Desperate for Suggestions on Parenting a 6 Year Old Boy with ADHD & Depression

Updated on March 03, 2011
B.P. asks from Atlanta, GA
21 answers

My son is 6 years old and has struggled with Depression and ADHD since I can remember really. It took me a long time to finally admit that I couldn't manage this along anymore. My son has now been taking medication for both the depression and adhd for a year or so. It was a difficult decision to medicate him but this decision was based on seeking relief for his suffering and not to make my life easier by any means.
He just lacks self esteem, and is terribly insecure. He refuses to participate in class and in Summer Camp in activities because he fears he won't be good enough or that he will make a mistake and the other children will make fun of him. This causes his getting into trouble for not behaving and cooperating. He was nearly expelled from his Charter School last year in Kindergarten. He just acts out and this is usually caused by his insecurities and his fear of asking for help. I can't afford to place him in private school. He sees a therapist and a psychiatrist. I work closely with the school administration but it seems like everything is a constant struggle. He's been asked to leave daycare facilities because of his refusal to cooperate with them. HELP! How can I help my son? I've read books, I've asked parents, I've done research, I'm at a loss. All I want is for him to be happy and to behave. I just want him to be a child again. Does anyone have any advice? My son and I live with my boyfriend of 4 years. My son loves him. They are very close. My son doesn't remember a time where my boyfriend wasn't a part of his life so we don't have any issues with their relationship. The only trouble at home is the stress of our desperation to help my child. We're a loving family. We're both just so desperate to help my child. I'm emotionally exhausted and desperate for some help for my child.

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B.M.

answers from Spartanburg on

Have you looked at anxiety rather than ADHD? Anxiety symptoms can mimic ADHD and sometimes it can be anxiety rather than ADHD. "Fears of making a mistake" is a flag for me and not wanting to participate in class. Is he a shy kid outside of the home? Any separation anxiety when he is away from you? Just some thoughts.

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R.P.

answers from Savannah on

My ds 10 has ADHD,Bipolar and intermittent explosive disorder on top of his physical disabilities.It is very emotional draining for us.Is He taking any meds to help.They really do help.get on listserves and other supports systems for parents like you.feel free to email me too.

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P.S.

answers from Macon on

B.:
I have a testimonial that I wanted to share with you. P. [email protected]____.com

My son Jacob age 9 yrs was suffering from ADHD and I was very interested in trying a natural alternative to Ritalin. I was introduced to these Melaleuca products through a friend. I started Jacob on the Children’s Chewable Vitamins and the ProVex.
After just 4 weeks I could notice a change in his behavior, and the teachers at school also could see a big change in him. The only thing that I changed in his daily routine at that time was to give him the children's chewable vitamins and the ProVex capsules.
I had found something that worked and was helping him every day with his schoolwork and his behavior at home.

Then in May 2003 I was unable to get my regular supply of the children chewable Vitamins for some 4 weeks and in that time, Jacob's behavior had returned to what he was like prior to me starting him on taking the vitamin range in February.
I have now been able to obtain my monthly supply of these wonderful children’s chewable vitamins from the Melaleuca Company.
I am very thankful for the introduction to Melaleuca.
I will continue to give him these products because I see it as important nutrition and “Brain Food” for him and it will help him grow into a healthy young man in the future. Life is much better now. Thanks to everyone involved
Joy Virtue, Cedarvale Qld Australia, 4285

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K.W.

answers from Atlanta on

B., I feel your pain. My husband and I raised his adopted son who also had ADHD. Once we finally gave in and got the medicine for him it made such a difference. I decided to ask him what the medicine does for him. He was 8 years old and told me that the pills let him hear better. After some deep digging I found that before the RX he could not focus on what was being said because he was distracted by what we would call ambient noise - the clock ticking, the AC turning on and off, kids moving in their seats, cars outside on the road. Things that I had to focus on to hear. He just could not ignore these sounds - so in his mind Rx helped him hear better.
Please drop the guilt of having a son who is different and has to be on meds. Whether you know it or not, he will pick up on your guilt and put those labels on himself.
Life with an ADHD child is a constant balancing act. It requires coordination of doctors, teachers, and family. As an ADHD child he is entitled to additional help at school. Find out now what you have to do to get him on an Independent Learning Plan. This plan would be worked out with his special Ed. teacher, the school councilor and his teachers. It is a Federal law that they work with him this way. But you may have to demand that they do it.

Good luck and don't forget to take care of yourself,
K.

