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Is this adhd? Don’t know what to do

13 replies

Whatsgoingon7 · 22/12/2021 16:21

My DS is 5. All our Christmas activities have been cancelled this week, and DH is working. Which means DS is under stimulated and that never goes well. But today I let him watch tv for 2 hours (too long) and when I turned it off this happened:

-Kicked his brother hard
-Threw my phone at his brother (missed)
-Screamed and me and threw a small table at the Christmas tree
-While I left the room to get his colouring paper and pages (which calms him down) and calm his brother down, pulled ALL the books off two shelves, threw some dried flowers on the floor, stripped half the Christmas tree of its decorations.

He has a lot of friends and is fun and loving. But I don’t know what an earth to do with him. School think there is no problem, that he is a fantastic member of the community. He listens, works hard, plays well with other kids.

Other things he does:
-Explodes with rage when he doesn’t get his way
-Explodes with rage when things go wrong
-Destroys toys etc if he feels like he’s in trouble
-Talks about how he’s “bad” and Santa won’t come (I do not tell him this).
-Pulls the dog’s tail or similar when he wants a reaction from me.

I am at a loss. Should I get him therapy? What do I do? How do I go about getting him assessed if school think there’s no problem? I know it sounds like I’m a shit parent letting him get away with all this stuff, but I don’t want to always be shouting at him. Besides, shouting doesn’t even work. His brother isn’t like this either.

Is it ADHD?

OP posts:
Whatsgoingon7 · 22/12/2021 16:22

What do I even do about the mess he’s made?! DH is no use.

OP posts:
Whatsgoingon7 · 22/12/2021 16:52

Is childhood therapy an option? I am really clueless as to what to do. He seems so full of anger and I don’t know why.

He caught me crying about it and I feel so guilty that I’m not properly equipped to deal with this.

OP posts:
thelittlestrhino · 22/12/2021 17:48

Does the school know how tough he can find things and what his behaviour is like? We’re in the middle of having a child assessed for ASD who has no issues at school but is showing similar behaviour to yours at home.

In my limited experience (10 years mainstream primary teacher) I have not really seen children with ADD/ADHD ‘masking’ at school in the same way that children with ASD have. The structures and routines at school can sometimes help them, but there are still telltale signs.

I hope some more knowledgeable posters come along, I went to reply earlier and thought better of it, but I can tell how worried about it and I feel for you.

Whatsgoingon7 · 22/12/2021 18:10

He’s in reception, but is doing really well with both his school work and the social side. He hasn’t been in any trouble yet. They can’t see any problem at all and they think he’s lovely (he is, he just struggles big time with his anger at home and also can’t sit still even when eating).

His reception class is still very much learning through play, which is why I think he gets on well there.

Perhaps he has ASD? I hadn’t thought so as he’s so socially confident. In fact, he’s at his best around other people… but maybe I’m completely misunderstanding what it is to be ASD!

OP posts:
HMG107 · 22/12/2021 18:19

I have ADHD. I qualified as a teacher in 2010 and a few years later became an SpLD specialist. I wasn't diagnosed as having ADHD until 2020 as the training teachers and SpLD specialists receive is based on outdated stereotypes and doesn't reflect what life is actually like for people with ADD/ADHD.

I didn't suspect that my issues were down to having ADHD until I started to interact with students who'd already received the diagnosis and I noticed how similar we were.

I was classed as an ideal student. I fidget constantly but when I'm in public this is subtle so no one other than my ADHD assessor has ever pointed this out. I also cope by going to the loo often but at school no one cared that I went to the loo every lesson as I was quiet and performed well academically. Unless I am medicated I seriously struggle with regulating my emotions but as a child this came out at home and not at school. Having ADHD doesn't transform someone's personality and we're more likely to be sensitive to rejection so wouldn't want any harsh comments from a teacher. However, home was a safer space and I was able to let go and release the pent up anger and frustrations that had been created from spending all day in an environment where I had to work so damn hard all the time.

Your child may have ADHD but its difficult to tell from such little information.

HMG107 · 22/12/2021 18:29

Yes you are misunderstanding ASD - my husband is autistic and craves social interaction. He's a director of a large dept and manages 35 staff. Lots of autistic people are socially confident and I know many in senior leadership positions. Often being autistic simply means your needs are in a minority.

Within the autistic community, the medical (or deficit) model of autism is viewed as outdated and as something that doesn't reflect real life for many autistic individuals.

Whatsgoingon7 · 22/12/2021 18:47

Sorry for my naivety about ASD. I did just look up a few checklists and he doesn’t seem to tick many of the boxes for it.

Who do I speak to about it all? My GP? Back to school?

I have calmed down a bit now, but when he explodes and destroys it’s upsetting. I worry so much about how life will be for him when he grows up.
Thank you for your advice so far!

