I have an 8year old boy with ADHD and ODD and anxiety. We’re using 123 Magic. When he gets counted, he refuses to go to timeout so I wind up carrying him to his room. He won’t stay in there and he’s afraid of being alone so I go too. I sit against the door so he cannot escape and also encourage him to calm down. He fights and kicks (often me) and tears his room apart a bit. I stay calm, don’t make eye contact, and carefully offer ideas for how he can calm down. I also model by breathing and relaxing myself (trying to anyways). Once he’s finished the tantrum we start the timeout. We came back later and he cleaned the room up. I explained how hitting wasn’t good and he said next time he will try not to. We’re also searching for effective ways for him to calm besides destroying things. .... did I do this correctly?!! I have a strong urge to hit him back or yell at him but I’m suppressing that because I want to show him there’s better ways. I hate that he’s hitting me and destroying. Thanks for the advice!! —- and yes we’re working to find the right med/dose but haven’t quite found it.
Explosive Timeouts: I have an 8year old... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...
I think you are doing great. If you feel like you are going to totally lose your cool it can help to start repeating out loud "Wow you are so mad SO MAD.... YOu are angry you are sad etc...YOu want to break things! YOU want to scream!." Sometimes it catches the kids attention to hear the emotion being shouted outloud. It can break the spell for them and gives you a place to channel your mounting anger and stress before you explode!
Good idea. Thank you. I’ll try that. The thing about 123 magic is that it teaches not to engage at all. So that’s where I get stuck. Do I counsel in that tantrum moment or just remain emotionless and non reactive? The less attention I give his tantrum the less fuel it has right? But if I look at him and talk to him then he’s getting a reaction out of me and he’s getting attention.
I find that hard in the moment too. I send my child to her room and she doesn’t get attention until she calms down. One thing her therapist recommended was a “calming box”—it’s just a cardboard box with stuff inside that can help her soothe herself: bubble wrap, fidgets, squishies, noice canceling headphones. I don’t know for sure but maybe if your son had something like that to focus on he may not be destructive...? By the way it sounds like you are doing amazing. I am sure I would be yelling back. So good on you!
Oh my gosh it’s so funny you say that. We were JUST talking about making one. Great ideas for what to include. Appreciate it !
FWIW We asked our daughter what she wanted in the box. So she chose and that could make all the difference.
Ok box and cushion assembled. Glitter jar, spinner, white board and eraser, etc. he’s excited for it ... we even did a silly practice run. But here’s the thing. Will it help? And... I’m concerned I’m not doing this right since he’s fighting me so hard and attacking me when I’m in there with him. Total power struggle.
The repeating back feelings doesn't work on every kid though, it just pisses my kid off even more bc he thinks you're making fun of him. You did exactly right. It's exhausting and I'm sorry you're dealing with this as well. Have you tried logical consequences instead of timeouts? My son handles most consequences in stride but sending him to his room is an all out fight EXACTLY like you have mentioned above.
We've also made a spot downstairs that is his calming spot and he can go there as long as he goes on his own the first time he is asked and his offense wasn't hitting or something physical.
Logical consequences? Like what do you mean? I feel like we have a hard time thinking of them in the moment. Loss of electronics is the standard one but he never really takes it in stride. It’s almost like we have to have the fight sometimes just to get through it. Like he can’t reset until we have a fight in his room and be forced to process. Gosh I’d love to use logical consequences in a way that gets through to him. That’d be so much better. What works for you? Thanks!!!
Everyone is asleep but I'll send you a photo of our chart tomorrow. It lists specific behaviors in one column and specific consequences in another. When he does something "wrong" we say "according to the chart that's......" it still doesn't work 100% of the time BUT it's concrete and doesn't change and I think that's what stops the tantrums. They know exactly what will happen each time and it sinks in after a while and they can stop and think easier. It's just my opinion but I think 8 is too old for timeout. Unless they're completely out of control which then we do exactly what you have. There is another book I liked better for older kids The Strong Willed Child. You work with the child to solve issues, etc.
