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Parents of ADHD Children

New member, out of whack

I am the father of a 9 year old ADHD boy. He’s my only son and the light of my life. However, we moved to a new town and his condition has worsened socially. Not a good way to make friends

A bit about myself. I am a former school jock/academic guy. Great career, now with an exec position in Biotech. The reason I say this is that, with all the knowledge I have about treatment options, I have never had the level of frustration and helplessness I’ve had with his condition.

He’s currently on Vyvanse. As most know, works for a while, increase the dose, ponder the side effects. We all are familiar with these tough decisions. My son is remarkably smart, which has only led us to fight the stigma/belief of people thinking he’s autistic (that is another forum discussion). Socially, he has few friends that are SO understanding that I feel like adopting them wink But otherwise, he’s facing the same social issues that other children with ADHD face.

Today, he had a baseball game and a very bad day to boot. His mother is in complete denial, and it has taken a tremendous toll in our relationship. I would do anything for him. That led me here. I believe I am not alone.

So I take this first step with all of you. I need the help, and will help as much as I can.

Replies

Just a quick note to let you know you are not alone.
In normal situations that would not mean much. However
with you having a 9 year old and me with a 7 year
old boy we need to communicate…

I am not much help, I am afraid.  I have done the Vyvanse, the autistic spectrum, the problem with the wife , and the social issues!!

I would ask you to get the book: “Nowhere to Hide”
by Doctor Jerome J. Schultz. (No I have no $ interest in the book).  It is just that I purchase the book, went to a quiet restaurant and with a cup of coffee I read
the book I came away with a calm feeling that has helped me with the problem we both have..  I hope this is of some help to you and your family.. B. Tow

Posted by Ericakyler on May 16, 2014 at 4:44am

I’m sure that every parent of and ADHD child can relate to all of the initial emotions you’re going through including confusion, concern, frustration, pain, worry, and the list can go on. There are many a time when parents differ on their feelings about the matter due to the stress and upset. ADHD is not like other conditions in that the symptoms look as though they are under the person’s control when they are not. That’s an extra burden to cope with.

Finding the right medications and treatments is more of a trial of errors before discovering what will work for your child. Types of medication and dosage vary quite a bit and there is no magic bullet for anyone. Medication is a huge piece of the puzzle since you can’t help much if the symptoms cannot be reduced. It’s fighting a losing battle otherwise.

There are good days and bad days. My very bright, social son was also diagnosed w/ADHD and Asperger’s which we were confused about. He was also diagnosed with a whole host of other conditions but we’ve come to the conclusion no matter how many labels get attached to him the essential issue is only having a medication to treat the symptoms he’s having. The labels many times are not helpful in that way.

It will get easier over time and as your son gets older. Maturity wise he will be 3yrs behind his peers and socially they do struggle. If sports don’t work for him find an activity that does. The most important thing is that it’s fun for him so he builds up his confidence.

During the worst of times when my son was a bit older than yours we did see a psychologist for a while and it was wonderful for my son. They are able to talk to them in a way that they can’t to us, so it’s a godsend.

Loads of patience and try not to worry too much. Little by little you’ll all find your way. Keep the bar low as far as expectations and follow your son’s lead instead of fighting against him. We have to be there even when it’s exhausting chaos since what they are going through is so much harder than what we are.

My son once said “You don’t know how hard I’m trying!” when I was upset about something. We don’t know how hard it is for them so use every resource at your disposal and life will improve for everyone - especially your son.

Posted by Havebeenthere on May 16, 2014 at 4:48am
Posted by Havebeenthere on May 16, 2014 at 4:48am

Hi JockDad,
Your son is very lucky to have such an involved father! 
It is great that your son does have a few great friends who understand him.  Try to focus on helping him maintain these friends rather than worrying about having lots of friends who don’t really understand him, a few true friends are extremely important.
You said his mother is in denial, many parents have a hard time accepting that their children have issues that make them different from their peers.  The roots of denial are often related to guilt for not being able to ‘fix’ their child or feeling that the troubles are their fault as they recognize similarities to themselves or being overwhelmed because they just do not know how to help their child.
Ultimately, as I think you know, the best way to help your son is work together openly with a team of professionals who truly understand your son’s unique needs.  Has your wife read books, spoken to your son’s doctor and school staff to help her understand both your son’s needs and the services available to help him?
As an ADHD Consultant and Coach I have helped many parents of children with ADHD better understand how to cope with the unique struggles of individuals with ADHD.  I have helped parents learn about the accommodations that their children are entitled to at school (even if they are doing well academically there are accommodations to help with social concerns) and helped parents to advocate for their children so that their children are able to meet their full potential both at school and in the community. 
You are correct, you are NOT alone.  Keep asking questions and reading books.  BUT remember…. You know your son best, follow your own intuitions while educating yourself.
I would be happy to speak to you and/or your wife to help you strategize and help all of you have a more harmonious life.
Keep up the great work you are doing for your son.  It is a journey and some steps will be extremely challenging and others will be a little easier.  In the end it will all be worth it!
Wishing you all the best on your journey!
Carrie

Carrie Silverberg BA(Psyc), RECE
ADHD Consultant and Coach
http://www.adhd-strategies.com
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Posted by ADHD-strategies.com on May 16, 2014 at 4:55am

Thank you, all! I appreciate the prompt and sympathetic replies.

