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Child with possible ADHD

(27 Posts)
Mimiof7 Sun 02-Jun-19 18:46:48

3 out of 5 of my grandbabies live near me. The oldest is from my oldest son who passed away and the other 2 are not blood related but I have always treated them all the same. The two older children are boys and the youngest, a girl. The boys sometimes spend the night at my house and I try to take them out for day outings at least once a month or more. The younger boy (5) is non-stop rambunctious, talks constantly, and does not listen where the oldest (6, turning 7 in a few months) is generally quiet and generally listens. Every time they spend the night, the younger one starts crying and says he wants mommy. I used to call them and they would come pick him up but I’ve started telling him no and that we warned him beforehand that if he wanted to stay the night we were not calling his parents to come get him. They have no discipline at home and they come in tearing through the house like a tornado and touching everything without asking and I am constantly telling them to leave things alone that can be broken (ie my dad’s model cars, nick nacks, etc.) and constantly after them to not tear things up. The oldest does not behave this way when the younger one is not around. It is exhausting having both of them together. I don’t know what to do. Their parents take the stance that I can’t take one without the other so my only other option would be to not take them at all. My oldest grandson is the only thing I have left of my oldest son and not seeing him would be devastating to me. How do I get the parents to understand that it’s not that I’m trying to play favorites but this child’s behavior is out of control and it ruins the time I could be having with the better behaved children. I am not a fan of medicating children but I honestly feel it is actually necessary in this case. I am hoping he will grow out of it eventually but it is just so draining right now. I don’t mind the day trips but I would prefer to only have the youngest or oldest for overnights until the middle child’s behavior and self-control improves. How do others in this situation deal with this?

MiniMoon Sun 02-Jun-19 19:24:04

I understand your dilemma here. It's difficult not to show favouritism. I have three grandsons, two with ADHD, one with autism. They have all had a formal diagnosis of their conditions.
They love coming for a sleepover, but I cannot manage more than one at a time. The youngest who is six has medication for his ADHD which is helpful.
I worked out a rota with my daughter, and have one boy at a time, with a couple of weeks between visits. They are hard work but I love them, and they will not want to come one day so I'm making the most of it😃.
Perhaps you could work out a similar rota so that none of your boys feel left out.
Good luck.

BlueBelle Sun 02-Jun-19 19:42:57

I don’t believe you can treat them differently
I m presuming the middle boy and little girl belong to the father (step father of your blood grandchild) and therefore the 5 year old now has a step mum which means that in his five short years he has lost his real mum and now being brought up by a step mum and gained an older brother ? Have I got that right if so it’s a lot of changes to have happened in his short little life and may be why he’s a bit all over the place and testing everyone out
You cant leave him out if you have the others so either work out a rota or have the boys together and put all precious things away before they come
It is hard work and small kids rarely behave as you want them to but they grow up and are gone in a blink of an eye

DoraMarr Sun 02-Jun-19 19:47:40

ADHD is an anxiety disorder- not just hyperactive and disobedient behaviour. It is an extremely complex condition, but having taught children with a formal diagnosis of ADHD I know that in some children their behaviour appears to be very self- controlled, although they may have other behaviours like compulsive handwashing, repeating certain phrases over and over, head- banging etc. It would be unlikely, then that any doctor would prescribe Ritalin, which is a highly potent drug, based on what you have said. This little chap appears to be just a very active five year old. Crying for his parents at bedtime is quite normal. I don’t see why you should have to have both boys- just say no! Have the little one for an afternoon on his own, and tell him he can stay the night when he is a bit bigger. Don’t tell him it’s because he is naughty. Find something you can do with him that will engage him.Put anything precious out of his sight and his reach, so that you are not constantly telling him off. The problem with children who have been labelled “ naughty “ is that that is how they soon come to think of themselves. Try to find things you can praise him for. Again, just say no when the parents try to pressurise you.

BlueBelle Sun 02-Jun-19 19:58:44

Beautifully put Dora the criticism is crippling for a lively or over lively kid we are not all the same some are quiet and solitary some extrovert and into everything He sounds a normal 5 year old (whatever normal is)to me

M0nica Sun 02-Jun-19 20:23:29

ADHD is a lot more complex than being on the go all the time and talking a lot.

