I am concerned my granddaughter has ADD or ADHD?

BARB - posted on 11/19/2013 ( 5 moms have responded )

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Was wondering if anyone has had any dealings like this before, we have custody of my husbands 14 yr old granddaughter and have had her now 2 yrs. She makes straight A's in school, I never get bad reports from school, she likes school. I know she has had a rough early life before us, with rotten parents and such. It seems though that in the past 6 to 9 months she forgets her chores that she does on a daily basis and when she does them ( some every other day) she was forgetting which clothes she wore during the week so she would end up wearing the same thing more than once so I had to start picking out her clothes for her and putting them on a hanger that is marked the day of the week. She has to be reminded of everything to do, she will start out to say gather the trash to take out and she will get it out of the rooms and bring it and sit in down in the floor and walk off and leave it sitting there and go on outside to do her chores. She starts one thing and usually doesn't finish it before she moves onto another thing and doesn't realize she has done it. She has to be told so many times and showed so many times the same thing that she has been doing now for 2 yrs that it is just becoming so overwhelming that its starting to cause problems. She kinda acts like she doesn't care like our bathroom floor has been soaked many times here recently and she has blamed it on my 22 yr son or her little 10 yr old sister who comes to visit, and I proved her wrong the other night by going in there right after she came out of the shower and the floor had water standing in it, bc she will say its not me or I didn't do it. I have been trying to tell her that the tub will fall through the floor if it doesn't stop and I am not getting through, and mind you we have a new trailer that is only 4 going on 5 yrs old, and I have had at one time 4 different ppl stay with me and use that bathroom and never had water in the floor until now. It's like when she isn't the center of attention or everything isn't her way then things start happening. I have tried to explain she will never be the only person there is here bc there is other grandkids and then my boys in which one is in the Marines and does tours, so he means quite a bit to me, and my oldest one lives her also and he means a lot as well, and so does she but she thinks she should be the only one, and I'm sorry but I don't work like that. Is there anyone who has had anything similar to this. I have gotten almost everything she has asked for like she wanted a horse when we first got her, but she doesn't want to do the chores and she doesn't remember things well enough for me to turn her loose by herself with the horse. Help please, where or how do I find out what's going on with her?

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Rebekah - posted on 11/19/2013

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I agree, it likely isn't ADD, since that would have been present all along since early childhood. If its recent behaviors, then its something else.

Considering her age, I'd wonder if hormones/puberty and all that goes with that might be part of what's happening. As I'm sure you know, typically teens can be very self-focused, so some of it may be a normal part of her stage of development. Not wanting to do chores, or possible jealousy over having to share time/space with others, also probably pretty typical. But I have other thoughts too...

Also given her history, I'd also wonder if there isn't a possibility of some level of depression. Hopefully she feels more settled with you now that its been two years, but if she has a lot from the past, and still has ongoing disappointments from her mother's family, then there could still be some stress there that may be causing these behaviors. When you mention she's pulling clothes out of the dirty laundry pile to wear again, it makes me wonder about the possibility of depression--in which people don't always care to make the effort to tend to their appearance/hygiene (and for a teen girl, that's noteworthy) .... or details, for that matter, with "forgetting" things, or having trouble completing tasks, etc. That could be a concentration issue, which may also suggest depression or that she's got something she's preoccupied with. How are peer relationships? You don't mention her demeanor... how is her mood in general? Did anything else change in her life in the last 6-9 months when the behaviors started?

If she hasn't gotten counseling since she came to be with you, then I would recommend it. That kind of adjustment is big...for both/all of you, really. A counselor might be able to help determine if there are any emotional concerns behind her behaviors or not. I'm glad you are making the effort to check in with her and ask... though maybe she'd open up better with a neutral person. ?

Apart from that, it would be good to set expectations with her as far as her responsibilities. Implement discipline (and appropriate rewards!) when you need to. If she doesn't complete her chores (or clean up after herself, etc.), then she doesn't get screen time/phone time/friend time or her allowance or whatever else it is that she is working to earn until those things are complete. Does she seem a bit scattered or disorganized? Maybe she needs a little more structure. A chore chart she can cross things off when done? A hamper/laundry system so its obvious what clean clothes she can pick from? Are there any other simple helps that you can put in place to minimize potential problems? A shower liner to keep inside the tub when she showers? An absorbent bath mat/towel for when she steps out of the tub? (if you tried all these things and its still happening, then yes...have her take a bath! Maybe that will get her to pay more attention to what she's doing). And definitely praise is motivating (and feels good for both of you), so be sure to catch her when she is following through and doing what she should.

