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Readers Respond: Advice for Single Parents Raising a Child With ADHD

Responses: 24

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Updated April 22, 2010

It's sometimes tough to be a single parent, especially if one of your children has ADHD. Often times the best advice comes from those who have "been there, done that" and found success through the same trials and tribulations you may now be facing. Calling on all single parents out there who have children with ADHD, we need your advice.

What have you found to be most helpful as a single parent? How have you made it through difficult days? What advice do you have for fellow single parents raising a child with ADHD? Share Your Tips

It Can Be Very Difficult.

I have been a single mom for almost 6 years now, and my ADHD daughter will be 18 in September. I first must agree that raising her alone has taken an enormous toll on me, and often on our relationship. I have found though, that as she progresses and begins to master her challenges, I also feel an enormous sense of accomplishment at having been able to be strong and independent enough to have been able to support her needs on my own. Also, having other adults in her life who she can relate to has made a huge difference for her. So, I would suggest to any single mom, that if you can connect your child with a positive adult role model who can spend time with your child, your child's self-esteem will very likely rise significantly, and it will take a great deal of the pressure off of you. And, any time you can connect with other parents in your same or similar situation - ADHD parent support groups, moms groups, CHADD meetings. Do it. You'll be reminded that you're not alone.
—lsm0861

VERY CHALLENGING

I have a son who is 14 now and a daughter whose 9 and they are both ADD. It was extremely difficult at the beginning for I was a single parent and was always told that my son was naughty and that it was my parenting skills. I was made to feel useless as a parent and my brother-in-laws would try and discipline my son. It took courage and self-control to discipline my son the way I knew was right. Also, I distanced myself from getting too much advice from my family. Nowadays, I’m being complimented on how well my son has turned out to be and what a great job I have done! It's hard work and sometimes even 24-hours but they are my kids and I brought them into this world and so I focus mainly all my energies on them. New relationships battle with this for they think the kids are just naughty and families also don’t understand what ADD is all about. Keep strong. Advise your family, friends and even teachers. Be your child’s advocate for they only have you to count on and believe in them.
—Guest monica

All Children Are Special

I have to remember that he is who he is and treat him the same as my daughter. She does not have ADHD, but they both are treated the same. I do not make excuses for either of them. I accept him for who he is and who knows what he will be when in the future. I did find a great school that helped us both in Casselberry, FL called Harbor School. The director and teachers are wonderful. My son used to think he could not learn and had very low self esteem until I enrolled him in Harbor School. During his first year his self esteem was turned around and he was taught to love of learning.
—sherdest

"I'm in the Same Boat"

I can completely understand. I leave my home in the morning to find my teenage son's (16 going on 17) breakfast dishes still on the table, clothes he's worn from school taken off at the doorway entrance leaving a trail to his room and his comics/homework scattered from his room. I go through days of just picking everything and leaving it in his room. The pile gets bigger as the week goes on. He can't find keys, arrange his own rides, and spends 60% of his time glued to a DS Gameboy. I've taken away computer cords, hidden gaming devices, have no TV...but I tell him all that is being input into his brain is the play patterns of these games; not his homework. Also, being a single mom, I get verbal comments like, "You're a bit_ _!" and so on. It is difficult parenting a teen with ADHD. I have my own deadlines to remember, yet still have to remember tasks he should be doing for himself. It's the reason he's going to a community college. He does not plan ahead but looks for me to remember.
—jj

Single Parents and ADHD

I am not a single parent, but my husband works long hours and is not involved in the day to day issues with our son. We have found that a 1/2 an hour on the playground right after school to run off some energy combined with the rule of no TV until homework is done (or at least seriously attempted for at least 1/2 hour - he is in 1st grade) works. As soon as I let the TV go on before homework, it is ALWAYs, ALWAYS, a mistake for us.
—Guest adam36

Feeling Alone

What if your ADD husband takes jobs hundreds of miles away (says he has no choice) and leaves parenting all up to me. I am in therapy, wish I could get back into nursing and have some leeway but there are some problems right now keeping me from it. It is so horribly frustrating to me I've actually considered suicide. Can anyone else comment or relate--I can use any and all support right now--Thanks
—Guest pdm2394

