Child Behavior Community
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Avatar universal


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.
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.
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?1327194124
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?1443976780
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.

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?1266044703
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?1266044703
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?1274871115
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:)

968908 tn?1274871115
Yeah i agree diet is a massive one, all the additives, preservatives etc.... MSG is so bad for kids, can send them potty.  Try cutting out all the sugary, additive laden foods and give her things like carrot sticks to munch on and cut up fruit...etc

Plus if she is is behaving at school but not home then she can control herself but realises that by acting this way she gets whats she wants at home.  If both you and your husband are placid in nature and wants anything for a quiet life then her acting like this will get her all she wants from the pair of you.  

I think that maybe, and i mean this in the kindest possible way, parenting classes would be the first thing to do instead of taking her to therapy.  Nine times out of ten the problem lays with the techniques of the parent and not at all with the child.
Avatar universal
The only thing I would disagree with - behaving at school vs. home and that she gets away with things at home....not necessarily

For kids with ADHD/explosive temperament/chemical imbalances it is extremely hard to get through the school day, with all the stimulation....so once they get home they can "meltdown" in a big way, to let out all the frustration of the day

It is important for children to be comfortable with anger and be able to let it out in approprate manner....Unfortunately, in a western culture, anger is a "forbidden" thing, and focus is on "how not to get angry" instead on "how to experience it"....

Another thought - how about ...playing? When my son is irritable and angry after school for no apperent reason - we get out all the stuffed "friends" and play "school" - usually the issue surfaces thought the play

What I did when my kid needed to expel frustration/anger - we would go for a drive down the freeway and we would all let it rip!  Scream at the top of their lungs, laughing usually followed.  It cleared the air..........take all that pent up energy and give them another healthier method of expelling......
Avatar universal
OMG !!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I feel like Im reading about my son. Hes turning 8 in June and Hes been diagnosted with OCD, but theres a sensory issue there as well.
All the discriptions you made about her tantrums happening only at home and not in school is exactly what my son does to us.
The hitting is only done to us,
I have tried medications but unfortunatly they dont agree with him to well. It makes him more aggressive and angry, in addition, he gets massive nose bleeds.
We are at a loss right now too. Hes in phyciatry therapy now and i took him off all meds. Im looking into a holistic approach. I found a vitamin called  Inositol. Its Vitamn B8. Check it out. Only problem is, they have no doses listed for children. Im going to ask the Dr. what she thinks. On the other hand, Im taking it for myself. I will be the guinnie pig. I am loosing my freekin mind. I cant stand when hes raging and theres nothing I can say or do to help him.
I feel like sometimes its behavioral and then his OCD kicks in.
He feels dirty after going Number 2 in the bathroom . He ripped his butt apart by wiping so much. Hes not comvinced its clean enough. So i have to put a ointment on to heal the burn and then hes freeking out because it feels wet.
Thats where the Sensory issues come in.
Its taking a tole on our marrage. we only have the one child but we cant open our windows on a beautiful day bcause we are affraid the neighbors will think what the hells goin on in that house.
He is always telling me he wants to hurt me and Kill me.
Me more than his dad.

Trust me, I feel your pain and know exactally what your going through.
If you find out anything, please let me know and I will do the same for you.
Avatar universal
Hi Maddy,
please email me if you want to.  I would love to connect.  It sounds like we have a lot in common.

