Understanding Aggressive Behavior in Children with ADHD
The DSM IV (2000) criteria for the diagnosis of Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) are a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactive-impulsive behaviors that are more frequently displayed and more severe than are typically observed in individuals at a similar level of development. Children with attention problems and hyperactivity display: learning disabilities, verbal and physical aggression, low frustration tolerance, poor social interactions with adults and peers, resistant behaviors, untruthfulness, destructive tendencies, domineering social behavior, unpredictable and atypical responses, and low self-esteem (Lewis, 1992). It is reported that between 5-6% of school children have diagnosed ADHD (Firmin & Phillips, 2009; Kitchens, Rosen & Braaten, 1999; Shelley-Tremblay & Rosen). A commonly studied symptom found in children with ADHD is the presence of aggression in their behaviors with peers and with family (Edelbrock, 1986; Hinshaw & Melnick, 1995; Whalen & Henker, 1985). ADHD aggressive symptoms can have significant affects on three domains: peer relationships, family relationships, and ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) and CD (Conduct Disorder). Aggressive effects on these domains are the central focus of this research. I have found that connecting multiple aspects of ADHD and aggression could lead to conclusions explaining why ADHD children resort to aggressive behaviors, and why their cognitive and emotional deficits have led ADHD children to consistently use aggressive behaviors in social situations. What I gathered from both research about ADHD and aggression and experience with Zion is that a larger reason children with ADHD use aggressive behaviors is because they do not have the ability to self reflect due to their poor emotion regulation skills. I find that this deficit in emotion regulation for ADHD children is the catalyst for most of their aggressive tendencies.