Kids

Understanding How to Raise Your Boy with ADHD in 2021

Until the term ADHD came into our lives, I don’t know how many times my son’s disruptive behavior was chalked up to that overused phrase, “boys will be boys.”

My son’s behavior seemed to be stuck on hyperdrive all the time.

Keeping him from doing and saying certain things became a full-time job.

After being kicked out of two daycares by the time he was three, I was convinced he had ADHD.

How did I arrive at this diagnosis? I saw the same behavior with my daughter – who’s also ADHD.

Despite the mental eye-rolls from his pediatrician, I took my son to a specialist for testing.

The exhaustion on the child psychologist’s face confirms my suspicions.

My Son has ADHD and Our Lives Would Change Forever

First, there was anger, next, there was why me? And then, there was not AGAIN.

I’m not sure why God would make me repeat the test when I failed miserably the first time.

Memories of my daughter’s ADHD made me ask God for an easier kid during my pregnancy.

My daughter’s ADHD was challenging.

She was talkative, lacked focus, and was plagued with serious impulse control issues. Fifteen years ago, you could get medication easily with a proper diagnosis.

Unfortunately, it’s 2021 and times changed – and they changed for the worse.

Doctors are reluctant to prescribe medication for children under five.

The education system has limited resources to help children like my son. And please don’t get me started on insurance companies.

As Uncle Ben from Spiderman quotes, “With great power, comes great responsibility.”

The old methods I used to parent weren’t going to cut it. I had to forget everything I knew about my earlier experience with ADHD.

New Expectations

I couldn’t expect the medication to fix his ADHD.

I couldn’t expect counseling or the school to help him either. And if I’m being honest, I couldn’t expect my husband to understand either.

No expectation became the new expectation.

Let me explain what I mean.

I couldn’t expect the medication to fix his ADHD. There are so many medications on the market claiming to do one thing or another. A lot of them come with scary side effects.

Until recently, I didn’t know DNA plays a role in developing ADHD.

I ordered a gene testing kit from Kailos to determine which meds work the best. I suspected his current medication wasn’t helping and I tried to explain it to his pediatric neurologist earlier, but he wasn’t hearing me.

I can’t wait to see the look on his face at our next visit when I show him the test results.

Denial Just Ain’t a River in Egypt

Taking him to a counselor helped, but in the middle of the sessions, his counselor informed me he couldn’t work with him anymore because our insurance wouldn’t pay for it.

This was after the bill reached six hundred dollars.

My husband was in denial at first, but even when faced with reality, the responsibility of managing our son’s ADHD is solely on my lap. Having a child with any special need is tough on relationships. It’s the elephant in the room in our house.

The ABC’s of ADHD

After attending a Pre-K program and attending 504 meetings, my son transitioned to kindergarten.

My expectation was I could relax because they’re trained to help him. While he was in daycare, my husband and I were called every day to come pick him up.

I unenrolled him and we did homeschool one month after school started.

My six-year-old was charged with bullying after pushing another student. The principal and vice-principal did nothing except warn me that I may be confronted by the other parents.

I’ve since licked my wounds, but I’m still on the fence about sending him back.

We moved to another school district that seems promising, but I’m scared he’ll be labeled as “that little boy with ADHD” again.

I hate he’s missing out on making friends and other important personal milestones, but my trust has been shattered.

Going Forward

I recently found a blog post with advice on how to handle difficult children. Even though I have my own blog that deals with ADHD, I’m always open to learning more because I know I don’t have all the answers.

My biggest consolation is knowing I’m not alone.

My greatest advice is embrace and accept who your children are and not what you want them to be. It helps on the tough days.

Before I started writing this post, my son had a meltdown over a math lesson.

I didn’t scream, I didn’t threaten, and I didn’t take away privileges. I know it came from frustration from the both of us.

Math is my worst subject and learning new things is tough for him because of his ADHD.

I went to my happy place and he went to his calm down corner. This is what we do when life gets hard; if he was in school, I would have received a phone call by now to come get him.

If Your Child Also Has Autism

Having two diagnoses or co-occurances is difficult to face as a mom and educator. To help you with understanding how to help children with autism, please read our post, 1o Ways to Find Peace & Create Happiness With Your Child With Autism.

It was beautifully written by a person who works with children with autism and there is an expert by the blog owner, Elna Cain, as she was an ABA therapist for children with autism before she had her twins and became a blogger.  

Conclusion

His ADHD diagnosis shattered the saying that boys will be boys as nonsense. Because his problems can’t be fixed with ice cream or a new toy, I must be his advocate and provide a safe space when his disability gets the best of him.

As far as returning him to public school, I will do it when he’s ready. After his outburst today, I think we will wait another year or I may visit a homeschool co-op instead.

In a co-op, he can be around kids his own age without the pressure of trying to fit into some ridiculous mold. I will continue to seek support, better medication, and better doctors when I have the resources. Right now, I want to use my strength to be his mom.

Do you have a child with ADHD? How are you doing Mom, we’d love to hear about it!

