View Full Version : Step son with ADHD


dogs94
02-22-16, 11:46 AM
Hey. This is a great forum.

I have the privilege of having a step son (5YO) with ADHD. He's never been formally diagnosed, but he shows lots of the classic signs. He's the most precocious, sweet, smart, loving little boy that you've ever wanted to throttle sometimes. :)

I have a quiet, introverted 12YO daughter and my wife also has an 8YO daughter from her first marriage.

My specific question is does anyone have tips for helping my 12YO daughter deal with the challenge of having a 5YO step-brother? I'm not a perfect step-dad, but I try and I'm figuring this stuff out. I made a commitment to this little boy when I fell in love with and married his mom. It's actually kinda sobering to know that between now and when he goes to college, he'll spend as much time with me as with his biological father.

So, how do I help my daughter manage this? I would say that her general attitude is about 10% enjoying playing with him, 70% being a good sport and 20% wishing she could sell him to the circus. But, that 20% is pretty bad. The combo of a sullen, crabby pre-teen girl with a 5YO ADHD boy who is complaining that she's "mean" and "won't play" just sucks.

I've learned some tricks along the way. Spanks are totally useless on him. Arguing with him is useless. Time outs aren't very effective. What seems to work best is a sort of, "I know you're mad right now, but nobody is talk to you or play with you until you calm down...." or holding his hand and saying something like, "when you choose to start behaving, you are choosing for me to not hold your hand anymore". It's weird and awkward and (honestly) seems sort of lame.....but it does work. And that's good enough for me since time outs just resulted in 30 minutes of yelling at him to go back to his corner (to finish a 2 minutes TO, lol).

What tips can I give my daughter? The big thing he does is invade her space: creeping onto her couch cushion, jumping on her, going into her room without permission, reading her ipad over he shoulder, interrupting her when she's facetiming with her friends, etc. Those are all things a parent could prevent, but only if we hover over them 24/7. What's something she could try along the lines of, "I know you're bored, but that doesn't mean you have the right to bother people." I dunno. Help? She's a good kid and I feel badly that she comes off as a little ***** sometimes when she's mostly trying to make it work.

ginniebean
02-22-16, 12:40 PM
Yikers, he's 5 and probably emotionally about 30% younger.

Reward him for leaving het alone. The time needs to be announcd. D is having some alone time now so what are we going to do, let him know what the reward is and what the duration he'll need to work for.

Does he have legos? My sons could play for hours with those things and nothing else entertained them like that.

Lots of praise for respecting her space. Lots of ty's from D when he gets it right. doesn't work, praise, achievable goals, and when things have gone wrong helping him "fix" it or find a solution will work great.

At the same time, he is 5, he's likely got about the self control of a 3 year old and that has to be understood.

Please read Dizfriz corner, it's got excellent advice!

dogs94
02-22-16, 02:42 PM
Actually, that's a great tidbit.

He is also very big and athletic an intellectually advanced. That has the net effect that he outwardly seems like he's a 6-7YO and I subconsciously probably expect him to act like he's 6-7. But, emotionally he's probably 3-4 and it's all the more jarring when he has a temper tantrum, is disobedient, etc.

Lunacie
02-22-16, 03:04 PM
Have you heard of Social Stories? If not, google that.

We did that with my granddaughter when was having a hard time leaving others alone (her mom especially, but her older sister and me the gramma too).

We wrote her a Social Story about how people need personal space ... and described it as a clear bubble about arms length around everybody.

It said we should ask the other person before we get inside their bubble-space with them.

We read the story with her several times over the next few months and talked about bubble-space whenever she was getting too close or hanging on.

:)

sarahsweets
02-24-16, 10:36 AM
My specific question is does anyone have tips for helping my 12YO daughter deal with the challenge of having a 5YO step-brother?

I hate to tell you but it may suck for awhile. I have 3 kinds all adhd 3.5 years apart. It was nuts when they were smaller. My youngest was five and my oldest was 12 so I get it. You would be surprised at how a 12 year old can sink to a 5 yr old's level during a fight.


I've learned some tricks along the way. Spanks are totally useless on him. Arguing with him is useless. Time outs aren't very effective.
Its GOOD that you do not spank or argue. Spanking only teaches him that daddy is mad and he wont make the connection of the behavior to the spanking. And arguing only proves that hes managed to push your buttons. Time outs work, if you can get a child to sit there and view it as a punisment.
If you have a young adhd child forget those options.

What seems to work best is a sort of, "I know you're mad right now, but nobody is talk to you or play with you until you calm down...." or holding his hand and saying something like, "when you choose to start behaving, you are choosing for me to not hold your hand anymore". It's weird and awkward and (honestly) seems sort of lame.....but it does work. And that's good enough for me since time outs just resulted in 30 minutes of yelling at him to go back to his corner (to finish a 2 minutes TO, lol).
Personally I feel that any kind of physical contact as a punishment is not good. Even hand holding. Its just not going to make the connection the way you think it is.


What tips can I give my daughter? The big thing he does is invade her space: creeping onto her couch cushion, jumping on her, going into her room without permission, reading her ipad over he shoulder, interrupting her when she's facetiming with her friends, etc. Those are all things a parent could prevent, but only if we hover over them 24/7. What's something she could try along the lines of, "I know you're bored, but that doesn't mean you have the right to bother people." I dunno. Help? She's a good kid and I feel badly that she comes off as a little ***** sometimes when she's mostly trying to make it work.
Well forget about preventing it, it will happen. What is a good thing is to acknowledge to your daughter how hard and frustrating it is to deal with that. And make a commitment that when it does happen you will stop it.
This doesnt necessarily mean a punishment otherwise from what you said he would be punished all the time. It will require you removing him from her room, as in say " do you want a snack? lets go into the kitchen"
Or " lets go over your school work" "lets watch a movie" You still have to tell him EVERY SINGLE TIME why its not ok, why it bothers your daughter and that he cant do it.
You wont be rewarding the behavior you will be re-enforcing the rules and distracting him. After all he is five with a mentality of a three yr old so you cant really get him to understand much. Praise him every time he does what he is asked and dont give him a ton of choices. ALWAYS two.
"waffles or eggs for breakfast"
"watch a movie or TV"
" do you want to wear the red shirt or the blue one?"
Any more than that then its overwhelming and could make him have more issue making decisions. Just my two cents.