Son With ADHD

Dear Sara,

My son has been struggling in school and was finally diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). I have known for some time that he had problems sitting still and concentrating but other times when things really interested him he could pay attention for hours so I really didn’t suspect ADHD. He takes medication now and isn’t quite so hyper so things seem better. What do I need to know to help my son?

Dear Jan,

Apparently, ADHD is not a behavior disorder but a developmental problem with the brain’s self-management system. Current numbers indicate it impacts about nine percent of children and about five percent of adults.

Long-term studies have shown that individuals with ADHD during childhood experience significant reductions in their ADD impairment as they grow older. Research has shown that ADHD is not a chemical imbalance in the brain so supplements of certain vitamins and minerals won’t positively affect ADHD. People with ADHD don’t release enough essential neurotransmitters that allow passage of information to the brain.

The way to help your son is to pay attention to his abilities, help him with his homework and listen to his frustrations. Hopefully, things will be better as he grows older.


  1. Dear Jan,
    At the risk of being overly simplistic, he is a boy….I am a 67 year old boy…I was label energetic as a child as were many of my boy friends…There were no available medications…we played outside… There was also not the abundance of prepared foods either at a restaurant or in the store with the concentration of sugar and additives as there are today. We have a son and saw our son had a sugar sensitivity where we could super charge him with a sugar rich breakfast cereal, so we adjusted his diet. But even with a healthy diet he was more energetic than his 2 older sisters. This resulted in my apologizing to my mother at his age 3 for what must have been my behavior because I am certain he got his energy from me. I am still energetic and need to work at concentrating and I watch my diet. Today caffeine is what I need to avoid.

  2. ADHD does not cause an issue of not paying attention. In fact it’s the brain paying attention to too much which makes it impossible for a child to focus. Their brain is noticing everything that is going on. Help your child to learn focus. The ADHD medicine will slow down his thinking but it also slows down his reaction time. It doesn’t stop his brain from noticing everything it just causes him to be slower about it all. Do some research about how to help him focus and channel that energy and get him a good counselor either at school or outside of school who he will build trust with because he will need someone he feels comfortable telling his frustrations to. No matter how close you and your kiddo are in this kind of setting they have to have an outside resource bevause there will always come a time when he feels frustrated and alone and he won’t want to admit that to you mom so he will keep it in unless he has that outside connection. Help him build on his concentration skills, teach him coping techniques for when the stimulation of being in public or at school becomes overwhelming and never stop reassuring him that everything about him is wonderful and perfectly normal his brain is just working on a higher more energetic frequency than some of the other people he knows and that’s why it’s important to find ways that help him focus but also make sure he understands what focus really means. Talk to him everyday about how he feels when he takes his medicine and how he feels school went. Listen to what he says and if it’s vague ask questions to get more details because he might not realize what’s important information. If he had a bad or frustrating day once he’s ready to talk have him tell you what was bad and ask him what would he like to do or see happen if he is in another similar situation. This helps him develop problem solving skills and the ability to carry it out. It also works on his focus. Take advantage of the IOP’s schools are legaling mandates to create when a child has any kind of learning disability. Make sure you and your son participate in creating the IOP because it is an individual learning plan created specifically for him and he is the only one who will be affected by it. If he needs a little extra time finishing work put that it there but if he hates attention then maybe don’t put in there that he needs to be read aloud to. Do your homework and never forget you are advocating for him until the time comes where he is able to advocate for himself. Also remember that when teachers are coming at you with frustrations your child is most likely feeling frustrations of his own but is less vocal than the schools so you will need to make sure to get his input anytime that happens. Everything that happens affects how he thinks of himself and how he percieves what others think of him. If your not vigilant his self esteem can really suffer. I know it’s a lot but I hope some of what I’ve said will help it’s all based off of first hand experience.

  3. I was blessed to have babysat plenty when I was younger and most lucky to have worked as a cashier at our small town grocery store. I learned so much about how to parent, or simply put, how not to parent. I saw toddlers screaming and striking their mommas, 3 year olds swearing and throwing stuff into the carts and screaming like they’re on fire when an odd parent decided to put it back. The worst however, was the check out lanes full of candy, tempting parents to bribe their children into shutting up.
    I have 6 children, the last son graduated last May. They can all tell you that treats during any type of shopping was a very rare and special treat. It made shopping with what people would assume was my daycare children much easier.
    Also, it shouldn’t take a village to raise a child. Family yes,abused children, yes but otherwise let us raise our kids, don’t tell them they can have the candy bar that they managed to swipe when we weren’t looking but dragged them back in to give it back and apologize. Trust me, you really want our kids to own up to their mistakes and know that a boundary exists further than your own home.

  4. Dear Jan,
    My son struggled early on with severe panic and anxiety which morphed into ADHD. He began taking medication when he was 8 years old. He is 18 now and stopped the medication for a while. He has, just recently felt the need to continue medication. My advice to you is to have constant communication with his teachers and everyone he comes into contact with at school. Research and learn how he learns and adapts best and be his advocate. You’ll find that if he embraces his challenges and doesn’t allow them to define him, he will do well throughout life. Many of my son’s teachers treated him as a discipline problem when he was younger, instead of a child with a learning difference. This caused him great harm and self loathing. Since his teachers role modeled negative behavior towards him, his peers followed that cue. Unfortunately, he became labeled throughout the rest of his school years. If a child is not healthy and in a good place emotionally, they can not be in a good place in other aspects of their lives. This causes great issues during their formative high school years. We need to heal what is in our kids hearts so they can achieve great things in life. Continue being the great parent you are and be your son’s biggest cheerleader….train the trainers and encircle him with positive love and support. He will do just fine, and so will you!

  5. If you were to ask him he would most likely tell you he is bored! What he needs is a bigger challenge not medication.!

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