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  #1  
Old 10-08-09, 11:58 AM
romeosidvicious romeosidvicious is offline
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Advice for dealing with 7 y/o son with ADHD

A quick but of background so you will understand where we are a family unit.

Daddy (me) - 37 - Diagnosed with ADHD at 36 and on Vyvanse ever since with stellar results
Mom - 28 - Diagnosed with ADHD one week ago and on Vyvanse but too soon to tell the effects
DD1 - 11 - Diagnosed with ADHD about three months ago and doing amazingly well on Vyvanse - My biological child from my first marriage and I have sole custody.
DS1 - 10 - Not diagnosed with ADHD but reading here makes me wonder if he should be tested for inattentive type. - My biological child from my first marriage and I have sole custody.
DS2 - 7 - Diagnosed with ADHD one week ago and on Focalin with some noticiable effects. - He and the rest of the children are the biological children of my wife and me.
DS3 - 6 - Not diagnosed with ADHD with nothing that makes me think he might be in the future.
DD2 - 4 - Not diagnosed with ADHD and while I think she shows some signs that might point to it I think she is too young to tell.
DD3 - 2 - Not diagnosed with ADHD and a very typical two year old.
DS4 - 14 months - Obviously way too young to tell anything.

We homeschool all of the school age children, are actively social with a large group of friends, attend church on a regular basis, and the oldest two have contact with their maternal great-grandmother frequently but their bio-mom is another state and rarely has a special needs child (very fast acting infantile dystrophy) and a mom going through chemo causing her not to have the resources, time or money, to see them on any sort of regular basis.

(I posted all of that so there is a little background for the advice I'd like to ask for.)

DS2 is seven and a half and fits the symptoms of ADHD almost perfectly. He is impulzive, strong willed, out of his skull energetic, can't sit still for long, argumentative when he gets his mind set on something, and sometimes downright mean when he acts out. I had no doubts what the diagnoses from our Neurologist would be and I was right. He is on Focalin and has been for six days. The first three days were really amazing and he didn't get in any trouble at all until evening and I could tell it was the meds wearing off. He was not a zombie but rather a boy who could pay attention and express his thoughts well. The fourth day he started getting in trouble again. Calling mommy names when she told him to do something he didn't want to do and falling back into old habits. Now my wife handled this well and flat out ignored his fits. Both times (once yesterday and once the day before) he slowed his fit and ended up doing what he had been told although with varying degrees of deference.

What I want advice on is how to help him change his habits. Since mom is ADHD as well she is working on changing her habits but when he slips back into his it is hard for her not to slip back into hers. To her credit she hasn't yelled back at him when threw the fits but it's a struggle because they both have learned behaviors to break. How can I engage a seven year old in such a manner that he wants to be helped? The biggest issue with him is that he has well above average intelligence and once he makes up his mind he thinks he knows better than anyone else. It's different from when the rest of the kids don't want to do something because they do it eventually. But he will flat out refuse and there is no swaying him from his path until he changes his mind.

I do know that some of his acting out is to get attention from me and mom and so we are adressing that but you can imagine that we need to be fairly strict in our home with as many urchins as we have running about. His behavior disrupts the family dynamic, much as I suspect it would disrupt a classroom, in a way that affects all of the kids. I know that because we have multiple kids and two parents diagnosed with ADHD that we will have to overcome a lot but I am at a loss as to where to start with my boy. On his meds he does focus better and does respond better to most things. But how do I help a seven year old break bad habits like stealing sweets whenever he wants without regard to the rules (they are not out in plain sight and usually behind a locked door where he has to climb over a 4 foot counter and up shelves to get them), throwing name-calling fits when told to do something different than he thinks he should do, lying - even about things he wouldn't get in any trouble for in the first place?

One of the things we are doing is stopping criticism and replace it with true praise when things are done right. I don't mean letting any of the children feel like they can do anything but rather doling out any discipline quickly and with a conversation about their actions and advice on changing their behavior and coupling that with recognition when they done something right that lasts for more than a minute or two. I know that modifying behavior this way will work but it won't be an overnight thing.

I am probably rambling at this point. Thanks for getting all the way through this and I appreciate any advice anyone can offer.
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Old 10-08-09, 12:14 PM
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Re: Advice for dealing with 7 y/o son with ADHD

Set firm limits, enforce immediate consequences.

