I have a 12 year old ADHD son who throws tantrums on a regular basis. He yells, throws things at people and walls (just whatever he can pick up), and breaks things like pens or pencils when he gets angry. He also says things like "his life sucks" and "he wants to kill himself". Some have told me that I should take that seriously, and others have said that he just wants attention. I'm not really sure. Sometimes he's mean to the dogs, and my husband and I have to jump in and make sure he doesn't touch them. I don't think he would really hurt them, but I don't want to give him that opportunity.
He has a very bad attitude about school, but I am working closely with the teachers to see if I can help with that. If something doesn't change, I may have to consider home school.
I have taken him to the doctor and talked to him about it, and the doctor says that we need to get the medication regulated. So I guess I should just sit and wait? What do you think?
What does your son say about all of this?
He is 12, so he is old enough to know that this is unacceptable behaviour. What is his explanation of what happens when he gets angry? Some kids can reel off all the anger management skills you can imagine, but their anger goes from 0-100 so quickly, they can't implement any of the skills when they are angry.
What triggers his tantrums?
Does he get any unintended benefits from the tantrums? (e.g. do you ever give in just to make it stop, give him lots of attention for it - even negative attention, etc?)
What are the consequences for the behaviour? Does it only happen at home? Have you talked to him, calmly, when he is not upset, and explained that throwing things at people can get him charged with assault - not to scare him, just give him information he may not have?
As far as saying he wants to kill himself, you and your husband need to talk to him when he is calm, and find out if he really does feel that way - most/some of the time, just when he is angry, or he just doesn't know what else to say to let you know how upset he is. You do need to take it seriously. If he says it is just because he doesn't know what else to say, then give him something else to say instead. However, if he really does feel that way - to your doc ASAP.
Why does he have a bad attitude about school? Have you had him tested for learning disabilities, giftedness, etc? Does he have any friends? Is he being "picked on" or bullied? Does he get in trouble a lot for things he can't really control - fidgeting, blurting out answers, forgetting to raise his hand? Is he disorganized, and this is causing him trouble?
Does he have a diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder to go along with his ADHD?
Sorry, I know this is more questions then answers, but it is information that you really need to have to know how to proceed!
Always take them seriously the alternative would be devastating if you were wrong. He sounds alot like my Adopted Grandson who is six, he has a diagnosis of ADHD and Autism. If he is in trouble or does not get his way he has meltdowns and throws things, breaks toys,kicks walls and yells things. I would suggest taking him to a specialist for an evaluation. Document his behaviors and triggers.
May God be with you, give you strength and patience.
He takes focalin and intuniv
sounds like there could be many possible reasons for what you describe, but i would drop "just wants attention" off the list. that is a potentially dangerous rationalization for not really dealing with something we don't understand. i hope you can find someone knowledgeable to help you sort out what is really going on (and to help you maintain your sanity).
best wishes and good luck
My husband and I spoke to him at length about this, and he has also spoken with the school counselor. The school counselor doesn't seem to think that there is any "immediate" danger, but since the words have been said, she says that he needs to be seen by a professional outside the school. She has given me some names of local Child Psychiatrists that I have called, and we have an appointment soon. I can only hope that the tantrums are few and far between until our appointment.
We had an appointment just the other day, and the doctor is happy with where the medication level is (he is on 40mg Vyvanse and 2 capsules of Vyanayse), so we are keeping the medication where it is now (which is just fine with me). However, the doctor still doesn't think that I need to take his threats that seriously, and I still disagree. Therefore, I let him know of my concerns, and I think he took note. I agree he needs to learn some anger management skills, but just hearing my son say that makes my heart skip a beat every time.
Also, we had a meeting with all of his teachers yesterday and the teachers tell us that he is an ok student. They are not sure that he can work up to his potential, because he is so easily destracted. He has been moved up to the front of the class in all of his classrooms, and they are working on finding what he needs to fidget with to make him focus a little more. I know at home he fidgets alot, too. He has friends, but not "good" friends. He doesn't have kids that come to the house, he's never had a sleep over (doesn't want to), he's slept over at a boy's house one time, and couldn't wait to get home. He won't even use his bathroom because it's upstairs and away from us. He just wants to be near us all the time.
I am hoping to get some answers from this Child Psychiatrist, and that I have everything I need to have for my son.
