Aa
A
A
A
Close
Child Behavior Community
14.2k Members
Avatar universal

HELP! WE are getting VERY WORRIED about our 6 year old's HITTING, SCREAMING, AWFUL TANTRUMS - *PLEASE HELP*

Hi,
Please be gentle with us!

First off let me say that our daughter has been diagnosed with ADHD/ODD  - anxiety and a possible mood disorder.  She is 6.
Neither her father or I have a mood disorder, bipolar, etc....  Her father does have ADHD and I do have anxiety-panic disorder.  So the adhd and anxiety are definitely in the family.

She is medicated with tenex to help the raging adhd issues.  Buspar for extreme anxiety.  A low dose of abilify (2.5 mg) for the extreme rages.

I was scared to give her one med.  Now, somehow we are on three.  They do help though and we hope to get rid of the abilify and maybe the buspar at some point.

She still throws many tantrums a day usually.

She has been seeing a therapist for a year and a half.    She has been to a developmental pediatrician who basically threw up her hands and sent us to a child psych who was hard to deal with because we could never get a hold of him so we moved to another dev ped who is a specialist in kids with issues.  He does not seem to "get it" about how severe this is.  She has had an EEG to see if it is some sort of seizure or something but nothing came up.
I want to video tape this but i am always so busy trying to protect myself and her from getting hurt while this is going on.
Tantrum is not really a good word to describe what happens.  She is so out of control that she is beating the crap out of me and her father and flailing her arms and legs and we have to just try to protect ourselves.  It is HORRIBLE>  She does not seem to be able to listen or stop - like she is possessed.  omg.  It is horrible.

It is ironic.  We are two peaceful people who NEVER spank, hit, etc....we are pretty mellow people and do not know where this anger comes from in this little girl.

So, we have just been thinking this is part of adhd.   Well, someone asked if she does it at school or not.  Well, not really.  She is only there for 3 hours in the am and then the after school care is to be 3 hours too..   But no hitting anyone and no anger stuff for the most part at either until we arrive then she is REALLY MAD like she HELD IT ALL IN AND HAS TO GET RID OF IT.  She was sent to the principles office for disobeying a teacher one time.  Yes, she is just in K and already went to the principles office but it was for crying, not hitting.   But, she saves the WORST for us.
She tells us that she has all of this anger and the only way to be rid of it out of her body is to hit and attack us!?!?!?!

