Newly diagnosed 13 year old daughter

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    • #173417

      Good Morning,

      My name is Ellen, my 13 year old daughter has just been diagnosed with inattentive ADHD combined form (I think that was how it was worded) I am very new to this and to be honest a bit overwhelmed, feel a bit guilty for missing it, and am looking for support, advice, resources etc. Back story, at a young age my daughter was a perpetual spinning motion machine. Very busy but never what I would call “hyper” or frantic about it. No issues in elementary school Straight A Honors Student up until the last quarter of 5th grade. Most of her elementary school teachers did describe her as a daydreamer and that she would drift off into “Katieland” comments would be made about her lack of organization, but nothing mentioned about or suggesting ADHD except one conference with her 3rd grade teacher who to be honest did not like my child. Her comment was “did you ever consider medicating her” No Hey I think there may be a problem/issue here etc. The last quarter of 5th grade she got strep throat and missed about 2 weeks of school. She failed math that quarter. (A-B average in Math the rest of the year) I put that down to her being sic. From then on it has all been downhill especially with math. 6th grade was rough which I put down to her adjusting to me going back to work full time. (I was a stay at home mom for 10 years) Her grades were C’s and B’s in all classes except math which was barely a D. The school was at this point still insisting she stay in the Academically Gifted program in both ELA and Math even though she was struggling hugely in math. Now in the 7th grade with remote learning we are at the end of our ropes. The struggles the meltdowns, flat out not turning in assignments doing the work sometimes but forgetting to turn in. I felt as if I was doing nothing but fussing/yelling/arguing with her all the time. If it wasn’t about her schoolwork it was about her chores (which are minimal BTW) or cleaning her room. After one especially bad day my DD started weeping – not screaming or having a tantrum just weeping saying “I’m trying so hard, I promise I am, I don’t know what is wrong with me. I can’t remember anything” My heart just broke. At that point I knew I had to do something different. I set up a Televisit with her pediatrician and she requested the Vanderbilt forms. Boy was that an eye opener. So many puzzle pieces fell into place. No I am determined to learn and do all I can so that she can be set up for better success in school next year. We just had an in person visit with her Dr yesterday and they have started her on Concerta 18mg per day. We have talked about how we need to proceed together as a family to help Katie so that she is able to stay better focused and organized. Any thoughts suggestions are greatly appreciated and most of all, Thanks for listening!

    • #173459
      Penny Williams

      First, give yourself some grace. You did the best you could with what you knew. Now you know more and you’ll be able to use that to do better.

      There’s so much to think about when first diagnosed, but you can’t do it all at once. You’ve started treatment and that is crucial for improvement. The next step is to shift your parenting. Remember, Ross Green PhD teaches us that “Kids do well IF they can.” Kids want to succeed. If they aren’t meeting expectations consistently, then there’s a barrier and/or your expectations are too high for where your child is right now, in light of development and neurological differences.

      Free Webinar Replay: Beyond Rewards & Consequences: A Better Parenting Strategy for Teens with ADHD and ODD

      “Raising Human Beings” by Greene is a fantastic book. I am reading “Beyond Behaviors” by Mona Delahooke right now and it’s beyond amazing. This two books will help you determine where your daughter is, why she does the things she does and struggles in certain areas, and how to help her thrive.

      Our kids can’t be changed, we parents must do the changing.

      Her self-confidence needs your consistent attention, to help her build confidence and experience successes. She needs that now more than ever, with the way things have gone recently, and at her age.

      Good Grades Matter—but My Daughter’s Self-Esteem Matters More

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Coach, Author & Podcaster, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

      • #174181
        Bella W

        Hi! I’m almost 13 with combined-type ADHD, and I think I might be able to help. First of all, learn as much as you can about ADHD and have your daughter do the same. Make sure she knows about her diagnosis. There are a lot of symptoms I didn’t know were ADHD and I thought I was dumb and lazy. Definitely consider medication or therapy if she feels like it’s impairing her ability to function at school and at home. Next, a lot of parents of kids with ADHD do this. DO NOT compare it to neurotypical people having difficulty paying attention, assume she’s not trying, or accuse her of making excuses. If she has ADHD she is trying and probably working twice as hard as her peers. Only use the term ‘excuse’ if she really is blaming her ADHD on something that isn’t even really a symptom. And lastly, please don’t say anything along the lines of “Everyone has trouble paying attention sometimes.” or “Just pay attention. It’s not that hard.” Paying attention is much harder for someone with ADHD. Also, check in with her every once in a while and make sure she feels like she can talk to you about it. I’ve had plenty of experiences where I zone out or get distracted even though I really am trying my hardest to pay attention in school and I didn’t hear the directions. I don’t always ask for help, or tell my parents because I didn’t feel like I could talk to them. Now that I take medication it’s easier and I feel like I could ask my mom or one of my teachers. My dad is my last choice and I wouldn’t ask him for help unless it was my only other option because he’s not very educated on my diagnosis and tends to accuse me of making excuses or not trying. Don’t be like my dad. Parenting a kid with ADHD is not easy, though, and it’s not your fault you didn’t have her evaluated earlier and couldn’t help her, especially since girls don’t always get diagnosed.

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