Parenting a Child with ADHD | Does My Child Have ADHD? – Should I have Spotted it?
As Marissa was my first daughter I had no experience of what a “normal” child was like (if there ever is such a thing as normal!!) but now with hindsight and the benefit of things I’ve learned along the way and the differences In my second daughter I can see that from the very beginning she was a little different.
Most of the differences were very small and subtle and each taken individually probably mean nothing at all but as with so many things when you put them all together and the picture grows they start to tell a different story.
And you think to yourself – should I have spotted it sooner?
Because I’m ashamed to say that it wasn’t until Marissa was at the point (aged 8) of wanting to die by falling out of an upstairs window that things came to a head….and the Dr referred us to the children’s mental health services.
You can watch a quick video on this here or click on the picture below.
I was heartbroken and felt like a failure as a parent, and being a good parent was all I’d ever really wanted to be.
So you can imagine how that made me feel!!
But then, I didn’t know anything about ADHD back then let alone parenting a child with ADHD!!
Parenting a Child with ADHD | Does My Child Have ADHD? -What are the Signs of ADHD?
Couple that with having no previous child to compare Marissa with.
So I guess I had no reason to suspect that all these minor signs were anything other than normal.
So what were these signs that I was parenting a child with ADHD that popped up over the years?
Let’s have a think…
One of the first signs was her sleep problems.
She was never a good sleeper and I know many children suffer from this when babies but to this day she still has sleep problems now aged 11.
I remember the very first night she was born and I half-slept all night with my arm in her cot and her tiny hand was curled around my forefinger it clenching me tight the whole night through….a memory I’ll never forget and that gives me goose bumps from a heart bursting with love even as I type this now.
Parenting a Child with ADHD | Does My Child Have ADHD? – What Helped?
I read book after book trying all sorts of routines suggested by the experts….
Sleep deprivation is a killer!!!
Especially as, at 39, I was no spring chicken to have my first newborn!!
We tried everything when she was a baby but the 4 hourly sleep/feed pattern was never any more than 3 hours and that was good for her.
Much as I didn’t like them, I even tried a dummy or soother as they are now called.
I was desperate to get her to sleep so I was willing to try ANYTHING!!!
But even if I help it there for a bit she’d just spit it out.
And she didn’t just gently push it out – I could feel her forcing it out pushing hard against me as I tried to gently but firmly hold it in place!!!
Finally I came upon one book by Tracey Hodge, the Baby Whisperer, which recommended the E-A-S-Y method of setting up a routine
– but it was FAR FROM EASY!!
It Stood For:-
Eat – ie feed your baby
Activity – play with your baby
Sleep – Put your baby up for a nap
You – “You time” (What’s THAT??) You have time to yourself whilst your baby sleeps.
I have to say that although it was the best of the many things I tried there certainly wasn’t an awful lot of the “You time”!!
The book by Tracey Hogg the baby whisperer had tons of tips in and you can find it here….but when you’re parenting a child with ADHD you’ll realise that ADHD babies don’t sleep well whatever you try.
As a last resort I spent one desperate night sitting with my head in my hands sobbing away as I listened to my beautiful baby sobbing away upstairs and hard as it was I made myself allow her to cry herself to sleep.
She did learn to suck her thumb after that so it did help a bit with the sleeping but it was a really tough night and it didn’t end there.
As she’s grown older we’ve had to try all sorts to help her sleep…..
Lavender on the pillows – no good the smell was “too strong” for her.
Relaxation Techniques – no good – can’t concentrate on them/gets distracted.
White Noise – we tried an un-tuned radio for the crackling sound and ended up settling with the fan – we still have a fan on at night in her room even in the coldest weather.
Relaxing Music – does help but we still have to have it on most nights even now.
Reading before sleep – either she can’t concentrate or gets so engrossed that she forgets the time and stays awake too long…
Binaural rhythm music to help her brain get into the sleep brainwave helps but she got bored of using that too.
Well the sleep problems were just the first thing.
I’ll go into some of the others in my next post as the demands of parenting a child with ADHD are calling me again and time has run out for now….
Speak soon, and if you have any questions or need any help then reach out to me on my facebook page here (Please like my page if these posts resonate with you) or by private message to my personal page here (best to friend request me first or it might get filtered).
Signing off for now but please share your thoughts below – I promise to respond to all comments.
Please also share this post with anyone you think it may help.
Sending Love and Hugs to you all
If you missed my last post you can click here to find it.