She is also extremely intelligent, and VERY Creative and loves other kids.  She is often charming even.  She can be the funniest and sweetest girl...but the tantrums are unbelievable.  She almost levitates she is hitting, screaming, jumping, and attacking so hard.    We are SOOO GLAD she usually does not do it in front of other people and that she does not hit anyone but us.  OMG, SOOO THANKFUL FOR THAT!!!
I am SOOO AFRAID someone is going to hear her AMAZINGLY LOUD screaming and call the police.  It is like she is being murdered.  Sometimes she does this in the middle of the night when she wakes up and will not go bavk to sleep.  We finally got so fed up we told her that smoeone was going to misunderstand her screaming and beating us and call the police to investigate.  She still does not stop.  We take away toys, we try to do time outs but she is so big (4'1") and SOOO Strong that I can barely carry her to a time out.  She hits, scratches and beats me all of the way to her room and follows me right out.  I am afraid she is going to hurt herself and I am afraid to hold her in her room.   I am very afraid of hurting her while trying to hold her because she flails so much.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
I think we have tried it all!?  But maybe someone has some idea.  We have tried 123 magic, the explosive child, etc etc... we tried time outs, toy removal, positive behavior charts, ignoring her, walking away and turning our back to her, being tough....etc...   If anything ever works...it is ignoring her or toy removal but most of the time she is so out of control that she does not even hear the toy loss part or anything else.
People STARE.
She has one trick she pulls that specifically bothers us.  When we pick her up from school she starts throwing a tantrum in the hallway out to the car....long long hallway.  She sometimes HITS ME yelling that she wants a toy all of the way out the school halls...with other kids and parents watching.  IT IS SOOO HUMILIATING.  (she has never gotten a toy when she behaves like this, EVER)   Then she will stand screaming holding me hostage in the parking lot and WILL NOT GET INTO THE CAR.  IF i try to pick her up and put her in she starts hitting and screaming and yelling HELP.  Ok, people around us look like they think I am abducting her and it is soo awful.  Sometimes it takes 20-25 minutes to get her to the car and into it.  People do not understand.  It is soo horrible.  I feell sooooooooo sick for hours afterwards.  She does this to her dad too.
I personally have aged about 20 years in the past 6 years.  I cannot take much more of this.  Her father is getting REALLY DOWN and REALLY SCARED for her future.  She used to only beat me since i was the one with her the most often, but now she beats him too and he lets it get to him and it breaks his heart.  
We are desperate.  
We are in Oregon....if anyone knows of any physician out here that can help us...please let us know.  
When she is not raging, she is a great kid and would never hurt us if that makes any sense.  She is loving with animals and with babies and can be trusted around them...just fyi.
Thanks for listening if you made it this far.
19 Responses
Avatar universal
By the way, I want to mention that we love her more than anything and we will do ANYTHING within our power and beyond to help her get through this.   Sometimes I look at her sleeping (not raging) and it brings tears to my eyes because I love her so much.   Please know she is a great child, and her tantrums are not what we judge her by.
1 Comments
I understand where you are coming from, totally.  These are only suggestions - Attachment Disorder comes to mind, plus it sounds like she is posturing.  Yes, she has crossed the line onto physical abuse on her parents.  She needs to know "during a calm period that she will one day have to face the 'consequences of her behaviour' as an adult.  Her histrionics will follow her.  Have a straight-up conversation with her when she is able to grasp the effects of what she is doing.  In the meantime, try to hire a Behavioural Consultant to start a Token System - she earns poker chips (different colours represent varying money values).  Start by checking in on her every 15 min with positive feed back and she earns a chip.  Do this for a week or 2 weeks (yes, labour intensive, but worth it).  Work up to every 30 min - next every hour, keep increasing until it is a full day.  At the beginning she can cash in her chips at the end of the day.  When you have reached checking-in to once a week, let her cash-in her chips once a week.  YOU create a STORE - buy foods that she likes, healthy choices, trinkets, toys  that she will like - YOU control the content.  She buys the goodies via her chips.  Once she has control of her reactive outbursts, then start weening her off the positive therapy.  YOUR PART is NEVER to show displeasure, fear or anger.  Some take a year, some take longer.  But, she will eventually stop the rages because, they NO LONGER WORK for her.  IT takes tremendous stamina, patience and faith.  Do the work now, or later she will be bigger, stronger and it WILL effect how she socialises in her community.
13167 tn?1327197724
The good thing about this is she is VERY clear what's going on.  She can control it,  but she feels terrible rage and the only way to feel better is to throw a huge tantrum,  and she can control the time and place where that occurs,  mostly.

I think you need to look into Juvenile Diabetes,  and don't take the results of one blood sugar test,  or the fact that she lacks many symptoms,  as a "no" answer.  

I have a friend who has a son that sounds VERY much like your daughter (he's in college now) and was diagnosed when he was about 10.  Leading up to that diagnosis,  he was very similar to your daughter.  

The fact that the combination of meds isn't helping much is a strong indicator they haven't reached the problem.  

I think you should insist on a full testing for diabetes,  and also look up a diabetic diet and put her on that and see if it makes a difference.  The key is to avoid blood sugar fluctuations.  

Best wishes.


535822 tn?1443980380
Maybe some child/ parent interaction classes may also help here not just counselling for the child ...
Avatar universal
Thanks Margypops.  We do the counseling with her sometimes too.
Avatar universal
Hi RockRose,
I love Rock Roses!  I have one in my front yard!

Thanks for responding.  I think you have a good point.  I am going to look into this.

She will not eat much....like a bird.  Definitely, the fits are WAY worse from not eating too.

Thanks for writing.  I appreciate it.

