My 7yr old son is diagnosed ADHD ODD and has had neurotherapy and been on ritalin and concerta last year, currently he is now doing neither. My question - Others that have cared for him on odd occassions don't have a problem with his behaviour, his teacher notices him not focusing often and gives him short breaks and says he's very active but manageable, his maths is a problem at this stage otherwise he's doing well at school. Why is he so difficult and argumentative and never short of a tantrum over the smallest things at home with kicking hitting throwing things, really unacceptable behaviours but can be so good elsewhere? i can't decide to medicate or not, any advice? Disciplining him is a nightmare it always escalates and he ends up in his room, then it starts over again. I don't understand him.
I believe that the reason for the behavior at home is he knows what he can do or not do, he knows which buttons to push. Are you able to sit down and have a heart to heart with him? He needs to have ground rules layed down for him. Does he help around the house with chores? Maybe if he helped you or his dad with stuff, it would make him feel better about himself and he would probably mellow out. With school, he's in a structured environment, at home, he has more freedom. I have a son who has ADD and a rare form of epilepsy. Between his meds and his medical conditions, his behavior can be really bad. All children with any sort of learning disability or any type of disability need structure to be able to cope with life.
There are a couple of things going on here.
The first is that (it sounds like) when he was at school, he was on meds. That combined with the structured environment (as supermomma noted), is probably the major reason why you are seeing the difference between school and home. There is also one other factor going on.
You touch on it when you said, "his teacher notices him not focusing often and gives him short breaks and says he's very active but manageable." It sounds like she has had experience dealing with ADHD children. An ADHD child has to be worked with differently than other children. When you say, "I don't understand him." I think you have stated the part of the problem. I think you need more of an understanding of the ADHD child and how to work with them. Trying to do things like discipline can become an adventure in frustration for both you and the child. Discipline can be done - its just done differently. Its too bad you can't talk with his old teacher. She probably could be helpful - although, she also had the meds helping. You might try reading, "Driven to Distraction" by Hallowell. I highly recommend that you start reading up on ADHD to get a better idea of how it affects a child. It is possible that the place you got neurotherapy could also be a resource.
Finally, if his condition is destroying the summer for both of you, then putting him back on meds is an alternative. By the way, if he does go back on meds, do try and do some math over the summer so he is not too far behind. I am not sure that trying to catch up without meds will work. Since math is always based on prior knowledge, getting behind makes it harder to keep up. By the way, Definitely talk with his doctor first. Did you talk with the doctor when you took him off meds? These are not something that you can start and stop on a whim.
Finally, (and I mean it this time-sorry for such a long post). I have pasted a long list of ideas some of which will help. These things will not help your childs math, they will certainly help you and him get along better.
50 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Behavior and Attention Span without Drugs, Labels, or Coercion (for detailed information about each way, see The Myth of the ADD Child) Order the book.
Provide a balanced breakfast.
Consider the Feingold diet
Limit television and video games. Find out what interests your child.
Promote a strong physical education program in your child’s school.
Enroll your child in a martial arts program.
Discover your child’s multiple intelligences (link)
Use background music to focus and calm.
Use color to highlight information.
Teach your child to visualize.
Remove allergens from the diet.
Provide opportunities for physical movement.!!
Enhance your child’s self-esteem.
Find your child’s best times of alertness.
Give instructions in attention-grabbing ways.
Provide a variety of stimulating learning activities.
Consider biofeedback training.
Activate positive career aspirations.
Teach your child physical-relaxation techniques.!!
Use incidental learning to teach.
Support full inclusion of your child in a regular classroom.
Provide positive role models.
Consider alternative schooling options.
Channel creative energy into the arts.
Provide hands-on activities
Spend positive times together.
Provide appropriate spaces for learning.
Consider individual psychotherapy.
Use touch to soothe and calm.!!!!!!
Help your child with organizational skills.!!
Help your child appreciate the value of personal effort.
Take care of yourself.
Teach your child focusing techniques.!!
Provide immediate feedback.
Provide your child with access to a computer.
Consider family therapy.
Teach problem-solving skills.
Offer your child real-life tasks to do.
Use "time-out" in a positive way.
Help your child develop social skills.
Contract with your child.
Use effective communication skills.
Give your child choices.
Discover and treat the four types of misbehavior.
Establish consistent rules, routines, and transitions.!!
Hold family meetings.
Have your child teach a younger child.
Use natural and logical consequences.
Hold a positive image of your child.! ! ! ! !
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