5 Yr Old Daughter and ADHD

Updated on August 08, 2010
C.M. asks from Saint Helens, OR
13 answers

Hey Mamas, I have a wonderful very smart little girl. She was recently thought by me, her Pre-K teachers and her Dr that we should possilbly get her tested for ADHD. She has had the syptoms for the last 3 yrs but the last few months have been hell. I love her to pieces and she is smart as a whip but the little thing is driving me crazy! Her attention span is so short and constant moving/figiting, disrespect to me and her dad, her screaming and out of control emotional tantrums, I am at a loss. The Dr said to try adding coffee to her milk in the morning, temp fix! We are trying a more strick schedule, planned activities out of the house, and we have eliminated most all of tv time, sugar is a minimum. I guess that my question is, is this; Have any of you done this? How do you parent a strong willed demanding and emotional little person without losing your sanity and help them cope too? I am so lost and feel just overwhelmed and exhausted! I get so frusterated I wind up screaming just to get her to hear me over her screaming, I HATE that, I feel like I am failing as a mom! Please give me some constructive advice and please be kind I don't think that I can handle anymore emotional hits, I lost a good friend in June and my dad just passed away mid July, so to say the least I am emotionally spent, so any helpful advice would be so great. Also,do parenting classes help with this? ~ I am not looking to put her on any meds in time so please if you have any natural remedies that would be great too! THANKS~ C.

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answers from Boise on

Hi C.,

I hear your pain. You are smart to not want to put her on drugs. Watch for those teachers and doctors though, who will go to great lengths to convince you she NEEDS them. Which is a full out and out lie.

All the symptoms you listed that she has- every one of them- is a symptom listed under a magnesium deficiency. What magnesium does is relax the central nervous system, and in turn keeps the adrenaline down. Low/deficient magnesium allows adrenaline to spike/increase. Magnesium is NEEDED by the body as it is a chemical gate blocker- it blocks calcium from rushing in and exciting the nerve cell.

Problem: all of us should be having at least as much magnesium in our bodies as we get of calcium. They are companion minerals. Needed equally.

Reality: When is the last time you heard that they are fortifying foods with magnesium? You don't. But they are loading calcium into processed foods, and we ALREADY get quite enough compared to the magnesium ratio. We get a large percentage of calcium from all kinds of foods, but magnesium in the diet is rare. Certain foods like milk products, especially if taken in large amounts, create an even bigger gap. Milk has one part magnesium to EIGHT parts calcium.This creates a magnesium deficiency- the calcium is not blocked in nerve cells, and they fire away.

What you can do to help calm her nerves (and you may want to try the regime too) :

1. Water- the nervous system runs on hydro electricty. When your body gets the amount of water it needs, it runs smoothly. When you start running low (and it doesn't take alot to be in 'dehydration' mode) the body will automatically go into an emergency mode where it shuts down water to the non-vital organs (colon, skin, nerves) and re-routes the water to the brain, the organ that sustains life. The brain MUST keep its exact requirement for water met. So the nerves start straining to run, you feel "edgy" "snappy", and will get headaches. The key amount of water intake is 8 oz a day for every 25 lbs of body weight.
Every non-water drink you have can act as a directic,and must be replaced by an additional amount of equal water. For the doctor to put her on coffee shows he doesnt know as much as he should. Coffee not only dehydrates but has clorogenic acid and caffeine, both of which aggitate the nervous system. I have given up coffee. I notice the edgy effect THE DAY AFTER ingestion. A tendency to snap, a loss of control almost. That's coffee that is caffinated.

2. Magnesium malate or magnesium citrate, 300-600 mg a day.
It can give loose stool -but if it does, you simply reduce the dose a bit until comfortable. (it can take anywhere from 2-12 hrs for the magnesium to affect the stool quality, 24 hrs on someone who is really backed up). Magnesium citrate works faster than malate.
Ps- if she suffers at all from constipation or does not have daily BM's, magnesium is the all natural fix. Do not give Mirilax and other prescriptions of that nature, which pull the water back out of the dehydrated person's brain, and send the water back to the colon. Not good for brain function or nerves.

3. Vitamin b complex drops under the tounge daily. Give before 2pm so they don't keep her awake at night. They tend to give some energy but also calm.

4. Cod liver oil can be of benefit. It does calm nerves and give a good mood.
Carlson brand is suggested, it is a better brand and is guaranteed metal free.

5. If she is ingesting a lot of milk- cut it back to one cup or less. It causes magnesium deficiency. Use rice milk for any further milk needs that day.

6. Some kids will get extremely aggitated and cranky if they have blood sugar regulation problems. You may see them peak and get giddy or hysterically laughing, immediately after eating. You may also notice they drop later, or get very aggitated and moody if they go more than 3 hours without food. They may complain of not feeling well or stomach aches. Do you notice the meltdowns occur before a mealtime is due? Try giving her a protien snack like cheese in between meals to keep the blood sugar more level.

