He just won't sleep!: My 6 almost... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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He just won't sleep!


My 6 almost 7 year old son is pretty much out of control. He was diagnosed with ADHD, odd, and sensory processing disorder at 4 years old. Started meds at 5. The meds have helped but we keep having to constantly adjust them. They just start working and then they stop working. The biggest and newest issues have been his outbursts. I am the one he's most comfortable with , so I get the brunt of it being his mother. It starts from the minute his eyes open with "good morning bitchy!" Or "I hate you , you asshole!" All because I gently went in and said "good morning Kade" we've tried consequences. We take things. I'm a parent that is consistent and follows through . Everything you can think of, I've probably tried. The other problem is sleep. This child goes all day. He runs. He plays. He swims for hours. He does his scooter. Outside for 5+ hours a day. I'm lucky if he sleeps by 1030-11pm, then he will wake at 3-4am. I have been getting about 3 hours of sleep a night for the past few months. I barely can function at my job. I dont have any family or friends to reach out to. It's just him and I. If anyone can offer support, or ideas, for putting an ADHD child to bed or how you deal with your child when they swear at you and physically attack you, please share....

31 Replies

Welcome to the group. Having a child with ADHD is a journey and there are many supports that can help you guys.

The first suggestion is see a psychiatrist, it will change his/your life. They specialize in medication management. Our son takes 2 different medications. One (Ritlin) controls his impulses and Initiv which helps with focus and behavior.

Second is see what the Psychiatrist says and sleep, melatonin is given to many children to assist with sleep. There are other tools that can help: weighted blanket, sleep machine, warm tea.

I would also recommend thearpy, even when the medication us helping he needs to learn techniques to control his behavior.

The last recommendation he really helped me learn that ADHD effects many areas of a child's life and how to help them. That is the Podcast- Parenting ADHD by Penny William's. There are so many free episodes you can listen to that can help you. She just had a sleep expect on the show.

Just know we have all delt with these issues and are here to help you and support you.

Big hug for all your struggles.

Thank you so much for the reply. He has a weighted blanket and he takes melatonin. He also takes claudadine(spelling?) In the morning and extra dose at night with the melatonin for bed and it doesn't last

Also, thank you for your kind words and advice

I want you to also know, many times children with ADHD gain maturity and that helps a lot. You sound like you have really worked hard with him.

Can you ask for a longer sleeping dose?

Often my son is to wound up, even after hours of hard play, so getting him to sleep can be a challange.

Any time you need support please post.

Has he seen a psychiatrist?

Yes that's where we get the meds from but, he doesn't really council us. He's more of a wham bam thank you ma'am hahaha basically wants to know if meds are working, If not,why they aren't working , then he either ups the meds or tries something different. I really would like to try CBT with him ...but I live about two hours from the closest place. In short: we live in the middle of nowhere. Our psychiatrist comes into town every Tuesday for two hours. That's the only time he's local and easily accessible

Hello, I’m so sorry to hear you going through this. It’s definitely challenging and draining. It took us several meds to find one that worked for our son. He’s currently on tenex and adderal and it works wonders! Finally a great balance.

We experienced increased behavior when he was medicated at a young age and it took until he was 7 to find one that complimented one another. ( my son was diagnosed at 3)

You need early intervention and support, my son now resides in a 24 hour residential facility, mind you I was against it but it got to the point where it was out of control and there was nothing I could offer him that would help.

He’s been in residential for a year and a half and ready to transition home. It was the greatest investment ever! He’s able to sleep 9 hours, function in school with no behavior, has learned coping skills and is balanced! I couldn’t be happier with the results. I was grateful that he was young enough to go through the program now he’s set up with a foundation I could have never given him, even with the goal charts, consistency in my parenting etc.

I pray for you and your sons well being, I know it can be physically and emotionally draining.

Reading through my posts may be helpful as I give updates on where we started to where we are at now. 🙏🏼

in reply to Niko2012

I was thinking of residential as well...it's something I'm so scared to do. They would not officially diagnose my son at 3 but it was pretty much assumed at that time also. He's on three different meds currently and they barely scratch the surface. I've tried everything, I really truly have. Im not sure if where I live even has residential programs as resources here are so very limited

in reply to Kadesmomma

Where are you located?

I was extremely against it, scared, felt like I was giving up on my son, but it came a time where everything just got completely out of control.

I needed help, I was drained and my poor son deserved the help to.

He’s a different kiddo now. Short term investment for long term results honestly.

in reply to Niko2012

In Vermont

That's how I feel right now...I don't know where else to turn. He has one good day to 10 bad ones ...

in reply to Kadesmomma

Well if you ever need to talk feel free to connect with me and swap numbers.

I felt so alone in the beginning of this process, especially with the feelings of others around me. I felt like I was making excuses for his behavior constantly, my circle got small, but the right support system is what needed to surround my son and I for positive results.

