This reply was originally posted by user banditdoglover in ADDitude’s now-retired community.
When I read your post I felt like I was flashing back to 12 years ago. My son was diagnosed with ADHD at 8 years old. It was an extremely difficult time for all of us and we felt like we were losing our minds because his was so obstinate and his behavior was so out of control. You did not mention your views on medicating your son and whether or not he is medicated. When my son was diagnosed we were told by the doctor that he needed to be medicated. I was extremely hesitant to put him on medication. When I told the doctor this he told me that I was being an irresponsible parent and he accused me of child abuse because my child had a severe disability that required medication and I was choosing not to put him on medication. Needless to say, we never went back to that doctor again. We struggled for the next year and a half to try and cope with my son’s behavior. It was completely out of control. Everything you are describing is very familiar to me because I went through it with my son.
Finally we were so at the end of our rope that we decided to give medication a try. I would in no way profess that medicating your child is a miracle cure, but it did make a tremendous difference. My son’s behavior and ability to focus and concentrate improved immediately. My son has since told me (when he was about 14) that “he never knew how smart he was until he went on medication.” It has made a huge difference in his life. He became a straight A student. He is now in his junior year of a very academically competitive college and doing great. His behavioral issues still exist to a degree but manifest differently now that he is an adult, especially when he does not take his medication over the summer, and when he is not in school, but academically he has thrived beyond our wildest dreams. Speaking from experience, I strongly feel that the combination of the following really helped our son:
2. Weekly sessions with a psychologist who is specifically experienced in working with ADHD children.
3. A very structured routine but always allowing a period of time each day for him to have “free time”
4. I learned the best way to cope with his obstinence was to walk away and collect myself and calm myself down before I completely lost it on him and started screaming at him. I quickly learned that screaming never works and only exacerbates the situation.
One a final note, I also think you would benefit from some sort of therapy yourself. Dealing with an ADHD child can be extremely hard on a parent and I think it would be helpful for you to have someone to talk to and to help you learn how to cope.
I wish you the best of luck. I know how difficult it can be and you need to tell yourself every day that you are doing the best you can.