Ericakyler: Will definitely get the book. Still a voracious reader. Thanks for reaching out!

Havebeen: Thanks for the advice and kind words. I do understand how hard it is for him, which makes me more determined. You indeed have been there, from reading your message.

Carrie: About the denial, there is ABSOLUTELY a guilt aspect there. I am one of those all-go, non-quitters, while my wife tries to avoid the issue (gives him an IPAD so that he stays quiet, etc.). Hopefully, his friends will continue to stick by him as they grow up.

Thanks again!

Posted by JockDad on May 16, 2014 at 5:10am

Hi JockDad!

Have you considered a thorough evaluation? Maybe your wife can get on board with a neuropsychoeducational evaluation, looking into any cause for his struggles, instead of focusing on ADHD. Then, the issues will be validated by a professional, so maybe she will begin to come around.

It’s excruciating to see our kids struggle.

I also suggest reading “The Explosive Child” by Ross Greene. My son is not explosive but this book changed our interactions and family dynamic tremendously. It explains the reasons behind many perplexing behaviors of kids with neurobehavioral disorders.

Keep advocating!

Penny
ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on May 16, 2014 at 4:20pm

I was going to suggest exactly what Penny already suggested.  In addition to helping your wife overcome the denial of any/all “psych problems,” a thorough neuropsychiatric eval will give you even more peace of mind and/or ammo for those you come across who wish to debate the ADHD only versus Aspergers/Autism topic.

Posted by BC on May 16, 2014 at 7:11pm

Maybe you might ask your son’s psychiatrist (BTW if you are not being prescribed by a psychiatrist find one ASAP, this is a brain disorder that needs a specialist in brains and the medications that treat them) if he should be on Adderall as well as Vyvanse?  Our daughter’s psych told us that the Vyvanse was a suppliment to stimulants and not a substitute.  Worth looking into to get his meds right.  Keep in mind puberty is coming and this will affect how effective the meds are.

Try not to worry too much.  It only takes one good friend.  Don’t worry so much about the socializing with others as long as it is not destructive.  Unless he is destined for the big leagues or some other profession that requires strong social awareness he is probably not going to ever be great at socializing.  ADHD people just aren’t.  They tend to find their niche and stick with it.  My husband is a social butterfly - with his own people (Navy buds, hometown buds) but hasnt made a new friend since he has been out of the Navy - no ability to relate to people without some strong element in common.

And dad, the best thing you can do to help your son with his ADHD is to be his total acceptance rock.  Which means, all those things you were good at that you wish he was too… you gotta let it go and meet him where HE is.  And in the meantime you do the work on yourself to be as patient as you need to be, as total non-judgmental as is humanly possible of him, and to not project your worries about “his future” on him.  But that is our job, right? To set them up for a good future to the extent possible?  I know, its hard, it sucks, but with ADHD you can’t fight the way their brain functions by throwing resources and expectations and hopes and dreams at it.  With an ADHD kid you have to step back from all that kind of parenting and be there for them now, exactly the way they are with no expectation of them ever being different.  So hard, but the closer you get you will see it is totally worth it.  Because above all else that is what kids with ADHD need is at least one person in their world who is totally ok with them. 

They will develop - slower by about 1/3 of their years - but they will get there and in better shape for knowing that they have a champion.

Posted by YellaRyan on May 17, 2014 at 12:31am

YellaRyan: Vyvanse is a stimulant.

Posted by BC on May 17, 2014 at 2:19am

Hi Jockdad :  I read your post and has been thinking about your message a lot because I am in a similar shoes.  The “he is fine with ipad” thing, I heard it from many ADHD parents too.

My husband just refuses to believe my son has ADHD.  No medicine because he does not believe the label.  He thinks he is just a boy and can grow out of it.  I also feel very alone to flight for my son.  I wish I have answer for you.  However, Instead of try to get your spouse to agree on the label, you can instead of to get your spouse to agree what your son needs to work on.  For example, although my husband does not believe my son has ADHD, he do agree our son is lacked of social skill like take turn, talk over other..etc.  So we agree and find a SLP who specify to teach social skill to Autism or ADHD kids.  Because of my husband believe, no med.  So I told my husband I want to make sure my son has a good health base so he can “grow out of it”  So I took him to see a Naturpathic who worked with ADHD kids.  My son is taking 8 different supplements.  The supplements helps him in some way.  Teacher and after care service both see improve focus and less implusive behavior.  So we are continue supplements for now…  I guess.

