Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is something that can affect people of all ages. Mostly seen in children and teens, ADHD strikes in the form of impulsivity and hyperactivity, that can ultimately affect a person's behavior. As children don't always have the proper communication tools yet, many kids affected by ADHD can turn to anger when they're upset. Anger outbursts can often be set off by a child's triggers, which can be anything from sleeplessness, the kinds of foods they're eating, or their daily stressors. ADHD affects people differently, but many feel the same overwhelming sense that can make them feel frustrated, stressed, or singled out. Since moms and dads will do anything for their child, trying to understand this condition (and what makes their child upset) is a starting point.
10 Hard To Express Emotions
When you’re diagnosed with something like ADHD, it can be hard to express yourself physically. Some symptoms of ADHD are stuttering and the inability to pronounce certain sounds. Knowing their speech is different than others can make someone with ADHD shut down and not want to speak. As the A.D.D. Resource Center explains they, “frequently struggle to find the right words and put thoughts together quickly and linearly in conversation.” Along with the struggle to find the right word, listening comprehension can also be impaired, mainly because of the “difficulty handling rapidly-spoken language or managing distracting, noisy environments like a party or a busy classroom.”
Like many disorders or conditions, ADHD comes with triggers that affect each person differently. A trigger is something that upsets a child, which can lead to an anger-filled outburst. Sadly, a child doesn’t want to have these stressful outbursts, which is why it’s best if a parent can try to keep those triggers at bay for as long as possible. Some triggers that can cause a child to have an outburst is lack of sleep, stress, packaged foods, and overstimulation. Not sleeping enough can lead a child to feel irritable (just as it does in adults). Stress can have a child feeling overwhelmed and unable to focus. Eating packaged foods loaded with food additives can cause unnatural symptoms in a child than if they ate whole foods. Lastly, overstimulation can bring a child to feel bombarded with noise, commotion, or entertainment.
In short: be aware of what causes your child to be angry or upset.
Those with ADHD may find themselves being impulsive. Now, being impulsive may seem as “free-spirited” in those without ADHD, but when you have it, it can be quite frustrating. The impulsivity can occur through interrupting someone else’s conversation (perhaps a teacher’s in the middle of class, or a parent’s at a birthday party), acting out when bored, or rushing through a task that doesn’t necessarily need to be rushed. Knowing that their impulsive decisions can upset other people, can bring them to feeling angry or upset, knowing that they just upset other people.
The school day is stressful for most kids, but for a child with ADHD, stressors are heightened. Some ADHD affected children simply can’t remember to bring their homework to class, and when asked where the homework is, they can become overwhelmed. The feeling of being overwhelmed can come with anger or being confused. Then, as many classes go, students begin teasing or bullying a student because the attention is on them. As you can see, being a target for something that you can’t control can come with a lot of emotions. And those emotions aren’t always positive.
Self-control is a tough thing for many people. If you can sit in front of a chocolate cake, with fudge oozing out without grabbing a fork and digging in — you have amazing self-control. However, it’s not that simple when you have ADHD. Following suit with impulsivity, not having self-control is something they can be aware of, and be upset over when they lose it. For instance, a child may know they’re feeling angry but can’t stop themselves from acting out. They simply can’t convey how they’re feeling and are expressing that emotion in other ways
I know a lot of these entries already appear as anxiety, but that’s not always the case. The American Psychological Association defines anxiety as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.” This overwhelming feeling of being trapped is enough to outrage anyone. And those with ADHD may have anxiety on top of everything else. According to Healthline, 60% of adults and 30% of children suffer from both anxiety and ADHD. The problem is it can be hard to identify anxiety in those with ADHD because the symptoms can be so similar.
Unfortunately, the same medication that’s taken to help a child with ADHD may also be the reason why your child has angry outbursts from time to time. Realistically, we have to take all medication with a grain of salt. Every piece of medicine out there comes with some kind of symptom. Whether it’s a headache, night sweats, or something more serious — the after effects of medication can happen in anyone. According to Attitude magazine, symptoms from ADHD medication can lead to sleeplessness, tics, change in appetite, headaches, and more. Obviously, none of these symptoms are things that a parent or child should tolerate. If you think your medication could be the main reason for your anger, call your doctor immediately.
3 Low Self-Confidence
Just because a person has ADHD does not mean they don’t understand what’s going on. They’re more than aware of the situation and why they’re acting in a particular way, it’s just hard to calm down over something so upsetting. Another reason why ADHD can transform into anger could be because of low self-confidence. Think about it, when you’re not confident in what you’re doing or who you are, your reaction to things can be skewed. Attitude magazine furthers this point by saying men with ADHD may have lower self-confidence (translating to anger) because they feel “worthless, guilty, and ashamed.” All of these feelings may be buried but as soon as a trigger sets a person off, their top is blown off and anger follows.
2 No Outlet
This may be the best reason as to why a child with ADHD expresses emotion through anger: they have no outlet. Many kids can translate their anger or aggression through music, athletics, or a hobby. But sometimes, things as simple as those aren’t as simple for those with ADHD. Signing up for anger management is one way to have a child find the deeper reasons behind their anger, but so are outlets. Some outlets can be fishing (both calming and focus-driven), exercise, art, reading — anything that allows peace and comfort over your child.
1 Low Tolerance
One thing that parents can do to help their child from anger spouts is to teach them tolerance. Nothing in life is always going to go our way. As an adult, we understand this, but it’s hard for a child to grasp that concept. At home, parents typically do anything and everything they can for their child. It’s not always all about them — but it actually kind of is. In the real world, however, it’s not always that forgiving or comforting. Things aren’t always going to their way and people aren’t always going to be nice. Teaching them tolerance is a way for them to battle through their anger and, perhaps, become more accepting.