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Old 02-08-10, 11:05 PM
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Super annoying child--phase or meds not working?

I thought my son was doing well on his meds. We finally got the correct dose and got the timing settled. He had several really good weeks at school.

Now, in the last week or so, he has become ultra annoying. He aggravates people to get a reaction. One boy in his class is a particular target. It doesn't help that the other boy can also be annoying at times. Intially he asked the boy to stop doing whatever it was that bothered him (humming and singing?). Then the little boy started doing it more on purpose. Ok, that seems like typical boy behavior--nothing unusual.

I should also note that they are friends and play a lot together, mostly pretty well when they aren't getting on one another's nerves.

But now ds can't just let it go; he has to up the ante to get the maximum reaction--in the past week we have been given copies (note copies--they kept the originals) of two drawings depicting this child being run over by my son in a car and also one of ds's mice attacking the child. Today my son hit the boy when he started humming louder after he was asked to stop. Now the school social worker wants to get involved to "find out why he is so violent".

DS doesn't rage, isn't depressed, doesn't destroy property in anger. He had been physical and would hit in the past but, until this week, that had stopped. He isn't on standard adhd meds; this behavior isn't the result of rebound. He has been annoying to us at home as well and it has been pretty upsetting to me. Even my husband who's pretty even-tempered has had a hard time dealing with ds.

We had decided to just ignore the behavior as much as possible thinking that it was a phase that will just blow over (after all, this other little boy is very sweet and now he's being just as annoying--just doesn't draw graphic pictures) but now it looks like the school is making a big deal about this. They have a zero tolerance policy that is sometimes lacking in common sense.

So, any ideas? Has anyone seen this as a phase? I'm looking for opinions. I need to call his dr. about something else and wonder if I should bring this up--how concerned should I be?
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Old 02-09-10, 09:24 AM
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Re: Super annoying child--phase or meds not working?

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Originally Posted by Ms. Mango View Post
I thought my son was doing well on his meds. We finally got the correct dose and got the timing settled. He had several really good weeks at school.

Now, in the last week or so, he has become ultra annoying. He aggravates people to get a reaction. One boy in his class is a particular target. It doesn't help that the other boy can also be annoying at times. Intially he asked the boy to stop doing whatever it was that bothered him (humming and singing?). Then the little boy started doing it more on purpose. Ok, that seems like typical boy behavior--nothing unusual.

I should also note that they are friends and play a lot together, mostly pretty well when they aren't getting on one another's nerves.

But now ds can't just let it go; he has to up the ante to get the maximum reaction--in the past week we have been given copies (note copies--they kept the originals) of two drawings depicting this child being run over by my son in a car and also one of ds's mice attacking the child. Today my son hit the boy when he started humming louder after he was asked to stop. Now the school social worker wants to get involved to "find out why he is so violent".

DS doesn't rage, isn't depressed, doesn't destroy property in anger. He had been physical and would hit in the past but, until this week, that had stopped. He isn't on standard adhd meds; this behavior isn't the result of rebound. He has been annoying to us at home as well and it has been pretty upsetting to me. Even my husband who's pretty even-tempered has had a hard time dealing with ds.

We had decided to just ignore the behavior as much as possible thinking that it was a phase that will just blow over (after all, this other little boy is very sweet and now he's being just as annoying--just doesn't draw graphic pictures) but now it looks like the school is making a big deal about this. They have a zero tolerance policy that is sometimes lacking in common sense.

So, any ideas? Has anyone seen this as a phase? I'm looking for opinions. I need to call his dr. about something else and wonder if I should bring this up--how concerned should I be?
Have you thought about asking to have the children separated indefinitely? Although this doesn't fix the root of the issue, it is a temporary fix until you Find a long term solution. This sounds like a two-way battle, and neither child is directly and completely responsible. My first reaction is kids being kids, but it does seem to be going a little far. I am somewhat angered that they decided to get a Social Worker involved. That seems to be quite out of line, and overly sensitive. Why not let the parent deal with the issue? Be sure to be firm with your child and REPEATING if necessary that it is NOT acceptable to hit others, and if he annoys you on purpose as such, to seek the teacher to be separated, or have the child stop. If the teacher isn't making an effort to remedy the issue, maybe have the child transfered to another class/teacher? Hope some of this helps!
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Old 02-09-10, 09:32 AM
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Re: Super annoying child--phase or meds not working?

