My son is six and he has ADHD and has been becoming more aggressive when he is acting out and having meltdowns throwing punches and kicks being physically and verbally abusive. Is there any ideas or advice in dealing with the situation. He is on meds but right now it doesn't really seem to be helping at all when he is at home or at my in-laws.
Child with ADHD and agressive behavior - CHADD's ADHD Pare...
I am sorry to hear about your son. We have found that having medication support, school support (IEP or 504), and therapy support—together—are most effective. If you are struggling and not sure what supports to line up, it might be best to start with a developmental behavioral pediatrician. They can best assess kids needs and point you in the right direction. Often kids have lagging skills in social/speech, motor/sensory as well as attention/hyperactivity. When those lagging areas aren’t supported, kids can become anxious and act out. Might be worth a look. Developmental behavioral pediatrician are located at most major teaching hospitals and are covered by insurance. In the mean time, consider a positive parenting class like Triple P, that’s evidence based, well studied, supportive and effective. They have a great online class. You aren’t alone. With support, things do get better.
My son is 6 as well. There are all the usual suspects that Google would probably tell you but, for us, what worked specifically for that once on meds was Legos. Like an enormous amount of Legos! Really 😁
Legos also helped my son, who is 12 now. He could assemble hard "builds" with laser focus. I loved (and still love) to watch him and he appreciates the positive attention so much. They are pricey and now our house is full of legos, but it has been worth it!
Hi and sorry to hear what you're going through... My wife and I have been down this road. Our son started showing the same behaviors at around 6 years old. He's eight now, and found the alpha 2 inhibitor medications (guanfacine and clonidine) to be very helpful. He can still get upset, but the tremendous meltdowns are less often and severe. Also, we found that the less sleep he got, the worse his next day works be. We added melatonin to the mix and are working hard to get him a full night's sleep. And ironically, the stimulants that helped during the day, inhibited his sleep is well, causing worse meltdowns the day after. Fingers crossed that you'll find a solution.
The medication may need tweaked, changed, or used in combination with another medication. Get a psychiatrist and, potentially, a psychologist, on board if you don't have one already. I noticed that some medications made my child incredibly aggressive when he normally was not. I'm not sure how long you've been medicating him, but if it coincides, it could be a medication causing the reaction. Another thing you can do is get yourself an ADHD coach to help control the behaviors. I don't think coaches will work with kids as young as 6 for ADHD, I know we were told 10 is an age to begin the coaching because the kids can then begin to reason and work through their own behaviors or something like that, but parents can benefit from learning how to best guide their ADHD child.
I agree with some of the other posters here, was your son aggressive prior to medication? Unfortunately, stimulants made my son more angry and he did and said things he never did unmedicated, even on a lower dose. I know this is not the case for a lot of children, but it does happen. We are just beginning the journey of non-stimulants now. As far as managing these bigger emotions that ADHD kids have, I highly recommend checking out ADHD Dude on YouTube for some great advice.
Thanks for the post. I assume you are speaking about, " when he doesn't get his way"? All behavior is a form of communication, he is trying to say he doesn't have the skills to cope with the consequences. That doesn't mean if you sit and explain it to him he has the maturity and ability to understand. Learn when these meltdown occur and try to prevent them. There are small behaviors that lead to bigger meltdowns. Maybe giving choices and if he doesn't chose you make a decision.
I am not sure if he/you are in thearpy, but they can help guide you guys.
My grandson couldn't do stimulants either they made him very aggressive. But sometimes you also need a combination of medications one doesn't do the job. As others have suggested it's best to have a psychiatrist who specializes in ADHD to do the medication.
Not sure I have any advice, but boy do I empathize. We're going through a similar phase right now with our son, who just turned seven. Particularly seems to be bad starting around end of dinner or in the evening leading up to bedtime, and he's especially aggressive towards my wife. (Though I'm getting stuff thrown at me or spit on plenty.) Our son's on Adderall XR, Abilify and Clonidine and we've worked some with a behavioral consultant who's also embedded in his school (small private school for kids with learning challenges) as well as a psychologist.
I don’t know many things about you, but here are some things to consider that aren’t medication related.
1. Is he over scheduled? We have found our son is exhausted emotionally after school so we keep the evening as quiet, structured, and simple as we can and give him an extraordinarily early bedtime..like 7-7:30pm. It helped a lot.
2. Is he eating a lot of sugar throughout the day? Sugar turns our boy into a frantic squirrel. We took out all sugar and sugar substitutes from his drinks. We don’t keep anything fun in the house like cookies or candy. We limit his added sugar and strive for only sugars that come naturally in real whole fruit. No chocolate milk at school. I’m not anti sugar, but this really helped our kiddo’s moods. We also made other healthy changes to his diet, but the sugar was a noticeable change.
3. How do you respond to the aggression? My son has thrown pencils at me and he tried spitting on me once years ago. We’ve had many issues over the years, but nothing overly alarming thankfully. My son hates being alone in his bedroom so I found it natural to send him to his room immediately after bad behavior. Calm, no reasoning, no arguments, no correcting, just “go”. I tried time outs elsewhere and they never worked. I think his room worked for us for two reasons. One is that he was being overwhelmed emotionally by whatever was happening and removal from the situation was perfect. Two, he seeks attention both negative and positive so by me not really responding it helped him realize he doesn’t get anything from throwing a fit and particularly not by being aggressive. It’s a psychological game unfortunately. I remember when we first started this, he was having a very hard time with his emotions and I was ready to move out (not really but you know) so I had to send him to his room like 20 times. He was never up there for a long time, but after that day he new when I said, “go” it was real. It got easier after and now he rarely gets sent to his room. Success! Another thing was after I let him return from his room he had to speak what he had done wrong and how he should have behaved instead. This part may not work on age 6, but may when older. We found it important because the focus was lost after the time out and sometimes he would forget why he was sent up there.
I know we are not the same, but maybe this can help you or someone else. Cherish each small success and don’t lose hope!
Hi. I'm new here and in a similar situation. My son is almost 6 and we are struggling greatly in Kindergarten. He's struggled with controlling his emotions and hyperactivity and impulsivity, but it seems to be getting so much worse. He won't cooperate with the teacher or principal and it very aggressive at school. He has regular meltdowns there and at home. It's been very challenging. The anger and aggression are really escalating. I am here trying to gather any advice from others in similar situations. Our behavior coach and psychologist are supportive but learning coping and self regulating skills is tough at 5. Melatonin at night is our saving grace - at least he responds well to that and gets decent sleep. You're definitely not alone! hope we can all find the right combination to help our kids.