Dear Mom Whose Kid Just Got Diagnosed With ADHD

 

Dear New ADHD Mom,
So your kid just got diagnosed with ADHD? You are probably feeling a million different emotions right now. I know because I’ve been there. My son was diagnosed with severe ADHD when he was five years old. He had always been a difficult child, but I was devastated that there was actually something ‘wrong’ with him. I didn’t really know that much about ADHD. Everyone felt the need to tell me why it was my fault. I was told that everything from vaccines to red food coloring was to blame. I was also told by quite a few people that ADHD wasn’t a real diagnosis, I just needed to start telling him no or spanking him harder. I felt so guilty that there were times I would just sit in a corner and cry. I would look at my handsome little boy and wonder why he was given to me, because obviously I was doing everything wrong. Every meeting with his teacher where I was told that my child was failing and a constant disruption to the rest of the class, every time a day care asked us not to come back because of his destructive behavior, and every time I got a disapproving stare from a stranger when I couldn’t control him in a store, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I was drowning under the weight of his diagnosis and the guilt.

We started him on medication and he started bringing home better reports from school. He also started picking apart his skin, refusing to eat, and he seemed emotionless. I told his pediatrician about these side effects and his doses were changed. The lower the dose the worse his reports at school would get. The higher dose the worse his symptoms would get. I remember the exact moment I knew he would never take another pill. We were at an amusement park and all of the other kids were smiling and laughing and the expression on my sons face was blank. He was merely there going thru the motions, but not feeling this moment in his life. I know these medications work for some people, but they were not working for my son. I went home and threw the bottle of pills away. In that moment I was terrified. I didn’t know what I was going to do for him, I just knew I had to find another way.

The next few years were an uphill battle. I started doing a lot of research and learned quickly that every kid with ADHD is different. There is no one size fits all solution. I realized his best bet for learning how to live with his ADHD without medication was through behavior modification. We got him into a school with a program and started experimenting with different methods at home to see what worked for him. My husband and I became pros at re-direction and we started using caffeine as a natural remedy to get him thru harder social situations (caffeine calms my son for some reason instead of stimulating him). I had to teach him that ADHD was not an excuse for delinquent behavior and that acting out would not be tolerated. Eventually, he got caught up in school and he started bringing home good reports. His conferences and IEP meetings started to be all about the successes he was having instead of about the problems.

I never really let it sink in that he was doing better until he was admitted to the hospital for tonsillitis. I told every doctor and nurse who worked with him that he had severe ADHD and needed to be explained things slower. After he had his tonsils removed he was on pain medication and could not focus or sit still. When he finally fell back to sleep his nurse looked at me and said, “I owe you an apology, you kept telling us that your son had severe ADHD and I was looking at this calm, well behaved, and compliant 11 year old boy and I thought you were some crazy mom. When he was put on pain medicine it was obvious that he could no longer control his actions by monitoring himself and his ADHD symptoms showed and they are severe. So you obviously have done a wonderful job with him because I truly couldn’t tell he had ADHD.” Her words made me cry. Not because I was drowning under the guilt like before, but because I finally realized our heads are above water. I know it’s going to continue to be a battle, but I can also see know that we are winning.

That is why I am writing you this letter. To let you know that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t focus on worrying about why your child has this or what you might have done wrong. Don’t listen to the ignorant people who don’t understand. Don’t listen to people who swear they know what the answer is, if their solution isn’t working for YOUR child. Just follow your heart. That is why they were given to you, because your love will get them thru it.

Sincerely,

Another ADHD Mom

311310_10150779132395251_1482826043_n

Tiffany O’Connor is a mom to two amazing, energetic, and fearless boys. She is married to her high school sweet heart and has three college degrees. Her hobbies include watching TV shows about zombies, hiding in her hot tub with a bottle of champagne, and writing all about her misadventures parenting in a “man cave” at #Lifewithboys.

Connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinteresttumblrmailby feather

26 thoughts on “Dear Mom Whose Kid Just Got Diagnosed With ADHD

    • May 23, 2016 at 10:10 pm
      Permalink

      My husband has ADHD,his father had ADHD, my youngest son (age 40 now) has ADHD and all are or were successful business men . Don’t worry , it feels like a nightmare, but you’ll survive, I promise. By the way, these guys were never medicated! They did enjoy coffee and tea.

      Reply
  • April 29, 2015 at 2:36 am
    Permalink

    Thank u thank u thank u.

