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7 year old boy

My 7 1/2 year old son is bright. He does well in academics and is in a grade higher reading group at school. He does reasonably well with sports/playing with a team et cetera. He does not like school however saying that it is long and boring.  He has some neighborhood friends but seems to alienate other kids by being simply too eager to play. He has very recently started kicking the ball away from others, or cutting in line in a purposeful way.  His temperment at HOME has ALWAYS been intense. He interrupts and blurts out for attention, he is impatient-- he does NOT hit. At school ,he usually does well with instructions however he does sometimes forget to raise his hand or sit still. This does NOT occur daily-- pehaps one day a week.
   Though we have worked on manners since he was born, he must be reminded at EVERY meal or social occsion. Though we are consistent with routines, he questions or forgets our patterns such as how one gets ready for bed. He still hypes up at bedtime with his younger brother-- something I thought he would outgrow. We have to say, "NO HYPING" every night. Once we leave the room, he goes to sleep quite well.  He hypes with new situtions too such as when a grandparent comes for a visit. At other times however, he can be perfectly calm and focused, building with legos or working on a school project, playing card games et cetera.
   A few other odd notes: he occasionally has a touching ritual in which he simply must go back and touch a particlar object-- i see this maybe 3 times per week. He is also very worried,, daily! about fire drills. He is genearlly a worrier though it doesn't seem to interfere with his ability to tryi new things.
  My question is simply: What is normal? Our biggest problem is that we feel like we are against a brick wall with at home behavior. We have tried hard to make dietary changes and develop clear consequences for bad behavior. Is this normal for an "intense 7 year old," or is it ADHD, OCD, GAD?

1 Responses
521840 tn?1348844371
   the issues you describe do sound like they could be anxiety or ADHD (or both), though they could also be the interaction between his temperament and his environment. It is not unusual for a child with ADHD to be able to attend to some activities. When a child has ADHD, attention problems exist across settings and are worse during tasks requiring sustained attention or those that are boring.

The best way to find out is to have a thorough psychological assessment by a doctoral level licensed psychologist (contact your pediatrician for a referral). Following the assessment, you will know more about how he sees the world and how to help him. The assessment will be an integral part of his treatment, as it will clarify what kind of therapy and/or psychiatric treatment he will need. The good news is that the behaviors you are describing should respond well to therapy. I would also recommend that you find a therapist who will spend a good chunk of the time teaching you and his father how to manage behavior in effective ways.Most of the change that helps children comes not from what happens in the office, but in what the parents do in the home. Ask for a therapist who can provide Parent Management Training or Parent Effectiveness Training.

   In the meantime, check out the book The Kazdin Method by Alan Kazdin for practical, research supported techniques you can put into practice immediately. Finally, as to diet, the research has not shown a connection between diet and hyperactivity (caffeine and chocolate obviously aside). Studies have shown that sugar and artificial sweeteners do not have a significant impact on hyperactivity or undesirable behavior, just on parents perceptions about their child's behavior.  Just aim for a healthy diet and minimal junk food, and cut out the exciting tv shows and video games for at least an hour prior to bedtime.

Best Wishes
Rebecca Resnik

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