ADHD parents dealing with ADHD Kids

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ADHD parents dealing with ADHD Kids 2012-06-23T02:47:36+00:00

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  • #90831

    Post count: 596

    Ok i confess I’m bored and would love to see a topic in the forum that gets everyone going and posting like madmen so am looking to stir up a little adrenaline and this is the best I can come up with…

    What the heck do you do to motivate your young adult adult children when you are struggling with ADHD issues yourself?

    I’m generally the parent in charge and have been the one leading the charge. I’m the officially diagnosed ADDer in the family. My husband has symptoms and ignores them, basically thinks ADD is nonsense. Focuses on work which is demanding. I have one officially diagnosed ADD child who is a young adult and difficult as hell to get along with. Not doing well in school but the typical thing – very talented yet has no confidence, follow through, or motivation.Actually motivation is so lacking that filling a prescription for Ritalin has not even bee filled. Ive done all the stuff “normal” parents” do , that is vacillate from complete support and sympathy to yelling and losing it when it comes to school. Nothing works. Said child is perfectly able to stay up all night or go hang out with friends at the drop of a hat but sleeps all day and watches movies otherwise. Driving me nuts!!!

    Anyone else in the same boat with any positive results?


    Post count: 14413

    I’m heading down the same path so I would also love to hear of positive tactics that work on adult children with adhd. My child who has it is only 7 and already we have battles about homework, yet he an stay up for hours playing video games.

    What motivated me as a teen/young adult with adhd (before I knew I even had it) was having to work from the age of 14 in awful jobs with equally awful managers. Nothing made me want to get an education more than knowing I needed good school results to get into a profession and a decent life.

    Also knowing, my parents couldn’t (mum) or wouldn’t (dad) help me, my siblings and I had to sink or swim and I’m a fighter as it turns out. I think studying a couple of subjects I loved helped me stay motivated and hanging around with nerdy, studious types kept me on track as well. But to be honest, as a teenager I didn’t listen to a word my parents said to me. What kept you motivated Nellie?

    Oh, and I vacillate from kind, understanding and supportive parent to shrieking demon too. I feel terrible when I lose it and get upset at having one more adhd thing to try and manage and control. I call it the family curse. We’re fighting a battle on two fronts when nature (biologically having adhd) and nurture (growing up in a household of disorganised, volatile adhders) is against us *sigh*


    Post count: 802

    Hmmm yes. It’s hard.

    Mornings in my house were one of 2 things, before my meds. Either:

    Me: Well done for leaning forward. Your crumbs are dropping on your plate instead of your shirt.

    You ignored the dog and he stopped begging – fab!

    Do you remember what you need to do now? Yup! Teeth. How shiny can you make them?



    Me: Where did you put your shoes? What do you MEAN you don’t KNOW?!

    Get your teeth brushed NOW! Hurry up!

    Lean FORWARD! The dog will beg for food if you drop stuff on the floor.

    Shoes. QUICK!

    Flippin eck. It’s stressful for everyone. So far though the meds have changed that around for me and I tend to get up in time to have a calm morning. I even have time to play the piano while they’re eating sometimes!


    Post count: 596

    Tiddler, that scenario vacillation sounds very familiar! Don’t we feel clever when we are able to pull off the first one though?!!

    RedSquirrel, I agree the sink or swim idea might work but I suspect that it requires the individual to be somewhat motivated form within. As you say you were a fighter type. Unfortunately those who have a minimal ability to drive themselves will flounder. I suppose if drugs, alcohol or violence were involved that is the sort of ultimatum one would need ( i.e. kick them out of the house).

    In this case that is not the issue and to be fair the child has made an attempt at better grades since the beginning of the year because after the last school term disaster I insisted on testing “or else.” The “or else” was telling my husband how bad it really was. I guess fear of even more parental harassment and probably perplexity was enough to actually agree to see a psychologist. The improvement in grades was minimal but enough to get by. Nevertheless, general motivation is still lacking and what I find the most difficult is the constant argumentativeness and contrarian behaviour.

    What motivated me as a teenager ?- Well motivation wasn’t the problem! It was finishing all the things that I was motivated to do! I was the typical ADHDer in that sense, always finding something interesting and new to do.

    My child on the other hand is the inattentive type and very low on the motivation scale ( not sure there is such an actual scale but the psych who did the evaluation made a point of how low motivation was.) This prompted the med prescription which at first was not recommended. Also perhaps all that argumentativeness and constant opposition which seems to defy logic and reason is a neurological immaturity of the ADD brain.

    So in terms of positive methods not sure what to use! In the late teen years they are beyond the usual discipline methods one would employ with a younger child.They actually think they are an adult because they are over 18 not because they need to behave responsibly. As a young person I suppose I was fear driven to a certain extent. While I did lots of dumb stuff parental wrath was always at the back of my mind so I never went totally overboard. ( well except once literally involving a boat but that’s another story!)

