Wednesday, January 13, 2016

8 yr old disobedient, hyperactive, and steals

I have been battling with my 8 year old son for several years now. He is extremely hyperactive even on a stimulant medication (medadate). He struggles in school and is very disrespectful and very disobedient when asked to do simple things. He has been tried on several stimulant medications. Also he is taking intuniv and respiradone which doesn't seem to help especially with with his extreme impulsive disrespectful disobedient behavior. Also for several months now he has begun to steal money from us and at times from stores. 
If possible I would love your input in this matter. Because I have seriously considered  finding a military based boot camp. Because if he continues down this path he is on I am worried he could hurt his 2 month old sister when he gets in his uncontrollable aggressive  rages of anger.

Hi, Here is what I would try first before considering military school.  I would try to have him in psychotherapy.  My parent's manual gives a number of strategies for anger overload, but for children who are hyperactive and stealing in addition to having outbursts, it would be important to have professional help. You want someone who can figure out what some causes might be for your son's behavior, and someone who works with children and families.

Secondly, it will be important to work closely with the school staff.  Is he struggling in school because of his hyperactivity, or might he have a learning disability?  The school could help rule that out.  

With children who are out of control in school and at home, it is important to coordinate strategies with the school. It is real important that you and the teachers work together.  Ask for an IEP (individualized education plan).   Since your son's behavior is affecting his learning, your son is entitled to extra services.  Sometimes a smaller specialized classroom is called for.  Sometimes the school can make modifications in a child's current classroom.  See what the staff thinks would be the best classroom situation for your son.  Then check out what class or plan is offered to make sure you think it will be helpful for your child.

If that does not lead to changes, or if you have already tried these suggestions for a period of time, then you could check out boarding schools.  Military schools can help, but you want one that has a caring environment as well as structure and discipline.  Your son's school district should consider residential placement, and pay for it, if an intensive day program has been tried and failed to help. .  Keep in mind that if your son is hyperactive, he will most likely need to stay on medication, so you want a school that accepts that.  

Best, Dr. Dave Gottlieb  

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