ADD / ADHD, Autism, Dyscalculia, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia

How Parents Cope with ADHD Children

What is it like being a parent of a child with ADHD or similar learning difficulties? If you are reading this then you probably already know but this interesting paper What Do Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities, ADHD, and Related Disorders Deal With? looka at the issue from an academic angle. It covers the problems in identifying learning difficulties, the emotional cost for parents in facing the fact their child has problems, the ongoing day-to-day stresses and presents possible strategies for parenting.

It is often confusing to parent children with learning disabilities, ADHD, and related disorders. One of the biggest confusions and challenges parents face is the large hiatus between what the children can do and what they cannot do. Often they are very smart, know a great deal, and reason well, yet cannot read or write. School teachers and family may be telling them to try harder, and they are usually trying their hearts out. They tend to work 10 times harder than everyone else does, but still they may be called lazy.
Another aspect of the confusion for parents lies in how hard it can be to distinguish between a child who can’t do something and a child who won’t do something. For parents, it can be vexing not to be able to control a 5 or 6-year-old or to know whether to push an adolescent or reduce expectations. In this confusion, parents tend to ask, What is wrong with me? rather than What challenges is my child having to face?[emphasis added] Shifting this focus can be therapeutic for parents and children

See also: Parenting and ADHD


  1. Tabitha Williams

    My 7 year old son has just been diagnosed with ADHD. I have been advoiding meds until now, can someone please help me ease my mind. I really don’t want a veggie for a child.

  2. The decision to use or not use ADHD medication is a difficult one.

    Have you tried alternative treatments based on exercises and coordination training such as Dore Achievement Centres or Learning Breakthrough.

    Have a look at the book Stopping ADHD, its worth a look.


  3. Joanne

    My 6yr old is diagnosed with ADHD and ODD.He is on ritalin.. days are great, couldnt ask for a nicer kid.. most of the time.. evenings are a nightmare, meds wear off by 7pm and he stays up till 11-12pm.. and 4 out of 5 nights is like a tazmanian devil on steroids..he is very destructive.. is this normal or do I change meds again? ..

  4. Look into the books by Dr. David B. Stein. He has a porgram that doesn’t use medications called the Caregivers’ Skills Program. We used it with great success for our sons. Check out his website, There is more info about his books, plus he answers questions from parents and gives them help in his members area.


  5. Caryn

    My 3 year old son has been diagnosed with ADHD and medication has been recommended. He has been admitted into a specialized program for special education but he is so smart. I haven’t much money and wondering about homeopathic remedies like hylands for this disorder instead of chemical medication.

    Any recomendations or ideas?

  6. Nancy

    I have an 8 year old son with adhd. I can’t accept having him on meds, however I can’t accept having him fail in school if he’s not medicated.There’s no easy answer or perhaps you may know something that I don’t.
    DESPERATE FOR ADVICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Ashley

    I know exactly how you feel. I’ve dealt with this for 2 years now and have given into the “so called” medication cure. My daughter is still struggling….I don’t know what else to do either.

  8. Justine

    How do you get doctos to listen to you when they tell you that you are a bad parent, How do you get your five year old to dress himself and eat breakfast in time for school, and how do you deal with the teachers constantly telling you that he has had a bad day AGAIN, every day without getting down, oh an how do you deal with husbands who think the only way to get through tho him is shouting???
    tired and upset!;-(

  9. Brenda

    I have a first grader (daughter) that has been diagnosed with ADD (severe). She has been showing signs since preschool. We gave her Ritalin, it worked like a dream. However my anxiety over medicating my daughter was overwhelming. We took her off and we are trying different alternatives. There must be some other way. Also, I was a child with ADD. I struggled through my childhood without the meds, but by the time I got to college I had grown out of it.

  10. katrina

    I have a six year old son and I recently found out he have adhd.i tried him on the meds but took him off because i was frightened.i can,t cope with this. what can i do

  11. Monica

    I have been struggling with my 10 yr old since he was 2 and was told he could not paste his pictures together in daycare. I didn’t really pay attention to the problem until 1st grade when I was told he didn’t do anything all day except daydream and play with his school supplies. When tested for learning disabilities, I found out he was very bright and intelligent. I don’t worry anymore except it is something he and I will have to struggle with. i was also ADHD as a child and have struggled with it ever since but that’s just life. I hope that this doesn’t discourage anybody but I really couldn’t stand seeing my son turn into a zombie everytime he was on meds. His personality was beautiful without them and it made me sad to think I was doing this so that I could have a “real” family. This is my son and I love him. I know all of you are going through a tough time but just keep loving your babies and make sure they know that. Make sure though, that his ADHD diagnosis is not a mask for another disorder. But good luck. I will pray for all of you.

