01-10-2023 11:07 AM
I have a 6yo son with ADHD. He is doing really well, on medication, and we are happy with his progress. I have worked hard to help him process emotions that he faces as his is prone to emotional outbursts. However, this one I am struggling with. He has a 5 yo sister and anytime we are in public or in the car about to drop him off at school carpool, if she does anything silly or not what he would consider "normal" behavior, he gets really anxious and overwhelmed. He'll say, "stop, please stop," anxiously and then it will progress to yelling at her when she doesn't stop. It could be that she is singing a song, or wearing sunglasses that he doesn't want others to see her in, or one time she had a fake mustache on. He says it is embarrassing but it clearly makes him anxious. He is a smart kid and my tactic has been to tell him, what your sister does or how your sister acts does not mean that anyone thinks differently about you. I tell him that his sister is her own person and controls her own body and it is not for him to worry about unless she is hurting herself or someone else. At Target the other day she was standing close to the mannequins and he thought she would knock it over and he was getting super anxious. I told him, if she knocks it over then it is my responsibility and hers to deal with, not yours, so try not to worry about it. It doesn't seem to register with him and I need more ideas and advice please.
01-10-2023 03:45 PM
Hi @Salems_Journey and welcome to the online community! We're so glad that you reached out for some support.
To start with, I want to acknowledge and celebrate how compassionately you seem to be managing your son's ADHD. It's incredibly clear how hard you're working to ensure that he feels supported, which I'm sure goes a long way in helping him cope with difficult situations and emotions. Your son sounds very lucky to have a parent like you guiding him through his experiences with ADHD.
I can definitely understand why it must be difficult to manage your son's anxiety about your daughter's behaviour. It sounds like you're doing a great job of trying to explain to him that it's okay for her to act a certain way without encouraging her to change her behaviour or stifle her 'silliness' (which she deserves to enjoy). If you don't mind me asking, is your son currently seeing a psychologist or counsellor? You mentioned that your explanations around your daughter's behaviour don't really register with your son, so it could be helpful for him to talk to a clinician that can give him some tools to manage his anxiety when he's feeling uneasy in these situations.
Unfortunately, since ReachOut is a service designed for parents of teenagers from 12-18, we don't have any resources that apply to your particular situation. However, if you're feeling concerned about your son's reactions to and anxiety around your daughter, checking in with your GP could be a good first port of call. Alternatively, the Raising Children Network has some great resources on ADHD and childhood anxiety in school-aged children that might be worth checking out, too.
01-11-2023 12:07 PM
Thank you so much for your post. I didn't realize that this was for teenagers 12-18 but you did provide some great advice that I will move forward and look into. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond.
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