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Parents of ADHD Children

ADHD feels so isolating

My son is 5 years old and was diagnosed with ADHD & ODD a year ago.  My husband and I see things very differently.  I chose to try medication with my son after an exhausting year of trying many other options. Medication has brought sanity to not only my son but to our family.
It is coming up on a year with medication and I am starting to feel that old uncomfortable feeling of friends/family judging my parenting techniques.  It seems that with my son we have good days and bad days. There is always the questionable time around 4pm. However, right now we seem to be in the hard time: more difficulty transitioning,  verbal outbursts, more defiance, overall a time where being in public is difficult. 
I want to feel that friend/family is a safe place to go for bbq and gatherings in the evenings but I am not feeling that right now. I feel like they want me to ‘control’ my son. My husband even turned on me saying our son only acts out when I am around. He is the last person I needed to turn on me. I am feeling like my corner is empty.
I was a SAHM with my son for the last 5 years. I have been the primary care parent with him. Once he started kindergarten last year, I got a part-time job at his school. I am the one the pursued a diagnosis,  I am the one that tried supplements, sensory techniques,  enrolled in positive parenting classes, work with the school and my son’s teachers to maintain consistency across the board, reads books about ADHD and seeks information online. My husband thinks that ‘old school’ parenting is what he needs. Everything I read and have been told by the professionals is that yelling and spanking your ADHD/ODD child will only make it worse. I, instead, have opted to find other ways for disciplining.  This is done with charts, rewards, role playing situations that have been difficult for a different outcome, talking through how to right a wrong, apologize to people… i am exhausted.  What works now my not work next month. With a 5 year old brain that is constantly growing and changing so do the techniques I use.
I don’t want to feel isolated. I don’t want to feel judged as a parent. I don’t want to feel alone.
I want to support my son. I want to teach my son how to self regulate. I want my husband, friends and family to respect and acknowledge how hard I am working on my son. I want my husband,  friends and family to try to understand that my son is not your typical 5 year old. He may need to be raised differently than your children without ADHD were raised.
Can anyone relate to any of this?
Thank you


Yes ma’am.  Absolutely

You want to be able to live and breathe and be able to go to places where you dont have to walk on eggshells.

You also want to be valued as a person, and for doing so much hard work without an obvious and tangible payoff.

I had similar issues with my husband.  He knew I did all the homework and was working sooooo hard to get us in a better place (my son, our entire family) and yet he sometimes didnt support me, sometimes disagreed with me in front of our child, etc. etc
We went into family counseling for adhd support but also everthing that came with it and all the things we had issues with regardless of adhd.  It was and is so beneficial.  We had to find te right doctor, which is hard- but we were lucky!  Someone who really underatands adhd, is action oriented, and each of our family of 4 loves the doc in our own way. 

About 6 months ago my husband told me that he was going to follow my lead on adhd.  He sd “you do all the reading and work, and I trust you”. I felt valued and I think it created some breathing room in our family dynamics/marriage. 

I understand what you are going through and how hard it is.  Start a blessings journal.  stay clear on what your top priorities are so that you dont get overwhelmed.  Get up and do it all again day after day.

Posted by momtodom on Jul 27, 2014 at 2:17pm

We can probably all relate to some degree. Parenting an ADHD, as much as they try to spin it differently, is hard.

I have one of those Pinterest pictures to remind me… It says: “Will it be easy? Nope. Will it be worth it? Absolutely.”

Posted by Rai0414 on Jul 27, 2014 at 5:35pm

Yes, it all applies to some degree.  I don’t have a husband to consult, but I do get judged by others, like my brother, whom we are very close to.

I stick by my guns, let them know my boys are not “neurotypical” and make sure they are medicated for family get-togethers.  I also coach my kids beforehand on what is expected to happen, and what their behavior should be.  This will get better as your son matures, but it’s the long haul.

Check to make sure your sons meds dosage is still working.  I have to sit and really think about this periodically to bring it into focus for me.  Also, summers are harder without the structure and routine of school.

Lastly, if there is one article to get anyone to read, it is Consumer Reports on ADHD.  A source that is known and trusted by many.  Good luck and hang in there!  You are not alone!

Posted by Pdxlaura on Jul 27, 2014 at 6:20pm

Hang in there. It gets better over the years. My son is 15 and things are better in terms of the behaviors and sensory integration stuff. I did all those things you talk about too, by myself. My husband didn’t disagree, he just left it all to me. You may see if there is a support group in your area to get some additional help for yourself. With my son’s medication it typically wears off around 4:00, it gets very moody and I know to leave him alone then. Sometimes if it is an issue for you, the doctor can provide an additional med to help those wear off periods. Your son is so young, you may not want to do that, but I know it is done sometimes.I know with my son the “rewards” system was always very positive to get good behavior out of him. It sounds like you are doing all the right things. It can be exhausting so be sure to get support through this group and others.

Posted by E's Mom  on Jul 27, 2014 at 7:41pm

You are doing the right thing and do not second guess yourself!  It took me a long time to realize that other people’s opinion, attempt at control and comments say more about them than they do about your son or your parenting.  My son was diagnosed in first grade.  I am a single mom and have done everything myself, made all the decisions, etc.  which is sometimes good and sometimes not so good.  He is now 15 and he is wonderful.  Of course there are struggles and challenges but I would tell you to invest your time and energy becoming knowledgeable about 504’s and IEP’s and your school system.  Do not think that they are going to do everythig for your son that they should do. You need to be a strong advocate for him as that is where you will see alot of the challenges played out. They will most likely fight you on everything as they don’t want to spend the money they get to help ADHD kids.  Plus most teachers and administrators don’t understand ADHD.  For example, when my son was in first grade and was ‘hyper’, they refused to let him have recess.  How effective is that decision for a child who can’t usually control their hyperactivity and needs recess to release their energy? 

