View Full Version : Help Please. At wits end with 11 yr old ADHD stepson


BgDadee
08-11-14, 02:12 AM
Like the title says I am at my wits end with my stepson. A little about me I am a US Army veteran, raised by a US Navy Seabee Veteran/Construction worker. I was raised to be very self reliant. When your told to do something you got it done or there was consequences. Common sense was a must in my family and my adult life.

I have two kids from my first marriage who I raised like I was raised. My oldest is my daughter and my youngest is my son. If I was to die tomorrow I know they would continue to prosper and excel in their lives. They have a great amount of common sense. My second wife(in name only) not married yet has two children also, her oldest is a boy, 11 yrs old(he is the one with the ADHD) and a daughter who is 7(non ADHD but plays into brothers problems). I have tried everything to get thru to this boy. He does not listen, he is the most irresponsible boy I have ever seen in my life and has not one lick of common sense. I am acually afraid for this boy that he will do something stupid , or not think his actions thru and either end hurting himself badly or killing himself.

My son and I are very outdoorsy types, we like to hunt, fish, and other outdoor stuff. After taking him out to do different things I stopped taking him along. Due to his lack of common sense he turns outdoor trips from fun to a job. I refuse let him anywhere near a rifle or a weapon of any kind due to this lack of common sense. When I stopped I got asked why I stopped by the wife. I explain it to her and she goes he needs to be shown but I have shown and explained more times than I count. How many times does it take for someone to understand not to do things that are going to get him hurt or someone else hurt or possibly killed?

I love the kid but just can't stand to be around him. He never stops talking, he doesn't do what he is told, when he doesn't get his way he cries thinking the tears will get me to change my mind. I have tried progressive punishments starting with time outs, groundings, taking away toys, and finally got to spankings. Nothing works. When you ask him to do something that he has been doing for a year like putting dishes away he still asks where things go when you answer " really, you don't know where that goes" his canned answer is "I forgot". It seems in my house that we have two extra people living here, Mr. I don't Know and Mrs. I Forgot.

He says he wants to be treated like a normal kid, when i treat him like a normal kid just like my other two he goes crying to mom that I am being to mean and harsh. Am I being to marsh or mean when I expect him to live up to his responsibilities and take ownership of his mistakes. The stuff he gets away with I would have been knocked into next week for doing. Evidently I have no clue how to raise a ADHD kid. I need help or steered towards some help because this is hurting my relationship with my wife to the point she has moved out because the son and I do not get along.

Unmanagable
08-11-14, 02:56 AM
Wow. This one hits home really hard for me, so I hope I'm able to answer it well.

As an undiagnosed adhd kid, I was often told I didn't have a lick of common sense, would never find my way, wouldn't amount to anything because of it, I would be worth a damn if I'd just apply myself, etc., etc.

I was also left behind in many scenarios because I didn't fit neatly into the definition of what a "mature responsible young lady" would be like. I was made to feel like s*** quite often and looked down upon by those who I thought were there to help me and teach me.

Your expectations will not be met, healthily, from the angle you're attempting now, in my opinion. If you insist he has to live his life the way you were raised and the way your kids do, then I'd say do both of you a favor and continue to dissolve the relationship. He needs to be accepted for who he is and taught how to do things via the methods he learns the best, not made to feel like crap for who he'll likely never be, nor desires to be.

I know it's tough to unlearn all that you've learned up until now and think is the "best way" for all involved, but I feel we have to in order to consider others, especially if we plan to spend our lives intertwined so closely with them.

We were only taught what our parents thought were best, too. What you feel was best for you back then can be damn near traumatic to someone with heightened sensitivities.

Some of us have lucked out a little more than others, for whatever reasons, and feel we have succeeded in some areas. Regardless of our story, our past, or our mindset, I don't feel we can expect everyone to reach similar heights, or even wish to. Trying to force it ensures resentment and disappointment.


Edited to add:
Big props to you for coming here to seek guidance and assistance in trying to sort it all out. Hoping you find some helpful info.

Lunacie
08-11-14, 03:05 AM
To help you understand why your stepson is like this, read some of the information over at Dizfriz's Corner. (http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=60130)

Look for videos of Dr. Russell Barkley explaining what ADHD is - and how it affects our emotional regulation.
Your stepson isn't crying to be manipulative and make you change your mind, he cries because he can't please you.

But most of all, understand that ADHD is not something we choose to be. We know what to do, we struggle to do what we know.

zette93
08-11-14, 03:41 AM
Also watch the videos at the LivesInTheBalance website. Kids do well if they can. He can't. He needs a lot of extra handholding to TEACH him skills (indlucing all the things that seem to be "common sense") that your other kids just picked up by osmosis. If you think of him as needing the supervision you would give to a 6-8 yo instead of an 11 yo that would give you a starting point.

Otherwise you and he are probably both better off if you and his mother go your separate ways.

BgDadee
08-11-14, 03:51 AM
I have read some of Dizfriz's corner posts. Before I registered I read some of his stuff. I will try some of what he suggests.

As far as the tears and the crying Lunacie the boy uses it to manipulate whoever he can get it to work on. I just refuse to join in his game. The reason I know it is a game for him was I have been around him for two plus years even before his mom and I got together. I have watched him when he doesn't get his way or get what he wants ie. toys or whatever the tears start. When he would try this I would tell him to stop because the crying game doesn't work on me. The tears would dry up instantly and he was back to normal.

