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Odd (ADHD)

Question:

I have an eight yr old daughter with ADHD and so far as her problems arise, there are so many behaviors that are so unpredictable. I feel like giving up and like there is no way for me to help her. She is getting treatment but no forms of discipline are effective. I love her so much but struggle so much with her at home,  school, and church.  Everyone in the family just doesn’t know what else we can do. What am I looking for is what her psychologist should be doing? Is there a better way to help her because the things we are doing just aren’t working. We are in therapy, we work with the school and a focus group. I just feel we are loosing her.  She knows we are at a loss and I feel she is giving up too. She has a wonderful teacher who hasn’t given up yet but we will see what happens next year. Kier, is very smart she is happy or mad, she can be very violent disruptive abusive, and cold. I can not relate with her behavior. She will not listen to anyone. She feels like she holds no responsibility for her actions. Please, I am a parent who would do what ever it takes to get her help. I feel her growing futher and futher from this family. I do not want to lose her. She is worth what ever it takes. Please respond asap we are so very desperate.

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Answer:

The desparation you and your family is feeling about your 8 year old daughter comes through loud and clear. I do have several suggestions for you, your family and for her treatment.

1.  You report that she is in treatment with a psychologist. One of the problems we frequently encounter is that people confuse the different types of mental health professionals and sometimes end up with a therapist who might be good but not for a particular problem. What I want to make clear is that your daughter needs to be seen by a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who specializes in the treatment of children with ADHD. I suspect that is not she is seeing or you would be more pleased with the results. Working with children is a real speciality and children with ADHD is even more of a speciality. You should pick a psychologist who not only specializes in children but who also uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. You can ask. Also, her psychologist will meet with you and the family and teach you how to handle her: what things to do when this or that happens. You will feel better with suggestions. By the way, you will be helped to establish daily routines for her but in a way that is helpful for all of you.

2. You should also bring your daughter to a psychiatrist (MD) who specializes in working with children with ADHD. She needs to be evaluated, the diagnossi confirmed and he may suggest medication. You and the family will need to talk about this as medicine is a serious step. Yet, because of the level of desparation you feel, it might help for her to try medicine to see if it helps. However, it will be the therapy with the psychologist that will be most important. Medicine sometimes helps temporarily.

3. Your daughter should be placed in a school for learning disabled children where the school and staff are trained to work with and help these children. I am not suggesting a separate class in the public school but a private school that specializes in this.

For you and your family:

1. You must understand that discipline is not the answer. Your daughter is not being disobedient. She has a very real problem that lies in her  brain and it is ADHD. Therefore, it is not that she will not take responsibility but that she cannot help herself. If she had the flu with a high fever you would order her to lower her fever. That would be silly. You would bring her to the Doctor for medical help. This is the same thing.

2. Your daughter feels bad about herself and does not want to be out of control. Children want to please their parents and their teachers. She just cannot stop herself. So, please be patient with her.

3. Please do not give up hope. There are some children who settle down and catch up when they are older because their brain matures. However, in the meantime it is important that she get the right treatment and help so that she is not damaged by how people react to her. There are also children who improve with therapy and time but will always have ADHD. They must learn how to handle their symptoms and that is why it is important to start now.

I know all of this can be expensive but your child’s future is involved and you seem to know that. If money is an issue there are mental health centers that specialize in the treatment of children and who staff psychologists.

Best of luck

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Comments
  • Alan

    I'm having the same problem with my 16 year old son. Every night he starts pacing and claims that he is board and is getting irritated. Sometimes he falls asleep after several hours or fiddling, but latley he has been leaving without telling anyone where he is going. He is combative and has become very aggressive. I don't know what else to do, I feel helpless. I placed him in family center for mental health for over a year and nothing has changed.

    I'll never give up on him, but he's out of hand. I'm not sure if I can handle him anymore.

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