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7 year old recently diagnosed with inattentive adhd and also anger/temper problems

Jc101 profile image
8 Replies

My 7 year old some recently diagnosed with adhd . He struggled pretty bad in 1st grade just having a hard time paying attention , I really dismissed it honestly thinking his teacher just expected to much (although honestly the school system does expect a lot) fast forward to second grade and I really value his teachers opinion . After her concerns I brought him to the dr and he was diagnosed with adhd . I have to say I was one of those people for a long time uninformed about this disorder thinking it was just over the top energized kids . Boy was I wrong . The more research I did the more I couldn’t believe after all these years I have an answer to my sons temper/anger issues at home . His immediate reaction to anything is to throw himself down and cry , get angry , say mean things (although I have to say I believe a lot of his words are for attention) . He has challenged this family in ways I can’t describe(ruining birthdays, vacations, dinners etc) I feel bad even saying these things . But finally I have an understanding that he really struggles controlling that first initial reaction. He is not on medicine at this time . I honestly think right now it is not needed . His grades are fantastic in school , but we are working with the teacher and counselor in school for special accommodations for him in class since he cannot focus for long periods of time . My question is are there any tips for this anger at home .? He is not violent ,( he may stomp and kick the floor , ) but you can tell he just struggles so much with the first reaction when something doesn’t go his way . Sorry this was long 😀

8 Replies
Hezzer profile image

My 8 yr old struggles with anger as well and has ADHD and some signs of high-functioning autism. He is especially bad when he has to make a transition from whatever he is doing. I try to give him lots of lead time and also explain the rules in a way that empowers him to be more adult. When it comes to screen time (which is horribly addicting for ADHD kids), I have been letting him know that playing on my phone can only happen if he agrees to give it back after his allowed time is up. We also are starting with a therapist and are going to try Clonidine for the impulsive behavior and aggression. It is a blood pressure med that has been shown to help some kids with these issues. We were afraid to try a stimulant because of his anger issues. We will see how it goes. I think the therapy is also key to teach him to self-regulate to the extent possible. I see some maturing in him but he has a long long way to go and is very hyperactive and obsessive/rigid in his thinking.

Nikita2 profile image

Hi! So sorry to hear about what you’re going through but you are not alone!! My 7 yr old was diagnosed with ADHD but we do have issues with bahavior as well. My son is so unpredictable and makes everything so hard that we’ve pretty much isolated ourselves since it’s not worth the headache, embarrassment or money to take him anywhere. However things are getting better quickly for us I’m happy to report now 6 months after diagnoses. Below is everything I can think of for advice on how we turned things around. I’m happy to dive into more detail if our story if you’re interested....

But first you deserve recognition. You ARE doing great! Recognizing the struggle your son has and wanting to support him and get him help is a huge win. Yeah you!

I recommend to educate yourself first. There is so much to learn and I can’t emphasize enough how important it is so learn everything you can. Many kids have comorbid conditions with ADHD. Crying - could this mean anxiety or depression? Read to see if might fit. Mean words and anger? Could that be ODD or a mood disorder? It’s really important to know what you’re dealing with so you can advocate for him and help him through this. I’ve invested so many hours into research that it was pretty much a second job, actually third since dealing with my son was like a second job! But it’s SO worth it.

I also encourage you to consider medication. One of the first books I read after diagnoses was Reaching for a new Potential by Oren Mason, who is a doctor with ADHD and children with ADHD. This was recommended by my pharmacist who has ADHD himself and is an active member in the local CHADD group. I am in the pharmacy industry so I may be biased but his is my bible for managing my sons treatment. It’s an easy read and it’s incredibly informative - at least read it, talk to your pediatrician, then make an educated decision on if medication is right thing for your son.

Talk to other parents! I love meetup.com because I find there are lots of different groups through there including CHADD monthly support groups and parent support groups in many area. Talking openingly with others and learn what’s worked from them really helps.

See a behavioral therapist. I totally agree with Hezzers comments and suggestions. My son is seeing a behavioral therapist and it’s worked great for him and she gives us tips for managing him at home. There are some parents I’ve talked to said it wasn’t right for them after trying, but most say it was beneficial even for a short time as a professional resource to tap into until you’re on a good path.

To get the house organized - There are a lot of techniques to deploy at home to help (schedules, behavioral charts, etc). Google “positive reinforcement adhd” and go from there. Also Amazon has a ton of great books on parenting ADHD kids. One you might like is 123 Magic. All adults in the house need to buy into the tactics. There are also parenting classes available online and through local medical facilities. Call a nearby therapy practice for recommendations. Whatever you do - keep it positive!

