Advice Please - Albany,OR

Updated on March 28, 2007
M.H. asks from Albany, OR
18 answers

My almost 5 yr old has never really left the terrible two's and I am to the point I feel like it is not her fault. I am now starting to think she has adhd. If anyone has a child or children with this disorder could you please let me know how you knew it was this and not just a bad child.. I can't hardly deal with her anymore she is making me crazy it has gotten to the point that she dislocated her 5 mo old sisters arm (playing with her). I have tried every type type of discipline, from hugs, time outs, taking away toys and even spanking her. This last week we went to Disney on Ice with some friends and she kept asking me if we could leave because she didn't want to sit there anymore. I don't like thinking of her as the bad child, I really do like spending time with her when she is not tearing things apart. I am to the point I dont think this is just her being bad.

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L.G.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi,

You should get her evaluated. My nephew has ADHD and he was doing things like not listening, not paying attentions, short attention span, poor little guy couldn't stay still long enought to eat, he lost interest in things quickly so he seemed and his actions seemed to be defiant which wasn't the case at all. He was evaluated and put on medication, my sister-in-law looked up ADHD and the medications and chose what she thought would be the right one for her son. I hope this helps.

: )

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N.R.

answers from Seattle on

Have you talked to her doctor about this? my child is ADD and i had a hunch that he had a learning disorder, and his attention span was not normal, but tried everything under the sun before i actually was ok with asking the doctor for help/advice when knowing in the back of my mind what was wrong.
They do have meds out to help with this that doesn't cause the kids to feel and act drugged up.
See what her doctor says.

Good luck, and remember there is no such thing as a Bad Child :)

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M.P.

answers from Portland on

M., I am sorry that you are having such a rough time with your 5 yo. I read some of your previous messages and can see the frustration that you're experiencing. Yes, it is good to get information from other mother's experiencing adhd questions but what will be most beneficial is getting a professional opinion. ADHD is too complex to diagnose over the internet.

You could start with her pediatrician who will refer you to a specialist. Or you can start with a clinic specializing in child psychiatry. Another Mamasource mom took her child to Cascadia Behavioral Clinic in Ptld for diagnosis and help with her challenging child. It charges you on a sliding fee scale. There will be a similar state supported clinic in your area.

From reading a previous message from you I'm wondering if you and your daughter have developed a relationship mired in power struggles. You say that you've handled misbehaviour by taking away toys and priveleges to the point that she has nothing left. Wow! If I were your daughter I would be so angry that I'd strike out at everyone. I understand why you would use the "taking away" approach. Removing toys and privileges is a time honored and effective parenting technique. But it's not working for you. One reason that it may not be working is that it sounds like that is your main focus.

I believe, along with most experts, that this sort of discipline needs to be balanced with twice as much, or more, of positive reinforcement. Catch the child doing something right and reward them with praise and any other small rewards that works. My 6 yo granddaughter is currently excited about star stickers. She pastes them onto a plain piece of paper. She also fights with her 3 yo brother and so I was surprised last week when she asked for 8 stars so that she could give her brother 5 of them. They're inexpensive, too.

If your daughter is feeling that she has no control over anything and this is likely, letting her choose how many stickers she gets is a simple way to give her just a little bit of sense of power. Another way is to give her choices. "do you want to have a banana or an apple for snack?"

I think it's important to give a child lots of loving attention even when they are misbehaving. Or I should say especially when they're misbehaving. Everyone of us function at our best when we believe that we are the best. If we hear mostly what a bad person we are we get discouraged and either give up or fight in anger.

Acknowledging her anger and giving her an alternative way to hurting her baby sister will help her learn how to manage her anger. "It is OK to be angry. It is not OK pull your sister's arm! Here is a pillow to hit." or throw. Or suggest that when you see that she's getting out of control that she run back and forth down the hall 5 times. Say or do something funny to distract her. Instead of a time out, after she's thrown that toy across the room have a cool down corner before she's out of control, away from the noise of the rest of the house, with soft pillows and books or quiet toys for her to play with.