Don't Feel Alone

To the previous poster pdm2394: Please don’t feel alone...you’re not! I can totally relate to your story! My husband travels a lot for work, often gone 6 weeks at a time! I’m almost positive my 7 year old son is ADHD (soon to be diagnosed) and we have a 13 year old daughter, too. It is HARD I’m not gonna lie, some days harder than others. I’m a stay at home mom because of my kid’s issues. I know how you feel...helpless sometimes....I know I do! I have found that we are not alone at all in this fight though, we always have help from above and we do not have to go through this alone! Please don’t give up! You are stronger than you know! Suicide is never the answer. There is help for you and your family! I don’t know how much you rely on prayer, but it helps me tremendously. I wish you the best in your life. You are not alone!
—Guest Tx MOM

I Feel It the Most

I am 14 years old and I was diagnosed ADHD at the age of 5. Since then I have faced challenge after challenge and I have learned quite a bit about myself and others with it. The most important part about raising a child with ADHD is if you don’t have a plan that involves knowing about your kid, you’re screwed. If you do have a plan, IMPLEMENT IT AS EARLY AS YOU CAN. Many kids and teens both don’t like change and in the teenage years it doubles. I know. My mom is just now trying to help and she doesn’t even understand what’s wrong. All I can say is support your child, and support them the second you’re sure they have ADHD.
—Guest Mikey G

ADHD

I know the feeling. My son is 8 and he screams, shouts, and argues with us a lot. He tells my other kids he’s going to kill them. He beats his brother up. He hasn’t been diagnosed yet. I’m still waiting...it can be very hard at times.
—flower82

A ADHD parent raising ADHD kids

I have ADHD and raising a 14 year old son with inattentive ADD and a 3 year old daughter who I think may have it too. Playing the roles of mom and dad and having ADD myself is very hard at times, esp. having a toddler! I've learned not to stress over the little things. The one absolute great thing about having ADD and kids with it is I am more sympathetic to their struggles. My son and I talk about it often and I give him tips to help him. It has actually made us closer.
—singlemommyof2

Tough Road

I’m getting bitter with all the barriers and isolation we experience because of ADHD.
—Guest kld

Glad to see I am not alone

I have recently had my 14 yr old son diagnosed as ADHD. Though it was a relief to him and I knowing why he is the way he is now I am working on what my next step should be. His father is ADHD and has never been treated and refuses to go on medication or get therapy. I have been divorced from him for 5 yrs and though we share custody, I feel it is up to me to be in charge of my son's health and welfare. I want my son to get therapy but his father has given him the impression that therapy is for women not men. I have currently taken a route of not doing negative reinforcement and to make sure I stay calm and reinforce that I love him (my son) and that I have his best intentions. His father on the other hand feels that calling him names and being negative is the route "good parenting" and I am a bad parent. Go figure.
—alix1961

Feeling Alone

I have taken my 11 year old, at the advice of the teachers and counselors at his school, to the pediatrician, completed the forms and he was diagnosed with ADHD. She prescribed medicine, but unfortunately, his father is adamantly against the medicine and has convinced my son I am wrong and that he just needs to control his behavior. Meanwhile, his father, who has not taken him overnight in 3 years or asked about his grades, teachers etc., is now threatening me if I put him on the medicine. I feel like the enemy and yet I am just trying to help him. It takes us 3 hours to get through 5th grade homework. I work full time and am worn out. I am so worried about what is to come. I feel he will drop out due to feeling like a failure as every day brings a phone call from the school about behavior, etc. I feel very alone.
—anns4206

I just dont know anymore

I am a single mom of three kids age 2, 4 and 5. My son the eldest has ADD. He always screams, tantrums, hurts his sisters, the dog and sometimes me. He has such frustration, I can see it in his face because he can’t communicate properly, and his speech is so poor that he is on par with a 3 year old. His ways are really starting to rub off on his sisters and I feel lately like all I am doing is having to discipline all the time which by the way is like talking to a brick wall. I cry everyday because all I want is for my children to be happy and I just wish I knew what to do.
—Guest Claire

Hallelujah!! I'm not alone

Been thinking I'm losing my mind - Why can't I do this single mom thing? Turns out my son is ADHD. Yay, medication helps but wait... I still can't do this well. What's up with that?? It's because I'm ADHD too. Who knew? No wonder an 8 yr old and I go head to head on everything!!! I haven't figured anything out. I'm still floundering. Trying to manage my ADD, my son's ADD and be a working mom and advocate for my child. I just can't stay focused enough to get past researching IEP's and it all sounds so overwhelming so… like others with ADD, I'll get to it later.
—noasarc

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Advice for Single Parents Raising a Child With ADHD

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