    I guess what I’m really looking for are ideas on how to establish a relationship that can involve a calm and reasonable discussion. Perhaps I should just not react to anything. Let sleeping kids lie so to speak :-)


    Post count: 116

    thank you nellie for starting this – this has been something on my mind for quite a while…except my kids are younger, and son is asd(dx) and i suspect also add….so some different issues, but a common thread

    i know for me fear of my mother is what kept me “motivated” when i was in grade school.

    unfortunately most of my memories of my mom from when i was growing up are of her yelling and/or criticizing me.

    to this day we have a strained relationship.

    i never wanted to be that kind of mother… always thought i would be different as a parent.

    and yet, i find myself yelling…a lot- during the school year especially…sometimes i feel like a monster – like someone else possesses my body i get so angry and frustrated and feel out of control it escalates so quickly.

    i ususally end up apologizing for yelling, explaining why i got so mad/frustrated…hoping we all do better next time…..

    other times i’m “the coolest mom”. the kids and i are pretty goofy, we enjoy hanging out together(most of the time), and i make sure they know i love them and how wonderful they are in their own unique ways.

    i also am seeking a way to better handle myself , having not only add issues myself(not diagnosed yet, but i can’t imagine i’m not since finding this site), but also dealing with an (almost) 8 year old son who has asd and i suspect add, along with a 4 yo daughter “normy?” who is so very different from me and my son – actually, in many ways she is harder for me to handle than my “special needs” son….but that’s a whole other story.

    does medication help with the feelings of impatience/frustration/anger outbursts? or does it just help with focus/attention/procrastination/overwhelm…? not that help with just those things only wouldn’t be wonderful…just curious…

    red squirrel, one thing i’ve found that helps with the homework issues is making sure to do it early enough in the evening – the later it gets the harder it is for him to stay focused and think clearly. but don’t know if that’s going to help with anyone else.and it’s not always practical even for us, depending on my work schedule, since i’m pretty much the only one around who understands his homework and how to help him with also helps if we break up what’s most challenging for him into smaller parts. for example, he hates/has difficulty with writing out vocabulary definitions, so when we can we’ll do say 2 or 3 of them monday,tuesday,wednesday,thursday to turn in friday rather than doing all of them on wednesday when assigned – but of course the teacher has to be on board with that too…..and i’m not often able to do the ideal due to us both procrastinating…..ugh

    as a young adult i found motivation when i came out of a relationship….let’s just say he really did a number on me…and i never wanted to be so dependent on a man again. i decided to persue a career that i thought would be a ticket to financial freedom with an educational program i could stick with. i did graduate and get my dc, but, many years later, financial independence continues to elude me…..but working on that ;)

    nellie, is it possible your son has a co-morb of oppositional/defiance disorder? or is it just teenage stuff combined with add?anyway,

    one of my close friends has a daughter very much like me(and ironically my daughter is very much like her – we’re like yin and yang)…it’s a running joke with her that we don’t know how it happened that we gave birth to eachothers daughters. anyway, i remind her from time to time that she, her daughter, is not her….what she,my friend, was like/doing/capable of at a given age is different for her daughter…some people take more time to find their niche/find their motivation in life….and yelling all the time is only causing damage to her and to their relationship, not helping her daughter do what she needs to do. so, let sleeping kids lie? well, perhaps sometimes we need to step back, take a break from the usual, maybe time to get a different perspective….. but, make sure you’ve investigated and dealt with underlying issues such as add and make sure he has whatever supports in place that he needs meds/counseling/therapy/tutors/career counselor? if he’s finished with high school but not really getting into college, maybe he could take a year or so to just work? or work pt/school pt? it is so hard to stick with something without a concrete goal/ genuine interest. but with the proper support in place…..well, i find i’m rambling and hope what i’ve written doesn’t offend…..



    Post count: 596

    g.laiya sounds like you are making an effort to be a good mom which is what counts in the end. I believe if your kids know you care you are on the road to building a foundation for a good relationship in the long run. It’s the in between years that give us the gray hair I guess!!

    Opostional-defiant has crossed my mind but this did not come up in the evaluation,apparently the comorbidity in my child’s case is anxiety which is why at first meds were not recommended.

    I just started reading an interesting book related to all of this called Movers, Dreamers and Risk takers . The author is ADHD himself and a ADHD coach. One of the things he suggests is that we forget about the usual parental tactics and just basically do the opposite. Kind of reverse psychology I guess.

    I haven’t decided if this book is really useful or not but he makes some interesting points. Humour is another tactic he suggests in dealing with kids like this vs criticism. Overall I guess what we’ve been saying all along in this thread – nagging, yelling and the likes doesn’t work anyway and the more you do it the worse the situation gets.

    ( .

    I did have a reasonable discussion today with the “difficult one” and tried to remember the above and at least we didn’t end up in a yelling match which I’m pleased about.

    I think I will try to take it one day at a time and make myself mini goals related to dealing with this issue. I’m hoping with this tactic I won’t feel so overwhelmed.

    Just remembered – for those of you dealing with younger kids and homework –

    the book I mentioned above has lots of ideas for students.

