Really struggling with supporting daughter

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    • #57087

      Hi all- I’m new to this group and so appreciative of reading many of the posts. My heart is breaking for our 5yo daughter, and any support is appreciated.

      She has tested as both highly gifted and ADD, so I am very aware of emotional regulation, overexcitabilities, etc, but I am struggling. I spend hours upon hours reading and researching, trying to eat super specific and clean diets, taking a biomedical approach to helping treat the cause of some of the symptoms, and tons of hours trying to use positive parenting and positive attention, but I am hugely failing.

      Our daughter, much like most of yours I’m guessing, is so passionate, creative, dedicated, and loving, but also incredibly intense, relentless, and emotional. I found a great therapist to help both our daughter, and my husband and me in supporting her, but we won’t start until next month.

      I feel like I am failing her as a parent. I see her self-esteem whittling away; she’s turned perfectionistic about her art (one of her passions), much more aware of others’ looks/remarks whether they are there or not, saying ‘what’s wrong with me’/’something is wrong with me’ and incredibly clingy with only me. My heart breaks for her, but I’m also exhausted. I try to tell her all day long how incredible she is and how much I love her, but then, after giving her positive attention (special outings, reading together in my bed before bedtime, etc), she throws these tantrums begging for more, and I cannot take it! It drives me nuts that she just wants more and more, and I don’t know if this is ADD or me being a terrible parent.

      Bedtime has become a huge struggle. We do have a routine and always have, but she will come out of her room multiple times asking for us to snuggle longer, to lay in our bed, or anything to get more attention, and it turns into a crying battle (in which I usually lose my patience and we all go to bed feeling heartbroken).

      I don’t know what I’m looking for, really. I guess just to vent, so thank you. I love her SO dearly, but cannot at all relate to how her mind works and am trying endlessly to help her feel great about herself. I just feel exhausted and like I am failing miserably.

    • #57091

      Let me start off by saying you are a wonderful parent and you are doing great. Also, there is nothing “wrong” with your daughter. I always tell my kids they have wonderful gifts that make them special, but sometimes these gifts come at a cost. My eldest daughter is very empathetic and an advocate for anyone who needs help. On the flip side she can be really hard on herself and has social anxiety. I suspect my four year old son has ADHD, like his father… but he is also very productive and great at sports. My kids eat a lot of Kraft Mac and Cheese, I put red dye in cookies for Christmas, I buy from costco (I’m pretty sure their stuff isn’t organic) and we buy chocolate milk by the gallons. My point is very little has to do with what you put into their bodies. She is who she is. If she is unhappy maybe it is time to go see a psychiatrist or a cognitive behavioral therapist. They can work with her and you to find what is causing her behavior and strategies or medications/ vitamins that may help. Don’t fall victim to the fads and mama guilting. You do what you need to do because you know best. Sending hugs and wine

    • #57096

      You sound like a wonderful parent and also exhausted from trying to do everything right. When my son was 5, he seemed almost to need a daily tantrum to regulate himself. I found some of the tips from hand in hand parenting to be really helpful. The parent support groups were such a relief. I switched to just listening to his tantrums and saying things like I am sorry this is so hard. And telling myself that he would be happier once the tantrum was over. And he was sweet and easy for the next or two until the next one. Patty Wipfler is the head of the organization and has a wealth of written materials that I found helpful.
      It is so hard to be a good mom, especially if a child that needs extra attention. I hope you find time to take care of you too.

    • #57167
      Penny Williams

      First, you need to accept that you are not failing her. She’s struggling because she has a difference in her brain and the way it works. No amount of healthy living and positive parenting will change her brain and make her neurotypical.

      Don’t get me wrong, a healthy lifestyle and positive parenting are crucial strategies for ADHD. You’re most definitely on the right track. But those things won’t “fix” ADHD, because there is no cure.

      Once you’ve done all of these types of approaches, but it’s not helping enough, that often signals that it’s time to consider medication and further treatment for ADHD.

      Top 10 Questions About ADHD Medications for Children… Answered!

