38 answers

5 Year Old Having Complete Meltdowns / Possibly ADHD

Hi all, I am wondering if anyone might experience meltdowns... I am not talking like the "he's tired and crabby" meltdown I am talking a fill on fit kicking and screaming, throwing stuff at his parents fit. Let me preface by saying we think my 4 (soon to be 5) year old has ADHD, he has not been tested, he is too young the dr tells me BUT his dad has it and he acts JUST like his dad in certain situations. He is a hyper child and he does lack focus on some days which makes me think he has ADHD but then again I am not a dr am I! Then again I keep hearing of the "stigma" attached to ADHD and you don;t want to label your son or they are to quick to medicate nowadays. He makes outbursts of noise (not like tarets, sorry spelling?, but all of a sudden will yell noise for no reason, that gets on my nerves is why I notice it so much I guess)

He is such a sweet child, very loving, funny, full of energy but some days he is really aggressive, will have a HUGE fit, crying kicking screaming, the whole deal, so much so that we have to hold him down sometimes in an effort to get him to calm down. I have noticed that certain things like red dye trigger him into being extremely hyper so we watch his dye intake as much as we can. He has to take allergy meds, we have tried several kinds, now on allegra, previously on zyrtec and singular both of which flipped him out (anyone have bad experiences on allegra?) We can't get him to sleep in his own bed, it's almost like his brain gets stuck sometimes on whatever his trigger was. i.e. tonight he did not want to leave Peter Piper so kicked and SCREAMED the whole way home. He finally fell asleep about 9pm but I am up at 2am because he was having nightmares and crying in his sleep saying "I don't wanna leave" like he did when we left PP... like his brain was stuck on that event.

We took him to an allergist a couple weeks ago and were told they can not test for allergies to dyes. They did test for a bunch of other stuff. He has allergies and asthma, and a peanut allergy (not that any of that would affect his behavior?)

Like I say we think he has ADHD but at this point I can't tell if it is ADHD related, meds related, or personality related but I know I am at my wits end, I don't know what to do anymore. The doctors won't test until he starts in kindergarten next year, I am wondering if anyone has a child with ADHD, are these fits common? Or maybe it is because of his allergy meds again? Or maybe it's a phase...? He really changed when his brother arrived a little over 2 years ago but I can see some days where it might be food related or chemicals, just seems like he's not in there. Help! I told my dad I was gonna put him on ebay last week lol ugh! I just feel like anymore we wake up and I think "is this gonna be a good or bad day" its like I am waiting for the train wreck (fit or fight) to happen. I just want him to be happy and healthy and for us all to get along.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

if you do believe that it could be food related, you should look up www.celiac.com or www.celiac.org they have links to add and adhd! they have diets that are for that! my husband has celiac disease and the more i have read about it the more i find about what else it could cause! Good luck!!

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Hi M.,

I really don't have any experience with kids who have ADHD, but I do know of a book that specializes in all "problem" areas with kids and how to deal with them. It's called: Parenting With Love & Logic by Foster Cline & Jim Fay. I was introduced to it when I was a preschool teacher, and let me tell you that it made a wrold of a difference in both working with 16 two-year olds as well as with my own 7 y.o., 10 y.o. & 14 y.o.!!! Give it a try... You can look at their website love & logic.com

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There are many things that have Red Dye in them - I had a student that was allergic to it as well, and it made her VERY hyper. I would cut it out completely.

Also, my sister has an allergy to Antihistimines - (Allegra, Zyrtec and Singulair may have these) It also made her VERY hyper.

I would start by going to a very basic diet - almost bland. No Sugars. No Juices, etc. After about 2 weeks of this type of diet - start adding in things one at a time... like Juice, or a granola bar etc. You should be able to see some of the "triggers" that happen, especially since after "detoxing his body" it will almost be a shock.

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More Answers

HI M.,
ALl of the comments are coming from women who have kids more like yours than mine are though one of my 4 has asthma. But I would suggest a naturopathic doctor before any medications. They will help you diagnose any food or environmental triggers.
The company I work with focuses on all natural cleaning products to keep his environment toxic free, so you may be interested in that (Will post website at end). But again I would recommend the naturopath route. We use Dr. Coleen Huber in Tempe.

Good luck,
C. Willis
www.livetotalwellness.com/arizona

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Hi M.,
Let me first say, I think you're a great mom the way you are really looking in to this, obviously trying to nip this in the bud, and help your son. Good for you! The following comment is just a general observation of what I see very often during my work as an OT, and may not have much bearing to your family directly. So, please take it as it comes as a (hopefully) helpful suggestion as you move ahead with your wonderful family.

I work with plenty of very different kids who all carry the ADHD/ADD diagnoses. These are all great kids who love to laugh, play and learn. I've found the ones who "struggle" the most in school are the ones who, "get away" with bad behavior because of their diagnosis.

I had a 5th grader tell me once: I don't have to really listen, because I have ADHD (I am NOT kidding!). Me being someone not to mince words, I told this child that I didn't care if he had it, he was going to control himself and work with me. It worked! And once he heard it more than once, he never caused me any grief, and worked very hard. Yes, he DOES have ADHD, but ADHD was NOT causing his bad behavior. He was just "getting away" with it.

I feel strongly that there is a difference between "bad behavior" and "attention deficit." An attentional problem may(and does) cause a child to lose focus, slow down learning, etc, but this is not a cause of talking back; throwing tantrums; throwing objects; etc.