I'm guessing that you're feeling quite discouraged and perhaps feel that you are a "bad" mother which makes it hard for you to be calm and detached when your daughter is misbehaving. You are doing the very best that you can with what you know now. The key to success is to get more information, like going to a specialist to learn what is going on with your daughter and how to handle it, and to get more positive attention for yourself so that you feel good about yourself.

You might ask how you can give your daughter positive attention when she's misbehaving all of the time. I'd suggest set up specific times to do positive things. For example, always read to her before going to bed. I adopted my daughter when she was 6 and even tho we struggled with each other throughout the evening I always sat beside her once she was in bed and read to her once she calmed down. She was often upset and acting out at bedtime. She was my only child and so I could sit quietly for a long time. And it was while doing this that she would talk with me about the things that were upsetting her. I did this every night.

You might have to do something else. An idea is to find a time when you can devote 15-30 minutes of time each day or a even just acouple of times a week, with just her. Helpful things are to read together, rock and talk, take a walk, go to the playground. Whatever you can find to do that is satisfying to both of you. It may take trying out several different things or doing the same thing several times to find just the right fit. Since you report that she seems hyper an active activity might work best at first.

I've noticed that a lot of kids don't know how to calm themselves down and so they do appear to be ADHD. And it's no wonder they can't slow down. We live in a fast paced world and many adults can't slow down. You have 3 children. You probably don't have much opportunity to just sit and be quiet yourself. Spending that time focused just on your daughter will be helpful for quieting yourself too. It will take time to develop a peaceful satisfying experience.

YOu're a single parent and so doing this will be especially difficult. Is there a way that you can arrange for someone to help you? My daughter is fortunate is some ways. Her son's father has him a couple of days a week, his other grandmother another day. And while he's gone my daughter spends time alone with her daughter and then I keep the daughter and she has time alone for herself. If you don't have family who can do that for her perhaps you have a friend. When my daughter was young, I had a friend who took her every Friday evening. And other friends who would watch her for an hour or two here and there.
Scheduling time for yourself and time alone with each child can be very difficult but it's worth it when you find that everyone is happier as a result.

I also noticed that you have a 5 mos old baby. I suspect that some, if not a lot, of your 5 yo acting out is in response to the new baby. Have you explored ways to help the older children deal with that?

My heart goes out to you. I know that you have an extremely difficult job raising 3 children as a single mom. I don't think that I could've handled more than the one that I had. The most important thing that you can do is find ways to take care of yourself so that you have the energy and patience to deal with these very active kids.

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M.C.

answers from Honolulu on

Read this book: Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. My little girl was acting in ways that did not seem "normal" to me, and after reading the book, I understand where she is coming from and have tools to deal with her behavior (and also to help her deal with her own temperment). Good Luck!

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G.S.

answers from Anchorage on

Being a single mom is hard enough without all of this too. I would call the school and se if they have the resources to help test her. It would benefit everyone to take care of this now....
Hugs,
G.

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S.K.

answers from Reno on

my daughter was 5 when we found outthat she had ADHD. 5 is the usual age that doctors will test them. you should have her tested and possibly have her put on meds if thats what it is..beofre it gets worse..mine daughter is 9 now..and i still have a hard time with her. when her sister was born she scrathed her on the nose and took a good chunk of skin off and slo had hit her nad left a large bruise on the side of her face and both of these were both doen when she was only a few weeks old. just for your sanity get her checked. if it is not that maybe the DRs can tell you what it is. hope this helps.

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D.G.

answers from Portland on

Sounds tough. I would definetly take up your concerns with her pediatrician. A quick trick you could try that my sons drs suggested was to give her a cup of coffee. Sweeten it up with some milk and suger. If after about a half an hour she is a bit calmer than there is a good chance some stimulants like ritalin could really help her. There could also be other issues so I would also say to contact the school and request and evaluation. And if there is a counselor, pastor, therapist or friend that you can go to for you, it sounds like you could really use some professional advice and support to help you find alternate ways to help keep your calm. Sometimes as parents we get so worked up in our kids issues that we forget to let ourselves decompress. Anything that can help you escape the stress for awhile would be a good thing. Lastely, don't blame yourself! You are doing the best you can in the way you know how. Asking for help is a good step. Sometimes we just arent equipped to handle some of the things our kids throw at us. No child comes with an owners manual and we only know what we have learned so seeking out others tips from friends strangers doctors can be a big help.