Angi
Avatar universal
Another possibility - personality disorders are hard-wired but often co-morbid with anxiety and mood disorders.  Many children are diagnosed with ADD/ADHD or ODD due to the fact that personality disorders are usually not "labelled" until adulthood.  I might suggest you google the phrase "personality disorders" or "personality disorders in children" or similar words/phrases to see if these descriptions remind you of your child.   I hope RockRose is correct - a physical health condition and that I am wrong - a mental health condition.  Here's wishing ....
Avatar universal
Has she had strep throat at one time? Many kids who have PANDAS sound like your child. You may want a strep culture done. It is a neuropsych disorder brought on when strep crosses the brain barrier and the brain becomes inflaimed. The kids are very difficult to manage. Sometimes extreme seperation anxiety or compulsions and tantrums. My son has been suffering from this and meds really don't help much. Also if the meds you are on are not working they could be doing the opposite effect making her worse. We were on abilify and it helped at first but then he got worse and worse despite our upping the dose to 15 mg. Then we stopped and went to risperdal and he is seeming better. But work with a child psychiatrist on the meds. They need to be constantly monitered and adjusted. Keep a behavior log and log every single tantrum with a rating 1-3 and a cause and consequence and how long the fits lasted. Then take this to your psychologist. That way you can all get an accurate account of why the fits are happening and how long and how they reacted to the consequence. My son also has aspergers which causes alot of behavior issues. He is smart too and holds it together at school. It is so hard. I feel for you. Don't try to reason with her during the tantrum. Just follow through on the consequence everytime. Don't ever give in. Time out in the room away from you. Ignore the parents who stare. They have no clue what you are going through. I have lost neighbors friendships on account of my son's behaviors but that is not anything to care about. Just do your best and don't worry about what ohers think. Believe me they can't understand.
Avatar universal
do the diabetes workup, not a bad idea.  Frist of all you are VERY strong people to deal with this.  I think it is terrible that people with challenging children are looked down upon and not give good support.  They dont' realize what we all go through and esp. you.  I am sorry.  I wish I had better advice, but you might need to think outisde the box does her behavior have cyclical patterns?
1210708 tn?1266048303
I actually found this by accident...I completely understand what you are going through. I have a 7 year old son who has that type of tantrum...it was worse when he was around the ages of 5-6 and has considerably calmed down over the last year. It is extremely embarassing when the cops show up at your door because of nosy neighbors, but I also understand where they are coming from. Screams so loud that they about break your ear drums, hitting and kicking. My son is also extremely intelligent (early reading, and math skills). We have wanted to take him to a child developement clinic because of these issues. My husband has ADHD and I have anxiety issues. We have noticed multiple symptoms relating to different things, anything between ADHD and Asberger's. When you say your daughter is smart, what type of smart? Reading? Math? I also noticed my son has a HUGE and over active imagination along with a photographic memory. His comprehension is amazing and has now tested to be above 3rd grade reading level and reads 120+ words per minute. It seems especially at night that his poor little brain won't shut off and these tantrums just seem to be the outlet. I have found that during these tantrums you have to remain extremely calm and talk them down. Make her face you and focus on you. Talk softly and slowly. Ask her what the problem is and explain it to you. I know most people won't like this answer, but try to hold back on the punishing. I know I wouldn't like this answer either, but this has truly helped with the tantrums. I hope this helps at all. Let me know if it does. Remember each child is different and what works for some may not work for others.  I came upon this by accident. I also have a 4 1/2 yr old daughter who won't go pee consistently on the toilet. :)
1210708 tn?1266048303
P.S. the diabetic testing is a great idea too. Make sure they do an a1c level along with the blood sugars. My husband was diagnosed with type 2 a little over a year ago with no symptoms at all. He is very healthy and not overweight.
968908 tn?1274874715
also maybe have a blood test to check her thyroid gland and adrenal glands,plus a scan to look at her kidneys as the adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys.  It has been known for children to have small non-cancerous tumours on the adrenal glands which can cause adrenaline to serge into the bloodstream causing massive anxious, panicky, angry outbursts just like you describe.  It may just be the reason as to why she can not control herself.  

