Help with My ADHD Daughter/getting Going in Morning/hygiene Issues
January 20, 2009
Hi, I am a single mom of three kids - my oldest is 10 and is severely ADHD. She is on Concerta which helps but mornings remain a huge struggle. On days out of school she can sleep til noon if you let her. Getting her up and around on a school day and doing what she needs to be doing to get ready for school makes me crazy each morning - especially since there are two other kids I need to get ready for school! Yesteday I could have pulled out all my hair with utter frustration. On top of it all we have than nasty 10 year old hatefulness that has started - the glaring, rolling the eyes, etc. UGH!!! I've started waking her up with medicine in hand to take and that helps a little bit to get her going - maybe I need to wake her up 1 1/2 hours early instead of an hour early - she just moves SOOOOO SLOWWWWW in the morning - it's excruciating. We do lay out clothes the night before and homework is done the night before. I do put her in the shower every other morning and that seems to help wake her up but I have to constantly go upstairs and tell her to wash her hair or wash her body because I catch her just standing there goofing around in the shower and not doing what she is supposed to be doing before the hot water runs out. I don't know how to get her "started" for the day and with the program! Additionally, how do you get a daughter to care about her hygiene!!! I have to stay on her case about brushing her teeth and putting on deoderant. She could really care less if her breath smells or her hair is ratty or if her underarms stink! I constantly have to tell her to wipe when she urinates and flush the toilet!!! My 5 year old son is far more responsible in hygiene issues than my 10 year old! You would think the peer pressure would take care of it all but she really only has one friend anyway so I don't think she really even cares. HELP!
Hope that this doesn't come a cross a bribing. Egg timer..
It is a game called beat the clock. You have a clock at every station with the time posted as to what it should be set on. If gets the task done as the timer is going off- she gets a point/sticker. If she beats the clock she get a more points/stickers. Each sticker is a free pass, points, what ever you want to do. It's best if its going and doing. That way she relates time management to having time to do fun stuff.
But have a weekly chart. Have fun with it and have all the prizes and times up front. Clue have her set the time. She may want to start off slow. But, have a goal time and work towards it.
Have you tried the reward system? I know it probably sounds crazy but maybe if you stress to her that if she does all of these things without being prodded to do them, you could give her (whatever she reallys likes)as a reward and then if it happens enough it will just become a habit for her. Maybe then at some point the rewards can be cut down and eventually eliminated. I know it is important to stay in a routine for kids with ADHD as much as possible. Maybe that will help!
Your daughter sounds SOOOOOOOO much like mine, so I can relate... and sympathize. My daughter, too, has been diagnosed with ADHD.
Please look into the program, "The Total Transformation". The site is www.thetotaltrasformation.com I highly recommend it. The founder, James Lehman, was a problem child and can make a difference in your child. The program isn't just for problem children, but for ADHD children as well.
One thing that sometimes works for my daughter is a timer. Set it before she gets into the shower and tell her to get finished BEFORE the timer goes off. (we have issues with that as well!)
Having a child with ADHD is very difficult, but there is hope. PLEASE check into the program I mentioned above.
Let me know if you get it and what it does for your daughter!! ls
My son has struggled with ADD for several years now. He is currently thirteen. We tried various medicines and finally found one that works! He takes Vyvanse 30mg capsules and he is a totally different child. It is fast working (within 15-30 minutes) and lasts for almost 12 hours! It has made a MAJOR difference in our lives! He gets up and gets ready now in 15-20 minutes compared to the hour or so before; plus he is so much more focused and completes tasks. Good luck! I thought it might be worth a try. K.