Hang in there. Good luck.

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J.E.

answers from Spokane on

hi M.,
i have a stepson who is 9 years old. he has adhd, and you can tell the difference from a calm child to this one. i have been his guardian since he turned 5 and he was acting up horribly. he would act on an impulse without even thinking. everytime i or his father tried talking to him he couldn't think to even talk. this was very frustrating and still can be at times. he had seen his pediatrician off and on and they recommended pills. his father refused for a long time, but once we couldn't handle it any more we took the doc up on his advice. it was all trial and error, a lot. we did happen to find the right pill though and he stops to think of what he is doing. having acting on an impulse and not thinking of consequences was the major sign of adhd, as well as hurting or being rough. sometimes he would act all hyper and crazy and no matter what we said he wouldn't listen and chill out. now that he has the pills it is much more sain in our house and we can sit down with him and talk to him. sorry to hear about the trouble. this is never any easy fix. good luck
J.

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T.F.

answers from Reno on

M.,
I know what you're going thru. I have a 6 year old son, who as much as I love him, has given me more problems then I could handle. He know lives with his dad, which I dont really care for, but it was for the best.
Bradley was always very outgoing, and active very early on. I started noticing that something was not right, when he was kicked out of numerous daycares around town, from private to the daycare I was working at. He was having problems with the other children, listening, and behaving... as they put it. He couldnt sit still for more then a few minutes and was always talking. Because of his chornic ear infections, and the fact that he wouldnt listen, I took him to an ent to have his hearing tested. they stated that it was above average. I then decided to seek more help, I went to early intervention services, and had them also test him. They said it was as normal as they could tell, considering he wouldnt follow directions (which were very simple) and wouldnt sit still long enough to administer all of their tests. but because he was only 3 at the time, noone wanted to touch the "adhd" subject. IT only got worse from there on out. I had enrolled him in a program for younger children thru the district. they stated at that time, when they ran a battery of tests, that he COULD possibly have adhd. I always had that idea in the back of my mind, but that just made me realize how true it could be. He was in a preschool setting for disabled children ( because he lacked "social" skills) for 2 years. both of the teachers each insisited that I talk to my doctor about having him tested thru a pyschiatrist for it. however, everytime I brought it up to various doctors, from pediatricians, to family doctors, they stated that it was either ME or his temperment.. or if he did have it they couldnt test him until the age of 7. unfortunately one thing lead to another, and that was when he was placed with his father, and his kindergarten teacher kept insisting at our monthly i.e.p. meetings that things werent getting better no matter what we tried. that is when they decided to have a doctor at c.b.s. test him and it ended up that he indeed had it.
there are many tall tale signs of it, however, doctors are scared to diagonis it, because it was overly done. if you have any more questions, please feel free to email me at anytime @ [email protected]____.com

sincerly yours, T.

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T.W.

answers from Seattle on

M., everybody has their opinion about drugs and adhd, etc. May I gently suggest going down OTHER avenues so as to avoid drugging/chemicals into your young child. Remove all dairy and wheat. It may take a few days (3 I think) to see any effect, but it would be worth the wait. My friend's son who was almost 8 at the time did a complete 180. She took the whole family off dairy and wheat (alternative milk thing was RICEDREAM Vanilla/Chocolate flavor and a rice cooker!) The next thing I know he is an altarboy at church! wow...
Best of luck!

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J.K.

answers from Portland on

i too have a child that drives me insane lol. i haven't had him tested yet, but i strongly suspect he has add or adhd. he's not a normal hyper child, and ppl just keep telling me i need to dispcipline consistently and he'll be better. but i know ppl who discipline even less than me and their kids don't act like mine! my son sounds just like all these other children in the responses you gave, so i think that if you suspect it you should have her checked out to see. and don't listen to those who tell you you just need to discipline better or different. it sounds like you're doing everything possible and its still not making a difference. they're not bad children, they just seem to do things without realizing it...its hard to explain if you're not experiencing it first hand. good luck, and i hope everything works out either way!

