Still here, still struggling. A mothe... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

CHADD's ADHD Parents Together

14,866 members4,640 posts

Still here, still struggling. A mother's tears.

ChristinaR1967 profile image

My son just turned 15 last month. He has the inattentive form of ADHD. He is struggling his freshman year with the usual--missed assignments, etc. Get getting him to do homework as a chore. He was on methylphenidate and Vyvanse and both did not work for him. He has a 504 on file and I let the teachers know and for the most part they honor it. His grades in a few of his classes, math and science have not been good. I cringe when I open Power school. I feel like I go around in circles with these teachers, then making things even harder. I just feel so beat down and just don't know what to do. A new ADHD coach open up in my area and I'm planning to make an appointment with her. I just feel so miserable and worried about my son's future. Parents of kids with ADHD really need a support group. :(

19 Replies


Big hugs! So sorry you guys are going through this. One of the things I contuine to train our son with how important it is now that he and the staff at school work together (in or out) of his 504 plan to make sure assignments are turned in and he has a C or better in all classes. I know it is hard but it would be great if you can work with the staff ( rather than you doing it) at school to help him turn in assignment, binder checks, etc..

Just curious, with the medication were you guys working with a child psychiatrist? Would you give medication another try?

I know it is hard but try not to worry to far in advance. As you know, there are ups and downs. It sounds like you guys will come back up again.

Azbee profile image
Azbee in reply to Onthemove1971

I agree. Work with a child psychiatrist to get the meds balanced and the right dosage. This takes a while, but once the right dosage is figured out, it works great. When you say it vyvanse didn’t work, what mg dosage was he using?

ChristinaR1967 profile image
ChristinaR1967 in reply to Azbee

I'm sorry, I don't remember. I remember he started with a low dose and his doctor increased it, but all it did was make him feel sick. His heart would race and the letdown at the end of the day was awful--it would make him sullen and angry, a complete departure from his usual personality. We won't be trying Vyvanse again.

BIG FAT SLOPPY HUGS!!! Oh my gosh we have ALL been there! Here is me every morning. I get the daily emails from powerschool. *deep breath* slowly open email. scroll down very carefully. Ok, this is ok today, looks like the IEP is working. whoops. wait. what happened to that science assignment. sigh. draft email to special ed teacher and science teacher. Check email several times a day. Hoping for no emails or calls about my daughter that day.

I think that acceptance is a really hard thing for us. My daughter turns 12 next Wednesday. I think back to when she was 3 or 4 or hell, 5 or 6 and reading and telling us stories and she knew her numbers. "Mommy, 1,2,3,45678910...." really fast and she would throw her little arms up and laugh that great laugh that she has even today with her little hair up in pigtails...The sky was the limit, right? She loved everyone an everyone loved her. And then it went bad. How did that happen so quickly I ask myself? Was I really just not paying attention to THAT level? I think I'm fairly intelligent and then literally in one fell swoop our whole lives changed. We have a family counselor, individual counselors, she has a pediatric psychiatric NP and great counselors and teachers at school. We are SO lucky. I love her to the ends of the earth, just like you love your son and just like everyone here loves their children.

And then sometimes it's just hard. What will happen to her? Will she go to college? Will she live with me for the rest of her life and work at McDonald's (nothing wrong with that), Will she EVER make friends? will she get addicted to drugs and alcohol and will she make the wrong choices because she is a follower desperate to makes any friends at all? What can I do, what should I do, what CAN I DO RIGHT NOW?

Sigh. what I realized is that this is NOT what I wanted for her. I never imagined in a million years that this would happen to her. but it is what SHE HAS. I have to support her. I just have to get up every day and support her any way I can.

Sometimes I yell and she cries and we end up not talking for a few hours. Sometimes I get SO frustrated beause she can't just sit still and do her homework, because she just can't. Sometimes we talk and talk about the kids and school and gossip at school and then we cuddle in bed and hug each other and she really looks into my eyes and we laugh and laugh, the same laugh from when she was three...

You're in the right place, everyone here is amazing. We'll do this one day at a time, sometimes 10 minutes at a time, ok?

