29 January 2024

Unmasking the Unseen: A Mother's Journey into the Surprising Symptoms of ADHD in Children

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woman in green orange and yellow dress standing near window
woman in green orange and yellow dress standing near window

As moms, we embark on the extraordinary journey of parenthood with hopes of smooth sailing, joyful moments, and watching our children flourish. However, for some of us, the path may take unexpected turns as we navigate the uncharted waters of raising a child with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In this comprehensive guide, I'll share my personal journey as an ADHD mom turned parent coach, exploring the surprising symptoms of ADHD in children and offering insights to fellow moms facing similar challenges.

Understanding ADHD Together

ADHD, a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting both children and adults, brings its own set of challenges. It's characterized by persistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that can impact daily life. Often, symptoms can be subtle and easily misunderstood. Through my own experiences, I've come to recognize the surprising symptoms that every mom needs to know, ensuring early intervention and effective parenting.

The Emotional Rollercoaster

One of the most surprising symptoms that caught me off guard as an ADHD mom is the emotional rollercoaster our children experience. Yes, we've heard about hyperactivity and impulsivity, but the intense mood swings from extreme joy to frustration or anger within a short span can be overwhelming. As moms, understanding and managing these emotional fluctuations become pivotal for supporting our children's emotional well-being.

Time Perception Challenges

Our kids with ADHD often struggle with time perception, making tasks like homework, chores, and bedtime a constant battle. The surprising lack of awareness of time passing can leave us scratching our heads. I've found incorporating visual cues and structured routines to be essential in helping my child navigate the concept of time more effectively.

Hyperfocus: The Double-Edged Sword

While inattention is a known ADHD characteristic, the surprising flip side is hyperfocus. Our children can dive into a specific task or activity with intense concentration, often excluding everything else. While this hyperfocus can be beneficial, it can also lead to difficulties in transitioning between activities. Learning how to guide and harness this focus is a valuable skill for moms of children with ADHD.

Sensory Sensitivities

Sensory sensitivities are another surprising aspect of ADHD that significantly impacts our children's daily lives. Some kids may be hypersensitive to touch, sound, or certain textures of clothing, while others seek out sensory stimulation through constant movement or fidgeting. Recognizing and addressing these sensitivities can create a more supportive environment for our children.

Impaired Executive Function

Executive function, which includes planning, organizing, and initiating tasks, can be impaired in children with ADHD. This surprising symptom often leads to challenges in academic performance, time management, and overall daily functioning. As an ADHD mom turned parent coach, I've discovered effective strategies to support the development of executive function skills, empowering our children to overcome these challenges.

Social Struggles and Misunderstandings

ADHD's social aspect can present surprising challenges for both our children and us. Difficulties in social interactions, such as interrupting others, impulsive behaviors, and struggles with personal space, can lead to misunderstandings and strained relationships. As moms, fostering social skills and providing tools for navigating social situations is essential to help our children build positive connections with their peers.

Sleep Disturbances

Many moms are surprised to learn that ADHD can be associated with sleep disturbances. Our children may struggle with falling asleep, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, or experiencing restful sleep. These sleep challenges can exacerbate ADHD symptoms and impact overall well-being. Sharing my experiences, I offer practical tips for creating a bedtime routine that promotes better sleep for our children.

Impulse Control in the Digital Age

In today's digital age, the challenges of impulse control take on a new dimension. Our children may be more prone to impulsive online behaviors, such as excessive screen time, impulsive clicking, or engaging in risky online activities. As a mom and coach, I explore the intersection of ADHD and technology, offering guidance on fostering responsible digital habits while respecting our children's need for stimulation and engagement.

Academic Underachievement Despite Intelligence

It's not uncommon for children with ADHD to face academic underachievement despite possessing above-average intelligence. This surprising symptom often stems from difficulties in staying organized, managing time effectively, and completing tasks. As a mom coach, I share strategies to unlock the potential of our children, bridging the gap between their intelligence and academic performance.

