Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Children with ADHD Bring New Meaning to the Term “High Maintenance”

Welcome to my blog!

I am, like you, a parent of children with ADHD, and I am learning as I go. Of course, as parents, we are always learning, but it seems as if there is just more to learn with children affected by ADHD and less we can take for granted. It is trial and error and still uncharted territory.

The term “high maintenance” has taken on new meaning for me. Before, I thought the term applied to marriages and specifically to young trophy wives who had to be pampered by older husbands. Now, as the mother of two teenage children with ADHD—my son Blake, who just turned 20 and my daughter Madison who is 17, I realize that “high maintenance” means being a life support system for them, ready to guide, advise, step in, advocate for and play interference for them, as they need you—or, as they will also tell you, when they “don’t need” you. I realize too this may be going on for well after they are launched into their adulthood.

My daughter Madison spent hours on her high school English project analyzing the main character in J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. Her four-part assignment was to do a psychological analysis by answering a number of essay questions followed up by a letter to a psychologist of her findings. “Go through all the assignment instructions,” I coached her, “and underline what the teacher wants. After you finish, go back and check that you have satisfied all the requirements of the assignment.” “I will, I will,” she answered in her teenage-exasperated voice. “You don’t have to tell me,” she pleaded. “I can check it for you, after you finish, if you want,” I offered. “No, that won’t be necessary,” she said.

A week later, when the assignment came back, her teacher, Mr. Holderman, complimented Madison, saying that her thorough and perceptive analysis was the best in the class, but then indicated that she had missed the entire last part of the assignment—the writing of the letter to summarize findings. And for this reason, she only earned a “B.” I talked with Madison about slowing down, focusing, not taking things for granted and the importance of checking and follow-up. I explained that you can do a very good job on something but if it does not meet all the requirements, if it is not completed, the work—and the grade—can be compromised.

Being a parent of children with ADHD means having broader responsibility. Whereas parents of other children can easily let their children assume responsibilities, parents of children with ADHD have to do it more slowly, and in a more calculated manner. Sometimes, it is two steps forward and one back. You always have to be on the ready to step in. As one father, whose son Jeremy is in his late twenties, told me, “I need to guide Jeremy in everything. I need to be his safety net,” he said. “Get used to it; it will be like this.”

My son Blake was registering for his sophomore year college courses at UC Berkeley. “Be careful not to overload yourself,” I warned. “You are taking Organic Chemistry, which is a killer course. It will be an enormous amount of work.” Again, I heard the “I know; I know.” Around mid-semester, when Blake was complaining about the inordinate workload, I asked him if I could help him plan to reduce the workload. “I don’t think so,” he said. “I’m taking 19 credits.” “What do you mean you are taking 19 credits?” I was shocked. “I thought you were going to take a lighter course load.” “I didn’t look at the number of credits for each course,” Blake admitted, somewhat sheepishly. “Blake, before you sign up for a course, there are two things you need to do: Learn about the professor and look at the number of credits!” Another longer discussion and another lesson learned.

Is it a lack of common sense? We assume our child will know something because it is obvious, but, of course, to a child affected by ADHD it is not obvious. Another mother told me, “It is like you have to share the pre-frontal cortex of your brain (the part that controls executive function such as planning and understanding consequences) with your child.”

I think once we accept this fact about our children, our reactions will be tempered, our expectations will be adjusted, and the rest will become easier.

Join me, Blake and Madison as we all try to figure things out.




  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I had a mixed reaction to this post. On the one hand, I've "been there." From the backpack with homework assignments (from the teacher, and completed by my son) crumpled up at the bottom to assignments put off until the night before they're due...yes, I've been there.

    On the other hand, we can't be there as a "life support system" especially "well after they're launched into their adulthood." Nor can many of us--nor should any of us--be a "safety net" for someone in their late 20s. We can, instead, help them learn coping skills and techniques. And, as important, we have to allow them to be in situations in which they can use those skills and techniques.

    What you attempted to do with Madison was along those lines. You were providing specific techniques to handle the assignment. That's a lot clearer than your advice to Blake: "Be careful not to overload yourself." That's not specific.

    And that leads into another point: Recognize that these aren't just children with ADHD. At a certain point, they're also typical teenagers. So Madison's response "I will, I will" and "You don't have to tell me" are--as you noted--a teenager's response. So we have to cope not only with the ADHD but also with the behavior of teenagers.

    They do grow out of the teenage behavior. And--with our help and sometimes with the lack of our interference--they'll learn the coping skills and strategies needed to get by in a predominantly non-ADHD world.

  3. As a parent of a very young child with ADHD who is mourning normalcy I find this so sad. Then again all things ADHD have me sad this week. How will I survive the next 15 or 20 years? I feel like at 5 my son in ways never got past being 18 months old and according to your post never will.

  4. As a parent of a 16 year old son with ADHD, I feel like I could have written the same thing Nadine did. The constant reminders and teaching techniques do not seem to end. However, there are many good things about having ADHD. One person decribed it to me as if they see things in 3D and the rest of us see things in one dimension.

  5. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I look forward to following this blog and sharing the the laughter and tears that parenting these wonderful, brilliant and oh-so-challenging children bring to our lives.

  6. My daughter will be 12 this year and is entering seventh grade. Nadine, reading about your experiences as well as the comments from parents of ADHD children on your blog gives me some hope that at least my daughter has a shot at going to a college somewhere. What I have a lot of trouble with is behavior. My daughter is bright, generally articulate, and in some ways precocious for her age. But she has a tendency to talk back to adults, notably teachers, in arguing the finer points of why she thinks she shouldn't do a specific homework assignment, turn off the television and go to bed when told, etc. This tendency might stand her in good stead if she decides to be a litigating attorney some day, but for now it's just nerve-wracking. Additionally, with the lack of impulse control that is one of the hallmarks of ADHD, she tends to let her mouth get ahead of her brain, and say whatever pops into her head to say. Telling her repeatedly to think before speaking doesn't always work. How have others of you handled the impulsiveness and the attitude? Or is this just a matter of hormones kicking in and approaching teenhood? Thoughts? Thanks.

  7. I have a 20 year old son with AD/HD. He just completed his second year of college with a pretty decent grade point average. I think that parenting a child with AD/HD is a balancing act. Sometimes it is hard to know when to step in and when to say nothing. When coaching my son, I try to ask him what he thinks first. I let him generate some ideas and if I have a few ideas I throw them out as possibilities. I let him decide what action to take but then I also hold him accountable for his decision. For example, he took 12 hours last semester and he ended up dropping one class because he didn't manage his time well. He also had 3 fender benders on the car we loaned him. This summer he has to work to pay for the damage to car as well as the lost tuition money. I am aiming for independent thinking and responsibility.

  8. I'm so glad we are here to support each other. I have a 9 year old that I have tried everything with and honestly I don't know how we do it day in and day out. The constant attitude about normal everyday things like brushing his teeth. It is hard to understand how you have to constantly remind him. I've tried keeping him active to stimulate his endorphine's, omega 3 and other vitamins, organic food, trying numerous types of medicines, counseling, earlier bed time and the list goes on. It is exhausting and frustrating. There are so many wonderful qualities about my son like his athletic ability, creativity, outgoing personality and his ability to keep grades up when his behavior puts him out of the class a lot of the year. Most of the time it is so hard to remember that when you are so focused on trying to get him to the right thing and not take his attitude to heart. Because it does hurt when your son tells you he hates and that you treat him bad when your only trying to protect him and keep him safe. Not to mention have a good future and not make enemies with his school mates or kids in the neighborhood. I try everyday to find new techniques to manage him and help him manage himself. I look forward to learning from you all.