Basically, you need to, every time, tell him what you expect, what his options are, and what the consequences for those actions will be. "You can put away the dishes, or you can stand in the corner for 15 minutes." Things like this. You have to enforce the consequences every time though. If you decide he's going to stand in the corner for 15 minutes, you make him stand in that corner and you don't let him out for 15 minutes.

Avoid criticizing him, but don't let him get away with bad behavior. Praising good behavior is a great way to get him to do things you want him to do, but a pretty poor way of stopping him from doing things you do want him to do. After all, how can you reward him for not stealing? Give him a reward every day he doesn't steal? That's a good start, but unless your rewards are better than what he wants to steal, good luck. Punish him when he does something wrong. Don't just punish him, though. Make sure you do encourage him. "You were good at school today? Good job! I'm proud of you. Let's do __________ together."

The other thing is you're going to have to treat all of the children the same way. You can't have special behavioral interventions for him and him alone, they need to be whole house rules. Maybe print them up and post them places where everyone knows what they are. Set limits with them, and define the consequences. "If you don't complete your chores by bedtime, then _______________."

I'm rambling worse than you are. Hope this helped somewhat. I'm not a parent, but these are tactics we're trained to use at the residential treatment center where I work.
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Old 10-08-09, 12:57 PM
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Re: Advice for dealing with 7 y/o son with ADHD

I strongly reinforce what KMiller said.

One very good technique is to make it the child's choice. As in the example KMiller game, state it as you can do the dishes or stand in the corner. It is your choice. The point here is that it is not you who decides what will happen, it is the kid. Your job is to set the rules and to enforce the consequences. Let the kid take the responsibility for being in the corner, not you. It is his choice to be in the corner not yours.

Another possibility, trade two or more jobs for one. If the kid doesn't want to do the dishes then he can trade with one of his siblings for two of theirs and the sib can do the dishes. Most times the sibling is thrilled to have their brother do two of their jobs. This has really worked well, it might be worth a try.

A few tips in no particular order:

It is the speed of the consequence that works, not the severity.

If you get upset, he wins. If you don't you win. It is really that simple.

Those that talk lose, those that act win.

Act, don't yak.

Before you put on a consequence consider if you can and will enforce it. Sometimes you can't or won't due to circumstances. Sometimes you are just too exhausted. So either ratchet it down to where you can and will or let it go for now. These behaviors will still be there tomorrow, trust me.

Put it back on the child. Make the him responsible for the consequences of his behavior decisions, not you.

Also you might get some use from using Acknowledgments. They can be very helpful in changing behavior. You can find a short article at
http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=60130

Good luck.

Dizfriz
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Old 10-08-09, 03:02 PM
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Re: Advice for dealing with 7 y/o son with ADHD

Thanks both of you. I see where we need to make some changes. I spend a good deal of time explaining the why's and how's of getting in trouble and from what you are saying I should cut that out and make it his choice and not a "punishment" after the fact. I think we can work that in easily. We do make the same rules for all of the kids so that no-one seems singled out or appears to get special treatment.

The part about enforcement is another point I think is key. I am guilty of forgetting to enforce or making statements in heat of battle that I later regret. I think a list of transgressions, so to speak, and their respective consequences might break me of that habit. I appreciate both of you taking time to respond. I have stuff to ponder for sure.

Dizfriz: I have more than one of your pieces up to read through as I work today. I am using them to keep from having what I call "forest for the trees" moments. A lot of good stuff in there.
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Old 10-08-09, 04:06 PM
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Re: Advice for dealing with 7 y/o son with ADHD

romeosidvicious

Thanks, I hope the essays help. That is why I wrote them.

Another tool that has worked well for parents.

The Job List

A three column job list. Some use a two column list. It is whatever you decide. You can also have different lists for different ages.

The first column (easy) is for relatively minor transgressions. These are jobs the kid can do in about 10-15 minutes if they apply themselves. You left the refrigerator door open, pick a job from list one.

The second (harder) is for more major transgressions. These can take from a half hour to an hour.

The really you did it big list for major infractions of the rules (hard). These jobs take about a half a day. This is for the transgressions that are fairly major.

All of these jobs should be ones that are not assigned to anyone else and help the family. You let the kid choose the job. That way he cannot complain as that was his choice. If he does not decide then tell him that you will decide and you will pick the job you want done the most.

If he later decides he does not like the job then let him trade either two jobs on the easy list or trade for one on the harder list. That is his choice.

