I would like some tips on raising a child with ADHD?

Renee - posted on 03/10/2009 ( 20 moms have responded )

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My son was daignosed 7 years ago and is currently taking medication for this. We have gone through parenting classes and therapy and many other things to try and correct his behavior. However nothing seems to work with him. He does have his good days but not very many. If you have any pointers that you think I may have missed please let me know. Thank you.

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Laura - posted on 03/15/2009

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I have 2 children, with this problem.  Dylan is 6 and has ADHD and Dustin is 8 with ADHD/ODD.  It will throw you into so many emotions of being physically, mentallty, and emotionally exausting.  My first suggestion is that Moms and Dads need time to themselves to regroup.  If you do not do this it will begin to take a toll on your marriage. 



 



What I have found is that with my oldest son, who is not on medication is really difficult to deal with at times.  However, get the book 123 magic.  This is wonderful, because they know that when you get to 3 then the consequence begins. 



Another tip is that most children with ADHD must have structure.  When it comes time to homework, if you have a timer on the microwave or cooking timer use it.  I set mine for 10 minutes, and tell them that is the amount of time that have to get a section of their homework done.  If they do not finish, then they know it will be longer until they can play with their friends or watch tv.



Another suggestion is to create a board with a Monday-Sunday chart for the above columns.  The side columns place their chores, homework, bath, and other things that you would like done by that child.  The remaining boxes is where you can put stars, check marks, or something that he/she would like to put in that box.  Explain to that child that at the end of the week count up how many stars they have.  Award that child with something that he/she would like to do.  Example play with friends, 1hour of video games, ride bikes, fly a kite, go out to eat .  Creating a award system makes them realize that they have to work for it, and for myself they have a behavior column.  If they argue, fight, yell, kick, or have negative behavior then they lose a star.



I guess that with ADHD and ODD you have to learn to pick your fights.  However, my children do know that for every action deserves a privilege or a consequence.  You must have a tag team system in place.  When you are beaten down then let your partner take over.  Over time if both of you work at it, things will change.



 

Shelly - posted on 03/13/2009

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Renne,



  Sorry forgot the most important part of all consistancy with every thing in his schedule any disruption can through them into a tail spin, Yes I know that things come up that just can't be helped but you need to try a hard as possible to stay on a schedule..Bed time at the same time every night, waking up at the same time every night, breakfast same time dinner same time.  You get the idea for some reason they are very missconbobulated when thier schedule is a mess...

Shelly - posted on 03/13/2009

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Renee,



  I don't know if they talk to you about his diet but you need to look into cutting out  red dye #5 and yes you wll have to res lables because you might be surprised at how many of our foods have it added to it like bolognia, Hot dogs, green jello, and candy bars...And the other thing that we found helped is coffee we would ive our son 1/2 cup in the morning before school and then would send a 1/2 with him to school for lunch time.  Alot of people will tell you tht coffees not good for them well guess what it's better than the speed thier wanting use to put in our childrens body...We had great luck with this method even his teachers commented that htey didn't know what we were doing but what ever it wass keep it up because of the improvement that they were seeing...Good luck

April - posted on 03/13/2009

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Hi! One thing we have found with our son whom is a bit younger (7) was a sensory processing disorder. We had an Occupational Therpy evaluation done and low and behold on top of the regular ADHD triggars and sensitivities was sensory issues. I would suggest just looking it up and see if anything fits whats going on. OT gave my son a chance at functioning at school he can now sit and focus for up to 15 mins even with some distraction after 6 months of therpy he couldn't sit for 2 mins at his initial eval. Not sure what kind of therapy you have tried we have gone the non-medicated route with specialists and are having to try meds mine still has a hard time in unstructured settings like the hallway. Lol! I hear you on the good and bad days! He is the king of reward charts what else do yo do lol!

Beckye - posted on 03/12/2009

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My son and I are both ADHD. He's now 21. When you see he's starting to get ramped up, catch it early (nip it in the bud) and get him doing something to burn energy and focus. Run a lap around the back yard. Carry a stack of books from one side of the room to the other. Chewing gum helps some kids. Have him sit down and cross his ankles, cross his right hand over his left and hook fingers and put the tip of his tongue behind his top front teeth. Sounds weird, I know, but it helps. Routine helps a lot. Give him a ten and a five five minute time warning before you have to go somewhere or stop something (like playing). They are easily hooked on visual stimulation, so TV or video games, etc. will be good rewards but must be limited or can be consuming. Have him race the clock with a timer to get things done. Use the positive stimulation (must be creative and this can get exhausting!) whenever you can rather than negative stimulation. Your little one is gifted in many ways that most aren't, so don't get frustrated. Go easy on yourself. It's normal for there to be steps backwards after the hormonal wash goes over the brain at puberty. Don't lose hope! :D

MikeandTashawna - posted on 03/12/2009

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My son is 12.5 yrs old and has been dealing with ADHD since he was 5. The meds do need changed as they grown and hormones change. I know having a dr. that specializes in behavior issues has been a blessing. Exercise is a help and the other comments are accurate in that on meds there should be more good than bad days. Remember he is a child and no child is perfect, each day has it's moments just because of normal child hormones and lifes difficulites at that age. Just be loving and persistant and remember it is a disease but not an excuse to act any way they choose.