I have suggested some of these things to a mother with an autistic son who was an aggitated mess, cussing and hitting walls, etc. who had been put on an SSRI. The SSRI wasn't working. It was just making the child more loopy.
Not only did she do the above, but we added a gluten free /milk free diet, candida cleansing, and NCD Zeolite for metal cleansing,... and she has seen a sharp improvement. Ther pedi also had this boy on Melatonin for sleeping at night,which is very strong, and he still couldnt sleep. We took him off that and put him on nutri-sleep which actually works well for him.

Anyway good luck, and run, run, run away from anyone who reccommends prescription drugs for her.

In Health,
Mrs .Gail B

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Hey C.:

My six-year old daughter Mia was diagnosed with ADD just a couple of months ago. Because I had ADHD as a kid, and likely do as an adult as well, I had a personal frame of reference for this condition and knew full well how devastating it can be if not treated. So, when Mia, who is my twin in just about every sense, started displaying the same symptoms I did as a little one, I did not hesitate to get her evaluated. Sho 'nuf, she is classically ADD. I started her on 10 mg of Metadate. The improvement has been remarkable. Mia's silly, goofy personality is still very much intact. Now, however, she can concentrate and listen and follow directions sooooooooo much better.

As a person who deals with clinical depression, and as someone who did not respond well to holistic remedies for such, I currently take Fluoxetine (generic for Prozac). I am thankful every day that this medication is available and that it helps me so very much. So when the choice was made to put my daughter on medication, I did not hesitate.

While I would not dare push you to medicate or not medicate, I will tell you what you probably already know: As long as your little girl struggles with ADHD, it WILL impede her social and emotional development. Whether your daughter's remedy lies in a small dose of any one of several ADHD medications out there, or whether you choose to try a non-prescription remedy first, your wisdom clearly shows through. At least you are aware and will address the issue. Many parents choose to ignore these issues until their children have experienced such severe struggles that it starts to negatively affect them as young adults.

I wish you and your daughter all the best luck in the world.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

The most positive thing I can say is to speak to a medical profesional because that is the solution you seek, if you are looking for something that will really work for her. it is a terrific tool to help her be less miserable, and you will feel better too. Everything else you do (and there is a lot!) will work better. Board certified child psychiatrists can provide standard treatment and give you referals for the play therapy, cognative behaviroal therapy, social skills classes, speech or OT if needed, advise on educational accomodations and will give you solid medical care. Brains are flesh and blood, and they have medical issues that respond very well to medical care. Speak to an expert and ask them to explain the medical condition and help you understand why medication not only works, but is safe and well tested. Natural remedies are not effective and are not regulated, and so many people prey on our desperation to find releif, so be careful, in a vulneralbe emotional state already, you could end up spending a lot of money needlessly.

If you have not yet invested in either a neuropsychological evaluation or a Developemental Evaluation that identifies her educational needs, please do. A Full scale evaluation would have included these things, from IQ to academic functioning and all the neuropsychological factors that she will need assistance with in school and life. If you know, for instance, that she has poor working memory, you evaluator will explain to you that she cannot hold infomation in her mind while she thinks about something else, so you will know that and adjust when you give her multi step directions, or that when she enters school teachers should give her stategies like writing down the first part of the answer while she solves the second, because she will forget. There are litteraly dozens of items like this that you will learn about how to deal with your ADHD child from a good evaluation. It should change the way you understand her issues, so that you can help her cope. She behaves this way because she is frustrated, imagine how much more difflicult this is for her! She wants to please, but her brain functioning just will not function properly so that she can (medication will help her brain function more like a typical persons brain and will assist her in carrying thoughts over the synapes, the space between brain cells, where her dysfunction lies.)

Read about strategies from Dr. Mel Levine or Dr. Russel Barkley. They each have many books that will help you with great ideas. All kinds of Minds is a great all purpose place to start. Once she starts school, check out www.wrightslaw.com and learn about advocacy.

ADHD is difficult for parents. Being a primary caretaker is difficult, so take care of yourself too, especially now that you have other emotional stressors, see a mental health professional yourself if you start to feel hopeless. Most primary caretakers will need psyciatric care themselves at some point, it is not a sign of a character defect, so don't feel embarassed if you need help. Most do.


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answers from Augusta on

Natural remedies did not work for my daughter. We had to go to medication and it's made all the difference.
Parenting classes do not help with ADHD kids.
ADHD is not a behavior it had to do with the chemicals in the brain not getting where they are supposed to be going at the speed they need to go at.
Pick up a book at the bookstore.
" Taking charge of ADHD" by Barkley
It gives good advice on behavior modification.
If treatment is going to work , It includes a child psychologist, her dr, and her family all on the same page. It's not a disorder that's easily conquered and if she truly is ADHD , will not " grow out of it"

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answers from Sacramento on

Ditto everything Martha shared. I also want to urge you to reconsider on the medication. There are no natural remedies that work for ADHD. Omega 3s are the closest thing that can help, but that is only in mild cases of inattentiveness. Don't waste time and money and things that have not be proven scientifically to have any merit. Read the medical research. Subscribe to ADDitude magazine and join CHADD for factual information. You can easily get scammed as a parent of a child with ADHD because people tap into all of the misunderstanding about this condition.

