I need help..: Hello all. I write this... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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I need help..

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Hello all. I write this message with tears pouring from my eyes. I am desperate and I need help. I am a single father of a 6 year old boy with ADHD. He has the sweetest heart but lacks the ability to self regulate his behavior for long. I get notes every day from his daycare about how terrible his behavior was AGAIN and how “they wish he would just follow the rules”. I feel as they have given up on him and he is an annoyance to them. Then I have gotten into the habit of being the “bad guy” and having take away privileges and bike riding time etc and it has really effected my relationship with my son. He told me in a deep conversation that it’s just easy to make bad choices and that he doesn’t believe in himself to do the right thing.. this broke me. I feel like a failure as a parent. He has experienced severe trauma in his life as well. We found his mother dying from an overdose when he was 3. Never even knew there was an issue. We were a family of 6 ( her, me, my son, and her 3 girls who we no longer see anymore). Our lives completely changed. I went from just being a working man who was sometimes home for dinner, to the make the dinner dad and learn to run a household and still work. My heart goes out to all single parents who have the courage to push through on dark days...because now I get it! We have done Olivia’s house and i had tried to set him up with behavioral counseling. With so much to juggle I missed the intake appointments and the reschedule ones and now they put him on a hold list for at least 6 months! I feel like I’m failing my son and having so much guilt for not keep my patience long..especially after reading so many things on here...I feel even worse. I don’t know what to do and I feel so hopeless.

19 Replies

God bless you! We have been were you are! Talk about thinking you’re a failure? I have spent the last 25 years of my life protecting children but I had no clue how to protect or relate to my own son with ADHD 😔 My son asked me if he was crazy… That broke me as well. Just know that you are doing fine! Kids with ADHD responds better to “positive reinforcement”… For example instead of saying “If you don’t behave, you can’t get a snack”…. Try, “If you behave.. You can have a snack.”… It doesn’t seem like much, but it makes a world of difference in the eyes of a child with ADHD. Also make a reward chart to put up on his room… Rewards for rushing teeth, reducing incidents at school, eating veggies, cleaning his room etc” and see how his behavior changes. Lastly, join one of the support groups for parents, I had my first one today and my son is 18…I wish I had a support group 9 years ago when he was diagnosed. Good luck to you dad! You got this!! 🙌

You are not alone. And let me tell you that you are doing the best you can. Be patient with yourself, you and your kid will get through this.

I have a 6-year-old and I am also a single mom, I get you.

I have a responsibility chart that my daughter and I fill out together, which may help. It has helped us both, maybe it can work for you guys.

God bless you. You are managing a very heavy load. I hope you are able to find some time and peace to heal from this trauma. Please make sure you make time for yourself, too, be it taking a day off of work, finding a babysitter, or leaning on family.

Therapy is a great start. In the interim, you can also pursue:

a) a child psychiatrist (who can evaluate for meds)

b) a neuropsych evaluation (to help diagnose adhd and any other conditions)

c) a 504 plan for school (assuming he will start K in a public school)

Things will get so much better. It will take time, but with all of these different supports, I am confident you will see improvement.

Such great comments..We welcome you to the group! We are all so supportive and are thank you for sharing you situation with us.

What I loved about your post is the part about the "deep conversation" you have with him. Keep that up it helps connect you guys.

Another suggestion is try to find something, a hobbies or sport that the two of you can do together. My husband and son have been doing Tae Kwan Do for years and have achieved such greatness.

Maybe children with ADHD gain maturity and things start to improve. They learn how to manage things.

It would be great if you can connect with another single parent, with or without ADHD.

Best of luck! Our doors and arms are always open for you.

Take care,

The struggle is real!!! Those words ring true for all of us. We live by the words keep moving forward. Bad days happen. Horrible days happen. Unbearable days happen…but sometimes good things happen too. Our son had been kicked out of aftercare, he was moved to a self contained classroom, he wanted to die, he was on the verge of being hospitalized…then a psychiatrist recommended broad spectrum micronutrients. They made all the difference for our kid. I highly recommend you investigate them. There are two companies, Hardy Nutritionals and True Hope. Wishing you the best!

I too have had great success with using micronutrientsThis is a liquid that has been pulled from virgin soil and helps the nutrients absorb in the body. Our gut is related to our brain and I believe this is helped my son see the benefits of what he’s taking

Helps seal the gut so micribiom can flourish and absorb the nutrients

I’ve learned that sometimes we give the supplemta but they are difficult to obsorb so just saying it’s making the stuff I’m giving him absorb. Maybe research it on the internet. I’m so glad you have had success with hardy😄. My son takes 1/2 teaspoon 3 times a day with his vitamins .

This is the back of the bottle

Lots of good recommendations in these replies. I would just say make sure he knows that you love him and that you are there for him. The rest will work itself out.

