I’ve done a few posts before about parenting ADHD and a few of the things that we face, but I never tend to spend too much time on the bad stuff.
I know there is a stigma attached to ADHD and believe me we have heard them all.
“He’s just naughty”
“He’s a boy”
“He’ll grow out of it”
“He needs a good clip round the ear”
Our parenting skills are also questioned. We clearly cannot be very good parents if we cannot control our child. The fact that we also have 3 other children sometimes doesn’t bode well. If he’s like that then what on earth are the others going to be like? Sometimes they do copy him. They also get reprimanded – just the same as he does. On a whole they are good – that is because we parent them and we parent them the best we know how to!
Because his disability is not physical, people struggle to see why he is like he is. They cannot see that whilst he is a rather intelligent child, especially in subjects he is passionate about – he also has the social skills and emotional age of a 3 year old, at nearly 8 years old.
I’ve also talked about our reasons as to why we medicate. About the attacks we faced on a daily basis and how medication helps control this. However, there is a downside to medicating.
A medicated ADHD child is a bit like a Jekyll and Hyde.
When his medication has kicked in he’s Jekyll. You can talk to him, you can do normal family things that most take for granted, like being able to go out to the shops, to get something to eat, to the park! You can reason with Jekyll. He’ll help you if you ask, and sometimes he’ll just do it just because he wants to.
We like Jekyll. He is welcome any time. We praise him and try to encourage him to come more often and stay for longer. Sadly, the most he stays is for around 4-5hours. We see him for about 30 minutes in the morning -
Then Hyde takes over.
Hyde is not very nice. He is a bully. He is violent. He is dangerous. He quite frankly scares the shit out of us. He has known to hide knives in his underwear drawer. He’s had razors and scissors in his bed. He’s hung out of first floor windows whilst proceeding to shout at people walking past. He climb on the outside of the stair banister. He climbs the kitchen counters. He steals money from purses and wallets and food from the cupboards. He runs around the garden screaming at 7am. He throws himself around and it’s your fault when he hurts himself. He draws on things. He throws objects. He throws his fists around. He growls at you and tells you he hates you and that you’re a “fucking idiot”. You get tutted at if you have to venture out with Hyde. You get people staring at this child attacking his parents, screaming at them, crying and throwing a tantrum like a toddler.
Hyde is with us for about 2-3 hours in the morning. Then we give the medication and Jekyll returns. Then after 4-5 hours Hyde comes back and we face an evening of the torment already suffered that morning. Hyde remains until he sleeps. That could be until 9-10pm in the evening.
Then it starts all over again.
We get no help. We received his ADHD diagnosis, medicated and left, to return once every 6 months for a check up.
We got a bit of help for a few months. They came to see me for an hour every few weeks to discuss things and ways to approach things and behaviours. But they can only offer it for a certain period of time.
We got offered home start. But again, that would be to help me during the day. The day is not the issue. He’s medicated, we can handle that. It’s the mornings and evenings that we need help with.
We have no family to help. My father in law will take him every now and then for a little bit. But then upon his return Hyde has taken over.
We have to hide things that could be deemed as dangerous. Putting them high up is not good enough as he will climb to reach them. Locks on kitchen cupboards and drawers no longer work as he can open them.
We are constantly stressed. I have considered splitting the family apart. Of taking the other children and moving out. But what would that achieve apart from more problems in the future.
Two weeks ago I called the hospital desperate for help. I was told I would get a call back urgently. That call was never returned. I called back yesterday. I cried down the phone explaining I couldn’t go on like this. That I fear he will hurt himself or one of the other children. I was promised a call back. I am still waiting for that call.
So here we are.
Having a child with ADHD is more complicated and harder than just having a naughty child. It’s even harder when you feel you are being failed by the system. How you are just left to cope. How no conventional methods of behaviour control work. How you are left scouring the Internet and reading books just to try and help your child – to help all of your children. How you dread each dawn that arrives. How you wish your child could just be normal! But he’s not normal. He is disabled. He is special needs. He will not grow out of it! He is stuck with this horrible demon inside him for the rest of his life.
It’s down to us as parents to show him how to control Hyde for he cannot continue medication for the rest of his life. He will have to come off it at some point.
I dread that day.
Shortly after I wrote this post I received a phone call from the hospital. We are being referred to a service that will give us respite. We will have a specialist carer come to our home for 3hours a week to give us a break. However, there is a waiting list so who know how long it could be.
We have also been given details of the 1,2,3 Magic course which is running after Christmas at a local children’s centre.
They will also contact a specialist play centre which run play schemes during school holiday’s for children with special needs – and hopefully we can get him in for a day or 2 during the October break.
*ADHD = Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. ODD = Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Aspergers Syndrome is a form of Autism which affects the social skills of a child.