- Written by Pat Pughe-Parry Pat Pughe-Parry
OK, how familiar is this scenario to parents and teachers?Hi Pat,I am a mother with son who has been diagnosed with ADHD at the age of about 5 or 6. He is now 13 years old. He has been on a combination of meds over the years which helps during the school day but once worn off at home – that’s another story all together.Of late he is presenting with all the symptoms of ODD – (defiant/non compliant/rude/disrespectful/always blaming others for behaviour & then tries to justify his behaviour/mistakes/he’s easily offended/frequent anger outburtst/throws tantrums/argues excessively with everyone & anyone/disregards all boundaries....the list is endless.I am not sure if there is something else I could perhaps try in conjunction with the meds. I fear that this kind of behaviour is going to land him in lots of trouble. It is also putting strain on the rest of the family.I will appreciate if you can point me in the right direction as a way forward.
Being a parent is hard and when our beloved offspring hit puberty, when they know absolutely everything and as parents you are totally useless and ignorant, it becomes an unspeakable battle. By the way, girls are no different and are sometimes even more problematic than boys. As a Mom of two sons and a Gran, parents have all my sympathy.
Unfortunately giving up and giving them away is not an option. Here is my take on the situation.
I am sorry to hear that you are struggling with your son who has hit puberty with a bang. All teens battle with peer pressure. It is a time to test the parental boundaries. A big issue for ADDers is that we are frequently 2 - 3 years ahead intellectually but 2 - 3 years behind emotionally. He is no doubt acting up as he is desperately trying to "fit in".
You need to remember that he has ADHD 24/7 365 days a year. When the meds wear off it is like him wearing glasses and suddenly having them taken away. He almost certainly needs a short-acting top up when his meds wear off. It will provide a bit more peace in the home (everyone is frazzled at that time of the day) and he will be better able to cope with homework. We have forms that you can use to monitor his behaviour when he is on / and off his medication. These forms help the prescribing doctor adjust the medication dosages.
He also needs regular protein filled meals. Your son should eat every 2 to 3 hours. Peanut butter sarmie, cheese, protein shake, cold meat. I am not a dietician but I see the top tennis players eating bananas between games. I love bananas and they do wonders for my mood if I am too lazy to make a proper meal. I believe bananas are packed with all sorts of good nutrients.
When we are hungry we become irritable and can't focus on anything other than our stomachs. Also, if our blood sugar goes haywire from too much junk food we become even more bolshy .... if that is possible.
It becomes a vicious cycle with the fighting and arguing. He has learnt to push your buttons and wrap you around his finger. You are probably so exhausted and like most Moms (including me) give up and give in. Parenting ADHD kids is really hard and with most parents working outside the home, coming home to unwashed dishes, crabby children, tons of homework etc. it is a nightmare. Many Dads face the same situation.
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix and no magic bullet. As parents, we are the ones who have to change. We have to change the way we react to our children's behaviour. We have to take back the power of being the adult and being in charge. But, we also have to pick our battles. We don't need to win every little confrontation. Sometimes we just need to learn to walk away or compromise. If we insist on winning at all costs we will ultimately end up losing the war altogether ... and possibly permanently destroy the relationship.
Something to consider. If you have a winner there has to be a loser.
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