I Need Advice on My 8 Year Olds Behavior Problems

Updated on March 18, 2010
J.J. asks from Columbus, OH
15 answers

My son is almost 9 years old. He was diagnosed with ADHD a few years ago, and I prefer no medication. He is consistantly causing trouble everywhere he goes. He loves school, but cant seem to be good for one day. He refuses to do his work, read, sit still or be quiet. If its not school work that hes not doing, hes being a bully. At home my husband and him continuley rough house even after being asked repeadly to stop, which neither listen. If I ask him to do something he ignores me or says ok then goes to the other room and doesnt do it. Hes not shy of making friends, but keeping them is the problem. He can make and keep an adult friend, but child friends seem to be a temporary thing for him due to he cant get along with them. For years now he has been caught numerous times in situations with boys and girls behind doors that should not be occuring. Why would he act like this? I have tried everything negative and positive to get the point accross about sexual behavior not being ok, or his behavior at school not being ok. I have gotten to the point of giving up. I just want some kind of help or someplace to send him away to. Iam so embarrased when I have to deal with his behavior everyday. The people at work all know everytime I have to leave b/c he cant be good at school or has been suspended again. I cant have friends over for dinner b/c the police come to the door to tell me how he has done things behind closed doors earlier in the day with a new friend from school. What can I do? I've had it to the point of just wanting to send him away. I find myself in regret of ever having a child. Am I a bad mom? How can this of gotten so bad that I want to give up being a parent? I need some help soon before I loose my mind.

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So What Happened?

Thank you everyone for your advice. I have contacted the Childrens Hospital for help. They cant see us for another 2 months, but its better then nothing. In the mean time, Does anyone have any idea where I can find a good website or someplace where I can find someone after school to come tutor my son after school. I do not have the patience, and he needs someone who can sit down with him and do his homework and study what hes so far behind on. Thanks again for everyones advice.

More Answers

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N.R.

answers from Columbus on

My sister was in a similair situation as you seem to be. After much hesitation she decided to put him on a low dose of an ADHD medicine...he totally turned him around. He has more friends now, he's 15. He too had been suspended from school for different things than your son. He was caught with marijuania (sp?) and got in fight after fight! My sister was at the end of the road with him and that is when she decided to medicate! She too felt like a bad mom, but she's not, I mean WHO could possibly deal with all that???
I would say early intervention is better. He also changed schools and now goes to a charter school in Newark Ohio. I would check with the guidance counselor at his school and see if there are any programs you can enroll him him. I can imagine how you feel, my sister always felt it was one thing after another!
We live in Columbus too...so welcome! :0)

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B.R.

answers from Columbus on

J.,

Please rethink the medication. If your son had a chemical imbalance with his thyroid or bipolar disorder, wouldn't you want him to have his medication? He will feel so much better and not be in trouble all the time. I understand your desire to not medicate him, but the medication will make him more normal. Without it, he is probably miserable and is developing bad habits and low self esteem. He might grow out of it somewhat as he gets older, too, so the medication would not necessarily be for life. Just try it for a month and see how it goes. At least during school hours, so he can realize his full potential. Good luck.

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L.B.

answers from Columbus on

I am so sorry that you are dealing with this. I understand your decision to not give your ADHD son medication. My husband and I were in the same situation. We walked into our son's IET meeting and said "medication is our last resort." Well, we did everything they suggested, our pediatritan and friends of ours with children diagnosed with ADHD. Many thiings helped our son "learn" better but it wasn't enough. I then realized that my son truly did need medication for his ADHD. I know that many kids are over medicated or medicated just for bad behavior. But there are truly kids out there that need some sort of medicine. Their brains are wired differently that require these medications. We learned that our son is an auditor learner not visual. If he has to read it, he won't learn it. If he can hear it or touch it, then he got it. We started out with a non-stimulent medication called Strattera. This worked well at first but then he had a growth spurt. We then switched to Concerta. Oh, my what a difference. He still has issues of self control but that's mostly a heart issue :-) He reads alot more now then ever. He still struggles majorily with organization but that will always be an issue with him. We've simplified his room, his binder at school and desk. If he would of had diabetes I would not of hesitated to give him insulin. If it would of been any other "medical" condition we would not of hesitated for a second to give him the meds he needed. ADHD with some kids is truly a disease that needs medication for. I have 3 adult friends who have been diagnosed with ADHD and are on meds because it was "bad" to medicate kids years ago for it. Go to Children's Hospital in Behaviorial Psychology and have him tested. Sounds like him mind is racing 100 miles an hour and he does't know what to do. I'm not saying that meds are going to be a cure all. He may have other things going on but if you have him completed tested you'll know what you are dealing with. Do it before he gets to middle school. It sounds funny to give a kid with ADHD a stimulent (caffefine) but their brain works backwards. The stimulent actually helps him to focus. Don't give up on him. You are his biggest advocate. Talk with the school about getting him on an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) Maybe he needs some one on one or smaller classroom.
Good luck. He needs you.