  9. I have just started "blogging". My 14 yr old son has ADHD. I totally relate to all of you. It isn't easy. But with prayer, a good doctor, a great psychologist & did I mention prayer... it can be done; it has to be done. It is our job as parents to support & teach & show our children the way, so that they may become successful, productive, happy adults.

  10. I read Blake's book and passed it along to a friend whose son has ADHD. It was a great book and it has helped a great deal. My son is only 8, but I intend to have him read the book when he is older. It has a lot of great tips.

    Thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts. It is encouraging to know that I am not alone.

  11. I'm just starting down this road with my 3rd daughter, my 5yo with ADHD. She's just finished her first year of kindergarten and it's obvious she's going to need so much more support and involvement from my husband and me than her sisters. I so look forward to learning more from your experiences. Thank you.

  12. To the mom of the 5yr. old who is mourning normalcy, my little guy is turning 5, and with a lot of practice and stickers, he makes his bed, gets dressed, brushes his teeth, etc. on his own in the moring following his own chart, and then does his "homework" to earn T.V. privledges,etc. Funny thing is, the moms of his peers are always impressed by thisas their typical kids don't do that. There is a silver lining. I am hoping that by helping him organize his charts, he may develop some healthy habits to get through. I wonder if this makes sense to those with older children? Does it work?

  13. Thank you to all who posted. It does help to hear that you aren't the only ones going through the often isolating experience of parenting a child with ADHD. My daughter is almost 12 and raging most of the time. I agree that it is a balancing act: offering specific support and letting her figure it out by herself and learn from her experiences. It is exhausting. My daughter is like my shadow. She likes to micro-manage everyone's life, and doesn't take responsibility for her own actions. However, I can honestly say that I wouldn't trade her for a typical child. Life is so much more interesting with her in it, I just hope my husband and I survive to tell about it!

  14. Hi Nadine,

    Thanks so much for bringing your considerable life experience to this blog. I look forward to continued reading.

    I tremendously enjoyed Blake's book, ADHD and Me, and think it's one of the best books for younger children, teens, and even adults to understand ADHD's main issues and subtleties through great storytelling. Kudos!

  15. My son just graduated high school last week and is going to college in the falll. I have so many mixed feelings -- there was so much struggle and days I thought he'd never graduate. I was sad last week thinking of all the arguments and phone calls from school and then I found a portfolio of his school projects and drawings and remembered the birthday parties, puppet shows and laughter. My suggestions to the parents of young children with ADHD would be to keep your sense of humor, stay strong with consequences now or you'll create bigger problems later, and be a safety net but let them fall occasionally or you will be catching them for far too long. Success is measured in different ways -- be patient, and don't worry over every little thing. It will make your life easier!

  16. I chuckled at the amount of people who have ADHD children who do not want to brush their teeth. I could get my 11 yr old to eat broccoli quicket than get him to brush his teeth!
    Anonymous was right on about not worrying over every little things. I believe we need to pick out battles and praise A LOT!! It takes patience, patience, patience and ♥.
    I took a parenting course through CHADD that recommended using the anagram QTIP. It stands for Quit Taking it Personally-a learned behavior on our part, but it can be done.
    Good luck to all.
    To msummers and hannahsmom, we three are ALSO unfortunately dealing with hormonal children. My son is just like your two-impulsive, argumentative and never takes responsibility for his actions. It does help knowing that I am not the only parent who is suffering. :)

  17. I can identify with hannahsmom and msummers. My 11yr old is impulsive, argumentative and never-ever takes responsibility for his actions. The parent-educator from a CHADD course taught us this anagram: QTIP-Quit Taking it Personally!!
    It does work...
    Maintain patience, ♥ , follow through and pick your battles.
    Anonymous was right on with "don't worry over every little thing"-I can admit to a few days when my son went to school/bed without brushing his teeth! :0

  18. I will definitely be checking this blog frequently and looking forward to future posts! Thank you for doing it! My husband and I are both diagnosed ADHD and have a 9 yr old diagnosed as well. We don't know about our 1 yr old yet. Hopefully I can offer some other parents some encouragement by telling you that my husband and I have both done very well despite our ADHD. We have been happily married for 10 years, have good-paying jobs, and have made good grades in college. I have a BBA and my husband is almost done with his Associates in Business and has been making A's and B's. We had obstacles and a lot of it is learning what we are good at and keeping at it. Many ADHD kids are gifted and super intelligent, even though they are emotionally behind their peers. They do catch up though. It is hard to deal with it as a parent and also as the one going through it. I still have a hard time parenting even though I know where my son is coming from. I hate to think of ADHD as a DISability but more of an ABILITY. Our brains are doing more than the average person's and it's hard to keep up!

  19. It's so great that we can all empathize with each other. My 11 yr. old son is argumentative, sometimes aggressive, NEVER wrong and (i will admit) has gone to school/bed without his teeth being brushed b/c I did not want to deal with a fit.
    Through a Parent 2 Parent course (via CHADD) I learned the anagram QTIP-Quit Taking It Personally! It does help. Make little signs visible to only you and place them about to remind yourself that your angel a) cannot help it, b) really loves you and c)needs you to not react.
    Today is a good day. He brushed his teeth, ate sufficiently (okay, not in the kitchen-small battle), went to camp and is now playing in the pool with his friends. Hopefully the evening will go as smoothly.
    One day at a time....

  20. I just cried....I am a mother of a 4 year old with ADHD and a wife of a husband who probably has it too (but won't admit it). I read this and just cried. I hope I'm strong enough and patient enough to handle the next 20+ years. I will def read this post on a regular basis.

  21. I have to say thank you everyone for creating this blog. It feels good to know there are people out there who have kids with ADHD and truly understand how it affects the kids. I have a 16 year old and never knew or thought of attending a support group for ADHD. I feel sad to know I have struggled all these years and now to find there are people out there who have the same struggles with their kids. I can relate to the Mom whose daughter is always talking before she thinks, as this is my same dilema with my son. He is very agrumentative and forgetful. I struggle to get him to even take his medication, because he feels he don't need it and hates that it prevents him from eating, and also disturbs his rest. I understand how he feels but trying to explain the importance of taking it everyday to him is another argument. Thank you for creating this website, as I write this blog I have tears in my eyes to know I am not alone. I am going to seek getting into a support group as well. This website is a blessing.

  22. Welcome to the bloggosphere... you have some great things to share. I am a special education teacher always keen to find out more so I ccan help others better support children with differing abilities in our classrooms. I look forward to reading more!

