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Lost in trying to find ways to help my Daughter with ADHD

Beauty_27 profile image

I have known now for two years my daughter who is now 8 that she has ADHD. I am having such a difficult time understanding or finding ways to help her be successful. I get frustrated I myself am dealing with add, anxiety & depression and I am not sure where to start. I try to implement rules, healthy diet and a routine but it seem to still be a battle with her. She cannot focus, I cannot get her attention for longer than a minute and everything I ask her to do is a fight and I can’t get through to her. I’ve been trying to research and read about how to deal and help your child with adhd but I’m still at a loss. If there is anyone that can give me some pointers or can help guide me in the right direction I would really appreciate it. My daughter in failing in school and she has no friends and I cry at times because I feel so bad and I don’t know how to help her. I go back and forth with the school to make sure they are doing everything for her to help her succeed but she’s still having so many issues. I feel so alone at times because I can’t seem to meet anyone dealing with the same things.

18 Replies

My son is the same was i struggled for years then i finally got him on medicine wish i would of years ago but i was in denial how old is your daughter

jmbertalot profile image
jmbertalot in reply to Jamie82

I agree with you, Jamie82. We fought putting our child on medication but, in the end, wish we had done so earlier.

Hi, I feel the same exact way but my daughter is 6. We are trying medication, but it has a negative affect when it wears off after school. I am trying to meet other parents who have been successful or have overcame these obstacles. Making friends are hard as well. I'm in Orlando, FL

Tanyaperea profile image
Tanyaperea in reply to Keon28

I'm going through that right now

jmbertalot profile image
jmbertalot in reply to Keon28

That is quite normal. Many children have a meltdown when it wears off. Talk to their gp about when that happens. It shouldn't last more than 30 minutes and a good, healthy, snack will help too.

My son (now 15) started meds in first grade. I tried to avoid this for as long as possible with diet (no gluten, no sugar) but the straw that broke the camel's back was the realization that I was spending 45 minutes on frustrating but simple homework that should have taken five minutes; I thought of all the other things I could be doing with this time (teaching him about art, or spending time with his siblings) instead of fighting with him to focus.

If you consider medication, keep in mind that it may take a while until you find the right med and the right dose for you child. As my doctor told me, finding the right prescription is a matter of trial and error.

You might try joining a parent support group. I never did, but always wished I had. Best of luck to you!

trwheeler profile image
trwheeler in reply to ladysoc

Agree with your comments. My son (also 15) is still struggling. He is one meds, but I feel we are still trying to find the right one or the right dose. It is definitely trial and error. We also waited for years to do this, and I greatly regret it.

I just found this parent group in the last several months, and it is so great having others to talk to about things. It makes me feel lesson alone.

The biggest thing, in my opinion, is to take care of yourself. ADHD parents (and particularly moms) have it hard trying to help their kids. It can be exhausting, overwhelming and frustrating. I find that when I take care of myself that I am better able to help my son. I also think education in the form of reading books and articles is helpful. The more I learn and understand about their brain and what they are dealing with, the more calm I am in trying to help.

Oh I feel your pain. I too have had this same issues and know my daughter is 15. I tried Nuro feedback , 40 sessions and this worked for about a year. I don’t know why I fought medication, but recently, I have put her on s low dose and we’re having good results. It’s a dance trying to find the right amount and type, but has been worth it. My daughter is so much happier and can finally focus naturally. They can’t help it and really are suffering. I hope this might help, your not alone and I’m thinking of you. Good luck.

Our grandson was diagnosed when he was 4, and he is 9 now. We have had him on two different meds, and they do help him at school but not very much at home, We have given him breaks from the meds because they affect his appetite and he lost too much weight. This school year we are having more problems, and we are going to have him tested again to see if there is something besides ADHD going on. His medicine does not seem to be helping very much now either. Someone in this group recommended the books and videos by Dr. Russell Barkley, and they have been very helpful. Our grandson has a lot of ODD symptoms as well, not at school, but at home. I completely understand your frustration. It does help, knowing that you are not the only one who is dealing with this. I am very thankful for this group as well. Hang in there!