  12. monica

    i have a 7 year old daughter who was diagnosed with adhd in first grade. i have taken her to the doctor and they put her on concerta 54mg witch i give to her befor she goes to school it wa working fine for about 5 months then all of the suden it stoped,called the doctor.the doctor then put her on another medacation that she is to take every evening (strattera 10mg.). she has been on this for about 2 weeks now and takes clonidine 0.1mg at night to go to sleep. None of these medications are working.since they put her on the strattera she has been chewing her fingers raw in school. i am so tired of getting calls,letters from her teacher saying that she has had a bad day and her comming home from school crying because the other kids make fun of her. now my 8 year old wishs that she was never born and wants to stop going to school. i cry my self to sleep every night because i cant do anything for her. from the time that she gets hom the med ware off and it’s like world war 3 in my house. i have to fight herr to do homework, she tearsr my house apart and still has tanturms. please somone post something back and let me know what to do and let me know that i am not alone on this matter. trying to hold strong

  13. Natalia

    hello this is my first entry i just wanted to say i have ADHD and reading your comments i know how streesful it is to care for a child with ADHD but it can also take its toll on the child in question i am 17 years old and i am old enough to control it now!!

    please write me a coment back to tell me what side of the ADHD do you find the worst ????

  14. Joony

    I’ve taken on my partner’s son, he arrived on my door step over a year ago, he is Portuguese, could not speak a word of English and we are currently having him diagnosed for ADHD and it is looking likely he has.

    He suffered neglect as a child and was not raised in the right way,I am sure this has something to do with his now diagnosis.

    For the past year my life has been hell, I have never known stress like this, he is nearly 13 years old and after a year, I still have to tell him to brush his teeth, he lies, is constantly in trouble at school and can’t do the simplest of tasks, yes, I know these are symptoms of ADHD but to be honest, what do I do about the total resentment I am feeling towards him? My partner works away all week and I am left to deal with all these problems – I work full time and I dread going home as each day brings yet another issue.

    I am close to giving up and splitting from my partner. Do I sound heartless?

  15. Cindy

    Wow… what a comfort to know that other parents arae exasperated with coping with their child’s ADHD. My 9 yr old daughter was diagnosed in 2nd grade although we suspected a problem much earlier. Held off on meds as felt there was a better way. Finally gave in to meds this last Feb. mainly due to pressure from a therapist who said we “owed it” to our child to try. Began adderal xl i lowest dose and school was perfect. Evenings at home were horrible with psychotic episodes. majopr rage and destruction. She was off all meds for the summer and we had her wonderful personality back but felt we needed a new med for this school year. Have been using Vyvanse with success but feel she may have plateaued on current dosage. Hyperactivity has really increased as well as her pulling all of her hair out on her eyelashes and brows. we finally got those to grow back and she has created huge bald spots on top of her head. We have new therapist but don’t want to play muscial meds. Joined our local CHADD support group which is quite helpful. This has created major stress and problems with our family and relationships.

  16. i have a 6 year old son i will be getting him treated for adhd i am kinda scared of putining him on meds. i was holding off for awhile now but i cant do it no more he is just constantly on a go he gets into alot of trouble at skool i fell like he is not learning anything umm…he cant sit still he talks and talks away jumpie jumpie all over the place we tell him to stop but not even a minute later he does it again hes very whinnie when he cry he will slober and blow bubbles like a baby does i just dont know what to do please anybody respond to this

  17. Tami Tackett

    I’m losing it…..I have a 8 year old son that has ADHD and is gifted. To get him through the school day he takes 30m Medidate every morning. We began giving him 20m and had to increase the dose as he grew. Everyday when I give it to him I worry what the long term is. I hate having to medicate him but it seems to be the only way to get him through the school day. The only side effect we deal with is poor eating. My son isn’t hungry until about 4 in the afternoon when the meds ware off. At the same time the war zone breaks out in my house. I am constantly yelling to get him to do what I ask. He can’t complete homework that should take 10 min. He can’t stay focused long enough to finish a task I give him. Showering takes an act of god to complete. He plays with the soap, shampoo, water or just stands there. From the moment he wakes in the morning it’s a struggle to get him dressed, his teeth brushed and through breakfast. It seems the only person that see’s a calm focused child is his teacher. Here at home, before and after the meds it’s a nightmare. What can I do? At this point I want a medication that lasts 24 hours. I’m scared I feel that way but I don’t know what else to do.

