What's ADHD? What isn't?: So we are... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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What's ADHD? What isn't?

Kaysmom84 profile image

So we are continuing to walk a very careful line between what is adhd and what is a 10 year old being 10 figuring out his limits and testing independence! I am not trying to criticize but it seems so many posts on here result in advice that is, it's just the child's ADHD and they can't help it! I do agree there are many common problems we all seem to face involving our children's ADHD i don't think this condition is responsible for each and every issue that comes up! As i continue to figure this all out im starting to realize there are time i need to hold my son accountable for his actions and mistakes and understand that not everything he does or doesn't do is ADHD related! In the beginning i pulled all chores and responsibilities at home and any extra expectations at all that were not school related, because after all he has adhd and school was so much to handle how could i possibly expect more of him!? Now looking back i realize what a mistake this was, not only am i in charge of building his self esteem and confidence i also am responsible for teaching him how capable he truly is! My question is do other parents find themselves letting there kids off the hook? Or blaming adhd for each and every struggle? I began to think about parenting my 8yr old (who does not have adhd) and realize she gets away with so much less and i expect so much more from her, why shouldn't i expect the same from my son? Sorry for the long winded message, just wondering how other parents walk this very careful line?

13 Replies

An ADHD 10-year-old is definitely capable of doing chores, but will probably need some help remembering when and how to do them. In addition, complicated chores with a lot of decision-making are harder for ADHD kids. "Mow the lawn" is fine, as long as the kid is big enough to push the mower, but "clean out the garage" will drive them to tears. (Helping an adult organize stuff could probably be a good learning experience, though.)

Basically, your kid is about 3 years behind in developing organization and self-control. Have standards, but make them achievable, and remember that just because a kid did something once, that doesn't mean he can do it flawlessly every time.

Sometimes I wonder if my daughter knows how super intelligent she is and knows how to manipulate me into thinking she doesn't know any better about simple life skills. She has ODD (like most ADHD kids do) and she loves to name call, hit, interrupt adults, and hates other kids getting attention. My son doesn't stand a chance needless to say. I thank God that my son is well behaved (for the most part) and only sometimes will he say, "She gets to do it, why can't I?" When I give him compliments and explain things a little bit, everything is back to what it was before.

I get upset when a few family members makes comments like, "She knows better. She knows what she is doing," and especially when their child has no special issues. I replied, "She knows what she is doing sometimes, but a lot of times she really doesn't know any better." It still hurts my heart when people get frustrated with her and I witness it, and there's nothing that I can say that will change their thoughts of her unless they go through it themselves, but I gotta just get over it.

The hardest part is seeing her remember things and do well for a few days with something and then suddenly she forgets all about it. One day she can be super organized, wanting to clean her room and brush her hair and the next, she says she doesn't care and that I need to stop wanting her to be perfect all the time.

I love how serious she gets about school even though she says, "Mommy, I'm not always going to get A's," or "Mommy, it's okay if I make a B or a C," but deep down she is a perfectionist and I can tell when she doesn't like a B or a C on a test she just took. I know B's and C's are fine and I wouldn't care as long as she passed every year, but I tell her it's a big deal so she will apply herself and do something constructive, responsible, and something she will be proud of in the end.

When it comes to school I will admit, I hold my daughter to a higher standard than my son because I be darned if she has low self-esteem as an adult because society thinks she can't do what a 'normal' kid can. I just want her to be able to take care of herself and to enjoy life. I hope one day she will stop with the name calling, but I stay on her about it and hope it's just a phase.. fingers crossed.

Sorry such a long post, and hope you figure out your back up plan. We ladies have to have a few of those haha! God Bless :)

Kcooper829 profile image
Kcooper829 in reply to SheenaL

I really liked this. My daughter is almost 10 amd exactly the same! Hits, calls names and cannot stand when anyone else gets attention or compliments?! It makes her want to say something negative and rude to them. It makes me so angry a lot of the time how she acts. Just seems so MEAN! I struggle with being patient with her behavior. And we struggle as a family unit(my husband, my 9 year old stepson). She will hit sometimes and call him names often. My husband will yell at her for it and then the two of them go back and forth and she says such cleverly rude comments that it is a real problem. We are struggling with the family dynamic so badly right now. Will be starting family counseling this month which may help, though my stepson ALSO struggles with ADHD and autism spectrum issues and in the past hides under a table during counseling sessions. So, we will see how it goes. Most days by the end of the day I am beyond mentally exhausted and so impatient. I wonder if things will ever get better.

SheenaL profile image
SheenaL in reply to Kcooper829

I totally understand how you feel. I think I've gotten numb to how she gets when she talks about other kids. It's like listening to an adult gossiping and even when I tell her I don't care to hear it, she still goes on.

Her doctor recommended play therapy for her and counseling for me, but I have tried that before and the doctor's always say she is 'fine'. My daughter hides under tables too at the doctor which is a big indicator, but to them it's "Oh she's just shy". I told her doctor that she is an angel for others, but for people she sees regularly, she's totally different. I can't say she is bad like all the time, but when she isn't on her meds it's tough, which is every weekend. I want to make her take her meds every day, and her doctor said it would be fine, but when your child says, "Mommy, I want to be able to eat" it's hard to tell her no.