Every child is different, and what worked for my son may not work for others as you can see the flood of suggestions throughout this site.

But I will say, I had to learn how to be emotionally and physically strong to weather the storm for the process. As a mother, in the beginning I catered to his inability to do things rather than all his abilities.

I could go on forever about this journey that’s still in place. you are not alone and I hope you find the support you need. ☀️

I’m going to make this as short and sweet as I can....you are not alone! I’ve been where you are with all the things you’re talking about. After reaching an all-time low, the psychiatrist recommended Prozac. I couldn’t bring myself to put my 7-yr-old on Prozac. She then recommended broad spectrum micronutrients. There are two companies, Hardy Nutritionals and True Hope. I highly encourage you to investigate them. My son has been off medications for over a year and is doing the best he ever has. I wish you the best!

in reply to Cjkchamp

I will look into this ! Ty

My son takes an iron supplement-- low iron can disturb sleep. Have you tried melatonin? It's a natural supplement.

in reply to HanDor

Yes he's on melatonin

in reply to Kadesmomma

Mine is also on Prozac for several years which addresses his anxiety. Helps a lot


Hang in there mom! Being a mother is a tough job, to begin with, then you add other issues on top to deal with - Bless you for being such a good mom! I am a retired special needs and family support person. I love working with special needs kids and adults and working with troubled families. It is hard to say what will work for your son. Medicine is always an adjustment game. It took me years to figure out what medicines finally worked the best for my health condition. However, remember that the doctor is just an advisor. You and your son know his needs the best because you deal with them on a daily basis. It is very important to keep in close communication with his doctor. 2nd. Each ADHD child and their family has different needs - Try small things and work your way up to bigger options; I.E. How does your son do with different types of smells? Lavender sense does that help relax him? you can get things like a bottle of his own body wash for the shower. Maybe get a kids shampoo with his favorite cartoon character on it and dump that out into an empty bottle, then replace the first one with the lavender body wash. Maybe senses do not have an effect on him. Maybe, he might be a music person. Classical, jazz, (stay away from hard rock music). You can get a couple of radios OR maybe even his own handheld radio and help him find a radio station that he likes. Music can play a very vital roll in people's life. - What are his interests and desires at this point in time? They are going to be changing quite rapidly. Make a note when you do something that he really likes and implement that into finding the right combination for him. I hope this helps a little. - One more thing- this is a family/team effort. Make sure that you have your family and friends help you out. You are only a human being, not Super Mom. :) Let someone take him while you take a nap on a daily basis, he's a busy boy. So schedule family or friends in to babysit him with other kids if possible once a day every day so that you can sleep and have some quiet time for yourself. 'Make time, to take time for yourself, because when you are not feeling your best, you cannot give your best to your family."

in reply to JkBrauer

Thank you so much for your reply . He can't do scented things because of his sensory processing disorder. He loves country music. Maybe we will look into the radio idea! 😁

in reply to Kadesmomma

:) Best of wishes to you all!

Hello, sorry you are going through this. I deal with similar issues. Recently we upped the dose of Focalin and he went to bed at 1 am one night and another he woke up at 2 am and wouldn't go back to sleep. Adding a booster in the afternoon at school also did the same thing. We lowered the medication dose again and the sleep improved. I also noticed that for melatonin you only need a small dose, like 2.5mg, if you keep adding more and more it seems that it agitates the child more. Not sure if that's for everyone but it is our experience.

Have a very structured schedule. Always give the ADHD stimulant medicine by 8 or 8:15am, no electronics TV past 6:30 pm, low key activities after that. Early dinner, bath time, we do prayers, soft sounds, (sound machine) We use the Calm app for bedtime stories and helps immensely.

In regards to the unkind words "hate" etc, we go through the same thing. I calmly tell him that I have never used those words with him or anyone, they are hurtful. It is not ok to talk to anyone like that. Then I don't speak to him and he apologizes and hugs me. I know he doesn't mean it.

I have seen some improvement in that area. I'm also careful to what he watches on TV, readings etc. I try as much as I can to fill him with good books, videos, shows (ike Mr Rodgers). You are a great mom and this is not an easy job. I wish you and your son all the best.

Yes he has a very strict schedule. I won't even go to a family dinner etc outside the home if I think it will run late. My family doesn't understand it completely...and the family I do have doesn't live near us. He was doing great. I really thought we were on the mend! Then covid hit and school closed and his structured world got turned upside down. I can't tell you the last time he just came over and gave me a kiss or a hug. It's been really hard. Ive done tons of research and tried so many different things with him. I'm going to try to call his healthcare provider and see what they recommend on Monday..like I said, he has a psychologist but he prescribes the meds and sends us out the door

From the sound of this last message it sounds like he does not have any "thearpy". That there is one doctor that adjusts medications.

I just want to say how impressed I am with all that you have done.

