Questions on ADHD habits

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-04-2003
Questions on ADHD habits
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 4:22pm
HI, I am new here, I just came across this board today and I have a feeling that it is going to be a God send to me and my husband.

My 6 year old son was diagnosed with ADHD about 4 months ago and we started Aderral 3 months ago. I had never heard of ODD until reading some of the posts on here and had no idea that it is common in children with ADHD.

He is in Kindergarden and has about 15 min of homework every night, however it takes us about 30-45 min of nonstop arguing to get through it. I can handle the ADHD, and the effects of it with the hyperness and lack of attention span. It is the non stop arguing that is making me insane. He does not know how to read yet, according to his school he is behind in this, and when we are doing homework he argues that what I tell him to do is wrong, or that what I have read is not right. He argues about it being to muddy to play at the park after it has just rained. The list goes on and on, he has to have the last word on everything.

He is also very emotional, and worries alot, especially at bed time. He says that his brain wont let him sleep, it does not seem to be so much worring, but just thinking about EVERYTHING. He also gets upset very easy, if he wants to do something and I say no not only does he argue but he turns to tears and gets very angry. If he is playing with something,(ex:legos, playstation) he gets so mad if hsi tower falls or he cant get something to fit right that he sometimes screams, or if his little brother is any where around he yells at him for it. It is making me crazy and I dont know what to do.

He also has a habit that I wonder if anyone else has had to deal with. He picks at he fingernails and toenails and at the skin around them. He will pich them untill they bleed and they have become infected a couple times. Is this part of ODD or ADHD, has any one else seen this iin thier kids.

Sory this is so long. Thanks for having such a great board! Reading others posts lets us know that we are not alone:)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 7:04pm
My son is just the same. He worries non stop, argues continuously, and refuses to be wrong. He meltsdown into tears over a simple look from me if he's misbehaving or if he's being punished. He breaks his own toys.

He also talks non stop. He will continuously ask questions in succession all about the same topic, do I have a blue lego I have a red lego block...they stick together right?...I have an orange lego block, I have a lego shaped like a little boy...this can continue for relentless hours.

He worries about everything, even things that have nothing to do with him...example conversation in the car on the way to our appt today. Mummy you left the stove on. No I didn't. Yes you did, it was in the oven and suppers going to burn and the smoke detector will go off and firemen will come and the dog and cat will get sick from the smoke, did you turn off the coffee maker, is the sink full of dishes, the tap drips, should we go home and check, what were you cooking, is it on the stove or in the oven, is it in the orange pot, I saw it on the stove, you didn't turn it off, Mummy it will make smoke.

All this over me cooking earlier in the day, finishing a casserole and putting it on top of the stove TURNED OFF to have later.

My little guy is only 4.5, and why he worries about some things I have no clue. I don't even worry about that kind of stuff out loud. He used to bite his fingernails and pick at his toes, but he's stopped that since he started the slow release ritalin.

No advice here, just letting you know your not alone



iVillage Member
Registered: 04-04-2003
Sat, 04-05-2003 - 10:25am
thanks so much for your post. It helps just knowing that I am not alone. My husband and I have no one to really talk to about this because he has very little family and my parents ar convienced that our son is just acting like a normal boy. He is not as difficult when he is with them so they do not see the same daily struggles that we encounter.

The adderal has seemed to help he is on 10mg. It worked great at first, now things seem to be getting back to where we started. My mom said I just need to be tougher on him, but he is disciplined when ever he does something he is not supposed to do. yelling at him or spanking his bottom only infuriates him more. I swear there have been times that I have lost it and yelled at him and I think he was going to laugh! For him sending him to bed early or taking away a special toy seems to work the best.

He is not aggressive unless someone hits him first or that type of thing. He is just so emotional, he gets mad cries and getts his feelings hurt so easy. He craves adoration and loves to please however when he is arguing with you and you try to calml rationalize with him its like he tunes you out, he is looking at you, but he is not hearing a single thing that I am saying.

Thanks for letting me know there are others out there going through this too.


Avatar for keke0116
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 04-05-2003 - 3:31pm
Wow, sounds a lot like my DS, Kevin (now 11.) Here's a link to my site which is all about ODD: I would also suggest that you pop over to the ODD Board here on Parentsoup as most of us there have kids with multiple diagnosis, and it may be of help to you as well as this board.

I used to think that Kevin had anxiety issues because he would bite his nails 'til they bled, or always have to be doing something (tapping a pencil, chewing on his shirt collar, etc.) He was diagnosed with ODD alone at age 5, with a note that ODD doesn't usually travel alone and we can expect more down the road. Also, there was a tendency toward OCD (but we sort of diverted that one.) But, when he was 8-9, we brought him for counseling and all felt that these 'habits' were anxiety-issues ... and even tried treating him with Zoloft and Celexa, without success. When he was diagnosed with ADHD, I think I came to understand that this was either part of the impulsivity (which is Kevin's 'issue' with ADHD, more than attention) as well as a way to keep himself calm and focused. See, ODD kids will go to great lengths to NOT let the rest of the world see the turmoil they live in ... which is why many ODD kids can behave perfectly in many settings (school, for instance) but explode at home. They 'let loose' where they feel safest and secure, which generally is the home. With Kevin, I tried to divert some of that ... he put a rubber band on his wrist at one point and would play with that instead of biting his nails (it let him still 'play' with something without doing any harm to his body.)