  23. Wow, being able to read this blog and the subsequent comments is exactly what I needed today. With school out and my three boys spending more time together, my house has been utter chaos. I attribute a majority of this situation to my oldest son, who has ADHD and can be so defiant, influencing the younger two to act up more. I am feeling so burnt out and still have eight more weeks of summer break to survive. Sometimes I feel like I can not see a light at the end of the tunnel....will I ever reach a day when I am not constantly hounding my son to take care of daily necessities (showering, brushing teeth, picking up clothes and trash from the floor, finishing homework, giving people space, etc.). But reading about other parents' success with helping their children to establish routines and take responsibility for them gives me hope that we will get to a better place too. It's just going to take a lot of work, and I feel better knowing that I am not alone in this quest.

  24. I notice I have ADHD and as I started doing the research I can see the signs in my two children. People think ADHd is the hyperactive but I realize there is so much to it.
    I am having problems with my son with being overfocused. He is a good student but as he gets older his grades are making me more aware. For example, having him write is a challenge I see his writing samples and they are all over the place it is hard fro him to get his thoughts down on paper.
    Also, he is a great athlete at soccer but you do not see the true soccer player most of the time. When he is out there playing he acts likes he doesn't like it. I can tell his head is not 100% in the game. Does anybody else have these problems with writing and with sports.


  25. Rebecca,

    My 11 yr. old is horrible at writing-the physical aspect and the grammatical aspect. I was told by the school psychologist that it it typical for a child with ADHD.
    As far as sports go, my son only likes to play basketball b/c it is a sport which requires constant moving.

    Max, a million thank you's for your blog! As a parent, a huge worry is always the future. It's great to hear that you and your husband both fared so well with your ADHD. I ♥ your comment that you see it not as a disability, but as an ability.

    (sorry for my 3 posts above, I couldn't tell if any went through!!)

  26. YES, my son has a hard time with sports. I am hoping I can get out of dealing with any next year. He spends more time complaining and being upset about losing than enjoying the game. He can never seem to just have fun like other kids. BUT, when he played soccer, he would stop and help a member on the opposite team if they fell down. His coach was like, "What are you doing???" but I thought it was kind-hearted of him. I just don't think team sports is his thing right now.
    He has a hard time with his handwriting being so sloppy it can't be read. He CAN write beautifully but he is often in too much of a hurry. I haven't seen much of his thoughts on paper though. So, I don't know how that is going to be for him.

  27. My 19 year old enters college this fall. I am scared to death. Will he take his meds? Will he wake up to go to class? The list goes on and on. He is attending a small school that appears to have a good support system set up for him. Will I still be stressed? You bet!

  28. Nadine, thank you for this blog! I don’t want to be a downer here, I just want to be honest and tell everyone “I know how you feel and I definitely feel your pain!”
    My son Chris is 15 and has ADD and also Learning Disabilities. He is on Focalin XR (which by the way has been a great medication and NO loss of appetite side effects!)Rebecca, he too, is a great soccer player, but just like you mentioned he doesn't have the motivation that is needed at this level. It is frustrating, since he would rather just "play" and does not want to practice, especially every day, like a school team would require. Chris, overall is lazy. Do others find that in their kids? Everyday are the same frustrations. Always having to remind him to do everything and stay on task. He has not completely reached puberty, but still does not brush his teeth or even shower unless I tell him a hundred times! His room is always a mess and he constantly throws his towel in the hamper, instead of hanging it up. He loses everything! Does anyone have ANY ideas how I can get this kid to understand how important brushing his teeth is(and not for 10 seconds!)
    Due to his learning disabilities, he cannot comprehend what he reads. Test taking is a disaster. I spend countless hours creating practice tests for every test in school because he possibly cannot sift through all of the notes that are compleltely disorganized. I know many kids that have ADD have no problem in school, but having a learning disability too, just compounds it! I am on him like a hawk for school. I push and push and push!! He likes school because of his friends, but it is tough for him. He has an I.E.P. and I have fought for MANY accommodations for his ADD and Learning Disabilities. I have to say that I am exhausted during the school year. I just don't know if I should not do anything and let him go and whatever happens in school happens. I just feel I should do everything I can to help him, but I also know I won't be able to help if he goes to college and I.E.P.'s don't go to college either!
    My older son is 19 and I never looked at his studies in high school. I am so jealous of my friends who have no idea when their high school kids have tests, projects or when midterms and finals are! I have a full time job, and also feel like I am back in school!
    I do need to state the positive. Chris is a caring, sensitive, kind and funny kid. He has a lot of great features. He is behind in his years in maturity. As we know that occurs with ADD. They say about 3 years in maturity. I have to say though, I almost find it refreshing. So many of the 9th graders are going to many parties, experimenting with alcohol and drugs ect...Chris is popular among a small group of friends and so, NOT at the level of a 9th grader! I am just so concerned about the future. I hope that he can grow over these years in high school and be able to hopefully go to college. I just don't see how though. College is test taking and reading. When I read about Madison, I wanted to say "yes, I know your frustration!" If Chris works on ANY project without us checking it over he usually fails it due to forgetting key pieces, not following the rubric and being completely disorganized. If we don't help him study for a test, he fails it. Even though we help him study and study for midterms and finals and he almost always feels those or gets a D, due to his disability too. He actually ended up this year with all B's and C's due to the work we put in all year.
    So...do I leave him alone and let him fail!?!?
    I have tried for many years to organize his room, school work, charts for chores...everything. It then becomes disorganized.
    I look forward to hearing all of your experiences and words of wisdom and know, we can all learn from each other!

  29. I have a 6yr old son with ADHD and a mood disorder. He is the joy of my life. He's smart, funny, athletic and oh so lovable. This is my first time reading about other's with ADHD and I now I realize I'm not alone. I agree with Nadine about the life-support and back up, I couldn't imagine not being there for my son no matter what age he is. We have had a lot of problems with impulse control, he hates to lose and doesn't understand that it's okay as long as you try your best. I've had to take him out of his tball games for throwing his glove down and screaming at the other kids for not scoring, etc. Reading all your words has given me insight into what the future will hold for us. It's scary but I know that with love and patience we can handle anything. I will continue to read the blogs and the comments, knowing that the more I understand about his condition the better parent I will be and my son will have a much higher quality of life. Thank you all!

  30. I am so happy to have this site, and thanks to all you parents! We will somehow get through it all. My son is 14 and very defiant and always angry. He hates to do anything and everything is a fight. I have found that making lists for him each day works wonderfully; however, I can't be there for him making lists when he is in his 20s but for now lists help. I have quit a very good job to start working at home because he needs guidance. It is working out pretty well, but he just can't grasp that I need time at home to work and I bring up that I will have to go back to an office and repeatedly remind him of this. His 18-year-old sister leaves for college in September and Jake and I will be alone. They do not get along and the sister has no tolerance for him at all. She thinks he uses this as an act and excuse, as does his dad. I look forward to all ideas and support. Thanks.

  31. I feel so much better knowing there are parents out there who understand! I didn't think I would make it through kindergarten with my 6 yr old son. Now 1st grade.

    My son also has difficulty with writing. He was diagnosed with dysgraphia. That seems to be the hardest thing in school. He gets so frustrated and then the melt down is next. It is hard getting the notes from school. Academically he is right there with his peers, unless you tell him to write.

    It isn't easy and it is only kindergarten UGH!! Hahaha...I think he got thru it better than I did.