Dizfriz said in one of his posts that the average in maturity age is approx 30% from physical age, not for my stepson, he probably hits the board at about 50%. I was told that I should treat him like he was 7 or 8 years old. However when you would treat him such he would go ballistic and rant and rave to stop treating him like his 7 yr old sister. He would state treat him like an 11 yr old and when I would he would go crying to mom that I was to strict.

Besides my two kids I have helped raise 4 nieces, 3 nephews, and about 6 to 8 other kids that belong to other relatives and friends. I have a good grasp on how to raise kids but this boy, excuse my language but he drives me bat**** crazy.

Some of the ways Dizfriz describes I have tried. I always try and talk to him in a calm controlled voice, I would be very specific about the things I say. He would just argue every point trying to turn it around on to me. I am a very logical man, I would end up talking to him logically about whatever set him off or whatever he did to get into trouble. He would say he understood and wouldn't do it again and 10 minutes later he does it again and I would get the same canned answer "I forgot" or "I didn't know".

I just want to figure out how to be around this boy and not loose my patience with him. Just for the record we do not have anything in common, the stuff he likes I don't the stuff I like he doesn't or he does not have the common sense to do. The big one about the common sense one is My son and I like to geocache in the desert which involves rock scrambling and or figuring out the safest route to get up rocks and mountains. Last time I took the stepson, even after a safety briefing about reaching into bushes and rock piles or holes to get the geocache always use a stick to check for snakes or scorpions he still ended doing it.

I would not be able to live with myself if something happened to him and he got hurt while out with my son and I doing outdoorsy activities.

stef
08-11-14, 05:05 AM
wow that is a rough situation!

It must be very hard for you to understand this but the part about him "forgetting", is the truth. He probably really does forget these things that you JUST told him. This still happens to me and I am 46. If I go see my boss without a notepad - I often have to call him to double check what he just asked me to do. I have literally forgotten by the time I get back to my desk. I have no common sense. And I was ashamed of these kind of things for years until I understood that there is something in my brain chemistry that works differently so I need various reminders and lists to compensate. But it's not a moral failing and really you must understand this one point because you seem like a very kind and caring stepdad for this boy.

It's really ok not to bring him on these dangerous outdoors actvities. Maybe occasionally plan a safer and easier nature hike with him and your son certain times so he doesn't feel left out?

If you have different interests, participate in something he likes, show some interest in it; (even if it's something you dislike immensely!)

sarahsweets
08-11-14, 07:07 AM
Lazy,unmotivated,emotional, useless, defiance -these are what I dealt with.

RobboW
08-11-14, 07:21 AM
It's a very tough situation. I am undiagnosed ADD and I have a daughter who is also undiagnosed, but I'm sure we both are ADD. We really struggle to get along. The ADD gets in the way from both sides and also personality clashes. I hate to say it, but it's likely you will never get along with your stepson as it sounds like your upbringing has conditioned you in a way that may be impossible to change enough without massive effort and understanding. To be really blunt, you will be to him, the Drill Sargent from Hell.
I'm not trying to be unkind here, just calling it how it is. Once you do enough research on this you may understand why I say that.

RobboW
08-11-14, 08:20 AM
What I forsee happening is that with repeated over correction, he will not learn that he has an emotional dysregulation, but realise when he does show emotion, it produces undesirable results. Eventually he will subconsciously switch off his emotions in a general way and only show them fully when overloaded and unable to stifle himself.

On reflection, that's pretty much what happened to me at primary school age.

ccom5100
08-11-14, 09:54 AM
Besides my two kids I have helped raise 4 nieces, 3 nephews, and about 6 to 8 other kids that belong to other relatives and friends. I have a good grasp on how to raise kids but this boy, excuse my language but he drives me bat**** crazy.

Some of the ways Dizfriz describes I have tried. I always try and talk to him in a calm controlled voice, I would be very specific about the things I say. He would just argue every point trying to turn it around on to me. I am a very logical man, I would end up talking to him logically about whatever set him off or whatever he did to get into trouble. He would say he understood and wouldn't do it again and 10 minutes later he does it again and I would get the same canned answer "I forgot" or "I didn't know".

I just want to figure out how to be around this boy and not loose my patience with him. Just for the record we do not have anything in common, the stuff he likes I don't the stuff I like he doesn't or he does not have the common sense to do. The big one about the common sense one is My son and I like to geocache in the desert which involves rock scrambling and or figuring out the safest route to get up rocks and mountains. Last time I took the stepson, even after a safety briefing about reaching into bushes and rock piles or holes to get the geocache always use a stick to check for snakes or scorpions he still ended doing it.

I would not be able to live with myself if something happened to him and he got hurt while out with my son and I doing outdoorsy activities.

It seems you are trying to get through to him on your terms, not his. Face it, you cannot relate to this child and you don't seem to want to. He is different from your son and other kids who have responded to your approach. You don't know how to deal with this. He picks up on the fact that he is "different" and can't be part of yours and your son's world. By comparing your relationship with him to your relationship with your son, you are basically letting him know that he just can't live up to your expectations. Subsequently, he will continue to drive you bat*****crazy.

How does his mother feel about all this? I'm sure it is affecting your relationship with her as well. I suggest you do some family counseling if you want to continue being part of their family so that you can learn to relate to this child and he can learn to relate to you.

