ADHD is tough. It’s something I want to start talking a bit more about here and have had a few people reach out to me thanking me for being so open about my experience with Jayden, it’s made me really want to share more.
This boy right here is a tough cookie. He’s dealt with so much along the way and being diagnosed with ADHD at 8 years old was tough for him. He is about to turn 10 in June and although its been a rollercoaster since the original diagnosis I feel like we’ve finally reached a place that everyone is happy and everyone is handling it beautifully. It took a long while to convince me medication was right for Jayden. I was a firm believer that environment played a strong role in how my child was coping, behaving and acting. While I still think that is true to this day, the medication route was the right choice for him.
A few weeks ago Jayden and I were talking and he told me he couldn’t deal with the anger that was coming along with the ADHD any longer. Although he wasn’t having any reports from school of him lashing out or causing any problems he himself felt he needed something more to help him cope and not feel so angry or lash out. This was big for Jayden as he never really wanted to discuss it beyond “I can’t control it”.
Talking, figuring out why he couldn’t control it and the triggers has helped. We made him another doctors appointment where the doctor listened to the concerns and decided to give Jayden a trial of a secondary medication to go with his primary medication. He tried it out for a few weeks then went back to the doctors where the doctor also spoke to his teacher and we were able to report from the principal Jayden was finally seen smiling, having fun and laughing at school. Something, he hasn’t done in years. This medication was working. He told me himself he feels so much better on it and is glad we were able to help.
How to Help A Child Navigate Their Way Through ADHD
Medication isn’t always the answer. There are many different ways you can help your child when they have been diagnosed with ADHD. After almost two years, we’ve finally reached where we had no other choice and it was time. Medication isn’t the only way we are helping Jayden so I wanted to share what else we are doing to help him along in his journey.
- Be a listening ear: For Jayden he needs attention more than any other child we have. He craves extra affection and is always looking for us to listen to him and make sure we are on his side, no matter what. Listening when he needs an ear, or even offering one when he doesn’t gives Jayden the confidence to be who he is and know we are always on his side.
- Ask him about his feelings: For a long time he wouldn’t tell us. He would shrug and say, “good” or “I don’t know” now he’s eager to tell us about his day, what went on and even if he felt there was something about the day he could have done better or handled a different way he tells us.
- Positive praise: Praising him for positive decisions, and for the things he can and cannot control help. Showing him that even if he needed to take a break to collect his thoughts, it’s a good thing.
- Keeping in contact with his teachers: My husband has been instrumental in this. He talks daily to his teacher and weekly to his principal. We communicate and make sure they know even if there is something tiny, they can call us and we’ll be on top of it (note: they’ve called once in 8 months!)
- Strategies: Giving him strategies to work through his anger, and to deal with conflict work wonders. Not forcing him to sit aside, go home or making him feel like he’s to blame for every little thing goes along way. This also goes with having our kids in brilliant schools where the staff is outstanding and caring.
- Holding everyone accountable: If something is said at home by one of our kids and Jayden reacts, Jayden isn’t the only one getting in trouble. Everyone gets equal treatment. This would also be the case at school if needed, but hasn’t been needed.
Moving my kids to a school that has caring staff, and an amazing administration is to thank for a lot of his school success this year. The schools he was previously at didn’t care, therefore scuffed it all off. If you have a child with ADHD or any special need, it’s important they are attending a school that cares, have staff who love what they do and only want children to thrive.
Being there for your child, listening to them when they are talking and expressing how they are feeling, what they need and what will ultimately help them is key. For me, medication was the last resort and I will be doing another post on this specifically as I’ve been asked quite a bit how we got to that decision and how things are going on it – so that’s another topic for another day.