New Here..need help

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by nandz, Apr 14, 2010.

  1. nandz

    nandz Guest

    Hello! My 5 yr old son has been recently diagnosed with ADHD/ODD and has been on Adderall now for 4 days now. He always tested the limits and rules, but since being on the medication, his defiance for me has gotten a lot worse. If I attempt to give him a consequence for a bad behavior, he melts down on me when I try to give him time out. He kicks, screams, yells, and tries to hit me. I have taken things away, sent him to his room, and I don't let him start the time out until he can calm himself down and serve his time out without being out of control. I am trying to teach him self control and let him know he cannot treat me this way. It's gotten worse with the medications. The funny thing is that he doesn't do it much with anyone else except for me. I dont' get it at all. I called his dr. right away and he said it's most likely behavioral problems since he only seems to do it with me. The Adderall have helped him a lot in other areas so it's just getting through this. I don't know what else to do with him or why he's treating just me this way. It's not anyone else usually. He hates time outs and fights me all the time and I know it is probably an effective method for him now because he hates it so much and knows its a punishment to sit there until he has calmed down. Should I just hang in there? He has no other side effects from the medications. His appetite is well, sleep is well, and no stomach pain, etc..its just that the defiance for me has gotten worse. I think he is just testing me right now because on the medications he is well aware of what is going on and knows he is accountable and things are not accepted or tolerated right now. The dr. said he may no be used to the way the medications feel yet since it's only been 4 days. Anyone else been here? I just want to sit and cry all the time because I feel like he doesn't love me and he hates me!
  2. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member


    There is a chance the medications will work differently in a few weeks - but me personally - I would not take that chance. There are other medications to trial. No reason for him to have to live with treating you this way if it is medication induced.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My son was also diagnosed with ADHD/ODD. All stimulants made him mean and aggressive, which he never was before so we stopped the medications and went on to try and see if he had gotten the right diagnoses (we suspected it was wrong). Stimulants and antidepressants have the ability to make kids even worse. If this is since he started Adderrall (my son did worse on Adderrall than any of the stims, but they all did the same thing)'s probably the Adderrall. Has he ever seen a neuropsychologist? Are there any psychiatric problems on either side of his genetic family tree? Any substance abuse?

    How was his early development? Did he make good eye contact, cuddle, speak on time? Can he transition from one experience to another well? Can he relate well to his same age peers?

    He doesn't hate you. He just has something going on and it needs to be diagnosed. in my humble opinion he hasn't been diagnosed right yet. Often it takes time. I like NeuroPsychs because they do 6-10 hours of testing and don't leave any stones unturned. Many of us here think they do the best diagnosing.

    You need a new doctor. Many kids with disorders hold in their "different-ness" except with the person they feel safest with...Mom. Lucky us! Then we get it triple time because they tried so hard to hold back with others. In time, however, without treatment, they do start acting out with others and it can turn into a mess. I'd want a brand spanking new evaluation. My son has high functioning autism, not ADHD/ODD...that diagnosis was WRONG and didn't help him. He's 16 and doing great now.

    Welcome to the board...very sorry you had to join us though.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2010
  4. nandz

    nandz Guest

    Well, on the plus side, I have noticed a lot of positives from the medications. He is calmer, he listens a lot better, he is not as impulsive or distracted and he can focus better. I believe the issues we are having are behavioral because he knows now he is accountable for his actions and he doesn't like it. He's only been on the medications for 4 days too. I know I cannot expect a miracle overnight. He still has some work to do. He is severely lacking in social cues. Due to his ADHD, he didn't pick up on social cues or social skills and he is very behind his peers in this aspect. I am hoping the medications will help him catch up. Today at soccer practice, he only grabbed someone once in comparison to last week (with no medications) when he grabbed kids around 10 times and tackled them. He did get in some of the kids personal space and tends to get into fights because he just won't leave other kids alone yet. It's still better than last week though. He wouldn't stand in line at all last week. Today, he did a lot better at standing in line and following directions from the coaches. He can focus better, but he still is looking around a lot when he should be paying attention. He's on a very low dose of Adderall. 5 mg in the morning and 2.5 mg at 3 pm. I hate to say these are the wrong medications because we have seen a lot of improvements that we like, but he's just not there yet.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You may want to read up on Asperger's Syndrome or high functioning autism.

