ADHD and Family Stress

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Last week, we received the results of an assessment done by a neuropsychologist to see if Maxandre has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The result; Mixed ADHD with hyperactivity/impulsivity and oppositional disorder. These were the results we expected; we would have been surprised to receive another diagnosis.

The neuropsychologist took the time to explain to, us over the phone, why Maxandre’s diagnosis is ADHD with impulsiveness and opposition. We are happy to receive a professional diagnosis which will help us to better support Maxandre. All in all, for us, this is good news! Over the next week, we should receive the final written detailed report from the neuropsychologist.

Over the past year, I’ve read a lot on the subject. I also got a firsthand look at what ADHD really looks like since the children were mostly at home due to the pandemic and virtual school. Supervising and encouraging an ADHD child for virtual learning comes with its share of challenges. This experience gave me 99% certainty that Maxandre had ADHD. I was able to see, right in front of me, the difference with the other students.

One of the biggest misconceptions some people have about ADHD is the idea that it is related to the way parents raise their children (“badly brought up kids” in other words). This is not true. We lived it with our two boys. Raised in the same environment, they were the polar opposites of each other, even though both were active boys!

Studies show that ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that causes differences in the brain, meaning that the brains of people with ADHD work differently. Since it is a neurological disorder, the symptoms are beyond a child’s control. As such, there is no shame in having a child with ADHD and talking about it. We must support the child and not be discouraged by their actions!

Below is an infographic that I created. For my first post about ADHD, I chose the subject of “challenges” because identifying the symptoms is the first step for parents. The infographic lists some of the challenges within families, especially before a diagnosis. It is important that all of us, parents, grandparents, or others around us, be on the lookout for signs. It is even more crucial that parents feel less alone in their frustration.

Most of the challenges below occur are more likely to occur during the day-to-day routine and at school. By contrast, in happier situations (e.g. visiting friends or grandparents), these issues are less likely to be apparent. As such, we must look beneath the surface and avoid making quick judgments, especially if we aren’t part of day-to-day life of the child!

Not all behaviours listed below will necessarily be present for all families and children with ADHD. The situations listed in the infographic are just more likely to happen with a child with ADHD. Each child is unique. A list of references that I consulted before I created the infographic can be found below.

Infographic with reasons why ADHD is hard. The challenges and reasons why parents are stressed and exhausted with ADHD child / kid
11 reasons why parents are stressed and exhausted – by Grieving Maman

You liked this post? If you could kindly share it, it would be greatly appreciated. You never know, it could help other families! If you are a parent with an ADHD child, don’t hesitate to share it with you family or friends, they might understand your situation better after!


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References:

https://mecp.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s43045-021-00151-3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktb520seHYk

https://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/attention-deficit-disorder-adhd-news-50/kids-with-adhd-suffer-more-injuries-511574.html

https://www.additudemag.com/slideshows/messy-bedroom-organization-tips-adhd-kids/

https://www.medpagetoday.com/resource-centers/adhd-care-pediatric-patients/adhd-expecting-more-chores/2829

https://www.invivomagazine.com/en/corpore_sano/prospection/article/185/hyperactive-and-clumsy-the-same-battle

https://www.additudemag.com/oppositional-defiant-disorder-odd-and-adhd/

https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Children-With-Oppositional-Defiant-Disorder-072.aspx

https://www.todaysparent.com/family/discipline/oppositional-defiance-disorder-when-your-kid-isnt-just-difficult/

https://www.additudemag.com/slideshows/adhd-and-shame/

https://adhdology.com/adhd-parent-burnout-solutions/

https://time.com/growing-up-with-adhd/

https://aqnp.ca/documentation/developpemental/tdah/?gclid=Cj0KCQiAnuGNBhCPARIsACbnLzqVw9Vh56Nd-EXSd4vRwhs9-lKK7g_SOEehTAI7bOEHqlI29NplMoEaAib5EALw_wcB

https://psychcentral.com/adhd/reducing-one-of-the-most-painful-symptoms-of-adhd

https://aqnp.ca/wp-content/uploads/TDAH_ok.pdf

https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html#another

Hyperactivité et troubles des conduites : des diagnostics controversés, Julien Jupille https://www.cairn.info/revue-l-information-psychiatrique-2011-5-page-409.htm

TROUBLE DE DÉFICIT DE L’ATTENTION/HYPERACTIVITÉ ; Agir ensemble pour mieux soutenir les jeunes

https://publications.msss.gouv.qc.ca/msss/fichiers/2003/03-formation.pdf

https://aqnp.ca/wp-content/uploads/TDAH_ok.pdf

6 thoughts on “ADHD and Family Stress

  1. Wow Brigitte! This is incredible. Rafael has ADHD and everything you describe is 100% accurate in our family. I am finding it especially challenging in this season of holidays and lockdowns. I feel nervous to parent in front of family and am always worried there will be an outburst that I can’t control. Hockey has also just been cancelled which was a strong support for us to manage Rafael’s energy. You are not alone and I am so grateful for your post. xo

    1. thank you Amy! it is hard, and lockdowns like you said are so challenging! And yes, hockey is cancelled, which is also Maxandre’s sport! Thank you for sharing, and enjoy your holidays. xo

  2. Hey Brigitte! I’m sorry to hear about the challenges your family may be experiencing due to Maxandre’s condition, but I am really glad you were able to get a diagnosis for him so he can get the support he needs. You and Carl are such awesome parents and it doesn’t surprise me at all to hear that you’ve been doing a lot of research about this! 🙂

    I also have ADHD but I was in my early 20’s before I was finally properly diagnosed. It’s especially common for ADHD in girls to be overlooked or misdiagnosed, for a variety of reasons. Stigma and misinformation certainly don’t help.

    These days, I feel like my symptoms are pretty manageable after a lot of trial and error and learning what works for me. But sometimes I think about all the struggling that could have been avoided if I had been diagnosed earlier so I could have found the right treatment options and supports sooner.

    Thank you for raising awareness about this and being so supportive of Maxandre. People with ADHD have so many strengths and we can go on to be super successful in life – especially when we have the right help! Nobody should have to feel ashamed that their brain works a little differently.

    1. Thank you Paige for sharing your experience. I didn’t know about your ADHD, and wouldn’t have guessed it. I agree that people with ADHD have many strengths, I see with Maxandre all the time… but ADHD get in the way of his potential. For example, he’s so musically inclined (he has the “ear”), but because of the ADHD, “sitting down” for lessons (especially online these days) isn’t an option.

      I am happy that you’ve found the right treatment. I’m reading this often, that there is a lot of trial error, and patience is essential. I wish you happy holidays.

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