Rebecca - posted on 03/12/2009

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My son always has problems focusing when it is time for homework. I have noticed that if he does it as soon as he gets home and I sit next to him while he does it. It gets done faster and when he gets of track I just remind him he needs to get his work done before he can play.

Alecia - posted on 03/12/2009

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I'm not sure how old your son is but I do know how much ADHD can affect a family.  I myself have a severe case of it and I have struggled all my life!  I'm 30 now and I don't take meds anymore because of my other health conditions so I've had to find other ways of dealing with it.  I also have 3 kids with ADHD and only one without it!  I wish there was some supper amazing cure I could tell you about but unforunately there isn't.  The best advice I can give you is to say that patience is the best thing in the world!  I meditate daily and encourage my children to do it too!  It can be very helpfull!  It works quite well to calm me us down and adding it to your regular schedual like say after school when I know my kids are super hyper seems to be the best time for us.  It's a pretty hard thing for an ADHD kid to learn to do and don't expect him to be good at it right away but over time he can master it and learn to channel his energy and use it in a positive manner.  this seems to have cut down on the number of physical fights my boys have on a daily basis.  Most importantly if he's getting in trouble try not to blamb yourself!  I know that raising and ADHD child is very stressfull and ten times harder than raising other kids so keep in mind that you are not a super hero and nomatter what approch you try you child still has free will and there is only so much you can do!

Liz - posted on 03/12/2009

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Hi there! I am a mom of an ADHD son. He is 6 years old and in 1st grade. He takes concerta once a day and it really seems to help him focus on tasks and keep him from bouncing off the walls. Something that has helped us was giving him responsibility in the home. We started chore charts. He has a chart in his bedroom for his room. We also have a chart in each room of the house, and pick names each day to see who gets what room. Last night Ethan had the kitchen. Of course they cant do everything in the kitchen, but it gives them a sense of "grown upness" that gets them excited, and it also centers them. Ethan really needs to have his hands busy a lot! So we found this works awesome! I hope that helps you!!

Michelle - posted on 03/12/2009

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I have a nearly 20 yr old daughter with adhd and bipolor,has had 2 heart surgies,and other special needs so i have been thru alot  with her and alot meds who did and some whom didnt work I also have a chat room your welcome to come and chat with us and there is alot of support  http://forums.talkcity.com/n/mb/listsf.a...

Rhonda - posted on 03/11/2009

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you say seven years ago? well i have a story for you my son was diagnosed 8 years ago and was on meds everything we tried from adderall to ritalin nothing seemed to work he got very depressed. he is now 19 and was rediagnosed because he was not at all adhd he was bi-polar now he s on the right meds and is a totally different kid its unbeleivable. thats not all my 17 yr old also was diagnosed and his meds work so if theres nothing working you may want to have him rediagnosed just to be on the safe side!! bi-polar and adhs have alot of the same characteristics let me know if this helped!

Tara - posted on 03/11/2009

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My daughter also has ADHD and boarder line BiPolar she in almost 10, I was told she was ADHD at age 5. We have been through many things, Right now she is on Vynase and Trileptal. Both Meds work really well with her, but she still has little I'll call "happenings". I try not to let the doctors dope her up too bad so she is on the lowest dose possible for her, and we do lots of sports, My child's schedule is full, every day of the week is something. As long she is busy she is fine, She is a A-B Honor Roll Student and Thrives on all activities. My best suggestion is put the child in all activities/sports they enjoy and Trust me they will get better in time. 

Christine - posted on 03/11/2009

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1.  The routine:  Many ADHD kids thrive on it, but have difficulty creating it.  Also, the daily reminders may tip communication to the negative side.   Have your child help you create a checklist for morning, after school and bedtime routines.  The child can refer to them and check them off.  Let go of the nagging.



2,  Color code books and folders for school work.  Social Studies?  Put an orange cover on it and provide an orange folder for notes and homework. Science? Red. Etc.



