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Desperate for help with behaviour for DD - suspect ADHD\ODD

(13 Posts)
worrymerchant Mon 19-Aug-13 23:46:59

Hi there,

I am really worried that there is something wrong with my dd. She is just over 4 and for a while now she has exhibited some very controlling, disruptive and aggressive behaviours which I am finding increasingly difficult to deal with. I keep trying to accept advice from family\friends\teachers etc that 'it's a phase', 'she'll grow out of it', 'it's just what kids do', but I just can't feel reassured. It just all feels wrong.

She tries to control everything, from food to when and how she will (or will not) follow an instruction. She wears me out with her energy, always climbing all over the furniture, giving me palpitations with precarious balancing acts. And she is aggressive. The temper tantrums are increasing in frequency, duration and violence. She now hits, scratches, bites, throws things, screams, pinches, and the other day she nutted me so hard in the face that I thought she had broken my nose. Sometimes she is violent towards herself (scratching or hitting her own face or pinching her arms). I am not sure she is aware that she responds like this - it seems reflexive rather than deliberate.

Her social skills are very poor - she can be uncooperative and unsociable. And there seem to be different sides to her that she presents to different audiences - at home she is loud, extrovert, over-confident, non-stop talking and verbally articulate, whereas at nursery or socially she can be timid, unconfident and 'young' for her age. She appears to be very bright but I think that it will go undeveloped if I don't do anything to help her. But I don't know what to do.

As I write this down, I feel so silly - I am not conveying effectively what it is really like, but I am worried sick and so so tired - I don't know how to handle her tantrums - or her controlling behaviours - and this in turn is causing a rift between dh and me. I feel like I am letting her down, especially when I end up losing my patience and shouting - this is not how I imagined I would be bringing her up - I wanted her to have happy memories!

Does anyone have any advice? Has anyone experienced anything similar? Or am I really worrying about nothing ?

I would really appreciate any help as to how to deal with the tantrums and violence especially. I have read about using natural supplements to calm her down but am not sure what or how much to give her - has anyone had any success?

Thanks for listening,


sophj100 Tue 20-Aug-13 21:34:15

I can feel your desperation.

Have you had any assessments on her? Developmental Paediatrician?

sophj100 Tue 20-Aug-13 21:39:24

I only ask because my 4 year old son is pretty much as described in your second paragraph but he has already had assessments from Speech & Language Therapists & a Developmental Paediatrician.

Isatdownandwept Thu 22-Aug-13 06:51:38

Google pathological demand avoidance - there is a good checklist you should be able to find easily. What you describe my not be this at all, but if it is you will find that doing many things that might seem counter-productive can actually work (eg dropping the firm boundaries that you need for other kids). If the checklist seems to fit there's a very good book (understanding pathological demand disorder, I think it's called) that you can download on amazon. I also found the book 'from anxiety to meltdown' incredibly useful in learning to not just understand, but to truly 'accept' my own DDs behaviour. That second book has the word autism in the heading, but don't let that put you off as it is an incredible book which explains what is going on behind these meltdowns, which your daughter is unable to explain herself.

popgoestheweezel Thu 22-Aug-13 08:15:30

My ds has a diagnosis of PDA and is currently being assessed for ADHD too. On top of the books above I would recommend the explosive child by Ross Greene. He uses a technique called collaborative problem solving.
In terms of supplements we have found them very helpful, particularly behaviour balance DMG from detox people and omega 3 (you need one high in epa, we use vegepa orange chewables from igneus). He also has floradix kindervital and saludynam (these are recommended in another book the brain food plan by robin pauc that is also very good) which are high in magnesium and zinc, which children on the spectrum often benefit from.

sophj100 Thu 22-Aug-13 08:24:09

Thanks Pop... I'm going to get this book and the supplements - can't hurt and will try anything. smile

popgoestheweezel Thu 22-Aug-13 11:04:25

Like most things for ASD some people find them very effective and others not at all- the only way to know is to try for yourself.

