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Parents of ADHD Children

Newly Diagnosed Inattentive and Self Harming!

My daughter was just diagnosed with Predominantly Inattentive Type. She is a gifted learner which explains why she has always been a great student and teachers thought us a little crazy when we asked for their participation in her diagnosis. To be perfectly honest no one saw what I saw, not her tutor, my husband, no one.
I admit it would have been difficult to see unless you spent as much time around her as I do. She is mature, socially at or above her age group, academically gifted, well liked by her peers but I could see the inattentive. Persistent lack of focus, poor organization & homework for hours. You know the story.
After all the testing, but before the final sit down, I discovered she was also cutting herself. I saw a text which gave me suspicions and when she confirmed my suspicions I was shocked!! I hid it well but on the inside I was reeling. I knew she had anxiety issues, add to that cutting and ADHD inattentive. I was relatively calm for a week then seemed to come unglued with concern for her future. The statistics are very scary!
Naturally she is now seeing a therapist. My husband and I feel like we are tip toeing on egg shells. We need to get some solid parenting advice especially with discipline. I want to help her in the best way that I can and I feel ill equipped especially due to the multiple issues! Any suggestions here would be most appreciated.
We started Focalin XR 10 mg 5 days ago. She described feeling depressed and got a few headaches. The dr and I are concerned about the depression, so we will discuss how to proceed tomorrow…
Switching to Vyvanse for a try this weekend.


That is scary. You don’t say how old she is.

But the cutting IS the anxiety made physical. It isn’t a separate issue actually. You say she is seeing a therapist but you mention doctor prescribing meds?  If this isn’t a pediatric psychiatrist prescribing I highly recommend you switching to one, particularly if you can find one with expertise in ADHD. You want someone familiar with all the symptoms and side effects of the meds prescribing. Not a general practitioner who is dosing by age or available milligrams!

I suspect from what you describe that your daughter is high school or middle school. Kids this age just really want to be seen and acknowledged for who they are. Most kids get this in peer groups or activities. The difficulty for ADHD kids is they know they are different from their peers, they’ve known it a long time and were probably never able to articulate it to anyone - let alone find anyone who cared to hear or who wouldn’t be angry with them and think they are making excuses. So you as parent have to be that for them. By this time she understands the importance of doing well in school, making and keeping friends and all that so you as mom can stay off that worry wagon and address her personally.

The most important thing you can do as a parent is see your child for who they are. This means mostly just listen and observe and reflect back what you notice. Not just find things to praise but also find her struggles, “I noticed you wincing a bit, is that subject tough for you?” Kind if thing. No judgments just putting words to what she’s going through. It sounds like you already do this a lot. But I do think we parents try to give too much advice, too many corrections, too many judgments and what our kids - particularly ADHD kids - need most is just to know that we see them and they are just fine the way they are.

Posted by YellaRyan on Jan 22, 2014 at 10:32pm

My daughter also dealt with her anxieties with self-destructive behaviors for a while. We were even concerned about anorexia for a while because she was so concerned about calories. She is slowly getting better. We have had many discussions about ADHD, not expecting perfection, healthy weight, and being different from other people. I have bought a lot of books for her and for me about ADHD and how it looks/feels like. The cutting is something the school needs to be aware of, and they need to watch out for it. It seems to me that the pressure to meet all the school and social demands may be too much for her - that is why it is so wonderful that you asked for an evaluation, and so important for the school to modify the classroom setting to accommodate both her ADHD and her giftedness.

As for medicine, my children respond well to Vyvanse. My daughter is also on Prozac for her anxiety (We tried Celexa first). I think it is very important to get her onto a medication that is specifically geared towards anxiety and depression. My son does well on Straterra and Celexa. I have also heard that Vyvanse and Straterra are a good combination.

Good luck and please continue to trust your instincts on this one!!

Posted by WorkingMomToo on Jan 23, 2014 at 8:11pm

Thanks ladies for your thoughtful responses. She will be 12 in a couple of weeks, so young. She just started middle school this year and everything is coming to a head. She is a complex child, on the su
rface strong, intelligent, beautiful, confident but keeping that up is proving to be difficult for her. Excellent advice about seeking a pediatric psychiatrist. She returned to the psychologist we were seeing with anxiety related issues a year ago. You make an excellent point about a psychiatrist being better able to medicate her as well. Her pediatrician is not handling this all the way I would like so that is another reason to shift this to one person. “too much advice, too many corrections…” that is me, always on hand to “help” and “explain” and “advise” this is a difficult habit to break but if you tell me this will help I will knock myself out trying. I just want to give her the best chance for a happy healthy future. Don’t we all!

Posted by Momo2 on Jan 24, 2014 at 4:27am

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