I think your daughter and mine could be twins! This ADHD thing sure wears on a person. We used to take Concerta too but we've switched to the Daytrana patch. It takes about an hour to start working on her. The best thing is I can go stick it on her even before she gets up to get ready for school. That way it has some time to start getting in her system before I have to deal with her. And I am not a morning person so it helps. Also, she takes showers at night before bed because there's no way she'd get to school on time if we did it in the morning. And, it's one less thing I have to tell her repeatedly to do. Plus, she doesn't have to get up quite as early. As far as the lack of hygiene goes I'm up for suggestions on that one. I just don't understand it. She doesn't care if she brushes her teeth and it makes me want to scream. The child is nearly 13! I really didn't think this would be something I'd still be dealing with. My daughter's doctor tells me once girls start their period the hormones in their bodies help with the ADHD and maybe someday we'll be able to stop the medicine, but it hasn't happend yet. Anyway, good luck and I hope it helps to know you're not alone in dealing with this. :) A.
Yikes, sounds like you have your hands full too. As far as your daughters hygiene habits that's a tuff one, does she care about what people think about her generally? I wonder if you took her to a nursing home or somewhere where people are not able to keep their hygiene up if that would help any? My daughter has Autism and ADHD so I understand how tuff it is. My daughter struggles with understanding the concept of hygiene much less doing it. Are you happy with her medication? My daughter was able to get off of hers after we got on Reliv.
It looks like you have some good suggestions. I don't know if this will work with an ADHD kid or not, but I would think so with some modifications. Read Love and Logic - it tells you how to teach your kids to be responsible for their own actions and let them make their own decisions. Like the being late for example. You sit down with her next weekend and tell her that she's a big girl now and will have to be responsible for getting ready in the morning on her own. (This is where the modification may be needed.) You ask her what she needs to do and how long she thinks she needs to do it and what time she needs to get up in order to have it accomplished in time for you all to leave together. If she is not ready when you are to leave, she either goes as she is or doesn't get to go with you. If it's for school, then she has an unexcused tardy or absence and she'll have to take the punishment the school doles out for that. It sounds harsh, but if you read the book, it makes a lot of sense. Good luck!
My daughter was also on Concerta and we had the same issues. Is your daughter actually going to sleep at bed time? We found with Concerta for our daughter it caused her to be awake in her bed until after midnight. I talked to the doctor about this because she was just diagnosed. He changed her medication to Vyvance and that has seemed to help. She now gets to sleep around 10pm which is a lot better than midnight or one!!!!
Hi, S.. I feel your frustration, having an ADHD child myself. My son is 8 and has similar issues. We know we have to get anything important he needs to do done by 7:00 PM, because his meds wear off. The mornings are sometimes a struggle, because the meds take a bit to kick in. I think it takes a balance between what you expect your child to do and praising them for what they can do. I would expect your daughter to flush and brush and take care of her hygiene issues, but it will take reminding. Make sure you call her in to flush when she hasn't- don't do it for her. I have to check my sons teeth, too. If she is reaching puberty, maybe her meds need to be adjusted. I would recommend getting the shower done at night. The less she is expected to in the AM the better since her meds will not be working. I also think it is important to make our kids feel like they can still function without the meds. We know in our heads they need that extra focusing help, but they need to feel capable. Some kids just need extra time to function in the morning. Does she have an alarm clock she has to turn off? Reward her if she has one week (school days)of getting up and doing her routine without you reminding her more than once. Just some ideas. Maybe one will help you. We have tried a list that we post in my son's room with the few things to be done in the AM. That was helpful too. Good Luck and God bless!
Sounds like your daughter is depressed. Get her involved in activities and she'll get better. No need for medication, alot of the times depression can be cured by simply going outside daily for walks. There's something about the fresh air that just makes you feel better!! Perhaps the concerta may be causing this.
I work in a classroom with severe behavior disordered children that also have emotional disturbances as well. ADHD is almost always one of the diagnosis, but usually there are multiple issues involved. In my opinion you have several separate issues going on here, and ADHD should not directly effect her ability to take care of her hygiene. Is she seeing a child psychiatrist for the medication she is taking or was it prescribed by her pediatrician? Either way, that doctor needs to be involved in your concerns to rule out other issues, like depression, etc.
