Hyperactivity is the everyday term for what medical books refer to as ‘attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity’. While there are over 100 possible symptoms of hyperactivity, children with the problem are generally restless, impulsive and agitated. Their attention spans are often so short that they turn from one task to another without completing any. They frequently swing from quiet withdrawal to sudden rage with little or no provocation. They run wild, throw things, whine and pick on siblings.
In short, a hyperactive child is the ultimate ‘problem child’. Babysitters are scarce. Parents are at the end of their rope. At school, hyperactive children can’t sit through class, so they’re often labelled troublemakers. They do poorly at schoolwork -despite normal or even above-normal intelligence. Teachers give up.
Hyperactive kids themselves don’t feel very good about their behavior, either. They can’t control their actions, no matter how much they want to. And they do want to.
Not every hyperactive child is the reincarnation of Attila the Hun, of course. Hyperactive behavior varies from occasional outbursts to nonstop ‘parent abuse’. And to some degree, hyperactivity may be in the eye of the beholder. What’s hyperactive to Grandma may be simply normal spunkiness to a more patient adult.
How do you know, then, whether or not your child is active or hyperactive? If your child’s moodiness and tantrums interfere with schoolwork, alienate all of his or her playmates and disrupt the household, you may be living with a hyperactive. And it’s time to do something about it, for your sake as well as the child’s.