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Avatar universal

How should I deal with my child's behavior?

My 7 year old daughter is a smart, sweet and beautiful little girl at times.  She can be such a handful examples: she does not listen to me period, her 2 sisters are scared to death of her (she hits them, and calls them names) she constantly lies about everything even when I witnessed it happen.  She can explode at the drop of a hat throws fits over the tiniest things.  When her dad is home shes not that bad but he also will baby her alot so she doesn't explode which I do not agree with. We have tried spanking when the bad behavior starts but she just looks at you like your an idiot and returns to what she was doing timeouts do nothing going to bed early when everyone else is up watching tv doesn't phase her at all.  She was diagnosed with ADHD about 2 years ago we have had alot of problems with the medication affecting her stomach and it just making her so lethargic.  I know it doesn't seem like alot to some but we have dealt with this for about 3 years and I am so tired of it I can sit up some nights and cry because of how bad she has made the evening.  We have a reward type system going on you have to get 6 points for the week in order to go on reward day its doing things like watching a movie skating going to their favorite restaurant and it doesn't even bother her if she doesn't go.  So any help or suggestions on how to discipline or change my childs behavior I would greatly appreciate!!
18 Responses
Avatar universal
In addition to medication, you need to work with a counselor. Children with ADHD often require different handling than other children and an counselor can help you work through these problems.

A few things to start with:

1) all children lie. Never ask her a question you know the answer to (for example, say she takes a cookie...don't say "Did you take a cookie?" If you saw her, you know she did...and you also know she is going to lie about it (this isn't an ADHD thing, most kids do it, it is developmentally normal). Instead, say "I saw you take the cookie without asking, here is the consequence. Make consequences reasonable and related to what happened...such as no cookie for dessert if she took a cookie when she wasn't supposed to have one.

2) Consequences and rewards work better when they happen at about the same time as the action. In other words, she needs immediate feedback, not a theoretical reward many days later. I would start with daily rewards for specific things. She isn't going to become a perfect child over night...pick one area to work on at a time...tell her your expectations and tell her the reward and consequence...then remind her, encourage her and help her to succeed. Start with something easy so you can praise her and reward her...and really focus on the positive. Ignore behavior that isn't relevant to what you are working on unless it endangers her or someone else...I know that seems odd...to ignore bad behavior...but you have to break the cycle of conflict and focus her in a positive way.

I wish you and your children the very best. Please find a good counselor...perhaps a support group for parents of ADHD children...to help you learn how to guide her. Most of all, hang in there!
535822 tn?1443976780
It could be the meds she is taking they do have side effects, and might be the reasion for the explosions'  Perhaps have them evaluated again see if she needs the dosage lowering or the med changing May I ask which med she is taking ? ..good luck
973741 tn?1342342773
Hi there.  There is a book called by Susan Ashley that I need to look up the title for you as it is really good at understanding the ins and outs of add/adhd.  

The issue with kids with nervous system issues is that they are often 'unregulated'.  They have issues with modulation which is how they handle their emotions.  The process that others go through with anger, frustration,, and sadness are speeded up and much more of a base level reaction.  

with my son, we worked on ways to cope and express it that were appropriate.  He has sensory integration disorder which is very similar to add/adhd.  In fact, they are often confused for one another.  Both affect the nervous system.  If you got an early diagnosis of adhd, I would even google 'sensory processing disorder' which should pull up a web site by that name and it gives really good information on it.  You treat sensory different than add/adhd and often some of the things you do for a sensory kid help an adhd kid.  It involves something called 'heavy work' which you'll see on that site.  This is basically physical activity and muscle work along with deep pressure.  For example swimming.  My son is always calm after swimming, hard to anger or frustrate, easy going.  Why?  because the heavy muscle work and deep pressure involved in it (from the water) regulate his nervous system.  Michael Phelps is a famous guy with adhd----  need I say more about swimming?!  But there are a gazillion things you can do for this same affect.  We see an occupational therapist and work on these activities along with doing some of it every day at home.  If you need ideas or info on that----  let me know.

