Advanced search

Could this be ADHD or just parental rebellion?

(19 Posts)
mamababa Sat 01-Mar-14 14:50:46

DS1 is 6. He is a very friendly and loving child. He has always been boisterous and stubborn has always had friends at nursery and school. I am worried though that something is wrong eg ADHD or something. Whenever he is stopped from doing something he doesn't want to do, he loses his temper. Starting throwing things (not hard really) or he'll kick the wall/door etc. he will say rude things (which I know is part of his growing up) like I hate you etc.
Most of the anger is often directed at me - he'll 'try' to hurt me and says 'does that hurt'. He rebels against DH too but no violence.
When he is with GP's or other carers he is fine unless he is told it's home time etc which can result in a major tantrum.
At school he is not disruptive - quite the opposite. A daydreamer really. They comment on his poor attention span unless really interested in something. He is doing ok at school, pretty average I think.
It just seems that he hugely overreacts to things. His punishment for last nights temper an abusiveness is no TV today unless he 'earns' it back. When he asked me for it I said 'no, you were very naughty last night' cue another strop and throwing of toys.
He is very impatient generally too (waiting in lines etc)
I have another child (18 months) so wondering if that could be part of it, or of should see a GP or not?

I go between thinking something's wrong and then thinking it must just be rebelling against me.

I have seen on here recommendations for the books 'the explosive child' and 'the red beast'. We have a marble jar/reward chart type thing to promote the good behaviour.

Sorry that's very long but hoping you have some advice x

mamababa Sat 01-Mar-14 16:28:18


arabellarubberplant Sat 01-Mar-14 16:42:43

I think he sounds a little immature - maybe because he is taking behaviour cues from a toddler? It doesn't fit totally with my experience of ADHD, but tbh all kids are different.

6 is a funny age - there is a lot of variance in maturity, and some people do think that boys struggle more, couple with testosterone surges etc.

I wouldn't rush to dx at this point, but I would probably treat him as he were a wee bit younger - ie I would be giving him plenty of warning about leaving places - Ds we are going home in half an hour, Ds we are going home in 10 minutes, Ds we are going home in 5 minutes, Ds, you need to think about putting your toys away in 1 minute - whre did you put your shoes?. Ds please put your toys away and find your shoes etc etc. so that he is expecting the change. No one likes to stop doing the fun stuff and leave, and some kids do struggle more with transitions than others.

I think I would have very firm guidelines. And stick to them. But try to give him lots of advance cues about the behaviour you expect. And I would try to chat (in good moments, generally) about the differences between toddlers and big boys - and I might be telling funny stories about him as a toddler, and trying to get him to show the toddler how to behave - holding him up as a good example - x, can you show y how to go get your shoes on ready to leave? Or ask him to help if he looks receptive, and reward as appropriate.

Usually if kids haven't been dx earlier, they tend to be dx around 7 or 8 (this is really due to the fact that at this point it becomes possible to sort out the difference between immaturity and something else - and schools can no longer ignore differences in the cohort. At 6, it's difficult to work out what behaviours are general immaturity, and which aren't)

If he is doing okay at school, I would try a few things and see how you get on. Tbh, the sad truth is, that even if do get a dx at this point, nothing very much will change - you will still be dealing with the same behaviour issues, and will probably not qualify for any additional support, so you may as well try a few of the techniques, read around, see what makes a difference and get on with it.

And re-evaluate in six months or so. Some of this does does just alter over time. If things get worse, chat to the gp. If they get better, keep doing the good stuff.

mamababa Sat 01-Mar-14 16:53:55

Thanks very much. This is kind of what DH says, he thinks it would show at school and he wouldn't respond well to rules there. He actually gets awards at school for manners, being very polite and well behaved! A lot of the other boys in the class are very boisterous too and so in the playground they can be like a pack of wild animals!!! I like your suggestions about lots of warnings and helping the younger child. He does like being big brother!! X

lljkk Sat 01-Mar-14 18:31:58

Is this right...The triggers for his violent outbursts are:

OP restraining the boy's behaviour;
GP/carers restraining the boy's behaviour;

The boy is not triggered by others restraining his behaviour (like the dad or school staff?).

Does he do clubs? Can he kick off there, too? Do you think he has any other triggers or is it basically always having to do something (or not) that can't control how much he objects? What kind of things, anything or specific "you mustn't do that" things?

mamababa Sat 01-Mar-14 20:14:56

He can protest at pretty much anything. Tidying up, no more TV, homework, bedtime. If he's with GP or another relative and I arrive to take him home he kicks off- temper tantrum, throwing toys, I hate you/tidying/homework etc. he does do it to DH but doesn't try to hit DH. He does it to GP's but to a lesser extent. To my knowledge he doesn't kick off at school when asked to do this work or come in from break or at all - he is well behaved. But he does have a short attention span at school they struggle to keep him focused.