worrymerchant Wed 28-Aug-13 14:38:36

Hi there, so sorry not to respond sooner - Soph - no I haven't had any assessments yet - the problem is she doesn't display this behaviour to other people as she gets withdrawn with strangers - so I am worried they will dismiss me as a fussy mother. And thank you isat and pop - I will certainly google that - someone else also suggested Oppositional Defiance Disorder - so many labels out there now!! She starts reception next week and to be honest I am dreading it - just getting her ready for school is a nightmare as every step is a complete battle confused

Anyway, thank you all for your advice - I will let you know how it goes smile - we are seeing a nutritional therapist tomorrow...


popgoestheweezel Wed 28-Aug-13 18:49:51

Different behaviour in different environments is pretty common, often particularly true of those with PDA.
I'm a big believer in the importance of nutrition for everybody, but it can be especially valuable for children with difficult to handle behaviours so I'm sure a nutritional therapist will have some good suggestions.
We have had a session of cranial osteopathy and after just one ds seems more 'clear headed' and rational. Going back for another next week so hoping for more improvements.

Isatdownandwept Wed 28-Aug-13 20:32:56

God, I remember the battles at that age. My DD had meltdowns if I accidentally went up/down the stairs in the wrong order (she had to be behind going down, in front going up), and there were a million similar rules, meaning meltdown after meltdown before we even got out of the house Then there was the car journey to negotiate

There are things you can do to make it easier, lots of things, but you need to know what you are dealing with first, then experiment (diet, sensory, your own responses, loads of stuff). It does get easier, honest.

littlecrystal Wed 04-Sep-13 16:28:58

OP, I empathize and sympathize. My 5yo DS1 is very similar so I will not repeat what you already wrote – all applies to him + some more. I suspect him with ADHD and ODD. In the public place (especially if he does not know anyone) he appears shy and polite, sometimes withdrawn and unsocial (refuses to talk). But he excels with his traits especially at home. We just came from holidays at my parents, he was a nightmare; my dad used to say “he just needs proper discipline”, but finally even he realizes that he needs different parenting.

Surprisingly his school did not have major complaints last year (Reception) and the afterschool club (where he roams about freely in the playground) only has occasional complaints. So I am ridden with guilt that I am barely managing him at home. It does not help that I suspect ADHD for myself which escalates when I am around him… All leads to think that I am a terrible mother… but I also have DS2 (3yo) who is the sweetest sweetheart ever and I do not ever have to raise my voice when with him.

I have bought and read several books (“the explosive child”, “playful parenting”, “magical 1-2-3”) but things work only for a while (or I am being inconsistent…). I also lowered the boundaries as otherwise I find that I would be applying consequences to him non-stop. Time out is now not a punishment, but a calming down chance. DS1 often gets 2 options: comply and have fun (i.e. have a story etc) or do not comply and do not have a fun. This works to some extent – he mostly makes the right choice. I often need time out myself, too… it helps!

I am currently in dilemma whether to GP and ask DS1 to be assessed, or wait until his schools spots and raises the issue. I guess this may come up when the serious work + homework starts at school. He got an a behavioral specialist visit at home when he was 4 (referred by his nursery school for inconsistent behavior - happy or aggressive), but during the 2 visits and the games they played together, the specialist said “a brilliant bright boy, focuses well, I see no problem” so that’s that! As I said he appears shy and humble to strangers….

Diagnosis or not, the traits of our DC will be there and we need to keep working on them, step by step… I am yet to try omega 3 supplements.

littlecrystal Wed 04-Sep-13 16:51:14

P.S. On a positive note as I said I am most certain that I have ADHD (only recognised this after having DS1) and I have grown to be a succesful woman and a higher achiever than most of my friends. My personal life suffers though as I am not affectionate and have outbursts but calming down with age and continue to learn ways so improving with age. In any case none of my friends would suspect me having ADHD as I mask it well.

No experience of ODD but after extensive googling found a comment from ADHD/ODD child that if one parent, for example, smacks for the discipline, and another just sits down and listens, the child would have more respect for the listening parent.

greener2 Wed 04-Sep-13 19:29:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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