I have beautiful 5 year old daughter, that im almost *certain* has ADHD. She can be very loving child and shes far smarter and more advanced then most children her age- but I have to be honest with you all: shes driving us bonkers!
This behavior began about 4 months BEFORE I became pregnant with my son and it seemed to happen suddenly. I began thinking that something might be 'wrong' when she was 3. She stood in our front yard yelling " I HATE YOU!!!" for about 20 minutes..all because i wouldnt wear the shoes that she wanted me to wear. That was 2 years ago and things have gotten much worse.
Below is a list of her behavior and some examples:
1) SEVERE mood swings: She will be very happy and laughing one minute and then suddenly ( in the middle of laughing even) she will began crying ( and i mean SOBBING and screaming ) saying something like " I want to be a baby again! " Or some other topic that isnt being discussed at the moment. She will also have a FULL BLOWN fit because something smells bad and will cry for an hour or so about it. She has also began screaming and crying before because ' she didnt like the way her nails looked.'
NOTE: We are a very open family. We talk about our emotions openly and give many hugs and kisses. We dont spank: we use time outs and such but it doesnt seem to help her.
2) Pooping problems: This issue began when she was 3, around the time when her behaviour began to change. She began holding in her poop for WEEKS at a time. I took her to the doc and he put her on miralax- and nothing happended. He later told me that it was related to her behaviour, and i believe so myself. Today alone, i have changed her panties 6 times. She holds her poop in so long that she soils herself. I make her sit on the potty a few times a day, but she will scream and yell at the top of her lungs and kick and hit and such. We have tried EVERYTHING to help this problem, we've tried to make her go with mineral oil ( huge mess) and many other things.
Sometimes she will poop on her own and ask for privacy, which i give her. When i go in to check on her, she has wiped poop all over the counters and the toilet. And sorry if TMI- but when she does poop, its HUGE because she holds it in so long.
NOTE: To me it seems like she just cant sit still long enough to get finished. We have tried changing her diet, giving her rewards and giving her tons of praise when she allows herself to poop- nothing works. I have talked to her MANY times about the importance of listening to your body and doing what it asks you to do. She understands that this act is unhealthy for her, but she continues. The doctor has checked her out many times because of this and he has ruled out any medical problem that is causing this. We have taken her to a specialist- he said the same thing: behaviour. I swear if i get called to the school one more time because she smells like poop and needs new panties...im going to scream.
3) CANT sit still/ listen/ focus: She finds it IMPOSSIBLE to sit still even for a few minutes. She always climbing on things that shes knows not to clinb on, she has to be moving constantly. Shes always jumping or rolling. She will NOT let you finish a senetance when youre talking, even after getting into trouble many times. I try to make what im saying as brief and direct as possible, but she will interupt and ask things like " What kinda gum are you chewing? " or " whats daddys middle name? ". Ive also noticed that she cannot hold eye contact long at all. In the past week, she hasnt given me eye contact for longer than 30 seconds. She also makes loud noises suddenly and barks demands at others in a very hateful tone. She also cannot play with one toy or do one thing for more than a few minutes. Also, i have noticed that she may be pretty calm when its just the family here, but if we have a visitor over she will start bouncing off of the walls and i have to send her to her room just about every time.
NOTE: She has alot of time to burn out her energy. She goes to school and is very active outside here at all everyday. We include her in all activitys. Nothing seems to help her calm down. She has a stable routine, including warm lavender baths at night before bed, followed by story time ( which I can never finish because she wont sit still or be quite.)
4) HURTS people: On more than one occasion, the has hurt both myself and her little brother. She will ask " mommy, would it hurt if i________ed you? " and i say something like ' yes of course, that wouldnt be poliet at all." She will say somehting like " ok" and walk off for just a few minutes, come back and do EXACTLY what you told her would hurt. Then, she will cry and run off because she knows that automatic time out.
5) DOESNT SLEEP WELL: She tosses and turns all night as well as screams and talks in her sleep. Then she will wake up SUPER early and be in a horrible mood. She hasnt slept well in a long time.
6) SUPER picky eater: I cant hardly get her to eat very much at all. If it looks different or smells different to her in any way, she will freak out even if you ask her if she would atleast like to try a bite before deciding if she likes it. There are only a handful of things that she will eat. She takes mutivitames everyday.
We really dont know what to do anymore. Her behaviour is really doing a number on this family. Its getting harder and harder for me to have a break from her because people simply dont want to keep her. They often tell me ' i think somethings wrong with her' and as a mom not only is that scary, but it really hurts. We cant even take her out to eat with us because if her food 'doesnt look right' on her plate, she will have a full blown melt down. We gave up on eating out quite a few months ago.
Her little brother looks up to her very much. He doesnt have any problems like this at all and he is quite the opposite, but i am worried that he will try to copy her and pick up her behaviour..and i CANNOT handel 2 children that acts in that manner. We really do feel like we're at the end of out ropes here. Her behaviour is effecting her school, her family, even my relationship with my husband because im always so exausted and stressed.
