Fixating on Something?: Hi everyone, I... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Fixating on Something?

Mama_Maehem profile image

Hi everyone,

I just joined with the hope that someone might be able to help me with this issue.

My daughter gets fixated on an event that's happening in the future. For example, she has been invited for a cookout at a friend's house, but the date has not been determined. She has been texting and calling her friend daily, and has asked me many times to text her friend's mom.

I told her that it's not polite to repeatedly ask about the cookout, and that her friend will let her know when plans are made. I explained that her friend invited her, and cares about her, and won't have the cookout without telling her.

My daughter insists that her friend's family is very busy, and they might forget to have the cookout entirely.

This is typical behavior for her when there's uncertainty about something in a future. Whether it's something bigger like visiting family or a small think like if we'll watch a movie that night.

Does this sound like ADHD behavior, or is this just part of her personality? Does anyone else have experience with their child fixating on something happening in the future? Have you found any ways to ease the stress this fixation creates?

I've tried to research the topic, but I only find the topic on fixating on a task like playing video games for hours on end.

Thanks!

10 Replies

That is a tough situation. Kinda depends on the age. I don’t know if this is part of adhd or not. They certainly can become fixated on things. But it kinda sounds almost obsessive. A counselor could help with diagnosis.

Keep in mind, I’m no expert. Just a parent.

I would ask your daughter, what’s the worst that can happen? Answer: They don’t have the cookout.

And how would that affect her? Answer: she’d be disappointed.

But would it be the end of the world?

Of course not.

So try not to worry so much about it.

Keep repeating something like that every time she brings it up... might work. Idk. You may have tried that.

And maybe also tell her if she keeps bugging people everyday, they simply may not invite her next time.

Mama_Maehem profile image
Mama_Maehem in reply to EJsMom

She’s 12, so in my mind she should be old enough to understand etiquette.

Thank you for the insight! She has shown some signs of OCD, but her counselor told me not to worry unless it interferes with her life. Maybe it’s more anxiety or OCD. She has struggled with anxiety in the past.

I’m surprised I didn’t see the connection to anxiety. Thanks for the outside viewpoint.

EJsMom profile image
EJsMom in reply to Mama_Maehem

You are most welcome. She does sound anxious. Poor thing. My husband suffered with severe anxiety as a child. Similar fixations. His Dad had him mark a calendar leading up to events to help him. And always explained if something didn’t end up happening then oh well. They would find another activity.

Of course you need an actual date for that to work. My husband still has anxiety even as an adult and sometimes it’s not altogether rational.

Deenice profile image
Deenice in reply to Mama_Maehem

My daughter is 8 and yes she does this exact thing. To the point I rarely tell her about any events/activities coming up or she will drive me batty.And even when I tell her the DAY OF a sleep over, party or play date, she can hardly contain her excitement. Luckily at this age she tends to forget when she gets invited unless she comes home with an actual invitation.She is quite persistent when she wants something or gets in her mind that she wants to do something. She has been known to invite herself over to my in-laws for breakfast and/or dinner never mind that I just got off work. She is also an expert at subliminal messages. When she wants water, snack, play date, etc she will hint at it and mumble about it incessantly. I ignore it and tell her she will only be heard by using her words and making direct eye contact with me. When she tells me she has been invited somewhere I ask for all the details, who, what, why, when, where. Our conversation will go something like this, "oh yeah you got invited to a party, which friend?, Hmmm, when is it?" Her usual response would be I don't know. "Ok and where is this going to be at?" To which she will again respond with I don't know. "Well it doesn't sound like there is a definite plan yet, when there is I'm sure your friend's mom will get in touch with me. And no I am not going to message her mom and you should stop asking as well. You may get yourself uninvited ;) (the horror)!

The next time we see her therapist I'm going to ask if this an ADHD trait, I've often wondered this myself. She struggles with anxiety as well and I sometimes feel like she NEEDS to know whats happening today, tomorrow and forever more. But then again she gets herself worked up if things don't go as planned, which is why I don't share everything with her.

On the same boat

Denise

Mama_Maehem profile image
Mama_Maehem in reply to Deenice

Let me know what you learn! It’s a relief to know it’s not just my daughter.

I might be off track but ADHD kids struggle to understand time. It’s not that they cant read a clock but that they are time blind. They don’t comprehend the passing of time in the same way other people do. My son is like this so he finds any waiting excruciating. 1min can feel like and hour if he is bored and an 1hr like 1min if he is focussed on something enjoyable. Is it only when she doesn’t know exactly when something is happening that she gets fixated? Or even when the time and date are set? Waiting for something you are looking forward to makes time slow down for everyone but it is worse when you can’t feel time accurately. If you watch dr russel Barkley on you tube talking about essential ideas for parents he talks about this time blindness. For my son we have lots of clocks around the house as a reference. We set alarms and timers for him especially the apps where you can watch it tick down or a pie circle shrinks so the passing of time is visual. He loves having a calendar to cross off especially towards an event he is looking forward to. It might be hard for her to wait even when there is a date but impossible when the date is not set. We can estimate when the party might be but she can’t. It’s quite disconcerting and makes it feel like it will never happen. Do you see this in her? I might be wrong as I don’t know your daughter but thought it might help if it is the cause of the fixation on future events. Dr Barkley’s talk is very interesting with heaps of helpful advice even if this isn’t the answer. Kel

Thanks for the insight. I’ve never heard of time blindness. I’ll check out the resource!

I know and have worked with clients who have the same behavior, and these are individuals in their 40s. People with ADHD have the ability to hyperfocus, which is an intense focus that blocks external stimuli. Unfortunately we can only do this with things that are stimulating to the reward system (dopamine and serotonin). People with Adhd, particularly the hyperactive and combined subtype get really excited about events, because of knowing the highly satisfying reward system boost they will most likely get, and will do a variety of things in order to make sure the event happens, in this case it's insisting on finalizing a date for the cookout because of concern that it might not happen because of the family being too busy, and that there is less of a likelihood of it being canceled if there is a settled date for the cookout . Scenarios and behaviors like this are quite common among people with ADHD.

Woah! So this could also explain when she gets “obsessed” with something like watching a family movie. She’ll ask, and if we say maybe she won’t let up on it. It’s defininitely resulted in times we just say no because maybe is too stressful.

Thank you for the info! It’s really helpful to learn that these behaviors that drive me crazy are actually just part of how her brain runs.

Yes I think I think the dopamine hit from an exciting event could definitely be the cause too.

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