Frustration is a common start-point for behaviors in kids with learning delays, so getting your son help right away, and staying involved once school starts will be good.

Long and short, find an MD who will help you "tease out" what's really going on with your son (ADHD; meds; allergies; etc); maybe you need to take him to a specialist? But remember: you are the Mom of this great little boy, and the sooner you can help him learn to control his behavior (especially before school starts) the better!

Good luck :)
T

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FWIW, here are my suggestions:

1. If you can afford it, follow the advice of the mom who took her daughter to a developmental psychologist. I don't know that particular one, but I would try her first because from the mom's description, she sounds like a good bet. Next year your son can be tested at school for free, but I think it would be better to start school with the kind of game plan you can only get through a diagnosis. There are several things that can cause your son's behavior besides ADHD.

2. Steel yourself for some big protests, and put him on an elimination diet to check for food allergies. You may want to do this under the supervision of a medical care practitioner who is an expert in food, chemical and dye allergies. You're more likely to find this in a naturopathic doctor than an MD. You can do this all by yourself, however; look on line for guidelines.

3. Do you absolutely need those allergy meds, even for a few weeks while you're checking for bad reactions to foods and additives?

4. While you're on the elminiation diet, reduce his chemical exposure as much as possible. Remove all air "fresheners" from your home, don't spray for bugs, use the sort of personal-care products on him that you would for a newborn (all vegetable/no detergent/fragrance-free,) get a bottle of Seventh Generation Fragrance-Free Liquid laundry soap (or something similar; 7th generation is very easy to find,) and throw away your dryer sheets. (I say THROW away because the formaldehyde, pthalates and other substances in them are bad for your entire family, anyway.) If you take him out in public, give him a bath as soon as you get home.

2 moms found this helpful

if you do believe that it could be food related, you should look up www.celiac.com or www.celiac.org they have links to add and adhd! they have diets that are for that! my husband has celiac disease and the more i have read about it the more i find about what else it could cause! Good luck!!

2 moms found this helpful

I have not had this problem with my own kids, but my cousin did. Her little girl would do much of the same things and we all thought that she had ADHD also. Guess what? It was allergies! We took her OFF of ANYTHING that was not natural. (It was hard). No candy. No sodas (The worst)not even diet sodas. No sugar, no milk, nothing with ANY preservatives in it. That meant that we had to MAKE everything that she ate, but she has grown up into a lovely young lady - and has TERRIFIC eating habits! All of the problems stopped when we did this. BUT - you have to be diligent! One soda pop can spoil the whole day!
Hope this helps. Good luck.
S.

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I am a former special ed. teacher and mother of a 2 year old. My daughter was having issues also. I had her tested by a company called Better Health USA. They check for foods (88 different foods) only but it made a HUGE difference in melt downs. She had problems with 28 different foods. This testing I felt was better than what I got from the allergist though many traditional Dr. don't believe in it. Many of my former students had great improvements when their parents changed their diets. Looking at discipline along with that may be the key. What may work for one child unfortunately may not work for another. Best wishes on your journey.

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Our little girl just turned 5 and is more challenging than ever before. She also has seasonal allergies and food allergies. ADHD type behavior have been linked with artificial colors & flavorings. Aspartame can do a number on children also. Some things to try may be:

1. Omega 3 supplement - 1000mg/day. Get some fish oil into your son's diet. There are several studies showing how increasing Omega 3's drastically help ADHD type behavior. Check Dr. Andrew Weil's site for information.

2. Eliminate all artificial colors, flavorings and artificial sweetners (especially Aspartame) and high fructose products. Remember to check multi-vits if taking. Kids toothpaste is another bad culprit. Toms of Main does a good yummy strawberry.

3. Get a good multi vit/mineral - You may need to go to Sunflower market, New Life, or GNC and ask the sales clerks to help you find a supplement without artificial colorings, flavorings or fake sweetners. One that we've used with our daughter is VegLife's Vegan Kids Multiple. http://www.nutraceutical.com

4. Low Sugar diet - If he's going to have something that's high sugar like a flavored yogurt have him eat protein or fat with it. The food combining helps to slow down the absorption of sugar. Dilute all juice and limit to 4oz. per day. If you choose to give him a soda, try buying Jones soda which uses cane sugar instead of high fructose. Better yet, get plain club soda or sparkling mineral water and combine it with natural fruit juice.

5. Eggs are a great before bed food. Easy to digest food, good protein & tryptophane to sustain him longer. Or almond butter on whole grain bread is another good pre-bed snack.

6. Cut WAY down on the TV and Computer time, especially close to bedtime. Too much stimulation before bed is a sure way to have a bad night's sleep.

If things don't get any better by trying these things, make an appointment with Dr. Sandy Newmark. http://www.doctornewmark.com/
If anyone can help a parent get their child to a healthier place, physically and emotionally, it's Dr. Newmark. He is covered by some insurance.

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Hi M., this must be really hard. My child had amazing meltdowns as a small child. She is now 15 without a melt down in sight. We put her on her bed and left her alone to finish without giving her any additonal attention to feed the fit. Neighbors would come to our house to see if everything was alright because she could scream so long and so loud. Her daycare (I was a working mom) and I worked it out so if she had a "fit" there, she could work it out in the sound proof office so the other kids and teachers weren't affects. There was one other little girl with the same behaviors. After she started school, she was still a very stubborn and opinionated child and required a lot of processing time. She had no food allergies that we know of, but got skin rashes and a bedwetting problem. The best parenting resource I used was a book called Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, Energetic by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka (Paperback - April 1, 1998).

