new to board, single mom losing her mind

Avatar for sweetchamelon
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-01-2003
new to board, single mom losing her mind
Mon, 09-01-2003 - 3:19pm

I just found this board today, and was looking over some of the post and thought thats me. I am a single mom of two kids, my son is 9 1/2 (he has ADHD) and my daughter is 2 (no signs of her having ADD/ADHD so far. both of my kids are from different relationships and neither one of their fathers have anything to do with them.

anyways, it wasn't until 3rd grade that i had my son tested, school had only been in for two weeks and i was already getting a call from the teacher. after testing and a coulple of dr's appt, he was put on medate and there was a little improvement. however he was having a horrible time coming of it. well on night it went to far, he blew up because i made him go to bed (at his normal bedtime) instead of letting him stay up and watch a tv show. i'll just say that by the end of the night i was on the phone with the dr's, he was out of control and threatning to hurt himself with a knife from the kitchen. well the next morning he was admitted into a mental health hospital. he was there for two weeks, while he was there they changed his meds to conceta. this all happened about 6 months ago. things got better for a while after that ( he did not want to end up back in vista)

over the summer his dr changed him over to strattera, my only problem is the strattera doesnt work on his hyperactivity and he is driving me nuts. he is on the highest dose he can have for his weight (62lbs)and we even have a rx for focal (shorter lasting version of concerta) that i can use when needed, but my son complains it makes him sick. meanwhile he has already had several notes sent home from school about his distrubting the class and not getting his work done on time.

i guess what i'm trying to say is i'm just tired of all it. i'm getting to the point that it is overwhelming me!! i'm tired of yelling all the time (because he doesnt seem to listen to me unless i do) i feel like i'm always the bad guy. i hate that i'm constantly on him about fact even my 2yr daughter gets on to him about things she knows he's not suppose to be doing. some days i feel like i'm just going to lose it if i have to repeat myself one more time. he constantly agures with me about everything. it all just seems never ending. i dont have much family around to help me. my mom lives close by, but my son doesnt do well with her, so i dont like to leave him with her for long.

anyways, i guess i just need to vent with some people who understand what i'm going through. it looks like you all have a great group of people here.


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-27-2003
Wed, 09-03-2003 - 9:58pm

I'm also a single mom of a 6 year old boy who's father doesn't have anything to do with him. It's so hard to deal with this issue itself. Then on top of it all there is the adhd! My ds has not be dx yet. But he probably has the inattentive type of adhd. He will be tested soon.

I'm thinking that YOU really need a break. What can you do for yourself to reduce your stress? Can you start a new exercise program, or get a massage, or paint your toenails? Try to do that. You deserve it. Arrange it somehow. Once you take care of yourself then maybe you will have some energy to figure out some way to help your relationship with your son.

Take care!

Avatar for sweetchamelon
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-01-2003
Sat, 09-06-2003 - 2:42pm
thank you for your reply. its nice to know i'm not the only one going through this. i agree that its hard enough just trying to raise him on my own,but adding something like ADHD just brings its it to a whole nother level. the day i posted was a rough day for me, this week luckily wasn't to bad,well, at least until friday when my son had to call me from school because of his misbehaving.

i'm also looking forward to my ds doctor appt on monday. they switched him from concerta to the strattera, but i think i'm going to have them put him back on the concerta, because he is having a horrible time at school right now and last year he was doing really well on the concerta

i do tend to have the problem of not totally taking care of myself, its hard to come up with the time and to do it sometimes. othertimes, its hard to justify spending money on something thats just for me.although i did just put a treadmill on layaway, that my help me reduce some stress (and get a little more exercise while i'm at it)

well i wish you and your son the best on his testing.

