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ADHD or naughtiness?

(7 Posts)
KarenThirl Fri 04-Mar-05 09:43:23

How do other parents discipline inappropriate behaviour in ADHD/ASD kids? I find it very difficult to know where to draw the line between what J can’t help because of whatever his condition is, and what is normal six year old naughtiness and mischief that needs to be checked. I’ve found (as I’m sure plenty of you have too) that I need to overlook some of the lesser behaviour otherwise I’d be on his back all day, and as it’s important to maintain self esteem I try my best not to do that. Also, I need to keep him safe – this morning during our usual getting-ready fiasco, I had to let him get away with not washing his hands because he was driving me so crazy I had to walk out the bathroom before I started shouting at him (or worse). IMO it’s better for him to go to school with wee on his hands than having had a barney with his mum. Or am I letting him get away with poor hygiene?!

I have discussed with J that I know he can’t help certain areas of his behaviour and although he was relieved at the time and I was in no doubt that he was glad that I was on his side, I’m now wondering whether it was such a good idea. Sometimes now when I reprimand him he’ll say “But it’s just how I am” and I’m concerned that I’ve handed him an excuse to act up without being blamed for it. OTOH, even with things I don’t think he can help I’m always careful to point out that it’s not acceptable and that it’s important to keep trying – he has to learn to fit in with society’s expectations and I think I’d be a bad parent if I let him get away without knowing that.

It’s a minefield. Where do others draw the line?

cornfield Fri 04-Mar-05 09:47:52

I don't know as dh and I were having this conversation yesterday, where he said he's read in the paper that in Europe adhd is on heard of, the children sit politely with their parents and drink watered down wine, and are very good...I do think it's hard as dd is a right handfulat times but I do think it's down to the way children are disciplined in the first place,..some children need firmer handling, a lot girmer handling (sometimes we let them get away with blue murder)...

Cosmo74 Fri 04-Mar-05 09:47:55


Sorry I do not have the answer but I also worry about this - in fact me and hubby have not been on good terms the last 2 days over this - he wanted to disipline DS (5) over not concentrating on his homework and I stopped him cause I think he cannot help it!! I hope someone has some ideas for us but just to let you know you are not alone. However there is some days when DS just pushes me so much that I get fed up listening to myself giving off!!

MrsFROSTgetful Fri 04-Mar-05 10:27:10

K- best advice i can give for J is that if you need to discipline him to if possible whisper the 'correction' to him...TOM had ADHD and later was dx with AS...and at 6/7 i was at total despair trying to get him to 'listen to me'...was explained that he was UNABLE (NOT UNWIILING) to look at me and listen- so suggested i try whispering the 'telling off'. obviously no good in 'safety' issues etc........but generally worked...there is somthing about also the fact that you are yourself calmed down by this as you are not shouting etc..Also if in public it's not nice for the child as they get older to have 'publically' announced what they have done...i have used this method with ANY young child i have had at home and it works well even if not ADHD eTC

As a mum of 3 boys who are clearly special needs...and myself who was strictly brought up with intense discipline...i can see it both ways.

there is a HUGE difference between a child that CANNOT do something to a child that WILL NOT do something-

parents of the children who are ADHD/ASD will be the ones not just being stared at as thier 10 year old has a tantrum in the supermarket
They will also be the ones crying... as they are judged as having failed again'...they will be the ones crying as they drive home .

My parents are the 'disciplned ones' - sure we sat nicely at the table and drank wine at christmas...but ME...well i see a psychologist weekly for the damage done to me by being 'crushed to death' by my parents in their need to 'make a child that COULDN't be what they wanted...and whom they beilved 'HOSE TO BE A NASTY NAUGHTY LITTLE GIRL'

To read about those newspaper articles on threads that are for support i don't feel helps- i am sure this was not your intention- but hearing about those articles just increasesthe axiety many of us feel already when we are struggling

KarenThirl Fri 04-Mar-05 10:36:58

Cornfield, I reckon your dh must be an Express reader! I read the same article (edited from the Spectator, iirc), and I was so incensed I almost wrote to the letters page myself (signed, 'furious of Gateshead', or something). He was commenting on being on Eurostar and you could always tell when you were nearly home because all the English kids started acting up. Yes, it's true that Brit kids are often spoilt and undisciplied, but this writer's opinion seemed to trivialise ADHD as a geniune condition and assumed that we were all crap parents who weren't giving our children enough discipline. I'm sure we all have a very individual experience of this as all our children are different and the line will be drawn in different places, but it does worry me when I'm punishing J for something I 'think' he should have known was wrong, and later wonder if there's a possibility that he couldn't help it.

Example: things have got so bad socially for J that I've had to stop friends coming for tea for now because it's upsetting for the friends and J isn't handling it at all. Additionally, I have ME and it's utterly exhausting for me. Yesterday was the last friend visit for a while. On the way to picking him up, another mum invited him to her house next week and I said I'd see, given recent events and depending on how he coped today with his guest. When J came out of school I told him this, including that he could go if he behaved well today with his friend and ensuring that he understand what that entailed. Well, it was the worst friend visit I've ever witnessed (won't go into details - it would take pages!!), but I had to tell him he couldn't go to his friend next week. He got really upset that I wasn't being fair to him, he really wanted to go and couldn't help not playing properly with his guest. So... did I do the right thing? I know from experience that he won't learn from this, but I can't take the risk of him behaving the way he did last night in somebody else's home and upsetting other children. He has few enough friends now already that I'm afraid to risk losing them. Any thoughts?

KarenThirl Sun 06-Mar-05 18:59:26

Mrs F - have tried the 'whispering' technique without success. On the contrary I often have to reach shrieking pitch before J acknowledges that I'm there at all, and sometimes he's 'shocked' into recognising that he's out of line but not very often. It doesn't make it very easy to stay in control when it's necessary to yell like that.

An example of what I'm talking about happened today. J has been off the wall most of this afternoon and I've gone through all the usual strategies, ie 1-2-3, threats of withdrawing computer privileges, removing distractions (books, toys etc), promising rewards for complying, yadda yadda yadda. I've now had to put him to bed with a book at 6.30 because I've had enough - dh has been at work all weekend and I've been in sole charge of keeping J calm and entertained and I'm now exhausted. But ... is this fair? In effect, he's been punished for something he can't help. Or can he? How much of this is (insert medical condition here) and how much is J just acting up?

Jimjams Sun 06-Mar-05 19:45:10

Something that interested me when I read Lucy Blackman's book 9she is severely nonverbal autistic) is that she talked a lot about how she had to be bullied into doing stuff. I loved the depiction of her mother- she was no saint, but did her best for Lucy and Lucy recognised that but spoke quite candidly of the times her mum got cross with her. When ds1 starts messing around I tend to come down quite firmly but with lots of warning. So I will say "hoover upstairs for countdown then back to cellar". Giving him time to get used to having to stop something (stimming over the hoover in this case) appears to work. The countdown nis either me counting down from 10 or 5 depending on how difficult it will be to say goodbye (10 foor harder things)

Don't worry about the article in the Express. I remember years ago an article was printed in the Times saying that an academic had said children needed to climb trees then they wouldn't get ADHD. I wrote to her incensed and she sent me the press release she had sent to the Times- basically the Times had made it up!!! Middle england has its own agenda!

One thing I did find in france was that the adults were far far more tolerant of his autism than they are here. If he was doing something barking and I told them he was autistic they were instantlly understanding and very kind. It surprised me as I'd been led to believe it wouldn't be like that.. A friend found the same thing - very understanding.

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