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H.R.

answers from Myrtle Beach on

It has been proven time and time again that anyone with depression has heavy metals in there body. However there is no drugs that can help or cure this, a detox and diet can. There is a lady in Conway, her name is Melody Isles, she is amazing and I know she could help you put your son on a plan that would help him. The place is called Natural Health Councelling they are on the corner of 4th Ave and Main St.
Hope you find help, you seem like a mom that cares! All the best.
I am a mom of almost 3. 5 year old boy, 3 year old girl and another coming first of Aug.

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S.B.

answers from Spartanburg on

This may sound like a weird response, but please visit www.uppercervicalcare.com. This type of specific chiropractic has changed our lives - yes, even for my 6 year old who was diagnosed with ADD and showed signs of depression when she was younger. She didn't sleep well for the first 5 years of her life and she had terrible nightmares.
After our first adjustment with Dr. C. in Easley, she has been a different child. The website will explain more and if you meet with a doctor, he/she can really explain why this might help your son. It may be the answer you've been looking for! God Bless your family.

S.

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S.H.

answers from Atlanta on

B., there are some groups online that can be a huge help for this kind of problem with discussion groups for parents of ADHD and bipolar children. One thing that I found helpful while raising my ADHD grandson is called www.Empoweringparents.com. You can archive weekly articles there and they will send you a weekly newsletter filled with articles to help, as well. They also have a program to sell if you want it, but I never bought it. I found these articles to be extremely helpful. Is your son's ADHD improved on his present medications? Is he on meds to treat both the ADHD and the depression, or just the ADHD? As he begins to be able to focus better, his school work should improve and as that improves, his self-esteem should improve. Also, talk to a teacher at the school who specializes in helping children with ADHD. My grandson's special ed. teacher had great suggestions for this. My grandson has depression with his ADHD/bipolar (it is rare that a child has both ADHD and bipolar, but he does), and yes, he fights issues of self-esteem, as all children with ADHD and/or bipolar do. It is frustrating, as you say, to see a lovely child whom you love so dearly, struggle so much and have such a hard time just living; it does break your heart. But for you to get the BEST advice, your son should be seeing a child psychologist who will help him and help you and your boyfriend to help him, as well. This is different from a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist is great for helping with the medication part, but a psychologist deals with issues such as self-esteem more intently, in my opinion. I am going to send you a private message with his name and contact information now. Hang in there; it's a struggle for everyone, but these children are so worth the time and effort, as you know. I know you will get help on this forum, too, but just from dealing with this myself, I hope you seek help from a child psychologist (they do accept all forms of insurance there including Medicaid, I believe). Help from professionals is essential in dealing with depression. Good luck to you and your son and I hope you get loads of great ideas from everyone. Probably you have already tried completely holistic approaches for the ADHD, and no doubt you will hear from people all the time, here and everywhere, how you should not be putting him on medications, but you obviously have exhausted every other kind of treatment out there and have ended up with medications, though reluctantly. This is common amongst those of us who have dealt with this problem and also it is common for others who do NOT have a child like this to tell you to take him off the meds, but if the meds are helping him and an MD and psychiatrist are working together to monitor his blood levels, he'll be fine on the meds, so not to worry so much about that part of it. The self-esteem issues are a byproduct of the ADHD, unfortunately. Change in diet can be helpful with the ADHD, but not the self-esteem issue. So I hope you do seek professional help for this issue, as well as seeking advice from other mothers. Good luck to you. You will be prayed for.

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V.E.

answers from Atlanta on

Your child is covered by the Americans w/Disabilities Act. You need to check into this and know your rights to an education that is suitable for him. If your public school system does not have it available (they have to provide transport) then they must pay a private facility for this service. V.

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S.W.

answers from Atlanta on

Hello, B. P.,
After reading "Parenting a 6 year old boy with ADHD & Depression", I was concern. I know you and your boyfriend love your son. However, boys need a different kind of love. To improve his self-esteem, on a regular or daily bases, utilize sports, chores, academic games, as well as art and craft to praise, value of his importance to the family, and with hugs, high fives, and kisses. Be sincere with a short one sentence. Example, "Awesome Job",(with a smile);"I can depend on you to check the mailbox or set the table for dinner; "Great Job on your reading aloud"; Awesome, You did it!; "Look at you, my handsome doctor to be!""You gave a great answer, to the problem"; "You did a great job in helping the family succeed." From experience, little league sport, and other sport activities, has improve self-esteem, self-worth, and ADHD!