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N.S.

answers from Columbus on

I would see if Nationwide Children's Hospital offers some type of treatment/programs. A lady I used to work with had a son who was diagnosed with ADHD when he was about 6 or 7 years old. After trying to work with him without medication, she finally decided to try medication and the change was immediate. The little boy said something like "the cobwebs in his brain being gone". So, in his case, it was clear that there was a chemical imbalance that needed to be treated. He later explained that he didn't want to misbehave but had no control over it. Anyway, she also got him into counseling with a psychologist who specialized in working with kids w/ADD and ADHD. The boy liked going b/c the psychologist explained to him what ADHD does and how to work with it or control some of the behavior. This was years and years ago. This boy is almost 20 now. He grew out of his ADHD and is not on medication anymore. If I were you, I would definitely try out medication. I understand that you are concerned about the possible effects of it but sometimes the benefits outweigh the concerns. If it will enable your son to live a healthier normal life and if it will give you some sanity in dealing with it, it sounds worth a try. The only other thing I can say, is, that ADHD children need strict structure. Always only one thing at a time. The reason for a lot of misbehavior is that they are totally overstimulated by their environment and have a very difficult time making sense of it all and keeping up. It's hard enough for an adult with ADHD, it's even harder for a kid. (One of my friends has ADHD and is on medication for it which really, really helps him). Their brain goes a 1000 miles an hour and they can't turn it off. So, they get distracted, can't sit still, are disruptive... etc. See if there are local ADD or ADHD support groups that you might be able to join. Also, nutrition is very important. No sugars, not too much carbs, lots of fruits and vegetables and lots of exercise and tons of attention from you will help.

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T.W.

answers from Baton Rouge on

i know where u r coming from with ur son i go through it with my 8 year old daughter and when talked to she just laughs in ur face she is on meds for it but they seem not to work so u made the right choice there without the meds u r not a bad mom just get him into some kind of consuling thats wha i had to do with her it seems like it is working for the most part and i also went to the point to bring her to my local ploice staiton and had them lock her in a cell for a hour she is starting to claim down now at school and at home u should try that with utr son to see if it works

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J.N.

answers from Columbus on

You need to get immediate help from your family doctor for a recommendation for some type of clinical help (child psychiatrist). Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus has very good counseling programs for children like your son. My grandson is ADHD and with medication and counseling does quite well in school, sports, and socializing (he has never had any inappropriate sexual problems with his ADHD). You son has some serious problems that need to be addressed as soon as possible. Please get him the necessary help ASAP before he seriously hurts himself or another child.

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M.R.

answers from Columbus on

J.,

I would really suggest that you read about the biological nature of ADHD. It is a chronic illness, and you should really know all the facts. It kind of sounds like someone else in your family may have this same illness, and it is highly hertiable.

the gist of it is, your son has a malfunction of how one of his biolgical organs works, that it is his brain is not going to help him be able to make it work any better without intervention. The brain is made up of hundreds of millions of cells that do not actually touch, they depend on neuro transmitters (electrtically charged chemicals) to send information over a tiny space, called a synapse. If the mechinism in his body that produces neuro transmitters is defective, or if the receptors on the neruons do not uptake the neuro transmitter effectivly, then the person has ADHD and cannot always continue a thought process long enough to be conistantly to remember what it was they were doing. This can include all kinds of behavioral and educational thought processes.