Also, lots of kids are allegic to food coloring, really. Avoid red and just notice behaviors after he eats anything "bright."

One more thing: parenting takes years. Love, listen, disciline.

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I would suggest taking him to a Body Talk Practitioner. I know of one in Peoria, name is Merry Rinna. I don't know her number off the top of my head but if you are interested reply and I can look it up for you. My sister's little 3 month old was having fits, throwing up, arching back with feedings, crying constantly and inconsolable and I had her seen and during the session he became a calm peaceful child. Most of our physical ailments have emotional ties and Body Talk is the only way I know of the tap into our body's "energy" and "emotions" and help release them or get them "un-stuck". Best of luck.

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Please consider removing all chemicals from his diet. Eat organic whenever possible, and stick with foods in their most natural states...that is, not processed foods. This can be a challenge if you are accustomed the All American diet, but it can literally change his, yours, and your husband's lives. Try it for one month and see what happens.

In addtion, I would also remove the most popular allergenic foods from his diet. (Wheat and other gluten grains, dairy, chocolate, peanuts, corn) Also sugar and ALL dyes.

What to eat? Veggies, fruit, some meat and non-gluten grains. (Quinoa, buckwheat, millet, teff, rice)

Think of it as a journey the three of you are going to go on. Even pick an itinerary (for fun) and make this a fun adventure. Explore restaurants that can cater to your diet.

Then, after one month, slowly, s-l-o-w-l-y, add one food back week after week, watching for any reactions.

There are herbals you could use to strengthen and tonify the body, too.

I think you might be amazed and grateful at the results you experience. Enjoy the process! You also might hum to and with your son....it is simple, and can help the brain "reset." How much better all this is than going the prescription route, which only masks the problem and creates others.
Peace,
C.

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It is so hard to test at that age. You bring back memories of what we went through with my eldest son. He was moderately autistic, then Asperger's, now pretty normal. You are right about labels, but sometimes they are a necessary evil to get your son on the right track. I have a page on my website you might want to wade through for ideas. After researching, I believe ADD/ ADHD/ autism et al are related.
www.farmerchick.com, click on the autism word. I'd be glad to help you any way I can! You are not alone... {{HUGS}}

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if dad behaves badly (and the kids see it) it is very possible that it isn't something genetic but a learned behavior - don't be quick to seek drugs for your kid - even if dad takes them - pharmaceuticals are dangerous for everyone especially kids - try to feed him a good balanced diet and make sure he isn't getting a lot of chemicals that aren't being flushed from his system - any artificial flavors or colors are bad plus anything containing high-fructose corn syrup should be avoided - plus any yeasts or fungi in his system can trap heavy metals in the creases of his brain which results in blocked neuro-transmission - this can result in behavior problems and lack of focus simply because the brain is overstimulated - my suggestion is for good and safe natural balanced nutrition like herbs from the Amazon - they are grown wild in the virgin rainforest and harvested by indigenous people so not only are we able to promote good health for people but the planet as well - check out my website: shootingstarherbs.amazonherb.net for more info or call me at ###-###-#### with any questions

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There are many things that have Red Dye in them - I had a student that was allergic to it as well, and it made her VERY hyper. I would cut it out completely.

Also, my sister has an allergy to Antihistimines - (Allegra, Zyrtec and Singulair may have these) It also made her VERY hyper.

I would start by going to a very basic diet - almost bland. No Sugars. No Juices, etc. After about 2 weeks of this type of diet - start adding in things one at a time... like Juice, or a granola bar etc. You should be able to see some of the "triggers" that happen, especially since after "detoxing his body" it will almost be a shock.

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Hello M.!

I wanted to let you know that you are definately not alone about this problem. My youngest son started acting out in pre-school when he was 5. My husband and I were floored and had no idea what was happening to our son. We worked with his teachers at pre-school and then in Kindergartetn. We started with individual counseling and then proceeded with Occupational Therapy. The Community Lighthouse here in town has excellant counselors and Exploribilities was amazing with Occupational Therapy. They both are a teaching tool for not only your child but for you as well. After a year of this,my husband and I not only learned a lot but learned that the earlier you catch this and get involved, the better your whole family is. After a year of counseling, we went to see a specialist in ADHD and had him tested after he was 6. He was diagnosed a year and a half ago. The best thing my husband and I did was that. The doctor said it was up to us about medication. We went about another 2 months and even though neither one of us was too hip on medication, we started our son on it last April. They started him out on the lowest dose, but it took the next mg up to do the trick. YOU will see an amazing change in your son, if you do this. I think not only for our sanity but for my son's, he has benefitted from it and has a total different outlook on life.

If he is starting Kindergarten in the fall, another good resource is the counselor at his school. Ours was amazing and worked one on one with my husband and I and my son's teacher. There are really good people out there.

If you need anything or need contact information, please let me know. You will be okay and so will your son. People have told us that the sooner you get involved, the better off you are.

