatly misdiagnosed and meds are not always needed. Do you really want your child on these meds? My youngest brother-in-law was diagnosed with ADHD and he took ritalin I can tell you that it did more damage than good.




answers from Melbourne on

I also have a son that is ADHD since he wsa little now he is 7 years old. He has taken many many test to cancle out other things that is could be. He was take other meds befor. But now he is on the Concerta 54mg. But from the Docs that I have talken too they have also told me that from little boys and little girls are different with the ADHD meds. Just like eveone is different form things. You just to let the school know that you ae still testing the meds that are out there for her. And to let the Doc know about eveything too. I don't thing a little kid with ADHD should be on sleep meds because there meds it self should help on that too. I know I am no Doc or anything. But for me the concerta and a good diet has hepled my son out so much. So I wish you much luck and I hope everything gose well with your daughter and things go great from now on.

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