Bonnie Harris Price is a professional proofreader, blogger, and author of I Took My ADHD to the Dentist available on Amazon. This over-the-moon happy mom and grandmother of one and a half humans loves Netflix and Sangria, preferably at the same time. Bonnie is studying wholesale real estate and working on a second children's book. You can learn more about her and her son Keith at ADHD Homeschooled.

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49 Comments

Hello my name is Angela and I have a 6 year old son that has ASHD we found out when he was 4 but didn’t do anything about it because he was to small to take meds and I was scared to give them to him. I struggle with him every day I am a stay at home mom and I have a 3 year old girl , she doesn’t have ADHD. My so is attending a homeschool program as well because he is just all over the place, he doesn’t listen to me at all …. He is on medicine but sometimes I don’t think it’s working. I am so tired of yelling at him every day because he doesn’t listen to me.and when he has to do homework with me he fights me the whole time.. I don’t know what to do.Reply to Angela
I’m not a parent I am a probation officer and have a number of individuals who have turned to crime as a result of being treated as the ‘naughty kid’ I acknowledge as adults they have choices now. However, society still struggles to treat and support appropriately. Therefore, anything you can advise to assist to support my individuals would be appreciated.Reply to Teresa
I’m not a mom but I have been a preschool teacher for 40 years. I love my job but struggle with children with ADHD. I have never figured out how to make it work with them in a group setting. We have a child with autism in my room who has a behavioral specialist. This helps a lot but I’m sure it’s expensive. I was told insurance pays some of it. I wish you luck. I have seen parents and teachers struggling with this. There has to be an answer. Good luck.Reply to Gayle
Hi my son is now 11 years old, since he was in nursery school we have always had issues. It started with preschool, SEIT ‘s and constant negative reports from teachers. Elementary school was pretty much the same, he automatically qualified for a 1:1 para with an IEP. My son went through all of the testing and evaluations (which like some other moms mentioned, is not covered under insurance) . He as diagnosed with high functioning autism, dyslexia, ADHD and sensory integration disorder. For years we went to tons of therapy appointments, OT, PT, feeding & swallow and a psychologist. Although it helped a little Nicholas still, now in 6th grade, still struggles in school and is constantly viewed as the weird kid in class. My husband is also in denial so he offers not much support. It is heartbreaking watching your child go through life just constantly struggling. I am always looking for advice and tips….anything I can do to help him. Thank you for listening, reading everyone else posts help a lot.Reply to Annmarie
I am in tears right now reading this. I always thought I am a bad parent because I can’t seem to handle my son who is 6 years old now. He is very hyper and sometimes I feel like he makes me crazy. He can’t seem to sit down, he is like a ball rolling and bouncing all the time. I always feel lost and so as my husband. I will follow your blogs and learn from your advice and experiences as well.Reply to Aj
Your post was very emotional to me.. I feel the same way. My son is 7, diagnosed with ADHD the day schools shut down due to COVID. Although he doesn’t have any aggression incidents I feel lost. Didn’t get any help from the doctors other than “when you wish to start meds give us a call and we can discuss the options” with the school district “he doesn’t qualifies for an IEP” although he had one from 3-5 years old- speech delay. Everything was great until he enter kindergarten at a regular classroom on a public school. And from the school I they said they were going to see the possibility for a 504 spoke to teacher and counselor- never got back to me since November and we’re now mid January! He doesn’t knows how to read or write at all and he’s on second grade, can’t stay focus for too long, needs to keep moving every few minutes, and much more!! He enjoys math a lot as long as there isn’t word problems, but his not able to remember stuff he learned the day before. My only option is to scroll through Pinterest and blogs to find a way to help my son!! Thank you for your post..Reply to Miriam
My son has been kicked out of daycare 2 times this year so far. He’s trying a new home daycare but after only 3 days of attendance it doesn’t seem promising. the provider has already asked if he had any kind of meds to calm him down. He’s only 3.5, I strongly suspect adhd, no diagnosis yet, but already nobody seems to give him the time of day to care for him while I’m working. I feel so lost and helpless.Reply to Michaela
A lot of this was right on the dot for me. My son is 3 and I could tell at even 1.5 that he had sensory processing and I felt ADHD as well. My daughter had just been seen and given this dx as well that summer. He went into Early Intervention until he aged out at 3 years old. He would have been in Headstart in one of the elementary schools this year (still is virtually) but the school system said he did not meet criteria for help in the school system but yet he has an hour of OT, 30 mins of ST and now 8 hours of ABA a week. With all of my kids combined they are a handful. With 2/3 having SPD and ADHD it seems like a never ending job of redirecting and refocusing, helping impulses of not nice behavior and arguments with negative and harsh tones. It’s so overwhelming and it just feels less lonely knowing there are other mothers out there that feel the way I feel as well. I do have a question about the genetic testing- when I went on the site it mentioned the test was for cancer genes (like BRACA 1&2 for breast cancer, cervical cancer, etc) – was that the test you had done as well?Reply to Mandy
