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ADHD Parents Together
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Tired, frustrated and helpless

Hi all,

Hope all is well.

My 14 year old son has been recently diagnosed with ADHD. I have done extensive research and have I have bought everything that he needs to help him. He has executive functioning problems especially with time management and organization I have bought planners, timers, watches. large boards to put his schedule. I even hired an ADHD coach to help him, made checklists and step by step instructions lists and posted them around the house. All of this to no avail. He does not seem to want to help himself. He does pretty well in school, but leaves assignments for the last minute and goes to bed after midnight and wakes up early to finish. As a result, he is not getting enough sleep and is tired the next day.

I am beyond frustrated. When I try to help / show him how to plan and organize, he either listens and does his own thing anyway or just refuse my help. I am so worried about him and his future.

He is not on prescription meds. He takes AGAPE vitamins, omegas, rhodoliola, and probiotics. My husband is against him taking prescription meds.

Should I just leave him to figure out things on his own? I feel like I have done all that I can and am drained.

33 Replies
oldestnewest

I'm still learning about all of this myself but I wanted to let you know that you're not alone. Your story sounds VERY familiar - we've tried checklists, timers, etc. In our case, it's like our daughter just doesn't care about anything - herself included. It is extremely frustrating and there are many days when I just want to give up. All I keep hearing is that I need to be patient and that, eventually, her "brain will catch up" and things will begin to click. So - for now - I'm functioning on faith that it will eventually happen.

I wish I could be of more help to you other than saying your feelings are valid and normal but, right now, that's all I have.

Good luck!

Jim

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Hi Jim,

So do you let your daughter figure things out herself and hopefully learn from her mistakes?

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Sgriff3074-

Welcome.. this is a journey. We all struggle with this process. This is all a lot all at once, I recommend giving it time and try to only focus on one issue at a time. Often our son is not able change everything at once. If we focus on school then other things are impacted by this , homework...

It is common that parents don't be live in medication. I hope your husband can read and listen to the many successes of children who really need medication to change their lives. When taking medication it does not fix everything;but our lives have improved greatly and our sons personality has not changed. In fact he says he doesn't realize the difference the medication makes it just takes the negative symptoms away.

Hope this helps.

Hugs to you.

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Onthemove1971

I am thinking of trying low dose prescription meds to see how he does.

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You will feel much better if you try it. Please don't expect magic right away..

We are here for you if and when you need us.

Hugs!

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Thank you!

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When my grandson was unstable he got so frustrated he just gave up and didn't care anymore. The right medication can make a difference but it's trial-and-error ,not always an immediate fix.

Good luck making the right choice for your child.

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Thank you

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You need low dose med and a good coach that help a lot

I am a adult and still struggling

Adhd is always combined

Also whe are sensetive too a lot off presure

Kids and adults

Sport help a lot

I hope you find the right help

Don't give too much information

Just be gentle too your kid

I know not easy

Make a plan

Give structure 🙏❤️

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Thank you so much for all of your info.

Can you recommend a coach?

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Well go too fb see for Mandy ADHD che is a fabulous coach for kids and adults

I live in Belgium so

I'm belgium they don't understand adhd

But if you go to Facebook than you find Mandy ADHD coach

Let me know if you can contact mandy

With my greeting

From Nadine out belgium

🙏❤️ I have send the e mail address too you private 😊

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Thank you!!!

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It is very common for one parent to be resistant to the diagnosis & medication. My husband was also initially against medication. What really helped us get past this hurdle is for me to include my husband in all doctor / teacher conversations & insist he go to all doctor appointments and school conferences. Now, a year later, he is nervous to take our son anywhere if he HASN’T had his medication.

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You are not alone...my answer is simple and maybe not popular...medicine....the truth is that adhd is a medical problem and medicine helps. My daughter is turning 16 next week and we were suspicious of this dc since she was 7. Everyone told us we were wrong until at 14 I fired all of our doctors who were treating her for anxiety and depression and got the correct six. In her words after a few mi the of being on medicine she told us “this saved my life” and we believe it.

Now, please don’t get me wrong she is still unorganized, and forgetful and a bubble brain...but the medicine helps so much to reign her in and help her get things done...we also do therapy once a week and she has gotten better...but always a work in progress...

You are not alone!!! And this is a medical condition... and just love them for who they are...they will be ok and get things figured out...

