Experience with Other Mom's Reactions?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2003
Experience with Other Mom's Reactions?
Wed, 07-30-2003 - 4:27pm
Is this a subject for other moms out there - the reaction or comments from other kids' moms about your child?

As we're getting ready to go back to school, I've been thinking about this. To me, this has been one of the most hurtful parts about having a child with ADHD - the looks, comments, etc.

On the first day of kinder our DS was overly-excited and he was bugging this other little boy and hugging him, getting in his face - his mother turned to another mother and said something like "Oh, he's always like that." Not in a nice way either. I don't believe that she knew that was my son she was commenting upon. Another time, my son acted up in church and we had to pull him out, trying to be helpful (I guess) another mother told me, "I know he's a behavior problem." I think I just dropped my mouth - inside my head, I said "Thanks a freakin' lot for your helpful insight." There have been other things like this - it made me feel pretty isolated and really like a bad mom - gave me a lot of shame. And, I guess I accepted it, too.

Of course, other moms have been really nice and helpful. The most being another mom whose daughter and husband has ADHD. She really talked with me in a gentle, non-pushy way about meds and encouraged me. Another mom has been really nice, too and supportive.

I don't want to borrow trouble for the new school year - I'm going with a positive attitude - but sometimes its hard with "the looks."

How have other people dealt with these types of situations?


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 07-30-2003 - 8:56pm
Since being on meds, my son has not behaved much differently that most kids in school, but before he was diagnosed i dealt with some horrible parents. My son was in Nursery School and was having a really hard time calming down. He would get silly and just could NOT turn it off. The helping parents' of course witnessed it, and the teacher would talk to me about it- we were in the process of getting him tested but the appointment was months away. I hated that year. A couple of those mother's made comments to others and I had been told about it. I was livid. Still to this day I am angry at one of them in particular for her ignorance. I don't see her often, but i just feel this sense of irritation when i do see her and just make a point of not having to communicate with her. Sad, but i just felt so badly that someone would not even begin to show compassion for the situation. She seemed to think my son should not be in the class if he couldn't calm down and even when the teacher told her we were going to be testing him for ADHD, i am not sure it made one bit of difference. The thing that got me is he wasn't harmful or hurtful to anyone. Just overstimulated and unable to stop talking, being silly. Yet she acted like it was some crime. We ended up pulling him out of there after Xmas time, and starting at a new school after his meds began. He loved the new school and all has been great since. But yes, it's hard. People who don't "get" ADHD especially are the ones who don't know kind things to say I imagine. Hopefully things will get better for you too. I'm sorry you've had to deal with some of those types of people!
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-01-2003
Thu, 07-31-2003 - 9:41am
Insensitive people and more annoying those know it alls really make having a child with AD/HD all that much more difficult. What really hurts even more is when it comes from your own family. I have a sister that has two "perfect" beautiful kids. She has absolutely no clue whatsoever but thinks she does. You know how our kids react to new situations, for instance when company is at your home. Well mine really put on the show everytime she was there. And as the rest of us have learned to do, we pick our battles. She went to nursing school and was so fortunate to have a teacher that was able to diagnose my oldest son as NOT having schizophrenia based on my sisters accounts over 200 miles away. SHe made a point to let me know that my son could not have schizophrenia. Never mind that he had been diagnosed by two prominent doctors and even been seen and participated in a study at the National Institute of Mental Health. She also made comments like "How can you just pop drugs into your kids mouths", you need to do this that or something else", if you just did......." you get the picture. Even now, many, many years later she tries to tell me that she thinks her kids and herself have ADD too and they did just fine without medication. I really want to just choke her sometimes and needless to say it has put a very serious strain on our relationship. Fortunately she doesnt live that close and we only see her a few times a year. But that old baggage is something that I just cant forget. At the worst time in my life trying to help my kids to have as normal or even any kind of life possible, she made it so much harder and really hurt me.

Then of course you have other people. I made a point to not go out in public unless we had to. Over the course of years it did nothing more than seriously isolate us. I wouldnt suggest doing that. However I did and it was a self protection reaction for the kids and me. It was just to stressful and humiliating to go anywhere. People stared, made comments, etc. I could never go to visit friends or family or anything and even hope to even remotely have any fun or enjoyment because it was a matter of pulling this one off the walls and the other one off the ceiling. After many years you develop a thick skin and you get used to it. I wish I knew way back then, what I know now.

For many, many years people would come on to this message board and attack parents here repeatedly. Many of us would ignore them but I wasnt usually one of them. Most of them were from a specific cult with an agenda and others were just very uneducated and misinformed idiots thinking they had all the answers. They didnt bother me so much because of my situation, they bothered me mostly because they kept parents in the beginning of their journey with AD/HD from seeking help, using medications when it was necessary and defending themselves. Much like I did in the beginning. I feel that the stigma, misinformation and parent bashing needs to stop. I was/am sick of being told that "I took the easy way out by giving my son a Magic pill". I was lazy, stupid, not interested in helping my kids, not spending enough time with them, yada yada yada". We even had a self proclaimed doctor come here giving us a list of 100 things that are wrong with our kids and not AD/HD. One of the more humorous things was intestinal worms. It is wrong and it shouldnt happen.