I suggest you watch this video by the prominent ADHD researcher Dr. Russell Barkley. It blew me away. And it is very interesting. Some of the “light” info on ADHD that we are mostly exposed to is somewhat inaccurate.


It is from 2009, but it is a great, comprehensive presentation, and then you can look for his other youtube videos, as well as his two websites, russellbarkley.org and ADHD lectures.com, (and his newsletter, guilfordjournals.com/loi/adhd, but it is technical research, for providers)

He does explain the ADHD brain very well, (including how ADHD stimulants actually meet the needs of the brain - might take that with a grain of salt), and he also covers what happens if you don’t treat a child with ADHD.

My daughter got diagnosed at the end of 1st grade. We tried Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall XR, Strattera, Clonadine, Intuniv, and even Lyrica and Trileptal (the last 2 are not for focus but mood/irritability. She has a lot of impulsivity, emotional lability, irritation, anger and even aggressiveness toward her sister. Plus now, defiance. All of this is st gone. She keeps it together at school, then it all explodes after school - see below) They either didn’t help or the side effects were not tolerable. One horrible side effect is that when the medication wore off she was more difficult than unmedicated (see below).

So I gave up, because we had tried a medicine in each class of medicines. Now she’s in 5th grade and had a breakdown because of the complexity (4 rotating classes), higher level of expectations, responsibility, and academics. And homework (aargh!). She was diagnosed with depression, which our psychiatrist said can manifest as irritability in children.

When I told our new psychiatrist that we had tried everything, he said that there were other things to try. Even though the active ingredient might be the same (eg, methylphenidate or amohetamine), the duration and perhaps delivery makes a difference. For example, the rebound that happens when the med wears off. I myself take Vyvanse (for chronic fatigue syndrome and dopamine-based depression), which is slow-on slow-off, i.e. smooth. So I don’t have rebound when it wears off. I would try that on my daughter, but she really doesn’t like pills and already takes some, so we are first trying the Daytrana patch. We just started recently and are titrating up and so far we are seeing some definite improvement and no side effects. But we will still go up, to see if we can get significant improvements without intolerable side effects. If that doesn’t work, we will try Vyvanse.

(Also, regarding getting the right dose, there is this brilliant/crazy doctor, Dr. Charles Parker, corepsych.com. I would take him with a grain of salt (he pushes his services, including biomedical testing), but he has some good answers (Q&A) about dosing Daytrana (including the benefit of cutting the patches). He has a book called “New ADHD Medication Rules: Brain Science and Common Sense” (amazon.com/New-ADHD-Medicat..., which I skimmed/read in a couple of hours. The main benefit, is his explanation of proper dosing, such as the therapeutic window, which has a top, bottom, and sides. Sometimes you can think a medication is not helping, but you don’t have the right dose.)

I really regret that I gave up, and I didn’t know about the longer lasting, smooth-off medications (e.g. Daytrana and Vyvanse; there may be others).

And since she started spiraling down, I have been spending every free minute (actually into the wee hours) researching ADHD. I really get now what a challenge it is too live with that disability.

“imagine trying to thread a needle, in low light, while sitting in a row boat in the ocean - the waves tossing and rolling all the time” (drjoecarver.com/clients/493... — it is old but has some great information in it) Can you imagine how you would feel after work if you did that all day?

We are now looking at private alternative schools because there is no way she would make it public middle school (my older daughter is in 8th grade, at a public MS, and she agrees), and it would be incredibly stressful and demoralizing. Barkley says children with ADHD are 30% younger (ADHD is a development delay), so it would be like sending a 7/8 yo to middle school. I wonder if we would have had to have her go to an alternative school (which we can’t afford) if she had been treated this whole time.