Aniusia profile image
Aniusia in reply to

You made me cry at work :( I feel so defeated. I don’t know how to help him . It seems like I go to school again, and study again. Plus stress, school behavior. They just don’t get it

I know exactly how you feel it’s so hard always looking for the light

You sound like a really good mum just be you and continue loving him

Take deep breathes and meditation for you

Hi there, I have Inattentive ADHD as well and was not diagnosed until my mid twenties. I absolutely hated middle school and high school and went through what your son is going through. Since Inattentive ADHD is harder to spot since it does not include the hyperactivity symptoms, I struggled heavily grade wise while I was in school, and most instructors thought I was just lazy. I take 10mg of Adderall 2x daily now, and am finishing Grad School and am going forward to obtain my PhD. as a Clinal Psychologist in order to help out the ADHD community. Medication and supplements RADICALLY changed my life for the better. I have 4 years of research on ADHD and plan to bring lots of new insight and information to families who have family members with ADHD. Inattentive ADHD is like a whole other condition compared to hyperactive ADHD and Combined Type ADHD. Stimulant medication can bring side effects with it. Side effects from stimulant medication are unfortunately highly common. This is the reason why I highly recommend supplements in order to help fight off the side effects and help the stimulant medication work to its full potential, and keep working to its full potential.

A strategy plan when it comes to supplements and ADHD, should include aiming to help the brain with the specific neurotransmitters that give people with ADHD the most trouble. The following neurotransmitters should be addressed.

Dopamine : A neurotransmitter in the brain that affects your levels of concentration, motivation, pleasure senses, and sense of pain.

Norepinephrine : A neurotransmitter and stress hormone that deals with attentiveness, emotions, impulse control, planning ahead, sleep, and interpreting actions of others.

Serotonin : A neurotransmitter that deals with mood regulation, sleep, nervousness, empathy, appetite, digestion, and sexual urges.

Acetylcholine : A neurotransmitter that deals with muscle contraction, pain responses, mood regulation, REM sleep, and coordination.

if you click my profile pic, it will take you to my profile, where in my bio you'll see theres a link of a google doc I made of every supplement I take that includes ones specifically to help those low neurotransmitters I mentioned above. It mentions what grocery stores and online stores (Amazon has all of these supplements a lot cheaper than markets like Sprouts and Whole Foods) sell these supplements, and some information about each of the supplements and how they help out people with ADHD, in case you're interested. I also have a video series on Inattentive ADHD on youtube of all the lifespan stages of development and the trouble Inattentive ADHD brings, as well as advice and solutions to certain matters. I also published a book on Inattentive ADHD to demonstrate to people the difficulty that comes with having the condition and how to manage, control, and organize your life to reach your full potential. Links to this are all in my bio if you're interested. Hope this helps.

I am new to the site so I am commenting as well as asking for advice. First I want to congratulate you for taking charge of your ADHD and now pursue a career to help others. From my experience this seems to be a really hard thing to do and admire your passion.

My son is 20 and was diagnosed with inattentive ADHD when he was a freshmen in high school. He is so smart that he was able to work around it up until then and presents a great front to cover it up. After a year of working with a consoler and trying organizational skills with no success we were able to convince him to try medication as he is very much against drugs of any kind. We spent the next two years trying several (Ritalin, Consorta, Qualvalent, and etc…). Vyvanse is the only one that really helped him to focus. It was like we found the magic meds. He went from almost failing every class to all As and Bs. My son is passionate about pursing a degree in computer science. He wants to spend his career designing video games that can teach children rather than just wasting their time sucked into gaming. Although he blew his high school gpa he was still able to perform stellar on the ACT and even obtained a $24k/year scholarship. We thought now that we found the right meds we can let him go off to school and pursue his dream. Unfortunately, after about a year on Vyvanse he started experiencing anxiety and depression which was so bad he became withdrawn, paranoid, stopped going to his classes, isolated himself in his dorm, began drinking dangerous amounts of alcohol, contracted dysentery and finally had to withdraw from college when my husband and I discovered a claim on our insurance from an emergency room visit. He worked with a consoler and doctor over the summer while he stayed at home and worked a mindless part time job. The doctor put him on Strattera. He desperately wanted to go back to school which his consoler and doctor thought he was ready for and recommended. So reluctantly we let him go back last fall only to find that we had to add Vyvanse after a month in so he could focus. The outcome was that he stopped taking his meds mid-way through the semester and finished with very poor grades. Afraid he may fall into the depression trap again, this spring my husband and I relocated close to his school so we could monitor him while he lives with us and attends school on a part time basis. We both just retired so this is feasible. Each day we monitor that he is taking his meds, doing his homework (and turning it in), sleeping sufficiently, eating a low carb/high protein diet, exercising, attending nurofeedback sessions and we also started him on a series of supplements targeted to help ADHD. We are hoping something works. He is making good grades now but spends all his time in his room and says he is doing homework. My son is brilliant, really wants this degree and is very good at it but at this rate (2 classes/semester) I will be babysitting him for the next 8 years. Some retirement and of course not arming him to function on his own as an adult. I see too many unexplained charges on his debit card and suspect he is buying steam cards and still gaming. I also recently found out he was vaping nicotine and CBD oil. I am not against CBD oil as I know it is helping many people but read that it interferes with Vyvanse. My son says that although Vyvanse really helps him focus it makes him feel emotionless and after taking it for 2-3 months he feels depressed. We are considering trying some different meds for him this summer after the semester is over because frankly the depression/anxiety is much worse than ADHD but we wanted to give some of the other things a chance to work. I know we are acting like helicopter parents but frankly the stakes are high: first his mental health, his academic success, his future ability to have a job he is passionate about and of course our pocket books. I will definitely look at your site and book but how do I help my son grow up and start managing his ADHD instead of us doing it? Is it just a med switch that he needs? Any suggestions, advice is much appreciated.