So so sorry for your loss my child has also suffered significant trauma and we are working with a paediatrician with lots of experience of trauma & disorder ... he is also 6, presents like adhd but could all be trauma based so we are watching & waiting. He gets 121 support at school & we have an education plan to help him as he's significantly delayed with his learning. He is hyper vigilant because of what he's been though so isn't in the right place to learn & retain information... certainly not when taught in the traditional way. He finds school really really tough & there's usually some sort of incident each day & I personally feel like it's a huge achievement each day to have made it to 8am ! We've also done some sensory work with an OT & we've learnt he needs certain sensory input to help him regulate - hanging upside down, climbing, weighted blanket, compression vest, sensory sheet, thick drinks through a straw, regular crunchy & chewy snacks taken to school... I can recommend lots of books on all this stuff. There's a fantastic organisation called the national association of therapeutic parents, can't recommend joining highly enough - they were recently doing free membership. Either way they have an active men's support group which is excellent, offer 121 telephone support sessions etc & all sorts of group sessions educating us as parents on why our traumatised kids do the things we do & what we can do to help. There's a book called the a-z of therapeutic Parenting by Sarah Naish - it's a great go to guide for explaining why our kids do the things we do & how we can cope / manage them. Don't get me wrong it's still solid, just keep putting one foot in the front of the other. Bryan Post is another great one to listen to he has lots of videos on you tube under The Post Institute - he always helps me regain perspective & maintain my empathy. Most recently I've listened to a book on audible called 'what happened to you' by Bruce Perry & Oprah Winfrey' google it it really is fantastic. Sending so much strength to you xx

Hi there,

I haven’t written a post on here before but when I read your post I had too. Firstly I have to say that when they had you a baby at the hospital what they don’t tell you is that they also hand you guilt. Everyday I have guilt that I haven’t done enough good things today with my son, and I say to myself “I will be a better mother tomorrow.” I do that every day still. And just saying that to yourself means your already a great parent. I became a single parent when my son was 3 months, so I feel he was my gift to get my through a difficult break up. My son has ADHD ( and I’ve recently been diagnosed with BiPolar, which they say is closely linked to ADHD so I’ve given it to him apparently). So I took him to a behavioural paediatrician when he was almost 5 (after many issues at kindergarten where I was called to come pick him up probably every fortnight). Within 5 minutes at the paediatrician he was diagnosed with ADHD, so then we were waiting 3 months for him to turn 5 so he could go on medication. He initially started on concerta which worked great (after a couple of weeks with a sore stomach). No more calls from the school and he just became such a happy boy, which is all a parents wants to see, then after about a year his eye sight deteriorated which was a side effect from the medicine (which I didn’t know at the time). Then we switched him to VYvannse ( which I was scared as it was an amphetamine) after a couple of days (with a racey heart ) he was fantastic again, yet the medicine would stop at 3pm (called a crash) so I then had to give him clonidine at 3pm everyday, which calmed him down and he slept fantastic too. A year later the paediatrician suggested we try and stop medication and see what happens. I was so skeptical thinking to myself, no way, a mother knows best. But then in the school holidays I decided to stop the meds and surprisingly he has been fantastic, even at school. He is now almost 8 and sometimes I think maybe he just grew out of it. But another thing I must tell you is it’s definitely also about the teachers he has. Kids with ADHD don’t act up on purpose or try to be naughty, it’s an illness and they can’t help how they handle situations. And I really feel his kindergarten and grade 1 teachers would view it as “he’s a naught boy” and punish him. Whereas his Grade 2 teacher. Takes the time to sit and have a conversation about his behaviour in a non condescending way. And I really feel the reward system, whether it’s your name moving up the chalkboard then he gets a lolly or 10 minutes free play time. He really try’s hard to be rewarded. The other thing his teacher does now is give him a choice, that way he feels like he’s making his own decisions instead of telling him what he has to do. So, I really feel what teachers they have makes a huge difference with their behaviour. And if you ever feel bad about putting your child on meds (which I did, I cried many times) I have today it was the best thing I did at the time. Just to see my son happy and not deal with anger and tantrums anymore. He was a much happier kid then before. So your not doing it to make your life easier, but your definitely doing it for them. I don’t know if I’ve helped you in anyway but my heart goes out to you and I hope you find what works for you and your son. All the best.

I haven't responded to a post ever but just had to when I read yours. So much to say but I'd really emphasize OT. Not sure where you are but our OT has been the glue to help put everything together. Things are by no means perfect but the OT thinks about things big picture and has strategized with us about everything (school, medical, behavior, emotions, schedules...). If he has an ADHD diagnosis, bring it to school and get a 504 plan setup (if you haven't already). Also request full evaluations from school. But seriously, OT! Thinking of you!