I hope you aren't really second-guessing the adoption... I'm sure it is stressful at times, but she needs you and her grandfather. Get the support that you need so that you can help her navigate through this time. She's at a tough age and its tough on parents too. But please don't give up on her! Hang in there.

BARB - posted on 11/19/2013

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Yes mainly earned not just given to be spoiled. We have sold one of the horses and are awaiting the sale of the other one. School seems to be fine as far as I know, so basically yes its just at home. I know she is somewhat jealous bc when she first moved in with us she was the only one here, as my youngest son had joined the marines and was off to bootcamp and my oldest had moved out, and a couple months after she was here he moved back home, and then her little sister comes whenever she wants, so she knows she is never gonna be the only one at the house ever. It's like she is just so forgetful all of a sudden, she can't remember what clothes she wore yesterday, so she will grab the ones that she just got back out of the laundry to put up to put on, she doesn't remember what day she cleaned her room or the bathroom, or she doesn't remember this or that. It is just getting so old, she keeps me so mad and irritated that my nerves are becoming shot and worn so thin. She has blamed a lot of the little things on her little sister like the bathroom floor getting wet even though she was caught in the act on it. I have tried talking to her many times about anything bothering her, or anything like that and all she ever says is I don't know. How am I supposed to get around that? She was told she wasn't gonna get everything handed to her, bc I wasn't raised that way, you truly earn what you get and take care of it, once you get it.

Jodi - posted on 11/19/2013

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"I have gotten almost everything she has asked for"

^^^ This right here. Stop getting her everything she asks for. You have created an entitled child. Unless you mean that she has EARNED everything she has asked for?

If she can't be responsible, get rid of the horse.

This isn't ADHD or ADD. She is doing well in school. It seems that it is only at home that this is a problem. I am always perplexed as to why people feel the need to put a label on behaviour they don't like. Sorry, but STOP!!!

What you have described is pretty typical teenage behaviour. That doesn't mean it is okay, but you need to continue to gently remind and have clear consequences in order to teach her right from wrong. For example, if she leaves the bathroom a mess, she cleans the bathroom for a week.

And seriously, who CARES if she wears the same clothes twice during the week? She doesn't, why do you?

BARB - posted on 11/19/2013

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She started out really good after we first got her, we have tried to get her most of everything she has asked for without just flat out spoiling her. But she is most usually the only one here other than my 22 yr old son so, she gets tons of attention, I was taking her shopping, to concerts, letting friends come over, bought the horse, she doesn't have a cell phone and won't have one bc she is in my opinion to young and not responsible enough. But yes we have tried to talk to her about if she is not happy being here, as she was just dumped on us out of the blue and then we hired a lawyer and adopted her just back in april it was final, we have tried to explain that everything we have cost money and we have worked hard for it and that is why it is important to take care of it. She doesn't like to have to do chores, she has mentioned that and we tried to explain that hey, you are gonna have them the rest of your life so you might as well get used to them now, and they could be a lot worse things than burning trash or taking out scraps or cleaning your bathroom, in which the bathroom issue is becoming a serious problem, bc now its getting to the point that instead of letting her take a shower I am gonna make her take either a bath or even if she takes a shower, I am gonna have to go sit in the bathroom to see if or just to keep it from happening anymore. I know she loves to read, and when we first got her she had d' and f's in school and we went to a tutor for the yr and the tutor said she knew what she was doing but was doing it to fast. so we got that taken care of and she has had excellent grades since. Really at our witts end here, have even busted her butt, to try and get the point across to her and it didn't seem to help; don't know what else to do other than a dr and see if she can be checked. I know her mom's family doesn't have much to do with her and they lie to her a lot about sending her stuff or coming to see her, and I tried to explain that's not our fault or hers its just them. Just a very stressed household here, who is beginning to wonder if adoption was the right thing.

Louise - posted on 11/19/2013

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I wouldn't say its ADHD as my brother was diagnosed with that at 8 and he's now 15 he was a total nightmare he would have done anything for attention good or bad and he was terrible in school wouldn't listen to anyone he gets angry at times and breaks things in the home and he gets frustrated easily mabie its a phase she's going through have you tried to talk to her about it? Mabie she's doing it purposely to get attention sometimes u need that've a heart to heart with teenagers she's at an awkward age hormones and all that and you should find out if it's got to do with her past why she's being like this give her a hug and reassure her that u love her Marie she needs to hear some positive things too and not all negative all the time

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