My other piece of advice is to go to the webinars that ADDitude has and read, read, read all you can.  There are so many great articles and books.  And having a positive reward system works way better than punishment.  I still have setbacks on how I approach my son.  And I still get upset with him and we argue.  But rewards that are measureable and frequent work.  It will help reinforce your decisions.

If your son has an interest (sports, art, music) have him pursue that.  Most ADHD kids are often very creative and tapping into that will help him feel some success.
As he gets older and understands, I would find role models that are celebrities or successful business people who have ADHD.  If nothing else, it shows you that everyone can be successful.

Finally, find people who are in a similar situation as you.  I find that the people who don’t have ADHD kids really don’t know how to deal with it.  Remember, most kids are very bright; they just learn differently than the rest of us.  Good luck!

Posted by deerfield99 on Jul 28, 2014 at 12:56am
Posted by deerfield99 on Jul 28, 2014 at 12:56am

I totally feel your pain. But as others have said, it does get a little easier every year. Last year we finally added an afternoon dose to my son’s day. It has helped immensely with family life and getting homework done. I have also found that a low sugar high protein diet helps. This is hard when he has to eat lunch at school. I was packing him high protein foods to then find out that he
wasn’t eating much of it - and thus acting out more in class. I think I may have a talk with the lunch aids this year to see if they can update me on his food intake. I am looking into a counselor for him/us right now since it does cause much stress in our family - and my husband constantly compares my parenting technique to that of his sister who has children without ADHD. Hang in there!!

Posted by KDPilla on Jul 28, 2014 at 2:57am

I am writing this to you to let you know that you are not alone. You are not the only one who feels this way. My inlaws refuse to medicate my son when he visits. They blame me too because I am “the only one” who has trouble with him. They don’t realize that I am the only one who tries to do anything with him. They didn’t teach him to read or write or help him practice for the annual standardized achievement test. They don’t sit with him when he practices the cello or make sure he practices daily. They don’t take him to play practice or swimming lessons or church or any of that. All they do is blame me when he gets upset, REALLY UPSET because I ask him to do something he doesn’t like, but needs to do. Since he has been away from home or working midnights nearly my son’s (he is 9 going on 10) life, he just throws up his hands or gets upset with me when I am at my wits end and tries to come in and strong arm me into letting him take over. He doesn’t understand either. My son’s doctor get it and so does the therapist, but no one else. But still I keep going because my son is achieving. He is doing better than expected.

I wish you well. Take a break and get a therapist or go talk to your local minister, priest or rabbi. It helps.

Sue H in PC, Ohio

Posted by SueH on Jul 28, 2014 at 11:07am

Totally can relate to you on this one.  My husband fought me every step of the way when it came to treating our son and even acknowledging that he does have ADHD.  He kept saying, “all he needs is some exercise and he’ll be fine.”  Yes, the exercise does help but it’s only a small part of the problem.  I am the one who is monitoring his grades, emailing teachers to check in because the grades don’t tell the entire story, helping with homework, coaching him on how to interact with his peers, prompting him to use his checklists, and so on.  Dad is also ADD, so that is a problem in itself. 

As far as outings go, I evaluate the type of setting it is, the people who will be there, and I then set a time limit as to how long we will attend.  This is set before we leave home, so everyone understands and we don’t create a scene while trying to leave.  I also give the both of them a 30 minute advance warning before it’s time to leave.  For example, if we are going to an event that involves people that are not in our close circle, such as a get together for school or sports activities, I will limit our time to between 1 hour to 90 minutes.  I know my son better than anyone and I know his capabilities.  I know if he was in a bad mood, slept well the night before, etc. Better to have a pleasant, short outing than a longer one that turns into a scene where we leave on less than pleasant terms.  Perhaps you could try this approach with your son, and his reward for good behavior would be to add more time to the next outing?  Just a suggestion. 

I wish I understood why so many fathers (not all, but enough of them) do not want to be proactive when it comes to their children and ADHD.  Do they just think it’s a mother’s job to “handle” it, or is it admitting their children aren’t perfect?  This one has truly baffled me. 

The only real support I have is the folks on this forum, my son’s doctor, and his therapist.  Some of his teacher’s have been helpful but I find as we advance in the school system, that support is less and less.  Elementary teachers were much more helpful than middle school teachers. I have let a few close friends in on why my son behaves the way he does. I trust them to not be judgmental but that is not always the case.  Some even question the validity of his diagnosis! I tell them it’s due to his meds, therapy, and work with me that keep his behavior somewhat in check.

Thank goodness we have each other here! This group has truly helped me when I felt I had nowhere else to turn.  I wish you luck and strength and just keep loving that boy of yours.

Posted by Machelle B on Jul 28, 2014 at 11:38am

Naughty corner saved me!  The British superman my method.

Rewards are good for steering but if you need right away discipline nothing works better for an ADHD brain than naughty corner. I used it from about 4-8 with my daughter and haven’t had to since. It is firm and direct and a non-abusive form of discipline. You have to do it just right though or it backfires.

And remember he’s 30% behind developmentally so you don’t have a 6 year old, you have a 4 year old. Naps may still be needed. Even when my kids would no longer sleep I imposed quiet time for an hour in the afternoon. It allowed everyone to recharge and relax for a bit. But everyone home at the time has to have quiet time or it won’t work.

Posted by YellaRyan on Jul 28, 2014 at 4:57pm

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