Sounds like my son. The naughty notes from daycare … feels like the worst thing ever when you come to pick up after a long day and you’re already exhausted, and it feels like you have to climb Mt Everest to get to bedtime! So agree with below- “Make sure he knows that you love him and are there for him” —- sounds like you are doing that, and doing the very best you can. You can say things like “things are hard now but we are going to figure it out together. We’ll find teachers that understand ADHD to help us. No one is perfect and we’re learning together.” All the best to you

I am so so sorry about everything you are going through. I am not a single mom and can barely keep my sanity. It is a lot to help a child with ADHD as is and you are doing it all alone. Give yourself a lot of credit. You are doing a great job. My kid got kicked out of pre-school because of her behavior, pre-school imagine 🥺

There was a time she said she was just a bad kid and wished that she was dead. That was the turning point for us and started her on medication. Unfortunately that is the only thing that works for her. She is doing great at school, she actually is very liked. Kids are not afraid of her anymore. This way she has more control and now that is 9, she can voice/ explain a lot and knows the difference when her body is calmer.

Good luck! Like I said you should be proud of all your hard work. Hugs to you both!

We are together with you. My girl has ADHD and now she is 13 and it is still difficult. There are good books that are helping me such as Positive Discipline. I always try to reinforce the good behaviour instead of complaining. Please also feel free to contact us. The book is helping me a lot in addition of medical support. Enjoy the moments with your child.

You have received some wonderful advice. I would add to grow a thick skin. It is emotionally draining to deal with what teachers, other parents, even the general population when it comes to the negative feedback that can feel never ending. It’s hard not to take personal and feel as though you are a bad parent. YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB. Getting knowledge, moving forward, trying new things, letting go off the day and not carrying the calamity into the next day is how we move forward. Start each day fresh or you will end up weighed down. Our children are having a hard time, they are not giving us a hard time. You should be proud of yourself that you are working so hard help your child😄

I replied earlier in haste as was managing my kids at the same time, now I've had time to digest your full post. Someone told me long ago try to avoid feeling guilt as it serves no purpose - only holds you back. You ARE doing a good job, you have been through so much too, you are standing by your son, give yourself a break. I hope you've been able to access counselling yourself if not pls seek it, you deserve this as much as your precious son. The fact you are reaching out to this community shows how much you care, when we are fire fighting the whole time it's very difficult to see the wood through the trees but honestly keep pushing for support, look at the NATP & Bryan Post & keep sharing how you're feeling, you've got this xx

Hey there. First, Happy Father's day to you. Now some advice. Many of us have dealt with the reports from daycare or preschool and they continue into elementary, middle school and beyond. The world is full of deniers and ADHD is one the favorites since denying the problem and pretending it is a behavior or parenting issue is less work than accommodating your child with a disability. My advice is always be cynical. ADHD is a disability and needs to be accepted as such. In my experience, the management of ADHD is a 3 legged stool with the "legs" being medications, accommodations at school and lifestyle modification at home. Seems like you are on top.of number 3. For us, that meant, routines, schedules, checklists posted everywhere like mirrors, dressers, closet doors etc to remind the child of what needs to be done daily in what order. The accommodations at school are more challenging but the law is on your side. If you have not, request immediately in writing a full ADHD evaluation at school. They must comply and is no cost to you. Depending upon the results, your child will either qualify for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or what is called a 504 plan (from Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973). A medical diagnosis of ADHD automatically qualifies a child for a 504 plan. I can help you with this process. Reach out to me through this group and I will respond. The process of securing reasonable accommodations is challenging and continuous but necessary. I (and others here) can help you. Finally, if your child is not medicated, make that happen ASAP. Trust me when I tell you it is a game changer. There is no cure for ADHD, but mediations help put the children in a position to be their best selves (I sometimes describe ADHD as the Hulk which, if properly controlled, can be a super hero rather than a monster. The medications help keep the Hulk under control). Hang in there, Dad. You can do this and I (and the others here) will help. It feels like a lonely road, but you are not alone. We are with you. Be well.

Happy Father's day to you also, your feedback on posts is always appreciated. Thanks

Thank you everyone for your overwhelming support! It feels amazing to hear so much amazing advice from everyone. A couple updates since last post. We have several referrals out for therapy and I am working with a case worker with the county. I’m hoping to have him started in a month or so. There was questions about medication…My son is currently on Concerta and I never hear that side effect on vision. He does ok on it. It was working but now I’m noticing tics. He was on aderall and that was worse. I am tempted to stop meds over the summer and start them if necessary during school year? Not sure if that is a good idea or not. We are spending a lot more time outside. He loves throwing a football and has a perfect spiral at 15 yards! Haha. So that has been helping..and keeping us away from electronics.. I can’t thank everyone again for so much caring and support. It really means the world to not feel alone!

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