There are many difficulties I have faced as a mother, but I have to say: Parenting a child with ADHD is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I am writing about my journey parenting a child with ADHD hoping that it can help another family to know that they are not alone with the struggles of helping a child with ADHD.

text: Parenting a child with ADHD - image is a parent comforting a Child With ADHD
Parenting children with ADHD can be challenging even on the “easy” days.

Parenting a Child With ADHD

From the time my son could walk, he was always on the move. Even sitting at the table for dinner was hard for him. He never wanted to sit and color, much less do any kind of preschool work.

I always just thought that was his personality. He was curious, inquisitive, bright, and that energy spilled out of him in the form of motion. I never even considered there could be something wrong.

And then he started kindergarten.

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Trouble at School for Kids with ADHD

From the first day, my beautiful, bright boy, who loved to learn about new things and couldn’t wait to make friends, was constantly in trouble. He wouldn’t finish his work. “It’s too hard,” he would say. “It’s too boring. I don’t like school. I just want to play.”

We talked about our expectations for school, how we expected the very best from him because we knew what he was capable of. We tried punishments for poor behavior in school. We tried rewards for good behavior. 

Nothing worked.

Parenting a child with adhd - Kids activities Blog
Will anything work?

Our Experience with ADHD Testing

The day I decided to pursue neuropsychological testing will forever be burned into my mind.

My son had a really bad day at school. He started crying as soon as he climbed into the car. “I’m the bad kid, Mommy,” he said. “I don’t want to be a bad kid. My brain is too busy. It just won’t stop. It tells me to do bad things.”

I remember thinking about stories I’d heard of kids with ADHD and the negative connotations associated with the condition. How parents who medicate their kids are just looking for an easy way out or an excuse for their child’s bad behavior. 

That couldn’t be my child, could it?

Turns out that it was.

We opted to go through a private practice for the neuropsychological assessment because we wanted to screen for any other type of learning disabilities or giftedness. After thousands of dollars and dozens of hours, we came back with the results I had suspected all along. It was ADHD.

Should I Medicate My Child With ADHD?

The psychologist said our son was a strong candidate for medication, and so we found a pediatrician specializing in ADHD and began exploring treatment options. 

I will never forget the response when some family members found out the diagnosis and our treatment plan. “Why are you drugging your kid?” they asked. 

It was a question I struggled with constantly. Was I making the right choice? Would the medication harm him? Would he be the same kid? 

Should I Medicate My Child with ADHD?

Parents of Children with ADHD Helping each Other

In the end, a heart-felt plea from a stranger on the Internet in a forum for parents of children with learning disabilities let me know that this was the right decision for my family. 

“As an adult living with ADD/ADHD who is also gifted, I want to share,” she wrote. “It makes my heart hurt when I see loving, engaged parents using all of their best intentions to avoid medication, when I know first hand the hell and torture that ADD is.”

“I do not do so lightly when I say to you that withholding medication and treatment from a child who has ADD/ADHD is no different than withholding insulin from a diabetic or taking a wheelchair away from someone who cannot walk. No matter how good the intentions, no matter how loving the decision, it is damaging and the long term effects on a child are beyond detrimental.”

She goes on to give examples of friends she has with the same conditions who have turned to drug and alcohol abuse, and even suicide, to cope.

I do not ever want that to be my son. So we decided to give medication a try. We started on a low dose to test and see how he responded.

Just The Beginning of Helping a Child with ADHD

The difference in my son after his first dose of ADHD medication was staggering. He could control his body. He could articulate his thoughts. In fact, he spend a three-hour road trip asking us nonstop questions — everything from “Why is the sky blue?” to “Why do our bodies have blood?” He said that he could actually hear his own thoughts. His brain wasn’t spinning anymore. 

It felt good, and he finished the school year with no behavior issues. In fact, he earned a class award given to only one student who shows outstanding behavior during the year. It was something I had never dreamed possible at the beginning of the year.

What worked for us to treat adhd - Kids Activities blog
There is hope…

Raising a Child with aDHD

Fast forward a year, and I can tell you that our ADHD journey is just beginning. It’s a new school year, with new teachers, and new challenges. Adjusting medication dosages, trying new medications, and worrying constantly — Are we doing the right thing? 

We’ve spent hundreds of dollars on gadgets and gizmos to try to make this burden a little easier — an Octopus smart watch for haptic reminders, weighted blanket to help with sleep, compression shirt to help with sensory issues, chewing necklaces to help with fidgeting, and on and on and on. 

We’ve spent thousands of dollars on medication and doctors visits that are barely covered by insurance. 

There is self-doubt, there is judgement from the outside world, there is exhaustion from sleepless nights, and there is frustration from parenting a child who seems to never listen to anything you say. 

And through it all, I remind myself — he is worth it. His happiness is worth it. His health is worth it. 

I have a good kid. And he is worth it. 


Do you have advice you can share on parenting a child with ADD or ADHD?

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  1. This is such a helpful explanation of what parenting a child with adhd is like. I am trying to educate myself more on the topic since my friend’s child was diagnosed. I will definitely share this article with her, thank you!

  2. It’s always a relief to come across adhd blogs for moms. Seeing other people’s stories, tips, etc is very helpful!

  3. Thank you so much for this helpful insight into parenting a child with ADHD. The more we share our experience, strength, and hope, the stronger we all become. Thank you!

  4. Adhd blogs for moms are incredibly helpful. Not just for the insight they provide, tips they offer, but also knowing we’re not alone on this journey!

  5. Thank you for sharing your experience in parenting a child with adhd. It has been really educational and i appreciate you spreading awareness!

  6. Thank you for sharing your journey about parenting a child with ADHD. As a kindergarten teacher, I am familiar with some of the struggles that parents and the children go through. This perspective was so helpful for me. I don’t always know or see everything that goes into having a child diagnosed. After reading this I feel like I can be an even more supportive factor in a families journey through this.

  7. Reading this has made me remember the struggles I went through as a single parent with two children being diagnosed with ADHD. I chose to medicate after holding out for some time. I am glad that I made this decision. There are people around me who vehemently disagree with my decision. I feel that the medication along with occupational therapy made a huge difference in my youngest daughter’s life. With my older child I had a lot less knowledge of all things ADHD, but I still feel that the medication was able to help her focus and get her schoolwork done. My oldest daughter was more of a social butterfly, at times too friendly, and subject to daydreams and tuning out the world. My youngest child presented with a lot of aggression, sensory processing disorders, is antisocial, socially akward and hyper focused on things that tuned out the world, but in a different way from my other child. Both have serious inattention issues, but this inattention is different for each child. In the beginning years I often felt ill-equipped and inadequate as a mom. Even now, years after a diagnosis I still find myself researching and learning new things about ADHD. I was diagnosed myself a couple of years ago. Go figure. Now I’m my own case study.