He is only 7yrs. Old.mean really means he ( not just him, all of our kids) is functioning like a 5 year old.

If I were in your shoes, I would try to listen to the Podcasts and work on how you deal with the behavior.

I am still not convinced the medications are correct. You should be getting 8 out of 10 days good, while he is taking medication.

For example, when our son refuses to do something, I don't engage on the outside ( inside IM boiling) and say ok. then I punish forward. The next time he asks for his phone I tell him NO, you refused to do X.

The other thing I do is give him a choice of when he has do the chore so he picks.

Again, wow! I am really impressed for all you have done.

One last thing, could you engage him in some fun task ( sports, art, parcore,etc) I know COVID but if he has something fun to do.

You guys will get there.

Wow wow wow. I have been on this site for a long time and your situation is among the toughest of the tough. You are incredibly talented and hardworking and have done your research. The advice on here is tremendous and the replies are indicative of the caring and experience of the group. As others have said Hang in there and use the experience of others to help you through the maze that is your individual situation.

So you have nutrition, diet, medications, and behavioral therapy to consider and everything changes as he ages. I would add to that Omega-3 on the nutrition side and Pax GBG on the behavior side. Do the research on both. Omega 3 has many long lasting effects for everyone including ADHD. Pax Good Behavior Game for elementary schools is a game changing strategy but finding schools that use it is difficult. Fortunately in this Covid crisis Pax is offering Pax Tools online for parents. They will help you. Find it on YouTube. I have posted links on this site before and will asap.

Thank you so much! We have heard of this before but great refresher!!!

I would look into therapy. My son was the same way except no verbal abuse. We started seeing a psychologist and it made a huge difference. We are able to understand each other and we have a 3rd party perspective. My son is now 8 years old and we have been seeing ours for the last 2 years. This might be the piece you are missing since he already has a psychiatrist. I also think you need to find a support group if you have no help from family or friends. You are not alone and you have to remember that a lot of that behavior is because he himself doesn’t know what he is really feeling or how to express it. Give it a try and see if this works for you! Just want you to know that it does get better and with the right combination of outside help (therapy, psychiatrist and parent support) you will see the difference. If you don’t get yourself to a good place with stress and sleep, it will continue. I was there myself and never realized how much of my own stress and lack of sleep made the whole situation worse. I too go to therapy to be able to tell someone free of judgement, how much this sucks and my fears in regards to my son. It’s important to have an all around balance. Good luck momma. You are doing great!

in reply to Evie8582

You are absolutely right! Thank you so much for the advice

Have you tried melatonin, I know you probably have but just wondering.. also I read a great book and it explains why taking things and similar consequences usually don’t work with adhd kids. The way their brain works, they usually don’t have the ability to look ahead at consequences, or think about things that have happened previously. There is also the inability to stop and think before acting. My daughter does this constantly. She is so mean to her little sister, with one of the meds we did try we could see that she actually had the ability (while Med was active) to stop and think before speaking!! One of many problems was meds wear out by end of school day.

I’m sure you have tried tons of different approaches, but if not try discussing the way child talks to you in a happy/peaceful moment and how they think you could handle it differently. I know every child is different but with my daughter, the quicker the reward the better. Even if it’s just positive reinforcement for good behavior, and talking nicely to you. In my family dad doesn’t really understand adhd so he doesn’t see why positive parenting is so necessary in our family. He is traditional and doesn’t understand why he can ask our daughter to do something a million times, for years now and she still doesn’t do.

The most recent book I read that really helped was taking charge of ADHD it’s a parents guide.

In regards to the meds just stopping have you tried stimulants vs non stimulants? My daughter originally started with stimulants which worked great at school but did nothing for the challenges at home and she fought me daily about taking.

Good luck!!

Ok so not sure what type of ADHD meds he is on but if he is on too high a dose or taking them too late in the day they might still be in his system at bedtime causing problems. Also know most if not all of these meds cause insomnia/sleep issues at some point.

1. Limit screen time, play time and any other activities that get your son excited at least 1 hour from bedtime.

2. Start melatonin speak to his therapist/primary most agree it is a good route as it is not habit forming.

3. White noise could help if your child is one that is always on the go and enjoys constant sound in the daytime.

As for the verbal/physical issues do not engage. Set clear boundaries and consequences he can understand however remove yourself once he starts. Dont respond to him as hard as it is. Also this allows you to take some deep breaths for yourself.

Hope any of this helps. Good luck.

I agree that I don’t think his meds are optimal either. I would see about switching from clonidine to Intuniv and titrating the Intuniv up to a therapeutic dose - probably 2 or 3 mg. Our doctor does not like clonidine, it is not as used in Canada anymore.

Is he on a stimulant as well? We are having a good response with Vyvanse and Intuniv. Others on this board seem to do well with Intuniv and Focalin.

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