  32. I see myself in most of these posts, as the child and as the parent. I have had ADHD my whole life and did not realize it until my son was diagnosed 7 months ago. I wondered why parenting was so hard and had been patiently waiting for the "I love being a mom" moment that so many of my friends and family members experienced. Growing up-- I was in foster care and had a very strict parent and a structured environment. Her consistency on every level helped me do well during highschool. No one ever suspected ADHD, but always asked "Why are you so hyper"?... I just thought I was a naturally happy kid. I didn't start to suffer from ADHD related problems until I started college and subsequently dropped out. I couldn't understand how I could do so well in high-school (3.87 gpa)while being in several sports and then fail miserablly in college while only working part-time. This led to enlisting in the military where excelled--again, because it was a highly structured environment. I started back to college and had an even greater challenge due to my child beginning kindergarden. When it was suggested that my son had ADHD-- I researched it with the typical "hyper-focus" that is associated with ADD and that's when I began to feel like I wasn't alone! I read ADHD & ME and laughed the whole way through because I related to most of the events at a very deep level. I also cried because I realized alot of tribulations and life challenges (and migraines) I had experienced were because of ADHD.
    Getting to the point here-- ADD/ADHD is a "Diff-ability". It is a challenge but not something to cry over. Be consistant, caring and do the best you can and most importantly, laugh. I commend the parents who are patient, loving, kind and understanding with your children. It makes the world of a difference for those of us who are affected every minute of every day by ADHD.
    With Metta,

  33. To Audrey,

    My 8 year old daughter has similar-adhd, language impairment and probably learning disability. I'm working with a speech therapist who is trying to devise strategies to help her think through things.
    As far as the teeth brushing, my older son has braces and has trouble brushing. A recent visit to the dentist who "read him the riot act" and showed pictures of unbrushed teeth with blemishes and holes seems to have worked, for now. I'm sure he'll be looking at the books again with the dentist.
    May I ask what specific accomodations your son has at school that have been helpful. I too feel overwhelmed dealing with school issues.

  34. School has definitely has been a challange for my 6 yr old. The teachers are trying so hard and they all love him. He has an IEP team (luckily we got him that when he was 3 yrs old)His team includes an OT for the dysgraphia, a special ed teacher who has a chance to work one on one with him twice a week. They have done a wonderful job, but sometimes I wonder if it is enough. Like I said earlier, I am trying not to worry about 1st grade, but can't help it. A few things we had to fight for and went to the head of special ed for our county. It just seems like a continous struggle trying to find what works and what doesn't. It seems with my son and his ADHD, some things may work for a little bit then it one day it just doesn't work anymore.

    The teachers try to accomadate him the best they can. His teacher got to the point where she was able to see the frustration building and have someone take him out of the room just to walk it off and give him some quiet time.


  35. My son is 15 and extremely immature, with very few social skills. Like other commenters, I get frustrated at how involved I need to be in his schoolwork and daily routine, but this is nothing compared to watching a handsome, genuinely nice kid spend most of his time alone because he doesn't fit in with others his age. If anyone has had any books, etc. on this subject I would be eternally grateful!!

  36. I have a 7 year old daughter that has just been diagnosed with the combinted type of ADHD. The first thought of medication made me sick to my stomach. A friend of mine with an ADHD child said if your child had diabetes would you think twice about medication? I quickly said absolutely not I would do anything and everything to make her better. That's when I finally realized how serious this was and I need to get on board and do everything in my power to give her the opportunity to be the best she can be. My husband and I have known for a very long time that something was just not right. Everything was so hard all the time. I started doing some research online and I could not believe my eyes! I thought to myself finally an answer. We have our first doctors apt tommorrow. I am scared and excited to get her help, she needs it. I have scoured the internet and the plan that makes most sense to me is medication combined with behavioral therapy.

  37. I am the mother of a 17 year old daughter and Nadine could be my daughter. I am so glad to hear from someone with teenage and adult children with ADHD. All I ever heard from in the past was from or about elementary age or younger children. I am also happy to see that my daughter's behavior is like other kids her age. Thank you for your blog, it is a relief to hear from people going though the same challeges that my daughter and I are going though.

  38. I am so glad to have found all of you!! We live in Lima, Peru and have a 9 yr old boy with ADD and also ODD. We have so related to all of you in many many ways. Looking forward to more from Nadine and her creative parenting.

  39. I, too, am benefiting from this exchange through realizing that I am not alone in my struggles. I am a single mom with an ADHD seven-year-old son with a huge lack of frustration tolerance. It seems that we have more struggles than fun times recently, and I get down on myself for my parenting and mourn the loss of an "easy" child. The reminders for patience, kindness and understanding are just what I need.

    For those that asked for tips on teeth brushing, I have a timer in the bathroom for my son. It is set to a minute and a half. He starts it when he begins brushing and then knows he can stop when the timer goes off. It does not fix the need to remind and sometimes "nag" to get him to remember to brush - but it does help ensure that he brushes long enough when there.

  40. Wow! How wonderful you all are to blog and post your comments. I have a 9yo boy with ADHD and I felt like a failure as a parent. Your stories and experiences are so similiar to mine it is scary and yet almost comforting in a way. I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders just by your comments. Please continue to write as I will now be checking this site daily. Thank You!

  41. Re: Teeth-brushing
    Susan, I have those pix of horrible teeth with holes in them on the mirror in my bathroom! I feel that any little bit helps!

    To those who are struggling with feelings of hopelessness:
    Think of the positives~We should all be thankful that we are not posting on a "My child has cancer" site!!!

    To Anonymous, re: taking meds at college:
    I saw in the back of the CHADD magazine an advertisement for a watch that can be programmed for daily reminders of any type,but taking Rx was one of the examples. This may be too un-cool, but your son should be able to program his cell phone. Good Luck!

  42. I can't believe how similar some of these stories sound to mine. I thought I was the only one. My psychologist we have for our son did not help me to realize that there are others that suffer with their children with similar issues. Anyways, I am a very frustrated mother of a 5 year old son, who has ADHD but will not allow the psychologist to diagnose him yet. We also have a 2 year old little girl, who unfortunately, most times is scared to death of her brother. They psychologist says he is not a medication pusher at all but says if it was his child he would use the stimulant meds to help his child. I am terrified of: 1. Diagnosis and labeling of ADHD for my child and 2. Putting him on meds. He thinks we should do a trial of medication before he starts kindergarten in August to see how he reacts and then make a decision from there. I have a lot of anxiety about school and think we will see more struggles with him there. I just feel like I have to do everything I can to try to keep him off meds. We had a good week this last week. I cooked dinner every night, kept a very strict regimen and really paid attention to any melt downs that were about to happen and tried to prevent them. I started everyday out fresh and really tried to be very patient. This all helped but was very emotionally and physically draining. He is not so much alot of the hyperactive part, he gets very angry over little things, lots of meltdowns and very verbally and physically agressive, very impulsive with choices when he does not get his way or gets put in timeout. He also has ODD, I think. This just stinks, I told the psychologist I needed to know where we were going with our sessions because we would just talk about his behavior in front of the therapist and that was doing no one any good. So I begged him to help us pinpoint what is going on with him, so we can be on the road to fixing or helping him. It's really stressful on our whole family. I am finally at the point where I know it's not my parenting anymore. We did parenting classes, all the positive reinforcement from the psychologist and reading a book about strong willed children. I am a good, loving parent who wants to help my child. Now, that we are discussing ADHD, I just can't help to feel that I don't want my child labeled and I want to find another way other than meds to help him, even if it kills me. Sorry this is so long, but this is the first time I am spilling my guts and trying to find some answers fast before he starts school. I would be happy to know if your children are on meds, how they react to it, what it is and if you are happy with your decision. I have read several things about death and damage to the heart from long term medicating. I am so scared I can't even sleep, but at the same time, I can't sleep because I am trying to figure out how to have a happy home and help my family. It's not a good sitution. The timeouts end up in restraint and lots of yelling. Not good for my daughter to be hearing. It breaks my heart. Any suggestions would be very helpful. Thank you so much, and I am so glad there is a place where people can relate.

