Help with Tantrums!

Updated on February 28, 2008
R.O. asks from Billings, MT
28 answers

i have three children 5, 3, and 2 today. i have been told by doctors that my 3 year old may have adhd, i dont want to put him on meds but i want to get his temper under control, he kicks and screams and when i dont get him what he wants he will climb on my kitchen drawers and has busted two of them. i am lost as to what to try next. i have tried time out i have tried to take things away, but it just aggervates him more. my husband travels for work so its me all the time to do the punishing, the only one i can get him to listen to is his papa or nana. please help me.

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J.B.

answers from Chicago on

Hi ,
I felt my son also had adhd, when he was 2 or so. I truly did not want him to be on meds. So I tried a total revamp on how and what I fed him. Meaning sugar would trigger him or set him off like you would not believe. So I only gave him crackers, cheese, and snacks that have very little sugar if possible. I even watered down juice a 1/4 juice to the rest water. So he never felt left out but always got what everyone else got. As far as discipline, you don't want to reward him for bad behavior, but try to work with him make him fill like he is in control even though yo really are. Say stuff like, if you want that car you have to stop crying. Or whatever the case may be. I hope I have helped you. Good luck!!!!!1

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J.L.

answers from Madison on

I grew up with ADD, but did not go on medication until I was 20. I threw huge tantrums when I didn't get my way, if we were out, my mom just picked me up and we went home, if we were home she would just walk away and let me throw the fit. Eventually I grew out of it, but activities helped. Exercise helps me to focus. As for the whole medication debate, I think 3 is probably too early for it, but if the problem continues for a few years, you should consider it. I have never met a person who is against medication who has actually had to deal with ADD themselves. I wish I had started medication earlier in life, the difference it has made for me is unreal. Having the ability to focus and actually learn things without a huge struggle is something that most people take for granted.

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A.H.

answers from Casper on

I had a cousin and a step brother who both had adhd... my aunt and stepmom tried the same thing and it worked for both of them, maybe you'ld like to give it a shot. In order to keep the kids off the drugs they give for adhd, they started giving them coffee, it interacts the same way. Do not add sugar to the coffee, if they prefer it sweetened, add a sugar substitute. Sugar only makes the symptoms worse. Good luck with this.

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G.F.

answers from Salt Lake City on

R.,

I had the same problem with my son. I didn't want to drug him either so we delt with the behavior with time outs and lose of privileges. It really didn't work. I read all the books and tried different methods and finally gave in. I refuse to use anything like ritalin or any of the ritalin based drugs. They are stimualnts and make the behavior worse. We found Strattera and it has made all the difference in the world. he listens to us, minds, can control his behavior. He is a different child now and so much easier to handle and to love. It was so hard to enjoy being home with him when all he did was yell and scream and break things and all I did was yell and discipline. I know you don't want to resort to meds, but if you find the right one, it makes such a difference in his life and yours. Just my thoughts.

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C.H.

answers from Des Moines on

R.,
Please do your child a favor and consider medication! I have an 11 year old daughter who has ADHD and ODD (Oppostional Defiant Disorder). She has been in counseling and medication for a few years now. I had the SAME feeling that I did not want to do that. The reason I and my husband decided to go through with it is this..we go to Dr. Kavalier and his theory made good sense. Medicating your child is not doing something TO them it is doing something FOR them. This ADHD is not something that is their fault or yours. It is a brain function issue. Their frontal lobe is not shaped properly - they look and sound the same as you and I but they sort their thinking out differently. Being diagnosed is the first step to an awesome lifestyle for your child. Congratualtions! My daughter is a wonderful girl -- she knows herself so well due to the medication and couseling we have given her with Jerry Noble out at Dr. Kavaliers office. She sounds very very similar to your situation. I URGE you and beg you to not deny your child of the benefits that it can give YOU AND YOUR HOME by helping him learn self discipline with his temper and anger. They honestly have a hard time controlling this but with the help of counseling, 1-2-3 magic, a stop sign in their tummy, thinking through things differently, little tips and tricks that I have learned to help her our life is so much clearer and quieter. PLEASE feel free to give me an email and we can maybe get together for a lemonade or a phone call. I would love to be a partner in parenting or a confidante for you. God Bless you!
[email protected]____.com
C. Hamill
Look forward to hearing from you!

