Dealing With Guilt and My ADHD Son


I remember the day I realized that my son might have ADHD. I was talking to another mom during my daughter’s karate class. She was sharing what she was going through with her son’s diagnosis. It scared me because she was describing my son to a “T”. His mannerisms, the way he acted in certain situations….all of it.

I went home that night and started to more carefully watch my son. I was not self-diagnosing him, but I did have concerns. I started researching and reading. I was trying to learn everything I could, just in case it happened to be true.

I was trying some of the methods I was reading about to try to help him at home. I had not yet visited with his doctor or anyone else about the concerns I had. I did not want to jump the gun.

Then, I learned that my concerns were validated.

I received my son’s report card and he received extremely low marks in regards to focus, paying attention and sitting still in school. My heart sank. It started to feel like it may be real.

Fortunately for me, a family friend knew someone who was a child psychologist. She agreed to help us so we could figure out what was going on with our son.

We completed and returned the forms to her (as did my son’s school). Her assistant called to set up our appointment so we could discuss the results. My husband and I walked into the room and sat down to talk to her. I don’t recall every bit of the conversation, but I will never forget her saying that our son ranked in the 98th percentile for having ADHD.

98th percentile

In that moment I remember the emotions I felt. I was relieved. I finally had an answer and figured that we could now be on our way to figuring out which treatment method would be best for him.

I also felt a lot of sadness. My son was going to have to deal with this. He was going to have a lot to overcome so that he could focus and learn. I was worried about how this diagnosis might affect his future.

I was fearful. I had read these horror stories about medication and lethargic kids. Did we have to do that to our son? Would he be judged and labeled “one of those kids?” Would he be able to really learn as well as he should?

Fortunately for us, our doctor and therapist worked together and we found a treatment which works well for him. However, even with the medication, there times when it seems it is not working at all.

In these moments I lose it. I admit it. After dealing with the 3rd or 4th time of crying episode or telling him to quite down, I am just done. It is also in these some moments when the guilt sets in.

I know he can’t always control his emotions. The logical part of my brain knows this. However, the emotional and human part of me can’t.

I get so frustrated after it happens several times a day that I just want to run away. I do my best to keep calm and to remind myself that he can’t help it. However, I am also human. I can only handle so much.

I often have to just leave the room for a while to get myself composed and calmed down. If I am not, I can’t help him deal with the situation at hand.

How could I feel this way about my son. How could I just want to run away and not deal with it? How could I wish that he could just “be normal?” What mother even thinks these things?

I feel guilty constantly telling him to stop jumping. There is guilt when I ask him to stop talking and eat his dinner. I feel guilt for having to give him more attention at times than his sisters require. I feel so much guilt in being angry that I have to deal with this.

Then, I look at my son. Yes, I deal with it in my way. But, what about him?

He is the one who has to take the medication. He is the one who may be treated differently in school so that he can be given the same chances to learn as others. He is the one who has to deal with the rush of emotions he feels and can not control.

I’ve started to work on moving my focus from myself to my son.

He needs me more than I need to feel guilt. If I feel those emotions, I just take a moment and walk away and compose myself. I know that I have to be calm and rational to help him learn to do the same.

I’m not perfect. I still deal with the guilt and a lot of emotions when it comes to my son. However, I am doing the best I can. I am trying to figure this out.

How do you deal with the guilt you feel with your kids?

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Tracie is a stay at home mom to three young children; ages 8, 9 and 12. In November 2007, she and her husband decided to eliminate their debt and made many changes in their lifestyle to do just that.

She and her husband eradicated over $37,000 in debt in 27 months, through both budgeting and learning how to live a frugal life. She now shares her knowledge in order to help you stretch your hard-earned dollars so you can live the life you want. Learn more about Tracie and her family at .

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