Parenting ADHD: The Dark Side

Parenting ADHD*, ODD* and traits of Aspergers Syndrome*

I’ve done a few posts before about parenting ADHD and a few of the things that we face, but I never tend to spend too much time on the bad stuff.

I know there is a stigma attached to ADHD and believe me we have heard them all.

“He’s just naughty”

“He’s a boy”

“He’ll grow out of it”

“He needs a good clip round the ear”

Our parenting skills are also questioned. We clearly cannot be very good parents if we cannot control our child. The fact that we also have 3 other children sometimes doesn’t bode well. If he’s like that then what on earth are the others going to be like? Sometimes they do copy him. They also get reprimanded – just the same as he does. On a whole they are good – that is because we parent them and we parent them the best we know how to!

Because his disability is not physical, people struggle to see why he is like he is. They cannot see that whilst he is a rather intelligent child, especially in subjects he is passionate about – he also has the social skills and emotional age of a 3 year old, at nearly 8 years old.

I’ve also talked about our reasons as to why we medicate. About the attacks we faced on a daily basis and how medication helps control this. However, there is a downside to medicating.

A medicated ADHD child is a bit like a Jekyll and Hyde.

When his medication has kicked in he’s Jekyll. You can talk to him, you can do normal family things that most take for granted, like being able to go out to the shops, to get something to eat, to the park! You can reason with Jekyll. He’ll help you if you ask, and sometimes he’ll just do it just because he wants to.

We like Jekyll. He is welcome any time. We praise him and try to encourage him to come more often and stay for longer. Sadly, the most he stays is for around 4-5hours. We see him for about 30 minutes in the morning –

Then Hyde takes over.

Hyde is not very nice. He is a bully. He is violent. He is dangerous. He quite frankly scares the shit out of us. He has known to hide knives in his underwear drawer. He’s had razors and scissors in his bed. He’s hung out of first floor windows whilst proceeding to shout at people walking past. He climb on the outside of the stair banister. He climbs the kitchen counters. He steals money from purses and wallets and food from the cupboards. He runs around the garden screaming at 7am. He throws himself around and it’s your fault when he hurts himself. He draws on things. He throws objects. He throws his fists around. He growls at you and tells you he hates you and that you’re a “fucking idiot”. You get tutted at if you have to venture out with Hyde. You get people staring at this child attacking his parents, screaming at them, crying and throwing a tantrum like a toddler.

Hyde is with us for about 2-3 hours in the morning. Then we give the medication and Jekyll returns. Then after 4-5 hours Hyde comes back and we face an evening of the torment already suffered that morning. Hyde remains until he sleeps. That could be until 9-10pm in the evening.

Then it starts all over again.

We get no help. We received his ADHD diagnosis, medicated and left, to return once every 6 months for a check up.

We got a bit of help for a few months. They came to see me for an hour every few weeks to discuss things and ways to approach things and behaviours. But they can only offer it for a certain period of time.

We got offered home start. But again, that would be to help me during the day. The day is not the issue. He’s medicated, we can handle that. It’s the mornings and evenings that we need help with.

We have no family to help. My father in law will take him every now and then for a little bit. But then upon his return Hyde has taken over.

We have to hide things that could be deemed as dangerous. Putting them high up is not good enough as he will climb to reach them. Locks on kitchen cupboards and drawers no longer work as he can open them.

We are constantly stressed. I have considered splitting the family apart. Of taking the other children and moving out. But what would that achieve apart from more problems in the future.

Two weeks ago I called the hospital desperate for help. I was told I would get a call back urgently. That call was never returned. I called back yesterday. I cried down the phone explaining I couldn’t go on like this. That I fear he will hurt himself or one of the other children. I was promised a call back. I am still waiting for that call.

So here we are.

Having a child with ADHD is more complicated and harder than just having a naughty child. It’s even harder when you feel you are being failed by the system. How you are just left to cope. How no conventional methods of behaviour control work. How you are left scouring the Internet and reading books just to try and help your child – to help all of your children. How you dread each dawn that arrives. How you wish your child could just be normal! But he’s not normal. He is disabled. He is special needs. He will not grow out of it! He is stuck with this horrible demon inside him for the rest of his life.

It’s down to us as parents to show him how to control Hyde for he cannot continue medication for the rest of his life. He will have to come off it at some point.

I dread that day.



Shortly after I wrote this post I received a phone call from the hospital. We are being referred to a service that will give us respite. We will have a specialist carer come to our home for 3hours a week to give us a break. However, there is a waiting list so who know how long it could be.

We have also been given details of the 1,2,3 Magic course which is running after Christmas at a local children’s centre.