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C.N.

answers from Duluth on

R., I have a child that is now 17 and has Adhd and I did not put her on meds . I control it by her diet, she does not eat foods that have persevitives like yellow # 5, red # 40 colorings they are deadly to kids with Adhd, And Add becuse they disable there part of the learning in there brain I found out from a study that a ADHD DR was doing on these perservitives also MSG"S are bad . my daughter is doing beter since she was 10-or 11 yers old from her not eating those foods with them perseviteves in them . and all you can do for his temper tatrums is be patient with him and just keep being consistant with putting him in time out , some times I would have to hold my daughter untill she stopped and calmed down , try that . and let them know you love him . kids with ADHD <ADD are impulsive and they get easily board and frustrated maybe keep him busy with activites he lkies to help him focus better , kids with ADHD do not focus very well.
C. N

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J.L.

answers from Jackson on

My now 9yr old went through this. He has Adhd but thats not what caused his tantrums. He also has Odd which is a defiance disorder. I did not start seeking help until he was in kindergarten, at this time he was getting kicked out of school because of the tantrums. I had to quit my job to be on call for the school. He was 7 before I started looking into meds for the adhd because there are no meds for odd. This year he was suspended for 3 weeks due to hitting a teacher, instead of taking his meds he was pouring them out in the sink. After I caught him things got better. He has had no problems in school and seems to finally be on the right track. I think meds should not be the first answer, but if he acts this way when he gets in school it would be better for everyone. My son missed so much! Look up Oppositional defiant disorder, most children do better with the odd after the adhd is being treated. Good Luck and stay strong!

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J.M.

answers from Iowa City on

Hi R.,

There are wonderful methods I can recommend. One is called "Love and Logic." The other is called "1-2-3 Magic." You can find the books at any bookstore. The key to these programs is consistency. I've used both methods, and I find that when I'm using them properly and consistently, they really, really work!

Check out these web sites:
http://wik.ed.uiuc.edu/index.php/123_Magic
http://wik.ed.uiuc.edu/index.php/Love_and_Logic

All best to you!

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S.S.

answers from Saginaw on

R. you can try going to this suprot group that I go to on line. http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/ADHD-ODD-CD/ You can join there and get lots of help from mom that don't want to do meds as well as moms that do do meds if you ever chage your mind about meds to help treat the ADHD. A lot of them have been though the same thing and can give you good ideas on what to do. Both my boys are Adhd but I chose to use meds as they work well for me and just so you know they are still normal kids even on meds. With my boys when they did throw the tantrums I finly had to get to the point that I had to start doing the same thing they were doing and they would stop and look at me like was nuts. I would them tell them that is what you look like. I still get the tantrums every now and then every now and then I will pull that with them and they will stop for me. The other thing I did with the boys is when they did something wrong they had to go in the corner and think about what they did and when they thought they understood why the were put there in the first place then they had to come talk to me about it but they had to stand in solider boy position (either at attention or parade rest(hands behind back and feet shoulder with apart.) then they had to tell me what they did wrong and why they did it) Then I would make them tell me what they would give for a punishment if they were in my shoes. They would normally pick something worse then what I would do. hope that helps some on ideas for you.

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J.W.

answers from Pocatello on

You've had so much advice already, so I hope that this helps. My son who is 6 is in Kindergarten and has had the same issue since he was three. We have opted to wait doing meds... to see how he does. He has mellowed so much already. Here is what we have done. For starters, be informed. I read and soaked up as much information as I could. Every child and parent is different and will react differently. There are tons of websites and books out there. My son does much better with structure... too much time to do what ever he wants escalates things. So I would play with him, color, have him do things next to me if I was busy, but I could be right there. I also tended kids in the home, so I got everyone involved. This takes effort and a lot of energy, but the more structure you have in your home will help you and help the tantrums. We also decided that I needed to stop tending. This was a huge blow to our budget.. We have no extra now. But there is a huge difference with my guy. He behaves so much better, and I'm more sane to handle it. I'm taking a love and logic class.. very good class. Also, try not giving him too many instructions at one time... it's too easy for him to lose focus. And lastly, I've found that in the worst melt downs, when he's lost it and I'm about or am crying. If I scoop him up and hug him (I know this is not always possible :)) I calm down, and he hugs me for a long time, calms down, and then later when he has totally deescalated we talk a little.
Anyway, sorry about the novel. Hope it helps.