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Let me also add - apart from doing a medication trial, I would start with correcting his sleep issues. Sleep deprivation can mimic and / or exacerbate ADHD symptoms. My son has ALWAYS needed a consistent, early bedtime - mess up even one night, and we pay for the rest of the week. We have a little more flexibility now on medication, but still need to be mindful of the time.

Here’s an article that might be of use, and I HIGHLY recommend the book

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth.

additude.com/teen-sleep-dep...

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Oh wow! Add on hormone changes & you’ve got a challenge. Was he symptomatic throughout childhood or are the behaviors recent?

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I too was resistant to medication initially due to the fact that I was not educated enough on ADHD to realize as some have stated above that this is a medical issue. ADHD brains are not like neurotypical brains and taking medication helps to improve the connections in the different brain networks that are problematic. The ADHD brain has weak connections between different brain networks and matures more slowly, this isn't something that can be fixed with more effort. It sounds like you have literally tried everything, but if your son is still struggling. I would encourage you and your husband to read the free download "Secrets of the ADHD Brain" additude.com/download/secre...

This really helped me to understand ADHD through a very scientific lens. It has also helped family members who also did not think we should medicate our child understand why we do it. My daughter is 6 and was getting in trouble a lot in school and was struggling with her school work because she couldn't focus. We have done neurofeedback therapy and we got a tutor but we also started medication and there was an immediate improvement. Her brain was always in chaos and the medication takes some of that chaos away. I really can't imagine the difficulty of trying to learn when your brain is in that state. After our daughter was diagnosed with ADHD, I also realized that my husband has it as well and at the age of 45 he started medication as well and not only is his life better for it, but our relationship is as well. Now he wonders how different his life could have been if he had been diagnosed earlier.

Since ADHD medications are generally out of your system after 12 hours, trying it out for the short term can't really hurt so if I were you (and I was you not long ago) I would try it.

I commend you for all of the effort you have been into this already, your son is lucky to have such a caring and involved mom.

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Thank you so much for all of the helpful information and kind words.

I am going to look into the neurofeedback therapy and low dosage meds.

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Hello, No, you absolutely should not leave him to figure things out on his own. The reason is that if you do so, you will only feel responsible for his failures. Continue to provide him with all the supports you are offering. He should have a consistent bed time. Take away electronics, phones and television if you need to. Kids this age tend to obsess over the phone and computer and are up until the wee hours fooling around. I really think your son would do so much better with a prescription to help with attention and focus. It is unfortunate that your husband is against a medication trial.

Feeling the way you do is normal. Most of us on here feel that way. I have a 12 y.o. son who does similar things and often feel the way you do. He has been off medications since last summer and life at home is not so fun. I believe I have become numb to it all.

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Hello Janice _H,

I am beginning to fell numb myself.

If you don't mind me asking, why did you take your son off of the meds?

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He took the medication primarily for focus and attention in school He was not in school during the summer so the doctor and I agreed to give him a break off the meds. I have not put him back on because he experiences sleepiness during the day. In my opinion, he really needs it. Otherwise home is chaotic and he's really not on point in school. I am considering another medication trial.

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Ok. Good luck in the process.

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Your story and exhaustion sounds all too familiar. We have a 17 yr old daughter who was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD 10 years ago. She's a beautiful, talented girl gifted athletically and musically. But, her choices and behaviors are a constant struggle, especially at home with us as parents and her younger sister. She struggles with average grades in HS even in music because she doesnt like the teacher. Forgets homework she doesnt like and tests are always difficult for her. High school track is a blessing and helps her confidence. WE have tried meds multiple times but with no luck. We stopped the last attempt because most stimulants cut your appetite and our daughter had a bout with an eating disorder 2 yrs ago. She sees a councelor who she loves and trusts. Her path to adulthood is a challenge we pray lot about and hope she doesnt do something crazy while a teenager. Hang on and help your ADD child find what they love and they will thrive.

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Thank you very much for your help.

Good luck to you.

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I am beginning to realize the struggle is real and there is no one size fit all from all of the responses. I would just love if my son could use the strategies he knows that would help him make his life a bit easier, but it seems he just does the opposite of what he is advised.

To be honest, I can't really afford therapists since most of them are out of our insurance network, but I am willing to make the sacrifice. The thing that worries me, is that he would do the same thing and not follow through with their advise too. I have tried one before, but he would tell her that he is using the planner etc. but does not. So I don't want to waste my money if he is not ready to commit.

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Since your child is in school, could you contact the school psychologist to see if the school could assist? The way to phase this is that it is impeeding his education. This could maybe even happen at school? Just a suggestion.