OP posts:
openupmyeagereyes · 23/12/2021 07:24

OP how frequent are these types of behaviour? What techniques or practices have you tried to minimise the issues around transitions such as turning off the TV? Is he better when he has more outside time?

Whatsgoingon7 · 23/12/2021 08:19

It’s almost every day, openupmyeagereyes. Normally we only do tv on the weekend and it’s a movie on Saturday evening and Sunday evening and that makes a huge difference. But we haven’t had much to do this week (a lot of cancelled plans) and he complained it was too cold outside today when we were in the park, so we went home and the tv went on. I have to talk to him very carefully about what will happen when it goes off, how he might feel, and that’s ok - but just to prepare him for the explosion.

Yesterday was especially bad as he got into a fight with his brother after and he can’t really deal with arguments and fights, they set him off big time!

This morning (no argument) he woke everyone in the house up loudly by turning on lights and jumping on everyone in turn and making loud noises, even though I asked him to let his brother sleep. It’s like he can’t resist his impulses.

Today we’re heading out for the entire day! But those are often fraught too - if he’s not enjoying something or would rather do something else, he will run off. He doesn’t really do compromise or waiting very well!

He is very loving and very sweet when he’s not in this frame of mind though. I utterly adore him. But he is such hard work and really has been since the day he was born. He cried all the time as a baby, was extremely frustrated and headstrong as a toddler, couldn’t really sit in those baby rhyme time type classes. Does great in outside football etc though.

The usual strategies I use to help him calm down include letting him listen to stories (like audiobooks), read to him, or colour in (or both at the same time). He loves stories and colouring - they calm him instantly.

But yes he has so much energy he needs to burn off every day! He really needs fresh air and exercise. Indoor days and tv do not suit him! I would like to get rid of the tv altogether, to be honest, it causes so much friction - but DH is a screen junky and that is not going to happen.

OP posts:
openupmyeagereyes · 23/12/2021 09:03

TV and games are the biggest issue here too though my ds has way more than yours, mostly as a result of lockdown but it’s something I need to address.

I don’t know enough about adhd to be able to help you there. At 5 he’s too young to be diagnosed with it but it’s worth speaking to your GP about your concerns. Beware though, often the first port of call for difficult behaviours is a parenting course. Often these can be helpful though people are often offended by them.

Adhd aside, siblings personalities differ, obviously. Your ds is perhaps a more deeply feeling child and he needs support around transitions and expressing emotions. These are things you need to learn to prevent and manage as best as you can regardless of any diagnosis, which is no magic solution. It may be worth looking into play therapy but you’d need to fund this privately.

Sorry, not much help but lots of sympathy.

aweebitlost · 26/12/2021 13:02

Hi OP, I also have a 5 year old DS and we have some of the same issues. Mine is not usually quite so explosive (though these Christmas holidays have been awful) but he does also have problems at nursery (we're in Scotland so he's not in school yet). We are starting to seek professional help in the new year thanks to the nursery raising it and helping us with that. It's hard if school doesn't see any of your DS' difficulties.

One thing that has helped us a lot with DS is really going into overdrive with the emotion coaching - so when he explodes, one of us takes him to the sofa/his room and sits with him until he calms down a bit and then we talk through the episode, helping him to discuss which emotions appeared when and how he could have handled them differently. For example, sometimes he explodes when he's put up with his younger brother/another child at nursery annoying him for a while and then something happens that's the final straw - so we are trying to encourage him to identify when the anger is building up and act then, rather than waiting until it's too late.
Transitions aren't usually a problem for him but I do give lots of warnings etc. I'm sure you do too though!

However, it's very hard to do again, and again, and again, and it's also very hard to do when you're the only parent at home. My DS also gets very ashamed of his behaviour and of course that exacerbates things so I know rationally how important it is not to speak crossly or lose my own calm but it's so tough and wearying.

NinaManiana · 03/01/2022 14:53

I was interested you say that school don’t observe this behaviour. To get a clinical diagnosis of a developmental disorder like ASD or ADHD, the psychiatrist would look at behaviour in multiple settings, by interviewing the parents, the school and observing them in clinic. If his behaviour is good in school, it’s unlikely he’d meet the threshold for a diagnosis as they would say he had the ability to control his behaviour which indicates different challenges and not a developmental disorder. Equally they’d say the same if behaviour was awful at school and good at home, they’d look at the school. Sorry if this doesn’t help, just on the back of a years worth of assessments for my kid, who’s behaviour is equally appalling at home, at school, and anywhere else i take him, because his disorder means he can’t regulate himself

NinaManiana · 03/01/2022 16:43

To add to the above - the fact his behaviour is good in school looks like a good sign as it would mean he is able to control himself when he wants to. Some kids do have red hot tempers, and most kids are worst with those they love and trust. I found the book ‘the explosive child’ very helpful

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