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A.H.

answers from Provo on

I see that you have already received some excellent advice. I'll just add a couple of things. It seems like every kid is getting diagnosed with ADHD these days. What I've personally noticed is that I have had to cut almost everything out of my life except mothering so that I can be calm. When I am easy-going instead of hectic, my daughter is more easy-going, too. She gets more attention and nurturing because I have the physical and emotional energy to give her what she needs. As I've watched other women around me, I've noticed that I'm not the only one who tends to take on too much. It's been really hard for me to simplify my life because I feel like I'm capable of so much. But mothering requires a certain amount of mental serenity so that we can be totally in tune with what our children need before they start acting out in order to get us to notice their needs.

Also, sometimes we just need a little education. A book that has helped me understand different stages of child development is "Ages and Stages". I think that if we understand how to nurture and discipline for the various stages of development, our children do much better. Otherwise, we beat our heads against the wall wondering what more we can...because we're doing all we can do...just the wrong things.

Personally, I would not want to medicate until I felt that I had optimized other aspects of my parenting. This requires personal sacrifices and I sometimes think that some parents medicate because it's easier that sacrificing. Nonetheless, I'm not opposed to medicating in cases where the child is suffering from a physical abnormality. Just make sure you're not masking a problem that belongs to someone else. You'll have to take a hard look at yourself. I've had to do that. Frankly, I do it all the time. When my daughter acts up, I try to first ask myself if I've been giving her what she needs. If not, I take responsibility for that first. She's not going to learn and mature normally without lots of guidance from me.

One other quick thought: I wonder if the fact that he DOES listen to papa and nana means that he is capable of paying attention and following instructions. This may indicate that ADHD is not the problem? I don't know. I'm just wondering out loud.

Good luck!

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A.B.

answers from Salt Lake City on

Whatever you do, don't go with only one diagnosis. Do as much research as you can, he is 3. My 3 yr old had a hard time, we found out he need glasses and his life changed.

quote online:As with children, your evaluation should include a thorough physical exam to rule out other reasons for your symptoms. This means ruling out not only medical conditions that can mimic ADHD, such as hyperthyroidism and hearing loss.

There must be local places that can help with special preschools that help with behavioral problems. A good night sleep and a eating properly can never hurt.

http://www.enterthefreudianslip.com/music_therapy_and_add...

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A.N.

answers from Boise on

My middle son was diagnosed with adhd. With a whole family refusing to put him on meds I was at wits end. I am a SAHM. The Dr. finally convinced my husband to try it so we did. It has been four years now and he is the sweetest child I have. He is in 3rd grade and doing awesome. Mornings and evenings are difficult, that is when the meds are not working. The Dr. explained it this way to convince my husband....what if he had an other health issues diabetes, heart problems, alergies he would have to take medicine....He has a brain problem. It definitly is in the best interest of the child. His siblings didn't want anything to do with him, now they can all play. We can have family outings without walking on egg shells as to what he might do. I hope this helps because I know I am thankful for medicine and what it has given me and my son. I read one of your other responses..Love and logic works great with my other kids and my son when he's on meds. He has no logic when he is not on meds like you said there is no changing their mind process when they want something.

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T.S.

answers from Salt Lake City on

R.-

My son was diagnosed w ADHD at 3 years. For two years we did all we could to keep him off of medication (diet, extreme structure). When he started kindergarten we decided to start meds. Every day I ask myself if this is the right thing to do. Every time I see him get off the bus and wave goodbye to his friends (which he was very aggressive with in the past) I know it was worth it. When I forget to give him his meds and he is all over the "map" having a hard time concentrating which leads to frustration, I know it is worth it. The thing I do not like about the meds is I think it steals a bit of their personality but for us it has helped our son control his anger and impulsiveness which has helped in relationships with peers and he is doing very well in school.

I hope this helps.

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T.B.

answers from Billings on

Hi R.. I read your post and was wondering if anyone has ever talked to you about removing all the toxins in your home to help with your childrens' behavior problems? I have some really great stories from other moms who have removed all the unneccessary tozins and chemicals from their home and have seen a really good response in their childrens attitudes, and overall health. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to learn more! Here is my contact info. My home number is: ###-###-#### and my email address is: [email protected]____.com

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D.M.

answers from Billings on

first of all look up adhd and see that it is difficult to diagnose a child with adhd until about the age of five or six. When your child throws a temper tantrum here is what i did with one of my twins i got down and threw a fit with him he was surprised then when that didnt help he would throw terrible tantrums and at three was screaming and kicking and it even got where he was hitting me so i put him under the cold tap water a couple times, guess what it worked there was no spanking and now he has fits but no where near

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E.B.

answers from Duluth on

Have you tried a fatty acids (omega oils). They affect the childs brain development.
There is a supplement called CorOmega that you can purchase at most any wholefoods or heath foods store. It is geared toward chidren & actually doen't taste bad so you should have a stuggle to get him to take it. If this seems to help you should talk to a nutritionist and see if there is something else they can recommend as well.

