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SS14 with ADD and I just don't get it

Lolamary's picture

Hello everyone, I am not new here. I wrote several months ago about my situation and I remember most of you said : "Don't get married." Well, I did get married because I thought that DH was worth everything. Here's a little background: my now DH has 2 kids. A SS10 and SS14. We used to have them only 3 days a week and it worked O.K. Last year SS14 moved with his maternal grandma because nobody could control him. His BM insisted that she "did not want him with her all the time" because she couldn't watch him and DH agreed against his will because he Has been working all day and I admit I didn't offer to watch him because well... I have a life and second, SS14 (I didn't fully comprehended it at the time) acts like a little kid. He doesn't follow basic instructions and on top of that he is a teenager. Now I know that it's because of the ADD. My husband and I went to counseling. Moving on, SS14 of course, didn't do well with grandma. Eventually BM went to court because she wanted more child support money (even though she wasn't watching her own child) and grandma decided it was fair to get some money for "child care." the whole thing is messed up. Everything

Lolamary's picture

Sorry, I wasn't done writing.... I Am kind of new with the iPad.

SS14 Moved back with BM and us the way we had him before (3days a week,) but husband had the brilliant idea of asking 50/50 of the time, so that he wouldn't have to pay her more money. I agreed because BM is a lazy parent and such a bad person. Ok... After all this, it has been really difficult to me to have SS14 back. DH and I went to counseling because I frankly didn't know what to do with him. Counselor said that kids with ADD can't focus, hence they can't follow instructions, but I just don't get it if being disrespectful and a "smart ass" is part of the ADD. I can't stand him, I feel bad for him, but then, I notice he acts as a regular kid when he feels like it. I know I have to hold on and try to be more patient, but I just can't seem to figure him out. He screams, he is a slacker, he doesn't do what I ask him to do (like help a little bit in the house,) and I don't know what part is the ADD and what is the typical teenage reaction. I'm so confused and DH knows his child has a lot of issues and does what he can, but I know his own child drives him crazy. I am afraid of having my own child because ADD is hereditary. My husband has it and I can't have another child like SS14. Any advice? :?

hismineandours's picture

my ss is also 14. He also has adhd. His mom is also a slacker. He has lived with us, with bm, and is now with my mil for the second time. Many of the same issues that you have. BM kicked him over a year ago because she could not control him. In my case ss14 has a lot of really BAD behaviors-growing pot in his bm's front yard, stealing my 14 year old dd's panties as well as my own, a long hx of aggression and bullying towards my other kids, and so on. Bottom line, those sorts of behaviors are not sx of adhd.

I would also advise that folks with ADHD CAN follow instructions. I think that is a dangerous path to go down and a dangerous way of thinking to assume that anyone with adhd CANT follow instructions (my dh has adhd too). Perhaps it is more difficult for him to follow instructions, but he needs to learn to do so-how will he ever function in society if he is unable to follow directions? He will never be able to hold a job, likely not be successful in any type of relationship. There are thousands of folks with adhd that hold jobs, are successful in school, and lead productive lives. Dont allow this kid to use this as a free pass to be lazy, disrespectful, and defiant.

I also cant stand my skid. There are some very real reasons why I cant-but I think even if those things didnt exist, just in general his personality is very unpleasant to be around. He is rude, loud, defiant, disrespectful to pretty much everyone, and has no empathy for others. He just grates on people's nerves. Pretty much everyone that spends any sort of time around him agrees. His bm told us straight up that she just let him do whatever he liked in order to get him out of the house and away from her. My mil does the same and I saw my own dh doing the same thing. He cannot entertain himself at all and always has to be bothering someone 24/7.

So basically what I am saying is that I think some of your skids issues may be related to adhd. They do tend to be socially immature, often behind their peers by several years (they often are not able to pick up on other's social cues). And you may have to repeat instructions, or have him repeat them back to you when delivered-but being disrespectufl and screaming are NOT symptoms of adhd. You have to hold him to a standard of behavior and teach him appropriate behavior. It really doesnt matter whether he has adhd or not. He needs to learn to display appropriate behavior.

supermom123's picture

Yep, you are 100% right, everything was spot on.

And yes, I agree that some of your step-son's behaviors are NOT normal ADHD behaviors.

My bio-son has ADHD but he has never done drugs, doesn't steal panties, isn't aggressive, and he has the biggest heart towards the underdog I've ever seen (hence, he has empathy!). So, you're right, I think your SS14 has issues that go beyond the normal attention-deficit problems. Having ADHD can definitely set a kid apart, and therefore sometimes they end up with a lot of emotional problems on top of the ADHD. Sad, but no excuse for the behavior!!

You are right, she needs to stick to her guns. Or rather, the bio-dad needs to stick to HIS gun!

supermom123's picture

Oh my. Kinda wish you hadn't married the guy, haha! Too late!

When you wrote "I admit I didn't offer to watch him" ... all I can say is THANK goodness. SS14 is not your responsibility, he already has 2 parents. I wish I had realized this back when I first married my hubby with two daughters. I became the primary caretaker, and it was a mess. 'Nuff said. You did the right thing, so stick to your guns about not being the main person to watch him. But of course, you do have to deal with him at times, you can't escape him fully.