Hi there, unfortunately in a lot of cases I've worked with dealing with Inattentive ADHD, the son or daughter usually becomes accustomed to what is known as "learned helplessness" in which they get used to things being done for them. What is recommended in an instance like this is to set VERY SPECIFIC Boundaries about what is expected of your son, and to most importantly have Follow ups to see how they are doing on the tasks and expectations that have been set. The mind of someone with Inattentive ADHD is understimulated. Demonstrating during those planned follow ups that there will be a consequence if expectations aren't met, becomes stimulating and demonstrates that you as a parent mean business. This needs to happen many times, escpecially if the son or daughter is really accustomed to learned helplessness. Also the supplements - N Acetyl Tyrosine, L- Tryptophan, R-alpha Lipoic Acid, CoQ10, Flaxseed Oil or Fish Oil, and Chelated Magnesium are Absolute Must haves if someone is taking stimulant medication. From my research, Adderall has been shown to be the most beneficial to those with Inattentive Adhd. Very surface level advice, but hope it helps.

Hi Bud's mom! I wanted to share my perspective as the mom of a 24 year old. I can relate to many of the things you mention. I think the hardest lesson that my husband and I have learned over the years is that ADHD kids, no matter what their IQ level is, are significantly behind their non-ADHD peers developmentally. This means we had to lower our expectations significantly! And this was VERY hard, especially for me. We also want our son to have a college degree, with a professional job because that's what we have and we know life will be much easier for him. But here's the hard truth: you can't control all aspects of your son's life. He will be ready for adult life when he's ready and not when you want him to be ready. I can tell that you are doing many of the same things we did and we threw away lots of money and I was always either furious with my son or incredibly anxious with worry. I also tried to monitor his meds, watch his grades, encourage him to study, helped with homework, etc. It was totally exhausting and frequently infuriating, because he was not moving along quickly enough for me. I can tell you that your son may say that he wants a degree, but he doesn't want to (or can't) do the work at this moment. He may need to take a break and get a job (menial or not!) and pay some of his own bills or he may need to attend a community college where the pressure is not as high as his college now. There is research to show that boys' brains aren't fully developed until around age 25. I can tell you that I can see maturity over the past year or so, but it's a slow process. The bottom line is that you simply cannot make your son grow up on your schedule, no matter what you do to help him, and sometimes I think a lot of our assistance back-fired.

My daughter and now her 14 year old son both have inattentive ADHD but they also struggled with depression. We knew it was depression when they just did not care about anything and were sad all the time.

Both ended up being on a mild anti-depressant and were able to succeed in school. My daughter is off all medications now and goes well with work.

Used a therapist with both when they were in school and it really helps the parent to see both sides of the picture and also helps them realize what's important.

So I am also a struggling mother. This feeling of helplessness is often times unbearable. My son has been on two different methylphenidate medications, Guanfacine, and Adderall with no true success. So now our psychiatrist has turned us into broad spectrum micronutrients. We are giving them a shot. Not an overnight “cure” and not for everyone, but I have no complaints so far. His teacher doesn’t know, and she mentioned something different is going on with my son and he is more directable. Well I will take that as a win because we are just at the beginning. I’m hopeful which is sometimes hard when you’re in the thick of things. Our psychiatrist also recommended L-theanine for focus. I didn’t see success with it, but others have. If you’re interested in micronutrients and have the ability to pay for them, the two companies are Hardy Nutritionals and True Hope. The L-theanine I got on Amazon. It’s called Suntheanine. Recommended starting dose was 200 mg twice per day. Stay strong!

My heart goes out to you. It sounds like you’re doing a great job. I’ve often felt my son has ADD, but I’ve never really had him assessed. But I struggled with the forgetting to do homework, failing tests on work I know he knew, up until past midnight trying to get his work done, etc. my son’s an awesome human being, just not great at school. I’m sure your son has awesome qualities as well. Be sure to pay attention to those great qualities as you continue to support him in the areas were he has challenges. I ran across some articles that may be helpful and encouraging. Message me if you’re interested.