      Here’s more on next steps:

      ADHD in Children: Symptoms, Evaluations, Treatments

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

    • #57280

      I could’ve almost written your post & have had many similar challenges! But my daughter is 4 1/2, I do also have ADHD, and the reason I logged in was to get advice about a violent outburst she had with a friend. (Still struggling with that!) I’ve made so many of the changes you mentioned as well and feel like I’ve read 100 books. I also stopped using harsh chemical cleaners & detergent, added fish oil twice a day, and she does weekly occupational therapy. We also had a potty regression last summer (which lasted until 2 weeks ago,) after being trained for over a year. I feel like so much advice is geared to older kids, and is too harsh for a 4 yo. OR I try a new tactic that works for a couple days, and then she bores of it or figures out a way around it. The second i turn my back, the countdown timer will have been changed or the dry erase calendar scribbled over, magnets hidden, etc. Or she figures out another way to distract ME! We actually quit camp this summer and have missed out on some really great stuff because she just wants to stay home “and never leave mama.”

      That said, there have been some improvements: I did notice positive changes with high protein breakfast and lunch, fish oil 2x a day (berleans lemon.). A book called It’s NO Accident by Steve Hodges helped much with incontinence. Taking Charge of ADHD by Steven Barkley is also providing some really helpful and practical advice, though I’m only half way in. I wish u strength, luck, and a awesome support system. I will continue to follow your journey.

    • #57339

      Take this from someone who has ADHD. Although I’m now 28 years old. I didn’t have a diagnosis as a child, because my family was highly neglectful in that regard. But I had many, many struggles at a young age.
      First things first. You are very clearly a very great and supportive parent. I do sometimes see posts and comments from parents without ADHD who have a child with ADHD, and many times I find the comments highly upsetting, and very misguided. But you are not misguided, you are caring, and you are clearly working so hard to create a successful environment for your daughter.
      It will never be perfect, you will make mistakes, That’s ok. The key is working through them, and adjusting in the future. But it’s also crucial for you to remind yourself. No matter how great the accommodations, diet, medication and structure are for her. There are still going to be bad days sometimes. These symptoms don’t go away all together, but they can be managed and become less stressful with all of those things. She’s also only 5 years old. So at that young of an age, there are so many pieces to this that are so heavy for a child. But you are doing so much for her, most importantly, you’re aware that it’s not perfect, and you take it to heart. You CARE that she’s still struggling. I doubt she’s able to understand what you’re doing for her right now. But I promise you, by the time she’s in high school, college, adulthood, everything you’re doing will pay off. She will be thankful, and grateful.
      I was placed in gifted and talented at a very young age, and found my way out of it by 6th grade because my ADHD and various other learning disabilities that are often times associated with ADHD just took over. I didn’t have a diagnosis, so I didn’t know how to manage. My teachers thought I was “really really smart, but lazy and lacked motivation.” School became really overwhelming and incredibly hard because I couldn’t focus. But I found myself hyperfocusing outside of school on various interests, that meant I never did my homework, and I barely graduated.
      I didn’t have the tools at the time to reach my potential.

      YOU are giving your daughter the tools, at a very young age, to one day learn how to manage this, and reach the potential she has in herself.
      I wish I had a parent like you as a child. Honestly.

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by Anthonytg.
    • #57354

      Thank you, all, for your supports. It means so much to me and you are all so kind and supportive! Sometimes it’s nice knowing you are not alone, even if it does mean others are struggling or have struggled, too.

      We met with a new therapist yesterday who had a cancellation, and she was wonderful and really helpful. I’m feeling a little more hopeful, albeit nervous for the start of school, but again, thank you for your kinds words!

    • #57634

      I think you might find it helpful to ask your doctor about sleep. Many ADDers with stimulants find Melatonin helpful. Many ADDers need another dose of their med in the evening in order to be able to fall asleep, otherwise the whirlwind of thoughts keeps them awake. I’m certain if bedtime was easier, you would feel more rested. Everyone needs a time to recharge.

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