  18. Holly

    I am so saddened. I have taken in my sister’s four children and the youngest is the hardest to handle. We had him diagnosed with adhd and I am so angry that I don’t know what to do anymore. We love the kid but being raised with no discipline, good examples and a negative person it is hard to handle him. My husband and I have always wanted to have more children ourselves and we have our four year old, plus we are due anyday with our second baby finally and we have his siblings 17, 15, 13, and he is 11. He is bright, smart and a pleaser. I just wished I knew how to handle him today. And no one on here is crazy or out of their minds nor do they have to feel bad simply because life is very hard and you feel like giving up. The boy I am talking about has a different dad. His mother my sister is in prison and he was babied as a kid. I want so badly to write a letter to have him picked up by an agency to get him into foster care. I can’t keep trying to shoosh him in the mornings for fear of waking up my smaller child. He seems to have no respect and is very self involved. I know he got that from his grandfather. I spanked him this morning and fear a call from the school worse yet a police visit. I am not a naturally violent person. I want to help him but if I feel violent and non loving towards him then what should I do?

  19. Amy

    Hi, my boyfriend and i live together and he has full custody of his 4 and 2 year old who are adhd. I also have a 2 year old that does not have the disease. I am currently staying home babysitting them everyday. I feel like i am going out of my mind with them and dont know how to cope. Everyday is a heart wrenching roller coaster. I am not sleeping well at night simply because i dred the morning time. The 2 year old is constantly noisy wether she is playing or crying, she is very loud and wild. There is constant noise in my house because of her. I am on edge all day long and cannot get a moments peace. Because of them being so hyper, they don’t take naps like most kids their age will do. If they do fall asleep, they immediatly wake up within 20 mins or so. Someone please give me some insight as to how i can cope before i loose my mind completely or just loose the relationship all together…

  20. Gail Grant

    I am a single Mom also trying to cope with my little chap, he is 8 and ADHD. People including my parents think that he needs displine, I have two other kids and have had no problems and no disapline problems. People don’t understand that it is a disease not a disapline probelm. I wish there were more support groups that we could take our familys to, especially my siblings as they need to be educated as well. He is also on Ritalin and I also go through the motions with teachers that he needs MORE Ritalin!!! Again we have so many support groups for other things and none for parents for ADHD kids.

  21. Colleen

    Natalia, I have read your comment and you are now 17. I don’t want to use med’s today he goes to school with a patch. This rip’s me appart. How can I help him with out med’s? I have a son that is 12 and has adhd also with a problem of ritten expression, and could cry when he does not come to me for help (school help), I have to stand over him all the time. I don’t want to do this. He does not right his homework down, test, project and so on. Please help me help him. Or anyone…

  22. Hi im a single mum of 2.. my daughter is 12 and i was told she had ADHA at the age of 5! we have tryed all the meds going 4 ADHD BUT sadly nothing has worked and i have been on all the parents courses that has been afford 2 me..well it has been so hard 4 me 2 cope wiv her now she is 12 it has GOT worse her behaver is so out of control her swearing is the wrost i have ever heard..she also hits out at myself or her younger brother,luckly he dose not have adhd and is very good But is now starting 2 copy his sister wiv rude words!!.i cant take her out 2 nice places as i worrie wot she will come out wiv and she will swear anywhere..i have asked social services 4 help but have not had any luck wiv i really dont knw wot 2 do next as it has made me very ill over the yrs and now i feel i just dont want her in the same house as me.. i cry alot as i have always wanted a loveing relaionship wiv her but she just is not wanting 2 try! she is my only daughter all i wanted was 4 us 2 b a good mum n daughter n do mum n daughter stuff…

  23. Cindy

    Hi, I am the mother of a 8 year old boy. The school seems to think my son is ADHD-I. Which I believe differs from regular ADHD. My son is smart, and he is NOT hyper or destructive like am reading here. My son has trouble focusing and staying on task. Does anyone know about ADHD-I??


    Halo.My 9jr old is a ADHD kid. He almost failed gr2 becoz of attention deficit.He is on ritolin but doctor is going to put him on ritolin la. I can see a inprovement.I just learn on the Lord and know he will help me threw this.I know hoe a mothers heart feel. You just wanna cry and dont whant to stop. Just loocked up and say Lord dry my tears and help me and my child.

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