New Issue!

Spring 2017 Issue ADDitude magazine Read the 'ADHD Therapies That Work' issue now!

The New ADDitude Forums Are Live!

Reach our full community by posting to ADDitude's discussion forums here

Parents of ADHD Children

My son has suspected ADHD

Hi I’ve just joined but I was wondering if any of you would like to talk. My son has been suspected to have ADHD since 16months (when he could walk) but I knew there was something wrong before that as he was always a difficult baby but I just didn’t want to believe it. I was in denile but my partner (ex now) has ADHD amongst other disabilities. I guess I was just hoping my baby didn’t get it however he is 5 years old and I’ve been struggling for years. I’m at my witts end and don’t know what to do or where to turn. My child just won’t listen he will jump run climb and he doesn’t care if he hurts himself ,hurts children & adults runs off & into roads kicks scratches doesn’t listen tells me he hates me calls me names the school are finding it difficult even with a fulltime 1to1 teacher and everyday they call me in to tell me he’s done this he’s done that I just feel so depressed just really hope that I gain a few people I can talk to in similar situations. I have got in contact with the local ADHD service and I’m going to attend a support group but not really sure if this will help but if don’t know what else to do. Also all specialist are involved like paediatric, ed phyc, salt for his speech as he has a cleft palate. 

Thanks in advance


I know they are now diagnosing children early, but it sounds like your son isn’t even two yet. That’s pretty early to diagnose ADD. I knew something was going on with my son when he was four, but that was because he had the inattentive type and not the hyperactive type. That’s a little easier to spot, but four is still very early.

Still, there are things you can do that would help a baby with ADHD, but wouldn’t hurt him either.

First, you could make sure he gets zero TV or and Internet. No child under two should not be exposed to TV or Internet, but especially if you think he has ADD because TV exposure is associated with higher levels of impulsivity.

Second, you can put him on a high protein, low sugar, artificial dye free diet. Kids with ADD are especially sensitive to Red #1 and #40 and Yellows #5 and #6. You can also avoid the preservative sodium benzoate.

Routine is another thing that will reduce the effects of ADHD in a very young child. He should have a very strict nap and bedtime routine. A daily schedule will also help him a lot. You should also always give him a 5 minute warning to transition him between activities. For instance, you can say, “Ok. In five minutes, we are going to clean up and eat lunch.” Don’t spring things on him. Give him a warning.

Finally, you need to make sure that he gets lots and lots of fresh air and physical activity. This will help mitigate any hyperactivity and help him get lots of sleep. 

My suggestions aren’t sexy. They mean a lot of work for you, but they can help with ADHD symptoms in very young children and won’t hurt him if he doesn’t have it either. If he still has symptoms at four, you should definitely get him in to see someone, but until then, I doubt you can do anything.

I hope this is helpful to you.
Sue H in PC, Ohio

Posted by SueH on May 04, 2014 at 1:53am

Hi Natalie

Sorry to hear your story.  I am also new in this area so my suggestion for you is to 1) get professional opinion.  your son may have ADHD.. may have something more 2) continue educate yourself on ADHD.

To get professional opinion, you can go to your son’s doctor.  Since he is 5, he must be in pre-school or kindergarden.  If he is in pre-school, check with school district to see if they have any assessment process.  if your son is in public elementary school, talk to his school child psychologist. 

Of course, continue educate yourself is very important.  this website is great.  i also borrow a lot of book about ADHD from local library.  Like how to treat ADHD without medician.

personal, I also consider food diet and supplement too.

good luck.

Posted by Louisa_Leo on May 04, 2014 at 9:17am

Hi sue sorry my son is actually 5 nearly 6 years old I just knew from an early age there was something wrong. Sorry about confusion. I have also tried a lot of the things you talk about and do it naturally as I’ve been doing it for so long. I really am doing my best. Thanks..

Louisa - we are already in this process and are waiting for a meeting to be set up with the phycologist and paediatric amongst other people I just feel like it’s gotten so bad at home and wondered if anyone on here was in or are in this situation and leave me not feeling like I’m the only one. We hope for the paediatric and phycologist to assess him soon but I know it’s not gonna be overnight. I am also giving him omega 3 vitamins as the doc said fish oil might help with him. Everything is just a tempory measure really. Explored lots of avenues but he’s so strong and I just end up being attacked by him. Mostly what I’m scared of because as he grows he will get stronger and stronger and I’m scared of what he’s capable of. He does say stuff like ’ I’m gonna kill you so I can do what I want’ yes I understand he doesn’t mean it but still it hurts.
Thanks Natalie.