  43. My son is 14 and has borderline ADHA (according to the school psychologist) we have not decided yet to give him medication. My husband has been opposed to it, however, the level of involvement from us to just get him thru the school year may warrant it: the many hours of study, practice tests, reminders, organizing, etc.
    My biggest issue with him during these summer months is the amount of time he spends on X-Box Live. He seems almost addicted to it. I hate to take it away because he is in summer school and doing well there. This is his reward, however, the arguments that ensue whenever a time limit is set or other activities are suggested are very stressful. Does anyone else have this issue with computers, video games, or other "electronic stimulation"?

  44. Dear anonymous who posted on July 15. We are all in this together, those of us whose family lives are impacted by ADHD. And we do manage to get through it with creativity and humor and even the tears. Take care of yourself too.

  45. I have an 11 year old twin with ADHD. He is given all the supports he needs, yet nothing is perfect. Thank you to the person who confirmed that his maturity level is about 3 years behind. I am considering starting a support group in my area, but do not want the whole neighborhood to know he has ADHD..(although it's probably pretty obvious in school). How do other people handle disclosure to others? Do you feel comfortable being open to other parents? I only confide with one or two very good friends.

  46. My 14 year old son was diagnosed at age 9. He is an honor roll student. Thomas is very defiant and lazy at home. His teachers have said that he is very well behaved at school. How can this be? He refuses to do chores even after I remind him repeatedly. Please help. I am so grateful for this site. Thanks

  47. I can tell you that Ive had the same issues to deal with my son (classes, credits, etc.), well quite, except for I have ADHD as well, and both of us go through College courses to take over and over for days until due date; we make notes and compare them often but we exhaust ourselves in the process. We make this experience like we are ONE, and that is good = we work as a team. At least that is how I see things, especially because as an ADHD survivor my main goal in life is to help my children and their things are the goals I meet. Like, for example, I went back to College for them. Before I set this goal I could not get myself to decide what to do with my ever=changing life. Sometimes I think this was pitiful, and sometimes I think this was altruistic. Nowadays I am taking medication (started)and I have learned to love myself due to the fact that I have found answers to the way I have been all my life. I understand that I need to meet goals for myself as well. I STILL DO THINK THAT MY MAIN GOAL ARE MY CHILDREN though.

  48. Hi Everyone,
    Photos are great! Since many of these children are so visual, photos make the point when all the nagging in the world doesn't. I've used photos too. Thank you Mama of Troy.

  49. Dear Anonymous of 7/20/09

    I was in your shoes. Blake was extremely active and impulsive and literally flying around the house. Since his ADHD is at the high end of the spectrum, I knew that medication had to be part of his treatment plan. He was diagnosed at 5 years old.

    I understand that you are fearful of your child being labeled. My first article for the upcoming August issue of Attention Magazine deals with how parents feel when their child is first diagnosed and how to talk to a very young child about ADHD. On one hand, ADHD has its troublesome aspects, but on the other, with proper treatment and parenting, young people can learn how to manage the ADHD and excel with it! Just keep reading.

    Also, realize that things are going to get more complicated when your child goes to school – lots of children and stimulation. Transition periods are especially difficult for these children. Regarding your question about medication, both Blake and Madison have been on medication for many years, and they have responded wonderfully. I also have their health checked regularly. There are many choices, now, including non-stimulant medications and stimulant medications.

  50. If we allowed him, my 15 year old son would spend all his time on Xbox live or on other technologic pursuits. This takes the place of a social life, esp. during the summer. My biggest problem is how a parent assists a child in connecting with others when he is so immature that boys his own age don't give him the time of day. Ideas anyone?

  51. We have struggled for 9 years (5 years knowing the diagnosis and 4 years with medication). We are exhausted. Our 14 year old son is smart, witty, and an excellent voracious reader -- for which we feel blessed. However, he cannot convert any of that energy into achievement in school or contribution at home. When we study with him, keep on top of him with homework assignments, he gets some of the best grades in the class. He seems unable to start or finish anything at home without constant reminders or nagging from us. And with the enormous time involved, then our own abilities to do our day jobs and keep the household running suffer. We have no balance in our lives. We more frequently are becoming angry and resentful because we see so little effort or motivation on his part. When we step back, his grades slide into failure quickly. His chaos becomes our chaos.

    How can we sustain the undivided, one-on-one attention that he seems to need or crave to succeed? It is not a formula for future success or autonomy. Sometimes we feel manipulated and that he expects us to rescue him. We repeatedly tell him we are not asking for perfection, just effort.

    Looking for light at the end of the tunnel.

  52. To Susan since she asked me to respond and of course anyone else that would like to read!

    Susan asked:
    May I ask what specific accomodations your son has at school that have been helpful. I too feel overwhelmed dealing with school issues.

    MY RESPONSE: Chris has many accomodations for his learning disability and ADD. He is 15 and in high school and I have fought for his accomodations since he left his private LD school after 5th grade and entered public school
    They are:
    -test read aloud (if he wants)in a separate settintg.
    -all key words for exams underlined or bolded
    -extra set of books at home (preferanly on CD)
    -copies of all study guides completed by the teacher at least 3 days before any test
    -test chunked page by page and handed to him page by page.
    -large projects have frequent check-ins to make sure he is doing it approriately.
    -exempt from taken a foreign language. Colleges said to put that on there, so they don't question why he is not taken one. (For Gods sake he can barely comprehend the English language!!)
    -type any projects
    required to take only one exam per day during midterms and finals

    I hope this helps Susan and others!

  53. Cathy states:
    Thank you Nadine for this blogging site. I like these other parents-they are going through what I am going through. Good to have the teens discussed/represented here.

    I have a 15 yr old daughter-on meds since 2nd grade (xbox problem-I get) and our 19yr old son in college, who "grew out" of ADHD, but still has lingering organizational troubles.

    My daughter starts a charter High School in less than a week, and I'm trying to stay positive. New experience-New school out of our area, willing to drive so she gets away from the awful students from Middle School. Big Picture school. (bigpictureonline.org).

    My trouble with daughter is her awful yelling and emotional reactions to my husband and I. Very disrespectful and always feels like she can have the last say in everything. I don't know what is teenage stuff and what is her need to create drama and "stimulation" in her life/adhd driven.

    All I know is I react to her as I would anyone: anger and frustration. I'm thinking I need to react to her from-this is her disorder talking-not a biligerant child or from bad parenting. Seems to me she should have some control over it though.