Some blood tests can come back within a 'normal' range due to this range being fairly broad so if the test does come back within 'normal' range i personally would demand a scan to have a good look at her kidneys.   If there is a tumour normally a simple operation to remove it will make the world of difference.

I really do hope a soultion is found soon as it sounds like such a horrible situation to be in, she is lucky to have such dedicated parents who love her so much and are willing to do anything for her.  God bless and let us know if anything is found.  

Julie xxx
Avatar universal
Sounds somewhat like my son about a year ago

My son did a the "screaming when I pick him up" thing at daycare a year or so ago - whenever dad picked him up he would bring a treat/take him to have ice-cream....so he would demand dad to pick him up at all times....In fact in the beginning of school year he asked his teacher whether his dad will be picking him up - and when teacher said it will be me - he threw a tremendous tantrum. When I picked him up he was happy and smiling and fine. I still had a call from social worker and I had to attempt to explain as to why my son threw a tantrum about me picking him up.....He probably had a good audience, too.....If she has ADHD/ODD traits - probably keeping a pickup similar at all times works....For my son - in the beginning of the year he would bring a stuffed toy with him in the car, strap it in his booster seat when he leaves, then when dad picked him up - his "friend" was there as well.......

In general, rituals, rules, and similarity helps with a lot of this panic-anxiety....

Couple of things can influence his proneness to tantrums

1) If you expect him to throw a tantrum, he will throw a tantrum. His "worst" was when Dad was terrified of him throwing tantrum in public - and he did it every time. He has a keen ability to pick up on anxiety and will do exactly what you expect him to do.


2) When he is bored/disorganized, he gets irritable. He has trouble with figuring out what to do - so he would wander around - I usually try to find something entertaining for us to do...I can relate to this one - I HAVE to do something very weekend

3) When he is overstimulated. Lights, sounds, screaming kids, what have you. I try to limit activities involving loud noises/too much unexpected movement to one a day (on school nights, we keep it low since he is experiencing noise/movement all day at school). Structure, schecules, and planning the day helps tremendously

4) Food. And the top offender is........drumroll.....blue coloring.....red is close second.....MSG is a kicker, too.....Since I've started him on a "clean" diet - costs pretty penny but worth it - a lot less obsessions and violent outbursts...less noise sensitivity

5) Sensory stuff - jumping, climbing, rolling in a blanket, squishy hugs, roughhousing - all helps tremendously......Heavy work, pulling, pushing, etc

The fact that she does ok at school is a good sign - for my son the worst was school - beause they could not figure out how to deal with him (as he can be very dramatic)
Now they have figured it out seems like anyway


Good luck do not get down she is only 6; you do not know what future holds; people learn throughout their lifetime. I also choose not to care about people staring - people need to get a life/look at something more entertaining than a tantruming child....The ones that find it entertaining - well I feel sorry for them...

As for "well behaved children" I ran into outright sociopathic types who traumatized my sensitive child by roaring at him in a dark corner. He, to this day, will not play with boys, and will not go near a child that makes a roaring noise. They knew he was terrified of it. But on the outside - they were the sweetest, most compliant, smiling children who were eager to please their parents...Always wanted attention of every adult in sight..So you never know where you gonna end up:)

I think children like ours feel more than others, that is why it may be so hard to cope.....My son's brain cells fire with incredible speed at all times (I can relate, I am sure you can, too:), he gets obsessed with things....he has photographic memory and vivid imagination....he may start thinking about a toy while at school, by the time I pick him up there is a whole thing going in his head concerning this toy, it is almost real....oops...not there really......hard to cope.....

I've read  that between 6 and 7 brain undergoes serious "sorting" activity, where the "sides" take on more of "roles" and things get "de-cluttered"


Goo luck by all means:)












Have an Answer?
Top Children's Health Answerers
189897 tn?1441130118
San Pedro, CA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Fearing autism, many parents aren't vaccinating their kids. Can doctors reverse this dangerous trend?
Is a gluten-free diet right for you?
We answer your top questions about the flu vaccine.
Learn which over-the-counter medicines are safe for you and your baby
Yummy eats that will keep your child healthy and happy
Healing home remedies for common ailments