I'd also love to see you chart. My 11 year old is much like OP and sending to his room is either ignored or starts an all out tantrum. We have a toddler and she's afraid of her brother because of all his outbursts 😥
We do have a corner downstairs called the calm down corner with items he has selected to put there. The idea is he will go there on his own before getting the consequence. Coloring is VERY calming for my kid. He is also allowed to doodle during talks and during his CBT sessions. It's his way of fidgeting and he fully listens while he does it.
I'd also look onto Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and the Superflex characters.
Applying the consequence during a rage won’t stop it. Our kids in that state are not able to rationalize their behavior. However, if it’s really ODD disguised as rage (acting), the warning of the consequence may head it off. Ignoring is critical in that case because it’s attention seeking. For real uncontrolled rage, your best bet is to stay calm & do not try to engage in arguing or threatening punishment. In this case, I’ve used a distraction trick to snap him out of it. ‘Holy crap! There’s a coyote in our backyard! Come look quick!’
Welcome to the group.. having a child with ADHD is a journey and we are here to support you. We have all been in your shoes and it is not fun.
When our son was young ( he is almost 14 years old) I wish someone had recommended the podcast "Parenting ADHD" by Penny Williams. She has at least 2 episodes on punishment. She is a mom who has a son who is a junior in high school, but she shares many stories about younger years, that really help me. In addition she also has amazing guest speakers who specialize in things (executive functioning, ADHD and sports, etc..).
I quickly learned that I did not want to have any more experiences like you described. So she taught me better ways to live and accept the limitations of our son. She also taught me that all behavior is some form of communication and we need to listen.
I do the best to not "battle" our son, it never ends up good.
I know that if you listen to some of her episodes they will help you a lot.
All children with AHDH greatly benefit from the following: an educational plan, therapy and medications. IN addition, a change in the way that we parent them. They need to be part of decisions and we need to really understand what drives them to include them in decision making.
For us it never worked for me to dictate what needs to be done. Clearly there are things that we do not negotiate on ( must brush teeth, shower....) but there are lots of things that our son can decide. Like do you want to use all your electronic time now or do your chores first (I reward if he makes the good choices) . I could go on and on, but I know my situation is not like yours. The one similarity is we both have strong willed children and need to live together in harmony.
One last thing... many times children with ADHD do not feel loved and supported. It is important to love them, but not like the behavior they are displaying . Every night we say we love you!! No matter how big an argument is.
We are here for you any time and have many years of experience in this journey.. Big hug for your struggles.
Thank you so much for the advice. I’ll find the podcast. It’s hard to find people that understand in my day to day life. They just don’t get it. I know lots of kids have ADHD but my “inner circle” doesn’t. They all have easy kids and it drives me bananas. So appreciate your networking and understanding.
Agreed. My son actually throws more tantrums sometimes and it turns out he feels like I don't love him and it makes his behavior even worse.
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Can I just say, you are doing an amazing job? I also use 123 Magic and Love and Logic together. My eight year old daughter was/is too smart for me to use one. I have to switch up my approach or she “outsmarts” one approach and then I was left approach-less.
She also is afraid to be alone. I have started to give her “control” of the timeouts. I have a big stickie paper of our rules and outcomes. She wrote the paper. When one of the rules is broken, I look at her and she knows what to do next. Her timeout spot is our front door. I can usually see her from there. She starts the timer we have on the door and now understands that if she is out of control, the time restarts until she can sit through a timeout quietly and maintaining herself.
Here is the thing, I can hear you. It is SO unbelievably challenging. I generally can see through some of my daughter’s behaviors but others come along and knock me for a loop. It sounds like you are doing such a phenomenal job. Please take care!
Thank you!! I also feel like we’re losing the screen time battle. My wife and I are both working from home and my ADHD ODD boy has a younger sister. Close in age. They are fire and gasoline. We’ve tried incorporating education, outside play, routines, but it usually erupts into them needing us, fighting, etc. Tablet and Tv seem to be the only thing that keeps them quiet and entertained while we work. Too nervous to bring outside help into the home due to covid and family support is not available. Once we’re finished with work we play but during work is another story. Can I let them just do what they want during work time? No school and no summer camp is killing us.