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N.A.

answers from Lansing on

I totally agree with you about placing children on meds. Boys are more often diagnoised with ADD/adhd then girls. Also 3 is super super young for someone to give that diagnosis to.

I would also have him try and use up some energy by having scheduled physical activity time. ( make an obstical course in your home ( under chairs, over footstools, through tubes etc, play with scarves like a play parachute etc. I have my boys stand to do their coloring , writing etc. I have found they do better if they can stand then fidgeting in a chair.

We also don't watch TV except for maybe 1 show a day.

You might want to consult a dietician first. i have many friends who have had children diagnosed with ADHD or Autism and the gluten free diet has really changed the behavior issues tremendiously. There is a lot of info on the web also about this diet.
Good luck,
I am a SAHM to 3, Two boys and a baby girl so i know that boys have a TON of energy!

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K.C.

answers from Saginaw on

Hi R.,

A couple thoughts in regards to your situation. Have you ever tried Xango, a mangosteen based supplement? It is perservative-free and is just a fruit. No artificial ingredients or colorings. Safe for children.
My good friend has a 4 year boy with autism who has had remarkable results on this product. The main thing she has noticed is "decreased meltdowns and temper tantrums." Both of my children (girl and boy, ages 5 and 2) take the product with outstanding results. It has helped greatly with their overall health, immunity and allergies (my daughter is Zyrtec-free for over a year!) My uncle has ADHD and is doing very well on this product. The medicinal properties are in the rind of this fruit and they are called xanthones.
This may be an alternative for your son if the medicating route is overwhelming and something that you may be hesitant to try.
If I can be of help please let me know. My number is ###-###-####. My email is [email protected]____.com
I would encourage you to visit my website at www.choosenature.mymangosteen.com

I would be happy to get some juice to you in this is of interest and may be helpful.
Best of luck and hang in there!
K. C. Cadillac, MI

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S.R.

answers from Lansing on

Check his nutrition. Today's processed foods are jam-packed with things that are unhealthy for developing children. It's so darned difficult to get away from corn syrup, refined starches, rancid fats, msg (aka: natural flavor), ad hominem.

Try reducing his intake of corn syrup and all other sugars including the amount of processed/refined starches. Also, make sure he is getting plenty of healthy fats: non-hydrogenated, non-rancid long, medium and short chain (these can be harder to come by from vegetable sources.. use expellar/cold pressed varieties). For sources or additional nutritional information you may wish to review the Weston A Price Foundation at http://www.westonaprice.org/ .

We've seen a vast improvement in our children's overall health since we started reducing these food influences in our lives. We do the best we can to limit the intake without making ourselves over-zealous fanatics. :-)

Joy,

S.

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H.K.

answers from Omaha on

Have you tried changing his diet? This may sound simple, but it really work. Simple things ike no red food coloring in food (or any unneccessary coloring at all), eliminating all white sugar (candy, proessed foods), and trying to be organic or as natural as possible. Not only should this greatly improve his behavior, it is heathier for everyone to boot!! There are books on this subject, I know Jeny McCarthy wrote was to address diet and autism. I'd hitthe libray ad see what you can find. Good luck!!

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A.B.

answers from Provo on

You might reconsider what it means to be a full time stay at home mom. That's not possible when you work part time, AND run a day care! I've done day care and I know that it takes alot of time and attention away from your own kids. As for the tantrums, I have found the best results when I put lots of effort into praising any good things you see your child do. They like attention, and sometimes would just as soon get negative attention as opposed to none at all. When the tantrums come, I try to make suggestions for something better to do, or say. If it doesn't work, remove them to a safe, isolated place where they can be ignored, without attention. That's the best I can offer, but every situation is different, so you might need to just play it by ear rather than going by the book.