R. (____@____.com)

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Hi M.,
I totally relate. My son was originally diagnosed as "Hyperactive" at age 2. He had meltdowns regularly, and it was rare we went out without some type of tantrum. With an older sister and a younger brother he was more than just a handful, and to this day I have spent more time and energy on him over the years than I have spent on the other 2 kids put together. He also had reactions to food dye - red and blue. Finally at age 6 he was diagnosed with ADHD. Yes, he was medicated for many years. My husband was very opposed to this - until he saw the change. WOW what a difference it made for him! Especially his interactions with friends and his school work. He is 17 now and no longer needs medication, but still gets violent at times.

Check around and see if you can get him evaluated. I hope you find some help and don't have to wait until Kindergarten starts. I think my son would have done much better in school had he been treated earlier.

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Hi M.,
Boy can I relate. My 5 year old has been throwing some unbelevable tantrums, hitting herself, and just out of control at times. She also has asthma and allergies. My daughter is very strong willed and sweet, but she wants what she wants. I have threatened to sit on her when she has melt downs, but usually, I put her in her room till she gets self-control. I would start with behavior modification and selective words before medication. I think children and so perceptive today. I know nothing about ADHD. One parent mentioned your husband and if your child has heard you or him talk about his ADHD condition, your son may be acting on that? You have received some incredible advice from other moms. I know the Love & Logic is great information too.
You are NOT alone! Remember to always seek to understand and discipline with love. Good Luck!

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Hi M.,
My son is 7 almost 8(next week), and he was diagnosed with ADHD last fall. The symptoms that your child is having are so familiar to what my son had, and I know EXACTLY what you are going through. My son has a hard time focusing, and throws the most embarrassing temper tantrums in public when he was told to do something, or if we were leaving when he didn't want to. He got to the point a few months ago, that if I told him to do something, he would through things at me or at the wall. I have learned that patience is a virtue. I too several weeks ago put in a request for advice on Mamasource, and I got the most wonderful advice ever.
I was debating whether or not to put my son on meds, but I finally became desperate (I guess is the word), and the doctor has him on a non stimulant called Strattera. It has worked wonders. The doctor has also told me that a child can be diagnosed since they are 4 years of age. So I don't think he is too young. But all doctors have different opinions.

My son has chronic allergies also, especially seasonal. He has been from Zyrtec to Allegra to Claritin, and for some reason nothing seemed to work. It was very difficult because there are only certaint things that can be mixed with ADHD medication. I finally took him to an allergiest who finally decided to give him allergy shots every week.

I know what you are going through, and I know that it is not an easy thing for a parent. I am a single parent and it is the most challenging thing to overcome, having a child with ADHD. I thought I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, I started counseling and parent classes along with my child and everything seems to be working out ok.

Hope this helps.
Kim

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I know that this might sound really crazy and off the wall, but have you tried changing his diet? Try taking as much Gluten out of his diet as possible. Also, try giving him more "raw" foods than all of that processed stuff that we all eat. You might be surpried how much change you see in his behavior and his allergies. I am not one for medicating to mask the symptoms. I am not a real "earthy" person, but I tried giving my daughter more Raw natural foods for the same kind of reason and she has really calmed down a lot. She was not over the top, but I noticed that she was starting to kick and throw herself at little things. Like I said, I am not a holistic type of person, but what can it harm to try. Whole foods has a great variety of natural and raw foods. There is also many web sites for recipes for "raw" meals. It is amazing what can change with our bodies with a change in our diet.

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Try reading the ADD Answer by Dr. Frank Lawlis.
It is the only book I've found where the author has ADD and can speak from personal experience. Dr. Lawlis is also Dr. Phil's professor and he comes highly recommended.
The reason I bring this up is because the way you described his brain being stuck is exactly how they describe ADD.
I would read this and become very knowledgeable. You are your child's advocate and there is too much of —he must have ADD so let's put him on meds.

Dr. Michael Gurian, wrote the Wonder of Boys. He has ADD and his parents put him on med's with one idea only. He tells the story that his parents said we will put you on med's for 6 months to 1 year so you can see and feel calmer, then we will take you off the med's and work with you to help you achieve that same calm all by your self because you will need to know how to manage yourself in life. He said it worked beautifully.

So there you are. I know it is not immediate help, but it is something.
Also my website has a on-line, on-demand seminar, #2, that is a much calmer version of timeout. It works very well for kids like yours.
Good Luck, The Mommie Mentor, www. proactiveparenting.net

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Hi M.,

I think it is silly that they will not test him for another year. It is not like he is 2 or 3 he is almost 5! I think as the mom you have a better feel for you kid than anyone else. Try getting a second or even third opinion until you find someone that will test him, or maybe an allery specialist to determine the cause of the dye and/or meds. I don't know a whole lot about ADHD but go with your gut. Can he start therapy without being diagnosed? Good luck and my heart goes out to you. Hang in there.

K.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter "HAD" .... ADHD and I also wanted to sell her on E-bay. That was when she was 8 But we found Bio-Feedback and it did wonders, people who saw her after we started it were like is that the same child. What it does is help straighten their brain waves. After about 6 months she was her sweet loving self.

She is now 22 and we recently found out about Candida. Look it up. Doctors do not know what it is, so they do not treat it. It's when the body produces to much Yeast and different foods and Antibiotics and drugs just feed the yeast and that causes problems. It's very interesting. The same daughter has that, and I think if we would have known that when she was dealing with the ADHD we could have handled it then, so we are dealing with the CANDIDA now. We are sure she had the Candida as a child only the Dr. did not know what it was so was treating her for what he THOUGHT was wrong, so he was just making the Candida worse. Dealing with the Candida now is helping her health.

