ADHD vs what is considered normal

Cindy - posted on 06/27/2009 ( 10 moms have responded )




My daughter is 8 and is on medicine for ADHD. I would like some thoughts on this please.

Should you treat all behavior the same and discipline for it or give lye way for the ADHD? Does anyone know how to tell the difference between what may be caused by the ADHD and what is considered normal?

I know the behaviors for ADHD but I do not know anymore what is the ADHD or just bad parenting.



Sonja - posted on 06/28/2009




Kids who have ADHD do still need to learn how to behave. I like the concept of give them some leeway (eg standing while eating might be ok but walking around is not) but also set clear expectations. Some kids do better with positive reward charts (eg get your chores done without reminders and get rewards). We try to always emphasize what to do to our son rather than saying no or stop that. We also try to catch him being good and praise him heavily for it. These things seem to help for us. If it seem out of hand, a therapist or psychologist can help you create a behavioral plan for home.


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Erin - posted on 10/31/2011




Major things should be disciplined for but mild things sometimes need to be actively ignored because they are just annoying things like repeating over and over something and in your face or nit picking that they try to do to get under your skin! Pick your battles and remember that your child is a child first, with ADHD! Yes it is very hard raising a child with ADHD but be firm and never give in or your child will have the control!

Vicki - posted on 07/10/2009




Normal is a setting on a washing machine.

Labeling kids as normal or abnormal can be counterproductive. Every individula is unique and we need to learn how to respect and even celebrate our differences. We also need to teach our children how to get along in this world to the best of his or her ability.

My 9 year old is diagnosed with ADHD and a mild form of sensory integration dysfunction. Some times you would never know it. Other times, there is no question that he's operating on a different frequency. My goal is to get him to identify when his level of anxiety or energy needs to be adjusted. Not out of shame, but out of a desire to have healthy relationship with his environment and the people in it.

Mealtimes were always a challenge for him to sit still long enough to eat. Impossible for him to do until he was about 7, and even then still a challenge. At home, it was a battle I chose not to take on. During mealtimes at home I actually encouraged him to get up, run around the house a couple times, and come back to eat. However, there were times when we ate in public that the rules were different. In public he is expected to use his manners and sit at the table until he's excused. He's expected to set an example for the younger ones. Some how he was able to tell the difference.

Shannon - posted on 07/08/2009




I get frustrated a lot myself. My 11 year old is not only ADHD/ODD but also Bi-Polor NOS, Tourettes and has Sensory Integration. It is really overwhelming sometimes. I am a single parent on top of that. His dad has been gone since he was 3. The only support I can offer is that you are not a bad parent! No one has all the answers because not everything works for each child the same way. I have found that consistency is the best form of discipline I can use with my son. I just have to remind myself that repetition is needed too. He is so impulsive on occassions that he just doesn't think thru to the consequences. He has to learn the lessons over and over again (with punishments) to learn. It hurts me and I want to give in and just hug him and shield him from the world, but I can't. There will come a day when I am not there and he needs to learn the rules of the "real world". As his special education teacher always tells me, "There are no special education workers in the world to follow him around when he becomes an adult. The sooner he learns how to adapt to the same rules that apply to the other kids, the stronger he will be." I was taken aback the first time he said it, but he is right.
All kids will be defiant, all kids will test your limits. To me the ADHD difference is how the child learns from their mistakes, not so much what mistakes they make. Additionally, I have to switch the method of punishment once in a while, but not the rules, just the consequence.

Marlene - posted on 07/05/2009




I agree totally with Sara Kluge.

You have to treat your son just like the other children because they will pick up on the difference and either take it to thier advantage or be upset because you are treating them differently. ADHD children are very smart and understand when they are being treated differently, this can cause alot of problems for you. Not only with your ADHD child but with the others as well, they too will pick up on the difference. You will learn along the way what kind of discipline works better for your child. Be careful on your expectations with him, don't set him up for failure, start simple and work your way up, you want him to achieve his goals. Read up on ADHD, understand the illness, every child is different, you have to understand it all to be able to deal with it.
As for how do you tell the difference be ADHD and normal? You as a parent should be able to tell if your child has a problem. The only time it gets confusing is when you have a child who acting up and not disaplined or a child who is very disciplined and still having problems. You can tell by the way they respond to different issues, as discipline, structure, attention, and emotions. Discipline is hard to follow for an ADHD child you have to find what works better for your child. Structure is extremely hard for ADHD children they have a hard time with following direction, and they can be very messy. They have a very short attention span, they loose concetration very easily. Emotions are wild, they can go up and down in a instant. you can also tell if your child does any of the following, tapping things (like desk, tables, doors, walls, or counters) shaking of limbs especially legs, can't sit still, and can be very annoying.
Please learn to have patients and try to find him ADHD therapy it will help him tremendously.

Sara - posted on 06/30/2009




I treat my son with ADHD the same as my daughter who does not have ADHD. If he is doing something that I do not let her get away with, I have to punish him the same as I do her. I do notice some things that I have been strict about since he was really little have been improving. I think he can be taught he just needs to be told it 200 times more often and eventually I will no longer be me nagging him but him learning that it has to be done that way. If I would have let him walk around while eating since he was little he would still be doing it to this day. But he knows the rules are food has to stay at the table. Yea, he is 10 and still falls off the chair quite often but he will learn how to sit someday because I make him try to sit.

Helen - posted on 06/30/2009




hi my name is helen,my son has adhd and is 11yrs he was first diagnosed when he was 5 and has been on medication since then was not happy about him takin it but at the time i was at my wits end i didnt know anything about adhd now after a lot of reading and seeing many different doctors i understand most of it, i treat my son the same as my other children if he,s naughty or rude and he can be very rude sometimes he is disciplined the same as the others i have found that deep down they just want to treated the same as any other "normal" child he knows he,s different and iv explained why how his brain waves are alot shorter than other kids and thats why he gets angry and upset more quickly than other kids and he seems to understand , sorry iv rattled on abit but i hope this can help in someway

Tara - posted on 06/27/2009




my son is adhd and is quite good(at times)i try to ignore things that arent that bad,but treat him as an "normal"child

Lindsay - posted on 06/27/2009




I know how you feel. If you agree with the diagnosis and medicate you are admitting there is a medical issue so how do you expect them to behave normally. I find myself asking the same questions, what is ADHD and what is just acting out. My son almost 10 and we have the same issues. I try to take each instance individually. I ask myself if he could be more in control and if he 'knows' he is doing something wrong. I try to give some allowance for things I know are ADHD behavior but I always expect him to be on his best behavior, however good his best may be. I hope this helps, if only knowing you aren't the only one thinking these questions.


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