Anyway, the other side of a child with an out of sync nervous system is helping them cope and manage their emotions overall for when they are not regulated.  We talk about what is acceptable and what isn't.  We've actually role played it----  and when I act out what is NOT appropriate, I make it funny and he cracks up.  when some of what he has done is shown to him through my acting it out, he can see why it doesn't work.  The we go through what he CAN do.  I am really clear about this spelling it out for him.  He can use his words to tell an adult, he can go to a cool down place where no one can but him, he can open and close his fists tightly, he can count, he can deep breath or square breathe (breathe in for 4, hold 4, breathe out for 4, hold 4, repeat).  Recognizing that she is getting upset is also key.  Talk to her about how she feels as she is STARTING to get mad.  And when she is starting----  she can go to one of the appropriate things she can do then to stop the process of going all the way to explosion.  

There is also a great series of books that are really helpful for this.  One is called "hands are not for hitting" and another in the series is "words are not for hurting".  Really great message and good for the age of your daughter.  

Lots of luck and I think that book is the "adhd handbook" by susan ashley.  I'll double check that though.  Peace
189897 tn?1441126518
COMMUNITY LEADER
    The book is, "The ADD/ ADHD Answer book," by Susan Ashley, and when I post over on the ADHD forum, I recommend it highly. She has a whole chapter on "Parenting:Rules, Routines, and Rewards"   It will help you with many of the issues you are talking about.  
    All of the above ideas are very good.  I will add that working with an intelligent child with ADHD is even more difficult.  They quickly figure out how to work the system.  Thats why structure and consistency are so important.  With structure, they have less chance to mess up.  And consistency means the same immediate consequences (short) that happen every time.  Its tough to do, but it will pay off.  Timeouts are the best consequence for many reasons.  A good book that describes how to use them is "SOS Help for Parents," by Lynn Clark.  While the book is not really aimed at ADHD kids - the method will work.   And you will find that in Ashley's book she agrees.
     By the way - how does she do discipline wise in school?  Schools tend to be structured.  And I've got a feeling that she is in competition with her sisters for your attention - which is part of the night time problems.
     And, you should take another look at her meds.  They should not make her lethargic.  Typically, that happens when the dose is too high.  And, of course, it sounds like the dose has completely worn come night time so if she is trying to get your attention - she will be doing things "without filters".
     The "hands are not for hitting" is excellent.  It and others like it can be found here - http://www.amazon.com/Hands-Hitting-Ages-Best-Behavior/dp/1575420775.        I would read it to her.  Some one on one time with her is important I think.  
   Finally, I monitor the ADHD forum.  Please feel free to post over there too if you have a special questions.  Best wishes.
Avatar universal
Thank you for your post!! As far as school goes she does well the only problem I have been informed of at school is talking and it hasn't been bad enough for the teacher to contact me.  The medication she was on a stimulant then switched to a non-stimulant which worked for a while then nothing.  We have tried so many things to get her under control but nothing has an affect on her.  Thanks for the book ideas I'm going to look into them now!!
973741 tn?1342342773
Jen, with  your last post, I DO really encourage you to look at sensory processing disorder.  Medication does not have an effect on someone with sensory and the symptoms can present very much the same.  You see an occupational therapist for sensory integration/processing disorder.  Our son has gone this route and we have had a tremendous amount of success.  Check it out and let me know if anything rings a bell.  good luck
Avatar universal
I looked up SPD all of the symptoms do not fit her maybe if you could give me your definition or even some things you have experienced with your child
Avatar universal
She is currently taking Strattera we went from a stimulant to non-stimulant started with focalin, vyvanse,adderall xr and strattera 20mg to 40mg.  The first 3 had side effects such as constant fear of death, being paranoid, and basically just being there not talking, eating or even playing the strattera was helpful then didn't really do anything the MG was raised and now nothing.
189897 tn?1441126518
COMMUNITY LEADER
