Parenting a child with ADHD can be extremely unpredictable and challenging. I am a mother of a child with ADHD and this has been a very difficult journey. My daughter was diagnosed with ADHD when she was 7 years old. She is now 11 years old. My daughter was diagnosed with ADHD combined type which included hyperactivity and inattentiveness. I noticed that my daughter was struggling with ADHD right around her 3rd birthday. She was extremely hyper and impulsive and would cry loudly when she did not get instant gratification of what she wanted. My daughter displayed difficult regulating her emotions and was highly sensitive to sounds, clothing fabrics and spicy foods. These things were not that alarming in the beginning but they became increasingly noticeable later. When she started elementary school, her kindergarten teacher scheduled a meeting with me to discuss my daughter's inability to focus and stay on task while in the classroom. This was my first academic meeting of many more I would attend up until this point. I decided to work with my daughter independently and optioned out of having her assessed for ADHD. I was in denial! After kindergarten, I was called to a meeting 2-3 times a year for her inability to stay focused while in class and hyperactivity in the form of talking to her peers constantly. It wasn't until she was entering 3rd grade that I finally decided to have my daughter assessed for ADHD by a Child psychiatrist. She was shortly prescribed Focalin 5mg. I was so apprehensive about her being placed on medication to manage her ADHD after hearing horror stories about other children developing other side-effects to taking medication but at this time the benefits were outweighing my fear of her experiencing non critical side-effects. I started right away to learn everything I could about ADHD.
My daughter started to present fairly well after being prescribed medication. She started to bring her grades back up and there were finally no more reports of inattentiveness or hyperactivity. Thank the Lord! My daughter was starting to become more confident about her academic abilities and was displaying overall improvements in all subject areas and conduct. Once she got into the 4th grade we discussed a medication change due to her medication not lasting throughout her school day and she was then prescribed Focalin XR 10 mg. This dosage worked well for the remainder of the year. Just recently we decided to change her medication entirely due to her reporting constant stomach pains and her inability to eat when she takes her medication. The effects of the medication are still being evaluated.
Parenting my ADHDer has been tough both in the home and with assisting her in school. Her room is constantly messy and very similar to episodes on Hoarders. If I allow her to, she would totally destroy the entire house by eating and leaving food, throwing clothing anywhere she can and by going from room to room displaying her untidy behaviors. This takes extreme micromanaging on my part and I am constantly checking under beds, behind couches and ensuring that no doors are closed on her side of the home. Once the doors start being constantly shut, this means that things have become unmanageable for her. This is often an indication that I may need to have an intervention to assist her with cleaning. This is usually a monthly occurrence. This has been a constant problem since she was younger and honestly I do not see any relief in sight.
Another area of concern when parenting children with ADHD is emotional dysregulation. My daughter has always displayed difficulty managing her emotions. Since turning 11, she has been able to manage her crying more, as this behavior is not socially acceptable with her peers. When she was younger, she would whine so much that I honestly got use to her doing this and it was only last year that I noticed that she did not whine as a protest. This has changed this year and has been replaced with attitude and grunts! So we have now reached a new area of emotional dysregulation and I am working with her Counselor to identify ways to encourage her to manage her emotions in a healthier way.
So basically, raising a child with ADHD requires to be a manager of your child and provide constant supervision and direction. It also requires you becoming an absolute expert regarding ADHD and creating a network of support people to assist you and your child. This includes Therapists, Psychiatrists, Psychologists and the Pediatrician for medical and mental health management. Other support people can consist of teachers, school counselors and other peer support people within the school. One of my favorite videos to assist parents with navigating through a new diagnosis is listed below. Dr. Russel Barkley. Please take some time to listen and take notes of this video. It will help you tremendously!!! I hope my experience will help you in the raising and management of your ADHD child. It will get better and remember our children are uniquely made and will need a bit of support and encouragement to become a successful and productive adult.
ADHD: Essential Ideas for Parents