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Is my DS 6 hyperactive? (sorry detailed post)

(14 Posts)
Yr1Mum Mon 30-May-11 23:45:38

I'd really appreciate a view on whether the behaviour of my Yr 1 DS age 6 seems out of the "normal" range to fellow MNers. He seems to fit the criteria for the Hyperactivity Disorder part of ADHD but not the Attention Deficit part. Anyone with experience and able to offer some tips greatly appreciated. Brief summary of what we're dealing with:

1. Boundless energy undiminished by swimming, football, rugby, cycling. Everyone comments on how "energetic" he is.
2. Excellent at most sports.
3. Doing well at school - teacher says spelling age of 7.5, reading age of 7 so bright but not exceptionally so.
3. Has a behaviour book (at my request) from school due to incidents of aggression towards other children - pushing, pinching, scratching. Has had about 5 such incidents since January. I asked for the book after having a parent complain to me when school didn't think the incident warranted a mention. Most incidents seem to occur in a competitive situation e.g. another child pushes in front of him in a queue or wants to sit where he wants to sit.
4. Ultra, ultra competitive to the point of claiming to be better than anyone at anything e.g. I could say "Gemma's really good at ballroom dancing" and DS will say "but I'm better" even tho he's never done it! Will push past me on the stairs just to get to the bottom first etc etc
5. Class teacher says he sometimes calls out at inappropriate times, gets a bit boisterous but not to a level that she's overly concerned.
6. Never gets invited on playdates in a class where playdates are very common.
7. Rude to my DH and I. Rarely listens, cannot sit still at mealtimes despite constant nagging/incentives from us.
8. Immune to punishment - time outs, withdrawal of privileges
9. Does respond to incentives
10. Constantly interrupts adults talking
11. When asked, knows all the "rules" of being polite and expected behaviour just doesn't follow them and appears not to care if disciplined.
12. Will not play on his own - wants DH and I to play with him at all times at home. We have a SN DD age 3 so this just isn't possible but he does get a totally disproportionate amount of our time to the detriment of our DD.

I am always hard on myself but do think realistically my DH and I could have been more consistent in our parenting. I've been suffering with depression for last 18 months and we've had problems in our marriage. However, we feel like we've really done the very best for DS and are just exhausted at his constant demands.

Really sorry this is so long. Just would really appreciate some views and advice.

Many thanks in advance.

Thornykate Tue 31-May-11 00:29:29

To me (I am no child psychologist just a mum of 3 boys) the majority of what you describe; the energy, competitiveness all sound completely age appropriate.

It is unusual if a child has SN that they would only manifest in one environment, in your case at home.

School is a much more controlled environment & if your DS couldn't sit still, interrupted a lot & ignored discipline/ punishments this would be v apparent in school. The fact that he has kept up to date with schoolwork shows that he must be concentrating & sitting still to do this?

How does he behave in other peoples care?

Thornykate Tue 31-May-11 00:37:24

Just a thought that may be way off key but is he competing with your other LO for attention by trying to mirror any of her behaviours that can be attributed to her SN?

Only asking as my eldest DS has MH issues & at times DS2 has pulled a few stunts that are out of character for him but very like what DS1 has done. A really good parenting worker helped me recognise these behaviours. Maybe you could get a referral to one, I think she was employed by banardos but she was a real gem & really helped me find new ways of tackling some pretty extreme behaviours when I was feeling burnt out of things to try & energy.

Hope you get some solutions soon, maybe someone with some expertise will be along soon but in the meantime take care.

Yr1Mum Tue 31-May-11 10:18:08

Many thanks for your replies - good to see I'm not the only one burning the midnight oil! I'm just dashing out with himself but will consider your replies and post more later. x

Yr1Mum Tue 31-May-11 10:19:16

Just re-read that and it sounded like I'd be considering the worthiness of your replies! I just meant, I'd mull over the points made smile

Yr1Mum Tue 31-May-11 21:01:57

Thanks Thornykate for your helpful replies. My DD is really passive and so there's no copying going on that can explain the behaviours. I was at the end of my tether last night after 3 rubbish days with him but today we've been out for the day just him and I and he's been fine. Makes me wonder whether it's all about attention at home?

You make a good point about school insofar as he wouldn't be able to achieve if he couldn't sit still and concentrate for at least a few minutes at a time although I do know he rushes every bit of work and gets away with the absolute minimum so he can get on to the next thing. I think it's just that his behaviour is pretty extreme compared to the other boys in his class and his uber competitiveness and propensity to lash out are giving him a bad name which breaks my heart because underneath it all he's lovely.

Just wondering if anyone out there has any tips for how to help him control the impulses to constantly interrupt, refuse to sit at the dinner table for a meal, have answering back as his default setting etc etc. It rather feels like he's the one in control sometimes and if it's like this now, I despair of what the future holds smile

Yr1Mum Mon 20-Jun-11 21:58:07

Having had a horrendous few days with DS, am bumping this in the hope that someone may be along with some pearls of wisdom smile.

Today, my DS has shouted in my face that I'm stupid and later on in the day muttered shut up under his breath when I was trying to negotiate with him to do his homework.

We were 15 minutes late for school because he wouldn't apologise for calling me stupid and I refused to back down for a change.

Teacher maintains all is fine at school. This horrible behaviour is just reserved for us. He seems to have no respect whatsoever. Some days it's as if he's woken up in a foul mood. Other days it's fine and then any request to do something (like get dressed for school) turns into a battle and then a tantrum.

