The “H” in ADHD

Posted October 6, 2010 by

I have often been corrected by people when I attribute my granddaughter Maddy’s behavioral problems to ADHD. I am told that it is a “focusing problem,” such as not being able to sit for long periods of time at school or reading a book and not understanding what she read. I felt like such a failure for not being able to control her silliness and immaturity and ridiculous outbursts; she is extremely loud, overemotional, and ultra-sensitive to change.

But I have realized that I was overlooking the “H” in ADHD: Hyperactive. That explains her laughing at a joke longer and louder than anyone else, even falling over her chair when something is funny, but not that funny.  Or acting silly or immature around kids her own age, resulting in them trying to avoid her.

Yes, we have to work on these problems. It seems like we are always saying “Shhh… take it down a decibel.” I continue to remind her not to touch other people or get too close to them so that they are uncomfortable. We try to patiently and quietly calm her down when she gets overly excited.

I keep hoping the day will come when she is able to realize on her own that she is talking louder than everyone else. That she will realize she is doing it and be able to have some sort of “auto correction.”

Thankfully, one Empowering Parents reader has already responded to my posts and told me about a feedback concept that I am looking into, as well as listening to and reading James Lehman’s wisdom.

Does anyone else out there have any ideas? Please leaves your comments here!


Nicole Roswell is married with four grown children, and she and her husband are now raising their eleven-year-old granddaughter with ADHD. They also have two dogs and two cats, and a mole who lives in the front yard “whose life long goal is to destroy every blade of grass that we own.”

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  1. frustratedwith3 Report

    This blog has been a blessing today. I woke today with such a sense of dispair! I have 2 boys with ADHD and although I am a faithful person, sometimes when things are rough, I feel like I’ve had more than my fair share. I spend much of my day frustrated by a teenage son with GREAT potential who cannot get it together enough to do his homework. On top of that, he has refused medication for over a year because he does not like the effect on his personality. On one hand, I completely understand. On the other hand, I feel like his refusal for medication is costing me my sanity! I also have an 8 year old son who has not been diagnosed, but I know and read enough to lead me to “believe” that he too is ADHD. The problem with my little guy is that behaviorally, he is a MUCH GREATER challenge. My older son is very charming and charismatic and gets along very well with people. My younger son is the polar opposite…he is not malign, just ornery. I think of him as the character from the movie “Problem Child.” I have been through behavior therapy for my children and quickly learned that it is not their behaviors that need help, it’s mine. So today, I will pick up the ball again and really try to get back on track so that I may find peace. I wish the same for all of the other parents and caregivers with struggles!

    • Elisabeth Wilkins Report

      Dear “frustratedwith3”: Thanks for chiming in here. I was really struck by your comments, and how you said that you’ve “learned that it is not their behaviors that need help, it’s mine.” You may want to check out The Total Transformation parenting program by James Lehman. It’s not exclusively about ADHD kids, but it is about feeling more in control as a parent. I can tell you from experience that you will learn some game-changing techniques. (We base many of our articles on techniques from The Total Transformation, as well.) Plus, currently there is an offer where you can give your feedback on the program and get it for free. I really think you might find the whole program very empowering.

  2. Patricia Report

    Shelley Ann thanks so much for what you wrote. Everyone had great things to add but what you said about prayer and how much God loves each one of these children indivudually more than we could ever imagine, has been the key for me. I am a missionary in Hungary and my husband have been working with orphan children and have learned so much about special needs children just as lay people really. We have been foster parents the last eight years and adopted our first foster baby boy. He was and is the apple of our eye.

    By two years old I knew that there was something different. He is diagnosed ADHD and I have recently begun to homeschool him. He us brilliant but he and his teacher did not do well together. I know how he thinks and learns and that has helped tremendously. We are not medicating. I am really hoping not to especially since in this country they only use ritlin.