We all get frustrated at times dealing with our ADHD children. But, we have to learn to parent the child we have, not the child we wish we have.

jlynn30
08-11-14, 10:21 AM
I think it is great that you have come here to find out ways to parent your step son. It takes a different mindset to parent an ADHD child; the most important thing being the ability to realize that he will never be "normal" (for lack of a better word because really...what is normal?). His mind works different..period!

I think as far as including him in activities you and your son enjoy, I like the previous posters suggestion to make it more a "simple" nature hike. Something that at the end of it you can give him lots of praise for how well he did! I find with my own son, if we do an activity and we know it's going to be rough for him; it ends of a diaster. But, if we do a similar activity, but simpler he does well.

Sometimes it is about finding the smallest things you can give praise about or the way you word it. So, if he puts his dishes away, but doesn't put the in the right location: "thank you so much for putting your dishes away the first time I asked; next time lets make sure the cup is here and the plate is here okay" or something to that extent. At least that is what our therapist has suggested for our son and it has had some positive outcomes. :)

Is he in therapy? Maybe if he is, go with him or you and his mom go with him?

Good luck.

jlynn30
08-11-14, 10:23 AM
We all get frustrated at times dealing with our ADHD children. But, we have to learn to parent the child we have, not the child we wish we have.

This!!!! Somedays this is my mantra to keep calm!

Stevuke79
08-11-14, 11:39 AM
Good on you for trying everything you possibly can to help your step son. I would like to make a few observations.

You seem to think that when he breaks down crying it's a game or manipulation. You're probably partially right, but it sounds to me more like an "overload" and meltdown. Now he may be used to getting sympathy when he breaks down - so there may be an element of wanting sympathy which is where you're partially right, but I think it would help you to understand that in those moments he's probably overloaded and unable to process what's going on.

Also, when he tells you that he doesn't remember where things go, please try to believe him. Even if it doesn't feel like it, he probably IS telling the truth. Just tell him where it goes. I couldn't find the forks and knives in my house till I was 14; I promise you I'm not at idiot and I'm not lazy. At 11 years old I could program in 3 different computer programming languages - but I couldn't fold the laundry or put things in the right place. If I could have traded one skill for the other, I promise you I would have and I would have been a much happier kid with happier parents.

One day he will mature. For instance, today I LOVE being outdoors. But as a kid it was torture and I couldn't manage the stimulus overload. But here's the thing, when he's in his early twenties and "catches up" a bit, his ability to succeed from there will partially depend on whether or not he still thinks he's worth anything. It will depend on whether he can believe that he can be good at something.

Try to find something you can do with him. Even a little bit maybe once a week. Even if you're just playing one round of a video game with him. (even if YOU hate video games) In the beginning he may be awkward or difficult about it because he's scared and doesn't want to be vulnerable - try to let that slide and have one good day with him. He'll stop "protecting himself" and then maybe you can have a nice time with him every once in a while. My little girl has ADHD and I know what she's going through and that it's not her fault - and sometimes it's still impossible for me. I don't envy your challenge and I wish you a lot of luck.

Stevuke79
08-11-14, 11:40 AM
What I forsee happening is that with repeated over correction, he will not learn that he has an emotional dysregulation, but realise when he does show emotion, it produces undesirable results. Eventually he will subconsciously switch off his emotions in a general way and only show them fully when overloaded and unable to stifle himself.

On reflection, that's pretty much what happened to me at primary school age.

Same! Emotionally overloaded high-five!!

Rainbows
08-11-14, 12:31 PM
JohnAlley- Im also glad you came here for help and are trying to understand it. Even if you dont believe in ADHD/ADD ( it does exist though or we wouldnt all be here) everyone learns different either way, everyone's brain has different capabilities of functioning with or without out it.

I cant add more then I agree with all the other forum members here. I agree no matter the child they should be taught right from wrong, to excel etc, but they have different ways of learning it and understanding as much as they can. Just as we ( Im still learning the best way for my son) have to teach differently then others. I again understand your military background and expectations as my family is Military and old school, and yes, routine for any child is good. But, too harsh on some, esp our kids, makes everything worse. They know they are different too.

Is your step-son purposely acting up or such, of course all kids do, and add to the fact that its still a different feeling for step kids and step-parents relationships no matter how long you have been in his life, add the ADHD to the mix now. Harder for the kids to accept as well to see if your going to stick around. Not always the case but it was for me with my ex step mom and I dont have ADD/ADHD etc.

My son is two or more kids in one when in public depending how his mood is, its a handful and most times I try to have my dad or daughter , someone else who can help, because they are more daring, less prone to listen, cant wait until your ready for something. When you go camping see if you can grab another adult with you as well, just the times he goes, or just stay for a shorter time and more simple trails etc. He still wants to learn and have with you and your son, just has to be a little more planned out in a sense. ( I know, still doesnt always work)

I wish you and your family the best and you and your wife keep coming here and get more help in person as well.


****** as to the others about the name calling and how people accuse them/you of "not wanting to" or "the neighbors kids or the rest of our family doesnt have this issue with their kids".. Im sorry you went through this and you and your children are smart, ignore them!!!!!!! Hugs all around for all of you. I get so mad just like this morning when I was told this about my son this morning ugghhhh!!! My son is very smart but yet cant focus or calm down to do stuff.. or when his anger comes out...

