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Parenting advice for ADHD child (9)

Boy_mom95 profile image
15 Replies

hello I am new to this community and accidentally found this resource while doing research for better parenting techniques and advice for dealing with a child with ADHD. My son who will be 9 in a few days, has had his ADHD diagnosis since right before COVID shut down (January 2020) by a psychiatrist specialist at his pediatrician’s office, during that school year which was his kindergarten year, I noticed a sudden highlight of behaviors like being impulsive, not staying on task, forgetfulness and inability to take on his daily routines and this consistent throughout the entire school year. Prior to him beginning Kindergarten I did notice his excessive activity and lack of ability to concentrate on conversations, but initially chalked it up to his young age. During covid shut down, his school remained close for in person learning throughout both his first grade school year, but a pretty good portion of second grade as well as online and staggered in person learning. Because of his being at home, I was able to successfully manage him and stay on top of him with his schooling because I was lucky enough to be working from home and juggled being a full time worker, as well as teacher. However, now that he is in the third grade and has fully gotten back into full time in person learning, I immediately began seeing regression in his progress. Now that he was in a classroom with over 25 kids and a teacher spread thin and no constant one on one supervision like I provided him in his home schooling, he began slipping. He has particularly struggling with focusing on lessons, completing tasks (I have even gotten notes home that he will sit and his desk for the entire work time and not pick up the pencil even once) and he prioritizes socializing with his friends, over school work. After the first marking period I jumped immediately to get him back on track and met with his school counselor and principal and set him up with a 504 (IEP) plan. Unfortunately his progress even with his accommodations in place have been a slow burn to say the least. We just finished out marking period two and completed parent teacher conferences, and once again, little to no progress made. I cut my losses and made the decision in mid February to finally get him medication. This is has been a very brand new process for us, and we have a follow up meeting with his pediatrician next week to go over any symptoms or concerns related to dosage and so far I can say we are having more good days than before, but definitely not where we should be.

A few parenting techniques I have implemented personally thus far, has been working to create a routine, He goes to school every day with a reminder of exactly what he is supposed to do (like turn in homework, and I even leave him notes on his folder- or make sure to bring home his laptop charger) because he always seems to forget every day even though we have been doing it over and over again every single day. When he comes home it is the same thing every day, must complete all homework first, bed time/dinner time/bath time exactly the same every night.

Also, a reward and take system. Since getting him on his IEP one of his accommodations is that I get a composition notebook sent home to me every single day with a throughout note on his behaviors throughout the school day and when he arrives home each day, he earns the right to do extracurriculars like video games, or time on phone, etc. I find that he works a lot better when he is working towards a goal. I also implement this at home as well. I set up a monetary exchange for him, when he completes at home tasks like a chore, he is award with a “mom bucks” (which is essentially Monopoly money) and it can be exchanged for costs of goods. I keep a selection of snacks in my pantry that have set prices on them (like $10 mom bucks for the cost of one bag of chips) and I keep him motivated to take pride in cleaning and organizing his room.

If anybody is going through or has experienced a similar situation with a child and has any advice or words of encouragement for me I would really appreciate all the help I can get.

Thank you 🙏🏻

15 Replies
Pattimum profile image

You are doing great. It’s is amazing that your son responds to behavioural strategies that you are using with him.

Write more about the bad days so we are not all so jealous that your techniques work so well. I am joking!

For my son what I noticed that rewards have to be


varied and


So let’s say if he did well in his home maths tuition immediately he is praised and told that he has earn football cards etc.

Now I am making sure this also happens at swimming- so yesterday after swimming his coach gave him high five and verbally praised him.

Sadly this doesn’t happen routinely, I had to sit in the session and watch to have this ‘effort’ from his coach. Also during the lesson I kept giving my son thumbs up and telling him he’s doing great.

I had to start doing this intervention because otherwise for months now my son has not progressed. The coach uses my son’s ADHD and dyspraxia as an excuse to just not really coach even though we are paying a lot of money for these lessons.

Yesterday before lesson I had a chat with the coach and he said, oh you know, kids like your son, maybe he just can’t do it. And I replied ‘Well, with the right encouragement and coaching he has been ‘player of the day’ twice recently in his football club and he’s also doing well in indoors cricket nets to get ready for the summer season.