take care


Avatar for keke0116
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 09-06-2003 - 7:47pm
Oh Amy, I feel your pain. My first question to you is this ... Why did they take him off Concerta? You said that things got better when he was on that. Concerta, like any med, is NOT a miracle drug and all meds work differently for each kid. For us, however, Concerta WAS a Godsend! It worked very effectively for 15-16 months. (DS is currently off meds, but that's a whole other story.) Mixed reviews on Strattera. I heard recently that it's effective for only about 30% of kids ... and for that 30%, it works well. DS was on it for awhile, with NO benefit. But, meds are really a trial and error sort of thing, so if something isn't working, then you need to try something else. Ritalin LA (long acting Ritalin) is similar to Concerta ... doesn't last quite as long, but longer than regular Ritalin. Focalin helps some, but if he's not stomaching it, then you need to try something else. Adderall XR is long-acting, but many kids become aggressive on it ... regular Adderall works better but generally requires a 2nd dose. Point is, there are lots of meds out there, and if one isn't working, don't hesitate to try another (and another and another until you get one that DOES work.)

You might also consider a dietary change. I've been reading about The Feingold Diet ... some people swear by it, others are skeptical. For me, I've always believed that if you can find a natural alternative to meds, go for it! Also, I've also felts that the reason there is such a higher frequency of ADD/ADHD (and any number of 'labels' these days) IS because of all the food additives and preservatives. SO, going to a more natural diet, avoiding some typical food allergy-triggers MAY help (or at least lessen the symptoms.) I know with my DS, for instance, he goes nuts if he has caffeine ... not 'sugar' but caffeine, so we avoid chocolate and soda/Coke for him.

I can't imagine, sometimes, doing this as a single parent ... other times, quite honestly, DS does better with just one parent rather than when DH and I are together, so I wonder sometimes if it wouldn't be EASIER raising him alone. (I'm not saying it would be 'easy' but sometimes the difference in parenting styles makes things worse.)

Anyway, Welcome! Glad to have you with us, and we hope to see you often. Sometimes, it helps just to know we're not alone in all of this.



<?xml:namespace prefix = v ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml" />
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-05-2003
Sat, 09-06-2003 - 9:58pm

I definitely agree with you regarding diet and food additives.

How come 30 to 40 years ago these problems with ADD weren't around

and the numbers just keep increasing in children. Our food

quality has diminshed over the years. Last year when my son

first started having problems in school he would get off the

school bus looking like a zombie with dark circles under his

eyes. I began doing research and discovered that dark circles

are a sign of a dairy sensitivity and took him off milk and dairy.

He now drinks Rice Milk and has learned to read labels to find

out if it contains milk/whey. The dark circles have disappeared.

There can be so many underlying causes to why these children

act as they do. It could be a sleep disorder, food allergies,

hearing problems, etc.

I think reducing sugar down as low as possible is also a very big

help to the children. Try finding sugar free recipes that look

and taste good. There are plenty out there. Some food additives

to try to avoid and test for are milk, Red 40, wheat. You can test

your children to see if anything helps. I have also learned that

children that got alot of ear infections as babies are linked to

the ADHD symptoms and dairy. ALot of children that are heavy

milk drinkers tend to get alot more frequent ear infections.

Anyway, I hope that some of these things may help you and your

child. Also, chammomile is also known to help have a calming

effect. Can't hurt to try.............

Take Care!

Gina : )

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sun, 09-07-2003 - 6:09pm
I often (and will always) wonder if my using a small dose of Aspertame while I was pregnant 'caused' Kevin's behavioral problems. Found out a few years later that I'm allergic to this product, and haven't used it since ... never used it with DD (now 7) and I don't have these issues with her. Also wonder if Kevin's asthmatic tendencies as a baby and treatments on the Nebulizer 'caused' his behavioral issues. The docs tell me not to worry about the 'cause' but to focus on the solution, and perhaps they're right. There's nothing that happened THEN that can change the outcome NOW ... although if there is a link or corelation, I'd like to know so I could 'warn' other people. Kevin is 'more' ODD than ADHD, and the behavioral problems are more prevalent at home (with parents) than anywhere else. When Kevin was an infant, we lost our home in a hurricane ... DH and I both work in the insurance industry, and you can only imagine how stressful a time that was. Not only was our home destroyed, but Kevin lost his babysitter as well who had to move with her grandchildren as their home was so devastated. I can only believe that the compilation of all these 'issues' had long term effects on him. Perhaps not the hurricane itself (as he's too young to remember it) but the upheaval in his life ... or the fact that DH and I were NOT the parents we might have otherwise been had we not been working 6-7 days per week/10-12 hours per day trying to help restore a community in total disarray ... not to mention our own personal lives.