Diet, excerise, and patience is needed for ADHD! Stay calm!! Stay Calm! Being overly emotional will not help. Ask your son, "What caused that reaction?"; What can you do to change or do differently to react in a different manner which will show your great character qualities?"; and play a game, "What is a great way to handle it?" give a situation and ask your son what is the best way to handle it?" Example: "You don't like to eat ...?" How would you tell a friend that you don't like it?"

Slow try No medicine for depression!!! Try cold or frozen fruit!

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P.W.

answers from Atlanta on

Georgia Parent Support Network and Parents Educating Parents and Professionals are great resources for you.

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D.D.

answers from Atlanta on

Hi B.,
I understand your heart is breaking over your son and his problems. I have friends who went through the same heartache as well, for a long time. Their son was diagnosed with ADHD and depression as well. They wanted to know the "why" and the "cause" of ADHD. They simply felt that there had to be a reason. Their struggles, searches and many different doctors, (who always disagreed with them) finally led them to a great doctor, who told them to have their son extensively tested for allergies and sensitivities. He turned out to be very allergic to virtually all additives and preservatives found in our "fast food" world, plus food colorings, milk and wheat. So these had to be cut from his diet.
This doctor also had them give him higher supplemental doses of B vitamins, to support his nervous system.
His mom has to make his bread every week, and any other baked things he will need. And they have to feed him only whole natural foods. (All this with a full time job.) Although the 1st two or three weeks were a little "rough", just getting stuff out of his system. There were no more school lunches and he would cry his heart out at first for "Happy Meals" and etc. But it was nothing compared to what they had been going through from school problems, and problems at home with his symptoms. (Teachers and administrators wanted him medicated!)
They stuck it out and before too long, he was doing wonderfully.
He calmed down, was happy and began joining in at
school. His grades picked up and he began sleeping good at night. (That is another perpetual problem in itself. Their son had so many "problems" that he couldn't sleep well, or long enough, so that led to more problems from sleep deprivation.) But he is great now, all with absolutely no medications whatsoever. And he still adheres to his "diet", (It has been several years!)
Finding a Doctor who would go the extra mile was the hardest part for them.
Now, all this said doesn't automatically mean that your son has the same problem. But it is a direction to consider, when you are looking for help for your precious little boy.
God Bless you all! I pray and hope the best for all of you!

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D.L.

answers from Springfield on

Hi, you may want to try Melaleuca's Provex plus for him. I had readed a few testimonial about how this product help children with ADD and ADHD problem.

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A.F.

answers from Atlanta on

I just went to a parental meeting for Brain Balance in Peachtree City. I learned a LOT about how the brain works and I understand how things are going on in my daughter's brain now. Check them out. If you would like some specific ideas they gave me while I wait for DD's evaluation drop me a line privately.

CC

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A.M.

answers from Atlanta on

If you are having all those problems after medicating him, then it isn't working. Consider naturopathy or homeopathy instead. If you live in Northeast Metro Atlanta, I would see Mary marlowe, http://www.onlynatural.info/. MDs seek to alleviate symtoms and pharmaceuticals want lifetime customers. Naturopathy and homeopathy seek to heal the body and bring it back in balance. Something to think about.

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A.P.

answers from Atlanta on

I know of a child who behaved similarly/suffered from the same sort of problems, and he did very well once he was brought home. The parents opted to homeschool him so the work could progress at a pace comfortable for him, and social pressures were aleviated. I know you're working full-time right now, but if there's any way for you to bring him home full time, you may find that it helps a great deal. Good luck :)

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R.H.

answers from Atlanta on

I can only imagine how tough this has to be for you.
I would agree with the two that suggested chiropractic care and in depth allergy testing. My 4 year old has an allergy to goldfish, cheez-it's and other processed cheese foods and most dairy's. When he eats them he completely looses his mind. He can't focus, sleep or anything but run wild and scream and pitch fits. Most people think I am crazy, so I give him goldfish and let them watch his reaction. It's hard for some people to imagine that processed foods are soo bad for us.
Depending on where you live, Life Empowerment Institute in Sandy Springs is a great chiropractic/natural care place. Dr. Mike is who we have been seeing for years. He is wonderful and full of knowledge about the human body. I also have visited a Naturopath doc in Roswell who is also very good.
It sounds like you have been down every other path and haven't found satisfactory answers. I hope these suggestions will help you find some answers!!
Good luck and God Bless.