Coach looked at me in disbelief and asked quite insensitively and I’d say it just showed all the way what he thinks about my son ‘Oh, really, is he able to catch and throw?’ And I said that indeed, because he is practicing in the garden even in winter, even with ADHD and dyspraxia he can now catch and throw and bat! Probably what helps is that my husband did a coaching course and became a cricket coach at our local club.

Why am I writing it?

Because coaches and teachers instead of using our children’s disability to help them teach our children better by making small adjustments (for example making that effort of praising ADHD child more frequently even for things that with other kids they take for granted and don’t have to praise, like ‘good listening today’ etc, and making sure the child listens and follows instruction during the lesson which yes, is maybe for typical child nothing to praise but for ADHD child that’s an effort and should be praised), well, instead they use this information that the child has ADHD or dyspraxia etc to make excuse for them being bad at their job as a coach or teacher.

It just was sooo disappointing for me to have coach saying what he said about my son yesterday and as I sat in the lesson and he noticed that my son can actually do all the stuff he asks him to do, he didn’t even look at me when we were leaving the session.

I wish I could change the venue and the coach for my son’s swimming lessons, somewhere where no one would know that he has dyspraxia and prejudice about what he is able to learn or rather that he is disabled and there is no point. Sadly this venue is so convenient for us, 5 minutes walk from home😄So what I will carry on doing is sitting in the lesson from now on and doing motivational coaching for myself son. Plus it’s a fact- when I watch the session, coach tries harder to actually teach the kids. If I don’t sit on the session and look through the glass windows- coach is chatting with the life guard and can’t care less what kids do (maybe coach has ADHD too? 😂).

Boy_mom95 profile image
Boy_mom95 in reply to Pattimum

Firstly, thank you very much for your reassuring words. It has taken me a long time to figure out what works best with my son and schedules/reward systems are such a personal experience that I think should be tailored different for every child. What works good for me, might not for other parents/children and vise versa. I actually found out through potty training how responsive he was for encouragement and rewards and I began implementing that into our routine since then. Trust me, there are MANY bad days, although I can say I have a much easier time with him doing things at home like cleaning his room for example- school and homework on the other hand, I still am STRUGGLING so much with him on. That in it’s self has been such an uphill battle. Even with him being recently medicated (now mind you this is brand new and he is currently on the lowest dosage) by the time he comes home from school and is ready to do homework I can’t get him to sit still and focus. I find myself re-directing him SEVERAL times, he completely drifts away from me while I’m sitting with him reading instructions to help him understand his homework.

***This is gonna be super personal and I’m gonna give a trigger warning for this small part***My son has actually been through some recent trauma, my ex and I have been split up since he was about 2 years old and since then we have been sharing 50/50 custody up until last year. My ex (even though he struggled through ADHD as a kid) has zero patience and understanding for our son and coupled with his own personal issues (anger/impulsive) began secretly abusing (both physically and mentally) and would terrorize my son into keeping it from me. This went on for months until I found physical evidence of the abuse and took action immediately. I got full emergency custody, a PFA against my ex for my son and began working to try my best to help my son recover from this trauma in any way I could. He has been seeing a therapist on a weekly basis for a few months now (recommend to me by the Child Advocate Center) to deal with his traumas relating to his father, as well as he’ll guide him through his thoughts and feelings, as well as adjusting to life with ADHD. His therapist has been very helpful, but I know we have a long road a head of us. Most days I feel like I’m taking on water in a boat, I’m giving it all I got and doing every single thing I’m supposed to be doing, but I can only make as much progress as my son will allow me to.

Secondly, that is absolutely horrible and I’m honestly disgusting and disappointed in that coach. When you have a career where you work one on one with children, in my personal opinion, it should be REQUIRED to have some sort of sensitivity training when it comes to handling children who have mental and physical disabilities. To rule a child out right out of the gate and go into handling them with preconceived notions that the child “cannot” is harmful. Children can do anything they set their minds to, and the ENTIRE POINT of a coaching job is to unlock the abilities and encourage children to try their best and work hard to accomplish things in their respective sport/activities. I am so sorry that you, and your son are experiencing these issues. You are doing an amazing job at being your child’s best support system and advocate. That is very very important when it comes to dealing with any child, but especially children with disabilities. Continue being there for him and encouraging him every step up the way, I believe in you and I believe in your son ❤️

STEM_Dad profile image

As Pattimum talked about, and as I'm sure you know from teaching your son at home due to COVID, it helps to have immediate encouragement and reward.