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Hi M. -

Here is the list of side effects for Allegra Oral -

The following side effects are associated with Allegra Oral:

Infrequent side effects:
Throat Irritation Less Severe
Sinus Irritation and Congestion Less Severe
Dry Mouth Less Severe
Indigestion Less Severe
Infection caused by a Virus Less Severe
Pain During Periods Less Severe
Backache Less Severe
Muscle Pain Less Severe
Drowsiness Less Severe
Dizzy Less Severe
Low Energy Less Severe
Rash Less Severe
Head Pain Less Severe
Feel Like Throwing Up Less Severe
Throwing Up Less Severe

Rare side effects:
Middle Ear Infection Severe
Acute Infection of the Nose, Throat or Sinus Severe
Hives Severe
Life Threatening Allergic Reaction Severe
Allergic Reaction caused by a Drug Severe
Nightmares Less Severe
Feeling Restless Less Severe
Earache Less Severe
Itching Less Severe
Chronic Trouble Sleeping Less Severe
Fever Less Severe
Pain Less Severe
Cough Less Severe
Stomach Cramps Less Severe
Nervous Less Severe

I hope this helps.

M. M. Ernsberger
Certified Herbalist
Square-foot Gardening Specialist
www.wellnessgardening.com
###-###-####

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I feel so badly for you. THank you for trying so much to help him. I had five boys and a girl in 8 years and never had anything like that happen. I figure that I had just about any phase anyone ever had, but that is not included. I would definitely seek professional help. I don't know what is wrong with your doctor, that he won't recommend a place to take your son to. Testing for ADHD is not enough and you need help now.

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M.,

I have a son who get's 'stuck' and has a hard time letting go too. He is now 8 and it gets better every year - so hang in there.

My advice would be to go to the Public School system and ask that he be tested for sensory issues. There are some things that can be done through OT (occupational therapy) that will help teach him to calm down quicker and understand his own reactions.

You area should have a childfind program - though they may call it 'developemental delay' for preschoolers. My son recieved a huge amount of help through that area.

Best to you.

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wow- i have a ton of help for you, but not enough time to put it all here. he sounds a lot like my son before he was diagnosed with sensory integration disorder, tourette's syndrome, and a soy allergy. (yes- allergies affect behavior!!! my son is a different child without soy!) please email me, and when i have some time i can tackle any questions you have about any of the above, and suggest some things. you really need to postpone the adhd testing until other things are discussed, food allergies being number one. i can also help you with the possible tourettes. trust me, there's hope! trust your instincts! if you are in tucson i can refer you to a wonderful doctor for help.