Our son's ADHD was so extreme we started medication at four. It made tremendous, life-changing benefits. It transformed his life in ways that behavioral therapy and parenting techniques never could. At seven, he tells us now how medication allows him to control his body. When the medication is active, people only see how smart and funny he is ... they don't even know he has ADHD. He has thrived in school. And this is HUGE because without medication, he is literally bouncing off the walls (will try to climb them), constantly in motion, unable to focus, aggressive and emotional. We were certainly hesitant to try medication with all of the hype out there about ADHD meds, but let me tell you, they're like giving a person who can't see well glasses. They work for this condition just as any other medication benefits other conditions.

Keep in mind that "natural" choices are not regulated by any government agency; the medications designed for ADHD are. With "natural" choices, you're taking advice from a minimum wage clerk in a natural foods store; with medications, you have people with medical degrees overseeing everything. If you don't like a stimulant medication for any reason, you can stop the medication immediately. It's out of the system by the end of the day.

Anyway, best of luck to you as you begin this process! At the very least, I do urge you to join CHADD to connect with others who've dealt with ADHD first-hand.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Coffee will help enormously if she is adhd. Too much will make her sleepy (and you'll know because she'll go into "I'm up past my bedtime" behavior, whether that's cranky or goofy).

Aside from adding caffeine (which, like most stimulants perks us up and calms us down in the same fell swoop)... check out the following:

"You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid, or Crazy?!?" by kate kelley & peggy ramundo

No... standard parenting classes will NOT help, in fact, they'll make things a LOT worse if she really is adhd, because traditional parenting solutions not only do not work... but often create an even bigger problem.

adhd-c mum to an 8yo adhd-c kiddo

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

all children need routine start by geting them up dressed fed short play time explain what you are doing why you are doing things ect, sing soft songs will working around the house . let her help in all you do . hanging out the washing she can be praised for giving you the pegs ect . invole them as much as possible . listen to what they have to say and try to answer questions i know it will take time . she is only screaming or tantrums because she feels mis understood come down to here size by kneeling and asking her what has upset her let her speak and listen promise her you will try and help to make it better for her . talking and smiling is the answer



answers from Detroit on

I have a question are you and her dad actively participating with her and her activities, if not then maybe you should. Maybe you should check to see if they have ADHD classes.



answers from Portland on

I know there are lots of people, kids and adults, who have ADHD or ADD. Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition.

You might try Shaklee because I talk to lots of people with this condition or know of people with this condition and they get help with nutrition. Their child is wild but after taking the vitamins and going to non-toxic cleaners their child is "normal" and relaxed. I know this sounds odd, but check it out and you will be surprised and what happens to your child and your household and how much healthier your child and you will be.



answers from Kansas City on

My girl responded very well to computer cd's. We had tons of learning programs for her and she could spend hours on the computer. Television and computer learning games throw a lot of stimulation at them at once and it is one of the few things that will calm them and direct them. We homeschooled her until age 11.

My daughter started getting coffee before school in the 6th grade. I hated it. It wasn't my idea. I wish I had known at the time it was good for her.



answers from New York on

You may need to try some or all of the suggestions people have written in. I was interested to hear about the magnesium solution, I hope that helps. My friend has a boy with behavior issues and eliminating gluten/lactose improved his behavior and attention 100%. I would also look into having your daughter tested for some sort of Talented and Gifted program. She might just be bored if she has above-average intelligence. Having a predictable routine is a great idea. Even consider posting it for her and making a checklist so she can help herself get ready or do chores. Ask your dr., friends or clergy person for a counselor for YOU AND for her. It sounds like neither of you have figured out how to grieve. I would hesitate to give her any sort of caffeine at such a young age, it's the same thing as giving her meds. A lot of the ADHD meds are stimulants similar to caffeine. One last thing, the parenting classes might help you figure out how to parent without getting frustrated. Then if your daughter is still having trouble you can look more closely at an ADHD diagnosis. If you feel like screaming, and your daughter's life is not in danger, walk away and take a few deep breaths, or approach her with a hug and whisper to her. It will help diffuse both your anger. You may have to try some or all of the suggestions to figure out what works. I wish you well.



answers from Washington DC on

Sign her up for Karate.
It works.
Be consistent.
Be firm.
She can get away with nothing.
Keep your chin up...



answers from Phoenix on

Hi C., We have a 5 yr old little boy who is also smart as a whip and hyper, hyper, hyper (thanks, Daddy). He has been tested, and is supposedly ADHD, and there are days that I totally believe he has it, and there are days where I think he's just a normal rambunctious little boy. Anyway, we have also chosen not to medicate at this time and have focused on a more natural approach which has helped a lot. I'm not saying he doesn't still have his moments, he absolutely does...but we have definitely seen an improvement overall. Basically, we put him on a fish oil supplement, a magnesium supplement, a good multivitamin and protein at every meal. I really think the protein was key, as well as the magnesium. Now that we have that stuff down, I'm starting to really limit artificial dyes in his food, and also looking into using natural cleaning products. Good luck and hope this helps!

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