This reply was originally posted by user kitcat30 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.
Parenting a child with ADHD, and what sounds like ODD, is very exhausting, frustrating, and tough. My son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 3. Last year, at age 9, he was diagnosed with ODD. He struggles with anxiety, sensory issues, and OCD as well. I know your pain. I would get so frustrated that I would yell, sometimes, I still do. I have never been able to understand how he is so different from his sister. They are complete opposites. It is like raising two children in two different worlds. You are not alone. We all go through this, but trial-and-error will help you get through it, and build your relationship with your son in a positive, strength-based way.
The best tips I can give you without referencing to any articles or books is as followed:
1. Get your son and yourself into counseling—individual and family. Individual will allow you a secure place to vent alone with someone you trust. Family will assist you in and your family working together.
2. Build a support team—this can include the school, your family, your counselors, your friends, or maybe a group on Facebook (there are tons of ADHD groups on Facebook), if you have Facebook, or another social media outlets. This will create a place for you to connect with other families, and maybe you can try somethings that work for them on your family. Support work wonders! The mentor and behaviorist are great tools—see if they can take your son out of the home once a week so you can have a breather.
3. Create some one on one time with your son. It can be an activity that he likes or a surprise you pick. He needs that attention, positive attention from you. One family I work with has heart-to-hearts, where the ADHDer and Mom sit down and express feelings without blaming or shaming or yelling. This one-on-one time helps the ADHDer feel important and valued.
4. Set up visuals for him. The brain lacks vital chemicals to ensure follow-through and task oriented skills. Executive functioning is not visible for a person with ADHD. The visuals can be a daily routine, chore charts, reward/consequence trackers, rules, daily living tasks, or whatever is needed in your family. These visuals create structure, stability, and confidence.
5. Give him rewards even when he only gets a task/chore completed halfway. He struggles, just like any other individual with ADHD, to get things done. Have him earn his electronic time. Have him choose the outdoor activity that he earned. Give him some control, but within reason.
I know it is hard. I know that some days your are going to have an easy-peasy day, and sometimes are going to be the wakening of satan himself, but it will get better. Your son, and you just need some help and some uplifting.
Hugs and loves from a fellow mom of an ADHD boy.