It's not exactly the same, but last year in 2nd grade my son had a love/hate relationship with another boy in his class. This was before meds. He would come home fuming about something 'Peter' had done one day and the next day he would beg for a playdate with him. Peter would jump up and act out in class and my son would instantly have to do it, too. This was when he had no impulse control at all.

We eventually started telling our son to just stay away from the kid. Have nothing to do with him. But it was hard with him in the same class and on the bus, too. Honestly, I think the kid is a maggot anyway.

The school psychologist got involved when Peter said in class one day, "I wish you were dead!" to my son. She met with them together and separately and he wrote an apology note to my son. The school made sure the kids were not in the same class this year and he hasn't mentioned him at all.

If your son is like mine, he probably won't be able to just let it go and forget about it. Is there any way to separate them? I know it's halfway thru the school year and not a great time.
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Old 02-09-10, 02:08 PM
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Re: Super annoying child--phase or meds not working?

Before meds ds often lashed out physically at others. Since meds this has gone down about 99.5%. He still gets frustrated but will usually pound his fist on the table once or twice and that's it.

I spoke to ds this morning. Apparently drawing these pictures was his outlet when he's frustrated with this child. He was doodling and the teacher asked him what he was drawing. He never gave the pictures to the boy and hadn't planned to. Doesn't make it ok, I know.

To me it's sad because they had been getting along well. I don't know how the placement decisions were made going into 1st grade, but it was well known that they were friends and had a good relationship in K. He'd like to have a play date with this boy over winter break! They're the best of frenemies.

Here's what we've told ds:
1. Get a teacher.
2. There are 19 other kids in your class. If [child] won't stop humming go play with one of the other kids.
3. Ask him a question. [Child] will have to stop humming to answer.
4. A potential consequence is that you will be removed from the classroom. Not the other kid--you. Not because [child] he isn't annoying--he is. Because your behavior goes beyond what is acceptable at school. So you will bear the brunt of the consequence.
5. You need to stop aggravating [child]. If he does something to you walk away.

Of course it's been communicated to him that hitting is not ok. They both have been poking at one another, but of course ds has to escalate things.

Another thing we've told ds is that, at least at first, this boy isn't trying to annoy ds. He isn't doing this to him. It's a nervous habit. (This boy has a sibling with a serious health condition and recently it's gotten worse--I think this kid is just a ball of nerves.) It's only when ds points out what the other kid is doing and asks him to stop that the other kid decides to continue on purpose. Then ds tries to do something to get him back. It's when he doesn't get a strong enough reaction from the other boy that ds ups the ante. Eventurally that only leaves him with the nuclear option.

I spoke to the guidance counselor today. She doesn't think separating them is a good idea; she'd rather talk to him about making better choices. I told her to go for it but it isn't like no one's talked to him. I did agree with her that learning to deal with bothersome people is a good life skill to have, certainly this boy won't be the first irksome person ds will encounter.

One thing the psychologist we were working with said was that often adhd kids become oppositional (to the point it's clinical which was where ds was heading) as a reaction to constantly being told what they're doing is wrong--generally getting the message that whatever they're doing is not meeting expectations. He cautioned us to pick our battles to avoid this and I'm wondering if this isn't one of those occasions. Not to overlook the bad behavior but to also not blow things out of proportion. It seems like the more we've talked to him about this the worse it gets.

Sometimes he goes through phases where he does something we don't like and it goes away faster if we aren't "on" him all the time about it. Or are the meds are becoming less effective? To me all kids go through phases, but now, with the meds, when this happens I wonder if this is truely a phase that will pass or is this an indication that we need to go back to the dr. for a reevaluation. I don't think his dosage can be increased so this would mean changing meds.

He's only been on meds since August; his current med since November (current dose and timing since Jan.1) so it's difficult for me to determine what's going on. I'd like to give it a week or two to see if things shake out, but wondering if that is reasonable in this case.

Last edited by Ms. Mango; 02-09-10 at 02:21 PM.. Reason: add additional complexity and confusion
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Old 02-09-10, 02:31 PM
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Re: Super annoying child--phase or meds not working?

Meds can sometimes work well and first and not as well later. That is something you'll have to explore with his doctor, but meds are almost never the entire answer in anycase.