    Adderrall doesn't build up in the child's system. What you see is pretty much what you get. It's good that his impulse control is better, but I'd still test him to see if he's maybe on the autism spectrum or if other things are going on beyond ADHD/ODD. Kids with ADHD often (not always) struggle with social skills, but not the way kids on the autism spectrum do. They really don't understand how to relate to kids at all. My thirteen year old is being tested for ADHD because she has trouble concentrating, but she is extremely socially appropriate and very popular.

    I still think something more is going on, but good luck, whatever you decide to do ;)
  6. nandz

    nandz Guest

    I am reading on Asperger's right now. He doesn't shy away from others. He is a very social person, its just that he doesn't get that he can't get into other's personal space and he bothers kids unintentionally. He doesn't understand he can't do that. I don't feel he has autism as he has empathy for other kids and especially his bother. If I am crying, he is always there to comfort me and others who are sad or I don't know. It's not like he does not want to play with others or prefers to be alone, but it's when he's playing with other kids that he doesn't understand he can't go into personal space and gets in others way or picks fights with others. The funny thing is that he usually has more trouble getting along with boys than he does girls. He gets along fine with most girls. It's the boys who are harder for him. :surprise:
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'm not saying this is Asperger's, although MidwestMom & I do often agree, we so often will both 'see' it in someone's description of their child on this board. But I'm not so sure, here. It could be, or this could simply be that your son is still adapting to the changes this medication has brought him. Among those changes are the good things you report, but also the added stress of all that input, all the stuff he is now understanding and taking on board - something has to give somewhere.

    Some kids do well on stimulants but it takes time for them to adapt. Other kids do brilliantly on stimulants from the first half hour. Some kids react badly to one stimulant but not to another. Some react badly to all.

    Every kid is different. One thing I feel sure of, though, is I doubt your son has suddenly undergone a major permanent personality change just because of the medications.
    I have a couple of questions for you - is there a chance that your expectations have increased? Were you told, "Once on these medications, the problems should be gone and he should be at last able to behave and comply."? Are you possibly now requiring more form him than you were before? Or is there a chance that your son perceives this?

    It is an easy thing for us to do, to be so desperate to see some improvement, especially when it has been promised, that we ask too much before our kids are ready. or conversely, you may not be doing anything different at all, but if your son was listening in to what you were told, he may feel that you are suddenly demanding more from him.
    Or another possibility which I think needs to be considered - your son is now able to focus and pay attention. But you are used to a kid who only takes on board about half of what you say, so of course to compensate, for years you have probably been saying it twice. And now you don't need to, plus now he hears you each time. so to him, your normal behaviour to him could now seem like nagging.

    One point I want to make, urgently - please do not believe that your son is trying to trick you, to fool you, to put one over on you or in any way trying to be deceitful when it comes to compliance. Unless this is how he used to be, the medications won't have imposed this. But too often we see more in our kids' non-compliance than there really is. They are NOT being difficult just to annoy us or get a rise out of us. Except in very rare cases, kids WANT to be good and they WANT to please us. If you can reinforce this and praise him when he does something right (and it has to be unconditional, too) then this can positively reinforce until it can bring about drastic improvement.

    I talked about unconditional praise. The same goes for unconditional apology. We sometimes forget, especially if we've felt we have to continually correct our kids because they are such a problem - kids really love to be valued, and valued without it being connected to past problems.

    So here are some good examples and bad examples.

    Your child has made a cake. He has found the recipe book all by himself, carefully measured it all, mixed it all up, put it into a cake tin, baked it in the oven and now has it out on the bench, cooling. OK, he's also made an unbelievable mess. But he did it partly because he wanted cake, but mostly because he wanted to surprise you.
    How do you react? Please note, I am not saying which, if any, of the responses are correct because frankly, any of them can be correct, or incorrect, entirely depending on other factors not listed in this scenario.

    1) "Johnny, what a mess! You know you're not supposed to use the oven or the mixer without someone supervising! You could have hurt yourself! And you have made a huge mess - I expect you to clean this up, and there's to be no TV for you for a week for being disobedient!"
    OK, this is out and out chastisement. Only seeing the negative, not seeing the positive side of this at all.