***** Plus one time my son had to go to the E.R. for a certain scan( eye infection) there was a male nurse there who saw the drawings all over my sons face, arms, etc with markers. He said something to my son and I cant remember and I told him my son couldnt sit still in class, he cant focus, etc and the nurse replied" I know, thats why I work in the E.R. because I like the challenge and I dont have time to get bored doing one thing all day or night, and my energy is being used perfectly... , its a permanent stuggle I was undiagnosed as a child, I have ADHD and theres such a thing!" So ..JohnAlley, keep telling him he can, take him to adults who work and who have learned techniques how to handle it. I plan this for my son. Hes already met him, and another lady( again a nurse). We get frustrated, ya, me too, violence is my sons worst thing next ADHD...

Dizfriz
08-11-14, 02:05 PM
John,

If you are going to help this kid you have to learn as much as you can about the disorder. Look at the Barkley videos and read, read, read.

As others have said, you have to work with the child as he is not as you want him to be.

Keep in mind that this a true disability and one of the best descriptions of it is that ADHD kids know what to do but have a lot of trouble doing what they know and we as parents often cannot understand why. It is your job to understand. He is not ADHD on purpose and he often doesn't understand why he does what he does. Welcome to the wonderful world of ADHD.

ADHD kids need a lot more structure and more consequences than other children but they have to be the right ones for the child. Let it turn into a power struggle and you both lose, both now and in the future.

When we were raising my ADHD son (40+years ago), there was so little known and mostly we had to wing it as best we could. We apparently did a few things right because he turned out to be a wonderful adult although I sometimes think it was "despite us, not because of us."

Things are a lot better now, there is a lot out there to help parents.

Good luck. You have a difficult to raise child and you are going to have to do a lot of work to help guide him to a successful adulthood.

Dizfriz

BgDadee
08-11-14, 03:13 PM
OK, I appreciate all the words of advice. I understand I have to treat him different. Our other kids are going to see that he is allowed to (in their minds) get away with things they are not allowed to, to say sorry or I forgot when he does something or doesn't do something. How do I explain to them that he is getting treated different from them and getting more chances when they have been told that everyone of them is treated the same.

I have so many questions and worries about this situation. Once again I thank each everyone of you for your words of wisdom and help.

zette93
08-11-14, 05:09 PM
You'll have to change the expectation from "every kid is treated the same" to "every kid is given the help they need".

Stevuke79
08-11-14, 05:13 PM
I give you a lot of credit - you have a way of raising children that has been proven and effective - yet here we are telling you that it wont work for this child. That can't be easy.

I want to make sure I understand your last post.

OK, I appreciate all the words of advice. I understand I have to treat him different. Our other kids are going to see that he is allowed to (in their minds) get away with things they are not allowed to, to say sorry or I forgot when he does something or doesn't do something. How do I explain to them that he is getting treated different from them and getting more chances when they have been told that everyone of them is treated the same.

I just want to understand where you would be treating your stepson differently. I don't think we meant to imply that your children should have different rules, but only different expectations.

Let's say your stepson broke a rule or forgot something, and he said "I forgot" or "I'm sorry". You would either remind him or correct him and perhaps there would be consequences or punishments, and then you would move on and enjoy the rest of the time with your family. Let's say the same thing happened with one of your other children. They did something not allowed or forgot something. What exactly would you do differently?

You might be more disappointed, but I don't think you would treat them differently. Forgive me if I'm putting words in your mouth, but maybe your question is about having "different expectations" (as opposed to "different rules" or "different treatment"). In other words you wouldn't necessarily treat them differently, but when you're other children act out you are more surprised.

I think different expectations would make everyone happy. First of all every child wants to be able to live up to their parents highest expectations and I'm pretty sure your other children will appreciate that they enjoy those higher expectations which also come with privileges like being able to partake in your more elaborate camping and outdoor trips. Your stepson on the other hand will be happy that you accept him for who he is and appreciate and acknowledge the expectations that he CAN live up to.

The fact that your stepson will be held to lower expectations will probably be a bit painful and difficult for him, and it will be one of those things we all have to deal with in life. Just like you feel pain that your stepson can't live up to the expectations of your other children, your stepson will learn to deal with the fact that his step-siblings are able to live up to a higher standards. We all live and deal with such things.

Dizfriz
08-11-14, 05:28 PM
OK, I appreciate all the words of advice. I understand I have to treat him different. Our other kids are going to see that he is allowed to (in their minds) get away with things they are not allowed to, to say sorry or I forgot when he does something or doesn't do something. How do I explain to them that he is getting treated different from them and getting more chances when they have been told that everyone of them is treated the same.

I have so many questions and worries about this situation. Once again I thank each everyone of you for your words of wisdom and help.
John, to a good extent you can make the rules at least similar for all of the kids. It is in the consequences and how they are handled that makes the difference.

I will give an example. The boy forgets to do something. Even if he forgets, he is still responsible for the consequences (ADHD need more of this than non ADHD kids-it helps them make the connections between choices and consequences which is something they have a hard time doing.).

Most kids understand that the consequences may need to be different for each kid but the rules need to be the same within a developmentally appropriate framework.

Now with ADHD there should be few warnings. The ADHD kid gets fewer warnings before the consequence happens and the other kids can get more. With ADHD kids, it is the speed of the consequence or reward that counts not the severity nor the value of the reward.

So the ADHD kid may get more consequences but milder ones and the older kids get more slack. That often works out reasonably well.

The big thing is that you remain calm. The old rules work here:

With ADHD kids, those who act win those who talk lose or act don't yak.

Parents that get upset lose, parents that don't win.If you don't you win.