ADDitutde magazine just had two articles out about addition Omega III fatty acids to kid's diets. One study showed a 50% improvement in symptoms over 3 months. Another study showed improvement in reading, spelling, and behavior.

I know from personal experience as well as the reading I've done on the research and my own kid's reaction, that when Omega III's are combined with aerobic exercise it helps level out the high's and low's of moods.

Another thing that helps with my child is limiting TV/video games. ADD kids are so likely to daydream and have low impulse control that such things can really hype them up and make my kids more likely to act out.

Good luck -- I know it's a frustrating and on going process.
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Old 02-09-10, 03:18 PM
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Re: Super annoying child--phase or meds not working?

How old is your son?

For sure I am no expert here, and I have no insight on the whole meds thing...but my first reaction is that neither of these kids have the 'tools' to deal with frustration, but they have certainly built skills to 'push buttons'...

Rather than repremand them, I'd first be inclined to do a little trouble shooting with them together. Something lame like a 'safe' word might be a good tool...make them each promise to honor the safe word when the other is getting 'too upset'...and should one not honor that agreement, well the obvious consequence would be a loss of a friend. If someone isn't going to respect your feelings, they aren't really a good friend, right?

Also, are these 2 sitting right next to eachother in class? If so, I'd definately have them moved further apart. Regardless of the reasons, our kids don't need anything that could further 'distract' them from their learning. I am in general not an advocate of seperation...I don't think it helps in the social development process, and the experience could be valuable...but in this case it does seem a bit difficult to work out if the main objective is to irritate.

One other thought is that he's fishing at home for coping skills...is he aggrevating his family to get your reaction as a guide to assist him with his at school dilemma?

Just my initial, unexpert, reaction...hope it helps some.

Good luck!
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Old 02-09-10, 03:39 PM
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Re: Super annoying child--phase or meds not working?

The guidance counselor that said he/she did not want to separate them is not getting it. 1. you have a boy that has a nervous habit of humming/whistleing. 2. you have an adhd boy that cant handle excessive stimulation/noises. The humming boy cant just learn to stop humming. The ADHD boy cant just learn to ignore the humming. They are not mature enough. Separate them and be done with it. Learning these skills is not an age-appropriate skill that they can learn. Especially an ADHD child.
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Old 02-09-10, 04:05 PM
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Re: Super annoying child--phase or meds not working?

MGDAD would it be beyond a 14yo's ability? I agree it's definately beyond a 7yo's. But at what point should we as parents start trying to teach a child that some personalities clash and how to deal with that? Or that some people like to push buttons...that never changes no matter how old you get. Certainly this particular behavior is childish...later in life there will be equally as annoying behaviors but they will just be more 'adult'...when does the ability to manage frustration begin?
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Old 02-09-10, 04:22 PM
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Re: Super annoying child--phase or meds not working?

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Originally Posted by MGDAD View Post
The guidance counselor that said he/she did not want to separate them is not getting it. 1. you have a boy that has a nervous habit of humming/whistleing. 2. you have an adhd boy that cant handle excessive stimulation/noises. The humming boy cant just learn to stop humming. The ADHD boy cant just learn to ignore the humming. They are not mature enough. Separate them and be done with it. Learning these skills is not an age-appropriate skill that they can learn. Especially an ADHD child.
I was thinking the same thing. I'm pretty sure her son is in 1st or 2nd grade.
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Old 02-09-10, 05:17 PM
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Re: Super annoying child--phase or meds not working?

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Originally Posted by *KJ* View Post
MGDAD would it be beyond a 14yo's ability? I agree it's definately beyond a 7yo's. But at what point should we as parents start trying to teach a child that some personalities clash and how to deal with that? Or that some people like to push buttons...that never changes no matter how old you get. Certainly this particular behavior is childish...later in life there will be equally as annoying behaviors but they will just be more 'adult'...when does the ability to manage frustration begin?
Maybe a 14 yo. However, there is no way that it is an age-appropriate skill for 7yo ADHDer. AKA 4 year old NT. I just get annoyed when people want to make everything a "teaching moment."

She also mentioned this "zero tolerance" policy. The child already threw a punch, why force him to stay in a situation that caused that in the first place. Zero tolerance bugs me too. It is more like zero thinking required for the staff.
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Old 02-09-10, 05:23 PM
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Re: Super annoying child--phase or meds not working?