Okay - that’s it. Whew! And you thought your post was long! :)

Reach out about whatever, whenever!

yesy275 profile image

I also have a 7 year old with ADHD combined. it took me two years to finally educate myself, so step one is getting informed, I two, research everything possible to understand their behavior, if you escalate the problem, they will too. Its a matter of picking your battles with him. Giving them constant reminders before the actual task starts. Giving them lots of hugs, I heard that work calm them down, I do it a lot. And most of all, reward positive behavior. My sons teacher is amazing, it is very imporatnat to be in constant communication with the teacher to understand what happenend during class, so that way you can talk about the negative choices and reward the positive one. It has totally changed him around. She writes me a report everyday "Detail" I don't know if any teacher would do that. His previous school was a disaster, he was in an ICT class with 21 students, and all I got was a sheet with Green and Red markup, had no idea what I meant. Except Good and Bad, but no explanation of what was the actual situation. This has made him more responsible, because the teacher and I talk the same language to him. So Comunnintation is key, research to undetersand his behavior as well. Understood.Org has an amazing example of what it is to be a kid with that condition. "Through your childs eyes" it tells you what they are going through.

Hope this helps.

Pennywink profile image

Hi! I highly agree with the previous posters - there is some great advice there.

AS for more specifically ways to help anger issues at home, here are some things that help wiht my 6 yo.

1. Early Bedtime. It is crucial. Even missing 1/2 hour, I can tell. And it takes a week to get him back on track.

2. Accommodating for his executive functioning weaknesses. Part of my son's anger was from frustration of not being able to do on his own the things I insist he do. So, now we have lots of dry erase boards, signs & charts to help with the working memory issues, analog clocks & timers to help with his concept of time passing. Practice role playing when things are calm to practice behaviors that need correcting. Smart by Scattered by Peg Dawson goes into more detail & can give better ideas based on what specific struggles your child is having.

3. I also endorse 1-2-3 Magic. The author also has a book about ADHD (All About ADHD, I believe it is called.) But the key is to stat CALM. If my son is being disrespectful, I may remind him that I'm not responding until he speaks kindly. And then I ignore him. Minor infractions, I may just ask him to restate his statement in a kind way. If he is out of control upset, I may guide him to ways to calm down.

4. Rewards & incentives, at least at first until things become habit. I prefer natural & logical consequences if I can for punishment, but rewards for good behavior.

5. Lots of love & praise! I try to start & end each day with a big smile & hug for my son. And I give calm praise for even partial steps towards things we are trying to improve. Example: instead of saying "Why aren't your shoes on yet?", I may instead say "Nice job getting your teeth brushed, now please put on your shoes."

Jc101 profile image
Jc101 in reply to Pennywink

Thank you so much . These ideas are very helpful . It’s nice knowing I’m not the only one going through this

Jc101 profile image

Thank you everyone for the advice! When I say I had a lightbulb go off in my mind when I started reading up on adhd and anger is an understatement. Finally a reason for my sons ridiculous behavior . Finally , relief that me and my husband aren’t doing something wrong . I have four kids , I feel like I know what I’m doing , but with my older son , he just threw us for a loop with his behavior . All of a sudden it all just hits me at once , all these behaviors we chalk up to being a boy are really behaviors of him struggling . When I came to terms with it and looked at him and told him that I finally understood that it’s really hard for him and that most of his behavior is not on purpose and that I was going to try to help him . That’s when his behavior started to shift for the better . He has made huge progress just from me telling him that I understand. I will check out the 123 magic book and see what else I can learn from that and I’m also going to dive deeper into learning more about adhd .

Pennywink profile image

That sounds very similar to my experience when we first got the diagnosis!

Here is one of the first things in my early ADHD research that I felt was massively informative.


sherril2291 profile image

I absolutely love every one of these responses. My son is 15 now, but he was 7 years old when he was diagnosed. Like the others suggested, the first thing I did was do the research. One thing that really helped my son was not specifically a "time out" but being able to go somewhere and calm down on his own when he would become upset and throw down (histronics, etc). He had a place at school where he was allowed to go when he became so quickly upset in order to calm down, and that really helped ( he can now self calm quickly, better than a lot of people I know). Your son will outgrow this. Positive reinforcements, and anything you can do to help him learn to self organize is a must. Preparing him for transitions is a must as well. Only telling him one thing to do at a time is a must, even now. Lots of praise for what they do right, and finding strengths and reinforcing them. Audio books, verbal tests, etc.

At the end of the day, medication has helped the most. He tried to go off of his this year (the medication he has been taking really helped in school, but made him so quiet) so I agreed and we tried it. He instantly went downhill - he stopped turning in assignments, chose hanging out with his friends instead of doing classwork - he was enjoying school but his academics were suffering greatly, and try his best, he couldn't turn it around on his own. So we are going with a smaller dose, so he can still "be himself" but still concentrate and make good decisions. Like it or not, their brains just don't function like those who don't have ADHD. He understands this - we all wish something about us was different. Being up front with his teachers each year, and being his advocate have helped him become a very happy and adjusted teenager. You guys have got this!

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