Attention, hyperactivity, and mood shifts

[Previously private post]

Of late, Faith has been quite volatile. Now, she’s always been one to wear her feelings right there on her sleeve, but she’s really had a hard time of it lately. She’s one of those people who constantly messes with stuff. If there’s a rip she tears it more. If there’s a sticker she picks it off. If she’s sitting, she’s wiggling. She stammers when she talks because her mind moves too fast for her mouth. She’s in constant motion both mentally and physically. I’m sure many of you know kids who are similar.

It’s just part of who she is, but recently she’s had some problems with it. She’s currently computerless because she broke the laptop keyboard by mindlessly pulling keys off. It’s the second time she’s done it, and it was several keys. It was fixable, but next time it might not be, and since she has trouble controlling her behavior right now… no computer until we can get a more durable one for their use.

A few days ago she was sitting under the table in their bedroom and she pulled the DVD player and television off and they crashed to the floor. It was not accidentally caused by moving too quickly and being snagged in a cord. No one (and nothing) was harmed, but a 13-inch tv falling on someone’s head could have literally killed them. So now, the tv will be making an exit as well until we can bolt it securely.

I don’t like these solutions to this problem even though they are the best ones I have come up with for now. First of all, it deprives the other children, Abby and Gil in this case, of the items in question. If the tv is gone from upstairs then they can’t watch DVDs either (It doesn’t get broadcast programs; it’s DVD only.) Likewise they have been without their computer time for over a week now. This is hardly fair to them. Second, it just feels kinda wrong to me to be taking things away because she can’t help herself from doing it. I’m doing it anyway but I don’t like it. Sigh.

So we’ll be getting another computer sometime soonish, something cheap they can all use. It will live down here in the livingroom, not in their room. Also, the television will be bolted down. It should have been long before like the downstairs one, but honestly I didn’t think we had to.

And furthermore, we’re going to eliminate all artificial food coloring again and see what happens. This morning after a fine breakfast of chocolate milk and cherry Pop-Tarts (ahem, sue me), she was a screaming crying raging girl at her sister over something very trivial, like the placement of a teddy bear. I’ve noticed this before, but the severity has markedly increased in the last few weeks what with all the Christmas junk we’ve been consuming. She will also be drinking a small amount of caffeinated tea mid-day because she said that helped her think clearly. (I totally understand that one!) She said she can think and speak better when she’s fiddling with something and she made herself a bracelet which she twists and stretches when she’s talking. She also said it was her “deep breath” bracelet, as in “take a deep breath, calm down.” She’s a smart kid, you know?

So anyway, we’ll see what helps. It’s things like this that make me SO GLAD we homeschool.

9 thoughts on “Attention, hyperactivity, and mood shifts

  1. Totally none of my business, but rather than ascribe the problem to “artificial” food ingredients, you might want to look at protein vs. starch/sugar intake. I know that Charlotte is way more volatile if she’s been running on sugars, particularly at breakfast.

    Anyway, she sounds lovely, as do all of yours. When she’s older and we’ve known each other longer, and in more trustworthy non-online ways, send her out to visit us. Charlotte would love it–another homeschooled girl!

  2. Have you noticed a correlation between Faith’s “volatility” and your pregnancies?

    Just asking because it seems that Mary Beth’s behavior is worse when I’m pregnant. I think it’s anxiety-related.

    We had a very bad year last year behavior-wise. Things have gotten a lot better over the summer and into the winter with the help of some counseling.

    I’ve noticed the “junk food followed by bad behavior thing”, too. Seems like my kids are always HORRIBLE after they eat Spaghetti-O’s. I finally decided that the convenience of the food wasn’t worth the behavior that followed consuming it!

    I’m also glad that we’re homeschooling instead of having to deal with the school when these behavior problems come up. I can meet Mary Beth where she is. A teacher of 20 kids can’t do that for each child.

  3. Thanks for sharing fee. Its nice to see I’m not the only one in the world that has problems.
    Sometimes I just feel like the worst mother in the world like when I came home the other night to a huge back sized hole in the girls wall from Kaitylyn falling through wilhe fighting with Jonathan! He is my well I don’t know how to describe him. He is a really good hearted kid but at 18 I would have thought he would be more grown up…maybe? We had a horrible horrible time with a so called counselor (I have afew other choice words to describe her) and now I don’t even know where to turn or what to do with him. I would miss him terribly if he wasn’t here but I also know that he cant live here forever, but that is how it looks to be for now…
    Sorry to go off with my own problem, but I totally hear ya. Nick just lost his brand new (to him) game cube because of Jonathan sneaking the cord and playing it again, so I understand the “not fair to the other kids thing”

  4. we have documented the effects , very similar effects, in our home of artificial coloring in food, especially red. we also have noticed the protein intake issue, but that one is pretty easily dealt with, where the food coloring seems to really last a few days.

    our family also has the ‘mindless destruction gene’ as we call it. it is mostly in tristan. he really cannot help it and i too struggle with taking things away (like books, etc) which he destroys absent -mindedly.

  5. (hugs) for all of you,

    It sounds very familiar, I have several kids like that. Emily is the one that affects the most, but Sam is a close second. Anyway, as an unschooler, I understand the dilemma. But honestly, this isn’t arbitrary, this is a real-life limit, until the TV can be safe, it shouldn’t be in there. She didn’t mean to pull it off, but she is so lucky she didn’t get hurt. I figure it’s the same for the computer, it’s not a punishment, per se, it’s holding on to the computer until you guys can figure out a way for her to use it without picking at it. Does she have any suggestions?

    In our house, all the DVD’s are now stored in my room. It’s not a punishment, it’s to keep all the movies safe so that everyone can use it. Sam doesn’t mean to set them out so they get scratched, he honestly just does not think about it. I’m more than happy to start any movie, at any time, but we lost four movies before I figured out what was going on.

    She is soooo smart though, a fidget bracelet? I mean, people go to school for twelve years to get that knowledge (LOL! ask our psychologist!) And Bre gets caffeine in the middle of the day, it *relaxes* her, her chemistry is just a bit skewed. After all, the optometrist promised us that the eye drops would make her hyper….she was asleep before the exam was over lol. I asked for some to use at home and she turned me down bwahahahaha.

  6. I really appreciate everyone’s thoughts on this. She’s doing better since the holidays have wound down, and also she has lots of craft stuff to do (small motor muscle activities) which really helps her focus. SHe got a bead kit and lots of drawing stuff for Christmas.

    We both are especially intrigued with quilting and are going to take it up too, soon.

  7. I also wanted to chime in on our experiences with food triggering behaviors. Pop-tarts also have artificial preservatives in them (I know because I love them *hides* hehe). My son has major behavioral side effects from tbhq and bht (I think tbhq is in the pop tarts but I’m not sure). So while cutting out the artificial colors you may also look at the preservatives as well.

    I agree with the other ladies that there may be other triggers for her and all are worth looking in to. It definitely sounds like she is very self-aware which is fantastic.

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