    We do pray for him and for us because as you all have mentioned, it isnt easy. We dont leave him with anyone, he outsmarts them all! I am always encouraged by hearing the stories of those who have gone before and can now proclaim some victory. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  3. Audrey Report

    Im a single mom going thru alot of this with my 8 yr. old son. He has A.D.H.D and O.D.D ,wow thats alot! I miss my son, his true self
    We are getting a new medication to day and im hoping to see changes in him soon. You guys are great telling your storys and having people like me who feel SO alone and lost feel better,atleast im not alone and things will be OK. Its the just getting to the point ok thats the hardest
    Thanks for sharing

  4. shelleyann Report

    I could not leave my ADHD children with anyone either. My mom never babysat cuz she was sure she could not handle it. In fact, I could not leave a box of cereal on the table until they were 6 w/o it being emptied (thrown) all over the room. Also, all upstairs doors were locked except their bedroom and for good reason! If I didn’t, they would empty all the shampoos, liqiuid soap, etc down the drain in minutes! Once I left them in the upstairs bathtub for less than a minute (in order to grab the ringing cell phone downstairs) and returned to find them in the tub with their comforters and pillows! Even the front door had a combination lock on the inside because nothing could keep these boys inside and they did not sleep well and I worried about them escaping at night–at age two! The same age one learned how to remove screens and unlock windows to get on the roof. I then drilled them shut! I’m telling you…it was hard, hard, hard! I know we all have our own stories too!! Use every tool available for teaching, training and personal support! For me, age 6.5 was a bit of a turning point…things started to sink in for them and improvement has began to slightly climb, but at an up and down pace. At age 8 they started meds. Personally, I wish I had introduced meds sooner, but I thought I could just behavior modicate them throught it. However, the meds gave them the ability to pause and choose a behavior rather than just implusively react. Then I thought I was getting to know their true selves which was nice!

  5. Tamara Report

    Thank-you for all the inspiring stories that certainly reminds every parent that “you are not alone.” The Transformation Program has given me the tools I’ve been lacking with my son who will be turning 9 in December and all I can say about him is that he has finally found the right people in his experience to understand him and teach him in the way he best learns. In my experience, I have found that these special children are very strong kinetic learners and like “hands on” type tasks and can carry them out very well but at the same time are very poor audio learners and don’t process everything that is said to them. I do agree that diet is extremely important and being a homeopath, I want to highly suggest any parents to research this amazing field as it will treat every single child individually. I have also found that Rescue Remedy is a natural flower tincture that has been a blessing for shock,trauma and emergency situations. I’ve been more into natural methods to bring balance and happiness for the whole family.
    The other new thing I’ve been incorporating for my son is Hemi-sync CD’s which help to balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Completely fascinating!
    I have spoken to many parents whose children are now in their 20’s and although the younger years seem to be difficult, they all have shared how amazing their children are doing today!
    Stay strong and balanced!

  6. Jeanette Report

    Oops… one last thing… to help with reading. I find that audio books along with the book work very well. The child is hearing and seeing the words at the same time, stimulating both sences pluskeeping reading fun!

  7. Jeanette Report


    Wow! After reading Shellyann’s post I am sure you are off to a great start. I only want to add one thing which is often overlooked. Diet can be a big factor in the H in ADHD. Thiough many parents avoid candy, sugar, ect. we often overlook fruit huices and even fruits themselves. Carbs wich to much of can turn into sugars as well. Sports and pysical activity are a necessary part of every single day too! A nutrionist should be a big help! Best of luck!

  8. Grandma Report

    From someone who has been a grandma for 16 years, I can vouch for the intelligence of ADHD kids….I was one of them. I still can multi-task better than most people and I’m 59 years old, still work full time, am on a board of directors, keep my grandkids a few nights each week, and work a part time job. You know, it makes me good at my jobs and it makes me happy to be busy. My husband once asked me, “Do you think you’ll ever be able to sit through a whole movie without getting up and cleaning something?” Of course, my answer was “no.”

  9. Jenny Report

    To Shellyann…thank you for the encouragement. I too have fraternal twin boys that are 9 and even though ‘twin B’ is not ADHD, he has some tendencies. There are many rough days, more than good days and it really scares me at times. I can manage him but no one else seems to be able ie, my mom etc. He does have anxiety and that doesnt help either. Over analizes and thinks way too much about trivial things. I will keep going and hope to get thru this…

  10. cole19 Report

    shelleyann, thank you for your post. Interesting, I have two boys 20 months apart and they are like your two twins. They are 13 and 15 now and it is encouraging to see that they are going to be OK in the long run. I had looked at that book years ago, but maybe I need to get it out again. I think if I can add anything to the conversation, I would say I wish I had understood much earlier about how it is all about teaching them the skills to do what they need to do. When they are so bright, we lose sight of that. Enjoy your well deserved rewards of raising two wonderful boys.

