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ADHD in Girls

Momma's girl, should I force her to attend sleepover?

My daughter who is 9 is going through, what I hope is a phase and doesn’t want to leave my side.  I have to lay next to her with her holding my hand for her to fall asleep, she says how much she misses me when I’m gone for only two to three hours, writes me sweet letters about how I’m always on her mind.  She has always been like this to an extent, but it seems it is getting worse the past few months. She was invited to a slumber party next weekend, and it’s very important to me that she has some friends to play with outside of school.  She doesn’t want to attend the sleep over because she said she will miss me and can’t sleep without me, no matter how much I try convincing her about how much fun it will be and how much she will be missing out on if she only goes for a few hours, she is still adement about not going and is telling me to please not make her do something she doesn’t want to do.  Not only will she miss me, but she has to have the room she is sleeping in quiet, dark and no t.v. so that would be pretty hard at a sleepover, but I also feel that she is missing out on making memories and long friendships because of this, what should I do?


I think she should go to the party, and you can pick her up around 11 or 12, so that she can still have fun, but not have the anxiety of sleeping over night. My 11 year old still has a hard time sleeping over at friends’ houses.

Posted by my2citygirls on Jan 21, 2014 at 8:49pm

If children with ADHD are functionally about 30% less than their age, then really you are dealing with a 6 year old, not a 9 year old.  My 9 year old daughter is very similar in that she is clingy and wants me to be with her all the time.

But I imagine it is pretty stressful to be surrounded by peers who are your same chronological age but you are going through such different stages - and remember a key component of ADHD is emotional awareness, and emotional control.  So what she is feeling to her probably feels pretty intense and she has no control over it.

I have found absolutely no success in trying to convince my daughter of anything!  This is defensiveness at its most subtle but basically she argues, thinks I’m wrong, crazy, stupid…  So I gave up on that tactic long ago.  Now I try to acknowledge how she feels if I can get a handle on it, or tell her straight out if I can’t.  This morning she was having such problems with her shoes and underwear being uncomfortable.  I said, I can see you are upset but I’m not sure why.  She still looks at me like I’m insane for not understanding but at least she tells me what’s wrong.  Much better than trying to convince her of something she just doesn’t feel.  So, if your daughter is feeling anxiety about the sleepover you trying to convince her “it will be alright” is not going to make her feel better only that you don’t understand her, and that is pretty stressful for a kid to think their parent does not understand them.

Options are good, you can work on them together in a non-stressful moment.  Like my2citygirls says you can give her the option of going to the party but not sleeping over, or maybe you bring her sleeping bag and give her the option of calling you if she feels to anxious, or not going at all.  But it has to be her call.

She will regret someday probably not having created these memories sure.  But you can’t fight through the symptoms in order to get her to a good place, if that makes sense.  You can’t make someone feel that everything is going to be alright if they are anxious.  Have you told her about sleepovers you had has a girl that were fun?  Maybe that could be your lead in to making some options for her to attend.

But whatever the options you have to be OK with them too.  So, if you are going to be irritated if she calls at 2 in the morning wanting to come home, it is better that you never offered that option because there is nothing more painful for someone having anxiety than the people around them feeling irritated about their anxiety.  I found this out with my husband!  It actually perpetuates anxiety and puts it on a hair trigger, actually makes room for more opportunity for anxiety because not only the event, but then anticipating your family’s reaction to your anxiety itself causes anxiety.  And that is no way to live.

I think we as parents worry so much about our ADHD child’s friendships because its been said for years that this is one of the worst results of the symptoms, and certainly it is.  But our anxiety about it is not going to make anything better.  Make opportunities for interaction available for your child and then get out of the way.  My daughter has done much better when I stopped hovering!

Posted by YellaRyan on Jan 22, 2014 at 12:11am

YellaRyan, some very good advice here!  Thank you very much for taking the time to write a response.  Sometimes I feel as thought I’m dealing with these symptoms all wrong, because I don’t understand alot of her feelings.  You are so right, I have a very difficult time convincing my daughter of anything as well, she won’t even get a haircut, simply refuses because she wants long hair.  I guess I never knew that kids this age function 30% less then kids their age, I knew she is more immature in alot of ways, but looking at it this way puts it into perspective.

I have not told her about sleepovers when I was a child, but I will, that is a great idea.  I do tend to to tryt o have her fight through her symptoms for her to be in a better place, I feel that if she is aware of them (if I point these things out to her when I see them) then she can try to stop the behavior, if it’s talking, interrupting, anxiety…etc. Maybe I’m causing more anxiety by doing that…:/

It’s very hard as a parent to not make every oppurtunity a teaching moment.  I also worry very much about the friend situation, and I go to her classroom and see all the girls in groups, laughing and talking and having fun and it makes me sad for her, but she doesn’t seem to concerned about being left out.  She does her own thing, she likes whats he likes, the outdoors, animals, swinging, bike riding…building things with sticks and rocks, she doesn’t like Barbies much or dolls,s he actually thinks girls ae boring and boys are more fun to play with, I guess I should just relax and let her be who she wants to be and accept her for that, right?!  Thanks again!

Posted by klsmidwestmom on Jan 22, 2014 at 1:16am

Encourage, reward, etc. Yes.

Force, no.

Posted by Dr. Eric on Jan 25, 2014 at 5:08am

I agree with all of the above, some very wise words there. I also have a nine year old daughter who has just been through a very clingy phase. She tends to regress, acting like a baby and being very clingy just before she has a leap forward in her development and suddenly seems more grown up. It is very exhausting for the parent, especially when you have been doing this for so long. I also think that my daughter is emotionally/behaviourally younger than other girls her age but in another sense much more grown up- she is a deep thinker. I am struggling quite a bit with accepting where’s she’s at, mainly because I’m worn out, trying to meet her needs and not meeting my own. it’s great that you’re there giving your daughter the reassurance and comfort she wants but at the same time are you needing a bit of a break? Could she have a sleepover with grandparents or an aunty which may be easier for her than with friends? If she is content with how she is and enjoys her own company then be glad!

Posted by Janeybee on Mar 23, 2014 at 2:05am

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