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M.B.

answers from Spokane on

M.-

I know this is SO late! But i just joined the group and wanted to give you advice.
My 5 1/2 year old son is ADHD/ODD (oppositional defiant dis.)
I knew from the time he was about 3 that he was different.
He was much more aggressive than other kids his age and always on the go. Its like he never slowed down. When he did sleep he would crash!
He ended up getting kicked out a few daycares and i finally decided to take him to a specialist. He tested him and he was diagnosed that day. (around age 4)
My son is on medication and goes to a counselor. We had to switch medication a few times but have finally found one that works well for him. He is doing great in all day Kindergarten and is so smart.
We still have some problems with him at home, but that is normal because the medicine slowly goes out of his system.
It has been so hard for me as a mom to see my son go through this. He has said things to me like Mommy i dont know why i get mean i just do it and then fell really bad. Or Mommy that other kid pushed me and iknow i am not supposed to push back but I was so mad at couldnt stop.
I think that counseling has helped him too. He is held responsible for his behavior and he is always praised when he is doing good.
You can email me if you want to talk further. [email protected]____.com

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T.C.

answers from Portland on

This may seem like an odd question for this but does she ever have a time or activity that she can focus on for a long period of time? I am the mother of two little girls with adhd but I need a little more info before I can say yes it sounds like it. Also go online and look up ADHD a lot of the sites have checklists you can use. Is she sorry when her impulses hurt people? also kids with ADHD tend to be very sensitive on one hand and very impulsive, not thinking on the other. Feel free to contact me either through here, my e-mail [email protected]____.com also have yahoo IM

T.

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S.K.

answers from Las Vegas on

for all these mothers who have children with problems....one having a home where christ is center not just for you but the children too....two no video games .....three limit tv with no violence...just limit it.....four stern strict and consistiant disipline.....the bible says spare the rod spoil the child im not saying that children should not have medication and some children do have problems but what r the chemicals in the drugs we r giving to them. we trust drs and medicines that we r just willing to have our children take anything the drs tell us to give them.maybe the way the child is is exactly the way God made them maybe it is ur job to help them cope with it and control it then when they mature God will use that exact weekness and make it our strong point for him....

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S.B.

answers from Portland on

Hi M.,

You are not alone and your child is NOT bad. You don't like her behavior and that is understandable.

I am a single mom of a 13 yr old boy who is ADHD and ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder). My story is the same as yours up to a point. When he was a baby he was extremely content and slept thru the night since he was 6 weeks old. Around 2 yrs of age I started to notice that my kid stuck out. All children have their tantrums, not being able to share, fighting, etc. but my son always took it to the extreme! Before he got himself kicked out of day care, I had them document his day for me every single day for about 2 weeks and I did the same thing at home. His peditrician was impressed with the work we did and realized my son was definitely ADHD. That is not a bad thing. It really is wonderful in so many ways. These wonderful children think "outside" the box, they like to work for themselves, they have great imaginations, they are usually highly intelligent.

Medicine will only work on children who really are ADHD. It's in my family. Maybe you too? I have a younger brother who is ADHD and I'm ADD (not too hyper). I'm 43 and my son is going to be one of those kids who does not grow out of it. Some kids actually do, so there is a silver lining there. :)

Remember, she isn't bad. Her choices are not good and the way she behaves you do not like. Make sure she knows the difference. It took my son years to get back his self esteem because people kept telling him he is bad.

Hang in there and let us know how it's going.

S.

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H.B.

answers from Portland on

Dang girl!! First off let me say good job, and what a great inspiration and role model you will be to your children as they grow up. Horray for super mom!! I myself am turning 27 geesh, and work full time, so yes it can be tough eventhough i'm married.

Okay, so really I don't think this is PPD, I believe that as much as you may really not want to believe it is adhd, it very well may be. My daycare provider/ best friend is facing the same problems with her 4 yr (soon to be 5 old) too! Same exact behavior. Do your reaserch, she has. Her boy always wants to do the opposite. A good example is in his preschool all the kids sat in a circle and faced in and he refused to by sitting facing outwards. Okay little things like that, and other behavior issues like not being able to sit still for too long and many other little quirks. Some people may say that they're just kids, but only the parent knows when it's an exageration from the norm, so follow your instinct, and don't let others judge you by what you may believe to be the problem with your kids behavior issues.