As an adult with ADHD, I know from looking back on my life that I've responded well when my parents or teachers gave me patient reminders and even the mildest encouragement. Later, in my working life, I also appreciated the supervisors who gave me positive, timely feedback.


Keep doing what you're doing. At 9 years old and socially-motivated, your son probably isn't ready to take charge of his own education progress yet. By contrast, I was very interested in school, even from a young age, but that was decades before my ADHD diagnosis, so I struggled to maintain my attention and often forgot about my homework (rushing to finish it on the morning it was due).

I had no interventions, besides some encouragement and occasional reminders. Your son has a lot from you, his doctor, and IEP at school.

Definitely work with his doctor on the medication front. Keep in mind that finding the most effective medication and dosage can take time, and that his medication needs can change with his development.

If you could get written into his IEP for his teacher to give him timely and positive direction, even if it's one comment a day, it may have a good impact.

Boy_mom95 profile image
Boy_mom95 in reply to STEM_Dad

That’s awesome, I’m really happy to hear that the encouragement and work that your parents & teachers put in had a real affect on you in your adulthood. That is definitely encouraging to hear, because I sometimes find myself feeling like nothing I am doing is making that much of a difference or impact on him.

I am definitely doing everything I can to make sure I pursue every opportunity and resource I can to set him up to be as successful as possible. My hope is that one day we can take of the “training wheels” of his education and allow him to take charge and be responsible enough to remember things like homework deadlines, without a constant remind from myself and teachers. But I also realize that dealing with ADHD isn’t a one size fits all experience and that it will take time to get him there. My goal is to be more patient and comforting with him. As far as on the medication front, yes his pediatrician told me the same thing- since this is all so brand new for us, we are starting him out on the lowest dosage and his pediatrician also wants to do regular checks in (our first one being next week) to make adjustments and answer questions and concerns.

And lastly, that actually is something I have set in place for him with his IEP (in form) we have this system set in place where my son has a piece of paper that looks like a small chart that the teacher keeps on her desk for him and for every time he does something like, turn in an assignment on time, turn in homework completed each night, finish reading a book, passes a test (etc) he get’s a little check mark on his chart, and after a certain amount of check marks he can earn special privileges or prizes (like candy or treats, an extra break during class time) something that would keep him interested in doing the task and keeping that goal in mind to keep him motivated to complete it. I also told her he loves to be praised and just something as simple as a high five can go a long way. Luckily, his teacher that he has now is a former special education teacher and I am so thankful for that because trust me when I say that some previous teachers he’s had have only made things worse by having zero patience and compassion for his disability and I have gone toe to toe in the past with one in particular. Because at the end of the day; I have to be his number one advocate.

I appreciate you sharing with me, and you have been helpful and encouraging!

Momtrying profile image

sounds like you’re very dedicated to your child! There’s obviously lots of techniques to help children with ADHD and it’s so good for them to learn how to help themselves when they can. But if their control center of their brain does not wake up and start processing as it should, medication is really the only thing that can help to do that. When that part of their brain is stimulated, then they are so much more capable of thinking through their decisions. It can be a pretty long and hard process, finding the right medication for your child, because every child is so different. But once you do, I really believe you will be so grateful you went through that process. Good luck!! It really sounds like your are trying so hard to be a good advocate for your son 😊

Boy_mom95 profile image
Boy_mom95 in reply to Momtrying

Thank you very much for your kind words; I’m definitely trying my best and I realize that it’s a balancing act and all I can really do is give him as much patience and compassion as I can to make it through this journey.

Peerandparent profile image

Apologies in advance, but this is a bit rambly due to having dictated it, and I don't have time to go back and edit it. I hope there are still elements that are helpful.

A few things stand out to me. First, I don't notice you mentioned anything about medication or behavior therapy. No matter how much intervention there is from a parenting perspective or teaching perspective, it's still a significant neuro developmental disorder. Fortunately there's lots of treatment options for it, and I personally have had horrible experiences with some and life-changing experiences with others. It's worthwhile making sure that your kid is on the right medication, and is well monitored and supported medically.