What I suggest that others do is to educate yourself so that you are confident in the decisions that you make for your child and you know what you are talking about. Answer back with facts and to those that are so negative and downright cruel, let them know in no uncertain terms. You dont have to go into detail with what you are doing just tell them that yes, you are aware of the problem and it is being addressed and thanks for your concern. Another parent on an email loop I belong to for parents of bi-polar disorder has made up little business cards to give to others when they say things to her. For instance while her son was raging in the grocery store and people would stare, she handed them a card that said "Thank you for your concern, my child has a neurobiological brain disorder that manifests itself in his behavior. If you would like more information or would like to help children like mine or their parents, please contact the National Alliance for the mentally ill at ........" I know that may be a little much but maybe something along those lines as a place to get real information instead of just the talk show hype.

Ok, I will step off my soap box now.


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-28-2003
Fri, 08-01-2003 - 7:25pm
Boy am I glad I read your message(s) tonight!! We just confirmed through testing that our 7yr old son is ADD/HD. I'm really struggling with people reactions. I live in a small town, where the grade school classes average 15. So everyone "knows" the "problem children". I too have overheard people making comments about my son close to me without them knowing that they were commenting close to the mother. We are just exploring meds. I'm sure I'll be looking for info and support on this board.

But tonight I took a lot of comfort in the hearing from others about the support you can get. I just recently met another Mom in town who unfortunatly is dealing with ADD/HD coupled with other problems in both of her young sons. She has not only been very supportive, she is very knowledgeble. I hope to meet more people like her.

As for myself, I'm begining to take the attitude that if people are going to judge me or my family without getting to know us based on isolated observations , they aren't deserving to get to know. Hang in there and I will too!

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-26-2000
Fri, 08-01-2003 - 9:05pm
I've been fortunate in that I really haven't had problems from the other kids' moms. But also lucky that my child is not disruptive, usually. On a whole different page from your average kid, but generally liked - at least by the parents.

I've also not had any problems with my in-laws. My MIL is probably ADD; my SIL is definitely ADHD, an ADHD niece and nephew - so we've come by it quite naturally.

My family is another story. It's been over a year, and I've not discussed the diagnosis with my parents. Yes, they think I need to be more assertive with my kids and let them know "who's boss". Yeah, whatever. They're not the ones here doing homework with them every night. I also have a SIL with 2 boys the same ages as mine. One is 4 days older than my oldest, but a grade ahead (since mine repeated) and apparently very scholarly. The other one is 8 months younger than my youngest, but the comparisons are inevitable.

I also have a childless brother and SIL, and you know those are the WORST for knowing how we should raise children. I don't let them know anything they don't need to know.

One day an elderly neighbor of my parents started going off about ADHD. I just let her go. Wasn't a battle worth fighting.

And let the other ignorant opinions just roll off your back.



PJPIIadoration.jpg picture by Kimberly_sahm

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2003
Sat, 08-02-2003 - 9:11am
Shame. I think that's the word. I don't think we have to accept it. We're all doing what we think is best for our children and why should other people be able to shame us into thinking we're not?

I was talking with a mom of a now-26 year old daughter. Daughter had learning disabilities and maybe some other stuff - so she pulled her out of school in the 4th grade to home-school her. In their case, it worked. Mom had the training to be able to educate her daughter. When she talked about how other people treated her daughter, she became teary-eyed. I thought, why does she have to carry this? I told her that she was a wonderful, strong mother.

My mom tells me stories about one of my brothers - he probably should have been on meds for ADHD. This was back in the early to mid 70s. My dad wouldn't even hear of having him evaluated. Poor brother really suffered because of it. My mom described how she kind of just held her breath when other people or teachers would approach her to tell her all the things my brother was doing. It isn't until now that I really understand the stress she was under. And, I might add my mom is very strong - not one to wallow in her own emotions. But this really weighed her down.

Roll off our backs - yes, that is the best thing. Sometimes it is very hard. I think the strength for me comes in knowing that I am doing the best for my children. And, I also know from my work as a social worker that things are sometimes not as they appear. In other words, even the family with the most well-behaved children can be hiding ugly secrets and living lives full of inward turmoil.

I don't want to accept anyone else's bad stuff. They can just keep it. For me, I'm going to take care of these boys.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-27-2003
Sat, 08-02-2003 - 2:30pm
My son is a bit like yours. He is always in other kids' faces and hugging them relentlessly. It's probably part ADHD and part SI (he is hyopsensative to touch so he craves those tight hugs). I've been criticized for not controlling him when he is playing third base and has contact with all the other 6 year olds running the bases. You know, a pat on the head, a hug, a tickle on the stomach. It's hard for him to keep his hands off people. So, another mom who knew I was standing right next to her said to her girl "hit him back!" (my ds was not hitting, he was patting) Her girl was smiling the whole time like she liked being patted on the head. The mom was screaming "don't let him do that, hit him" or some crap like that. Then the mom said something to her hubby, "I can't believe the parent doesn't control that kid, he is constantly doing that" I was really upset. I didn't say anything to her. Sort of wish I had. I mean - sometimes the kids should work it out themselves. Don't you think that if my son was really bothering the girl she would've said something to him, or atleast stopped smiling? And so , I stood there and seethed. I shouldve said somehting.

