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ADHD Parents Together
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Losing my mind and heart is breaking

Hi everyone! First I want to thank you all for the dedicated support you give to each and every member here on this site. It’s such a great resource to have. I have posted a couple times, and am here again to post a vent/request for insight. We’ve been on this ADHD journey with our son for a while now. He finally started medication about 5 months ago and it has made a big positive difference in his school performance and behavior, but what we’re struggling with is his behavior during the non-medicated hours. He’s 7 years old and his behavior has worsened over the course of time...he was much more mature and calm at 4 than he is at 7, so it worries me, this path. He struggles with constant shouting, non-sense talk, potty talk, as soon as he wakes up in the morning (7am) until meds kick in. This happens again at night around 5pm until sleep. He also struggles with not seeing things through others eyes, plays victim a lot when he brings things on himself. Very emotional over disappointments. We’ve tried everything to bring it to his attention, correct the behavior with clear consequences, behavior charts, and I often lose my temper because I just can’t take it any longer. I am sad because there is nothing to like about his behavior while not on meds, we can’t talk, and I know he senses the frustration and disappointment in me. For those that this sounds familiar, what is your best advice for getting through this? With no success in trying to change the behavior, do we simply ignore it? I’m afraid the more negative feedback I give him, the worse it will so. The family dynamic is miserable due to his behaviors. My husband gets so frustrated at the dinner table, he gets up and goes to eat somewhere else. Does it eventually get better??? Please help and thank you for listening.

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It's been a long time, but when my son started college he had a wonderful doc who prescribed short term Dextrostat for the am, then a bit later Dexedrine Spansules which would last all day. (He had been on meds since 3rd grade) This worked for him. Perhaps check on a short/quick acting form to work with the long term?

So hope something works for you.

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Thanks for your reply! Yes our psych has recommended a short acting med in the morn and evening to help with the coming on and off the extended release version. I wasn’t a fan of the idea of more medication, but seems I should start considering it. Thanks again!

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Please don't think of it as."another" medication it is just an extension becuase the am wears off.. their body needs the medication and without it they are unable to control things.

Hope this makes sense.

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Great point. Also the more he gets to see the positive interaction with his family take effect the better. Water what you want to grow! I relate to your story. My son feels better when he is medicated. He also enjoys that positive reaction from me. Good luck.

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I am so sorry you are experiences this. You are right, most of the things you are describing he can not control, because ADHD is a Neuro-Development condition. It really impacts all parts of our/his life. This is really taken me a while ( our son is 12 years old) to really understand that. He is not trying to be challenging, it really is the way his brain is wired. We could not stand it and have our son on medication as soon as he wakes up. This is the only way he can handle to demands of life. We also give him a booster in the afternoon, which is the hardest time for him.

I would ask that you give medication a try and see the difference.. He will still have his same core personality, the medication only takes those symptoms away.

If it doesn't work then you will know you tried.

Best of luck.

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Thanks for replying! Our son is on Adderall extended release, but we have yet to try the booster. Can I ask how this effects your son’s sleep? Or bedtime? Our son doesn’t have any sleep issues, and I wouldn’t want the booster to interfere with that. Thank you!

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The booster is short acting so it is out if his system before he goes to bed.

We also give him melatonin when needed for sleep. He goes to bed at 9-9:30pm on school night at 10pm summer time. When he doesn't sleep well we believe it is becuase he doesn't have sported that day becuase he has to much energy and sports balances this. We give him I his booster ( which is less MG as his day medication) at 4-5pm. It is 9ut of his system by 8-8:30pm. Just enough to get homework and sports done.

Let me know if you have any questions. We also pushed his am medication back until he walks out the door becuase he can handle the am routine now.

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We are in a similar boat- reaching out to show support. Ive been reading about parenting ADHD children and have found some techniques and ideas on being mindful of our children's underlying struggles that mitigate some of the anger and frustration I feel inside (which in turn is supposed to soften our attitudes toward our children). I havent been able to say anythign 'works' right now for those hard times in the evenings but I'm hopeful. I think letting your child eat standing up or while doing something else (we let ours watch a video on iPad) makes the meal time slightly more tolerable (even though it means we cant eat around other people as I feel their judgement). Dont feel you're alone, that's the main thing. And dont feel judged by others!

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Thank you! He does beg to watch tv while we eat, but we’ve always had a rule in the home no tv at dinner time. When dad’s not around, I allow it because i just can’t take it all on my own. I would hope that the tv would distract him enough, but it doesn’t really. He still yells and has outbursts the whole time. Can’t win! ☺️ I always lose site of my sons behaviors being out of his control and that he’s just wired that way...I respond as if he’s doing it on purpose. Then feel guilt the next day. I fear I am doing damage...this is the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with in my life and sure it’ll get harder. 😭 Thanks again.

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If there is anyone in your life that judges you because you let them watch an IPad get them.out of your life! No friend show judge another, our role is to support..

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I am sorry you are going through this! Our son sounds similar to yours and I can share what has worked for us.

1. Parent/child interaction therapy. Our therapist came to our house during the difficult times- bedtime routine, after school, etc...And really helped us identify the triggers to behavior, interventions, and more ways to give him positive feedback. This helped a lot!

2. Our son takes a booster of medication in the afternoon or evening if he has social activities or we are really struggling. He takes methylphenidate and the short acting has not affected his sleep at all. If anything he is less hyper and sleeps better!