I agree with other posters, he has had a very difficult time over his short life, and that could be causing a lot of his problems, which does not help.

He could also just be hyper active without the AD bit. I had a friend with a child diagnosed as hyperactive and your DGS's behaviour sounds more like that than ADHD.

In the short term just tell the parents that as you are getting older, you find coping with 2 lively boys (and sister) visiting at the same time too exhausting. This is a quite common happening among grandparents, and in future you feel you can only cope with one child at a time, so you would like to have them in rotation. One at a time, with each child getting an equal number of stays. Do they want them all with you together to give themselves occasional evenings without the children.

Even if that is the case, for your DiL and husband to refuse your request is beyond unreasonable. Older people do not have the energy and resilience of younger people, and if they find their children exhausting so that they need a break, you really cannot be expected to look after them all at once.

You just have to be quiet and firm and stick to your guns and not be tempted to say anything you may regret.

Doodle Sun 02-Jun-19 20:24:47

Dora spot on. Why not put some things out of reach instead of just saying don’t touch. I used to have to barricade my video player when mine came round as it was deemed to be a good place to store cars! These years when they are young pass so quickly.

trisher Sun 02-Jun-19 21:03:55

I think the "you can't have one without the other" is an attempt to make sure you don't treat the boys differently. You could perhaps offer to have the younger one first which might reassure them. It sounds as if he is deperately trying to find his place and using attention seeking to get it. It isn't necessarily ADHD just high spirits. Many years ago I went to a talk about ADHD. The chap giving it questioned the long term effect of drugging children. Apparently most new businesses are started by people with ADHD because they are the risk takers. He wondered if this would be the case in the future. If it is ADHD it isn't necessarily all negativity.

Mimiof7 Mon 03-Jun-19 02:29:48

My biological grandson has a step father. They were married while she was pregnant with him. The other 2 are biological from that marriage.

BlueBelle Mon 03-Jun-19 06:56:57

Sorry to be dim but I don’t understand that last post
Your daughter in law was married whilst she was pregnant with your grandson? This child isn’t the husbands
Do you mean your son and daughter in law conceived a baby, your son died and your daughter in law married a new person before the child was born and then had two further children ? That’s a lot to happen in 9 months or do you mean she was a married lady who had a fling with your son and conceived the baby who her husband took on as his own.
Going back to the original problem I m sure the lively chap is just being the middle child trying to keep up with his brother, or go one better to prove his status You say they have no discipline at home so why would they change when they come to yours surely that’s the problem not the child he obviously isn’t that tough if he misses his mum at night

To suggest medicating a child for being a normal ‘little tyke’ is completely over the top and something you should not be even thinking about, that’s a truly awful suggestion.

BradfordLass72 Mon 03-Jun-19 07:56:30

Childproof your house for the duration. All you need to do is put precious things in a box and put them out of reach until the boys have gone home.

Insist you can make visits far more special if you have one boy at a time, stick to that, make it clear you are getting far too tired for two active wee boys at a time.
The parents may be using your good nature to get a bit of peace and quiet themselves but you're not there to be harrassed, you should be enjoying your grandchildren.

Buy a pogo stick for the active little fellow smile or take them to the play park or swimming. Get them doing gardening or housework - my dgs loves washing up and used to stand on a stool at the sink for hours. Playing in the suds afterwards was his delight.

This is a good site for crafts if either of the boys like doing things like that.

Not every child is sporty but most love party games.
You can easily find ideas online - and played with enthusiasm, games such as musical chairs (or cushions) can tire children out. smile while you watch from the sidelines if you don't want to join in.

Most of all, make sure you look after yourself physically and emotionally. Even quiet grandchildren can tax our strength.

wildswan16 Mon 03-Jun-19 08:06:35

I can't quite work out the relationships here - but it doesn't really matter. Children are all different. Some are quiet and thoughtful, some are whirlwinds who never concentrate for more than a minute.