Because he can do things well sometimes, you probably think that he should always be able to control it, and he is just being lazy or is deliberatly acting out. He is neither. Brain disorders are the only phyiscial illnesses where we accuse the victim of being in control of thier own symptoms, and it is very unfair and can actually be one reason that kids like this start to act out and bully.

Put any other symptom of an illness into the same situation and it just sounds mean. Take a child with a kidney ailment that causes incontientce. If he sometimes can hold his urine, but then later in the same day he cannot, you would not dream of accusing him of wetting himself deliberatly. ADHD is no less of a biolgical process gone wrong than kidney desease. If he was just going to be able to fix this medical issue by himself, he never would have had it to begin with. No child wants to be this way, and they have no clue how to stop it!

That being said, you are parenting him the way you parent him because typical dicipline does not work. You would not potty train a child with a kidney problem the same way you would a child with healthy kidneys either, so behavior is linked to most chronic medical conditions, in the brain or in the rest of the body.

Research your son's chronic medical condition and the medical intervention that is out there for him, it works well when you team it with talk therapy and family therapy so that you can find the kind of dicipline that will work for your family. All the potty training in the world will not help a child with kindney disease without treating the underlying medical condition...the same is true for your son.

Good luck, don't beat yourself up about your parenting skills. He has a medical condition and he needs help.

M.

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M.B.

answers from Omaha on

Your son is adhd which means he is constant need of being stimulated. You would solve many of your problems by putting him on medication. I tried going without meds for my son but all I got was my house torn up and things broken or torn, including a brand new love seat (he cut the fabric with a box knife to see what was inside). Your son's behaviour will continue to escalate until something drastic happens and you lose custody of him and then the state will put him on the medication he needs. The police will only deal with you so far and then will contact your state's social services who will then investigate you and drag you into meetings if not court. I know this sounds harsh, but I speak from experience. Believe me, its best that you get your son on medication. Children's Hospital is only one option. Consult your pediatrician or family doctor for a referral to child psychiatrist. Don't know about Ohio, but Iowa and Kansas have programs through their university hospitals. Good Luck!

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E.C.

answers from Columbus on

I understand that you (like many paretns) do not want to medicate their child, but it seems like you need some help to even make that decision. I would contact Children's Hospital to find a good child psychiatrist to help you make this decision. If you child needed medication for a heart condition or diabetes or asthma, you would not hesitate to do that, right? Exploring pharmaceutical options in conjunction with a trained professional and cognitive behavioral therapy is NOT a sign that you have failed or your son is broken. Instead, it shows that you are willing to try anything to help him. As a teacher of children with special needs, I have seen drugs be the wrong choice for some, but help SO MANY others. This is too big of a decision to make without someone specially trained in the field to help and guide you.

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W.M.

answers from Columbus on

If it were me, I would reconsider medication. I totally understand your desire to keep him off meds - but this is such a crucial time in his development that he may be setting up for bad habits and bad behavior. He just needs help to get there and his ADHD stands in the way. I feel confident in saying that he doesn't want to be bad or have such lack of control of his impulses. It is your responsibility to help him and to do so in a way that you are comfortable and understand. Perhaps your Pediatrician and connect you with another Mom in your shoes. You could then share your experiences with someone who understands and offer support to one another.

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M.O.