I think it's important to teach that hitting someone is only acceptable in self defense. And only physical attacks may be defended against, not humming.

Everything you describe sounds pretty normal in terms of what I remember from my childhood, my behavior, and the behavior of the kids I saw (and I even went to school in MA for a while).
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Old 02-09-10, 06:18 PM
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Re: Super annoying child--phase or meds not working?

When I was a child most of the boys drew images of tanks, guns, cowboys shooting things, people with swords stuck in them, planes dropping bombs etc. I was what boys did. When did this become a crime?
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Old 02-09-10, 06:26 PM
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Re: Super annoying child--phase or meds not working?

Sounds like the child is hyperfocusing, there is absolutely nothing more irritating than having someone or some noise interfere with a hyperfocus, it can be so jarring that you do get irritable and ragey.

Perhaps a side effect of his meds. Happens to adults.
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Old 02-09-10, 08:58 PM
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Re: Super annoying child--phase or meds not working?

Growing pains and a touch of being irritable. That is what I'm getting out of the OP.

I think kids are great at irritating each other and then eliciting an adult to referee. If you've ever had a brother or sister close to your age, I'm sure you can remember the time when you yelled out in the car "Mom! He's looking at me!" If you're not even in the car... how are you suppose to manage the situation?

I think the 1st grade teacher could offer a set of headphones to muffle irritating sounds and a quiet spot for getting away from others for a short period of time facing a wall (10 min?) while they still work on school stuff. If the other child goes near the quiet spot to taunt the other child.... he should have to deal with some sort of consequence for interferring with another student's learning.

If they cannot stop irritating each other.... their dynamics together doesn't work. They both don't need to be near each. After some time, I'm sure they will both mature and learn to respect one another.


On another note, I noticed whenever my son gets in an irritable annoying mood... I think he's feeling awful inside and wants to share it with everyone he is close to. Usually, sounds are too loud or the light is flashing too much and he's too sensitive to the environment at the time.
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Old 02-09-10, 10:13 PM
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Re: Super annoying child--phase or meds not working?

Thanks everyone.

Ok--here goes in no particular order:

Ds is 6, soon to be 7, and in first grade. And yes, he often acts just like a 4 year old.

He doesn't have serious sensory issues. He can occasionally hyperfocus, but he's mostly just hyper and distractible. According to the aide, the other boy hums, sings, chirps, clicks, beeps, pops, etc. all the time. This has increased dramatically due to his situation at home. The aide says she has a hard time with dealing with it.

I think the aide has tried to work with the two of them because, until the last week or so, they did get along well.

They take turns annoying one another all day long. The other boy makes noises, my son does things like move his magnetic lunch marker to the bottom of the board and then says, "M, I put you LAST". It seems like pretty typical boy stuff and I'm wondering if there was just a little less adult intervention if they'd settle this on their own. Yes, I think they are both attention hogs and this gets them what they really crave.


Their desks aren't together in class. They play often at recess and there are times like morning meeting where the kids sit together on a rug at the front of the class. I don't know who he sits next to then.

Ds didn't throw a punch at the other child but did whack him on the arm with an open hand. Still not good, I know. It's interesting that the two of them were poking at each other with their index fingers and that didn't seem to be an issue. I guess we know where the line in the sand is...

No, I don't think the guidance counselor gets it.

My son likes to get a reaction out of people and sometimes doesn't care how he gets it. At home we ignore this when we can. I've told him I'll give him attention when he engages in acceptable behavior. I've stopped him and asked him if he's trying to get negative attention (which gets a consequence) and that often short circuits the behavior. I've modeled the behavior I'd rather see. I've given him "scripts" of acceptable language. I've asked him how he'd feel if someone was treating him like that. We've talked about making good choices until we're blue in the face. I think we've given him good tools for sorting this out but he continues to struggle to put them to use. Most days I feel it would be less painful to just bang my head against a wall for all the good it's done, but hope one day he'll get it.

KJ's suggestion about a "safe" word and honoring that sounds good, I'm not sure either child is capable of doing that. Their immaturity is breathtaking--both of them.

The report I got today is that they played together nicely today but ds moved the other boy's lunch marker to the bottom of the board again.

Like I, and others, have said a lot of this is typical boy behavior. It seems like being a boy has become the crime.
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