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T.W.

answers from Atlanta on

Bless your heart. I know it can be so hard when you do your best and even that doesen't seem like it's good enough. Hang in there. Imagine your self in a glass box. It's hard to hear and even harder to understand things. This is how I think your son feels....Exceptions have to be made.. Lots of extra love and continuous praise with smiles & high 5's. He might be at that lil boy stage where he doesn't want as many hugs anymore. As far as you go---- go take a warm bubble bath with a candle. You have to keep yourself together also. Trust in yourself and in your boyfriend. Good luck & I'll be praying for you & your son.
TT

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T.C.

answers from Atlanta on

i feel compelled to respond to your mamasource posting. i had the same problems as your son when i was a little girl. for me it took longer for me to gain confidence in social situations than normal children...the only advice that i can offer is that you be patient and sympathetic regarding your son's insecurity and lack of self-esteem...like i said i became more secure and self-confident as time went by at least enough to function normally in school. buy i have to be honest the problem has never gone away completely and still plagues me now from time to time and i am now almost 45. i am also bipolar. i was diagnosed when i was 19, take medication every day, and see a psychiatrist about once every 12 weeks or so. i am able to function normally for the most part but would not be able to if not for the medication...if your son is bipolar, as well i can't stress enough the importance of him getting on and staying on medication. after i was diagnosed i was on and off medication until around 2 years ago but have taken medication consistently since then. while there were times that i was okay off the medication i know i would have made much better decisions regarding my life choices and would be much better off in most areas of my life than i am now. i'll pray for your family, especially your son. until he can speak for himself regarding how the medication is affecting him, you will have to speak for him. sometimes it takes a while to find the correct medication, correct dosage, etc...there might even be a medication that would help him be more social. a lot of times doctors give paxil to adults when the have social anxiety. good luck and God bless.

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D.S.

answers from Albany on

B.,
What a kind, loving mother's heart you have.

I second the recommendation that you find a child psychologist. You could get a referral from Focus on the Family, if you don't know of one.

You may want to consider homeschooling him. BUT, it would be important that he sees this as a step of your confidence in him. If he sees it as meaning he 'failed' school, that would hurt him even more, I think.

Does he have enough time in his day to just have fun? That might help, too. And, if he sees you and your boyfriend laughing at your own mistakes and not being upset by them, that may help him realize mistakes are just part of the human experience.

Hoping you find something that works,
D. S (mom to 5, and now a granny)

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C.A.

answers from Macon on

The concern you have for your son's condition will be a life-long emotion because you care so much for him and his well-being.
I have a son with ADHD as well. He was born with it and I know it can make you frazzled. I noticed that when my son would sleep, he would be tossing and turning his entire body constantly. He could not be still even for a minute in his sleep and I realized that if his sleep is so unrestful for his body, he was in need of rest that he was not able to get. He was put on meds but he would always fight going to bed and if you can't know that you are going to be able to lay down and at least try to rest for a minimum of eight hours, then sleeping medications will only make him like a zombie and make him halluccinate as well. My son didn't tell me he had hallucinated with the sleep meds until years later.
It seems that children with ADHD have wonderful talents and usually lots of them. This quality makes them a wonderful addition to your life and bring great joy to those that love them.
My son has always rejected doing school work that he felt unnecessary but he would make extremely high grades when given a test and he enjoyed the tests. He seems to be living his life in the fast lane..never wants to slow down. It's like he thinks there is not enough hours in the day to get everything done that he wants to do. When he got into middle school, he discovered cross country track and got on the team. He began to rest at night for the first time in his life and things began to change greatly for him. Since he got rest for his body at night, he was able to function better. He had never had the patience to be on a team of anything prior to this. He loves to run, skateboard, play tennis, swim .. mostly things that he can do on his own and he knows himself that he can exercise enough during the day and that will help him rest better at night and keep him on an even keel better.
I also noticed that he has always done better if he is on a strict routine. It seems that anytime his routine changes, it throws him for a loop for a while. It seems to be hard for him to adapt to a change in his routine but no one can control everything in life and there are certainly going to be changes in a routine that will be beyond control. Just be aware of it and plan ahead in your mind to know that when a change in the routine happens, there are probably going to be challenges for a while.
It is refreshing to me to know that there ia a chld out there in this world that is self-conscious. Your son has a rare quality and it should be cherrished. A lot of people told me in my lifetime that they appreciated that quality in me but I didn't realize I was self-conscious until people told me I was. If your son worries, it might just be a sign of his wisdom. He is concerned about his future and is thinking ahead .. a quality that most six year olds do not have.

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