It isn't helpful to try to label such children as needing medication, or having ADHD. If you can't manage the children all together, then have them individually. If the 5 year old isn't ready to sleep away from home, then don't try to make him.

I hope you can find a way to enjoy your grandchildren and not overstretch yourself.

Iam64 Mon 03-Jun-19 08:11:36

I'm a believer in accurate assessment, diagnosis and treatment for children who display emotional or behavioural problems that are causing them difficulties at school or in family relationships.
I dislike the idea of labelling ordinary, lively, challenging boys and girls as having ADHD/ASD etc. It just isn't helpful to those children and dismisses the significant needs of children who do have a diagnosable health issue.

sodapop Mon 03-Jun-19 08:21:38

I agree Iam64 it's not helpful to label children without an accurate diagnosis - or anyone come to that. So many labels applied now without a real understanding of the condition.
I think you need to have a frank chat with the children's mother Mimi and explain you are finding things difficult. DoraMarr has some good suggestions.

BlueBelle Mon 03-Jun-19 08:27:09

Another idea if you offer to have the children separately start with the middle one not only will it maybe appease the parents who might (probably wrongly) think you favour your biological grandson but it will make him feel very grown up and important and you may find after the initial excitement he may calm down and like the one to one with you
But as others have said put anything precious out of the way it’s like a big puppy with a long wagging tail you wouldn’t leave expensive ornaments on a low table would you ?

Callistemon Mon 03-Jun-19 08:51:44

I agree, Iam64; for a grandparent to label a child like this and suggest he needs medicating is deeply worrying.

Can you insist that you do have one at a time so that each child has some 'special time' with you and your undivided attention and enjoy planned activities together?
Put away anything precious - that goes without saying, surely?

Younger parents don't always appreciate that we don't have as much energy as them to cope with active children - they sound like healthy, lively children but having one at a time would mean you are more focussed and able to give each child your undivided attention and they will not be 'bouncing off' each other.

Callistemon Mon 03-Jun-19 08:55:19

Are you in the USA, Mimi?
Reports suggest that very many American children are being medicated unnecessarily.

BlueBelle Mon 03-Jun-19 10:17:29

I agree Callistemon these are not drugs to be given lightly to children it is so much better to find ways of managing the child except in very extreme cases they can be taught to overcome many of the things that are found irritating It takes patience and time but so much better than medicating and losing some of the vibrant challenging personality I know this is an unpopular view especially in US am I wrong that a child with ADHD has to be on medication to be allowed to attend school I think that’s outrageous

Mimiof7 Mon 03-Jun-19 11:52:28

Thanks everyone who provided useful information without bashing my feelings. I raised 3 boys. This child’s bad behavior is beyond “normal”. I am not a fan of medicating children and would suggest it if I didn’t truly feel it would be more helpful than harmful.

My son and my grandson’s mother were dating when she got pregnant but soon after she found out she was pregnant, she broke up with my son and married her current husband. They have since had 2 more children and now have a 4th child (their 3rd together) on the way. I agree that all of the children have/are going through a lot. They live in squalor in a 2 bedroom, single-wide trailer, currently with 9 people living there. 2 of them pregnant, including my grandson’s mom. There is trash and filth everywhere and the kids are allowed to do whatever they want so yeah, it’s probably unreasonable for me to expect they have any kind of consideration for other people’s property.

My children were not raised like this. They were taught early not to touch things without asking. They were taught basic manners and respect. They didn’t eat food then just throw whatever was left in the floor when they were “done” to run and play. I do not criticize the children when they are with me. I gently ask them to pick up after themselves or to put things down/back where they got them and I ask them to not touch things without asking first. I pray that none of you ever have to chose between having to deal with the super challenging behavior of a non-biological grandchild in order to be able to see/spend time with your biological grandchild of your own child that passed away. I came to you all for help and advice so I appreciate those who have offered such and for those who are being hateful and judgmental, I wish you peace and blessings.

Callistemon Mon 03-Jun-19 12:02:41

I think posters have been constructive and helpful Mimi and cannot understand your hateful and judgmental comment at all.