As for the homework ... as with everything else with ODD kids, you need to change the tone from punishment to positive reinforcement. He is at a perfect age to start a behavior chart. Excuse the 'cut and paste' but I repeat this a lot. (Need to add to my site as soon as I have access to a scanner.)

CHART INFO: Positive reinforcement is really key ... Behavior charts work well. I use poker chips (even with my non-ODD kid!) I'll have a chart listing 8-10 behaviors I want to see improved or stopped (like getting dressed in the a.m., brushing teeth, no fresh talk, no hitting, whatever you need to work on ... if they're younger, do pictures as well as words, and do this on the computer so you can update and modify as needed.) At the end of the day, review the chart and give a poker chip for each thing they did right. (No consequence for the ones missed, although it's a good opportunity to talk about it.) Then, there's a 2nd menu with things the chips can buy. (3 chips = 1/2 hour TV or computer, 5 chips = Burger King, 15 chips = fishing with dad ... again, modify to meet the needs of your child.) There needs to be enough lower ticket items so they are earning rewards from the start ... but some bigger ones they need to work toward. The more positive feedback they receive, the more they'll produce! (With ODD kids, like 90-95% of all interactions are negative which really makes the whole mood in the home difficult. Changing that to positive really affects everyone!) What's nice about this method is that it isn't time consuming ... really reviewing it once a day ... which is important especially when there are other children to deal with!

Anyway, I hope I've helped somewhat. Like I said, check out the ODD Board as well. There is always lots of support and good advice over there as well. (We have a Chat the 1st/3rd Monday of each month, 9:00 p.m., Growing Kids Room here on Parentsoup. Our next one is coming up on 4/7. Maybe we'll see you there.)



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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 04-07-2003 - 2:03pm
Hi, I am a single mother of an 8 year old child with ADHD. He was diagnosed in the 1st grade with the disorder. I encourage you to ask your school to test your son for learning disabilities. I realize he is in Kindergarten and the school may refuse to test this early. Reading and writting are two areas that children with ADHD have the most complications with. My son currently takes 20mg of ritalin a day, has behavior modification with a therapist twice a month, and attends RSP 30 minutes a day (special Education) for reading and writting difficulties. My son use to be EXTREMELY out of control. The school called me EVERY day to come get him. He was so defiant. Once I started the Ritalin, and the special ed classes things started to turn around. Now he is in 2nd grade and he has down a complete 180 degree turn around. However, homework is a challenge. I have modifed his work (upon agreement with his teacher asnd the IEP team) and then once his confidence was regained I gradually worked him into completing ALL of his homework. Now, 20 minutes of home work can take 2 hours but with rewards, and breaks in between he finally completes it. Please keep posting this board will be your best resource.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-06-2000
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 2:44pm
Actually children with ODD and ADHD sometimes also have the component of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and my son does the same thing (he recently had to have both his toenails operated on because they became so ingrown and infected). Even after that I still find him picking at them.

Perhaps your son also had OCD. Hang in there-we're here to listen and offer support. My son is now 17 (diagnosed at 10)and this board is a God send.


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 3:46pm

Was your son always this volital or has it gotton worse? If it has gotton worse, then the medicine is not good. After two years of wonderfull results with Concerta we tried ADDERAL and the end result was an angry, overemotional disaster of a child. It took a while for these reactions to build up, before I realized it was the medicine creating it. Two days after he come off the meds, he calmed down to his normal hyper activity and he emotionally settled down. You must remember that not all the medicines will work and not all the medicines will react well within your child. We tried Straterra and it did and didn't work all at the same time. We are using Focalin and it is a configured Ritalin and it works GREAT but only lasts 4 hours. Our son's biggest reaction to Ritalin is a vocal or facial or sometimes both TIC and it is so hard to live with.

ODD and OCD (Obsessive Compulisive Disorder) can c0-exist with ADHD and also can look like ADD and be misdiagnosed.

Homework is a fight still at the age of 8, but here is a tip for you. And this is straight from my son's mouth as I type. Reward your son for doing his homework quickly and without fighting, by letting him watch his favorite movie or letting him do a special activity when he is done. He can do something he wants to do only if he gets his work done. I do my work very fast, because I want to do what I want to do. He should do his homework when he gets home, so that his playtime isn't interrupted later. I never want to stop doing stuff to go do my homework, so I do it right away. I do my homework in the bathroom because it is peace and quiet and there are no distractions in there like toys and my dog and my brother.

Kirataffy and Todd

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 4:02pm

My boy also talks constantly. Of course, so do I. They talk outloud because they haven't developed enough selfcontrol to think in their heads. It will come with age. BUT they can be quiet. Play a game. Try the quiet game we do. "If you can be quiet for ----- minutes, you will win------" Start with a very small amount of time and work your way up. My 8 year old can go about 20 minutes without a word for just about any prize. My 4 year old is just starting to learn the game. Both of my boys talk and talk and talk and so does my husband. We sing alot too.

Your son sounds like he has OCD as well. Obessisive Compulsive Disorder and that needs to be addressed NOW with a counselor because his worrying is real and will rule his life.

Love him.