    2) "That's very nice of you, darling, to do this for Mummy. But I really wish you had waited for me, I could have helped you do it without it being so messy."

    3) "Thank you, darling. What a lovely cake! Aren't you a clever boy!"

    Now, Example 1) is classic negative only criticism. Also a very natural response, especially if the entire kitchen is now a disaster area and the smoke alarm has summoned the fire brigade.

    Example 2) is the classic conditional praise example. You've said something nice, but it has strings attached. Please be aware, and watch yourself constantly, because such conditional comments are meant to be kind but when heard by kids, especially difficult child kids, all they hear is the criticism.

    Example 3 is often how we have to proceed when trying to undo a lot of ODD-type damage in our kids, no matter how hard we have to grit our teeth in the process. That doesn't mean you don't at some point mention the need to clean up, but it can be done without the negativity and it can also be done without linking it to the praise.

    The same goes for apology. I grew up in a home where parents were always right, even when they were clearly wrong. My parents did not want to show any weakness or lack of perfection in front of the kids. So there were times when I hated the decisions they made and I can look back now from my own position as parent and see that yes, they did make a mistake. An apology would have actually raised their esteem in my eyes. So we have made it a policy to apologise to our kids, if we get something wrong. But old habits die hard and husband sometimes 'snaps back' to making his apologies conditional. This really enrages difficult child 3 because in his eyes, a conditional apology is not an apology at all; and he feels the injustice of being required to make unconditional apologies yet never receive one.

    Example - "Son, I'm sorry I spoke harshly to you; but it was because I misheard and thought you had called me something very bad. [OK so far - explanatory]. I guess it makes up for all the times when you did say something bad to me." [OK, he just messed up - that last comment totally undermines the apology by turning it into a mean remark and making reference to stuff that should by now have been resolved, you never re-hash past stuff].

    When you have an ADD/ODD kid it is a real struggle. You are running a Red Queen's race, never getting anywhere no matter how hard you work at it. Then suddenly something begins to work, and all your efforts suddenly overshoot the mark. This can take time to adjust. The child needs to adjust, but so do the people around him. It's not just a matter of medications, it is the response to the medications as well as other people's responses to the changes. We are complex creatures and also part of a wider network. It's one big spiderweb of connections; tweak one part of the web and the whole thing trembles.

    Now to your comments on Asperger's and your son - not all kids with Asperger's or autism are socially withdrawn. difficult child 3 is very outgoing, will talk to total strangers about his life story. Today I let difficult child 3 do as much of the interactions as possible, by himself, in his dealings with officialdom (he was applying for a Learner Driver's Permit). But I listened in, and heard him trying to joke with the official and make small talk. Being autistic, he is still not good at small talk. But it doesn't stop him from trying! He actually wasn't doing too badly, as it turned out.
    When he was little, he would have walked off with a total stranger if we had let him. He likes people. He will approach people and initiate contact. But what makes difficult child 3's "social sense" more typical of autism, is his lack of understanding of what is appropriate. An important thing to realise - these kids can and do learn how to interact appropriately, but they don't learn automatically the way other kids do. They need to be taught it, the way you teach a kid how to knit.

    Empathy - yes, difficult child 3 has always cried when someone else cried. I remember easy child 2/difficult child 2 at my father's funeral; she was only four years old but she sensed people were sad and I remember her going over to my sister J who was quietly crying (not obvious) and wordlessly giving her aunt a hug. She's always been a loving, cuddly child and would respond to other people's sadness. The more obvious emotions especially, would always get a matching emotional response form my kids even the ones on the spectrum. It's where the emotions are more subtle that they get it wrong. For example, if difficult child 3 is 'talking at' someone and they get that glazed over expression on their face, he just doesn't realise.

    Have a look at the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) questionnaire on It's not an official diagnostic test (it can't be; it's online!) but it is very useful as a sort of informal parental screening tool. You can also print out the results (even if the score is within normal range) and take it to a doctor, because simply seeing the sort of things you are concerned about (but hadn't thought to mention perhaps) can help the doctor 'gel' ideas.

