Monday, December 11, 2017

What is Good ADHD Parenting?

January 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Coping, Our Kids

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Many of you know PJ, our 12 year old son. To help those who are less familiar, PJ was diagnosed with ADHD at 6. As he grew older, other conditions came to light: Asperger’s, anxiety, periodic mild depression, school avoidance and as of late, school refusal. He has gone from one medication for ADHD to three for his coexisting conditions.

Over the past few weeks, his psychologist felt things were getting worse and was strongly recommending that PJ belonged in a clinical environment to re-diagnose his situation. The psychiatrist had reached the same conclusion after an event at home and we were given our marching orders: “get him admitted now”.

After a very stressful day in the hospital with Dawn, PJ and myself, the four doctors we met with came to this conclusion: while it would be best to have him admitted, remove all medications and re-evaluate him for a new baseline mental health condition, today’s insurance-managed medicine would make this a non-option. Our alternative was to involve a new psychiatrist for a second opinion and medication adjustments, slowly, over time. It was an exhausting day.

There are moments as parents when we are bound to second-guess ourselves. When your kids have ADHD, it seems that the path to good parenting is never clear. From the decisions we make for our children to how much information we share with them. It starts with the decision on medications – are we hurting or helping? Are we too strict and demanding? Or are we too lax and permissive?

One of the thoughts that has been creeping in on me lately has been the following: What if all the focus, attention, evaluations, therapies, counseling, medications – what if this has all made things worse for my son? Would things be better if we had not put so much attention and focus on him – not had him under a microscope?

Was our current situation a product of the changing body of our son, from his initial diagnosis at 6 to his near adolescent body of 12? Or was our path and decisions wrong from the first, early decisions?

The best answer I have is that we have

– been open-minded
– been flexible, yet consistent
– shown respect for our son as a whole person
– sought the best professional advice available to us
– become informed through our own research
– then made the best decisions we could based on our understanding.

Were we right? We’ll never know for sure. We didn’t ignore or deny his situation. We didn’t make rash decisions or set unreasonable limitations on how to fix things. We have made the best decisions we can with the resources and information available to us at the time.

A broken bone is treated with medical science that is close to math: 2+2=4. The treatment of ADHD and other mental health conditions seems closer to abstract art: 2+1=YELLOW (sometimes).

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Comments

7 Responses to “What is Good ADHD Parenting?”
  1. Amy M. says:

    Chris, what an amazing post. And yes – you will know someday if you and Dawn were right…or at least successful. When he launches as an adult, and is good at something he loves; you’ll know.
    We all do the very best we can as parents – and we’re presented with other little imperfect people to raise up, train up, as best as our imperfect selves can!
    Just keep on keeping on and keep doing those 6 things! I know, I KNOW it’s frightening!
    You’re all in my prayers.
    amy

  2. MJ says:

    Chris, thank you for this post. It came at the right time. We are also in the process of switching to another psychiatrist for our son. He is 8 and has been diagnosed with ADHD, Bipolar, Aspergers, anxiety… It is tough to know sometimes if we are making the right decisions but it is also nice to know that we are not alone, that there are other parents going through the same things we are which means we can learn from each others mistakes and successes! Regards, MJ

  3. Chris G. says:

    Thanks for writing MJ. To be honest, you’ll never know if you had done the right thing. You will only be given the comfort that you took it seriously, did what you were able to help and provided as much love and support as you could.

    Wishing you and your family all the best,
    Chris

  4. Louise says:

    It’s never easy to cope with medications and their ramifications. If you’re a parent of a child with ADHD who has trouble sleeping, you may be interested in this clinical research study. You can find more info here: http://www.studyforadhdsleep.org.

    Louise

  5. Sharon Sawers says:

    Wow chris, as if ADHD is not enough! My heart goes out to your family. Our son has recently been diagnosed and I have found it very helpful to affirm to myself that we are surrounded by the best professionals to help us down this path. This has worked really well and we have got the appoints etc that we needed to avoid our son being excluded from school at six. It only takes the right person to get involved in your sons life to make a difference, I hope this person finds you soon, all the best.

  6. Briony says:

    I am enjoying reading your site.. Thank you so much for sharing your family’s journey. I have adhd and was diagnosed last year in my 40s. I wonder whether, if you read my blog, you may think that the road you have chosen to take is the right one.. I think you are all so wonderful that you are embracing all your challenges with so much love, patience, tolerance and a great will to understand. B.

  7. Cesar says:

    I understand your feleings exactly. I am constantly stressed about my son’s social interaction. School started off so great this year, his meds seemed at just the right combo, he started with an IEP in the special ed classroom for help with organization, and his school has been wonderful. He has a therapist there and was seeing one on the outside. I am now starting to get the reports of troublemaking, of having a difficult time with friends, etc you name it. I just want to cry. I started to feel like we hit a groove and things were staying great now the train is coming off the tracks again. In the past I would take him in to the neurologist and this would mean he would get his meds increased. I hate to keep on this endless circle. He is already on a large dose (at least to me) of Concerta and takes 1 mg of Intuniv with it. the neurologist told me he has pretty severe ADHD. I just wish I could feel at ease for longer than a few weeks at a time.

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