Posted by Nat-Riley on May 04, 2014 at 1:11pm


I encourage you to call your school district office and inquire about early intervention services. They will begin to work with him to start helping with his school experience.

Medication can help a great deal as well—it sounds like you are awaiting diagnosis to consider this.

Occupational therapy helped a great deal with hyperactivity in my son. That is something you can start now as well.

ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on May 05, 2014 at 5:10pm

Oh I know how exhausting it is! And I feel for you.  It is not easy when your child is ranting at you. 

But momma, you gotta grow a thicker skin.  Because the worst thing you can do to a child with ADHD is NOT be calm - and that includes being hurt when they yell at you and call you names and say hurtful things.  So, yes, it may always hurt - but you can’t show it.  And it sounds like your son may have anxiety or some other condition besides just ADHD, anxiety and ADHD go hand in hand, like ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder.  But whatever you find out he does or does not have you must be calm.

There are several reasons for this.  Normal childhood development for one - children need to understand that their primary care giver is stable so they can feel stable.  If he sees you upset, particularly when he is upset then who is his rock?  These are not thought processes going on in his brain but normal evolutionary understanding.  Children are dependent on an adult.  If their adult is stable and secure, they can feel stable and secure.  Add ADHD to that mix and you have a child, who at his age, is growing in his understanding that his brain does not work the way other kids do - this is destablizing, scary, and it itself can make him misbehave.  Add to that the experience that children with ADHD have which is a constant barrage from the adults around them telling them they are “wrong” - behaving wrong, doing their work wrong, expressing physicality wrong, thinking wrong… and you have more destablizing.

Understand that inside an ADHD brain are about 56 thoughts and stimuli coming at them at any given time and their brain has reduced ability to filter and prioritize.  Just imagine for a minute not being able to tune out the plane that is flying by, or the person who just walked by the window, or the kid picking his nose across the room.  Now you have a teacher telling you instructions and all these things and thoughts of your own are at the same “volume” - you cannot chose which one to pay attention to because even though you know you must you can’t.  That is an ADHD brain.

So you can see a little bit why it is so important that you - the most important person in the world - not add to this chaos with your own emotions and frustrations.  And I know it is hard, oh believe me, I was a screamer for about a year and a half because I was so frustrated, stressed, worried, exhausted.  But all it accomplished was making my ADHD daughter’s symptoms worse! Not to mention my ADHD husband’s symptoms worse!  So, while I understand that from where you stand it can sound a little pollyanna and a lot impossible, it’s not, and you can do it.

You have to be his ever approving soft place to fall - the one person who isn’t bothered by the way his brain works, the one person who loves him and thinks he’s great just exactly the way he is when he is behaving or even misbehaving.  So the way to get there, and you’ll find your own ways too is to,

1. stop judging and start observing.  Meaning, stop looking at his behavior and thinking he shouldn’t be doing that.  He is, it is reality, reality has to be dealt with not shoulds.  It is also the only way that you learn how your behavior influences him and how to get him to go the direction you want.  If you are wrapped up in worrying that he should or shouldn’t be doing something (judgment and feelings) then you are not noticing what triggered it - both from you and his surroundings, like the parent who noticed above that her child has a hard time behaving when hungry.

2. You have to learn more about what is going on in his head, about ADHD.  There are a ton of resources - get the newest because research is being added every day.

3. Find an expert on ADHD who will answer every single question you have, big, small, stupid, seemingly irrelevant, thoroughly.  This is probably (most likely) NOT going to be your pediatrician. 

4. Stop worrying about his future and start dealing with the reality of now.  Read: stop worrying.  It does neither of you any good and you need all your energy to handle the reality of now.  Worry is not reality, and it is a draining activity.

5. Redirect, redirect, redirect!  It works because it takes advantage of the way their brains work.  If he is heading towards misbehaving have him help you do something.  Don’t leave him to his own devices for more than half an hour at this age.  This will change in a few years, hang in there!  Get used to saying things like “LET’S go brush our teeth”.  You already know that ADHD children are not point and direct children.  You can’t hand out instructions and expect them to follow.  Again, if they were normal they “should” be able to follow instructions, but you are dealing with reality, and reality says they can’t.  So you have to assist them at this age with almost everything - but the good thing is as this is done with fun and togetherness it will create good habits in your child and habits are an ADHD person’s friend!  My daughter will be 10 on Tuesday - I spent the entire K year trying to get to out of the house on time by standing back and handing her instructions and every single day was stress.  But then I figured out we do things together and they just get done quickly and without stress.  Left to her own devices she’d be late to school every day.  She will now get her own clothes on most days but I have to be there or she won’t brush her teeth.  Some days she does it all, all by herself and we celebrate her good work.

