Reply To: Need support: sad 8 year old daughter

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Sounds like you are in the same boat as me. Reading about your struggle exactly mirrors my own. my 8 year old girl has been struggling ever since she started school. She has no behavioural problems at school and her hyperactivity is low level so she doesn’t stand out, but she was internalising her struggle and exploding at home. She does have major struggles with the social things at school and has few friends, my heart breaks for her every day.
Of course you can read up on all the sensible advice you can get from books/experts etc but my advice is from my heart and these things have helped me deal with my unique child.
Don’t give up on her. She needs you as her advocate and someone she can rely on. It’s damn hard, every day. But don’t give up. Schools can fail to recognise adhd in girls. My daughter is combined type but she still got missed as girls are amazing at hiding their problems.
After three years of struggle for my daughter we now have a diagnosis and plan in place at school and things are looking up. Since her clear diagnosis (she actually has quite severe combined type adhd) school have totally changed their tune, but it was at the cost of her mental health as she now also has a diagnosed anxiety disorder and is high risk for a second, alongside adhd. Struggling along for so long without help has wiped her self esteem and confidence to almost zero. In my view partly caused by schools lack of empathy and awareness for how adhd can present in girls. So just don’t give up. Keep on and on and on at them until they listen. Educate them, especially about girls and adhd) if needs be, take it higher or even consider switching schools.

These are the main coping thoughts I try and keep in my head when she’s being difficult
1. Remember it isn’t personal. She can’t control her outbursts and I know my daughter explodes and then feels awfully sorry afterwards, but doesn’t know how to express this. I give her a big hug when it’s calmed down, sometimes we talk about it, but mostly we don’t, but the thing is she knows I’m there for her.
2. I love her, no matter what, even when her behaviour is unloveable. I keep a picture of her as a babe on my fridge door. I look at it often and it reminds me of the unconditional love I have for her. She didn’t ask for this condition and I can’t give up on her.
3. She is sad and confused and she needs me to be consistently there for her. Sometimes I fail and I get mad, I’m not perfect either. But I keep trying.
4. I’m human. I have emotions and feelings too and it’s ok for me to have a bad day, bringing up an adhd kid is REALLY hard work. Just pick yourself up and carry on the next day.
Also, when in the midst of it all it can be tempting to become a bit obsessive about it. Everything becomes about adhd. Don’t let it. Have a break, take time off from reading stuff, researching, talking about it with friends/family otherwise you drive yourself mad!

If your daughter does have adhd (you sound pretty convinced and if you’re that convinced it’s very likely you’re right) then you’re doing an amazing job every day. I never imagined parenting could get this hard. Be kind to yourself, remind yourself what you’re fighting for and look ahead to that time when you can say, whatever the outcome, that you absolutely did your best for her.
And don’t forget to look for the little things about her that make you laugh, it’s hard to overlook them when life is so tough. Tell her something she’s done well every day. Just so she knows. 🙂