It is pretty much that simple.

I cannot help you a lot as my arthritis makes typing painful as typing this did. If you watch the Barkley videos (the long ones, not the snippets. You need the whole thing background and all) you will find much of what I might tell you.

Something Barkley says and I agree with is that if you understand ADHD, you don't need instructions, you know what to do. (I never said it was going to be easy though because it ain't.)

Had about all the typing I can handle so keep at it, it is doable.

Dizfriz

Tmoney
08-12-14, 10:50 AM
Two different worlds colliding together in the life of an 11 year old diagnosed AD(H)D.

Complicated situation to say the least!

How much do you love this lady? You better make sure before you accept this journey! There is no quick easy answer. It going to take time, patience and understanding. It would be a tough task if he was a young toddler when you came into your life, now take into consideration that you are entering into an 11 year olds life, already set in his way plus he has a disorder or two that is interferring.

Baby steps. Small tasks to start and then work up. Safety first always.

You and mom have to be on the same page and work together on the plan to help this young man. I would say that negative reinforcement is not the answer for turning him around.

AD(H)D people have a hard time processing future consequences. We just don't think that far ahead. and yes, we forget for real and we use it as an excuse!

However, we strive on stimulation. We crave it continously. You can present that stimulation in a negative form or a postitive form. I responded well to positive as well as my youngest son. My oldest son was different, consequences and assuming responsibility and leadership worked well for him.

Catch him being good! No matter how small, if he doesn't something that is not dangerous or harmful, praise him for it and make a big deal of it in front of the other kids. Offer immediate positive tangible rewards. You will start to see results immediately, but they will be small and sometimes far between.

He is probably use to doing things wrong and being told that he is doing wrong so after a while he starts to live that role. You get treated different so you act different and in most cases a parent will make concessions based on that which can hurt the child more than help.

That's why I asked you to make sure you are ready to accept this task. Not to mention that this is someone elses kid which makes it even harder.

Is his biological father still active in his life? I would start with a medical professional to make sure there are no other issues going on that are beyond our abilities! Maybe certain medications can help.

The journey can be long and very tiresome, but the reward for helping a young person find his way in this world so they can live happy and healthy is something that is beyond words! You will have made this world a better place and the success from this one child will prosper on earth for years and years after we are long gone!

I wish good things for you! Maybe this young man was put into your life on purpose!

"Many of life's failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up!" ~Thomas Edison

Rainbows
08-12-14, 11:23 AM
JohnAlley, Thats what I thought to, and actually, thats what I did at first too, was treating my kids differently. You see, my daughter has some issues, no adhd, no violence and sometimes depending I would be careful what to say or not say around my son , same as letting him do something or give him more chances. I was wrong. Telling my daughter "you know how he is..." I was wrong.

Thats not what we are saying. I learned the hard way, you can learn the easy way by taking advice and trying it, even modifying it for all of the kids involved. Now, your step son needs to learn that in life, esp when hes in college, all rules will apply to him the same way, the others have to follow. The same as not stealing,obeying traffic laws, what will happen at a job etc.. etc. I agree!! They also have to be told and taught this. Again, their learning style is different, they may be a little behind or just need to be taught the same rules, with a slight difference in teaching it. Punishments for all kids involved to be understood ahead of time. Write it down on a huge board where they cant erase it, keep it up. Let them know, ( Mines going back up too)

Lets say all kids stay up talking on the phone, dont do homework etc. They should all get the same punishment. Take away the phone for a day or two, no playing with friends etc. Depends on their "love to dos" as well. For any kids, its a lifetime to them- even one day! Plus, I was told when I was not letting my son go outside even when he was in trouble, I was wrong because this was his outlet! It was actually mine too because of his amount of energy he has! Now, I did take away his friends, he had to stay in the yard and not play with any neighborhood kids, this was hard on him. That part was his punishment, no friends. He was embarrassed when he told them he was grounded! You can try this with your kids too.

Have you ever seen on T.V or in person where theres just a few dogs that dont want to learn by getting treats? They want that ball! Just like our kids, different things motivate them, add or non add kids! So, all kids involved need to understand that theres going to be one special reward or even punishment that will not be the same as theirs, theirs is different too. This takes time for them to accept it, mine are still trying to accept that. But yet in they end.. it will equal out.

Oh my gosh its so hard, and you would think I should know all the tricks by now to make everything work perfect or smooth enough, but it never does, does it? YOu and your family will find the right ways, everyone has to try and be involved. Its an ongoing process, never ending but you love your family as I love mine. Lots of trial and errors!

Your in my thoughts

Mantaray14
08-12-14, 01:23 PM
I'm somewhat new here as well and trying to figure out how to best to parent my 7 yr old boy. There is lots of good information here. I bounced back and forth a bit between disciplinarian and other methods at first. It definitely doesn't get desired results in add children. Think Gomer Pile in full metal jacket. My own father did it with me and I had a confidence problem well into my late 30's. I started recreating the same pattern and have since completely changed my parenting style and gotten a psychologist involved.

The only thing I could add to this informative thread, is that if he has any special talents you need to praise and encourage them. My son, when he talks about science, blows peoples minds. I try to give him every opportunity to immerse himself in that stuff or whatever he's interested in. I also emphasize exercise through various activities (martial arts, skiing, bike riding, whatever). It's a lot of work, but I could not imagine how rough things could be for him if I was not there. My hope is that I can help him cope with the assault on self confidence that comes with adhd, and he'll have the ability to follow his passions into a successful adulthood.