   Has the school noticed any changes since she went on Strattera?  In terms of the first 3 meds, they are stimulants and if a child does not have ADHD, those meds should make them very hyper.  And it does sound like an overdose by the symptoms you describe.  Just being curious did the doctors try the lowest dose of the meds?  And could you give me the time frame that these meds were tried.  Was this over the space of two years or several months or ?  I am also getting curious as to what kind of a doctor is doing the prescribing?  I get the feeling he/she is using a shotgun approach - which worries me.
     But, I am getting the feeling that at least a partial solution to the problem will be with what you do at home.   The books will be very helpful - but it won't be easy.  
Avatar universal
As far as the strattera goes once she started on it after a few weeks she was getting into trouble for talking but other than that she does really good in school.  The first 3 meds she was on was over about a year timespan each one was the lowerst dose except the adderall xr it was started at 10mg instead of 5mg.  The doctor she sees is her pediatrician he specializes in behavioral and mood disorders also.  My husband doesn't want her on any medication so I am up for any kind of work necessary to help.  I am a full time mom until next year when all of my children will be in school (I am a nurse) so I have alot of time to do whats necessary I have read alot on the internet. I know this is going to sound terrible but she only acts this way with me when my husband (her dad) is home she is calm when she stays with my sister she's a perfect child.  However, with my parents they have seen alot and don't give her the time of day they always jump to anger with her she refuses to visit them which I can't blame her one bit.
189897 tn?1441126518
COMMUNITY LEADER
   Hey Jen,  it really does sound like family dynamics are at play here - along with all the other stuff.   When she visits your sister - does she have any younger kids?  
   I've got to research how long strattera works, but I was involved in a pretty long and difficult situation over on the ADHD forum and its getting kind of late.
But, I'm pretty sure it has worn off by dinner time.  This means you have an intelligent (or very intelligent) little girl who really is too young to have the proper filters in place.  Got a feeling she sees the other little ones getting more attention and reacts accordingly.  That's why I wondered about the situation at your sisters.   And this isn't going to be resolved with something as simple as just paying more attention to her - she has learned behaviors that need to be gently removed.  
   I also think that your husband needs to buy into what is going on.  I realize that may be impossible.  Any chance you can talk with your Doc - sounds like he knows what  he is doing - and maybe then bring your husband in for some information on how to best work with her?
535822 tn?1443976780
Ask the doctor about the med she is taking as I prevously said there is much online about the effects of these powerful drugs on children ,I have just read the many drugs your child has been on , do try to do your own research many parents ahve had problems its about time big Pharma making masses of money took responsibilty ..
Avatar universal
My 13 year-old daughter is ADHD to she was the same way she calmed down more when she saw how her friends saw her acting that way. And her father did baby her when she was little ! I suggest you make a chart for her and say okay if you were good today there will be a extra treat for you in your lunch box or when you get home. Or keep a small box with things from the dollar store in your room with things she will just really want! And tell her she will get to pick two things at the end of the week if she was good. Or tell her she can have her friend over for a sleep over.
973741 tn?1342342773
You hit on something that is really relavent to dealing with a child with add/adhd and that is peer issues.  Many a child is shunned by peers for things relating to their disorder.  You are a perceptive mother to understand her desire to fit in.  So many kids-----  that is what they want most in the world.  That she recognizes it and you found a way to encourage her is terrific.  Keep up the good work mom!
535822 tn?1443976780
That's a really good idea ...rewarding good behavior always works ...
Avatar universal
Sorry I meant she was ADD I was thinking of my youngest !
Avatar universal
Thank You for the comment!! The reward sounds better than what we were originally doing.  However, my daughter doesn't act like way in front of anybody except for her sisters, her dad and I and sometimes my parents. Now she does have the ugly attitude in front of others at times but never the outbursts. Again thank you for the ideas!!
189897 tn?1441126518
COMMUNITY LEADER
    Disneymom's idea is a much better solution then punishing a child for what she cannot control.  However, I think (and Disneymom can correct me) that this was with a 13 year old.  A 7 year old does not have the same control abilities.  Any reward has to be fairly immediate.  But, since she only seems to have the outbursts in front of family - not others - that would indicate a certain degree of control.
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