These children sound as if they are not being brought up with any guidance so it would be good if you could maintain contact with them, even if they are not your biological DGC, so that you can firmly but gently show them a different way of behaving.
I doubt they are allowed to behave like that at school either, so your combined influences could only be for the good.


Yorkshiregirl Mon 03-Jun-19 12:45:47

I found it difficult to have more than one grandchild overnight at a time.

I have 2 sons, and a grandson with adhd who are adults now, and I have never heard it described as an anxiety disorder.
It can be very difficult for the people with this condition, as well as the people around them depending on the degree of the condition, and especially difficult for grandparents as they get older to have the energy to cope with it.
Please don't feel guilty just do whatever you can cope with.

PamGeo Mon 03-Jun-19 15:25:08

It's not an ideal situation for any of the people living so close together in a small place, no wonder they love getting away from it I'd go wild if I got the chance to get out of there.

I know it's not the same, I'm not deliberately being rude or anything but, I'm a big animal lover and I've always had dogs.
If I can't take mine out for a good walk for a day or 2 because of my health it is hard work walking them on the leash, pulling and lunging. I put them in the car and drive to a local field where I know they can run off leash safely, they tear around and crash into each other and sound like they are fighting when they are playing. After a while they settle down and calmly, playfully walk round the field with me and I don't need to put a leash back on to go from car to the house.

Maybe, just a thought, could you collect or meet up with the children at a play area or a climbing wall, soft play centre, swimming pool ? It could mean you have a much calmer entry to your home than usual, which should help you all . Who knows what impact you and your husband are having on these young children, they may not all be your sons but they are all siblings.
I don't know about medicating children, I won't pretend to know anything but I think in this case, as you have explained it, I think it's more environment and home life than an actual condition.

DoraMarr Mon 03-Jun-19 15:40:30

Gosh I’m so sorry. You must be very concerned for all the children and you are obviously doing your best in a very difficult situation. I imagine you just want to pick up your biological grandson and run away with him! I’m guessing you are in the USA. Many schools and children’s centre here run parenting classes. Perhaps there are some near you? While it might be difficult to get the actual parents to attend, you might be able to go and pick up a few ideas for yourself.
I’m sorry if my previous post sounded judgmental. I didn’t understand the full extent of your situation.

BlueBelle Mon 03-Jun-19 15:54:13

Oh dear I don’t think anyone’s been hateful or mean just trying to see the picture clearly and now with your last post it has become very clear
they live in squalor in a two bedroom trailer currently with 9 people living there two of whom are pregnant so soon there will be 11 people including two newborns
there is trash and filth everywhere and the children are allowed to do whatever they want
But mimi can’t you see that the little boy is only doing what his environment and parents are teaching him he can’t then act well at your house if 90% of his life is wild and unsupervised

I think you must be heartbroken to see your biological grandson living this kind of life I know I would be, but I don’t know what you can do about it Do they treat him with love? is there kindness, laughter and care within this crowded environment?
Am I right in thinking you really, in your deep heart of hearts, would like to have your own grandchild living with you (I know I would in your situation)
What an awful mess for you I truly feel for you now you have explain it more fully

Florence64 Mon 03-Jun-19 17:39:42

I do understand to a certain extent. I brought up my stepson from the age of 11. He is the same age as my actual son and my daughter is a little older. My ss had some very challenging behaviour when he was a little boy and after he came to live with us his behaviour got worse and it made things very hard for my children and me. It also caused conflict with my husband (his father) for a while. This angry little boy bullied my son, told me he hated me and generally made life very difficult indeed. His mother could no longer cope, but of course he missed her and I also think he was given the impression that his behaviour would split up his dad and me and then he wold have his dad all to himself. It was horrible for a while, but I kept telling him I loved him and I never, ever told him I didn't want him around. It started to get a bit easier over time, but now I feel he's 'mine' and he really is the loveliest, kindest and thoughtful young man. It's quite sad in a way that I am actually closer to him than I am to my own son. I never thought I would say this, but my life has been better for having him in it.