answers from Boston on

I have an 8yr old son who was diagnosed with adhd and a mood disorder and has the potential later in life to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He has been on medication since he was 5 yrs old. You said you prefer no meds, but I strongly suggest trying some out for his sake and your sanity. I didn't want to put my son on them, but he had such a severe case that he was kicked out of the public school system where we live, in kidnergarten. They couldn't handle him. There are many medications that can help him with everyday things, such homework, school work, chores, and anything else, including the inappropriate sexual behaviors. There are stimulants as well as other types of meds, such as natural supplements that could help him greatly. Try going on line and talking to doctors to find out other alternatives. I didn't want my son on meds either, but found real quick that was a bad idea. You need to ask yourself if you want your son to succeed in life or not, because you not giving him the meds he needs could be setting him up for failure in life. I was diagnosed with adhd as a child and my parents didn't understand the consequences of not putting me on the meds I needed. I ended up being a D student until I was in high school. Then I finally got the help I needed through counseling and meds. I became an A student within a month of starting them. So I strongly suggest you think about it. I also had a problem with keeping friends and I finally started connecting with people because now I can think straight. You as a parent are obligated to make sure your son has the best of everything physically and mentally and need to understand that what you think is best for your child may not be. I strongly suggest you try the meds before making a decision that could destroy his life before he has a chance to have one.

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L.L.

answers from Columbus on

Hi J.,

I too live in Columbus. My son had ADHD as well. We took out Red Dye 40 from all food, went to a glutin free diet and put him on Aderal .10ml and Zolf .25 ml. I know you don't want to do meds, but it realy does help.

I'd love to chat w/ you more and give you some more resources.

Franklin county MRDD is a good one (on Johnstown Rd.)

You may have to go threw Childrens Hospital but that takes 5-7 mo.

You may want to get the school to do an intal eval go get him on an IEP. Worthington has EXCELLANT schools. My son is in their behavior program w/ other kids w/ the same problems.

Another agency is St. Vincients (sp?) They ONLY deal w/ ADD kids, deaf kids, and many other types of mental health issues...

my personal email is.... [email protected]____.com

Please email and we can exchange phone numbers. Or I can at least give you LOTS of rescourse.

Hope to hear from you soon,
L.

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M.S.

answers from Columbus on

My son and daughter in law have a 10 yr old son who was a problem in school with ADHD and started drugs to help a year ago and it is amazing the difference at school, and at home. It takes a while to get the right dose but some drs. are so good at this. It certainly is worth a try and especially before you would do anything else. You are not a bad M., but your son has a problem with focusing and completeing tasks. I would imagine he is very smart in some areas. I wish you well. margie

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B.N.

answers from Columbus on

Hi,Sorry your feeling like a bad parent,I had a daughter who is now grown and on her own and does fairly good.She had add really bad and was raised from second grade through high school on ritilin and it helped her so much with being able to do good in school.I Never had any problems with her other then not being able to keep friends and that hasent changed. You really need for your sake and his to medicate him. Today they have new meds out that are better and safer. Ritilin has been used for years and I have a good friend who I couldnt reach today to get info from but she has a son who is 11 and doing very well with concerta (a new drug out for adhd) and she has been to classes to learn how to deal with adhd and she has him on a program at school where they give him extra help and he doesnt have to pass all his test to go to the next grade and he doesnt have to complete as much work as other students.I tried to do this for my daughter but the school doent want to give them to you since they have to give you all the extra help.I was dumb and just dealt with the school itself and i didnt get anywhere and my friend dealt with the school board and she had help through the place where she went for help also.Dont let the school bully you, stand up for your son.I wish I could go back and do it all over again for my daughter.I know childrens hospital has some help and you should search the web for stuff in your area for extra help.My friend has found that things they eat even effects them so she told me they need to eat high protein for breakfast.if you can respond to me then please do and i will get ahold of her and get you some good information, she has spent so much time on learnig about this and how to help her son and he has changed so much from her doing so. dont give up on him i know they are difficult kids to raise. just remember he cant help himself, he has a real problem and he needs you to help him deal with it with meds and a good structured routine and getting him in sports can also help with friends.my friend has her son in boyscouts,bowling and socker,he has friends from that.There are so many moms in your shoes who knows how you feel.thank goodness you only have him,me and my friend had other children and the adhd children have a difficult time since they are always the one who seems to be in trouble,they think you baby the other child,so your lucky there.please get him help since it will help him as well as you, then you will understand why he does what he does... he cant help him self. my friend also had trouble with her son with the girl next door being naughty together.maybe this is a adhd problem also? I wish you all well and remember you have to be the one to make a change for him...

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J.G.

answers from Columbus on

My son is ADHD and Dyslexic. www.diaohio.org might be a good resource.

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