Dizfriz
08-12-14, 01:26 PM
T

Catch him being good! No matter how small, if he doesn't something that is not dangerous or harmful, praise him for it and make a big deal of it in front of the other kids. Offer immediate positive tangible rewards. You will start to see results immediately, but they will be small and sometimes far between.


This is probably the most powerful thing you can do behaviorally with an ADHD kid. It can result in more changes than anything else I know.

One thing I want to add in, do it fast as soon as he does something good. The longer you wait, the less impact. The other thing is to be specific about the behavior. Just saying "you did good" doesn't have a lot of impact but "you put your glass up when you finished with it" can.

Anyway, great post.

Dizfriz

ToneTone
08-12-14, 08:55 PM
Some fantastic suggestions here, and I will try to build on them. First of all, make sure this kid doesn't have other issues in addition to ADHD. It's very common for people with ADHD to suffer other issues such as depression and anxiety--but others as well. There is a high rate of "co-morbidity" among people with ADHD. I am treated for ADHD and for depression, for example. If I were only treated for ADHD, I wouldn't be able to function as highly as I do now.

Second, I think it would be interesting and insightful for you to go talk to one of his teachers or someone else who interacts with him. Ask your wife to call the teacher or whatever and go talk to a teacher. Hearing another adult's perspective on the kid will give you some ideas. The teacher (or previous teacher--maybe you'll talk to several) will have noticed some subtle patterns that most likely you have not noticed. And you may not have noticed these patterns in part because the kid might not display them at home as much as at school.

Talking to a teacher will give you some more insights and openings. It's sort of like talking to an aunt about a parent. Some new insights come through.

Ditto people's words here: find something this kid likes to do or is good at doing ... And bring this up with the teacher. Find out what his strengths are ... when does he focus best? ... Even among people with terrible focus, we can focus better under some conditions rather than others. Later in life, adult ADHDers try to become super aware of the conditions in which we function best, so we can gravitate towards them or create them.

I do want to offer you a different perspective--one that I bet you share maybe more than you let on here. I know a thousand people who will say bluntly that you can't even pretend to treat each kid the same. Coaches don't do this, for example. Great leaders don't do this. Great leaders and coaches and yes a lot of parents understand that you can scream at kid x, and kid x gets inspired and motivated and rises to the occasion. But if you scream at kid y, kid y gets demoralized and defeated. So yes, the broad rules will be the same, but how you interact with this kind absolutely has to be different from how you interact with the others. I imagine you have shy friends and extroverted friends and you don't act quite the same around all of them and yet you respect each of them.

I'm not saying you're doing anything wrong. Part of good parenting is acknowledging difficulty and frustration. But sort of imagine, if you can, that you were this kid's coach in life. This is only if you want to take on this task. Slow down. Very non-judgmentally go over the baby steps with him ... and repeat them ... by doing this, you will be showing the kid what learning is all about and over time, he can internalize the practice of breaking tasks into very small steps and repeatedly practicing the steps.

Teaching is not nearly as hard as parenting. But where I make my real money in teaching is when I encounter that student who is completely lost and out of sync with the rest. I've trained myself over the years to quickly drop expectations that the student "should" understand something or "should" have a certain skill, and I calmly and gently go down to the level where that kid is. I'm looking for bedrock. Do you understand X? No, so do you understand M? No, how about B? ... And what's cool is that at this point, my teaching becomes a rich technical exercise in finding out exactly what my student can do, exactly what they can understand--even if they are far behind the other students.

And wherever that kid is, I start there. And I swear there's something healing and helpful to the student when I do this, because most likely the student has been shamed about a weakness and has hidden it over time, because they have never had anyone help them constructively work on a weakness.


Good luck and I'll say this young man is quite fortunate to have you in his life. You aren't doing anything "wrong." But reaching him will require some experimenting ... and patience .

Tone

zette93
08-13-14, 12:37 AM
Also, you might read Smart But Scattered to pinpoint where some of your stepson's difficulties lie. It has very good plans for how to teach missing organizational and similar skills.

MADD As A Hatte
08-13-14, 09:21 AM
Like the title says I am at my wits end with my stepson. A little about me I am a US Army veteran, raised by a US Navy Seabee Veteran/Construction worker. I was raised to be very self reliant. When your told to do something you got it done or there was consequences. Common sense was a must in my family and my adult life.

I have two kids from my first marriage who I raised like I was raised. My oldest is my daughter and my youngest is my son. If I was to die tomorrow I know they would continue to prosper and excel in their lives. They have a great amount of common sense. My second wife(in name only) not married yet has two children also, her oldest is a boy, 11 yrs old(he is the one with the ADHD) and a daughter who is 7(non ADHD but plays into brothers problems). I have tried everything to get thru to this boy. He does not listen, he is the most irresponsible boy I have ever seen in my life and has not one lick of common sense. I am acually afraid for this boy that he will do something stupid , or not think his actions thru and either end hurting himself badly or killing himself.

My son and I are very outdoorsy types, we like to hunt, fish, and other outdoor stuff. After taking him out to do different things I stopped taking him along. Due to his lack of common sense he turns outdoor trips from fun to a job. I refuse let him anywhere near a rifle or a weapon of any kind due to this lack of common sense. When I stopped I got asked why I stopped by the wife. I explain it to her and she goes he needs to be shown but I have shown and explained more times than I count. How many times does it take for someone to understand not to do things that are going to get him hurt or someone else hurt or possibly killed?