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First, don't forget to attribute some behavior as "learned." You mention that your sweetie acts just like his dad. This may very well be learned behavior. Also, throwing a fit when he doesn't get his way can be a very normal response for some children. They just don't want to hear "NO." Granted, his response was extreme! I think that one thing you can do is this. Keep a journal of his behavior, time of day, trigger, what calmed him or stopped the episode and other relevant information.It may be a good idea to record the foods and drinks he had that day/time of day. Then see if you can find consistencies or patterns. Sometimes you just have to avoid those triggers.
It's too bad but sometimes you have to eliminate those events that he enjoys so much that he never wants to stop doing them. (like throwing a fit when leaving the pizza place).
It is very important that he understands that his behavior is unacceptable and he will not be allowed to go to the pizza restaurant at all as long as he acts in a particular way. Be very specific about what he can or cannot do. If he kicks and hits you, mention that. If he screams, mention that.
Be sure to reward good behavior ("I liked it when you were quiet and got in the car like a big boy. We will go back next month because you were a big boy and behaved yourself." or something like that.) and ignore as much inappropriate behavior as possible. In other words, when he pitches a fit, don't hold him down, comfort or scold him. Just ignore him completely. Let him have his fit. Those tantrums will be less and less rewarding for him if he gets no response from you. This works for all kids, not just ADD.
I have been a daycare provider and mom for over 25 years. (I'm also a retired RN) I have had considerable experience with children who are ADD/ADHD and just plain rotten kids! LOL Not giving them the attention they are wanting is a very effective tool. You must remind him that you love him and will always be there for him but that some behaviors will not evoke a response from you. And, you must be very consistent, especially with ADD-impaired children. Consistency is one of the most important things they need from you and your husband. Behavior A= reward, Behavior B= no reward and do it every single time that behavior happens.
I know that this is easier said than done but it is quite effective over time. He will learn.
Regarding allergy medications...more is being learned all the time. Generally practitioners are saying that it is best to not medicate children with these drugs unless it is absolutely the last choice. They respond to the ingredients in these meds differently than adults. They are really just beginning to understand these reactions. Do the best you can to avoid exposure to those things that cause allergic reactions and keep his personal space as dust/allergen-free as possible. There are culprits everywhere...stuffed animals, linens, curtains, etc. My younger brother had childhood asthma and allergies so badly that his room couldn't have any kind of fabric but cotton in it. That meant no carpet or rugs,only cotton curtains, sheets, blankets, etc. It isn't easy but it can be done. Then, with any luck, you can keep the use of medications to a minimum like when he will be in an environment that you cannot control. Do you have breathing treatments for him like a nebulizer? If not, you should look into it. Not only do they help the child's breathing, they are physically and emotionally comforting, especially if you are right there with him when he has his treatment.
Having had allergies all my life, I can tell you that severe allergies can be frustrating as well as physically uncomfortable. The medications that I took as a child were really awful and made me feel "weird" as I used to tell my mom. Sometimes they made me sleepy, sometimes the made me wired to the max. One of them, don't remember the name, even affected my blood sugar levels which also affected my behavior. So, yes, allergies and the meds can affect behavior. (Note-I use Claritin now and it is so much better than those other horrible drugs!)
It sounds like your son is easily stimulated for whatever the reason. Knowing this, keep his environment as calm and collected as possible. It is important for him to have a routine, consistent, calm and quiet environment as much as possible. Music is a wonderful healer and way to express emotion. Play his favorite songs for him and pay attention to what songs they are. They may tell you something. If he likes rowdy, dance along with it-type music, he may need more physical exercise. Some kids require more than "normal." If he seems to find comfort in music, use it as a tool when he is out of control.
Lastly, he needs to learn that only he can control his behavior and the responses to it. He needs to learn to focus and concentrate his attention on one thing at a time. Some ADD kids are easily overwhelmed by certain situations. They have difficulty sorting it all out. He needs to learn to set simple, short-term goals and accomplish them one at a time without distraction. So, if his goal is to have fun with a game, don't allow him to wander off in the middle of the game or talk or be disruptive when someone else is speaking or having a turn. Teach him to concentrate on just the game and those playing it with him. He needs to learn that other people are special too and deserve his attention.
I hope that this works out for you. I can't tell you what is causing his behavior but I can tell you that whatever you choose to do about it, do it every time. Be consistent. Have a routine. Ignore the bad and reward the good. Those are the basics anyway, with just about any child but especially with "hyper" kids.
Best of luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I totally understand what your going through!!! Our 4 year old girl, is FULL of energy, cant focus on a task and is very stubborn. She does not fight us though and thank god shes not a screamer, but my god she is into every thing!! She too has allergys and asthma, as well at GERD and chronic constipation. Daddy is also ADHD. Our daughter's pedatrician told us for 2 years she could not be tested for ADHD untill she was 5 or 6. I finally got to the point that I was so frustraited I called the insurance company and asked if I needed the Dr's refferal to have her evaluated, the answer is NO! Most insurance does NOT need a pedatrician referal... call your insurance company, they usually have a mental health number. I had her evaluated last month. We see the Psych. next week to talk about meds. As far as the ADHD label, whats worse having your child be out of controll or having some one say "Oh gosh her kids ADHD"... for me, to heck with what others think, I want to hlep my child. Your son sounds like he might also have Sensory Intergration Dysfunction.(my 4 year old son has SID) My best advice untill you are able to have him evaluated is try to remember that its not his fault that he is acting the way he is, he havs a medical problem... When your son begins to act up, try to distract the behavior, sing to him, keep a fun toy in the car, play the I spy game, any thing to distract the behavior. Also when changing activitys, give a count down, 5 min to play and then we are going home, 3 min to play and we are going home, 1 min and we are leaving peter piper, ok we are going home. It eases the transition. I wish you the best of luck! Its tough, but hang in there!!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi M.,

I really don't have any experience with kids who have ADHD, but I do know of a book that specializes in all "problem" areas with kids and how to deal with them. It's called: Parenting With Love & Logic by Foster Cline & Jim Fay. I was introduced to it when I was a preschool teacher, and let me tell you that it made a wrold of a difference in both working with 16 two-year olds as well as with my own 7 y.o., 10 y.o. & 14 y.o.!!! Give it a try... You can look at their website love & logic.com

1 mom found this helpful

Hi M.,

I have a 4 year old son who was diagnosed at age 3 with ADHD. My pediatrician sent us to see a developmental psychologist named Dr. Karlson Roth. She was very nice and very good with my son. She is very highly regarded in AZ as being a great doc. After her evaluation, she recommended developmental preschool. She does not believe in giving kids under the age of 7 drugs. With the recommendation for developmental preschool, we were sent to our local school district for another evaluation by them to see if he would qualify for services. He was accepted into the program (which is free) and he has been making unbelievable progress ever since. He started the program just after Thanksgiving this past year and the difference is seen by everyone who ever knew him. I am very disappointed to hear that your sons doctor has not tried any early intervention with him. Please, please have him evaluated by either your local school district or by a private developmental psychologist. Oh, by the way, It is free to have them evaluated by the school district.
Since his diagnoses, I bought a book called the ADD answer. This book is really helpful with diet info and has lots of ideas to try when your son actually begins school. Basically I have learned that kids with ADD/ADHD need to have very clear boundaries. Tell them only once and if they do not do what is asked, discipline them. Do not say, "If you do that 1 more time". Do not bribe, but DO reward and very often! Also, very important, tell your son what to do rather than what not to do. This was the hardest thing for me to change. I used to tell my boys, "do not throw the rocks or the sand" before going outside in the yard. Now I have re-trained myself to say, "the rocks stay with the rocks and the sand stays with the sand". But the best thing you can do is positive praise as much as you can. Tell him how proud you are of him as often as you can. Positive instead of negative goes a very long way!
Try to limit the dyes in his food as much as possible. Try to cut down on his sugar intake as well. My son loves pancakes so I have switched to sugar free (diabetic) syrup (we use the one with sucralose as opposed to aspertame). He also loves chocolate milk, so I switched to Nesquik no sugar added powder. He liked strawberry milk, but I told him that the colors in it will make him sick so he always picks chocolate or white milk now. He will even tell you that strawberry milk makes him sick. Try to train your son now about what foods will make him sick. The older they get the harder it becomes. And last but not least, I put my son on Omega 3 vitamins. You can buy what I call gushers, Nordic Naturals 100% cod liver oil liquid gel capsules at any Whole Foods or Sprouts store. They come in strawberry flavor and my boys love them. Omega 3's vitamins are great brain food. They help with focus and concentration. Can even help to "re-circuit" the brain.
Sorry about the novel, but I have lots of info on the subject. I do know what you are going through and if you ever need to talk, just send me a private note and I will give you my phone number. It will get better, I promise! And you are not alone. Good luck!