It just seemed his reactions to anything he doesn't want to do are extreme for a 6 year old. An over reaction at being told 'no you can't have a biscuit' type of thing

mamababa Sat 01-Mar-14 20:16:51

Also he can lash out at his friends if he is upset so yes would do this at a club/play time but no not against the adult leading the club. Maybe he's just got a bad temper?!

lljkk Sat 01-Mar-14 20:30:29

I'm not an expert, but typically with most of these syndrome things the symptoms are displayed across environments, so it's weird that he has no trouble at school but so much at home. Schools follow quite consistent routines; how consistent are your routines at home?

mamababa Sat 01-Mar-14 20:40:17

Pretty consistent tbh. Thanks for replying I think maybe I should reinforce routines and focus on good behaviour

lljkk Sat 01-Mar-14 20:42:07

mmmm... I didn't mean you to take what I said that way.
If you're consistent already, then that rules out a few things, but doesn't explain much, either.
I keep reading ODD or PDA into your description, but the school experience seems to clash, that's the puzzle.

mamababa Sat 01-Mar-14 20:46:39


sunshinemmum Sat 01-Mar-14 20:55:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RawCoconutMacaroon Sat 01-Mar-14 20:56:52

Awards for good behaviour at school... Sorry but I going to point out (having had an ASD child go through the school system), awards for good behavior, good listening, concentration, listening and so on are often given to DC who are struggling in those areas for various reasons, to focus their attention and reward effort towards improvement. It doesn't mean the child has no behaviour issues at school, I'd say the opposite, that it indicates there are some issues, and the school are working on these in a constructive an structured way (which is good news of course).

Bonkerz Sat 01-Mar-14 20:57:24

My son has a range of diagnosis and was very similar with his behaviour at age 6 as your son is now BUT this aggressive explosive behaviour was at school and not at home. We now have a 13 year old who generally alternates behaviour despite consistency in both settings so he will be good at home and challenging at school or vice versa.
It could be said he is over regulating his behaviour at school causing this dis interaction and you are seeing the consequences of this at home!
Ds has autism/oppositional defiant disorder/ADHD among other diagnosis.

Auntierosemary Sat 01-Mar-14 21:02:36

Sounds to me just like he doesn't like to be told "no". (Who does?) It doesn't sound like ADHD or anything like that at all to me. And from what you say it seems there are two concerns - bad temper when told no, and lack of concentration at school. It strikes me that these are probably separate things.
Loads of kids, especially boys, find it hard to concentrate at six. All you can do is try to encourage his ability to concentrate by creating as many opportunities as you can to sit quietly doing things he is interested in with him - reading, jigsaws, card games, painting etc. I know this is v hard when you have another wee creature! But even 15-20 mins once a day?
As for the temper etc could it be possible that he reacts like this because he thinks it makes it more likely he will get his way? Similarly, could he hit out at you and not your dh because he is more confident of getting away with it with you? Another explanation could just be that he feels more confident and comfortable with you than anyone else and that's why he saves his worst behaviour for you. I like to soothe myself with similar thoughts about my kids! Things I find that work are consistency, NEVER giving in to tantrums, and preparing them for unpleasant changes, like saying "we are going to be going home in ten minutes... Five minutes... Two minutes... One minute... Right time to go and see daddy/get lunch/get fresh air etc etc". Oh yeah, and bribing them with chocolate.

mamababa Sat 01-Mar-14 21:05:37

Rawcoconutmushroom school have tolde he is well behaved. He is not disruptive. The award is for manners he has others for work

arabellarubberplant Sat 01-Mar-14 22:40:59

Yy bonkerz, Ds has a similar range of dx, but wasn't dx until just before 10th birthday, largely because it was impossible to tell at 6 which behaviours were due to immaturity.

For any ad/hd or odd type dx, the behaviours must be present in more than one setting, notwithstanding the common as/d issue of children holding it together at school and then behaviours being more noticeable in a safe home environment.

From what the op has said, I don't see this as a definitive possibility here - it seems more like immaturity, and kicking off when he doesn't get to do/ eat what he wants. As any sort of diagnostic authority, I'd need to be convinced that this wasn't just due to his age and running a bit behind. And only time will tell.

mamababa Sun 02-Mar-14 11:06:46

Thanks all for your input will keep monitoring

lljkk Sun 02-Mar-14 11:18:33

PDA=pathological demand avoidance; it's a sub group of autism, I think. Kids who kick off when someone insists they do something. Presents as atypical autism.

DS is extremely awkward and has some PDA traits, but PDA not a good fit for him, either.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now