The other thing that stood out for me was the comment about him not picking up his pencil for the entire period. To me, this suggests a few possibilities. First, that he finds the task overwhelming, and or doesn't know how to start. Second, is that he shouldn't have an entire period to do a task. It should be broken up into small tasks with quick results and quick consequences. Those of us with ADHD have problems breaking down large tasks into small tasks, prioritizing tasks, sensing the passage of time, and many other things that makes this scenario of sitting at a desk with a pencil and a large task ahead of us daunting at the very least and impossible at times. There are a lot of little things that can be done to help a student with ADHD that aren't a burden on the teacher. Extra time for things is great, if the person knows how to use it. Better accommodations are things like quality assignments over quantity, breaking down large assignments into smaller tasks that can be checked in on regularly, immediate reward or consequence for tasks (is it possible to replicate the mom bucks program at school?)

How is your kid doing as far as actually retaining the information in class? I did a lot of spacing out and goofing off in class, but I also knew the material. Often my goofing off and spacing out was because I was bored. And couldn't control that boredom because of my ADHD. I wonder if there are ways to help keep your kid engaged in class, so there is less internal drive for him to distract himself.

I'd also recommend helping your kid learn as much about ADHD as they can. I find that's been really helpful for my son, and would have been helpful to me had I had been diagnosed earlier than university. Even if there's a concept that's complex, it can often be broken down into something understandable by kids.

An analogy I came up with for my son that worked really well, is picturing a steep well that doesn't have enough hand holds to climb. You have a few options in that scenario. You can use different tools and equipment to help you get over the wall. You can get help from other people to get over the wall. You can look for a way to get to your destination that doesn't involve climbing the wall. You can look for a different way to climb that doesn't need as many handholds. Trying harder to get over the wall isn't going to suddenly make more handholds appear, and will likely just lead to more frustration. One of the things that was most frustrating for me, was seeing other kids sail straight up that wall as if it was nothing. I couldn't see that they had more handholds than I did. Worse than that, every now and then someone would tell me "hey, if you just built up a big enough head of steam you'd sail right over that wall no problem!" After a while, enough people would say that that I believe them, so I build up a big head of steam and slam right into the wall again. Then I'd feel like there was something wrong with me, and not that my situation might be different than theirs. I just feel like a failure and be frustrated, rather than realize that my situation requires a different solution in theirs. Also, because of that self-recrimination and sense of inferiority, I wouldn't notice all those ways in which I can excel, while my peers struggle with their own walls.

STEM_Dad profile image
STEM_Dad in reply to Peerandparent

Your wall analogy is like a combination of Brendan Mahan's "Wall of Awful" metaphor, and Jessica McCabe's "Motivation Bridge" analogy. But I like that you followed it up by acknowledging "ways in which I excel, while my peers struggle with their own walls". It's good that you at least realized this in hindsight, even though you didn't realize it back then.


Here are links to videos on the HowToADHD YouTube channel about those similar analogies I mentioned.

"Wall of Awful" (part 1)

"Wall of Awful" (part 2)

"Motivation Bridge" (#1)

"Motivation Bridge" (#2)

Boy_mom95 profile image

It’s okay I completely understand a chaotic and rambling message- I even do it myself.

So firstly, to address the first part of your message- you have have missed it, but it’s okay. Yes, I do have my son on medication and attending regular therapy. His medication journey is actually brand new and we’ve been at it for about a month now and we do have a follow up appointment with his pediatrician at the end of this month for follow up on side affects and dosage adjustments. Therapy however has been a longer term treatment option for him and he see’s his therapist on a weekly basis and his therapist works with him on trauma, dealing with thoughts and emotions as well as adjusting to life with ADHD.

As far as completing tasks at school goes, I think it very much stems of lack of motivation but I agree I think that some tasks are overwhelming and that could be why he take’s so long to begin them. I actually addressed this directly with his teacher and we very recently started a new process which we put in his IEP where he has a check in process for each task. Like, if he has a single sheet of math problems and he completes that sheet, he is to turn it in immediately to the teacher and he receives a point on his chart that his teacher keeps at her desk and he can earn multiple points throughout the day and this keeps him motivated to complete these tasks in a timely manner because those points can be turned in for rewards. Like for example, extra breaks or treats and prizes.

