Having a child with ADHD: a mother’s perspective
Leanne is the mother of Riley. He was diagnosed with ADHD two years ago at the age of 6. Here’s Leanne’s story of life with a child with ADHD.
When you have a child with ADHD, you never know what each day is going to be like.
He can break things that belong to other people. He’s been sent home from school for hitting, climbing on the roof or throwing things at teachers. He will hit, swear, and bite you even if you haven’t done anything to provoke him – it’s just his way of letting off his sensory needs.
At times it can be scary: he will run in the road as he has no sense of danger, he’ll talk to strangers, and we have to lock all the doors and windows otherwise he will just run or climb out of the window.
It can be very tiring – it’s hard to switch off so I struggle to sleep. I’m always on the go as he never sits still to do anything, and any tasks I set him must be quick and small. He’s very hyper, talks constantly and repeats himself, which can feel draining. I don’t feel I often have any time for myself.
Other people’s reactions
In the past I would feel like people were looking at myself and my son like I can’t control him. Parents in playgroups would talk about my child. I would feel that other parents at school, in the street and the teachers at school were judging me. I would feel paranoid when the teacher came out and spoke to other parents in case it was because my son had done something to another child. Other parents would also make up lies about him: he’s an easy target as he was classed as the ‘naughty’ child.
It was all and very stressful. I never wanted to take him anywhere. I wanted to stay at home all the time, that way no one could judge us, and my son could be himself in his happy place, I could keep an eye on him and the only person he could hurt would be me.
When he was diagnosed, I felt very overwhelmed. I cried with relief that finally someone was listening to me, and believed that there was more going on than just him being naughty. I was so glad that people would start to listen, and I could help my son: getting him some so he could be less hyper, and sleep better.
Having our diagnosis felt like I could see a light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
Attending parent training really helped as I got to learn more about ADHD and where it comes from. I picked up lots of tips on how to help with his special ways. It acted as a support group for the family, and we got to meet other parents who have children with ADHD. The teachers are lovely and are there to support and guide you down the right pathway. They also give you all the paperwork so you won’t forget anything.
Advice to other parents
My advice to other parents would be: don't worry what other people think. Hold your head high and stay calm. Try and get your child’s mind onto something else to try and stop their meltdown. You can always pretend you’re somewhere else and block other people out. Show people an ADHD Awareness Card if you’re still feeling that you’re getting uncomfortable attention.
And make sure you talk to someone about how you’re feeling. It really helps.
If you suspect your child has ADHD, speak to your school Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) or your local CAMHS clinician. You’ll also be able to get advice on support for us such as the course that Leanne went on.
There is help out there. If you need support, you can call the YoungMinds Parents Helpline on 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday 9.30am – 4pm) or find resources for parents of children with ADHD. Parenting Special Children provides specialist support for parents in Berkshire.
And we also have lots of information on our ADHD pages.