Also, Additudemag.com has some great articles that addressed behavior in my daughter I had never heard about before, like:

How ADHD ignites Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria

How ADHD Triggers Intense Emotions in Your Brain

Skewed Perceptions of Reality in ADHD Kids

Finally, I have a nephew with ADHD. He also has ODD (not uncommon for ADHD). His ADHD was untreated, because they didn’t catch it until he was 13, and he sold the Ritalin instead of taking it. So his ADHD has been untreated. He developed an anxiety disorder, has very low self-esteem (Kids with ADHD, in addition to having a constant struggle, also get a high level of negative interactions, and are prone to depression and low self-esteem). He became a severe alcoholic, then an end-stage alcoholic, and nearly died twice. He is 32 and in jail for the 2nd time (for minor stuff, but bc he doesn’t understand consequences, etc, he would miss meetings with his parole officer), with no kind of life. So, we are very aware of how bad things can get with the kind of ADHD my daughter has, and she has entered puberty and will be a teenager before we know it.

Hope some of this helps. Best of luck.

Oh, and now that we are in semi-crisis, I spent a bunch of time online searching for a psychologist who specializes in ADHD (who gets good reviews and takes our insurance). Over the years we have used parenting coaches, but never one who specializes in ADHD. We haven’t started yet, though.

lettyb profile image
lettyb in reply to nina_online

thank you so much for this information! very interesting

Beauty_27 I’m also in the process of having my 9 yr old daughter evaluated. I totally understand what you’re going through. While reading your post I thought this is me. Her kindergarten teacher suggested we have her evaluated because she saw signs of ADHD. Regretfully I didn’t listen because I didn’t want her to be labeled. Even though I thought the same thing years before. I tried changing her diet, more one on one time. the reward system. I even did the IEP plan. I noticed the teacher changed in how she interacted with my daughter. But I didn’t take it personal and you shouldn’t either(my respect). The teachers have at least 15 others they have to attend to & who knows how many of them may have trials/struggles. My daughter did ok initially but barely got by. Then she failed 2nd grade. That had a major affect on her social skills and she began what I’ve named it - “the 5 year old behavior”. She was confused with addition & subtracting. She didn’t remember sight words and her reading abilities declined drastically. I’m also going through depression along with bipolar so I’m diagnosed as manic depressive, anxiety, Insomnia & PTSD. I beat myself up daily because I didn’t get her evaluated earlier. But at least we’re doing something about it now. I’m also new to this site and have gotten excellent advice. I hope this site is a help to you and your daughter. Think positive thoughts and read as much as you can to understand her. As you know with going through mental health issues your treated differently and that stigma placed on us. I’m not grouping you, but I had a hard time coping & I’m an adult. Just imagine what our babies are going through. We will get through this. Remember to breathe, consciously aware & mindful of your triggers. Take care of you first. Sorry, I hope this isn’t to much? But that’s the mind of a maniac depressive going on 2 days of no sleep.

Make your day Great

I am also at a loss of what to do. I am so fed up and frustrated and try to tell myself it is not my sons fault. He can’t control it obviously. No meds have helped as of yet. It not easy and super frustrating. I feel I can’t jandle it anymore, I feel I have ZERO patience anymore. It’s so HARD! I just want to cry! I wish I could just make it all better! To be normal.

get diagnosed

get natural medications first, if they work well continue.

(you may start with a good omega 3 supplement; it really helps)

if not, go to other types of meds and have an eye on symtpoms

try behavioral modification techniques.

best wishes

sorry i forgot: get yourself educated about what adhd is and read or subscritbe to additudemag.com/ it will help you allllllloooooot.

READ THE BOOK "FIANALLY FOCUSED" ....finallyfocusedbook.com/


Does she have interests and hobbies, what does she do when she plays? I think when I was 8 I didn’t have a whole lot of responsibilities that required me do all those things I’m still today not good at. At 8 we ate dinner every night as a family and I couldn’t leave the table until I ate my veggies or at least some after 30min my mom would say fine and she always yelled at me to clean my room but it was impossible for me

I have an idea about healthish diet how about keeping food in the house u think is acceptable to eat now she has no choice 🙂

I just posted about my 13yo girl that has been dx with Adhd since age 6. It might give you insight to read my posts. Not sure but it might have helped me a while back. My name is lovemygirl

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