I have a 14 year old daughter who is going through the EXACT SAME THING right now as a Freshman. Grades in 2 classes are horrible and she is dealing with anxiety and depression on top of inattentiveness. It’s so hard to try to help her everyday is a struggle but, I’m doing my best. I’m in constant contact with the school and we have meetings with her teachers, school counselor, psychiatrist, Dean and others. She is eligible for a 504 plan and we are going to implement it at the next meeting coming up as nothing from the last meeting has changed, she’s actually gotten worse. If anyone had any ideas, thoughts, input regarding this, it would be GREATLY APPRECIATED! Thanks :) I need all the help and info./advice I can get to truly help her succeed.

Oh, I feel like I also can’t take it anymore :( Adhd is terrible. I worry ALL THE TIME. My son is 14 and has no motivation at all. Doesn’t do schoolwork, almost refuses to go to school ( he goes but every morning I hear “ do I have to go?) He gets in trouble in school a lot . Impulse control very poor. He told a girl she is flat , and of course it is sexual harassment:( . He poured water on his friend, and bullying case came our way . I am afraid they will kick him out of school or he will do something stupid... I don’t know how to live like that? Constant worry, waiting for a phone call from school, checking Power School, Classrooms. It is too much and very hard .

Hi, I know what you mean and feel this way many times. I worry about my son's educational success and wonder what his future will be like. What has helped me is finding a tutor that can help fill in the gaps. Try and get your son on a different medication to help with his attention.

You might also think about therapy for yourself. Having a child with ADHD can get the best of us. We tend to feel responsible and helpless when their grades aren't the way they should be. Just having someone to talk to will help you feel less beat down and frustrated.

My son is in 8th grade is currently failing 4 classes. I cringe when I get Powerschool notifications. It ruins my mood and I get so anxious. He has a 504 and some teachers are good, others I feel just do not get it, especially for missing HW's. My husband and I help him with his HW every night but things still slip through the cracks and lately his test grade are failing. We are starting him on Focalin ( generic) this week end. Both my husband and I thought that if we would help him he can get through, but we came to understand that that is not the case. He cannot handle the organizational skills for school or the focus he needs to pass his tests. He is impulsive, especially with his emotions. I am able to calm him down but with the hormones and the teenage years here, he is going to have to self regulate. I am so nervous and I hope that it works. I feel that if it doesnt work, or make him feel horrible, it will be my fault for putting him on the meds. I have a daughter that was diagnosed BP/ADHD this past year and had a traumatic experience that led her into psychosis. She blamed it on side effects caused by Adderal, but it was a perfect storm of bad situations that led her into that state. Because of what happened to her, I am in a panic that we are starting the medication route with my son. I feel like I should help him while he is under my supervision so I can monitor any side affects. My daughter was out of the house and living with an emotional abusive man that did not pay attention to the side effects that she was having ( mania). I feel so overwhelmed. I went from a somewhat normal and happy life with great husband and three kids( 2 college grads and a middle schooler) in 2017 to 2 of my children being diagnosed with ADHD ( my daughter 29 and my youngest son 13) with my same daughter also being diagnosed Bipolar, in 2019. I've cried so much this past year and a half and I ask my self what in the world happened? I had no idea my daughter had ADHD, she had friends, was social, so artistic, loved to read and was an honor student. But, after she told me she was diagnosed all the other problems like, being messy, forgetting to call me, leaving her phone at home, smoking pot( self medicating) made sense. I decided to see a therapist because of my sadness and anxiety about what the future holds for me and my kids. I feel like what I thought my future was going to be like retiring in warmer climate and having my kids settled with their own lives and supporting themselves has been ripped from me. I pray every night for God to give me strength and to help my kids. My husband says I worry too much about the future and to focus on the here and now. I know he is right, but it is not easy.

Aniusia profile image
Aniusia in reply to Mamamermaid

Dear Mamamermaid , everything you wrote is ME , except I only have one child , 8 grade. It must be a lot harder for you. I also feel like I am holding my tears all the time. Our life was so good and calm. My son was always hyper and I knew something is going on, but things got a lot worse when he went to middle school. More work, higher expectations , hormones. We decided to medicate. Naively thinking this will solve all the problems. Well, it didn’t. It caused terrible side effects, mood swings. He started to get in even more trouble at school. Suspension after suspension. For his fooling around , the school received a bullying report on him ( being silly on the bus, clowning), so he got kicked out from the bus service. I cry and cry. I am afraid I will get sick from stress. That stress will trigger something. We can’t find the right meds for him. Now, he is refusing to do schoolwork.... Never a dull moment. School acts like they are helping but I don’t think they get it. I just want to fall asleep and wake up when this is all over. But will it ? Sending hugs .

Mamamermaid profile image
Mamamermaid in reply to Aniusia

What you're going through is my fear. I feel for you. My heart is breaking for you, me and everyone else who is going through this.

You may also like...