There are lots of 'causes' that may have contributed to all of these problems ... and I firmly believe that additives and preservatives in food/water could have 'contributed' to all of it.

I'd love to do a study and really understand this more. Maybe some day I'll have that kind of time to devote to it. For now, all I can do is whatever my gut (and my heart) tells me is the right thing for my son at any given moment. Maybe it doesn't matter WHY this happened ... but now it's WHAT can be done?




iVillage Member
Registered: 04-25-2003
Mon, 09-08-2003 - 8:56am
Hugs to all of you. I wonder why my son is ADHD, ODD, and depressed - and then I look at family history and think - this poor kid was screwed from the get go. We're now looking at Asperger's...his school has noticed it (he goes to a theraputic day school) and we're attempting to get testing - after he has surgery - long story.

Family history is key in a lot of places. Depression is rampant in both sides. I'm ADD, my husband is Dyslexic (as are his father and several siblings - big family!) My son didn't really have a chance. I went back on meds myself a month ago - WHAT A DIFFERENCE! Talk about coming out of my fog. Thank the heavens. It's also in an odd way lessened the fights in this house about meds. Gee, mom takes em too - so okay, I won't fight it. ANother blessing.

I also agree tho that the preservatives, additives and hormones our children consume on a daily basis have made a difference in all the things our kids now endure. I have a daughter very allergic to Red #5 and #40. (try finding a medication without it) The hormones in milk are not good for our kids. It's a constant battle.

The cause isn't as important as the solution, but as any mom of a special needs kid (and let's face it, they ARE special needs) we all question what we did in pregnancy etc that may have caused it. You can't help it. It's natural.

You do need to take those breaks for you. Is there anyone around you who can see the boy underneath the behavior? (those people are rare - you hang on to them tight!) They may be able to take the kids for you, or split the two up so they each have someone else special in their lives - even if it's an hour a week. You will find yourself looking for that hour of sanity and living for it. I had a neighbor when my son was small, who would take him all day one day a week to play with his boys. Now my son is almost 15, he spends a week with another friend of mine in another state - she's got a farm and horses. He's wonderful for her and really tries his best to be a model kid. It's good for he and I.

You mentioned neither child has an active dad (sorry to hear that - mine's here tho and not active either) Can you get him a Big Brother? It might be good to have another adult role model in his life that can do the "boy" stuff he is probably craving at this point in his life. I would definitely look into that. Karate is good for these kids too. It teaches them self control. Rules have to be laid down hard and fast - this is NOT used on our sister, our pets, the friends at school, or we lose the priviledge of going.

And know that this is a good place to vent, it always has been. I've been around this board for the better part of 7 years (ran it myself for a while!) and you won't find better moms going through the same things.

Breathe. Live for those small moments. And find a doc who will give you better options for meds. Many docs are opting for Strattera because it's not a controlled substance and it's not as much paperwork. Unfortunately, it only works in about 1/3 - 1/2 the kids. I've made sure my doc knows - what we are doing is working - we are NOT messing with it. He mentioned putting him on Strattera last summer. I said NO. Don't fix what ain't broke. Sigh.

I think I'd look for a children's hospital or a good pediatric psychiatrist that could give you a complete work up and help you find the right meds. And look for a Big Brothers/Big sisters organization near you. Try getting him involved at the local Boys and Girls clubs too - my kids played basketball for a couple of years there. It was wonderful. And my kids learned that they were luckier and had more than they thought.