Hi, I’m a mom of two boys….9 & 4yrs old. My 4 year old was evaluated right before everything shut down due to COVID19. They haven’t ruled out adhd, but did diagnose hyperactive and impulse control. Him not having his 3 day a week Headstart program and not being able to go to other parks, the zoo,.. etc. has made life extremely challenging. I am struggling to get him to follow a new daily schedule. I have decided to keep him in his Headstart program for next school year, instead of trying pre-k. He has regressed what he learned. My husband and I are desperate for an tools, advice, support,… Thank you for sharing your story💜Reply to Libbie
Hi I’m a mom of an 12year old autistic boy and I have a 8year old ADHD boy I’m in tears right now that’s all I can say an my avenues are limited Help any how you canReply to Stacey
Hello All, My son is five and I want to get him tested for ADHD because I see the signs. I’m so afraid and would blame myself. Also, I don’t want him to be labeled or medicated that will change his bright personality. This is so hard and just reading this has me in tears. I know I need to get him help because I don’t want things to get worse once he starts kindergarten in September.Reply to Erika
I shared all of these concerns myself. My son is 9 years old. I noticed that he was operating differently in preschool. I was told that “boys will be boys” and that I shouldn’t worry. In first grade I noticed he was falling behind in class (reading and writing) I got him tutors. We did hours of homework together. Kids in his class were spending 15 min on homework we were spending at least an hour every night. I was frustrated and have researched ADHD since Kindergarten but still I DID NOT WANT TO FACE THE TRUTH. I was scared. I felt like getting him diagnosed would be betraying him and I was to blame for his ADHD. It doesn’t sound reasonable now, but back then that was how I felt. We had an incident at school in 1st grade where my son stole keychains from kids backpacks that he thought were cool. I knew I had to do something. End of first grade, I took him to get evaluated. I got my diagnosis and presented it to the school in order to get him on a special program so he wouldn’t get kicked out of school. But I refused medication. I watched my son’s shine diminish. I watched his confidence drop in school as kids called him weird and annoying. Enough was enough. I got medication for him. And be started to shine. So when and if you are ready for meds. They don’t dull your child’s shine (if you find the correct meds and dosage) they make them think clearer and give everyone around them the ability to see their personality. Meds are not magic, they help him focus but school is still hard work for him. But he can still focus enough to deal with that. Good luck, I know how hard this is!!!Reply to me
I am going thru a similar situation where I have two boys with ADHD my youngest son has severe ADHD and his has outburst where he would curse,spit among other things but I don’t raise my sons to be that way. I went thru healthy pregnancies but I don’t have control in the ADHD and me and my husband always s warn his Paras because he’s had multiple Paras already and maybe that’s why he’s rebelling the way he does IDK SMH .Then we were told 3 seperate occasions by 3 different people that his Paras quit because of him who or why would you say that. This was a great read and I definitely recommend 😊Reply to Taisha
A quick correction where it says me and my husband we always seem to let the new Paras know how he is and they’re like ok no problem and then we get called to come and pick him up mostly everydayReply to Taisha
Thank you for your time to let us to now more of ADHD. I’m mom with a beautiful SON that have ADHD. It’s so hard for him and for the people around 🙏😢step by step.Reply to Karen
My son Hurley is 8 and was diagnosed with ADHD last year. We are very lucky to have one of the best support systems in his school, and being a military family the majority of his medical care is covered. Hurley is in the gifted program but also has a 504 Screening next week. He has had noise related panic attacks at school, gets in trouble for reacting to stimuli that he can’t process or to kids who bully him because he would rather read or draw during Pe/Recess. Mornings are our biggest struggle and usually end in a raised voice either by him or me. Neither help him start his day on a positive note. I never thought of a quiet down corner at home, though now I fee ridiculous for not creating one. We considered homeschooling but Hurley enjoys being at school and so far, 🤞🏻, we haven’t crossed that behavior and trust line with the school. He has been suspended, spent entire days in the office, and has come home with more referrals than I can count. Everyday is a chance to learn, and the curve is pretty sharp, but one day at a time, right? My husband has a hard time, he b-lines it to yelling and hard discipline which is beyond counterproductive. I don’t relish the though if anyone else having to go through what we do on a daily basis but it is nice to know we aren’t alone.Reply to Heather
This is what I needed to see that other parents deal with these behaviors. It currently feels like everyone around me has perfectly behaved kids. My son had a major meltdown during baseball ended in hitting and tears from us all. He’s so bright but I’m waiting on testing school has been so tough teachers give the look of what am I doing wrong and assume he knows better because he’s quote big for his age. My baby is 5 he can’t put those emotions together we don’t blame him is it wrong to feel like I have more empathy than my husband?. What do the test evaluations consist of? I’m struggling to come to terms that something is going on with him and I can’t fix it. Praise to those mamas doing everything in your power to keep looking forward and finding the answers for your kiddo. I’m working on it but a blog like this helps me remember there are other babies struggling too.Reply to Vida