Thanks for joining us on this journey.

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Unfortunately, the psychologist at his school is not helpful at all. They shun their responsibilities. I had to get him evaluated privately because they take forever to get things done. They did not even want to give him the recommended services because he is an A student. I had to fight for him to get what he needs.

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Sorry to hear this. In the school district I work in we have thearpist, psychologist and psychiatrist.

I wish you could get help there. I wonder if they have a counseling center you could speak to (separate from the psychologist)?

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Hi there, I hope things are better today. I understand your concerns and frustration as a parent but hang in there. I think it's a great sign that he wants to help himself. It's also very likely the ADHD coach will be able to come up with some new suggestions concerning discipline and implementing new structured routines. They are trained in this. You might want to give it some more time while he adjusts to having someone other than you and your husband spending time and working with him.

Also are familiar with Dr. Edward Hallowell? He's a New York-based board-certified child and adult psychiatrist who has done extensive research on ADHD. He's written several books and lectures frequently on the subject. I believe he currently has centers in Boston and New York where patients can go to for a thorough assessment and treatment. But if you don't live near any of these locations, the staff will still be able to offer you some advice and direction for your son. This is the website: drhallowell.com.

I encourage you to continue to show love and concern but also have as much patience with him as possible. The teen years are particularly hard for young people with ADHD. I pray you'll continue to receive the support you need here in the group, and in your family and sphere of influence. Stay encouraged.

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Thank you soooo much for the information and advice!

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I can appreciate your feelings of frustration and helplessness. I offer that when my son was first diagnosed a couple of years ago his mother and I did not want to medicate at all. We tried dietary changes, organizers, you name it. Eventually we decided to give it a try because his grades were starting to suffer because of his inability to pay attention and we met with a doctor that made us feel better about the decision. It was absolutely the best decision. It helped him a lot although it by no means fixed everything. It seems to allow him to focus enough though. I still spending A LOT of time helping him study and be organized. (He is only 10) My hope is that the medication is allowing his brain to learn good habits we are teaching while he is young so that maybe some day he doesn't need them anymore. Maybe he will always need them and that is OK too. I am definitely a believer that the proper meds can help lessen some of the symptoms while not taking away your child's natural personality. I hope that helps. Good luck!

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We've had many of the same struggles with our two kids who have ADHD, one who primarily has impulsivity and anger issues and one with a raging case of inattentive ADHD. Both kids are also very stubborn. I started out very opposed to trying medication. Several things led me to change my mind. 1. Therapy, vitamins, and many many other interventions did not seem to help our kids much despite a lot of effort and huge expenditures of money and time. 2. I read the medical literature which strongly supports that the best results for kids with ADHD are achieved with medication PLUS therapy. The risk of related problems such as depression, anxiety, and drug abuse is much lower for kids who are adequately treated. 3. We had a neuropsych workup on our inattentive-subtype child and the doctor who did the workup was super-knowledgeable and good about explaining things. She had seen colleagues do a carefully thought-out study to test the hypothesis that kids given all the best-practice non-medical interventions could do as well as kids who were given medication. To the dismay of many, that study showed the opposite of the hypothesis. Medication really is the strongest tool available at this time to help kids with ADHD. 4. I realized that this is in fact a medical disorder. If my kids had diabetes or Cushings disease or depression any other chronic disorder, would I refuse to treat them with medication? The answer is obviously no. 5. My sister, who has ADHD with symptoms much like my inattentive-subtype child, told me how much medication helps her. I wish we'd known that she had ADHD when she was in school; her experiences there would undoubtedly have been much better. She wasn't diagnosed until early adulthood.

We tried medication for the first time about 2 years ago and it's made a world of difference, so I'm now very happy that I reconsidered this issue. It hasn't magically cured them of their problems and we are still pursuing therapy and other interventions, but the therapy is working much better now that the kids are on medication, too. Our pediatrician told us that sometimes kids need the medication in order to be mentally "available" for therapy. In a young teen, this may be especially true due to the many other rapid changes and social and school challenges they typically face at that time. Even non-ADHD kids can get completely overwhelmed by the normal challenges of adolescence and school and social/emotional concerns, so imagine how much more difficult it must be when their brains are extra challenged by the ADHD.

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Thank you so much for the wonderful information!! I am seriously contemplating medications, but I’m exploring natural options now.

Some days are better than others, but the struggle is real!!! He seems to be very forgetful lately.

He has checklists, but does not remember to use them and waits until the last moment to do his homework and as a result his grades are suffering.

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