Another thing as far as having a larger task that I specifically requested accommodation for that I haven’t mentioned in this tread yet, was that for large projects or tests that take like 30 minutes or more to complete, that he not only be allowed to break up his time (like complete one portion during one part of the day, and then revisit it and come back to complete another part) and also be allowed to take larger tasks home and allow me to work one on one with him during home time so he can be walked through it and then turn it in later and still receive full credit if completed correctly.

As far as if he is retaining material, I think that is touchy- he has the intelligence to absorb and understand the material if it’s broken down for him and he is actually excellent at math specifically and a fluent reader and even exceeds his grade level in these areas, but in other sections of the class like spelling words for example, that takes me an entire week to prepare for a spelling test (he gets a new set of words on mondays and takes his test on Friday) and I use every single day of practicing spelling words with him and it takes that much time for him to fully grasp and correctly spell the words (I give him mini at home practice test to prepare him for what’s to come on Fridays) but he does eventually get there. I think when it comes to lessons in class however, he might not be absorbing as much as he should because of the distractions and socializing issues.

That is a great analogy, because that’s exactly what life is- a series of hurdles, some easier for others and some much harder to overcome and the right resources, support and tools you have can help you overcome certain obstacles. That’s my exact goal when it comes to parenting him.

Aloysia profile image

Hi - Something to try that worked for my kid with spelling lists:- bring out a baking sheet or large cutting board.

- pick a substance (shaving cream, whipped cream, melted chocolate, lemon curd, jam, etc.).

- have your kid draw the spelling word by dipping their finger in the substance and drawing on the baking sheet or cutting board. Or spread a thin layer of it on the surface and then they use their finger to draw. It depends a bit on the substance as to which method works best.

- if you use something like shaving cream, then have some small treats handy for each word that is correct (an M&M, a chocolate chip, etc).

- if you use one of the edible substances, then let them lick their finger if they spell the word correctly.

- If the list is like 20 words, then break it up into 2 or 3 sessions to learn the words.

- Make sure to repeat this enough so that by the end of the week, they are ready for the test.

My kid went from getting 3 of 20 correct to 18/19/20 of 20 correct just by using this method. I would let her choose the substance each time.

Best of luck!

Boy_mom95 profile image
Boy_mom95 in reply to Aloysia

oh wow that’s such a fun and creative way of doing such a daunting task! I like that idea! Thank you very much for sharing this with me!

Curiosity2023 profile image

Hi Boy_mom95 , I am hoping you can give me some tips, my child is 6 and in the first grade. He is having challenges in specific academic (reading, writing, math) and behavioral (listening and social) areas. I am trying to get him medical diagnoses in Manhattan, NY, but it’s been mission impossible to get a MD to do that as either there is a long waitlist, or no longer taking patients, or just no responses after leaving messages. Pediatricians seem to just refer us to places which goes nowhere. Thanks for your help!

Boy_mom95 profile image
Boy_mom95 in reply to Curiosity2023

I think one major step that you can make is working your child’s school district. Under the federal law regarding students with ADHD or disabilities, there is a section about requesting the school district do an evaluation on your child if you suspect ADHD.

Here is a snippet of that section:

You can also request that the school district evaluate a student. For example, you might request an evaluation if you suspect a student has ADHD, or a student has received a diagnosis of ADHD outside of school.

o A district must either: (1) conduct the evaluation, or (2) explain why it is refusing to evaluate the student and notify you of your right to dispute that decision through the due process procedures under Section 504.

o During an evaluation process you can, but are not required to, provide information to the school to consider before an evaluation.

I encourage you to do individual research about this and speak with your child’s counselor and they can lead you into the right direction.

I personally went directly through my child’s Pediatrician and I was fortunate enough to be set up with a psychologist in their office. But when I did take his diagnosis to his school through the counselor I informed them I had an ADHD diagnosis but they did not require any official paperwork from me to get him set up with his 504 plan and that did make a difference with his education, and helped him get the extra resources and assistance that he required.

HoldingonLou profile image

Wow . You are going a Fantastic job

Boy_mom95 profile image
Boy_mom95 in reply to HoldingonLou

thank you very much, I am trying my best.

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