Google everything you can about adhd and really talk to your pediatrician about it. My friend refuses to give her boy "drugs" to help him with his disorder, so she has sceduled an evaluation with a specialist and they will start family counseling with him because it is a proven fact that parents with kids who have adhd have more stress than other parents. With this counseling they will also go over some treatment options like changing his diet and stuff like that. Turns out she found out that Additives, which are in just about every food, really have a big effect on kids with adhd, so this is something you may want to ask your pediatrician. I hope everything turn out okay for you, don't feel like a bad mom, you may very well be right, it's better to be informed and pesimistic sometimes rather than naive and un-informed.

So, just be patient with your little one and know that a child with adhd really is a handful, but these "free spirited" children, as often referred to, very often turn out to be very successful and high energized, motivated individuals as adults. The key is going to be helping them learn how to channel it. Most pediatricians will probabably begin to suggest team motivated settings like sports, maybe soccer, cheerleading, dance, extra carricular activites that will encourage her self discipline, oh my friend said Karate is a great sport for these kinds of kids b/c it teaches them self motivation and discipline.

I just wrote a novel, but geesh this is all she talks about, so the things she's told me about just keep jumping into my mind. I really hope this helps :)-H.-

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D.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

My son was diagnosed in the first grade. And wow. He gave me such a bad time, that i couldn't understand why my son was so bad. When the Dr. finally diagnosed him, i felt horrible. I mean he was such a handful, tell him not to do something and it would be the first thing he would do. Once when we switched his medication, he took his baby sister, and shoved her legs into her stomach because he was angry with her. well then when i had my little one, (now seven, my son is now 14) she started displaying some of the signs. My son would sit at the dinner table with one foot on the floor, and the other half of his rear on the chair. like he was ready to take off at any given moment. he would get up walk around, come back. and the whole time we would be telling him to sit down. once he was diagnosed, it all made sense. its not that he didnt' want to listen. but that his mind is going in a hundred different directions thinking about everything he wants to do. or when they focus on that one thing, I remember once telling him, he was going out to ride his bike. "michael dont' ride your bike into the street, ok." he said ok. mom. not even two seconds later, i hadn't even went in the house, he rode his bike into the street.
Anyhow some helpful hints....
Only give one direction at a time. If you tell them to go clean their room, thats too much. you have to say, go to your room, put your toys away then come back. (once thats done) ok, now go to your room, pick up any trash then come back. (once thats done) give another direction...etc.
they can't process multiple directions, it will confuse, and overwhelm them. if you try one thing at a time it will help.
with my little one, we learned not to take her anywhere she couldn't walk around. she could not sit still. There was a Denny's near our house and the waitresses knew she would walk back and forth between the table and the jukebox they used to have. no one bothered her. then there was a place in redondo beach i think it was called jack or johns crabshack, somehting like that. where they had entertainment so it would distract her. and keep her focus.... anyhow i hope some of this has been helpful.
Coffee, helps. its what they used in the old days. If they have hyperactivity, it will calm them down. it tends to put my son to sleep. but i would rather give him coffee, than to put him back on those medications, which we opted not to give to our little one.

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M.R.

answers from Fresno on

I am a 28 year old mother of 3 girls ages 5,3,and 1. I know EXACTLY how you feel. My 3 year old was just diagnosed with adhd. and it took a lot of talking and pushing to get anyone to listen but I finally did. she was seen by a psycologist who did an assesment on her, and diagnosed her as having adhd. She never sits still, almost never completes anything she starts, is easily frustrated, and doesnt remember things she is supposed to do , such as pulling up her pants after using the bathroom,she has left a public restroom with her pants down. It is very hard. If you have insurance you can try to get a psych eval. through them, if you dont, go through public mental health where you live, and see if you can get her seen there. There are a lot of doctors who still dont believe it exists so its hard to get them to listen. But a psychologist usually has more experience with children with adhd. (thats what I was told). Its really frustrating I know, but hang in there.

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