I love the kid but just can't stand to be around him. He never stops talking, he doesn't do what he is told, when he doesn't get his way he cries thinking the tears will get me to change my mind. I have tried progressive punishments starting with time outs, groundings, taking away toys, and finally got to spankings. Nothing works. When you ask him to do something that he has been doing for a year like putting dishes away he still asks where things go when you answer " really, you don't know where that goes" his canned answer is "I forgot". It seems in my house that we have two extra people living here, Mr. I don't Know and Mrs. I Forgot.

He says he wants to be treated like a normal kid, when i treat him like a normal kid just like my other two he goes crying to mom that I am being to mean and harsh. Am I being to marsh or mean when I expect him to live up to his responsibilities and take ownership of his mistakes. The stuff he gets away with I would have been knocked into next week for doing. Evidently I have no clue how to raise a ADHD kid. I need help or steered towards some help because this is hurting my relationship with my wife to the point she has moved out because the son and I do not get along.

G'day mate. I haven't read anything here except your original post. Sport - Are you for real?

As a step parent myself of some twenty years experience, some phases of which were less imperfect than others, these are my observations:

[Disclaimer: I do not seek to be politically correct at this particular juncture. Get to the end, you'll see where I'm coming from.]

Stop hitting this child. Stop.

The relationship dynamics you describe, in my experience, are step child / step parent, absolutely zip zero not the child's ADD. Lots of step parents in similar situations to yours learn to incorporate the quirks of their step children, even though they drive us mad, without trying to beat the children into submission.

Your military training in polishing your boots to a mirror shine, and your talents in making up a tight bunk count for nought in the real world: as you are experiencing, these defense skills are irrelevant in the context of coping with the personal characteristics of this little boy.

Human beings are not pressed out with a cookie-cutter. The military paradigm might seek to disprove this, but the evidence shows, in thousands of years, the defense force model hasn't succeeded in repressing human individuality.

This young boy is not genetically related to you, so there is exactly no point in comparing him to your biological children.

At 11, he is going through a particular stage of developing his sense of self, and it is only natural for him to rebel against a father figure. And you ain't his father.

Step parenting is one of the most difficult things I've had to do in my life. I got so many things so wrong. And I got some things really, really right. And I love my step children. Sometimes. I don't have to love them all the time, like I do my own children. But I do have to treat the step parent / child relationship with particular care, because by nature it is particularly fragile.

Your issues with this child are about YOUR WORLDVIEW, not this little boy's ADD. I was confronted with similar issues when my same-sex stepchildren were on the cusp of the hormonal teenage developmental stage. Mate, like me at that time, you're the mature adult in this situation. It's up to you to sort YOURSELF out. DO LIKE I DID! Get educated about step parenting a same-sex pre-pubescent child.
.

Stevuke79
08-13-14, 12:38 PM
I wouldn't be as harsh, and I'm really inclined to just be glad that he truly wants a better relationship with his stepson.

I do think your biggest mistake is in thinking that parenting includes deciding who your child is or should be. This probably leads to a lot of frustration and feelings of failure on your part, which I suspect leads to the spankings.

I wasn't going to comment about this but any study that has been done on corporal punishment shows that it doesn't have lasting positive effects on a child's behavior and the only positive effects are for the parent. It relieves stress and helps them feel in control and responsible - which then leads them to perceive and interpret benefits for the child. Those benefits are all in the parent's head. You did a great job raising your own children despite the use of corporal punishment.

You seem like a very intelligent and thoughtful guy. Ask yourself what is the message of a spanking. What do you think the child is really taking in from that experience? What do you think they are really learning. I don't think that spanking is abuse - I just think that it's poor parenting and an act of desperation when a parent doesn't have any better ideas. (despite what the parents may tell themselves.)

And from one father to another, I don't know your family situation, but spanking a step child sounds like a particularly bad idea.

G'day mate. I haven't read anything here except your original post. Sport - Are you for real?

As a step parent myself of some twenty years experience, some phases of which were less imperfect than others, these are my observations:

[Disclaimer: I do not seek to be politically correct at this particular juncture. Get to the end, you'll see where I'm coming from.]

Stop hitting this child. Stop.

The relationship dynamics you describe, in my experience, are step child / step parent, absolutely zip zero not the child's ADD. Lots of step parents in similar situations to yours learn to incorporate the quirks of their step children, even though they drive us mad, without trying to beat the children into submission.

Your military training in polishing your boots to a mirror shine, and your talents in making up a tight bunk count for nought in the real world: as you are experiencing, these defense skills are irrelevant in the context of coping with the personal characteristics of this little boy.

Human beings are not pressed out with a cookie-cutter. The military paradigm might seek to disprove this, but the evidence shows, in thousands of years, the defense force model hasn't succeeded in repressing human individuality.

This young boy is not genetically related to you, so there is exactly no point in comparing him to your biological children.

At 11, he is going through a particular stage of developing his sense of self, and it is only natural for him to rebel against a father figure. And you ain't his father.

Step parenting is one of the most difficult things I've had to do in my life. I got so many things so wrong. And I got some things really, really right. And I love my step children. Sometimes. I don't have to love them all the time, like I do my own children. But I do have to treat the step parent / child relationship with particular care, because by nature it is particularly fragile.