    Do I think your son is Aspie? Maybe. Or maybe it's just ADHD. But some people consider ADHD to be part of the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) spectrum. Who knows? Medicine is a very inexact science. It could be a useful working hypothesis for you, however.

    Whatever his diagnosis, I strongly urge you to get your hands on a copy of "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene, because it could help you a great deal with the current behaviour problems.

    Regarding your concerns - it could be medication-related. He might be on too high a dose. He could he having rebound problems. He might need a different medication. Or he might need a different way of handling, on top of the new medications. I don't know, all we can do here is lay in front of you a range of possibilities, kick ideas around with you and then let you make some informed decisions. You're the one on the spot, but we can help as far as we can.

    Welcome to the site, glad we can be here to help.

  8. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    I don't agree with what your Dr. says. Our difficult child always saved it for home. The same year he tore the house apart, had the entire police force looking for him, and made our lives a living hell was the same year he got 4 academic honor awards at school. Our Dr. explained that we should not feel that just because he can hold it together at school that he should be able to hold it together at home. That is not always true. He did state that we should find hope in it. He believed that those who could hold it together for part of the day would be more likely to be able to develop the skills needed to become a non-difficult child. I have upgraded difficult child to "recovering difficult child" because he really is trying to improve, and has, but more to go.

    It does sound like more then ADHD. ADHD is attention and hyperactivity not behavior. Yes I agree he has a behavior issue, but they are often medical issues as well, and not just a choice. If believe that my difficult child would have chosen to behave better if he could, he just did not have the mental skills to manage his frustrations. Thus for him parent created consequences did not help, as he was already motivated to do well, he just could not control his feelings. For us working with the therapist to learn different ways of communicating, reflecting and working on his anger management skills were more helpful.

    Also Aspergers does not mean one is not social, or wishes to be alone. It is more that they have troubles understanding social behavior. My own dear husband has no clue on social things and I believe he has Aspergers, but he is still a very social person and is quite loving.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Actually, my son was pretty "social" (if inappropriate) until he got older because being social as a young 'un meant running around, laughing together, etc. It didn't have anything to do with sharing thoughts or deep conversations. Aspies and other kids on the autism spectrum can show an interest in other kids. My son is sixteen now and has a ton of empathy. In fact, he is almost too empathetic and will cry when others are sad. His sister knows this and plays it He is a wonderful person.

    Most Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids don't have every trait. What my son does do is keep his eyes down a lot when he doesn't know somebody, now that he is older and more self-conscious he tends to hide in t he back when he is in a strange group of people, he has a very poor attention span and has to work at it (he is now on the honor roll, medications free!) and he tends to get along better with younger kids as they accept him more readily. His big problems are "getting" social cues, which is huge when the child gets older so, if there is any chance a child has it at all, it is best to address it very young. It only gets harder as they grow up, and some kids continue to have tantrums out of frustration. My son is still overly sensitive and for a sixteen year old boy will still cry if he feels he is being criticized.

    Nothing you said about your son rules out Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). I'm not saying he has it, but he does have some traits of it. And I'd get him evaluated by a neuropsychologist.

    Take care :)
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Oh, the problems with conversations! And yet, as I said, they can learn. Also if the conversation is on their terms, or about something they fully understand or are obsessed with, they can be very animated and participate fully.

    I was listening to husband & difficult child 3 talking yesterday. To a certain extent, it was difficult child 3's first driving lesson, only he wasn't behind the wheel. husband was explaining exactly how cars work and how the gears work, demonstrating on the drive home by getting difficult child 3 to note what was happening and listen to the engine. The conversation between them was appropriate, was detailed, was 'on topic' for a full half hour. I actually suggested we stop the car and I swapped places with difficult child 3, putting him in the front and me in the back, because this was gold.

    The thing is - they were talking technical, mostly. But I was really impressed with how 'normal' it all sounded.

    Mind you, difficult child 3 has autism, so for him it's been much more difficult to hold a conversation, than for an Aspie. But he's high-functioning, which means he has been able to learn, able to adapt and as he put it years ago, "pretend to be normal".

    And yes - very loving. Even before he knew the words. But it always had to be on his terms, you can't grab a kid like this for a hug, you have to ask for one. And sometimes they will be spontaneous and give you a hug. Those are gold, too.