9 year old son is explosive

Our 9 year old son is challenging to say the least. We have grown children and adopted him when he was 13 months old. We see a neuropsychologist and he is taking Adderall, Abilify, Zoloft and Clonidine. He manages to stay fairly calm during school but he often sits and does not do his work. He is very smart, but impulsive, aggressive and ODD as well as OCD. He often punches our granddaughters and seems especially jealous of the six-year-old. One of the neighborhood children is not allowed to play with him anymore because he hit her in the face. When he wants something like a treat or to do things his way, he will not give in. Our grown daughters try to help with him but it is very difficult. He's a sweet child when he is calm, but our doctor says he has a mood disorder combined with the ADHD and we are at our wits end.


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8 Replies

  • My son mood swings and he takes Risperdal best thing I have ever did for him it's like a new child no mad or hitting through fits for hours best ever.

  • hi dear parent.

    my son also taking risperidral

    twice a day 0.27.

    he just started two months back

    my son have mild to moderate adhd

    in few things hes good in few hes not .

    what is your kids situation please do share and how long your doc say to use

    also you are from newjersey??

  • Risperdal didn't work for him. He now takes 15 mg. liquid Adderall. It's extended release but it seems to wear off in the evening. He is especially uncontrollable when he's tired.

  • hi dear parent.

    my son also have same modes as you told he does not hit but some times touch face .

    what your doc say about prognosis of adhd

    please do reply i will be very thankful.

    he just started two months back

    my son have mild to moderate adhd

    in few things hes good but in academics hes slow especially in maths.

  • We've struggled with math. often he can do the problems in his head but can't write out the word problems. we've tried rewards, consequences, charts and stickers and haven't had much success with that. we are hoping he growsaid out of some of it as he gets older but we don't really know.

  • We've been through similar challenges with our adopted son, who can be the sweetest and most empathetic, compliant kid one moment, but turn very mean and defiant (especially toward mommy) the next. He can turn it on and off like a switch, unlike autism, he can control his emotions, he just struggles with controlling impulses. What do you know about the birth parents? Any history of mental illness and/or substance abuse? Regardless, I strongly recommend seeing a psychiatrist, not just a psychologist, and one who has experience with special needs children. Also because your child has special needs, I recommend getting training for you and your husband. There's courses for parents with special needs kids that focus on managing ODD and ADHD behaviors. Take care of your own emotional needs also, because demonstrating CALM confidence that "you've got this" is critical. For now, I suggest you make simple house rules (three) that include first and foremost "no aggression." Make sure there are consequences that are imposed immediately if broken. We use timeouts successfully. He loses 10 tokens (usually half of what is earned that day) for aggression automatically but still must do the time out UNTIL WE SAY SO. If he gets out of timeout, I put him back there firmly but calmly. If this is not possible, take away something precious to prove you mean business. You must have a list of things he enjoys daily (games, electronics, treats, etc.). These are all on the table. Avoid long-term consequences, like grounding for a week; This is ineffective because these ADHD kids have no concept of tomorrow or yesterday, they're always in the moment so the punishment or reward must be in that moment! Finally, make sure you are recognizing all positive behavior, even seemingly simple things. Mood disorders can be formed from constant negative feedback. It may not seem like it, but you are the most important person in the world to your little boy. He needs to know he's loved and that he is great! The tactics mentioned are all because we had lost control of him. We were not in charge anymore, he was, as we walked on egg shells trying not to set him off. We took control back.

  • Thanks for your insight. We have not had a lot of success with time outs as he fights back and he's strong. He doesn't seem able to turn it off when he has a meltdown. We have Risperdal to use for a crisis and sometimes he won't take it and we have to wait until he calms down. The only thing he responds to is loss of electronics as he can play for hours! We try to give him a bit of time as rewards. The only thing we know is bipolar disorder is in his mother's history and his father was abusive. We've had him since he was a toddler, so he hasn't been exposed to any of that. He is a precious gift for us, and we know siblings fight, but his tendency to hit or punch our granddaughters is troubling. We bought a boxing bag for him for Christmas and he loves Legos and building kits. Additionally, we see a counselor who talks to him about ways to calm himself. We have talked to the school about outletsome such as the robotics club, but they say he doesn't have the grades or behavior to be a part of it.

  • My grandson who has anger issues is also on Risperdone and we had to put him on a non-stimulant for his ADHD. Stimulants like Adderal made him crazier.

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