Maybe I should try the play therapy and counseling again just to see if maybe she could benefit from it this time around. It's been about 4 years since we've tried that route for the second time.

Wishing you the best!!

If she’s worse off her meds, why do you take her off them on weekends? Are the side effects worse than her behavior?

I take her off of them so she can catch up on her eating. The doctor said her weight is fine, but she is so boney... I just want to make super sure she is getting enough to eat as her meds make her lose her appetite until it wears off at the end of the day. She hasn't had any serious side effects from her meds, thank goodness.

Poor kid, she’s got it rough. Does she eat well before she takes the medication?

Yes she eats fine before the meds. Its just once they kick in, thats it until its around bed time when her appetite kicks back in.

It's certainly hard sometimes to distinguish between behavior that may be caused by the condition and behavior that may be just a kid having a good time.

Monday, my son got in trouble at school for poking another kid and not keeping his hands to himself. But that's not the only time he got in trouble that day. He had a bit of an emotional breakdown not long after the first incident. When my husband and I talked about it, we realized that (A) We hadn't given him his full dose of a medication he takes the night before. We only had a half a dose, (B) When my husband dropped him off, he noticed that our son was really high strung and hyperactive compared to his normal behavior, and (C) We also know that when our son is having an off day with his ADHD, he tends to be less respectful of personal space. Had we seen the forest for the trees at the time, we would have known he was heading for a meltdown of some sort. He obviously needed to blow off some energy before he started school .

When we noted this to our teacher, she was supportive and said, "Just let me know next time in advance. We'll have him run around the gym a few times to work off the excess energy or something similar."

In an effort to be helpful, I guess my point (I think) is that sometimes we don't know until after the event has transpired, and we look back. Then, we think to ourselves, "All the signals were there!" or, "He was just being six." It may help to just intentionally do that kind of reflection at the end of each "incident" so that we can start planning ahead and recognizing behaviors for what they are.

As for adjusting routines and schedules, I don't think we ever removed expectations for our son when we realized what was going on--unless, of course, he had already struggled mightily with those expectations. So, if we had expected him to put on his own shirt in the morning, he was still expected to do that because we already knew he was capable of it.

Maybe that's the key. Figure out what we KNOW our children are capable of and what we know they are struggling with. Then, we can ask ourselves whether the struggle is due to being X age or if it is exacerbated by the ADHD piece.

Again, I'm not at all in the know here. My kid is only six. And every kid is unique.

I was reading all the information that came with one of my grandsons medications recently and it said do not take them off this keep them on it every day at work could cause fluctuations in his blood pressure. I know people worry about appetite etcetera but sometimes taking the meds on and off will cause them not to work efficiently.

I have periodically let them go without responsibilities but it's usually when they are going through an unstable period when pushing them too much causes a violent reaction. Get tired of having things broken or doors kicked

Wow, this is a really great question "what behaviors are caused by ADHD and what is just personality or natural child behavior"? I think in part, it doesn't matter what is causing the behavior because no matter what the cause children still need consequences for their behavior. Yes, finding realistic expectations is important but at the same time, children must learn that how they act affects others. This is something I work on every day, setting boundaries, realistic expectations and then being firm, fair and consistent in the application. I'll be honest, I struggle with many of the same issues my daughter struggles with. I'll be telling her one minute to calm down, take a deep breath and think about it, then the next minute I'm yelling because she accidentally forgot her backpack at school again. So I apologize to her for yelling and try again. I try to be forgiving with my daughter because I know what it's like to want to make the change, to struggle to overcome poor behavior but to keep coming back to the same place. Well, it feels like the same place but really, this year is already so much better than last year. She's taking medicine, we have a diagnosis and a 504 plan, she has a good therapist and I'm reading to learn more about ADHD. So I guess my answer is this: Don't let kids with ADHD have a free pass to do whatever they want to do. You should still set realistic expectations (2-3 years behind what you'd expect of a neurotypical kid), have consequences and be firm, fair and consistent in applying them. At the same time, don't forget to love them, and forgive them when they make mistakes, that's just human nature. Good luck!

I just read this post. I love this question and wishes that I had seen it when it was posted because o sure could have used it. My son is a teenager with inattentive ADD. I have come to realize that I haven’t had the same expectations (chores, homework etc) because he is ADD. I have recently wrestled with myself on this. It’s not fair to him. I just recently read somewhere that “I am not raising a child, I am growing a man.” That hit me hard! Every time that I want to jump in and remind him of things, I have now been sitting back and letting him learn and I repeat to myself that I am growing a man. It is so hard as a parent!

I wish I had seen this when it was first posted also! My husband and I struggle with this daily. Our son is 8 and was recently diagnosed with ADHD. However, I had already known he had it because of growing up with a brother with ADHD. I saw all of the signs and knew when we walked into the doctors office what the outcome would be. My husband and I don't always agree on how to handle it though. I recognize my son's limitations a little easier most of the time (I'm not always accurate), but I think it's all about trial and error. I think it's an every day learning experience and every day we have to provide them the opportunity to try, but recognize when it's time to help or alter what we expect. Like the others posted, you just have to remember that physically they can do it, but mentally they may not.

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