If you don’t do it with good humor and fun then you will probably get pushback and resistence.  It is more work for sure.  My non-ADHD son has been getting ready, getting his own breakfast since K!  I can clearly see the contrast between the “should” and reality.  But we don’t have movie children who follow instructions willingly and politely (as much as some days I wish we did!) we have real children, with real issues.

Anything he will do on his own let him and don’t comment, just let him.  ADHD children (like all kids) have to experience mastery over their own world and their own bodies and lives, bit by bit, just like other children.  It is just that their bits take longer to come by, but they will, they will get there.  You just have to be more patient than the average mother.  And that is difficult.

6. Don’t listen to any other person about ADHD who does not have an ADHD child themselves or isn’t an ADHD researcher!  They are full of judgements and superiority and certainty that they would be able to handle it oh so much better than you are doing, and it is total BS.  No one understands this but people with it or people who deal with it daily.

I hope some of this is helpful.  I don’t mean to sound harsh if it does, I just aim to be straightforward and honest.

Posted by YellaRyan on May 05, 2014 at 10:37pm

Hi and thank you YellaRyan for taking the time to reply to me. We have had a really bad morning and once he went to school I just had to let it all out I cried and now I feel a little better.

It just feels like nobody wants to help but they are all quick on telling you what to do in regards to paediatric and family etc. It gets to me because my family are literally non existant and it’s because of my son because they will go visit my nieces/nephews but just bypass my house completely.

The one main thing I picked up on from your message is you telling me I need to keep calm and I know I need to do this it is hard but I am going to really try and start pushing and pushing and not backing down until he gets the help that he needs and we need because there is no way this can keep going on. I’ve been so strong for this long I must carry on. Like you said I’m his rock and without me nobody would be around for him.

I try do a lot of things with him like brush our teeth play games washing up reading books etc but it’s just like he’s just not himself like he’s running by a motor and he can’t stop. I really feel for him because I know he needs a lot of help but like I say nobody seems to want to help us. When he gets upset has a tantrum hitting kicking throwing things banging and trashing the house after he’s calmed down he does get upset and has started to say ‘I’ve had enough of this’ I asked ‘enough of what’ and he replies ‘fighting’. I told the paediatric that I think he needs meds and therapy (the right mix of the 2) she turns round to me and says that basically the meds won’t make everything better and it will be the same but I think she is trying to fob me off basically. I know there’s still hard work to be done but he really does need help with the hyperactivity and ittentiveness wich is what she said the meds help with.

I will get on the laptop and look up on anxiety and ODD you speak of and see if any of this relates. I’m also going to take him to the gp and see if there’s anything they can do if he has any of these conditions (gp usually useless though)

Thanks so much it is very useful to have people talk to me that have been in the same situation.

Posted by Nat-Riley on May 06, 2014 at 3:52pm

You really hit on the experience most of us have with our kids with ADHD, “It feels like nobody wants to help.” I have felt that for the past 5.5 years. I have fought tooth and nail, investing more hours than I can fathom, and I still run into opposition in the school, and teachers and administrators that think I exaggerate or want to much, because “it’s obvious you love him a great deal.”

It’s even tougher when you have to fight the doctors—I’ve been there too.

Follow your intuition and keep working at it. I struggled immensely with my son, who also seems to run by a motor with no shut-off, from ages 5-9. Once he turned 9, he started having some self-awareness and we could begin to work on self-regulation. Now, at 11.5, he is really showing some self-regulation skills (thanks to his therapist and OT). At 5, it seemed like this day would never come, but it did. We still struggle, immensely sometimes, but we have found our groove and we handle challenges better than 5 years ago.

It will get better with time. I also recommend reading Ross Greene’s book, “The Explosive Child.” Changed our family, even though my son is not explosive. Reading that book was when I really began to understand my son.

ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on May 06, 2014 at 5:17pm

Thanks so much for replying in a way I’m glad I’m not the only one but knowing it could be years before things get better not good to hear for him or for me but I know this is a sad fact :-(
Thanks for all your advice. Just a quick message as school has finished now.

Thanks again
Natalie .

Posted by Nat-Riley on May 06, 2014 at 6:58pm

Reply to this thread

You must be logged in to reply. To log in, click here.
Not a member? Join ADDConnect today. It's free and easy!

Not a member yet? Join here »

Search the ADDConnect Group Discussions