    Her friends even tell her, "listen to your Mom, Kaitlyn"- or "come on, lets go do what your Mom told you to do"

    You think family couseling would help? I'd like to find a therapist that knows ADHD in and out. How do you go about finding one in the local area?

    One thing that happened in school maybe can help others: Daughter met criteria for county mental health services (ie: free counseling)through her Emotional disturbance reason for her IEP's. It only took 6 years to learn of that one!

    Also county school districts usually have special ed support to ensure that kids are getting services-they are willing to review records and make report back to school-they even attended her IEP and was very helpful for us. (that was how I learned about county mental health support).

    Anyone can respond, thank you. Good to know we are not alone in this.

  54. Dear Anonymous from 8-1: I know what you are going through. By the end of middle school, I decided to let daughter suffer the consequences,honestly for my mental health, but by then the teachers wouldnt let her fail. They would find a way within her accomodations to help her get by. before that, I was frazzled from trying to help her (and getting yelled at every night from her-we would butt heads continually over helping her with school-that didnt help)and I felt like I must look like a crazy parent, asking for help communicating with teachers re: headsup on assignments,etc. Even her sp ed teacher at one back to school night told me I should probably let her fail. couldnt believe that. worked around her and got outside school help needed. Had a counselor that we paid much money to help get a plan and he actually came into the iep and we accomodated "no hw at all". it was "too stressful", then daughter wanted to do the "nrml" things and desired to do hw,but I would threaten to take that away if it got too bad...so that is how she got back into hw, because she didnt want to be the odd man out.(I found counselor through CHADD meetings-had to stop-we got up to paying near 1,000 by the end of that). So all of this took years of ups and downs. We made it, you will too. She has emotional scars of being the blacksheep of the school unfortunately.(mild asperbergs-did care as much as others about how she presented herself-and yes, she is consistantly about 2-3 yrs behind maturity). I could respond/commiserate with all of you/but will try to keep just to helpful ideas.
    RE: resistant to starting meds: Listen, we were ALL in your shoes. Esp for the kids that are not on the high spectrum of ADHD, it is a LEAP OF FAITH. One way I look at meds for this: it's to keep their grades up and therefore, self esteem-esp before middle school- their percieved ability to have success in school directly mirrors their success in life. and if we can keep them from failing by help of meds, I think that is very important.Plus these meds have been around much much longer than most meds your own parents are on. they are also short acting/short half life so you dont have to deal with long term side effects. Its a pretty safe bet and you get alot of help from it.
    But I know your fear. Even had my own parent stick the stupid media articles under my nose re: "putting your child on speed",etc. We just had to get her a little more "educated"-thank you CHADD meetings.:)

  55. Msummers: I feel the same way. My son who is 10 constantly argues with me. I sometimes say: Counsler, I object, because he sounds like a lawyer arguing his point. I have to admit, they do have brillant insights at times. I am constantly telling him to slow down (his speech). His teachers always make contact with me because his homework is forgotten, or not written down. I even made a check list in his homework pad to check off all the books he will need so he can put them in his back pack. He doesn't have the hyperactivity part but he 100% has the attention deficit. I constantly tell him that this is his responsibility and I will not write the teacher a note because he forgot his homework. He was constantly in for recess because of this. I bought him a timer, to race against time to finish his "Do Now" assignments in the classroom, and this helped a little. He had to challenge himself against time, and this helped somewhat.

    I dread school starting again. I hate to admit it but I feel like I don't have a life when school starts. This year I bought him his own calendar and he will have to write assignments that are due. It feels good to know people are going through the same things.

    I don't remember when I was young so many kids with this problem. Does anybody else?

  56. quote: "I even made a check list in his homework pad to check off all the books he will need so he can put them in his back pack."

    This is where creative thinking comes in, and using it to figure out things that they can do later in life too!

    We've made arrangements with the school to have a complete set of text books at home so that we'll be removing that part of the process. One less thing to worry about for everyone, one less aggravation for everyone when it's discovered that the needed books are missing!

  57. Wow.....I can't begin to describe how similar all our experiences have been. Amazing.

    Would love to hear from people with kids with ADHD and playing xBox.

    Do you restrict their access to it during the school week? Ban it on school nights?

    Our child will literally play all day and night if we let him.

  58. x box, PS2, Wii - our son would also play day and night if we let him, so you're not alone.

    This is how we've learned to handle games in our home and it took some time to get there. We limit the amount of time that he can play to 1 hour. During the week when school is in session, he has to finish whatever (dinner, homework, practicing an instrument) first before playing a video game.

    When we first started limiting his time, he threw really bad fits - outrages actually. We tried giving him warnings before the time was up to help him with the transition but that didn't really help either. He doesn't understand consequences too well in general but this was a place where we calmly explained that if he wanted to play video games, he needed to learn how to shut if off when it was time nicely or he wouldn't be allowed to play. He had to loose the privledge several times but he did, learn with our help, how to shut it off without throwing a fit.

    We have found however, that if we for whatever reason deviate from the 1 hour playing time, he regresses back to throwing fits. For him, consistency is so important.

    I don't know if this helps at all, but it has made a tough part of our day more manageable for us.

  59. I am new to this blog, but stumbled across it looking for some insight concerning my 16 yr old son. He is ADHD & dyslexic. He has learned to cope in school fairly well, but we always have the highs and lows. Those weeks that he slumps down into some cave somewhere and just checks out of participation. Then,there are the OMG I am failing moments, and he rises to the occasion, and comes out smelling like a rose - having learned nothing from the near failure. He has had his share of failures too, as I have learned to let him fail. He is my oldest, and like alot of ADHD kids, he is extremely slow to mature, physically and emotionally. He breeds chaos amongst his three younger siblings, is egocentric to the nth degree, and often plays the part of the victim, when things don't go his way. Right now (and what I need some advice with) is how to correct/discipline a near 17 yr old boy. He is 5'7" and 130 lbs. His father is 6'4"..so he is on his way to becoming a giant like his dad. Everything is a conflict with him, a quest for control. It is more than typical teenage boy stuff...I think because of the anti-social tendencies and the emotional and social immaturity. He does have a pool of friends, no close friends. He has always preferred adult company. Basically, he runs on adrenaline..24/7. He tries to run the whole family and chaos erupts within, if he doesn't get some type of control. This is really hard - HOW DO I TEACH HIM SELF CONTROL, INTEGRITY, and SELF DISCIPLINE?? I have taken EVERYTHING he loves away from him at one point or another - grounding is torture to me and my other kids..as he finds ways to annoy and disrupt...obviously to punish me for punishing him. I know his behaviors are not AGE appropriate....I just don't know what else to do with him. He is a good hearted kid, and there are really no hardships in his life...we are a family and other than this - we have great relationships. HELP.

  60. My son is not allowed to play x-box on school nights. I limit him on the weekends too. It is amazing how good he is at it though. He beats the game in 1-2 days.