    Reply
  • April 30, 2015 at 1:07 am
    Permalink

    You have no idea how much I needed to read this. You have given me hope. Thank You Thank you!!!

    Reply
  • April 30, 2015 at 4:46 pm
    Permalink

    Thank you! One of my friends just tagged me in this after yet another long difficult talk with my sons teacher (she is very accusatory though) about medicating him again! I for one dont feel that medication is the answer yet she has 3 children being medicated! His academic grades arent suffering as he is ahead of his class in all areas. Just once he finishes his work he becomes a disruption! Caffiene does the trick with him as well! I am just scared of letting him have too much because he also has night terrors!

    Reply
    • May 3, 2015 at 12:48 pm
      Permalink

      They school thought my now 17 yr old was adhd when he was in kindergarten, as he did not sit still. He drove his teacher crazy. She thought he was capable of first and second grade work, but wouldn't recommend moving him up, as he could not sit still. It was a long year.
      First grade, experienced teacher made a deal with him. After he finished his work, if he sat quietly and raised his hand to let her knoow, her could play educational game's on classroom pc until the class caught up. He also was provided second and third grade math, as he knew first grade math. He wasn't bored then. 🙂

      Reply
    • May 3, 2015 at 2:40 pm
      Permalink

      They school thought my now 17 yr old was adhd when he was in kindergarten, as he did not sit still. He drove his teacher crazy. She thought he was capable of first and second grade work, but wouldn't recommend moving him up, as he could not sit still. It was a long year.
      First grade, experienced teacher made a deal with him. After he finished his work, if he sat quietly and raised his hand to let her knoow, her could play educational game's on classroom pc until the class caught up. He also was provided second and third grade math, as he knew first grade math. He wasn't bored then. 🙂

      Reply
  • May 8, 2015 at 3:24 pm
    Permalink

    Caffeine! Wow, that is something I never thought about, but it totally makes sense. It is a stimulant, and stimulants act the opposite on ADHD individuals, calming them instead of hyping them up. All the prescription meds are stimulants of one type or another. How do you give it to him? In what form? My 6 yr old little girl has ADHD between moderate and severe. We have just started her on meds, and we are having the same issues, a low dose makes the side-effects go away, but does not necessarily help her a whole lot in school or at home. A higher dosage is a disaster. I know we will need behavior modification, but I have no idea where to start. We are going to see a behavioral psychologist over the summer.

    Reply
    • May 8, 2015 at 7:00 pm
      Permalink

      We just let him drink something with caffeine. He loves coffee, tea, and soda. We started behavior modification by giving him short directions. "Go put your laundry away" doesn't work…."take this underwear and put it in your top drawer" worked. It seems like a lot of work at first but it will become like second nature and she will have an easier time doing tasks if it works for her 🙂

      Reply
  • Pingback: Why ADHD is Frequently Misdiagnosed in Boys & What Boy Moms Can Do About It! - #Lifewithboys

  • May 2, 2016 at 11:46 am
    Permalink

    Thank you for the inspiring blog you’ve created.

    Reply
  • May 23, 2016 at 4:43 pm
    Permalink

    That was great! Good job, mom! I can’t find a psychologist that actually knows what they are talking about, at least when it comes to teenage girls. And I live in a highly populated city! My daughter wasn’t diagnosed until she was 13 and we didn’t try meds till 15. It’s so difficult to know when something is right. And the something never seems to last long – such a balancing act!

    Reply
  • May 23, 2016 at 5:58 pm
    Permalink

    Thank you for the sentiment of this post. I wish you hadn’t made it an anti-medication thing, though. I think your intent was to support others, but you added the bit about taking your child off medication and increased a sense of guilt:worry/anxiety amongst people who are medicating their children with some success. Even folks who successfully medicate can feel misgivings about it, so when you include the anti-medication stanve you just add to that. Also, there are lots of different medications and medication families to try. Everyone is just hoping to find the strategies (med, behavioral, nutritional, etc) that help their kid be successful.

    Reply
    • May 23, 2016 at 10:27 pm
      Permalink

      I promise it wasn’t my intent to guilt parents who use medications. If you re-read it I mention that meds work for lots of kiddo’s & that is great. I was only sharing my son’s journey & we tried multiple types of meds with him & didn’t have good results. ADHD is not a one treatment fits all diagnosis and it’s important for each family to have a positive attitude & hope while they look for what works best for their own child 🙂

      Reply
  • May 28, 2016 at 12:52 am
    Permalink

    After exploring a number of the articles on your website, I seriously appreciate your way of blogging.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *