New Parent dealing with a daughter wi... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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New Parent dealing with a daughter with ADHD

RedZone profile image

My 16 year old daughter was just diagnosed with ADHD. I now understand the "why"of her behavior. I am feeling so guilty for the way I treated her not knowing what was going on inside of her. I am about to break down and I really don't know how to deal with the situation. My husband, which is her step dad doesn't really understand this situation and he says that this didn't exist before and that back then what the kids received was a beat down. I don't think he really understands how his comments make me feel and how unsupported I feel about it. I am alone in this and I feel like I am drawing and I have nothing to hold on to. I am so desperate right now.

15 Replies

So sorry, and I really do understand. I feel so guilty for the way I treated my son years ago when he was uncooperative doing homework, all the teacher phone calls, etc. We didn't know. My husband still doesn't understand and I think he also doesn't fully recognize that our teen has a disorder. He doesn't understand that they learn differently, see things differently, and don't have the same organizational and time management (executive functioning) skills as their peers. It's not a level playing field for them.

I would print off the best description of adhd for your husband from this website/CHADD and highlight the areas you want him to really see. Ask him to read it and ask that he help you by reading up on adhd.

Get family counseling if financially able and he's willing. There are therapists that specialize in attention disorders. I noticed this website has a database of professionals.

Keep reading, informing, and educating yourself so you can be confident in your language with him when you describe your daughter's help him understand certain behaviors. Keep reaching out to message boards like this for support. There are others out there that may be helpful.

You are not alone! Hang in there, take care of yourself, and try to keep your spirits up so you can give your daughter the emotional support she needs.

RedZone profile image
RedZone in reply to Birdie7

Thank you so much! It feels good to communicate with someone who understand. You have given me good tips. I will take advantage of them. This is all new to and it is overwhelming as well. Thank you again.

Same. I held my daughter back in third grade because of her math skills, MADE her sit and do homework, she cried, I yelled. I'm just devastated as well. But I don't think we have time to be devastated. My daughter will be 12 in February and was just diagnosed with ADHD inattentive and a host of other things that we are figuring out. We are in family therapy and she has a great pediatric psychiatrist nurse practitioner. I am also in counseling and that is where I deal with the guilt. I know this is a very long road, and this site is so important for helping me realize I am not alone.

RedZone profile image
RedZone in reply to

It definitely feels good to know that I am not alone in this and that I have the opportunity to relate to people who can understand where I am coming from. Thank you so much

Im in the same position as you.

I agree with the pp's that you're not alone. And don't beat yourself up and feel guilty over what you did and how you treated your daughter before you knew it was the ADHD == we can't change the past and we can't change what we didn't know and understand. The idea of family counseling is a great idea but even before that finding some good, easy to understand information to print off for your husband to read should hopefully help. Regardless of family counseling, you should try to have your daughter see the school counselor for some tips on how to deal with the ADHD and even a specialist on it outside of school could help. Was she put on medication to help her calm and focus? You can help her to experiment too with non-medication alternatives that may help her - music, focusing techniques, etc. -- what works for one teen may not for another so some of it may be trial and error but if she knows she's got Mom's support that alone will help her a lot!

Oh mama, I totally feel you. I’ve been there and so have many other parents. Finding out your child has ADHD is a happy and sad day. It’s sad because let’s be honest, no one wants their child to struggle or having anything “wrong” with them. It’s happy because now you have the tools to be able to finally find them the help they so desperately need.

When my daughter was first diagnosed (now 10 years old), I was so upset until I realized that not getting her diagnosed and living in the dark didn’t change her brain and the fact she was living with ADHD (and autism) Now that she is diagnosed, I’m able to give her the tools, resources, help and therapy that she needs. She receives so much help in school and has an IEP, all wouldn’t be possible without her diagnosis. I’m so glad I chose to find out and not live in my own little bubble.

My mother isn’t very accepting of her diagnosis as well, like your husband. She thinks Lyla is “acting out for attention” and constantly degrades my parenting skills. You’re not alone.

You’ve taken such a crucial part towards parenting your daughter the best you can and giving her the best help! Hang in there.

Thank you for your kind words. All I need is support, kind words and be around people with my same vision. I am educating myself so much and learning so much . My daughter is trying hard, I know she is ... I feel so vulnerable right now.. everything negative towards my daughter hurts me and bothers me and I’m ready for attack... I will start therapy soon with my daughter and hopefully she will receive the medication she needs . Thank you all

No problem! Keep in mind 16 is such a hard age for kids with and without ADHD. They’re on the road to becoming young adults and everything is so crazy at that time. Take time for yourself and give your patience, she really needs it.

My daughter is only 10 right now, but she’s developmentally delayed and has ADHD/ASD, and she also has low muscle tone. Right now, her brain is currently at the level of a three year old. I’m struggling with things with my daughter as if she was a toddler. I often catch myself saying, “she’s 10 years old, why is she chewing on her hand or laying on the floor having a meltdown?” But I’ve learned we can’t compare our kids to their actual ages. Give yourself some grace :)

I also felt guilt for past behaviors / thoughts towards my son. I honestly sometimes wondered if I even really loved him. So the diagnosis was also a huge relief - he’s not a bad kid, I’m not a bad parent - there’s actually something diagnosable going on.

My husband was SOOOOO resistant at first. I think your husbands opinion seems consistent with a lot of the general public I’ve encountered, except for those who also deal with ADHD / kids with ADHD. It took my husband a while to come around.

What really helped was involving my husband in all the correspondence & visits with doctors, specialists and teachers. He has a much harder time telling a professional that ADHD is not real. And honestly, it is unfair of me to expect my husband to come to the same conclusions without directly experiencing the same information - getting it all secondhand through me is not an equivalent. If I needed, I had also planned to have him volunteer in my sons class - you can really see then what the teacher is going through and what your child is doing that is causing concern.

RedZone profile image
RedZone in reply to Pennywink

You are absolutely correct. I should not expect him to think like me if I don’t provide him with the information and facts. I will start working in this. Thanks so much.

My daughter was diagnosed at age 14 and she is now 31, holds down a very responsible job as a project manager with global responsibilities. Hang on in there. You may need to support her longer than you think and she may well fail a year and have to repeat. Make sure she is active. My 31 year old just went back to swimming after 18 months waiting for ankle surgery and she is so much happier.

RedZone profile image
RedZone in reply to JanePound

Thank you so much. After her diagnosis and after being in this portal learning so much from all of you, I feel that I am in a much better place with her. We can talk about ADHD and talk about all the possibilities and things she can do to feel better. I feel that I am preparing myself for this journey because I now know what is wrong with her. Impressive with your daughter. Great job you guys.

My daughter was diagnosed at age 14 and she is now 31, holds down a very responsible job as a project manager with global responsibilities. Hang on in there. You may need to support her longer than you think and she may well fail a year and have to repeat. Make sure she is active. My 31 year old just went back to swimming after 18 months waiting for ankle surgery and she is so much happier.

It's so difficult to take in all of the new knowledge you've gained (there's so much) and apply it. You have to keep in mind that you didn't know before- I'm sure you did the best you could with the information you had! Now you know better, you can do better.It's taking my husband a lot longer to come around to understanding our daughter's neurological differences- I've found that sometimes even if I explain something a million times he doesn't let it sink in; but! when he hears the same information from someone else it clicks and then he takes steps to change. You may want to look into Ryan Wexelblatt "The ADHD Dude" (he's on youtube and instagram, not sure about FB.) But he has a video that is specifically directed towards fathers of children with ADHD. All of his information is excellent and very helpful.

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