They will also contact a specialist play centre which run play schemes during school holiday’s for children with special needs – and hopefully we can get him in for a day or 2 during the October break.


*ADHD = Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. ODD = Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Aspergers Syndrome is a form of Autism which affects the social skills of a child.



  1. Pingback: The Dark Side
  2. August 15, 2013 / 1:35 pm

    Brave post. I’m glad you’re getting some help.

  3. August 15, 2013 / 1:43 pm

    Thank you for sharing. One of my children suffered with ADHD ‘symptoms’. Not to the same extent as you’ve described but there are many many heartbreaking similarities and challenges. Our conventional GP would have had us go down a conventional route of looking at parenting and ‘managing’ the symptoms and labelling our precious child for life. I am so grateful that my practitioner husband (he is a cranial chiropractor) was able to observe what was happening and keep an eye on how things were developing (or not developing). He referred our child for a gut fermentation profile – a blood test which looks at what happens after sugar is ingested. The results were clear. In black & white we had results showing that our 3 year old had high levels of alcohols in her bloodstream. This was so upsetting but also unbelievably helpful. Within days of starting treatment to deal with the overproliferation of specific bacteria and yeasts in the gut that cause this problem her behaviour, mood, learning, aggression, health and even happiness improved. It is not a quick fix and needs a long time to make a lasting difference. But 18 months down the line I can say from personal experience it is completely worth the hard work. I know this might not be relevant for you and it is not the reason for every child’s ADHD, but my husband is convinced it is a far more common reason than is realised. You may have had this test already and followed the protocol for dealing with this problem, but if not, I highly recommend it. Best wishes x

    • August 15, 2013 / 2:30 pm

      Hi Sara and thank you for your comment. I am really intrigued and have never heard of gut fermentation before.You know, ADHD is highly over diagnosed so I can understand where your husband is coming from. We’ve not had this testing, but it may be something we look in to! We are open to any way of helping him that we can. x

  4. August 15, 2013 / 2:47 pm

    Where are you based? Is my email address visible to you in the posters details? If you wanted to email me I would very happily send you more info about the tests and where/who to go through. It was the most valuable thing we could have done. After week one my daughter said “Mummy, I feel happy now”. Priceless.

  5. August 16, 2013 / 7:33 am

    Sadly I have no advice, but didn’t want to just read and run. My heart goes out to you, it sounds like you have a really tough time. I hope that you all get the help soon xx

  6. August 16, 2013 / 7:37 pm

    I only wish I had advice but well done for sharing. I hope it made you feel even a tiny bit better or maybe even some slight relief. Always here if you need to talk x

  7. August 16, 2013 / 9:09 pm

    Wow what an intensely moving post and so informative, i had no real idea of what people face with this condition. I am hoping that you will get the support your whole family needs very soon honey.

    Thank you for linking up with #PoCoLo xxx

  8. August 18, 2013 / 8:28 pm

    I can only imagine what it must be like to face such things each day we can be so cruel and judging it’s so sad.

    Thank you for link up with the I Love My Post Blog Hop

    Life in a Break Down

  9. August 19, 2013 / 2:37 am

    I also didn’t want to just read and run. This is a powerful post, and I wish I had some advice or help I could give. I’m pleased to hear that your call was returned and I hope that it makes a difference. #PoCoLo

  10. August 21, 2013 / 11:26 am

    Hopefully things will start to improve with the respite. I haven’t any experience of ADHD other than my older son being reffered for tests for it years ago. He didn’t have it but I remember how hard it was coping with him at the time x

  11. August 21, 2013 / 5:25 pm

    I’m so sorry that you and your family are going through this and so sorry you are having to battle for the help you deserve. My son (16 months) has cerebral palsy, development delay, epilepsy, possible spd, can’t sleep well, is high risk for learning difficulties etc. It’s totally different but I have some sense of some of the challenges you face. I hope the respite is helpful. We have just been referred to Crossroads, which sounds similar. Homestart has been great for us, but no help when you need it most…

    Mostly I just wanted to extend my best wishes and send virtual hugs. You sound like an amazing and amazingly strong parent and advocate. Good luck!

    Oh, popping over from #BlogLoveDay

  12. Claire Carter
    November 27, 2013 / 7:17 am

    I too have a child with exactly the same conditions as yours and I’m so pleased I stumbled across this blog. I have the same difficulties with my 10 year old son which has caused the whole family distress and on the verge of splitting up and my husband having to give up his job to care for our son, which caused him severe depression. Finally our son got statemented and is now in a specialist residential school which gives us respite mon-fri term time. But its still so hard letting him go. I feel torn. But it does make weekends more special and his behaviour easier to manage because we’ve had a good break. Hope you get all the help you need, I totally understand how difficult and stressful it is xx