Oh my gosh, yeah, us too. And I’m sure everyone else in the world! We are in Alaska where I can’t say the weather even slightly cooperates. Kids (3.5 and 7 girls) are up at 4:30 since the sun is up at 3 Even with black out curtains they KNOW. Doesn’t get dark here til about midnight ( kid you not). So even though bed time is 8, they dance around that for a few hours. We are exhausted and find when iPad battery dies, we are totally screwed during the day!
They run through the arts and crafts, the play dough, kinetic sand, paint, any indoor fun activities I plan, even reading and school projects like reading eggs and math seeds in minutes. Even outside play in the yard in half hour stints. School in the fall is likely homeschool (omg!) and there is no childcare break. Ever!
How can we distract them longer. And I’m not even working! Only my husband is. I’m just trying to keep them busy so he can!!!
I am with you on that! My job requires intense focus and is high-responsibility. My gal loves the screen- specifically these unboxing toys videos and etc. She and I have a schedule that she mostly follows. I give her a little bit of leeway, because it is the summer. I am also so afraid she’ll lose what was gained last year. So I build in at least two “educational” activities per day.
I am leading meetings, sometimes all day. It is crazy-making! She loves that, though. She definitely tries to take advantage, so I end up trying to have eyes and ears in the back of my head!
Please see and use these Pax Tools for parents. They are the building blocks of the Pax Good Behavior Game used in elementary schools and documented in 40 years of clinical research studies to not only improve classroom behavior, grades, and graduation rates, but to reduce violence, drug abuse, depression and ADHD years later. The Pax Game is the critical core because it allows children to practice self-control and self regulation in a controlled environment and thus train the brain by exercising the circuits of the prefrontal cortex. However, these Pax Tools are proven to work on problems like your child's behavior.
NIDA Notes. “Good Behavior Game Wins 2012 Mentor International Best Practice Award.” November 2012. National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Bates, Mary. “Calm Down Boys, Adolescent Girls have ADHD, too.” Psychology Today, June 2012.
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Working from home
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I have an eight year old with ASD and ADHD. I find that when he's in that moment (tantrum), he just can't hear me. I wait until he settles enough for me to encourage strategies. But that's my son, and this scenario may not work for you. If it's safe, I also defuse with a hug. A little firmer than normal but not a bear hug. It tends to defuse him a bit.
I think you are doing a great job with your techniques We have to do similar techniques too. It’s down right exhausting and I often question myself and wonder will this ever get better. But not engaging during the tantrum is key. It’s hard to not react but it helps. Keep up the great work.
We abandoned timeouts in his room for that reason, his ODD comes from a place of anxiety & feeling out of control. We felt locking in his room added fuel to it. So, the chair in the corner is the place he must sit. Timeout is more to calm down rather than punish. I used to physically take him there (not violently) but just a firm grip on his arm if he doesn’t go on command. We use timeout for any form of aggression, including severe disrespect. We ignore protests, whining, occasional swear word that slips out. Above all, we try to remain calm & indifferent. ODD is attention seeking behavior & the only way to eliminate it is to not feed it with attention. ‘Do it, or don’t do it, but if you don’t, here’s the consequence. Your choice my love’. Find a script to use consistently
This is all so good and useful. Thank you. I'm having so much trouble with my 6 year old boy and his violent tantrums. He won't do time out, unless it's his idea and even though he's mad, he's regulated enough to take a break. Anytime we've tried to impose it, it makes things worse. We've been feeding a lot of things with attention and making them worse. I'm just now realizing this and I thank you for mentioning it. "Calm and indifferent" is my new motto!😉
When you ignore his behaviors, note that he’ll try to follow you around to escalate it. Tell him calmly, ‘I’ll speak to you when you’re calm’. When he finally calms down, he’ll ask you a question or make a comment as if nothing happened. At that point, make sure you do give him attention & recognize his ability to calm himself down. Now you can ask him to make things right, if he disrespected you or made a tantrum mess; ‘I love how calm you are now, let’s talk about how we can turn our day around’. You MUST follow through with the consequence assigned for aggression. For us, our son loses electronics automatically the rest of the day or next day if he acts out late at night. It doesn’t matter if he’s sorry. He’ll be like a speeder trying to talk his way out of a ticket, & you’re the polite cop that says, so sorry. Here’s your ticket. Have a splendid day.