Please send your special thoughts and prayers our way.
you have them. you are on a good track. It's not just the threats, which can't be just ignored, but the need to find out what's going on
Sounds like he may be really anxious, which can come out as tantrums, etc. Good luck with Child Psych!
Hi. It maybe useful to find from your son why is he angry towards the pet? Is he taking his frustration and anger out on it?
Have a look at his work at school maybe that will give you a clue as to where the frustration and anger is possibly coming from and address that. The reaction from your son is that you are possibly not helping him but criticizing him although you are trying to find a solution for him, and he could be taking that as failure.
Here in the Uk when a child is moved to the front of the class is because the teacher needs to keep and eye on them because he/she is regarded as naughty and needs to focus and that could be one of the reasons for his anger and frustration, if he has seen you arrange with his teacher for him to be moved to the front of the class.
Has he had an eye examination recently? may be worth doing that .He might have a vision deficiency.
I do a lot of work with colour filters in spectacles as an alternative to Meds and maybe this could be the area that may help him with his school work, raise his self esteem and quality of work produced by improving his focus ,since the teachers are saying he is an ok student.The praises he will receive from the teachers will act as the boost he needs
Find out where he is struggling the most.. reading writing these are the first places to start, then look at whether he is getting his words the wrong way round i.e bs and ds, p and q etc
More importantly the colour filters will hopefully calm him down a bit and that will help him all round.
Christy, God Bless, I am glad to read that you are taking him for an evaluation. Good idea. You don't want such sayings to become 'normal' for him to say and taking action to find an intervention is the best thing you can do. It's also important to realize that although you are a parent, that doesn't mean you have all the answers and it is okay to seek help.
It sounds like regulating the medication could really help. I know that as an adolescent/teen, I fell into deep depression when I wasn't properly taking care of myself (taking meds sporadically or on the wrong meds). Also, I think at that age, chemical changes happen, so getting a closer look at medication could really help.
I will say, at 30 years old, I still face challenges w/ anger associated w/ ADD. A lot of it is internal and to do w/ co-morbid conditions. I would look into the possibility of a second condition existing alongside the ADHD. He is probably at the age where these things start showing up...plus he's at the age where being in touch w/ your emotions isn't as "cool" which can cause outbursts (by holding emotions inside). No matter what the cause, it is worth exploring every avenue possible as soon as you can.
My brother and I both struggled in our adolescent years with balancing emotions, which often came out as anger. As adults, we are totally different in how we handle it, but counseling allowed each of us to equip ourselves with the necessary knowledge and skills to handle those outbursts. Like I said, I still face the anger and negative feelings, but I survived the worst of it during my teen years... If you can get through these years, you can handle anything. Sorry if that sounds more negative than positive, but the challenging times actually build up a lot of important skills in us ADDers!
Prayers for a quick, peaceful solution for you!
Oh, and one thing that helped my brother and I at that age was engaging in activities that we excelled at (I use us as examples b/c he was the hyperactive type, I was the inattentive type, and my mom was a counselor...so we were her guinea pigs). Basically, my brother was always really good at soccer (and still loves it to this day), so that was his outlet. As long as he got to play soccer, it helped him get that excess energy out. I drew a lot and played a few sports. Having things we enjoyed and were good at helped balance things out somehow.
Even in school... I struggled with homework and remembering things, but I was really good at practical application (and math, of course). My mom made it a point to highlight our efforts and the areas in which we excelled. So, while I would be crying over my mistakes or weak areas, Mom would engage the parts of me that gave me confidence... praise my positive aspects.
Her efforts at the time may have seemed unhelpful to her, but it helped.
Take him seriously! I cannot express that enough. My 10 year old son gets upset too, and Margaret here on this site suggested "collaborative problem solving" and I found this site: http://www.livesinthebalance.org/what-is-collaborative-problem-solv...
So far I've employed some of it and it works, I'm hopeful that I can use it more effectively as time goes on. But it is a really good way to find out what your son is going through in a calm manner and how to help him.
I can only suppose your son's tantrums are because he isn't getting some kind of need met. I know when my son doesn't get his way and if it gets too far gone in emotions he shuts down or acts out. The problem solving above has helped me minimize a lot of this, not perfect of course as I am still learning how to do it.
♥ Prayers for you and your family ♥