I have three-year-old identical twin girls, and as a mother with ADHD myself, I have become increasingly concerned about their behavior. After my own diagnosis, I started noticing signs in my daughters that led me to suspect they might have ADHD as well. I brought up this concern with my therapist, but she dismissed it, leaving me feeling uncertain and worried. However, over the past few months, my twin B’s anger has reached a whole new level. She goes from zero to sixty in a matter of seconds, exhibiting intense emotions and frequent outbursts of anger.
Feeling frustrated and seeking answers, I decided to do some research on my own. My therapist recommended some resources by Dr. Russell Barkley, a renowned expert on ADHD. I watched one of his lectures online, specifically aimed at parents with children who have ADHD, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Dr. Barkley discussed how children with ADHD often struggle with anger management, and by the time they reach second grade, their anger issues can negatively impact their ability to make and maintain friendships. This realization shook me to my core, as I desperately want to prevent my daughter from experiencing the same difficulties I faced.
Motivated by my determination to help her, I have been trying various strategies to manage her anger. I’ve implemented a “calm down corner” where she can retreat to when she needs a moment to calm herself. Additionally, I teach her calming exercises and the importance of taking space when she feels overwhelmed. Remarkably, when she is mildly upset, she can remember and utilize these techniques effectively. I always provide her with alternative activities and validate her emotions by saying, “It’s okay to be mad, but you can’t take it out on me or your sister. Would you like to color, shake it out, throw some ice, take a walk, or dance?” These options often work well when she is not in the midst of a full-blown rage.
However, there are times when her anger escalates rapidly, and we find ourselves waiting out the storm until she can calm down enough for us to talk to her. Previously, she did not exhibit physically aggressive behavior, but recently, she has started hitting, stabbing, biting, and yanking hair during her rages. Witnessing her harm herself and others is heartbreaking, and it puts her sister, Twin A, at risk as well. Managing these situations has become increasingly challenging, and I feel desperate for guidance.
In my quest to find a solution, I recently learned about the existence of behavioral specialists who specialize in working with children exhibiting challenging behaviors. I wonder if it might be beneficial for my daughter to see one. However, given her young age, I am unsure if she is too young to receive such specialized support. I contemplate reaching out to her pediatrician for advice and recommendations in finding a behavioral specialist who can assist us in navigating her anger issues.
From an early age, my daughter has always had a spirited personality, and I have embraced her “spiciness” as part of her unique character. However, her anger has now grown beyond what I can manage alone. My primary goal as her mother is to ensure her happiness and well-being, while also preserving her fiery spirit. It’s a delicate balance, and I fear that without professional help, her anger issues could have a lasting impact on her future. I refuse to let her suffer or have her spirit dampened, but I need guidance and support to help her thrive.