    One interesting one is he suggested kids move around in stations when doing homework. For example, do each subject in a different room instead of sitting still in one place.Kind of like in a Kindergarten classroom that is centre based. I guess you could set a timer for a certain time and then the child would switch activities.

    Another tactic he suggests is switching kids with a friend who has a child with similar issues. I don’t mean trade them away for good just for homework!:-) After school they go home with the other person and can’t come home until the work is done. No TV or comforts of home should supposedly get them to work faster. The idea being children are less likely to argue with a non-parent.


    Post count: 363

    It’s a great question. And depressing. Sometimes I feel like it’s my fault my kid has ADHD, because I have it. I was so stressed out when I was pregnant with him. I wonder if my stress level, coupled with a diet of pepperoni pizza, contributed. Also, it was a rough delivery for him, he had jaundice.

    What motivates him is what interests him, but that doesn’t always fit in with what they teach in school. He’s got college-level interests in the 7th grade (philosophy and linguistics).

    My biggest concern is that it’s almost impossible to get him off of the internet. He spends waaaay too much time online. The only good part is that he plays games with older people, and he wants them to think he’s 21 instead of 13, so he’s really expanded his vocabulary.

    I’m definitely the inattentive type, and suffer from chronic inertia more than anything else. I think as a kid I was motivated to do things I received recognition for – positive feedback and encouragement – things that I did well got noticed. The down side was that my identity became very wrapped up in what I did well, but that’s not the end of the world.

    I find that as I learn more about my ADHD and how to treat it, including dietary changes and supplements, I’m better able to encourage good habits in my son, because I know the value of them first hand. He got diagnosed at age 5 because he was so hyperactive, but I didn’t get diagnosed until he was quite a bit older. I wish I had known more, earlier.

    I’ve never been the sort of “high-acceptance, high-control” parent the parenting books say we should be. I have a tendency to be permissive and not overly involved. On the one hand, I think that encourages compassion, acceptance, resourcefulness, and tolerance in my kids, but on the other hand, probably leaves them somewhat cast adrift, which is not so great for an ADHD kid. I think kids with ADHD benefit from consistent routines and structure. But if I can’t impose that on myself, how can I impose it on anyone else?

    My guess is that setting up an environment where my son will find the things that interest him naturally and not find the things that take him off track would be helpful. Following the path of least resistance, and/or path of what leads him to hyper-focus in a positive way, might be the ticket. I haven’t quite worked out what that would be, but for example, we’ve done a lot of reading together. I could drag him out to university lectures and whatnot IF I can get him out of the house.


    Post count: 596

    sdwa, Interesting point about structure. But it is a double-edged sword. ADHD kids on the one hand need structure to keep on track yet resist it all the way. I know for myself if I have structure in place such a showing up in a classroom or an office it helps me focus. On the other hand the routine makes me crazy at the same time but is far more productive than working at home or taking an online course.

    Maybe the key is that the structure needs to be external? To take a somewhat common example such as the traditional kid doing homework when they come home from school. In this case it’s too easy to do anything but the dreaded homework. On the other hand , if you can get the child to work in a library – ok fat chance with a hyperactive type – but what about a coffee shop or somewhere like that? Wish I had thought of this when my kids were little to try it out :-)


    Post count: 162

    My daughter is fifteen. She has done extremely well in school, though often homework is done on the fly. She is on the speech and debate teams and seems to have found her niche. However she is starting to show more ADHD traits. From what I have read, it’s common for the symptoms to become ore apparent as girls enter their teens. She has some mild ODD tendencies, and that’s our biggest issue at the moment. We are butting heads too often.

    I’m just really starting to work on the “understanding emotions” side of ADD. Earlier in my life I had developed mindfulness of the more tangible things we have to deal with, but having no clue I was ADD, the emotional side was overlooked. It’s a work in progress and though I am more aware of the emotions that drive me to butt heads with her, some slip through. I know I’m often being baited to react, she is very good at dragging me off the higher ground. Since my diagnosis and medication a couple of months ago, I have become more aware of her talking excessively. It drives me to distraction (or rather it doesn’t these days). Being mindful of the emotions I feel during these times is helping.

    She has been seeing a phsyc for anxiety/depression, and we have joint session coming up. I think we now need to deal with the ADD.

    On a general parenting note, the best thing we discovered was “Love and Logic”.


    Post count: 116

    lots of great food for thought…sounds like (among other things) i need to pick up a few books


    Post count: 14413

    WOW i just scanned overf some of these! I am in a mess here at my home . just starting to figure out i may have add and dealing with my teenager with it scares me to death. Glad i found this site . Ordered the book about it hope it comes soon, also going to see my psyc. to obtain official dignoses for self!

    Im gussing it is normal for my ADD teenager to live on video games, and have no interest outside the video game??? please help with some of this . do i make him get off the games (he is limited to 2 hours on 4 off than another 2 on but he pushes it to the max)?


    Post count: 846

    debinpa – I realize you son isn’t ten years old, but check out It has a lot of good advice from several of the members.

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