Morning Madness

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Jan71, May 27, 2008.

  1. Jan71

    Jan71 Guest

    Hi everyone. I'm a new old forum member. We moved, and I had to sign up again for a log-in, etc. I used to be "Looney" a long time ago.

    Anyway, I have 2 difficult child/ADHD/ODD adopted boys. One is 7 and the other is 14. Both are on stimulant medication for the ADHD.

    We just went through another terrible morning. Before school, my husband leaves very early for work, usually before the kids even get up. I get the boys ready and make them breakfast before the bus comes.

    My youngest difficult child (7) seems to want to whine and complain and argue at the table for breakfast, often over minor things. If he has a bowl of cereal, he wants two bowls of cereal. He wants cookies, and two types of drinks, etc., etc. He whines and demands non-stop. When I tell him "no", he gets VERY angry and yells even more. He picks arguments with his older brother. If I send him to a time-out, I have to drag him there or threaten another consequence, because he'll refuse to take a time-out. This was the scenario today. So I ended up telling him he will not get to play his Nintendo DS today because he refused to take a time out. He then shook his fist at me and told me he would punch me and that I was "stupid", "dumb", etc. It was horrible, and all because I told him he couldn't have everything in the pantry for breakfast.

    I am willing to feed him until he is full in the morning, but I insist that he start with only one or two things at a time, to be sure nothing is wasted. I also like to stick with healthy foods, but will give him one cookie if he eats his other food first.

    I get SO frustrated, I end up yelling, and the kids left to get on the bus with a door slamming today. The neighbors probably think we're awful people. But this is so exasperating!!!:biting:

    I find that every minute of every day revolves around monitoring and disciplining the youngest difficult child especially. He controls every aspect of the day. He is not defiant at school for the most part (thank goodness), but he is extremely bad at home. Most of the time he refuses to follow even the simplest directions, such as getting dressed, using the toilet, or washing his hands. He is physically and verbally aggressive, and his extreme hyperactivity just tops it all off.

    He does not have bipolar disorder or autism or anything like that. He is ADHD and ODD. We had him evaluated at numerous places, including a children's hospital. I'm not interested in medicating him with anything besides the stimulant he's on, which does seem to help with the hyperactivity (but not the ODD). I just need some help as to how to deal with this type of defiant behavior.

    We keep thinking that this has to improve as he gets older, but so far it's just the same problem every year. In fact, it's actually worse now that he's older because he's bigger and physically more difficult to manage. No matter how many time outs he gets, he still refuses to obey simple, reasonable instructions 90% of the time. The only thing I can think of that we could do better would be to put him in time-out immediately when he doesn't follow a direction or take no for an answer. Sometimes I try to remind him that he needs to comply or he'll get a time-out. Or I'll tell him that he is being disrespectful or disobedient, but this NEVER helps. I hope that by reminding him, he has a chance to process the consequences. He doesn't modify his behavior whatsoever.

    I'm SO frustrated and out of patience,

  2. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Jan, welcome back. I remember you.

    I noticed both of your boys are adopted. Has anyone ever considered attachment problems with either of the boys? Much different behavioral therapy for a child with attachment issues than ODD/ADHD.

    I hear you on the morning frustrations. Can you plan the morning meal the night before and get everyone's agreement so there is no morning stress? Hey, it might work for a week. At least that is one week with no morning stress.

  3. 'Chelle

    'Chelle Active Member

    I too was going to suggest maybe having him decide the night before what breakfast was going to be. If you sit down with him and explain why you want him to eat the healthy stuff first (for his healthy growth and brain) and then give him a list of choices to pick from the night before and tell him there's no changing it the next day amid the morning rush. You could make the list groups - ie has to pick ONE from a list of cereals, then a list of drinks, then a fruit choice, and an extra like cookies etc. If he wanted 2 drinks you could let him pick a juice instead of a fruit plus milk. It may give him some sense of it's under his control and he won't have anything to argue over. You could also set out what would happen should he still start arguments over his own choices, such as lost Nintendo time. I know time-outs may work for my easy child but never worked with my difficult child - he didn't care and would rage for over an hour in his room. He had to lose something he did care about such as TV time or game time.
  4. Jan71

    Jan71 Guest

    Thanks guys. You have some good ideas.

    Yes, I've considered attachment issues, especially with older difficult child who was adopted out of foster care. We adopted our younger difficult child at birth, right from the hospital. I don't believe it is a factor with him.

    I thing the night before breakfast planning is a really good idea. I think he needs to control everything, and the food thing is just a way that manifests. I am going to try it tonight and see if things go better in the morning.

    By the way, I wonder if the time outs are less effective with difficult children because they do not attach consequences to their own behavior very well. They continually blame others. At least that's how it seems to be with my difficult children.

  5. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Another suggestion -

    If the morning meal seems to be the big problem (because his medications have not kicked in yet?) perhaps you could wake him gently, enough to take his medicine, about 1/2 hour before actual wake-up time. Let him go back to sleep for awhile. See if breakfast runs a little smoother if his medications have had a chance to course through his system a bit?