Sorry, probably sound a bit pathetic and defeatist. I just find this behaviour so wearing and worry what teenager he might become if he's like this now!

Help please sad

BoysAreLikeDogs Mon 20-Jun-11 23:49:15


how do you feel about ignoring, not engaging with the backchat? I mean walk away, make a cup of tea, flick through a mag

why do you negotiate with him doing homework ? again, disengage from negotiating

he called you a name and you made him late for school? don't bother doing this again, he's really yanking your chain

turning to morning routines now - a request to get dressed for school can provoke an outburst/tantrum, yes? how does your morning go? ie up at 7, tele til 7.30, breakfast, dressed, teeth and out the door for 8.30? change things around so that before he can do anything he needs to be dressed

answering back - do you go back at him again and again? I have had to physically stuff my fist in my mouth when training myself out of Always Having To Have The Last Word with my children

do you shout loads? if so, dial it down, it's exhausting and doesn't achieve much

if he refuses to sit and eat then you have choices - let him eat where he wants to, toss it in the bin and close the kitchen for example; pick one and stick to it

It all sounds very stressful for everybody

Yr1Mum Wed 22-Jun-11 15:22:12

Thanks BoysAreLikeDogs. I take it from your name that you are very familiar with boys and know how to train them smile?

So basically your advice is disengage? Actively ignore the bad stuff. So, if I follow that through and he's late for school, no homework gets done, he goes to school with unbrushed teeth so be it, he'll have to deal with the consequences and will get the message do you think? Unbrushed teeth prob bad example here but you get what I mean?

Had a little look at my Dr Green Toddler Taming book yday and he said much the same thing! Also recommended reward charts for highlighting +ve behaviour. We've done these loads in the past and they are successful for a week or two then interest is lost. Discussed having one of these with DS last night and we drew up some rules together including rules for me and DH. Family day out as the reward. DS seemed fully engaged and yet this morning, absolute nightmare again, no breakfast eaten and no wash or hair done before school.

I do think school is a also factor. Think he's just so exhausted from trying to curb his natural exuberance and following the rules at school that he lets it out at home. I say this cos he's lovely and really good company in the school holidays smile.

Really appreciate your reply. Thanks.

kickassangel Wed 22-Jun-11 16:18:14

ihave a dd who is adhd, but am no expert. being hyperactive means that they can have limited impulse control (so interrupting/calling out etc is normal), but does not mean that they back chat or are rude. they may say what they think without much of a 'filter' but if they are actually being rude etc, then that isn't adhd.

being adhd does not make them competitive - we did a load of questionnaires about dd's behaviour, and the Q's about being competitive were not to do with being hyperactive. and just cos they are very active, doesn't mean they are good at sport - in fact, co-ordination can be a problem cos it requires concentration.

there is no proven link between intelligence & adhd. it can be that a child's intelligence is overlooked, therefore making their behaviour worse as they aren't engaged, but people of all levels of intelligence can be adhd.

i live in the US, so did a load of research online. here, there's a national doctor's website & forum dedicated to adhd. google uk websites to find similiar, or talk to your gp and ask for some info.

dd also has to touch/taste/feel everything, and constantly moves - even when watching tv or reading, her body never rests. she also has some VERY 'hyper' moments when she just can't sit still etc. at those points she is barely unable to process the environment around her, and no learning takes place (we had this happen during a doc's appt. so witnessed her responses changing). Also, she can sometimes withdraw completely, as she gets 'overloaded' when there is too much sensory stuff around her, OR it can send her hyper.

There's quite a strong link between adhd and sensory issues - so often food phobias, can't stand itchy clothes etc.

dd is very sensitive to any discipline & hates being told off. it's a myth that adhd kids are naughty & don't care. she desperately wants to be good & do well, but there are times she cannot control what her impulses are telling her to do - so running across a road, or jumping into the deep end of a pool etc happens as she just HAS to do what her brain is telling her, she cannot pause & control her actions.

kickassangel Wed 22-Jun-11 16:21:44

oh, and if they are adhd they really cannot control it. one of the key indicators is that they are like this over a period of time and across a number of different situations. so, dd's school had to do questionnaires (twice, for different teachers), as well as us, and we had to say how long we'd been aware of her behaviour.

Yr1Mum Wed 22-Jun-11 16:37:07

Thanks Kiickassangel. Sounds very much as though my DS's behaviour is a combo of some typical 6 year old boy stuff and some "bad" behaviour on top. Thanks for sharing the info about your DD. There are some very clear differences you highlight. I had rules out ADHD to be honest because of the fact that he's managing well at school and the unwanted behaviour is really reserved for home. He's also better with GPs and other relatives than he is with us. Just would be so interesting to get to the bottom of why he's like this at home and with DH and I so we can help him.

Thanks so much for taking the time to post. x

Danthe4th Wed 22-Jun-11 16:51:18

He's like it at home because he knows that you will love him whatever. I have some behavioural issues with one of my boys but it is seldom seen by the school, they look at me as though i'm nuts sometimes. The strops and backchatting and agression seems to be reserved for his family.

Yr1Mum Wed 22-Jun-11 17:03:56

And how do you deal with them Danthe4th? My DS's behaviour seems way worse than the other parents of 6 year old boys I talk to have to deal with. With your DS do you see it as just a personality issue or some sort of underlying issue such as insecurity?

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