  11. shelleyann Report

    Hi! I have ADHD faternal twin boys age 21. I think you are very smart to begin helping your child now. I also felt it was necessary to begin to train my boys early. My boys gave me many opportunities to learn a lot about ADHD since they are quite different from each other. Both are successful young adults, but no one will ever know the journey I went on as their mother in order to help them get to where they are today!! One of my boys was naturally scattered, lost track of time and things continually, highly distractable, implusive, poor sleeping habits, but also funny, liked by peers,tons of energy,coordinated,and a good reader. The other was forceful, motivated, hyper-focused (super focued), gifted, machanical, mathmatical, great problem solver, needed my constant attention and wanted to learn something every second or else he would create a huge mess/distruction! Both boys are artistic, musical, athletic, and very capable in the things that interest them!!
    If you met them today, you would be impressed. They are very well-spoken, well-liked, well-motivated, highly respected and in positions of great responsibility, teaching, and leadership. Was it always smooth sailing…absolutely not! I thought I was going to lose my mind–many, many times!! I had to think through every situation detail and over-prepare for everything!!! I gained a lot from some sources~the book, The Difficult Child by Stanley Tureki (sp?) will make you an expert on knowing your child. I read it carefully…once for each twin and kept a notebook, the 1-2-3 Magic video/practices will help you gain control. I could just raise my finger to signal a silent “one” from across the room and my child would correct their behavior and refocus w/o fear. Once I got past the first week of the practices in the video–life was grately improved, but the first week was difficult!! Prayer is necessary! The Lord loves your child even more than you and will help you to be inspired in your interpretation and follow-through. Always ask for help and pray when you feel like spanking. You may be inspired to handle a situation with greater wisdom and you will have given yourself the opportunity to cool down. Remember, no one (in cluding your child) is trying to make you crazy and tomorrow is one day closer to their responsible adulthood!Finally, let them take full responsibility for their impact and actions, apologies, fixing things, etc…do not excuse behaviors due to ADHD. Give them the tools to recognize and correct their behavior w/o excues. For example, they once had to pay for the babysitter because they were so difficult that I felt the babysitter was only able to “work” for them and not for me–they were not my only children! Wen my 3 yr. old slapped the elderly Sunday School teacher because he was unwilling to change activites in class, He made her cookies, wrote out an apology card and delivered it with a verbal apology–that afternoon! Age appropriate behavior is harder to obtain but is possible and expected in society. There are many “tricks of the trade” I learned to teach my boys, but different things work best according to personalities. If you’d like to share some of your child’s personality/interests, I would be happy to share any other specifics that may help. Good Luck! Btw, I had 5 kids in 6 years and the twins were the oldest. They are all doing well.

  12. Sarah Lawrence Hinson Report

    My children haven’t been diagnosed with ADHD, but I would definitely say they are highly sensitive.

    I think everyone’s nervous system is so different, and can be stimulated and overstimulated in so many different ways in the modern world. When my oldest daughter was in the age 2-6 range, I began to get a sense of how easily she was overstimulated by her day by persistent observation…unless I got her calmed down in some way and/or into bed before the ‘meltdown’, she would have an uncontrollable crying jag for 45 minutes or more, resulting in us needing to hold her for her own protection (flailing), swaddle her and generally reduce stimulation in any way we could (darkened room).

    Just a suggestion, but I have found the Indigo Children books highly useful, have learnt to practice energy work, and use essential oils and flower essences with my children.

    My oldest is now learning to manage her own energy in very effective ways using these techniques. Feel free to check out my blog too as I continue to post on my experiences…there are a lot of parents out there with ‘different’ or quantum kids!

    Wishing you the best!

  13. mom0709 Report

    I have a 3 1/2 year old that has all the symptoms of ADHD, does anyone have any advice on how to start helping him learn to deal with this now so that it will be a little easier as he grows. I would like to do star charts to see if that helps him but I need some advice on how to go about doing this.

  14. MomInSameBoat Report

    My daughter is going through the same thing and the Hyperness is really the issue. We do tons of star charts with little rewards and just take it day by day. Some wks are better than others but I find that when we have her around people that understand and are colorful and positive she does MUCH better than around negative people that want to keep their thumbs on these children. If you search long enough you will find something that she absolutley loves to do and is awsome at. I find that kids with ADHD have the ability to do sports that require their attention in several different areas at one time so I look at it this way. In school stuff like reading we have to work harder but in sports or in my daughters case dance she is gifted b/c she can be in 10 differnt thought processes at the same time. I refuse to let stuffy people put our kids in a box. Hang in there and it is amazing that you care so much. She will get it. Mine is 7. :o) God bless you.



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