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When it’s More Than Just ADHD: Strategies That Help Us

If you’ve been following along for a little while you’d know Jayden, our 4th born who is turning 10 this year was diagnosed with ADHD. He’s a wonderful child who is managing his ADHD but now another problem has started to get worse and we are trying to work our way through it; anger.

Jayden loves animals. He loves researching them, talking about them and quizzing people on animals. Video games are another thing he just recently got into and loves. What he doesn’t love is people invading his space, calling him names or picking on him. Sounds about right though, doesn’t it? Who wants people in their personal space? or calling them names and being picked on? No one, but it seems that kids these days didn’t get that memo and it’s a constant struggle. Jayden could be sitting by himself, minding his own business and others know what he goes through and struggles with so they pry on that. His new school is extremely amazing when it comes to tackling issues in the school setting. They nip things in the bud rather quickly, but that doesn’t mean at times kids don’t say things that can upset Jayden.

He’s very sensitive and caring. He doesn’t hold grudges or hold ill feelings towards anyone for any reason. He’s very loyal and very forgiving. But the anger he displays when he’s set off is a little more than any of us expected.

We are working closely with his doctor to find a solution. I’ve developed a plan for Jayden while he’s at home (in addition to his plans for school) and he finds himself in disagreements with siblings or even his dad and I. We are in the process of figuring out a solution for at school, but for the most part Jayden will just shut down at school when he’s at his limit, and although that isn’t ideal, it’s better than the alternative. We are still working on this, day by day and I find what has been working I thought I’d share in case others are going through the same things we are and are little for some new steps to possibly help with anger management in addition to ADHD meds and strategies that we are all already trying.

Strategies That Help Us

Discussions:  Jayden and I have been having multiple discussions about his feelings, his thoughts, and his behaviors. He knows how he is to behave, and act but sometimes he feels like he can’t voice what is wrong, and often he isn’t exactly sure what even is wrong. So we’ve come up with some solutions to help with that.

  1. Walk away: If he is feeling angry and thinks he may scream, swear or get upset beyond his control he is to walk away, calm down, think about why he’s getting SO angry, and come back to the situation with a clear head.
  2. Write it down: If he feels like he can’t express how he is feeling verbally, he can write down his feelings and thoughts and give them to mom or dad, or even his teacher if he is at school and feels like he may be getting to the point he will freak out.
  3. Go for a walk: At home or school, we’ve encouraged him to go for a walk if he is feeling too overwhelmed or angry. Collect his thoughts, come back to the situation or come back and change the situation completely.
  4. Change the dynamics: If he is getting upset or angry, and thinks the conversation or environment he is in is going to set him off change it. Tell whoever he is with to talk about something else, play something else or do something else.
  5. Tell: This is a big one for Jayden. He struggles at school with telling when something wrong is going on. If someone or something is bothering him he will keep it in until it gets too much then he breaks, but we’ve been encouraging him on a daily basis to tell. Tells us, or his teacher who he has an amazing relationship with and trusts.
  6. Regroup: Go read a book, watch a show, play a game, or doodle. Take his mind off of whatever is bothering home and regroup, then we can deal with it head-on.

Rewards: As I mentioned Jayden loves his video games. He loves the PS4 and he loves my gaming computer to play his games with his friends. We’ve decided instead of letting him, or any of our kids just have free play, they have to earn it. Jayden will also get special rewards such as VBucks in his favorite game, or Robux in his other, and this helps him have something to look forward to and a reason to go back to our discussions and use the strategies we’ve been discussing to get ahead, and not allow his anger or situations to get the best of him.

Mental Health Days: If Jayden hasn’t slept well and has to go to school the next day, we will often give him a mental health day. We won’t even wake him up and let him sleep until he wakes up. Sometimes we don’t catch that he hasn’t gotten enough sleep the prior night and wake up, to which we have a really bad morning and send him back to bed – these days are few and far between, but they’ve happened and we find giving him mental health days to just sleep, lounge around, and take a breathe really helps.

Jayden is such a sweet soul. He responds so much better to comforting and a little coddling, which I don’t mind doing because it’s clear his needs are a little different than everyone else, and it helps him to open up and really listen to himself as well as me, and that makes every single situation defuse if it’s a bad one, and be better if its a great one.

Sometimes kids with ADHD have anger issues, and it can be harder for them to process, express and deal with than others and sometimes it’s a little harder to manage for us parents. Putting discussions into play and strategies into place help make the whole process of dealing with and living with ADHD a little easier for everyone involved.

Things at school for Jayden has been great, but lately, it’s been getting to be a bit much for him – he’s realized this and has been opening up to me a lot more, and I’ve been doing a little extra comforting and coddling, and that’s okay. It’s needed, and there’s nothing wrong with that. As parents, it’s our job to do this for our children, and make sure we advocate for them and their needs. It’s hard, but rewarding when they can open up to you and allow you into their world for a little bit and figure things out together.

ADHD is hard, but adding anger and what I believe to be a little bit of anger overload disorder to the mix is harder, but doesn’t have to be the end of the world.