3.  Homework:  Set a timer.  Begin with small increments (5-10-15 minutes).  The child needs to work that long before asking questions and otherwise stalling.  If the child has to do homework in the kitchen, tape some file folders together to create a visual barrier.  Also, if your child is truly working diligently through homework and it is taking a lot longer than his classmates, ask the teacher to modify it.   If the child can do 10 math problems correctly, why do 30?



4. Weekend vacations from meds never worked with my child.  It made things more difficult.



5. Give specific directions.  If someone asked you to grocery shop for them, wouldn't you want a list?



Good Luck



 

Meredith - posted on 03/11/2009

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My daughter who is now 10 1/2 was diagnosed with ADHD/ODD at the age of 5. She is on Vyvanse which I believe is a relatively new medication. It does help with the hyperactivity and the focusing, but she has organizational issues and she forgets EVERYTHING. My daughter argues a lot and we used to do the comprising thing just to get some peace, but now we totally ignore the bad behaviors. It is really hard at first, but after 2 years of it, she does really well now! Even her teacher has the same approach as we do.

Teressa - posted on 03/11/2009

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Sometimes the medication makes things worse rather than better.Maybe his medication is doing more harm than good. Don't misunderstand me -- I happen to be a big supporter of medicine, but it has to be coupled with a lot of other things in order for it to work properly, and sometimes, even then, it doesn't work out. Maybe he needs a different medication.



I have ADD and am on medication for it; I've been on several different medications -- Ritalin, Concerta ER, Focalin, Focalin XR, Adderall, Ritalin SR -- some of those are HORRIBLE for me. Immediate release Ritalin can have a HORRIBLE crash -- like a sugar crash but even worse. Focalin made me super hyper but not focused; Adderall made me moody and irritable, etc. Has he only been on one med or has he tried others?



A MAJOR influence on people with ADD and ADHD is their diet -- I have to be extremely careful about how much sugar and caffeine I have in my system. Avoiding caffeine at all costs is best -- it only exacerbates the symptoms. Sugar is the same way. Sticking to fruits, veggies, protein, and whole grain/wheat breads are ideal. Same for beverages -- avoid juice and soda; stick with milk and water when you can. Believe me, as a lifelong picky eater, I know this diet isn't what any kid wants (I don't even want it and I'm 25! lol), but it can really help A TON. I can't explain how much a change in diet has helped me.



If worse comes to worse, try a different doctor -- maybe the one you've been seeing is incorrect in their diagnosis, or maybe another doctor will give you better pointers. Make sure they're monitoring his medication VERY closely -- putting a child on any sort of medication is a very serious thing to do and should be followed diligently.



I hope this helped somehow! Good luck!!

Teresa - posted on 03/11/2009

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Have you talked to his doctor about having very few good days?  My son was diagnosed almost 7 years ago, and we have had to change his medication as he grows.  I agree with Tamara that medication is not a cure all, but it should help have more good days than bad.  I also have to tell my son specifically what to do.  Instead of clean your room, it's pick up your clothes, etc.  He tells me it is easier with smaller tasks.  Good luck, i know it is stressful.

Tamara - posted on 03/11/2009

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As someone with ADHD, my mantra is Routine, Routine, Routine. Medication is a help but is is not a cureall. (This is something I keep having to pound into my nephew's head since he's also ADHD)

What I do is make to do lists for daily activities and keep a calendar of EVERYTHING I have to do on a weekly and monthly basis. Consistency is key. Also, I found that breaking things into smaller tasks makes it easier to focus. If you tell him "clean your room," you might as well ask him to start mountain climbing. Instead, say "ok, I need you to pick up the floor." And when that's done, move on to the next step, etc.

My schoolwork I have organized into a binder. Each subject has a folder. On the left hand side of the folder, is work that needs to be done. On the right hand side is work that's finished and needs turned in. Each folder is labeled and the inner pockets are also labeled.

Does he have an IEP? If not, get one. This will protect your son at school and allow him access to services that will help him succeed.

HTH

Carol - posted on 03/11/2009

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my nephew has adhd and when he has a moment which is often my sister takes him in another room away from people till he calms down it can take an hour for him to calm down ,if she lets him stay in the room where everyones watching it can take longer for him to calm down cause he thinks everyones staring at him and gets worse hes 8yrs old now and only just been daignosed about 6months now i try to keep him calm b4 he starts don't know how my sister handles him don't think i could.

Jessica - posted on 03/10/2009

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When there are times you need him to sit still and focus (while doing homework or whatever) have him sit on a yoga ball instead of a chair. It forces them to focus that extra nrg on balancing so they don't fall off and their normal attention on their work. Also if he is having trouble calming down lightly apply pressure and rub his head or upper shoulder...it should calm him down. These are techniques my mom uses in her 3rd grade classroom since many of her ADHD are not on meds. Good luck and I hope this helps.

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