I also suggest find a way to let your wife to see your son and his peer behavior at the same time.  Everytime when I see my son with same age peer, you can tell they are acting differently.  Maybe as time goes by, your wife finally agree your son is different in some way and start to look for help

Posted by Louisa_Leo on May 17, 2014 at 9:52am

PLEASE- PLEASE get a neuropsycological assessment done, expensive ($2,800) yes, but worth 100 x that when you see your son achieving goals he never would have reached before. Once I had those results, it gave me concrete proof,  of what exactly I was dealing with, so we could work on helping me son in the best possible way.  The evaluation process was lengthly. A complete history from his birth to present day, both parents family history, assessment forms filled out by teachers, myself and my husband (no surprise, my husband and my self really viewed by sons problems very different, denial on my husbands part), then I met with the Dr and reviewed every document to ensure he had a full picture of my sons behavior, then he met with my son & then finally test day, 7 hrs of testing, But my 9 y/o son was eager as he wanted to know why he was “different”  in his ability to focus, stay out of trouble and not get good grades.  My eval included examining his intellectual/cognitive abililities, academics (reading, writing and math), sensory perceptual (how he handles input vision/hearing/touch), motor function (fine,gross,graphomotor, coordination), memory, language abilities, visual spatial skills, problem solving, executive functining, reasoning…....  you get the idea.  Without that 20 page report complete with reccomendations for what he needs at school and what they have to provide by law, the books I should read, how to best help study along with add coaching ideas - I would be lost. In just 1 year he has progressed significantly because We knew exactly how to help him.

Posted by Laura 11 on May 17, 2014 at 7:22pm

Great postings, thanks to everyone!

Really great that you are reaching out, even better to hear how supportive you are to your son. I second the recommendation for Ross Greene’s books (there are several) and Yella Ryan’s great thinking, as always.

Also: having and ADHD child can be extremely stressful on all relationships. Especially for the parents with each other, each with the child, and the entire family dynamic. When there are siblings that can be both a blessing and a challenge.

So I’ll put in a vote for support for the parents too. It’s essential. I recommend therapy for all parents with ADHD kids, even if the level of distress seems mild. It can go from 0 to 100 overnight!

A good couples therapist will help you have the conversations you need to have. I think the world of a very simple listening technique that involves one person reflecting back what the other person said. Much easier said than done, at least for me.

Important conversations could start in easier places than “the ADHD conversation,” and simply focus on how the parents can make sure to have regular, quality time together. Or how to encourage the behavior they both want to see their child perform.

Thanks for the reminder of what we all (by now) must know: that we can’t focus on changing other people (your wife’s denial, for instance). Sometimes we just have to plug away, be loving, and accept people how they are while working hard on ourselves to become who we want to be.

While it’s really great to have an ADHD specialist on your side for therapy purposes, it might not be an option for you for a variety of reasons. So sometimes an option like couples work, which is helpful and healthy for all couples, and pretty generally accepted in many ways of life, can sometimes be a really good initial step. After a while other doors might open!

We have an 11 year old boy who has no siblings close in age. He is wonderful - smart, intuitive, creative - and yet has great difficulty socializing as well as with being organized in almost every way. It is hardest on him and on his self-esteem. He knows he’s smart and yet he feels stupid much of the time because he has difficulty controlling his frustration when he doesn’t get something right away. Just to give you a little window into another ADHD world…

Best to you!

Posted by Rosemary on May 19, 2014 at 1:54pm

My 5 year old was diagnosed with ADHD last yr. this year he was diagnosed with autism. I believe there’s one more ODD. I am so glad I know what i’m working with because I knew it was more than ADHD. My son is on Vyvanse as well. 40mg. It worked at 30mg and things were good, but then it stopped working. I tried lots of meds and went back to vyvanse but the doctor added a 2nd dosage. But the school has to tell me when they feel it wears out before i give them the 2nd dosage. But most likely I’d give the 2nd dosage to his after school program.
    You have to have lots of patience with kids that have mental disorders. You don’t want them to feel ashamed, embarrassed or blame themselves. I explain to my son that he has to help too, by trying to control himself. I added a watch to remind him too. The watch vibrates 12 different times. Its call VibraLite. As an adhd he is forgetful and thats ok. The watch will remind him.

Posted by vabronxboogie on May 19, 2014 at 9:07pm

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