This article is for entertainment purposes only. Author is not responsible for diagnosis or therapy misadventures, but hopes that information might be somewhat helpful. For proven advice, go to

ADHD can precipitate the whole family in a constant state of chaos.

ADHD can precipitate the whole family in a constant state of chaos.

The first part of this article described the hyperactive symptoms of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). You may remember, my friend Trish had quite a number of “wiggly” things to say about her son, a third-grader with trouble in school.

Barb’s ten-year-old girl is just as unstoppable. Now add to that ceaseless action her explosive tantrums, uncontrollable argumentation, and defiance against any kind of parental authority. Below I am noting a couple of behaviors that Barb observed.

Rigid, obsessive, or defiant signs of ADHD may show when your child

  • child_poutanswers when asked why he/she didn’t do the homework or the daily chores or the piano practice, “because I didn’t want to”
  • denies wrongdoing even when caught red-handed (may stand there with shards in hand or chocolate around the mouth and howl she didn’t do it)
  • creates havoc on play dates because she hurts other kids’ feelings by disregarding rules, bossing them around and telling them the “ugly truth”
  • throws a screaming tantrum if mom does not allow his/her favorite outfit or some other little thing goes wrong
  • does not seem to learn what rules are or why mom justifiably takes away privileges for rule breaking (actions and consequences)
  • throws a bloody rage when in time out and acts later as if nothing had happened, only to repeat this screaming tantrum on the next occasion
  • argues and whines to Armageddon on 5 more minutes of TV and other useless stuff or challenges any request with “see if you can make me”
  • repeats annoying BUT statements ad infinitum (“but not today,” “but not now,” “but my friends have Kindles”)
  • may show destructive tendencies such as tearing every corner from the homework papers or scribbling all over assignments
  • resists beneficial advice such as holding the pencil correctly or keeping toys in the bin or doing homework first thing after school
  • fixates on repetitive, rigid behaviors (sharpening or re-sharpening pencils, taking appliances apart, playing with water faucets, or reminding mom of school events)
  • creates strict rituals of how things must be done in the right order (will only start with homework after pencils are laid out correctly)
  • resists fiercely to being weaned from the snuggle blanket or thumb sucking up until a fairly old age
  • sneaks siblings’ treasures without asking or showing remorse about breaking them—except for feeling sorry for being caught
  • turns his/her room into a rats den, not just regular disorder, but shreds candy wrappers, scribbles on walls, sticks chewing gum on sweaters, pokes holes in drywall, paints the carpet and other such things
  • invents new bonus or booboo charts for mom because she/he got bored with the old brownie point system and wants better rewards
  • doesn’t know limits, like when it is enough chips and soda, when the welcome is outlasted, or the joke has gone too far
  • shows usually little interest in pleasing parents with good performance or getting along with siblings—only for a practical reward
  • calls the shots and turns the house into a monkey cage for the only reason that when there is chaos, she/he feels in control of the situation and gets full attention (“see what I can do” or, worse, “see what you made me do now”)
  • makes the whole family tip-toe around them, as not to set off a “howler”
  • makes mom think that her voice is perceived only as an aggravating interference like the teacher’s quacking sounds in Charlie Brown movies
  • makes parents realize that their normal, customary, and otherwise proven parenting tricks have failed.

And so the list continues. In the meantime, the parents’ emotional energy scrapes the bottom of the barrel amidst disbelief of such an uncontrollable situation. You are not alone! And, although this mayhem may look like a mega conspiracy, your child is probably not (always) misbehaving on purpose. Chin up, parents! You have NOT failed. There is hope. In the next installment, read how you can normalize family life amidst the havoc of ADHD.

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