I guess we are lucky because we don't deal with this alot. He is mostly ADHD in his brain and not as much as some in his body. But even my "best friend" has made comments to others like "why can't she control him". Well, I for one don't think kids SHOULD be CONTROLLED, I think they should be taught and modeling behavior is the best way.... Anyway that is a child-rearing thing not really an ADHD thing. I do not tolerate it when my child causes pain to another. For example, he was a biter and a hiter when he was 2-3 years old. He learned to control that when I enforced time-outs for that behavior. That reminds me, were your kids biters and hitters as toddlers? Is that a sign of ADHD?

OK, I'm rambling, you'll have to forgive me, I guess it's my ADHD brain. I really wish I had someone in my town to talk with about this stuff....


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2003
Sat, 08-02-2003 - 3:00pm
Well, yes. Hitting and biting were big problems for us, too. Especially when DS was younger. He even bit someone last year (once) in 1st grade! Even we were shocked at that. That was right before we put him on the Concerta. Since he's been on it, he has only had 1 episode of hitting another kid at daycamp -- and it wasn't that severe and what I would say is normal seven year old boy aggression. Certainly punished, but not a truly big deal.

But in general, I'd say keeping his hands to himself - even if it is in a "good" way has been a problem. Much, much less so on the Concerta and we have been talking about proper way to greet friends and stuff, too. It is kind of sad to tell you sweet DS not to hug his friends, but I can see they are clearly uncomfortable. Therefore, DS has to learn to recognize when he is doing something that make people uneasy and respond to that.

I'd be willing to bet the most vocal critics of our children, probably have their own issues, too. Otherwise, they wouldn't be angered so easily by our kids.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-27-2003
Sun, 08-03-2003 - 10:09am
It's good to talk with you! You know for so long I thought the hugging and touching was a SI thing. Now I'm beginning to realize it's likely ADHD. It IS sad to tell your kid to not hug. But you are absolutely right. My son doesn't "read" others that well either. He doesn't sense that he is bugging someone. He has to learn that better. And it's a hard thing to teach. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS for teaching that? I've tried to point out to him when people lean away it is their body language saying "you are too close". It's good to hear that the concerta helped your son so much with this issue. My son will be going into first grade and I'm thinking about options.

You also made me realize that I ought to speak with a woman I know who has a son my ds's age. Now that I am learning about ADHD, it's so clear to me that this boy is ADHD. Severe on the impulsive side, but very smart. Maybe I could help her like that woman helped you. This poor boy, I've got to tell you a story about him. He and my son were in daycare together. When they were about 4 we were all at a Christmas party there, kids and parents. Well, my ex was there and we had just split up. This boy ran by my ex and punched him right in his balls, and just kept running. I couldn't believe it! I had mixed feelings, and part of me wanted to thank the kid, he had done something I wanted to do! LOL! (my ex was not being nice to me or our son - and still isn't) So, anyway, I want to help this family. But I don't really want to tell people I'm ADHD and my son may be. Maybe I'll get over this feeling ....

Take care,


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2003
Mon, 08-04-2003 - 8:21am
Well, it has been a combination of things for our DS. Just like you, we tell him about trying to read other kids - the signs to look for. We've been going to family counseling on and off for 1 year now and our therapist has talked with DS about this. We pick simple direct phrases, "Keep you hands to yourself." "Shake hands instead of hugging." "Think before you go." "Stop and Breathe." We also have a calm down exercise we got from a book - DS stops and breathes in 3 times and says to himself as he exhales each time "calm down." He will actually do this on his own, but we practice it at home.

One interesting thing - the medicine is actually helping a lot with this. When we put him on Concerta, our doc told us (without us asking - just cause she knows this is common with kids with ADHD) told us that he will be able to read people better. She said with the ADHD their motor is just GOING, but the medicine allows them to slow down a bit and with that comes reading other people. She said that medicating them helps them learn these things better - and she was RIGHT. I hadn't ever really thought about this, but for us it was (is) true. Since DS can slow down, he is now paying more attention to things people are telling him and showing him by their body language.

Our DS is still sweet and actually, he has always been very attuned to people's emotions, just not when his motor would get going to fast, or he was in a situation (like your party) where there was a lot of noise and people. No way he could slow down or keep his hands to himself.

Glad you saw something that can help you in our story. Other people have helped me ont his website and I'm glad to be part of it, too.

- Mary

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-15-2003
Tue, 08-05-2003 - 2:41pm

My parents were exactly the same way when I was "diagnosed"back in the late 70s. Of course,it didn't have a name yet and while I wasn't hyperactive,per se,the other signs were clearly evident. My mom wouldn't dare and adamantly opposed to putting me on ritalin(I was around 8-9 years old) and my dad was apathetic about the whole thing.I didn't have a chance. I totally suffered throughout school and my mother,to this day,still doesn't believe in ADD.She thinks it's just kids who're "too lazy to apply themselves." Ironically,I truly believe I inherited the ADD from her. LOL