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ADHD Teen Daughter

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ADHD Teen Daughter

I am so lost and new to the realization that my daughter might seriously be suffering from ADHD. I do not know anyone that has this condition so the signs were not apparent to me until now that she has become a teenager I used to just think she was just strong headed, lazy, and just selfish and spoiled. I thought a raised a monster by always providing not just her needs but her wants (of course to the extent I was able to). I love her so much I have always done everything to provide and make her feel loved in part because I feel guilty that she is part of a active duty family that moves around so much so I always justified her behavior and sympathized/empathized with how hard it must be for her. During the national lockdown and having students do virtual school last year is when I realized as I saw her failing that she had not control she had the best intentions but she was incapable of following through. We were able to see someone to get her tested but it was only a few weeks before we had to move away and begin summer break. She was prescribed adderall but we only made it tot he point of increasing/ trying dosage to see what would work for her. During the summer we went back to what we call home ( where all of our family is at) and enjoyed summer before moving to our official new destination. When she is just around family and no peers she is great I don’t even notice her having difficulties but now we have been at our new location for 2 months and 2 weeks. She has officially been in school for 13 school days at first it was good she is new doesn’t have any friends so she would come home and tell me every little thing that happened that day but about 9 days ago she made a male friend who quickly turned into a boyfriend. I was open with her told her I would support the friendship/relationship as long as she introduced him and I meet his parents. I wanted to let her know that she could come to me and be open about this and not hide and be scared. But this past Friday I received a phone call making me aware that she had skipped a class so I start checking the school app and come to find out she had previously skipped but with no phone call I had no clue. I kept my composure asked her why and since I had not set any ground rules for that type of situation I set ground rules I said everyone makes mistakes but if this happens again I will be taking your phone there will be consequences. Then Sunday I wake up to her window open and her not in her room with a note on the bed. Fortunate for me teenagers are not that smart and she forgot that we have find my friends so I went straight over to where she was and picked her up. Took her phone, took down her door and quit my job. Yesterday I start cleaning the house trying to keep busy and my mind off and as I am cleaning her room I find empty beer cans (me and my husband enjoy adult beverages on the weekends after doing yard work) when one of her friends like to drink with her parents permission my daughter was always so against it would actually get upset that she would drink so I never thought I had to be more careful with alcohol in the house. She is such a healthy eater hasn’t ate pork since 4th grade. I am at a loss and I am so upset with myself I dropped the ball I saw her so happy and healthy during the summer I didn’t push as hard to get her in to be seen to get refills on the medication and now I am scrambling trying to get her help. I just wanted to believe that a change of state would change her state of mind she would journal and create planners of all the things she was going to accomplish in this new place and I really thought she could succeed without medication. I guess I am asking for guidance, support, tips. Should I put her door back on?…is taking her privacy counterproductive. Should I wait to get her back on medication before I decide if I should pull her from that school or ask that she be sent to a alternative school or should I pack up my kids and go to our home state and be around family. Should I drive to the boys house and speak to a adult (found out he is living with grandparents and has a shaky past as well as his sister with drugs)because no one came out when I went to go get her and have them call me if they ever see her there? I don’t want to loose her and I am scared because what I have seen from her is obsession with instant gratification. If your wondering what does she have to say to all of this is “sorry I should have not left that way, I could have asked for permission” for alcohol “ I just wanted to try it do t worry I won’t do it again” other than that she doesn’t respond, looks upset, and I think pretty much blames me and wishes I did t love her so she could do whatever she wants.
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Re: ADHD Teen Daughter

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Hi @DayByDay , 


Welcome to the parents online community- we're really glad you found our space. I have to say that I could relate to so much of what you wrote about here- both as a  a parent to an almost-teenager who has some similar challenges , and as someone who was recently diagnosed with ADHD as an adult myself. 


Reading your post, I can hear how much you love your daughter, and also that you're experiencing feelings of guilt- and it also sounds like things have been pretty complicated for you and your family, between lockdown, a new ADHD diagnosis for your daughter, the challenges that come with learning from home, and issues with her adjusting to a new school/ meeting a new boyfriend, and pushing boundaries at home. It sounds like it must be a really exhausting and challenging time for you all- any one of those things would be a lot to cope with, let alone all of them at once! 


I'm wondering if your daughter's treating doctor/ therapist gave you all much information about ADHD, and how it can present in females in particular? I know that for me, learning more about ADHD and how it affects our brains, was something that I found really empowering, and it also gave me some very practical strategies that I've found helpful both in my own life, and also helping to support and scaffold my daughter. You may already be aware of this- but your daughter definitely isn't alone in receiving an ADHD diagnosis in the last year or so. There's a of girls and women (including myself!) who had never even considered that they may have ADHD, but the uniquely challenging time of the pandemic was a 'perfect storm' for a lot of people, and what you described about your daughter's struggles with homeschooling really resonated with me. 


Simply put, a lot of girls with ADHD slip under the radar in terms of diagnosis, especially if they seem to cope fairly well with school / the demands of life. 


For many of us, struggles with executive function (things like starting new tasks, staying organised, and planning tasks), impulsivity, and being easily distracted (especially by things like phones/games/ social media) were things that had always existed- one you add in  stress, uncertainty, and the loss of our usual structures and routines that came from COVID, a lot of women hit a point where they couldn't cope any more- and realised that they had been living with undiagnosed ADHD for years. 


I found this article to be really insightful and thought you may find it helpful:


You mentioned that she did trial medication at one point, but then you moved states- do you think that it's something she may be open to trying again? We can't give medical advice here, but I know that a lot of people do find that the right combination of medication and support from a mental health professional with other strategies like journalling /using planners/ different time management strategies can be helpful.


We also have a resource here with some really practical ways to help manage distractions if you think that may be useful - it's definitely an issue we hear about a lot!


I know that exercise and meditation have also been really helpful for me personally. 




It sounds like you're doing a great job in keeping the lines of communication open with your daughter while still setting boundaries with her- we have some resources that might be helpful for you to have a look at here around managing conflict and setting boundaries with teens 


In terms of your questions - it sounds like there's been so many changes for your daughter to navigate recently, and I'm  wondering if she is still seeing a psychologist or counsellor at all? It may be helpful to have the support of a mental health professional to help you to work through some of these questions, especially around her medication - and it may well be the case that once she's settled into the new environment, she may have the headspace to consider whether or not this school is the right environment for her, and also start to implement some more strategies to help her in her dat to day life


I hope that some of this is helpful- it sounds like it's been such a challenging time for you. Do you have anyone you can lean on for support at the moment- friends, a counsellor, family members? We are always here to chat as well - sometimes it can help a lot to vent, and this is  a safe space to do that Heart