How to enforce. Give him a reasonable time to do the job then if he does not, he chooses to have no privileges until the job is done. That again is his choice. He can take as long as he wants but he will not play games, not go outside except to do his job (if an outside job), will not watch TV and will not play with toys until the job is done.

It is all his choice.

You need to have a number of tools in your toolbox and this is just one, use it as you will. You also have to keep them changing as overusing one will cause it to loose effectiveness.

Dizfriz
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Old 11-14-09, 12:32 AM
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Re: Advice for dealing with 7 y/o son with ADHD

I too have a 7 y/o that was just dignosed with ADD/ADHD....I've known since he was kinderguarden...from what I read on this thread..
GIVE HIM CHOICES WHEN TANTRUMS OCCUR
ENFORCE MY RULES
He does have house duties to do...and I do keep to a schedule so nothing is new to him...he isn't good about change....
The back talking and huffyness are the tools I'm lacking...this has only started recently and it floors me when he does those things...I could always ask him to pick his crayons up (or something little like that) and when he told me NO the first time, you could have blown me over with a feather...Is all this typical or is it just a disipline problem??

Any help is graciously appreicated
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Old 11-14-09, 11:33 AM
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Re: Advice for dealing with 7 y/o son with ADHD

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Originally Posted by 7yrsapart View Post
The back talking and huffyness are the tools I'm lacking...this has only started recently and it floors me when he does those things...I could always ask him to pick his crayons up (or something little like that) and when he told me NO the first time, you could have blown me over with a feather...Is all this typical or is it just a disipline problem??

Any help is graciously appreicated

It is very likely that he is just testing you to see what you will do. This is how kids think. It is not what you say that counts but what you will consistently do. They test, test, test then make up rules about it. They will come back at intervals and test some more to make sure you still mean it. This is very normal with children and usually is nothing to get upset about. It is your job to past the test however. As an example of one way that works well is to tell him that he can decide to put the crayons up or he can decide that you will put them up and then they will be up for three days: his choice. Put the responsibility back on him where it belongs. If he does not like the crayons being put up simply inform him that it was his decision and that today is Saturday, he can get them back Tuesday.

Good luck. All kids are a challenge to raise, ADHD kids even more so. They really, really worth the effort especially in the long run. I know, I raised one.

Dizfriz
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Old 11-16-09, 02:09 PM
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Re: Advice for dealing with 7 y/o son with ADHD

Thank you Dizfriz...that helps me alot!
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Old 11-17-09, 10:02 AM
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Re: Advice for dealing with 7 y/o son with ADHD

Quote:
Originally Posted by KMiller View Post
Set firm limits, enforce immediate consequences.

Basically, you need to, every time, tell him what you expect, what his options are, and what the consequences for those actions will be. "You can put away the dishes, or you can stand in the corner for 15 minutes." Things like this. You have to enforce the consequences every time though. If you decide he's going to stand in the corner for 15 minutes, you make him stand in that corner and you don't let him out for 15 minutes.

Avoid criticizing him, but don't let him get away with bad behavior. Praising good behavior is a great way to get him to do things you want him to do, but a pretty poor way of stopping him from doing things you do want him to do. After all, how can you reward him for not stealing? Give him a reward every day he doesn't steal? That's a good start, but unless your rewards are better than what he wants to steal, good luck. Punish him when he does something wrong. Don't just punish him, though. Make sure you do encourage him. "You were good at school today? Good job! I'm proud of you. Let's do __________ together."

The other thing is you're going to have to treat all of the children the same way. You can't have special behavioral interventions for him and him alone, they need to be whole house rules. Maybe print them up and post them places where everyone knows what they are. Set limits with them, and define the consequences. "If you don't complete your chores by bedtime, then _______________."

I'm rambling worse than you are. Hope this helped somewhat. I'm not a parent, but these are tactics we're trained to use at the residential treatment center where I work.
and if he point blank refuses to stand in the corner? even if you try and put him there physically, and if you try and hold him there he becomes violent and weepy, but still wont do it!
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Old 11-17-09, 10:55 AM
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Re: Advice for dealing with 7 y/o son with ADHD

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and if he point blank refuses to stand in the corner? even if you try and put him there physically, and if you try and hold him there he becomes violent and weepy, but still wont do it!
Great question. There are no single answers but instead a series of ways to help the child learn that he has to do his corner time.

What is happening is that the kid is testing to see what you will do and is trying to put the responsibility on you. The child will try to change the focus from what he did to you making him be in the corner. He then sees the struggle in terms of your being "mean" not on what he did.