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T.T.

answers from Denver on

You need to wait until he's in school before you diagnose him as ADHD. Try talking to him to find out what he's getting so upset about. He might feel frustrated about any number of things, possibly very small things, but might not know exactly how to express himself so he just gets angry. Next time he starts to show signs of a bad temper, see if you can get to the root of the problem calmly before it escalates. Don't resort to medication yet. He's 3. They have short attention spans and occasionally bad tempers. They don't always know how to express themselves and that is really frustrating. So try talking with him first. Really talking and really listening until you can figure out what's going on. Try not to punish him for how he's feeling. Also, talk about different ways he can show he's angry. Give him words to say, get him a special pillow he can hit when he's angry, give him a quiet space to sit with a book or something so he can calm himself down. Does he have very extreme emotions in other areas? Does he go from hyper and overly happy to anger in a split second? Does he get very sad sometimes for no apparent reason? There's been research done that says that kids as young as 3 can be bipolar. So if my suggestion doesn't work, that's something to look into. That's worst case senario, tho. It's pretty rare for kids that young to be bipolar, but it's possible. Anyway, I hope this helps.

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A.H.

answers from Grand Rapids on

R.,

My step-son was diagnosed with ADD 5 years ago and we tried EVERYTHING so that we did not have to put him on meds. Well, EVERYTHING did not work and a year ago, we finally gave in. He is now a much happier child, does so much better in school, and gets along better with everyone. As long as you go to a doctor that you trust and he/she sees your child on a regular basis, there is nothing wrong with medication. I wish that we had tried medication sooner than a year ago, it would have eliminated so much frustration for him...

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S.S.

answers from Omaha on

R.,
My opinion is avoid the meds. My son is full of energy, I have had teachers and other parents say he was adhd and cried when I went to the Ped for advice. We had anger issues when he was really young- and still do sometimes. However, what my ped said at the time was get him to sleep earlier. My current ped put him on Melatonin to help him sleep. I guess what the first ped put it to me this way-
Are you a b*&%ch when you aren't sleeping well and are tired?? Of course I responded Yes. Well he said just think of a child who doesn't know why they don't feel right when they are tired- it is normal for them to be angry. Initially we were put on a RX I don't remember the name, but now the melatonin seems to be working well.

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T.S.

answers from Grand Rapids on

I too can understand about not wanting to put your child on drugs and I congratulate you there. In most cases, that I have heard of, they only make matters worse.
There are many "natural" things you can do to help your son. First I would remove any and all chemicals in your home...a friend of mine did this and it made the biggest difference in her daughters behavior. Also you can try getting him on some good herbs and vitamins. Fish Oil, is great. Also there are many different essential oils that would help "calm" him...you can find out more from your local health food store. AND..the biggest help my friend had is a book called "SAY GOODBYE TO CHILDRENS ADD & ADHD" wrote by Devi S. Nambudripad.
I am currentlly reading SAY GOODBYE TO CHILDRENS ALLERGIES and it is amazing.
GOOD LUCK with your mission and hopefully you will find a natural way to help your son!

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S.H.

answers from Salt Lake City on

R. O,
I know this may be difficult to be honest about, but is your home environment chaotic? I'm not at all suggesting that you aren't a good mother, quite the opposite actually. you sound as though you are very busy and very involved. but perhaps if you can recognize where their "non stop" energy is coming from, it would be easier to find a more organized way to control it. Do you have organized planned activities going on? or are kids kinda roaming freely watching TV and playing?
No doubt it would seem easier with the amount that you are taking on, to let them roam, but kids really need structure and organization and a schedule, and something to keep their wandering active minds focused and busy.
have you heard of the book "the promise of energy psycology" ?
You may find it very helpful in all situations your dealing with especially if you aren't too keen on medication!
Good luck! perservere! consistancy is key with kids!

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A.M.

answers from Rochester on

I have 5 kiddos and my oldest has ADD. I would try other things then medication for a 3 ys old first. He may just really want attention from you or Daad or both parents I know that it is hard. There are alot of books out there to help with this matter. We did alot of reading and we even watched what my son was eating cutting alot of sugar and other things out of his diet. A thing that helped is we have agreat doctor that helps us out and really looks in to the proble and behaviors before she said anything about meds.

About my self: I have 7 kids M-10, M-8, F-5, F-4 and M-15 & 2 black labs.
I am a happy stay at home mom, my hubby drives truck so he is gone for weeks at a time. IT gets very rough being home but I always know that God wn;t give you more then you can handle!

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