S.

1 mom found this helpful

Diet, Diet, Diet..... get his diet under control. Yes, dyes are bad, as well as sugar, wheat and dairy. Eating out and fast food are not good for him. Cut out partially hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup too. You have to become a label reader if you truly want to help him. Also, household cleaners are toxic to children. Go green and use natural products. I use vinegar and baking soda to clean. Works great. It will really help with the asthma too.
You have to make an effort to change for the better. It's hard work, but a happy UNmedicated child is soooo worth it.

1 mom found this helpful

Food allergies/sensitivities DOES effect some kids behavior. My children (all four) are effected by foods and dyes. Their personalities totally change. My oldest would act like what you describe but when I watch his diet he is totally fine. My younger ones act "drunk." It sounds so bizare but it is so true. You can figure out what they are reacting to without your doctor. My doctor tested him and he was allergic to wheat but he still had symptoms, just not as bad. But when I took him off of gluten, it made all the difference in the world. My kids can't have gluten, dairy, dyes and artificial stuff. I have a friend whose child goes completely off the deep end if he has lunch meat or bacon. It is the nitrates in those foods that make him completely lose it! I feel for you as I know how frustrating and depressing having him be totally unpredictable. Try not to eat out for a while and don't feed him processed foods for awhile and see how that does. You can try putting him on a gluten-free and dairy-free diet also. I know that was HUGE for my kids. I noticed a difference after 3 days! Good luck to you! God Bless!

1 mom found this helpful

I'm so sorry you and your son are going through this. I'm sure it's difficult for both of you. My friend has one boy who is ADHD and another who is a high-functioning Autistic boy. She says diet helps and you may want to investigate the Autistic diet and just see if there are a few changes you can make (cutting out stuff like wheat, gluten, casien-dairy).

Personally, I would look for a "classical" homeopath. Preferably, one who deals with ADHD on a regular basis. AZ is the mecca of homeopaths as we have the largest school in the nation right here in PHX. There is a book called The American Institue of Homeopathy Handbook for Parents by Edward Shalts, M.D.,D.Ht.

The book covers ADHD a little bit, but it is a great introduction book for parents who are considering homeopathy so that you can go into it with a little understanding. I'm sure you can find the book on Amazon.
Good luck to you,
B.

1 mom found this helpful

How long has your son been off singulair? I have been doing some research on this drug because of a facebook page I ran across about a little boy named Tyson Sawyer who was taking singulair and became anxious, was having nightmares, not sleeping, self abusing hismself and having extreme fits -(had to be bound to a bed at the hospital ), his Dr's ran all kinds of tests and couldn't find anything wrong-ct scan, bloodwork, you name it...finally after weeks they pulled his singulair and within 72 hrs he was a different kid. It sounds strange and My Son who is 5 is also on singulair and though it has been wonderful for his allergies/asthma I'am concerned for his mental health-he is hyper at times, strong-willed, has a hard to paying attention and has been getting in trouble more at daycare for picking on his friends, not minding etc...I know the singulair helps him but at the same time Iam concerned with the side effects and if maybe this is whats wrong., also singulair chewables has red dye in it which we all know it is not good for some children., anyway I wish you and your little one all the best and hope this was somewhat helpful.

M.,
My heart goes out to you. I have several friend whose children have gotten good results with ADD and ADHD issues. If you'd like to talk to any of them, I'd be happy to connect you.
Wishing you the best!
J.
www.homebasedabundance.biz

Allergies can have a HUGE affect on mood and behavior. My sister's kids have a reaction to red dyes also. It's surprising how they flip out after having candy or something with red in it. My son has had meltdowns like you describe. Sometimes lasting 2 hours of hysterical crying and anger. Since I've been medicated for clynical depression at the age of 8, it made me wonder....I took him to our family dr. (not a pediatrician, just a family dr.) and we tried a few things. First, prozac. This turned him into a zombie. No more fits, but no feeling whatsoever either. So, we took him off of that and waited about a year. We then started lamictal. What a miracle! It's a mood leveler. My husband has the same problem and he started it a year before our son, this is what made me think to put him on it too. So, this medication and a good night's rest (in bed at 8 up at 7-7:30) has brought much peace to our home. (A happier husband might I add!) I feel like with the deficiencies in our soil and the contaminations to our farms and animals, we just don't have the nutrients we need for healthy development. Then there's the whole gene thing...sometimes God makes us so unique that we need a little help from the smart Dr.'s he's created! So, the meds. could have a great affect on your son. Some medications make it worse. Find a Dr. that really knows their stuff. Our Dr. trusted our relationship and took a risk putting our son on Lamictal (because it had not yet been tested on children) but it worked! We started out with a very low dose and over the course of months we worked our way up to the right dose that gave us the best results. So, you might not get a very good response if you mention it to your pediatrician, you might take him to a family Dr. that you trust will listen. Good luck with everything. Feel free to contact me if you need vent! I know those meltdown's can be exhausting! -A.