You have to put it back on the kid. Holding him in the corner might work for some but once you begin to get upset, the kid has won. He has gained control of the battle. Fall not into that trap.

There are a number of ways of handling but here is one way that has had good success. Tell the child that you are not going to try and make him stand in the corner. There will, however, be no privileges until he does his corner time. No TV, games, or going outside to play. He can play quietly in his room (no sense at this time into trying deal with this when it may be difficult to monitor and enforce-pick your battles and make them few).

The idea is that nothing will get him out of that corner time. If the child complains, simply tell him that it is his decision not to have his privileges. All he has to do is to do his corner time to get them back. It is his choice, he can do without privileges for as long as he wishes.

The first time or two might turn into a bit of a struggle but after a bit, he will begin to comply as it is much easier to do so. If he cannot get the parent upset then the parent is in control and he gets no sense of winning.

If you get upset, he wins. If you don't, you win. It is pretty much that simple

This should not be presented as punishment but as a way for him to learn. Keep in mind that punishment involves the concept of retribution and retaliation, discipline involves teaching and learning. It is the attitude that is important.

This is but one way of dealing with this situation. I have had a lot of luck with this approach so it may be something worth while to consider.

Dizfriz
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Old 11-18-09, 02:18 AM
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Re: Advice for dealing with 7 y/o son with ADHD

Wow Thanx Dizfriz, I sure am happy that I found this cool forum.
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Old 11-18-09, 12:42 PM
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Re: Advice for dealing with 7 y/o son with ADHD

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Old 11-18-09, 02:18 PM
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Re: Advice for dealing with 7 y/o son with ADHD

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and if he point blank refuses to stand in the corner? even if you try and put him there physically, and if you try and hold him there he becomes violent and weepy, but still wont do it!
We stand them in the corner and stand behind them. Once you've told them it's corner time, it absolutely has to be corner time or you've blown it. If they say "no," remind them that it's not their decision at this point. Then if they continue to say "no" pick 'em up and put 'em in the corner. If they become violent, do what you need to do to keep you both safe, but don't let them "win" with violence or you're going to reinforce some really bad habits.

Do not get angry, do not do this violently, do not show that you're upset, but do not let them get out of standing in that corner.
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Old 11-18-09, 03:50 PM
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Re: Advice for dealing with 7 y/o son with ADHD

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Originally Posted by KMiller View Post
We stand them in the corner and stand behind them. Once you've told them it's corner time, it absolutely has to be corner time or you've blown it. If they say "no," remind them that it's not their decision at this point. Then if they continue to say "no" pick 'em up and put 'em in the corner. If they become violent, do what you need to do to keep you both safe, but don't let them "win" with violence or you're going to reinforce some really bad habits.

Do not get angry, do not do this violently, do not show that you're upset, but do not let them get out of standing in that corner.
Kimbo

This method from Kmiller also is also very good and works well. Note two things....one is not showing you are upset and second and very important...nothing gets them out of their time in the corner or whatever you have as time out-nothing.

As I said, there are a lot of ways. I developed the one I posted for foster care families who were not allowed to stand behind them or hold them except when they were a danger as that would be restraint. Don't ask me to justify this but that often was the rule. I have others but I thought this one might be different enough to be interesting.

You need a lot of tools in your tool belt. Nothing works all the time but the basic principles must be enforced.; Again: it must be done calmly and nothing gets them out of the time out.

Here are a few tips that may be of help here. These are not any any order.

It is the speed of the consequence that works, not the severity.

If you get upset, he wins. If you don't you win. It is really that simple.

Those that talk lose, those that act win.

Act, don't yak.

*Never* put on a consequence that you are not willing and able to enforce. Before you put on a consequence consider can and will you enforce it. Sometimes you can't or won't due to circumstances. Sometimes you simply do not feel like it. That is ok. You either ratchet it down to where you can and will enforce it or let it go for now. These behaviors will still be there tomorrow, trust me.

Put it back on the child. Make the child responsible for the consequences of their behavior decisions, not you.

Really, the key is to be calm and loving and firm. Gentle no tolerance if you would.

And especially important: "Pick your battles and make them few".

Hope these are of some help.

Dizfriz
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Old 11-20-09, 09:33 AM
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Re: Advice for dealing with 7 y/o son with ADHD

oh my goodness...this is wonderful ideas...thanks to you all for your posts...It gives me much hope!!
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