Sounds like you’re doing very well. I have established with my son that if he hits me I will hit him back, so he doesn’t hit me anymore. But I don’t like that I hit him in the first place, regardless of whether or not it was self-defense. Maybe he could hit a pillow or you could get him a punching bag. Just some suggestions for him to get out his rage.
He’s learned that destroying a cardboard box “helps”. He found a little screwdriver in a drawer and was punching holes in it. I felt like that might be a little unsafe though. So he now has a small metal wrench that came with a piece of furniture I assembled. He drags the wrench through and across the cardboard (if that makes sense). So I guess the effort it takes gets the anger out of his muscles. It’s a bit on the edge for me so I’m looking for better options.
And I’m trying REALLY hard not to hit back (even though I really really want to) because I’m trying to teach him that hitting isn’t a solution. It’s just a tantrum — which it is — it’s me trying to control the situation by physical force. So I try. But it kills me
We struggle with this too. They're in fight or flight and it sends you into fight or flight as well and my instinct is to fight. I just apologize when I mess up and I try to remember that as he gets bigger I won't be able to use physical force so we've got to get something else figured out. Have you tried meds yet? We are doing a very small anxiety med now and it's done wonders. I wasn't ready for stimulants etc but the Lexapro 5mg once a day has been night and day. It's just slowed him down enough to make better choices or immediately apologize after making a bad one. He is still hyper but it's massively helped. His focus on work has majorly changed. It sucks but the meds have helped everyone in our home. I'm still not ready for anything stronger though.
We increased to 10mg of Adderall just today. He seemed more irritable. We might try one more day just to give it a chance. Next on the list is Intuniv. The pediatrician doesn’t want to do two meds at once but my little guy will likely need one to calm his hyperactivity/impulsiveness and another to help curb his emotions/anger. Sucks but at this point I don’t think we’re going to “parent” this out of him. And certainly after reading all of these posts I can see the common themes in other homes.
Yep. I have two kids and have parented them the same and they are night and day, it's not you. You may find stimulants make him worse too and a non stimulant is where you land. A friends son just turned 12 and overall things are so much better if that's any help. He is still hyper but the other stuff is gone. Maturity will come eventually.
It's a very sad day when you realize your kid simply cannot function on their own without meds. A very sad day.
Yeah I’m finding myself to have a super hard time with all of it lately. Just sad about how it’s going. I’m a “fixer” and I haven’t been able to fix this. Haven’t even found forward progress yet. I’m praying we find the right combination soon. School is coming soon. I can’t ...
Do you think he would be good in a class like Tae Kwan Do? This is a great activity and he can earn belts, depending on him working. It is such a great way to work on self control and not be stuck at home.
I know things are a bit weird with COVID but, maybe this would give him an outlet. They do a lot of physical body work, kicking, punching and moving.
Just a thought.
You could look on amazon for a reasonable punching bag to help get his anger out.
Thank you for this advice. Yes he’s actually doing Karate now and he likes it a lot. It gives him confidence and an outlet. He goes 3 days a week and they have it Remotely too through Zoom. It’s been helpful. We’ve done baseball too and ninja warrior but lost both of those due to covid. Thank you.
i’m just starting out with this whole adhd diagnosis and i relate to ur story so much... i honestly feel like someone else understands. before his diagnosis i felt completely alone... and since, these groups and the books i’ve found have given me a lot of inner peace.