  61. I am a fifty year old adult with ADHD. When I was a child ADHD wasn’t heard of. I remember my mother telling me that the only reason someone doesn’t get good grades in school is because they are lazy or the are mentally challenged. I also remember how hard I tried to understand the lessons and on a good day I might get C’s. This lead to depression because I believed my mother and I knew I wasn’t lazy because I knew how hard I tried. For years I thought I was mentally challenged and lead my life that way. When I was finally diagnosed with ADHD I did a little research and I found that there are many very prominent people in the world that also are ADHD and that ADHD is not a form of retardation but rather a gift that if properly harnessed can lead to great thing in life. Without the med’s to be so called normal I have learn to use the unique brain quirk though that may make it hard for me to see the minute detail allows me to see the bigger picture that no one else seem to see or understand. I dropped out of high school I do not advocate that by any means for I went back 6 years later and got my H/S diploma. I took a little college but never graduated. With this I was able to complete 21 years in the Navy, Successfully work in the field Nuclear Physics, Aeronautics, Radio Frequency (Radar), and Laser. I have been a chef, and manager, an instructor, a technician, a field Engineer, a support Engineer, a technical writer, and an evangelist/pastor. I have written thousands of pages of technical manuals and training courses, an co-founded Bless Hope Outreach ministries Int’l., Inc. and currently working on a book of man’s voyage from God and back again. My greatest achievement in this world in being a man deeply in love with his wife for over 29 years, and the father of the most beautiful daughters in the world (one of which is ADHD). Our uniqueness is a gift (my family and I call it a super power) but it needs to be controlled and used properly. The person with ADHD can not stand alone for the details will get us but neither can the person that is so detailed oriented that they can’t see the big picture and there is no one that can do both. People are all one, all the other or some of each. For those with ADHD and the parents of those with ADHD understand that this is not a defect but a very unique gift which requires a life time of management skill learning and what works with some will not work with all. And finally drugs are not the answer, the word’s of a very successful CEO with ADHD this is who I am why would I want to be “normal” like everybody else.

  62. Thank you to everyone for sharing your experiences. One bit of humor - reminders of brushing teeth are frustrating; reminders to a teenager to use deodarant and change underwear are just plain awkward!

    I wanted to ask if anyone has used a tutoring service/product that claims to teach/improve attention, visual and auditory learning and organization for ADHD kids. I live in the Pittsburgh area and have been looking into an organization called "Total Learning Centers" for my son. I would appreceiate any positive or negative feedback regarding programs that do or do not work for ADHD issues.

  63. School supplies for Halloween. While shopping in August for school supplies I buy extras of the trendy supplies that are on sale at great prices and save them for Halloween. The neighborhood kids love getting school supplies instead of candy and that is one less job I have to do in October when life is busy. The kids really love the mini-staplers and stickers and fancy paper clips are also a hit.

    No candy in the house to tempt mom and the neighborhood kids now wait to see what I will have for them this year !

  64. Dear Anonymous of August 20 who said "...I have taken EVERYTHING he loves away from him at one point or another - grounding is torture to me and my other kids..as he finds ways to annoy and disrupt...obviously to punish me for punishing him"
    Remember: QTIP!!! Quit Taking It Personally- I would assume that his need to punish you is just typical ADHD behavior of constantly craving that 1-on-1 interaction.
    Have you tried positive reinforcement? It takes a lot a lot of practice and sounds ridiculous at times, but it does work. Remind him of his positive traits as often as possible. One day I was leaving for work after an abnormally hectic morning routine for all of us and my son (11)was acting out, so I took a deep breath and kissing him and hugged him and whispered "Mommy loves you and you're a good boy" He was very suprised and did not forget it....atleast for a little while...:)

    Any back to school suggestions??

    Here's one:
    In lieu of the typical agenda book with tiny lines not designed for those with large horrible handwriting, I bought a journal type book. Every night after I check it over with my son, I write the date for the next day. He fills it in with the class and assignments and is able to use as many lines as he needs.
    Another hint that I found somewhere (?!) was to color-code the notebook and text for each class. This should make life easier for those students who never seem to have the correct notebook and/or text.

    ps- I am a junior high language teacher.
    Feel free to pick my brain...

  65. I have ADD. I didn't really know what to call my "differentness" until about six years ago. I'm in my early 40's now. I am married and my non-ADD husband is so fed up that he's talking about moving out and getting divorced, in order to reduce the chaos that stems from living and sharing finances with me. We have a 9-year-old daughter. I think she exhibits signs of ADD.

    She has a very strict teacher this year. She is about a quarter of the way through 4th grade. This teacher is fair - treats all the kids the same - but is VERY strict, very no-nonsense, and very willing to loudly correct, in front of the entire class, any of her students' misconduct. I'm worried that this teacher will do more harm than good. I'm worried about my daughter's self-esteem.

    Mama of Troy is right. Hugs work better than you'd expect. Positive reinforcement is the way to go.

    The more resistance/anger/frustration/intolerance I show my daughter, the more resistance she shows me. It's just in her nature. I witnessed this pattern with her when she was as young as three years old. It's just how she's wired. Tough love does not work. It just makes things worse. Kindness, patience, tenderness are the tools that get her to cooperate, that make her do her best, that melt her resistance.

    All that to say...I don't think a strict teacher is going to be good for her. Yes, she needs to work on being responsible for daily duties, yes it's time she started growing up a little, but embarrassing her when she stumbles is NOT the way to help her reach her goal of being more responsible. It's just going to introduce her to the world of feeling ashamed, of feeling less-than, of feeling like she just can't get her act together. I do not want to reinforce that in her. I think this is the year where her self-esteem is very vulnerable, with a teacher like this. I'm really worried about it. Plus, my daughter used to enjoy school. She had great teachers who were kind and nurtuging. Now she does not want to go to school. She drags out the morning routine. She says she doesn't feel well. She says she hates here teacher. She doesn't want to go to school. It tears at my heart to see her spiral downwards in her attitude. I asked her to name something that she really liked, that she could have as a treat when she gets home after school, something to brighten her day, something she could look forward to so that all the grief she was dealing with in the classroom day after day after day would be more tolerable, would be worth suffering through. So far, she has asked for ice cream cones. No problem! She plays soccer, she really hustles and tries her best, she is in dance...she is active enough that I'm willing to let her have an ice cream treat if it makes getting through the day a little more bearable.
    My husband thinks that having a strict teacher is good for her. A lot of people hold the opinion that this will help her learn how to deal with people she doesn't like. I'm not so sure. I'm worried that it will simply teach her to feel badly about herself. I'm worried she'll slip into a state of melancholy or depression. It definitely will not help her self-esteem. Even when she triumphs, the teacher is so luke-warm that I can see the disappointment in my daughter's face. I guess my position is that some of us DO need to hear "Atta-girl!" to keep going, and not having it doesn't teach you to not need it. I do MUCH BETTER at work (and I have a very strong work record and a very well-paid job and career path that I've been successful in for over thirteen years now) when I have someone willing to say "Atta-girl" to me. I just respond really well to positive feedback. Why is that such a bad thing? Why should it be good for that to be denied to a kid?
    I know I sound like a softie. Okay, I am a big ol' softie. But does that make me wrong? Maybe. My husband certainly thinks I'm wrong. But the truth is, for some people, pain does not guarantee gain. Pain just means...pain.