I am making another appointment with her doctor for next week so maybe he can refer her to someone or something. I really just dont know what to do anymore. Nothing that we have tried as parent has worked and it seems to get worse and worse. I feel like a bad mom sometimes because when someone does agree to keep her, just the relief of her being gone is enough to make me sob.
Please ladies, your opinions would really help me right now.
Thanks very very much in advance.
PS: Sorry for any typing mistakes, i am very tired.
Magickal Mama to DD (6) & DS (3). Soul mate to DH.
I don't have a lot of time at the moment, but have you ever looked into Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)? Some of the things you mention bring this to mind...smells, picky eating (smells, textures), even the poop thing can be sensory. There are books such as "The Out of Sync Child" that talk about this. It's possible to have multiple issues, and SPD could be only one of them.
Has she ever been looked at by a developmental pediatrician or neuropsychologist? Sounds like she could use an evaluation to see what's going on. A regular ped will probably not be able to help you much here. You could look into places that evaluate for autism and related disorders, even if that's not what you suspect she has, as they are good at evaluating behavioral issues. It usually takes months to get into such places for the initial eval, though.
Sleep is important for her - I wonder if other mamas who've had experience with melatonin can give you advice here.
Can you think of anything that went on right around the time she started showing symptoms (3 years of age) that might have triggered it?
One more thing - my DS has a number of food sensitivities (some are IgE allergies, and some are not quite allergies) that show up as behavioral issues. Have you ever considered that angle?
Kim mama to DS 12/2005, Pepper kitty , and 10/03, 1/05;
Hi and hugs. That sounds really tough. Much of what you wrote sounds like my son, who will be 6 next month, and has ADHD (and is likely gifted--hasn't been tested, but I would be pretty surprised if he wasn't). The screamy-stand outside stuff sounds like my older daughter at that age--she would get really "crazy" (for lack of a better word) for some unknown, seemingly random reason and refuse to enter the house or whatever she had decided to be against. That has improved hugely for her, and she doesn't do that anymore (at age 7).
The rest of your description sounds so much like my son. He was different from the beginning, but I knew that something was up with him since about age 2. At age three, things were so difficult that we were having a hard time having any sort of normal life with him, and my DH and I were having a very hard time parenting him in ways we felt good about. We were usually ranging mad by the end of the day, and we are typically gentle and laid-back parents. So, we went to a psychologist to start working out how to do better with him and what was wrong with him. We worked through a few behavioral/discipline plans, did 8 months of OT to work on seemingly sensory-seeking behaviors, and then ended up with an ADHD diagnosis and we decided to try Ritalin. It was clear in the first two hours of our first day with meds that he was HUGELY helped with them. We had real conversations. He had self-control. He could reflect on his own behavior!!! We met friends at the park that first morning, and he ran up to me, all proud of himself, and announced joyously that he hadn't hit or push anyone--which was him following up on the preparatory conversation we had had in the car on the way there. Without meds, he doesn't seem to even hear what you say to him. I can't say that medication would be such a fantastic tool for your DD, but I can say that it has given my son and our family the chance to do typical outings, have him feel good about himself, and have us be able to be the calm parents he deserves.
We do still have "eventful" mornings and evenings, when he isn't medicated, and he does still have trouble falling asleep sometimes. I've thought about trying melatonin for him, but by the time I talk myself into getting some, he's cycled into sleeping a bit better. So I never have. Also, we are homeschooling, so he doesn't have to fit into the classroom model there. I think he, even with meds, would have a hard time jumping through the number of hoops he would have to there. And, at home, he can work at his own pace in ways that are very much unlike a school situation. He is a few years ahead right now, but seems to be behind his age peers in maturity and social skills. Oy.
Good luck! Feel free to PM me for more details or anything i could do to be of help. GOod luck! I know how hard your situation is!
Oh, and to look back at your list of issues, we've had problems with pottying (poop and pee, and still occurring occasionally), he is by FAR my very pickiest eater--white diet only, please!, climbs all over the end tables and any other furniture he decides to, jumps on people, has a hard time getting himself dressed and undressed in the mornings and evenings (too distractible and boingy), etc...
He also generates the best family stories-- thankfully the worst, nastiest, scariest incidents sound funny and are memorable in hindsight! :)
I couldn't read without wanting to give you and your DD a . You sound like you are very tuned into what's going on with your DD, and that you know her well. I would go to your ped with all the things you just listed (print out this post if you can), and ask for a referral to a developmental pediatrician. They can evaluate her further, and you will most likely feel better that something is being done in the meantime.
