Stepdaughter in denial?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2008
Stepdaughter in denial?
13
Wed, 04-22-2009 - 12:08pm

My future stepdaughter has a young son (6) who was diagnosed with ADHD. He was born premature and has a whole host of problems. I only recently found out about the diagnosis because after becoming frustrated by his constant erratic behavior, I finally asked my fiance what was going on with him. I've known this child for two years and am amazed that they are acting like his condition is some kind of dirty secret.


I don't have any experience with this condition, but from what I've read, it seems like children with ADHD are usually given medication, but this child doesn't appear to be on anything. I know that when he stays with us for the weekend his mother never sends any medication for him to take.


This child's behavior

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-10-2007
Wed, 04-22-2009 - 12:47pm

Hi, and welcome!


I cannot really think of any way to approach it without stepping on toes. Yu could casually ask what med he takes, and if it might be time for a change in dose or meds.


It is ppossible it is not at all ADHD, without a difinitive diagnosis, By a Neuropsych, it would be impossible to tell. Other things can Mimic ADHD, and 6yo's are generally hyper, especially if they are undisciplined.


You CAN however make rules for your home. I have had to do this with relatives. For example, you may run, jump on furniture, eat away from the table at YOUR house, but NOT mine. I will correct other peoples kids in my home, especially if they seem to be ignoring the behavior. Usually bringing it to their attention, especially in a crowd works well.

A child may HAVE ADHD, but it is not what they ARE. Never tell a child they ARE ADHD.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2008
Wed, 04-22-2009 - 1:24pm

Well, his grandfather (my fiance) is the one who said that he'd been diagnosed with ADHD, but I don't know what kind of doctor he's seeing. I come from a large family with lots of children,

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 04-23-2009 - 9:45am

It's possible they've got the diagnosis and have decided not to medicate because he's "only" 6--or because there's something in the "host of other things" that indicates he shouldn't get the meds (heart issues, say). It's also possible that they're medicating for school & not for weekends. Do realize that the meds are (generally!) daytime only, so everything goes back to ADHD at night. You don't have to give the meds every day (again, not true for all the meds, but a bunch of the standard ones, it's very true for)--it's possible that they don't want to deal with sending the medicine along (wanting to keep it secret?).

I think I'd try to have something highly active for him to do someplace non-destructive (outside?), if that can be worked. Or my kid will happily stop moving in order to play video games ;}.

ADHD as a dirty secret. Ahhh, see you would be one of the NICE people in the world, then. Many, many too many people treat ADHD as an overdiagnosed "fake" disease that's been made up by people who want all children to behave like saints and/or don't want to discipline their children. And giving meds for it? That's just WRONG. I'm completely serious: as I (and the kid!) gets older, I'm more willing to tell people about the diagnosis. I have run into a number of people who feel that way about ADHD. My mother included--I knew that going in, so simply never discussed the diagnosis. My son, he thinks it's one of the first things he should say about himself in group introductions. His choice--and I don't think it's a bad one! It's generally the adults who have issues, not other kids.

Talking to them--can you do it in a form of "how do you work with this"--more asking for suggestions to help the kid? It'd probably be important not to make it sound like a "such an awful kid" rant. There are discipline techniques & stuff like that that work better for some kids rather than others. There are things the kid may hyper-focus on that can be used to distract him from the wildness. If you want to know if he's medicated, you could always ask how school's going for him--and if it's going well, maybe ask how the teacher deals?

Megan
Megan
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2008
Thu, 04-23-2009 - 10:40am
Megan, thanks very much for your good ideas. I am really curious about the whole medication aspect because I don't see how he's able to get through school if he always behaves this way. So that is probably a good way for me to ease into the discussion. I can understand not wanting to announce his condition to the world, but at the very least they should tell people who have to deal with him on a regular basis. All this time I'd been thinking that he was just an undisciplined brat.
Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Thu, 04-23-2009 - 5:04pm

My first suggestion is for you to share your concerns with your FIANCEE and let him talk to HIS child about HIS grandchild. I understand your concern, but you are not even married into this family yet. Opening this whole can of worms should come from your fiancee. You THINK your stepdaughter is in denial, but it may be they feel, as my DH did MANY years ago, "There's nothing wrong with our kids; they're JUST LIKE ME!"

On a side note, your statement, <> reminded me of an excellent book. It's aimed at adult(women) ADDers, but the truths are universal.

"You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!" by Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo
http://www.amazon.com/Stupid-Self-Help-Attention-Deficit-Disorder/dp/0684815311

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2008
Thu, 04-23-2009 - 5:34pm

It was never my intention to talk to approach the child's mother because I wouldn't feel comfortable doing so. I may not be married into the family yet, but if I am expected to take care of this kid and be responsible for him when he stays at my house, then I definitely have the right to speak on his behavior. I'm not just being meddlesome.


My fiance is sensitive about the boy because of how people react to him, so that is why I'm looking for ideas about how to talk to him about it.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Thu, 04-23-2009 - 8:05pm
<<>> I totally agree with you, BUT I've seen too many "blended" families where the outsider, (who, of course, is the only one who sees things with an unbiased view), gets blown out of the water. Stepparents are not usually accepted with open arms, no matter how old the kids are, & I just think you should tread carefully.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-19-2009
Fri, 04-24-2009 - 8:09am

You should talk to his mother to find out what's going on. My son was unmedicated for years. He was on a schedule and had specific parameters and goals and it worked great. What didn't work great was when he went to his grandmother who ignored all the recommendations his doctor had given and then complained when he acted out of control. She totally undermined him by trying to be the "fun grandma."

Let his mother understand that you totally respect her decision to medicate (or not), that you are willing to help in any way to maintain his interventions, and offer to help her research methods that might help her son - your grandson - to take control of his ADHD instead of being controlled by his ADHD.

Best of luck to your whole family!




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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2009
Fri, 04-24-2009 - 11:12am

<<>>

Firstly, you are not nor should you ever be "expected" to take care of this child. I'm a SM and I'm not "expected" to take care of any child that isn't my own. Even your DF should not be "expected" to take care of his grandson. You and your DF have the right to create and enforce rules when there are little ones visiting, but I'm not sure that I'd go so far as to criticize the boy or his parents.

I have a step-grandson, and while his parents are doing things differently from how I'd choose to do them, it's not my place to say anything (unless I see abuse, neglect, or endangerment). And saying something might cause them to distance themselves from DH and I, and I love that little boy and don't want to be shut out of his life. Like Sabertooth said, tread carefully!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2008
Fri, 04-24-2009 - 11:52am

I appreciate what you all are getting at when you advise caution , and yes I agree that it's necessary, but this is not simply a case of my not agreeing with anyone's parenting style. This kid is out of control, and everyone talks about it behind the mother's back -

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