ADHD Blog: The Ups and Downs of Parenting ADHD Children

February 28, 2017 - Can He Finish Anything?

I've noticed my son with ADHD quits a lot. He doesn't finish board games, he shuts down when he has trouble with schoolwork, he quits trying if his team is behind in sports, he gets upset and wants to quit if he is playing bad during sports. If we try to teach him something new, he gives up quickly if it doesn't come easy. This is so frustrating for a parent. Parents of kids with ADHD often want their child to act differently, but I think we have to realize that the ADHD brain is different. Research has shown that individuals with ADHD often have difficulty with resilience or the capacity to recover from adversity. Even people who don't have ADHD may have trouble with being resilient. I guess the question I need to ask myself is what can I do to help my son become more resilient.

I researched articles about teaching resiliency, and here is what I found. Resiliency requires a positive mindset, and parents can help children build a positive mindset. For example, if your child comes home with a bad grade, instead of berating them and lecturing them, tell them that you know they want to better and that you want to help them figure out what went wrong and how to help improve it. Basically, instead of being negative, help your child come up with a solution or better plan to deal with an adverse situation. Notice it says help, not do it for them. Have your child problem solve with you to come up with solutions.

Another tip is to let children know that mistakes are expected and accepted and that the mistake provides an experience to learn from. If you humiliate your child when he or she  makes a mistake, they may try to avoid challenges. If children have the expectation that they shouldn't make any mistakes, they will be let down frequently. This expectation may cause them to avoid new challenges or to get upset when they don't succeed. Let your child know that everyone makes mistakes, that they can come to you when they make a mistake and that you can assist them in solving their problems.

One other tip I discovered was to provide ADHD children with the opportunity to contribute to the community. Making a positive contribution to society will help your child feel worthy and appreciated. Assisting others provides a child with good experiences and helps them learn skills to contribute to society.

So now I will try some of these techniques and let you know if they make a difference for my son. To be continued.....

October 6, 2016  - Parent Shaming

One of the hardest things for me as a parent of a child with ADHD was the feeling that other parents were judging me. I've heard parents tell their children, "stay away from that kid", and I cringed assuming they thought the worst of me as a parent. I do think parents judge you based on how your children act, but I think we probably judge ourselves even more. In fact, if you worry too much about what others think of you, it will lead you down a path of depression and excessive stress.

I would often parade my two non-ADHD children around so people could see that I was a good parent and had children that did know how to act. I also signed up for many volunteer positions at school so people would know that I was a "normal" parent and not some loser. I also would let people know that I had one child with ADHD and how he was different than my other two well-behaved kids, so people would know it was the ADHD and not me that was the problem. 

Now I look back and think, "who cares?" What a waste of my time and energy worrying about what other people think. I thought that people would be more accepting of my child if they knew the situation. Maybe parents were more understanding, but it didn't make their children more understanding. Children respond to how they are treated, and they don't really care what's wrong with your child. If your child has ADHD and is mean to another child, that other child will be mean back. All the campaigning on your part isn't going to make other children accept your child. A more useful use of your time is to campaign for your child's education making sure he or she has the right accommodations to better succeed.

Other parents may make us feel ashamed, but probably we are making ourselves feel that way the most. I think we should stop worrying about others, and do what we need to do for ourselves and our children's emotional well-being.

October 4, 2016   -  Introduction

Welcome to my ADHD blog! This is my attempt to help other parents navigate the ups and downs of ADHD parenting. First, let me share my story:

2004 - Yeah! It's my first child. Two weeks later: Why doesn't this child ever stop crying? Two months later: Why is this child still crying? Six months later: Holy crap, this kid can already sit up, stand up and cruise furniture.  Eight months later: Have you seen a child walk at eight months? He's incredible. One year later: He's into everything. Get him he's running away.

2006 - My beautiful boy is 2 years old. Man, boys are a handful.

2007 - "Doctor, what's wrong with my child? He's different than other kids. He's out of control. He runs off. He acts wild. He says horrible things to me." We better put him in preschool and start getting him ready for kindergarten now.  Uh-oh. They kicked him out of preschool on the 3rd day. It's time for a special preschool with specially trained teachers. ADHD diagnosis is given though mom is taking wait and see approach, because he is way too young for this diagnosis.

2009 - Kindergarten - Yeah! Mommy gets a break (even though she still has twin 3 year old boys at home). Both mom and son have been through ADHD training course, and he has been through extensive testing in a research study. Teachers get all the warnings, and and IEP is set in place. The year doesn't go too bad - he only threatens to kill one child and only pulls his pants down once on the playground.

2010 - 1st Grade - Great year. He has a young teacher who could care less how he acts. Woohoo. He has very little folder signing though he never pays attention and has his share of meltdowns.

2011 - 2nd Grade - Not the greatest year. He's assigned to a desk by himself. Other kids are starting to mature and don't appreciate his impulsivity, excessive talking, rude words, and disruptions. It seems like his folder is signed every day for anything and everything. He feels like a total failure.

2012 - 3rd Grade - Oh good, he loves the teacher. The kids in his class, not so much.

2013 - 4th Grade - Work is getting harder. He hates school. Meltdowns with homework. Handwriting is atrocious and punctuation is a joke. How did he get this far without learning how to capitalize appropriately? Fails STAAR writing test.

2014 - 5th Grade - Kids are getting really mean in response to his silly ways. Group work is very difficult. The hatred for school has grown. Self-esteem is not the best. Group sports are a nightmare. He's definitely not a team player. He's good at golf, but he's angry after every other shot. Will he ever have the capacity to control these emotions?

2015 - 6th Grade - We're trying online school. What a beatdown for mom, but he likes it. Mom is worried about isolation and social skills. We try to keep him engaged with other kids in basketball, church, golf, etc.

2016 - 7th Grade - He decides to do online school again. Still a beatdown for mom, but he is getting more independent. He still has poor social skills, constant fighting with his two brothers, and a mouth that won't quit. Writing is still bad. Mom is dreading 7th grade state writing test. 

What's next? Only time will tell.....

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