How to deal with blended families and adhd

Christina - posted on 04/16/2013 ( 2 moms have responded )

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My name is Christina I have a fourteen year old son and my fiance has a nine year old girl. We often argue over the fact that she back talks me and and she doesn't stop talking when you tell her to and interrupts all the time. I get so frustrated with her I can't stand it. Both my kids bicker so bad she starts whining like a two year old. I feel as though he doesn't do enough to help me with the situation. I don't know what to do any more because when I talk to her like a normal person she don't listen so I end up yelling then she squeals and says don't yell at me. I have tried to get her attention by just talking but she just ends up acting like I'm yelling at her. I get so frustrated I just want to walk out the door. I am the only mom that she has that isn't a drug addict. i took care of her for the last five years. she complains we don't buy her nice clothes but the last time we took her to go get clothes she threw a massive tempertatrum in the dressing room in Walmart. We took her shopping at old navy and she wouldn't hardly pick out anything. What am I supposed to do? Please help. desperate in mitchell

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[deleted account]

Teach her. I struggle with ADHD as well, and I can tell you this--she hates herself for it. Every time she fails to understand you or fails to respond and gets yelled at, she's hating herself. Yelling will never work, and it will only reinforce the negative ideas she already has about herself. If you stay on the track you are on, she is headed for a very rebellious, dangerous teenhood.

She won't respond to regular talk because despite her best efforts, she's forgetting important aspects of what you are saying to her as you say them. Upping the volume to a yell isn't going to help her remember. Instead, you have to put "reminders" in her life that won't let her forget.

At 9, I can understand the temper tantrum in Walmart--a 9 year old here wearing walmart clothes would be tortured and bullied relentlessly. Ask her where SHE wants to buy the clothes. Give her a budget and let her use it as she sees fit. Explain that if she wants Justice or Express she will have fewer clothes than if she chooses Old Navy or Macy's. A lot of times, 3 or 4 really awesome pieces can be a lot better than 10 or 12 pieces she doesn't really like. Explain that with fewer clothes comes more frequent laundry and ask HER if she is willing to put forth that effort. If she doesn't, have a couple of cheap outfits on hand for her to wear. When she has to wear them, she'll understand it was because SHE chose to have fewer clothes and neglected her laundry. People with ADHD respond best to consequences. You can TELL them something a million times, it won't sink in until they experience it.
Besides the experience, when she IS successful, it will give her a confidence boost that she really needs. She will LOVE those clothes if you let her have what she wants, and she will take care of them with very few failures, but if she doesn't value them, she won't take care of them. That's pretty much any kid, not just ADHD.

As for the interruptions. That's difficult. My husband does that too and I can't stand it because with my ADHD if I get interrupted, my thought is gone--I'm derailed to the point that I have to start over, and even then it's not right. For that, you need different tools for different situations.
For arguments, try arguing via email. Lay out your arguments and email them to her, then allow her to email you back. Don't rush--give her a day or two. Not only will she be forced to consider your arguments deeply in order to refute them, she will have to consider her own ideas deeply in order to form coherent arguments. This works well for big issues like where to shop, curfew, etc.
For daily conversations, try a speaking stick. At dinner, only the person with the stick can speak. Pass it around the table and take turns. After school, take turns listing to each kid tell you about his/her day--this is great because you get 10 minutes of one on one time with each kid, which will make them feel special, they get time to talk so they won't be as compelled to do so when you need them to listen, and they won't be together to interrupt each other.

Hope this helps some. If you have more specific problems, maybe I can help. I've been dealing with this for most of my life (I'm in my 30's and my son is 8 years old). I think it is great that you are stepping up and trying to see things from her perspective despite your frustration. I know it's frustrating to deal with people like us when you don't have ADHD and it is wonderful that you are taking the time to understand her.

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[deleted account]

I thought about this longer and remembered a couple other things that help me tremendously.

If you keep a TV or music on in the house for "background noise" turn it off. Her mind doesn't differentiate automatically between that noise and the noise of other people talking--it is just all noise that she has to be heard over. If you do need some sound in the house, switch to soft, instrumental music, preferably with very little or no percussion instruments. (Think symphonies, piano solos, etc. It does not have to be classical, you can find beautiful instrumental versions of modern songs as well as very beautiful modern instrumental symphonies.) Once a lot of the backgound noise is eliminated, voices will start to stand out to her more and she will be more aware of interrupting in daily conversation.

That won't help with interrupting during an argument though--for that, you HAVE to make sure she has time to say her piece. also, lay your argument out in short intervals, one point at a time, and let her say her rebutle before moving on to the next point. Or, like I suggested below, use email to argue.

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