  66. Dear Gudnuff,
    Your letter hit home. I feel for you with your situation with your husband. My husband was very similar and for a long while refused to even mention my son's ADHD. He was against medication and also wanted to take a hard line. I made him take a CHADD parent-to-parent course with me where we had many "AHA" moments. If he is against this, then print out articles showing similarities and leave them about the house. One thing that I learned is that if my husband didn't want to hear it from me, he was not averse to hearing it/reading it elsewhere!

    More importantly, regarding your daughter: I'm assuming that she has not been diagnosed nor been through the battery of psychological tests that the school district can do. You need to first talk to your pediatrician, school social worker, school psychologist. Anyone of them can give you info on getting your daughter diagnosed. The sooner you do this, the better. Once she has a diagnosis you must speak to the school's psychologist/principal about having her tested. This testing takes a while, but is WELL worth it. From this testing, you will garner valuable information about how your daughter's brain works and will be able to work with the school to help her in any way possible. She may/may not have a learning disability which would qualify her for many school services or a 504 plan which also allots testing/classroom modifications. B/T/W- a classroom teacher is mandated to follow these modifications.
    Re: the classroom teacher. My son had a teacher like that when he was very young and it did not work well at all for any of us. Continue rewarding your daughter, she's too young for the "everyone has to learn how to deal with difficult people" speech. If you have spoken candidly with the teacher about this and this impatience continues, I would speak to the principal and any other higher up until you are satisfied.
    YOU are your child's best advocate. Atta-girl! Now, go have ice cream (or wine!).
    Best of luck~

  67. I think too many kids have ADHD or ADD or whatever you want to call it because we spend too much time making decisions for our kids. We also can't get them to pay attention for 5 seconds because they are on stimulation overload from ipods, tv, video games, cell phones, etc. If everyone spent more time outside being physically active and "doing" instead of sitting around having it done, there wouldn't be so much of this nonsense. This certainly wasn't a big problem when I was a kid 25 years ago. Oh...that's right, I didn't have a computer, the internet, a cell phone, multiple TVs, thousands of video games to choose from, and parents that didn't spend time with me. Pills don't fix the problem. You need to fix the problem. Sorry to be anonymous but I don't want to create an account just so everyone can get excited. But I can sign it...not taking the easy way!

  68. my 7yr old son was diagnosed with an expressive language disorder and ADHD (although the adhd added at the last second of the report). He is awesome. So handsome, knows what's "up" in the world of Cool :) but I worry so much for him. I have put off exploring medication, because he is doing "ok" in school. Last year in Kindergarten, he was at the bottom of the class. This year, it's a better mix of kids so I feel like he feels doing ok and ok about the level of pressure he takes on. Regardless, he hates school. We are full-time working parents so he attends the schools' aftercare program 3x per week (along w/ his brother one year behind him with NO signs of ADHD or learning issues). He hates the aftercare program too. He does well socially, other kids really like him. He just acts like he doesn't like anything and breaks down about the most ridiculous things (like his brother brushing by him with his hand means he hit him intentionally). He always has to win, is gifted in sports.... came in 2nd place in a little local triathlon he just got thrown into, but is never excited about going to practices or games and clearly is just going thru the motions. He likes art but is really one-dimensional, obsesses about a topic like Pokeman, Bakugan, etc. All of this could just be his age though!
    My instinct tells me he needs some meds to assist w/ his mood and focus but I'm scared to death to make the decision. What if it doesn't help and then we make him go thru a lot of weirdness for nothing!?
    I have a friend that said that she was so nervous about meds or so long and once she did it, she then ended up feeling guilty for not having pulled that trigger sooner (she waited til her son was in highschool) appears to be so borderline that I feel like I'm creating something that's not that bad if I formally address it. any insights???

  69. To Anonymous (November 6, 2009)

    I am stunned at your comments. I am not sure why you decided to post your uninformed opinion on this site. You obviously don't know the first thing about ADHD or the humanity & heartache behind the letters. We, as parents, work hard to limit our son's access to the internet, computer, video games, tv, etc.. He (like many other children with ADHD) is quite involved in activites outside of the house (karate, baseball, chorus, Boy Scouts) which either my husband or I participate along with him. We are an active family who loves to travel and learn. I agree, pills don't fix the problem, but they help our son to stay focused and on task so we can teach & guide him. If I was "taking the easy way out", I would do nothing to help my son become a loving, productive and responsible member of his community.

  70. Beautifully stated....thank you!

  71. Your son Blake's book just arrived today and it is exceptional. You are very proud, I'm sure. He writes from the perspective that we need to hear from. Finally! Thank you for guiding him to guide others. I'll finish the book and have listed it on my new blog site. Blessings, Charlotte

  72. I just happened upon this blogging site. I have never blogged before, but I am very worried about my 15 year old son. He has ADHD, and is on Concerta. This is the medicine that has proven to work the best for him. We have tried several different meds since he was 6 yrs. of age. My concern is that he is currently failing 3 of his classes. He is in the 9th grade, and may have to repeat it. I know he can do better. My husband and I have tried everything we can think of. We have went to meeting at school. We are constantly communicating with his teachers. We ask him about having homework, and he almost always tells us he doesn't have any. Yet, when we go on the school/grades website we see he has not turned in assignments. I offer to help him with homework too, but he still does not repond. The only reason I can get from him is, he says "I was just being lazy." My husband and I are always telling him the importance of bringing up his grades. I have told him that it is not enough for me to want it for him, he has to want it for himself. Then there is the issue of him being violent. He lashes out sometimes. He always has since he was very young. It is only once in awhile. Most of the time he is a very sweet fun loving kid. To the point where he does not behave like that around stangers, his teachers, or even his peers. He just starts kicking and slamming/breaking things. We he was younger he would bite, kick, and break things. Recently, he was kicking and acting violently, and my husband restrained him. He was of course jerking, and trying to get away. My husband was afraid to let him go, fearing he would hurt himself or someone else. So, I was trying to talkt o him, and tell him that if he calmed down he could release him. So, he did in fact calm down. My husband had picked up our son's play station, and walked out of him room. My husband was walking ionto our bedroom, when I seen our son go up behind his father, and punch him in the back of the head! To make a long story a little shorter, much later after getting our son back to the house from him runnin off, I ask him why he had done this. He said he did it because after his dad had let him go, he noticed a small bruise on his wrist where his dad had been restraining him. I told him I did not like that he had a bruise, but he had bruised his wrist from yanking and fighting to get away. Our son would not hear what I was saying. He insisted that his dad had done it, which is most definety not the case. Getting hurt is what his dad, and I want to prevent from happening. Then to make matters worse, our son started texting a girl friend from his school. He told her that his dad had hurt him, and left a bruise on him. He was telling her his dad had done it on purpose! She ask why I let his dad do that. He told the girl, that I (his mother) am a b*tch. He was horrified that I read his text, and invaded his privacy. I was horrified that he would make such horrible accussations! I as you can tell am very frustrated, and upset at this situaion. I am unsure of what to do, or where to go from here. His father and I have grounded him, and taken everything away from him. This includes his cell phone, tv, his ipod, the computer except for school and when being monitored, the only time he is allowed to see any of his friends is at school. Does or has anyone else ever been through a situation like this? I love him more than anything else in this world. I am terribly afraid of things getting worse.