Hi M.,
I know this answer is late, but in the event that someone can find answers from your question I would like to refer you to www.reddyefree.blogspot.com. Your child has the same dye-induced behavior that many children suffer from. By eating synthetic dyes (artificial dyes) made out of petroleum and derived from coal tar, children are getting a huge dose of what is bad for them. The food and drug companies have been using artificial synthetic dyes because they are cheaper and can make brightly colored foods. These artificial dyes have been put in virtually everything and so the recommended small dose has increased substantially. When our children eat candy today and the foods that we used to love when we were kids, they are not getting the same food quality as we did. It is unbelievably worse. The best thing to do is to stay away from artificial colors. They can increase or possibly create ADD/ADHD behavior. It is not bad parenting for millions of good parents, but simply eating the wrong foods. A child with ADD/ADHD can be helped tremendously through elimination of these synthetic dyes. It helped my child and many others.

well, i know exactly what you're going through...my son has those tantrums and it is horrible...
i don't know where to start to share my story...i'll let you know that i believe adhd and the tantrums are different although my son has both problems as well...
my son is not active at all, he is unaware of his physical body, he won't play sports and we occasionally fight to get him to use my elliptical machine 15 minutes every other day...
he is very smart, reads a lot yet is so distracted...he'd be reading a book and i'd be right in front of him saying excuse me and he wouldn't respond...i'd be right in front of him calling his name over and over, no response...if i asked him to take his plate to the sink, he'd be in his bedroom before he realized he didn't put his plate away...for me it was confusing because he could concentrate so well on drawing cartoons or reading yet he needed to be constantly reminded of everything (including flushing the toilet)...it was definitely upsetting him as well, he was failing in school, teachers felt that he was defiant and choosing to not do his work (which was not true at all), his self esteem was very low and he had people bossing him around and getting frustrated constantly...he would try so hard, and felt so bad disappointing people. it was recommended to get him tested for add i went to a place in phoenix that specializes in testing for add...it was a horrible experience, if you want the name of the company, email me and i'll send it to you ____@____.com couldn't decide whether he was or wasn't and said to work on his diet...we eat very healthy, organic foods, fruits and vegetables, no caffeine, no dyes, and low amounts of sugar.. so i went to a counselor who had a list of add criteria and if he met so many (something like 5 symptoms out of 8 then he was add.) he was all 8 or 10 or whatever number it was...i went to a kids physiologist for a second opinion, within 5 minutes she could tell by the way he acted he was add, then we went down the list again...he was given a medication called adderal which has changed his life around...his self esteem has improved a bit, he can get his chores done without being reminded of every detail, i can definitely tell when he hasn't taken his pill...i've always been anti-medication especially for kids yet it got to the point where my son was crying one day after school saying mom everything's hard for me, everything. i made the decision to medicate because the counselor had a program that while he's on the medication, he can learn life skills to deal with having add and can then get off the pills so it won't be a lifetime of medication. so i would get a good counselor maybe get a second opinion, do ask yourself honestly about diet and exercise for your son.

as far as tantrums:
he was having tantrums when he was about 5 years old and it would get to the point of me putting him into his room and having to hold the door closed, me standing on the other side telling him that once he calmed down the door would open...these "episodes" sometimes lasted an hour long...it was beyond emotionally exhausting...it would end up that he would finally calm down and i'd have to excuse myself to go cry and breathe and not take his stuff on...he'd even have these tantrums at school where he'd run out of the classroom and away from the teachers! it was a nightmare. for some reason he did start to calm down, maybe i thought he just kind of grown out of them. lately he's doing really well in school, yet the tantrums have started again, and he's 11 years old!...yes, i'm holding him down he's kicking, hitting, biting me telling me he wants to hurt me and i wasn't involved in the incident that set him off! again, i'm pretty calm when i deal with him, i've stopped talking to him when he gets in these situations and just let him work it out while i'm restraining him so he doesn't hurt himself or anyone else, yes, sometimes it takes a good hour, and usually there's another kid around witnessing this...and yes sometimes i do try to distract him with asking him questions about the things he likes, yes after he's calm i go somewhere alone and cry...it's so scary and hard to deal with. so the bottom line here is that my counselor feels that my son is obsessive (which i think is true) and when he is focused on something such as he needs a drink of water and someone comes along and says not now or finish your chore first, he flips out....i'm in the process of learning how to deal with it right now actually...again if you want to email me directly, i can let you know what her strategies are..in the meantime make sure you take care of yourself...whenever my energies are low i do a bad job handling these situations, when i've taken care of myself, i find that i can handle these situations better.
good luck sincerely it's really hard yet i love him so much and i just want to help him...

Hi M.,

This sounds just like my son when he was little and it is very easily remedied with dietary changes. It was my son's issues that sent me on the path of becoming a Health and Nutritional Counselor, which is what I do now.

I'm happy to meet with you to discuss your son and what we could do to eliminate his symptoms (including asthma and allergies...all of which are pretty easy to get rid of).
You can reach me at ###-###-####. My web site is www.HealthyHabitsWellnessCenter.com

Warm Regards,
G. Van Luven
Healthy Habits Wellness Center, LLC
###-###-####

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