Counseling can be a huge help, if just to give you some additional support. A behavior management plan can also be a big help, maybe using incentive charts, etc. The school counselor/social worker should also be able to provide some guidance. (And with a diagnosis of ADHD your child may be eligible for more services through the school, such as Special School District, which can provided further testing and additional support in the classroom.)
But also like other mothers have already stated, much of this is very normal behavior for her age. Try sitting down with your daughter when things are calm and talk to her about your concerns and frustrations. Ask her what she thinks might be helpful, like a behavior chart, waking up earlier, etc. and bring her into the solution process. 10 year old girls can be very insightful!
Good luck and hang in there!
K.- clinical therapist, married 12 years, mother of two girls 6 and 9.
What about having your 10 year old daughter take a bath at night and have her go to bed earlier? I have problems getting my son up and around in the morning, so we have him take his bath in the evenings.
As for her caring about hygiene...what about showing her the effects of not taking a bath or cleaning herself? (i.e. what infections and parasites are) Also, inform her that she could be teased and made fun of for being the stinky kid.
In my experience ADHD kids respond really well to lists and charts. They often need a visual of things to do, even in the shower!!;) Together make a list of things that need to be done at certain times; before bed, wake-up time, in the shower, breakfast, etc. Then laminate the lists and have her check them off as she goes. It's important to do it together so that she has some ownership and input in what needs to be done and what can be negotiated.
Also, read up on some Love and Logic (Fay and Klein) they have some great tips on how to get kids moving in the morning.
Lastly, even though she has only one friend, it is still a huge accomplishment! Many ADHD kids have a hard time making friends but studies have shown that just having one bond with a peer makes a huge difference in how kids socialize even into adulthood.
Good luck, it really sounds like you have your hands full but you're doing a great job so far!!!
I am one of a rare group of therapists that offer a program of therapies that encourages the brain to develop more efficient pathways, often alleviating the symptoms of ADD, dyslexia, ADHD, and other specific learning difficulties. Although there are not many certified practitioners of the Brain Integration Technique in our area, you can see if you can find one near you at www.Crossinology.com. These therapies are not very well known, so it is rare that they are funded by schools or covered by insurance, but they have helped many people who would otherwise be facing a lifetime of disorganized brain function, special needs, and/or medication.
In the mean time, you might want to ask the school counselor about opportunities to learn parenting techniques for your daughter's issues. I know a mother who learned a great tip from someone with years of experience with these kids. Her son would get hyper, insistant, and demanding. Most responses only hightened the problem. This expert suggested that whenever he gets wound up like that to simply ask, "Do you have a question for me?" It was amazing to see how he immediately calmed down and composed a reasonable question. Many families are struggling with special needs children without the training they need. You are not alone!
The kids I have treated that demonstrate the behaviors you describe have improved greatly with the Brain Integration Technique. The best I can suggest for dealing with your situation as it is would be to realize that she is very easily distracted and to provide distractions that bring her back to focus on the task. For example: Get a clock for her room and the bathroom along with small labels, such as color coding dots. Tell her that the goal is for her be able to maintain her own body without needing your help. Let her help in agreeing upon time limits and where to place the labels on the clock. You might write B on a dot for bathing, T for brushing teeth, etc. Then place each dot on the agreed upon times. If she does not complete the task on time, then you take over. It is very important that she agrees to this in advance. So, ask specifically. "Will you be finished bathing by by 8:05 or 8:07?" When she chooses the time, then you can say, "Okay, we agree, then, that I will not step in and take over unless you are not finished by..." Then if she struggles with you when you need to take over and bathe her, you can say, "We made an agreement. I will do my best to keep our agreements and I expect the same respect from you." If you keep calm, speak respectfully to her, but follow through with the plan consistently, she will probably be more motivated to keep an eye on the clock. If you do ever need to help her complete a task, be sure to not tell others. Shaming her about such an agreement would breech her trust and you would have a hard time regaining it.