And, to those who say our daughter is freaking out on us because we give her what she wants and they will not at school.....um NO.  She never gets what she wants by acting out.  
She is winding up tighter and tighter at school all day and is holding it in to not get in trouble....her sensory issues are building and building all day long with the noise, and her lack of eating her lunch...and by the time i pick her up she is a screaming, hitting mess...and DOES IT FROM THE SECOND SHE SEE;S ME or my husband ALL OF THE WAY THROUGH THE HALLS and for NO REASON that is obvious.
Thanks for the parenting class advice but unfortunately, this is the same offensive thing we get from parents of typical children who do not have a CLUE all of the time.
We are older parents...waited a long time for this baby...well educated...too many parenting books on the shelves...been advised for years by a therapist on child rearing...been advised by my parents who raised 4, and my sister who raised 3...but NONE were like our daughter and what works for typical kids DOES NOT WORK for ADHD/ODD Mood Disorder kids....  85 of 100 kids will do what an adult tells them to do....my girl is one of the 15. with ODD..and she has been sent to the principal's office already 3 times in a few months IN KINDERGARTEN...so i guess she is not holding it together at school that well after all.. So what i am saying is that your "advice" for us taking parenting classes is just one more insensitive comment from someone who thinks they know it all and really they know nothing about the subject.
I had a child that would enter my home swearing, raging.  I leave the child alone.  I do not engage.  We go about our business, like nothing is happening.  It usually takes 10 - 15 min and child stops on it's own.  This went on for months.  Same pattern.  Always debrief after child has calmed down.  When a person is raging - they do not 'hear' you.  The blood supply to the brain is not supplying enough oxygen because the body is tense.  That is why most can not remember what they said afterwards.  The child is in 'fight or flight mode.'  When the child is calm, debrief.  Use PRIDE - P for Identify Problem; R - for recognise your reaction; I - Identify your thoughts; D - for develop strategy to solve; E - is for evaluate 'how' you did.

This works with 5 yrs and up, if cognitively able to comprehend information.

Not being insensitive, I work with kids like yours every day 7 days a week.

WE are also responsible for the communicative intent.  Communication is a 2 way street.  We MUST also look at ourselves - our tone, our cadence, our language as contributing factors.  We have to examine it ALL.  That is the hard part - as adult parents we don't want to take any blame - we all have our egos.  Humility is a difficult pill to swallow - been there, done that.  And I am not blaming parents - but be aware of how you communicate.

When a child starts physically attaching me, I go outside for the sake of witnesses so neighbours do not think I am killing a child.  It takes a long time for a reactive child to learn how to control their anxiety/anger/frustrations/learn the language to describe what is bothering them/if they have been abused in some way (not necessarily by family, but from outside home/school possibly??)

What I do is set up the home environment that fits the child's preferences, likes and dislikes are taken into consideration.  Keep rules simple, basic and not too many expectations.  Slowly increase expectations, if they go backwards, then start over.

It has been my experience that it can take up to one year of intense positive reinforcement strategies specifically designed for each child, or it can take 1.5 yrs to stabilise.

It is one of the hardest jobs you will ever encounter.  And if the child is extremely smart/manipulative, etc.  you have to always be one step ahead - I call it mental gymnastics!

Get some relief staff and go exhale.  I wish you well............
Avatar universal

It is officially dx as CHILDHOOD BIPOLAR and since we finally found a great doc, she is doing sooo much better with the correct meds.

Please, anyone else dealing with similar stuff....take your kid to a good child psych.  It can save their lives.

Childhood Bipolar has a higher mortality rate than some childhood cancers.  Therapy, and time outs and parenting books do not help.  It is a brain chemistry issue and these kids need help.
189897 tn?1441126518
   Thank you for sharing!  What meds are working? Zoloft?
Avatar universal
I agree with Michele223. We did not find out til our daughter was in the 5th grade that she had Aspergers. We had every diagnoses from ADHD to bipolar, but no doctor wanted to tell us to look into autism spectrum disorders. This makes since she has limited trouble at school. School is routine and structured. They thrive on structure. Change the routine and you have atter chaos!!!!   A squirt bottle with water may help, when she goes in total tantrum squirt her, the shock of it may get her attention. I also try taking my child out of the situation. People thought i was taking her to the restroom to spank her, nope, i went in there and we washed our hands and calmly talked her down and took our time. All I can say is she is a senior in high school and it has been a long road. but she drives, she is an A students, stil a bit moody, even for a teenager, but it will get better once you find a wonderful doctor to get some help:)   Good Luck!
Also I made a printout for her daily activites and laminated it so she could check it off with an expo marker. example:  eat breakfast, brush your teeth, get dressed, watch sponge bob, put on socks, put on shoes, etc. and in order.Don't laugh it did work and now she only takes one pill, Gotta be consistent and it takes ALOT of time and patience..:)
Yes, routine that is always the same - consistency.  Otherwise, look out - life is about to hit the fan.......
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