Hi. It’s been so hard lately. Anxiety, Stress, and Depression at a new high. We’re at the beginning of the journey too and sometimes I wonder if the covid quarantine is a blessing because it’s giving us so much more time to learn about him. But at the same time, it’s causing more issues. Hard to weigh the pros and cons. Regardless, yes it’s wonderful to have an outlet. Come to think of it, as my boy gets older he too will have access to outlets like this. People who’ve been there and understand. My inner circle is kind, caring, and supportive... but they just don’t get it. We’re learning how to change ourselves too which is hard. Meaning things that are instinctual inside of us have to be placed aside to remain calm and decisive. It’s not easy when you just want to throw a tantrum or your own. lol. Anyways, each morning has become a new start and I’m finding myself a little nervous for what each day brings. But as the day goes and I learn/connect more, I grow more knowledge and just maybe a little more controlled.
This thread is so helpful--I appreciate all of the tips and also to read that I am not alone on this journey! We have tried lots of things to help our daughter--time outs, naming her emotions, calming space, box of "stuff" that will help (like play doh, paper she can tear, coloring books--all things she chose), kickboxing classes and now a punching bag in our garage. She has definitely improved over the last year, but it takes awhile to figure out what works, especially since what works changes with each meltdown. Sometimes being firm works (like it did this morning), sometimes giving hugs, sometimes ignoring it.
My advice, find the balance between firm and flexible. It will look different with every child, every tantrum, etc. You are doing great!
Logical consequences never worked for my grandson when he was young. He didn't care if you took everything away. The breathing and calming techniques that you are teaching are the best.
Today was honestly one of the least stressful days we’ve had in a while. And you know what we did... we relaxed!! We didn’t freak out about the amount of screen time or keeping them on an exact routine. We had to work all day so they had their electronics but when we were finished we had so much more emotional energy to support quality time. Additionally we started one on one parenting time. They need individual attention. Sometimes whole family time just creates more drama and less quality
When it works.. go with it until it doesn’t work, then something else will come up.
Hope you have more good days to come.
Thanks for letting us know how it is going.
You'll figure out how to read him better as time goes and will know when it's time to turn on the tv and chill. The screen gives him that constant stimulation his brain desires. Hang in there!
Funny you say that because we’ve been beating ourselves up over the extra screen time lately. Especially when we have to work. We’ve tried so many other things to keep them busy but at this point (given this crazy pandemic) if it helps them relax, and it keeps the peace, it’s better than us barking at them to do other things. We make up for it after work and the weekends with quality time. I think that matters
We went through what you are going through a couple of months ago and it was sooo tough.
I made a visual card and that is is routine for the day that make him feel more happy and if he try to argue about it I won’t acknowledge him until he done what he to do next. And now he even waking up getting dress and making his bed with out me asking too every morning (it toke months but it works)
With smashing up the room I toke everything out of his room and if he threw something down stairs we would take it straight off him and he wouldn’t be allowed to use it. I don’t replace anything he break and if he break something of ours his pocket money will go until it payed back.
I do think you have to pick your battles we are never going to have peaceful easy life’s with children with adhd. So we have three main rules
Swearing - automatic electronic ban
Hitting - automatic electronic ban
This will start a meltdown but once you done it a couple of times they will start to realise
Rudeness or being unkind - I will just take away there favourite electronic.
We always start a new day as fresh.
Even know your still so hurt and pissed off from the day before 🤣
I can send you photo of his visual charts if that will help.
Wow, you got a lot of great advice from the moms here. Bottom-line, IMO, there is no right answer that fits every child. My little terror will just get more rage-full if I try to suggest ANYTHING during a tantrum. I just take cover until the artillery has subsided. Personal opinion, so take it for what it's worth...I thought 123 was too simplistic of an approach. I wanted it to work..and maybe it does on some kids, not mine though. I have found best and not great, but 'best' result with the CPS method as taught by Dr. Greene in 'Explosive Child', and then later Raising Humans. Might be something to look at? It takes a lot of work and that's probably why I get 'ok' results. When I do follow it, it really does help prevent the explosion in the first place. So, instead of trying to deal with the explosion and the lovely ramification of one, spend your energy on figuring out what is triggering the explosions.
Anyway, if you go to livesinthebalance.org/ There's a ton of free print-outs there and you can read about the method to see if it's something that speaks to you/your situation. I bought the abridged audio book...2+ hours and was able to get a sounds basis for the method.
Anyway, good luck and you're doing great! Hang in there.