Another distraction is sound. If the clock can be set to make a sound before time is up for each task, it could also help her keep focussed and motivated. If not, look for a clock that ticks loudly so it keeps reminding her.
Another visual that you might consider is to help her design images that remind her of the order of her daily regimen. With a clock on one side and her image chart on the other, the sounds and sights that would otherwise distract her might bring her back to task. Keep in mind that she may not like charts with lines and squares. She may work best with a mind map sort of approach that starts in the middle and then spreads or spirals outward. Try to follow her lead for the design. You want what works best for her.
As a woman w/ADHD AND with teenage daughter w/ADHD, I can COMPLETELY relate to your situation. First, as hard as it is, RELAX in the morning. Stressing out only makes the problem worse for her & you. (I know this is easier to say than to do.) Then realize that it can be hard to judge how many minutes go by for an ADHD'r. If I don't look at a watch or set a timer, 15 minutes can pass by & feel like 3 mins. Other times the same amount of time can feel like 1 hr. Also, it really can be hard to wake up. I've slept through an old fashioned bell alarm many times. All I can suggest is to give her her medicine 30 minutes before you wake her up. Just give her her pill & water to drink & leave the room. Then after 30 minutes wake her up & walk her to her next step of the morning
(bathroom or breakfast). Have a checklist and a general order to complete it in. Compliment her on each step taken. Maybe have her take her bath in the evening & use deodorant in the evening AND morning that way if she forgets it in the morning, she doesn't smell. Then focus on complimenting her on what she DOES do right & not nagging for what she does not do. It is really hard to change gears on this one. Please take it from me, I did NOT change my focus & did not do the charts when she was at this age and all it did was stress me out (& my daughter) and make her feel bad about her self. so please learn from my mistake. I hadn't realized that I waas berading her instead of helping her. Not only do I regret this because of how it made her feel, it also did not help teach her how to craete a system that worked for her. So, try to do as much in the evening as possible, create a checklist, go over the checklist w/her (not wait until it is time to go & critize then what was not completed), and try to change your focus & cheer her on. I know it is a struggle to get out in the morning! Also, just a thought, if you realize that you are frustrated often, consider that you might also be ADHD. It is VERY common for parents of ADHD'rs to find out they are ADHD. If you are and get treated, you would not believe the difference it can make to learn to adapt w/it. I was not diagnosed until I was 32! Sorry so long, but I wish you good luck! 10 year old girls are hard to parent, but so worth it!
I can truly relate with a lot of this. My daughter is now 32, married with 2 boys and she does a pretty good job of keeping things cleaned. She was always pretty good with hygiene. What I did to help was to make a chart (of I had to make a chart for my 2 younger boys too so it all seemed fair) I listed all things that needed to be done in the AM-PM so I didn't have to nag all the time. If she doesn't have an alarm I suggest you get one for her. My kids had alarms from the time they started 1st grade and then they had to complete everything on their list. It really made things go smoother. At the end of each day they got a gold, green or red star based on how they performed that day. I bought items from the $1 store and put in brown bags with their names on them. I can't remember if it was for 5 or 10 gold star days they picked from the bag. I think 2 green stars equaled 1 gold and 3 red stars equaled 1 gold. You might think of something like this that would work for you. Good Luck!!
I think part of it may just be being a ten year old girl. My daughter isn't ADHD but also moves so slow it drives me crazy. I also have to remind her to brush her hair and teeth and to wipe, it is very frustrating. Her friends moms and I have talked about it and several of them have the same issues. I am sure they will outgrow it but I can agree it is very frustrating in the mean time.
You just described my 13 y/o son to a T. He has been diagnosed w/ ADHD since 02 and mornings are hellish. It has gotten better since he hit puberty but the biggest help is giving him choices. Shower in AM or night before, deo before or after breakfast, we also use a chore chart to make sure every thing gets accomplished and I set a timer when he seems to be struggling with getting moving on a task. The best thing though I have found is habit training and he really shapes up when his bedtime gets 30 mins. earlier when that morning took to long. HTH
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