If you need help with third grade issues, feel free to email me. It was by far our hardest year.



iVillage Member
Registered: 09-05-2003
Tue, 09-09-2003 - 1:23pm

What advice can you give me about what to expect from third grade? My daughter has ADHD and she just started third grade last week. So far, so good as far as what she tells me and I am having a team meeting with her teachers and special services staff this Thursday. Our pediatrician suggested we wait until third grade before we talk medication. I am all for that as I don't want my child on meds unless it's necessary. Tell me what to expect please...Hildee

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-25-2003
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 2:19pm
Hi ya Hildee.

First, third grade is a couple of weeks of review and then WHAM, major work. This is the first year where they are expected to be more responsible for their stuff, their homework, etc. It's more work intensive. Book reports, science projects, math timed tests, etc... For an ADHD child, especially one who is not very organized to begin with, 3rd grade can be a huge source of frustration. They know they can do the work. It's just that they often do it differently. It's correct but proving it to the teacher is another ballgame. (math is particularly big here) So you may have to look to see how she's doing math and what her reading comprehension is like. My ADD kids have had problems in comprehension - but are math whizzes and can do most of it in their heads.

You're doing it right - getting the team meeting now. Head off any problems now. Try and have wonderful communication with the teacher - if you can converse daily by email that would be wonderful because then your child won't have to "bring home the note" or whatever. That can be embarrassing at this age. I would recommend you set up a small spiral notebook for your daughter - with things in it for her to check off daily to remember what to bring home. Start training her now to do this. And color coding her subjects may help her too. It works wonders for my kids, even the non-ADHD one.

And meds? If she is doing okay, then wait a bit. Let her give you the cues that she needs that extra boost. My son was put on meds at age 8 but should have been on them around age 5 or 6. He really did need them. I did him a disservice by waiting. But!! every child and every child's body chemistry is different. So she may be able to work through her impulsiveness and activity levels. Just remember if one med doesn't work, another one might. So don't give up fast. It's not an exact science.

Keep us posted how the meeting went?


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 09-11-2003 - 3:21pm
Hi ladies,

I have been down the same road questioning what went wrong. Why my child? If a child is diabetic do we blame ourselves as a parent or except the fact that it was genetic? If our child has some rare blood disorder am I at fault. No, right! Well just like "medical" conditions, I believe ADHD is a disease within the brain. A genetic disorder. So myself as a parent refuse to feel bad because my son didn't turn out to be normal. He is out of the box and if our society doesn't like it, then they kiss my tail end. Until they develop a school adaptable to children like ours then we going to bare the feelings that WE as parents our to blame.

Somewhere in the post someone mentioned that this wasn't prevelent years ago, actually it was. You know what happened to those kids, they got beat, they were criticized, misunderstood, and treated horribly. They were always the kids in the corner. No wonder they would commit crimes, at least they were accepted in jail.

An ADHD child is a gift! My son is caring, gifted, funny, smart, hopeful, determined, resilent, and much more..... These gifts will carry him a long way.

Don't let the school beat you up as a parent. You have the upper hand it's your tax dollars paying there salary. Be your childs advocate and don't take no for an answer.

Good luck!!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2003
Fri, 09-19-2003 - 2:19pm
Hi amy,

I hope that things are going better for you. My son was on Strattera first and it barely touched his symptoms. Now we're on Adderall XR; 20mg. He's doing much better and for the first time he's actually calmed down enought to make friends. He's in 4th grade. Someone mentioned big brothers..for my son, karate has been a God send. Although my husband is involved, he's got a short fuse with my son. The sensei at karate is wonderful. He's tough on Andrew, but he's always quick to praise him during class for doing something right. And Andrew is blossoming under him. They talk too and Andrew really listens to him. Its also been a good place for Andrew to make friends. We ruled out team sports for Andrew 2 years ago because he just couldn't hold it together. Soccer looked more like rugby. I'm sure you all understand that one. :)

Anyway, just another thought. Karate also focused on self control and discipline. And when I say to Andrew "you're a blue belt..act like it'; he's able to think differently about what he should be doing. There's also the constant achievement in karate; even getting a stripe on his belt for attending the requisite number of hours feels good to him.

Anyway, hugs to you.

Have a good weekend.