In July 2011 an online survey was conducted to determine attitudes and opinions among parents of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). More than 1,000 parents and caregivers of children under the age of 12 who had been diagnosed with ADHD responded to range of topics related to managing their child’s symptoms and behaviors.
The survey was commissioned by Noven Pharmaceuticals in collaboration with ADDitude magazine. Findings highlight some of the challenges and concerns parents of children with ADHD experience day-to-day, with particular focus on after-school times and weekends. A summary of the survey findings is below:
Behaviors Exhibited During Difficult TimesParents cited a number of challenging behaviors in their children with ADHD. The most common concerns mentioned – not listening and difficulty finishing work - relate to attention span issues, while defiant or oppositional behavior was also a frequent concern. The top five concerns included – appears not to be listening; has difficulty finishing school work or chores; exhibits defiance or oppositional behavior; avoids tasks that require sustained mental effort; and talks excessively. Responses indicated that children at age 11 average the highest number of challenges faced.
Most Difficult Times of Day Outside of SchoolParents most frequently observed behavior problems around homework time. As children’s age increased, behavior challenges were accompanied by excessive time spent completing homework. Homework time was indicated as the most challenging time outside of the school day, followed by evenings/dinnertime, bedtime/falling asleep, family social events on weekdays and organized after-school activities.
Challenges Faced by Parent/FamilyThe majority of parents expressed feeling that they yell and criticize their child more than they would like. They also indicated that because of the close supervision and monitoring their child requires day-to-day, as parents they constantly feel tired. This was particularly a concern for parents of boys with ADHD. The top five challenges faced by parents and family included – yell and criticize more often than would like to; must closely shepherd child through the morning and other routines; am constantly tired; interactions with child often end in tears or arguments; and often forget things and feel rushed. Mealtime fighting was more prevalent for families with boys.
Strategies Used to Manage Child’s BehaviorStrategies most often used to manage a child’s behavior during the difficult times of day included - verbal reminders; discipline/consequences; long-acting medication; reward system/chart; and a strict routine.
Feelings About ADHD MedicationParents expressed mixed feelings around medication. Over four in 10 parents in the survey did not mind giving their child medication; however, nearly as many parents indicated reluctance and showed concern for side effects. For the parents of children who did use medication to manage symptoms during the school day, a large majority of those parents allowed it to lapse beyond the school day, though problems continued to occur at home. Many parents expressed a desire for more flexible medication options that provide extended control during the week and shorter control on the weekends.
Severity of Medication Side EffectsIn regards to medication, side effects were mentioned as a concern for parents when deciding whether or not to administer medication. For children on medication, changes in appetite and sleep were indicated as the most common side effect. Appetite appeared to be more affected for children age 8 and younger, while sleep patterns appeared more affected for those children age 9 and above.
For more information go to the Survey Fact Sheet.