I hope this helps. I can’t say things are perfect for us but they are much better. And our relationship is so much more positive.

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I can totally relate with my 8 year old son! We’re working on a recommended book from this group— the Kazdin method—and I have noticed that the more negative I am, the more he digs in and is defiant. The Kazdin method recommends focusing on increasing the behaviors you want rather than stopping the ones you don’t, and it really makes sense. My son is so stubborn that punishing him and getting mad at him just escalates the situation further. We’re still early in this process, but it’s been much more successful than the prior approaches we’ve used.

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Hi there, I went through this same situation with my ADHD son. Talk with his doctor about adjusting his meds. It sounds like he may need a small afternoon dose to calm things down in the evening. Also, many of the ADHD medications can cause mood swings, aggressive behavior, non-compliance and other over-reaction to ordinary situations.

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My son is also 7, nd we have been struggling with him for years. I feel your pain and frustration. Our psychiatrist recommended broad spectrum micronutrients. My son started them in February and by the time he reached a half dose we saw dramatic improvement. There are two companies you can look at. One is Hardy Nutritionals and the other is True Hope. You really need your prescribing doctor to be on board with this. We use Hardy Nutritionals, but the psychiatrist did not favor one over the other. Wishing you all the best!

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Thank you! I emailed our psychiatrist to see if he’s heard of it. I have a feeling (because it’s Kaiser) he won’t condone doing anything besides the typical stimulant route, but we’ll see. Is your son on stimulants as well as the micronutrients? Or just micronutrients alone?

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He has been on Quillivant followed by adderral followed by Focalin and Guanfacine. In fedruary we took him off both meds to see what was actually working. Because of his aggression they wanted to add a third med, Prozac, which his father and I just could not do. His psychiatrist then recommended the micronutrients. He finished the school year on micronutrients and Focalin. After school ended we left him just in micronutrients and took him off Focalin. He is doing so much better. With Hardy Nutritionals I think you can call and they can tell you providers in your area who recommend micronutrients. Don’t give up!

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Im in the same situation with my 1 year old! I give him 10 mg xr focalin in the morning before school with 1 mg intuniv then at school after lunch they give him 2.5 mgs booster dose , it wears off by 5 pm then after that no medication . Sometimes his fine but when the therapist comes he dont want to work with her and they re reccomending another 2.5 mgs after school but im not sure .

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The things that helped me the most with at home behavior is The Explosive Child by Dr. Greene and doing mindfulness activities with him. They really helped me understand him better through increased sharing while giving him an awareness of himself and others. Here are the ones that I highly recommend: amazon.com/Mindful-Games-Ac...

I have, also, seen positive changes using Krill Oil. It could take a few months to see improvements though.

Good luck on your journey!

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This was a bigger problem for us at 7 and 8 than it is at 12. He takes a larger dose for daytime than he did then, but no longer needs the short-acting to help with the comedown period emotionality -- but we are considering bringing it back to help with school work. But I am not strict at all about rules (easier to decide to do with an only I think) during the evening so he doesn't have to sit at the table to eat and he can "have the sillies" all he wants. I won't allow him to be violent, destructive, or disrespectful but at this point, he has really outgrown that. That really was a hard time for us but it has gotten better, so hopefully, it will for you too.

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Thank you! I appreciate your feedback. I am hoping our situation turns out to be a lot like yours. Our son is not at all violent, or physical in thought or acting out...he’s just really immature and doesn’t realize how he effects others with his volume and content of silliness. It gets on my nerves (the volume mostly), but I know it could be a lot worse. I just hope he outgrows it. He does struggle with his emotions when he is let down or disappointed in something he set his mind to, but only by crying/tantrum type behavior. Not getting physical at all. So I should be grateful. Thanks again.

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We were in the same boat with our 7yr old girl when we first started medication earlier in the year. She’s on a long-term stimulant for school and around 4-5pm there is a big emotional crash. I’ve noticed that she needs food around this time (I think part of the problem is that she gets really hangry because she hasn’t eaten quite as much as she used to). We also started 2mg guanfacine that we give her at dinner time. It seems to really help calm her and help her sleep so it has been a huge improvement since we started guanfacine. My husband and I were both really leery about adding in another medication because we also give her melatonin on nights she has trouble sleeping however the guanfacine has done wonders for her evening meltdowns. MUCH better. I would ask your doc about tweaking the meds. Also, make sure your son eats around the time the medication is leaving his system. FOr our daughter, she does much better with a little snack before we actually eat dinner.

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Hi and thanks for sharing. I'm sorry you and your husband are having such a difficult time managing your son's ADHD. I know this can be frustrating for everyone in the family as there is an absence of peace and stability in the home. As for resources outside of this group, there is an excellent online source that is published by an organization called CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) -- chadd.org. There are links to local support groups and cover just about every topic related to ADHD.

Therapy and ADHD coaching are options that you might want to explore as well. There have been many success stories coming from parents who've encountered similar difficulties which by the way is not at all uncommon in families living with ADHD. Just continue to reach out to available avenues of support and don't lose hope. Things do get better with the right intervention. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

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Hi I totally understand how you feel. My daughter is 13 now but we totally went through it and still do sometimes. Every child is different but I have found through therapy for myself to learn how to raise my child the way her brain works has made a huge difference in our lives and household. I have learned to think like she is thinking. We still have times when she explodes but it is so much better. Therapy for me has helped me relieve alot of her frustration that causes alot of the anger. She only takes meds for school.

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