My DD1 has had issues with serious constipation in the past, and we deal with impulsivity/hyperactivity/attention-seeking behavior on an ongoing basis. Just those things are enough to make me exhausted and to question if I am failing her as a parent at times, and it sounds like your DD has other things on her plate too. And to feel guilty about how relieved I am when she is gone for preschool. Three year-old twins have nothing on her!
Good luck momma. I hope you get answers that you need soon.
I also think you should take her to a developmental pediatrician. We had an evaluation done at a specialty clinic at the children's hospital, though it was a long wait for an appointment so we saw an OT and a psychiatrist first. My son had similar issues but is doing much better now with medication and therapy.
Sensory issues seem to top my list of concerns.
The hurting, that almost seems like she is trying to figure out cause and effect,w hich isnt uncommin for that age group.
My youngest can not sit still, she is always climbing on people and things. She is not hyperactive but has sensory issues. Once we put on her AFOs her sensory seeking goes way down b/c she gets information feedback from them.
Thank you so very much for your help and stories. It makes me feel better to know that Im not going through all of this alone.
I will PM you if i have any more questions...or when i need support...and i KNOW i will need that. I will keep you updated as well.
Magickal Mama to DD (6) & DS (3). Soul mate to DH.
Have you tried any elimination diets? DD(6) had soem of the same issues, and has been improved quite a bit by being gluten-free, and only eating raw dairy(she can handle small amounts of regular).
Hugs. I think we are in a fairly similar position.
We are currently waiting for the results of our AS eval. The psych, upon our first consultation, sounded very sure of herself that that's what it is, but we have since had hints that things may be murkier. Depending on whether we have good days or bad days I think I've been overreacting and they've been misdiagnosing, or I'm totally sure that an AS diagnosis may answer all our questions.
However, there are definitely sensory issues with our kid, and whether they are "just SPD" or part of AS, they can be addressed. Sounds like you're doing a lot of sensory smart stuff already. I found "Sensational kids" more helpful than "the Out-of Sync-child." Sensory play, preferably outside, works well for us.
You say you have a good routine going for bedtime - how about the rest of the day? I realized that while I thought our days wern't so unpredictable, they were so for DS, and have slowly worked on making stuff more and more predictable, including commenting/scripting our day. There is always a little something I find I have been too spontaneous about for my kid, and the meltdown comes later.
On the recs of other posters, we have started supplements: CLO, magnesium, zinc. These seem to help a lot! magnesium for restlessness and "nervous" issues is a tried and true remedy, I have found out. We will soon have him evaluated for iron deficiency, maybe vitamin B, and food intolerances/allergies.
We have found that negative consequences don't work for us at all. They create stress, and stress makes DS act out more. Reward schemes do, though! Our kids' currency: short videos on youtube, backrubs for bedtime. We are beginning to use dessert for mealtimes. We do things like "do x, but not y for the next three minutes/the afternoon" (however often the behaviour is that you try to get rid of) and be consistent and predictable about it. In the beginning, holding out on a reward creates stress for DS, too, but as he realizes he has more control than he thought, they start to work, so I recommend to hang in there. Yes, it went against my gut to use a behavioural approach as if he were a lab rat as opposed to be kind and loving and explaining, but DS NEEDS this approach.
Hello there- thank you for your reply, support and information
For DD, we relized a LONG time ago that she really needs structure and routine more than other children her age. Not only do we have a bedtime routine, but all through the day we use routines as well. She is in Pre-K and i have spoken with her teachers about her behaviour and theyre working with her and myself as well. Though she has a difficult time at school with focusing, being quite, sitting still, and playing with others- she has improved since the begining and she goes through phases of doing well, and then doing not so well. If routines change at school or home for any reason this causes her alot of stress and brings on meltdowns.
When she comes home from school, her little bro is napping, we go to the bathroom and take a hot bath to help calm her and wind her down and we just sit and talk about our day for as long as she will allow. Then we have snack time, take our vitimens, and she likes to play for while or help me cook before her bother gets up. She loves to help me cook, but her SPD can cause this to be very difficult for her. Some days she will have a serious melt down when anything gets on her hands, if she dont like how something smells, looks or tastes. Some days are better than others- but its easy to see that whatever is going on with her is making it very hard for her to do the things that she loves and wants to do.
We stick to her routine, i have talked to her father, GPs, and aunt ( all the people that she visits) about the importance of keeping a solid routine for her- they themselves have come to believe me, as they have seen her behaviour when they dont follow those routines. Her GPs still do not fully agree with me that 'something isnt quite right'- but those who keep her often do 100%. Her GPs are just a bit old fashioned and dont believe in medication for children, but that doesnt stop them from complaning about her behaviour to me .
Im just soo ready to get some answers and find out whats going on. It can be very difficult as a mom to see everything your're tyring, fail. But- i know that we will have some answers soon that will not only make our lives easier, but Fairuza's life easier as well. And man..it CANNOT come soon enough.
Magickal Mama to DD (6) & DS (3). Soul mate to DH.