Your issues with this child are about YOUR WORLDVIEW, not this little boy's ADD. I was confronted with similar issues when my same-sex stepchildren were on the cusp of the hormonal teenage developmental stage. Mate, like me at that time, you're the mature adult in this situation. It's up to you to sort YOURSELF out. DO LIKE I DID! Get educated about step parenting a same-sex pre-pubescent child.
.

Dizfriz
08-13-14, 01:02 PM
Especially with ADHD kids spanking is often an exercise in futility.

For the most part, spanking is only after a number of warnings and at that point the kid (especially the younger ones) has lost the connection between the transgression and the spanking. The only connection is that Dad is mad. What the kid did often no longer even comes into the picture. You can have them say what they did but the connection even then is not always made.

The idea, especially with ADHD kids, is to help them make the connection between what they did and the consequences, not the father's anger. For that you don't need severity so much as speed.

All the punishments in the world will do little good if the kid doesn't make the connection between what was done and the consequence.

This is not easy. It took me a lot of trial and effort to figure this out with my ADHD child.

Dizfriz

mildadhd
08-13-14, 09:35 PM
..Step parenting is one of the most difficult things I've had to do in my life. I got so many things so wrong. And I got some things really, really right. And I love my step children..
.

I agree.

Step parents, don't always have the same options.

I think we step parents should write a book of strategies.

Biological or not, keeping the attachment relationship priority, is key.



P

sarahsweets
08-14-14, 04:42 AM
As someone who came from an abusive household no amount of beatings can remove the adhd.

Stevuke79
08-14-14, 08:02 AM
Yes, but I think you're overlooking the role that beatings can play as an indespensible parental coping mechanism for the unique frustrations of raising a child with ADHD. I know it helps me manage my stress better.

RobboW
08-14-14, 07:42 PM
This thread has gone of it's rails......

Let's just put it nicely that the rigid military approach does not work with ADHD.

ADHD is one of the things that doesn't fit neatly in a box, and it can't be "fixed" by doing this or that. Rules are hard to apply to it and the goalposts shift.

daveddd
08-14-14, 08:12 PM
Yes, but I think you're overlooking the role that beatings can play as an indespensible parental coping mechanism for the unique frustrations of raising a child with ADHD. I know it helps me manage my stress better.

steve,

can you clarify this please

Lunacie
08-14-14, 08:18 PM
steve,

can you clarify this please

I suspect that Stevuke was being ironical but again he forgot to include the appropriate smiley face.

daveddd
08-14-14, 08:21 PM
I suspect that Stevuke was being ironical but again he forgot to include the appropriate smiley face.

hope so

daveddd
08-14-14, 08:23 PM
beatings will definitely transform adhd to a more severe borderline or narcissistic personality

RobboW
08-14-14, 09:02 PM
I think Steve was having a joke about some of the posts but forgot the smileys.

Ms. Mango
08-14-14, 09:47 PM
I'm fairly certain Steve forgot to turn his sarcasm font on.

Stevuke79
08-14-14, 09:51 PM
steve,

can you clarify this please

I suspect that Stevuke was being ironical but again he forgot to include the appropriate smiley face.

It was a joke. I was implying that I use corporal punishment to manage my parenting fruustrations.

Lunacie
08-14-14, 09:54 PM
It was a joke. I was implying that I use corporal punishment to manage my parenting fruustrations.



Yep, irony is a style of joking.
:D

Stevuke79
08-14-14, 11:13 PM
Yes! My favorite in fact!

daveddd
08-15-14, 06:06 AM
yes thanks, I'm not autistic, i get irony and sarcasm very well

i just didn't feel it in that post, so i asked

LynneC
08-15-14, 06:40 AM
John, I may have missed it, but is your stepson being treated for his ADHD? Is he taking medication, fish oil, etc?

BgDadee
08-15-14, 07:50 AM
Yes, my significant other has had him on meds since he was 5 or 6 years old. He is taking Adderall now but was taking Vyvance prior to that when we got together. It helps but not much from what I see, it usually calms him down so he is bouncing off the walls as much.

Rainbows
08-15-14, 09:23 AM
How does he sleep? My son is on Clonidine as well, it helps him sleep better. Also, in addition to the Adderall, it may help. Im looking up Behavior Therapy as well for my son, begging and pleading them to accept him in ( trying to get a Drs referral ha) Im still struggling with my son just getting to school again, so everyday is a challenge and everyday is different. What about walks or a jog before and after school? Possible? Extra activities, karate?

tripleE
08-15-14, 11:15 AM
<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> I would advise to learn as much as you can about ADHD (which it seems you are) and then tackle things a step at a time.



In your position as step parent probably the most effective and easiest thing to do is “catch him doing good”. More info can be found in Dizfriz’s corner I believe under Acknowledgement at Point of Performance. It sounds funny to some, but you will honestly be amazed at how easy and effective it is and I would say as far as behaviour and my daughter with ADHD (who is now 11) this has been the all-time most effective parenting tool I have used (with consistent sleep, routines, efforts at reducing anxiety, staying connected, IEP at school and medication being my most effective other tools).



If there are other urgent behavioural issues you are dealing with and you want to tackle these one at a time, I have found it useful to (A) search for the behaviour in Dizfriz corner and (B) go to the Empowering Parents website and search for an article on the particular behaviour. They do advertise their own program, so I can’t post a link here, but if you google it you will find it easily.


Good luck and I think it’s great that you care enough to continue to post here.



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