So .... my 22yrold bio-son has ADHD. People say it's over-diagnosed, and that's true! But if you live with a child with ADHD, believe me, you know it. They're not normal! lol. My son, who I adore, drove me bonkers, batty & up the wall. He did start to calm down a bit at age 14, so you might be entering a good phase soon, but I don't know for sure. The best advice is to not yell & scream at the child, because it just works them up more. You probably don't do this, but just try hard to stay calm. The person who is yelling is NOT the person in control, as they say. Certain situations will over-stimulate a child with ADHD, so try to keep the household calm & peaceful if you can. I'm serious.

They CAN focus sometimes and they CAN follow instructions sometimes. But it's harder for them. They work twice as hard to do half as much, and that's just the way it is. Of course, anxiety can sometimes "look" a lot like ADD, so you need to be sure you have a very good psychologist. It's tough. Also, kids with ADHD typically act & behave about 2 or 3 years younger than their peers. Did you know that? This is why they usually don't have same-age friends -- they typically get along better with younger kids (have you noticed this in your SS14?) and with adults. Peer relationships are really tough b/c the same-age kids don't want to put up with their shenanigans! Realizing that my son was emotionally 2 years behind did help my husband and I have more patience with him.

It IS hereditary, but remember that you are half the gene pool. I don't know what to say in this regard. My first son, the one with ADHD, is from my first marriage -- and yes, my first husband has a lot of ADD symptoms, so I am pretty sure that's where it came from! But I also have a second son with my current hubby and he is perfectly fine. Different gene pool -- same mom, different dad. In your case it will be same dad, different mom. It's a risk having children frankly, and you never know if they'll be okay, no matter what. I used to have rose-colored glasses on, until I had my own child with ADHD and it's been a tough road. He is finally, at age 22, starting to become the mature man that I feel is lurking down inside there somewhere! I adore him ... but if he had been my step-son, you can just forget it. My patience would have been ZERO. It's hard enough when you have the unconditional mother bond.

I don't know if anything I've said helped. "Driven to Distraction" is a great book to read.

You didn't say if your SS14 takes medication or not. I know a lot of people out there disagree about this, but sometimes a very low dose of whatever your doctor recommends can help. My son couldn't have made it through school without it. Now he's old enough to make up his own mind about meds, and he has chosen not to take anything. Hence, he loses his cell phone, wallet, etc. every single day! haha. But he's his own person, and I trust his judgement about himself. When he was 14 though? No way, I helped make those choices for him!

I can SO relate to what you are going through.

Lolamary's picture

Thank you for your words. I didn't know that they act younger than their real age, but I have noticed that SS14 gets along a lot better with younger kids and his friends from school stopped talking to him for while when SS14 didn't know if he was going to graduate from Middle School and DH says that his girlfriends break up with him all the time after a week or so and the kid doesn't know why. Everybody says he's a very handsome boy and girls come to the house to ask for him, but I guess it all makes sense because usually girls are more mature than boys and yes! SS14 acts a little immature for his age.

He does take medication, but obviously something is not working. He also sees a therapist, his grades are very low, he talks back at his teachers and thinks he is awesome for doing that in front of his classmates, he is very cocky because everyone says how cute he is and has no manners. All I ask from him is to not be disrespectful at the dinner table and he just doesn't care sometimes. Other times, he tries, but then (since he is not used to eat correctly at home) he embarrasses himself in front of guest or at a public restaurant. It is disgusting.

Things like that, I want to help with, but he just won't listen or understand, at this point, I don't know anymore. DH used to say: " he is just a kid, it's ok." Well, the kid is not a kid anymore, he is a teenager who can't control himself and it isn't funny.

I have to add that he doesn't yell at me because he knows I won't take it, but he does at his dad or grandparents. He also hits his younger brother and tells him inappropriate things (not at our house because I put an end to that a long time ago) at his mom's. I know I can't control what happens there, but I don't know what to do here either. I wanted to help, but he just makes my life more miserable to the point where I am not home when he is here.

Orange County Ca's picture

I had a ADHD son - my wifes first born whom I adopted. They can learn and once learned its as good as any kid their age. The problem is they get distracted during the learning process so it may have to be repeated.

Other problems my kid had was a lack of control - he could not project consequences and followed every impulse.

DON'T HAVE KIDS with your husband. You need to be able to travel light because if this kid moves in you're going to leave - its a question of how long you're willing to take it.

Of course Daddy thought 50/50 was fine, he saved the money you'll do all the work. Getting paid for it honey? I thought not. You'd be earning 50 bucks an hour to work with these kids in a institution.

It's worth repeating: DON'T HAVE KIDS.

Now follow the link below. Read it and print it out. Give it to your husband and tell him that if his kid is going to live with him he will have to take care of him because you are not.

supermom123's picture

Perfectly stated.

As a woman, it's hard for me to tell someone to not have kids ... but the advice is correct, I can't deny it. This gal is in for a long long road if she adds another child to the mix. Sad, very sad, the situations we get ourselves into -- sometimes knowingly, sometimes not.

Lolamary's picture

That sounds so logical. I do not need to add a problem to my life, but I do think it would be unfair to me. I am not planning to have one until things get under control. I also need to focus on myself more than my SS14.