Surprising Techniques to Manage

Embrace Individuality

One surprising tip that has made a significant difference in our lives is embracing and celebrating our child's individuality. Children with ADHD often possess unique strengths and talents, and by recognizing and nurturing these qualities, you can boost their self-esteem and motivation. Whether it's a flair for creativity, an insatiable curiosity, or a knack for problem-solving, acknowledging and encouraging these attributes fosters a positive self-image.

Establish a Consistent Routine

Routine and structure are vital for children with ADHD, as they provide a sense of predictability and stability in their lives. Establishing a consistent daily routine helps your child understand expectations and reduces anxiety. However, it's crucial to allow some flexibility within the routine to accommodate the dynamic nature of ADHD. Create visual schedules or use timers to help your child transition between activities smoothly.

Turn Challenges into Opportunities

Viewing challenges as opportunities for growth is a mindset shift that can significantly impact your parenting approach. Instead of seeing ADHD-related behaviors as obstacles, consider them as opportunities to teach important life skills such as problem-solving, emotional regulation, and resilience. By reframing the narrative, you empower both yourself and your child to overcome difficulties together.

Foster Open Communication

Effective communication is a cornerstone of any successful parent-child relationship, and this holds true for families dealing with ADHD. Encourage open and honest conversations with your child about their feelings, experiences, and challenges. Actively listen to their perspectives without judgment, and work together to find collaborative solutions. This approach builds trust and strengthens your bond, creating a supportive environment for your child to thrive.

Incorporate Sensory Strategies

Children with ADHD often benefit from sensory strategies that help regulate their nervous systems. While some may find comfort in fidget tools, others may prefer activities that engage their senses, such as listening to calming music or squeezing stress balls. Experiment with different sensory strategies to identify what works best for your child, incorporating them into their daily routine as needed.

Break Tasks into Manageable Steps

Children with ADHD may struggle with tasks that require sustained attention and focus. To make activities more manageable, break them down into smaller, achievable steps. This approach not only helps your child stay on track but also instills a sense of accomplishment as they complete each step. Celebrate their successes, no matter how small, to reinforce positive behaviors.

Encourage Physical Activity

Regular physical activity has been shown to have numerous benefits for children with ADHD. Engaging in activities like sports, dance, or yoga helps release excess energy, improves focus, and enhances mood. Encourage your child to participate in activities they enjoy, fostering a sense of accomplishment and social connection. Physical exercise can serve as a valuable outlet for pent-up energy, positively impacting behavior and overall well-being.

Implement Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool for shaping behavior and fostering a positive atmosphere at home. Instead of solely focusing on negative consequences, highlight and reward your child's positive actions and accomplishments. This could include verbal praise, small incentives, or a special privilege. Positive reinforcement not only motivates your child but also strengthens the parent-child relationship.

Teach Emotional Regulation Techniques

Children with ADHD may struggle with emotional regulation, leading to impulsive reactions and frustration. Teach your child specific techniques to manage their emotions, such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, or using a feelings chart. By equipping them with these tools, you empower them to navigate challenging situations more effectively, promoting self-control and emotional well-being.

Create a Calming Environment

Designing a calming environment at home can positively impact your child's behavior and well-being. Consider factors such as lighting, colors, and organization to create a space that promotes relaxation. Provide designated areas for focused activities, as well as areas for sensory breaks. A well-thought-out environment can contribute to a sense of security and help your child thrive in various aspects of their life.

Motherhood is a journey like no other, and parenting a child with ADHD adds layers of complexity to the adventure. Recognizing the surprising symptoms associated with this neurodevelopmental disorder is crucial for providing effective support and intervention. Drawing on my experiences as an ADHD mom, this comprehensive guide has explored the uncharted waters of ADHD, shedding light on the often-overlooked aspects that shape the lives of these children and their families.

By understanding the emotional rollercoaster, time perception challenges, hyperfocus, sensory sensitivities, impaired executive function, social struggles, sleep disturbances, impulse control in the digital age, and academic underachievement, moms can become better equipped to navigate the complexities of ADHD. Armed with knowledge and practical insights, mothers can create a supportive environment, empower their children to overcome challenges, and celebrate the unique strengths that come with ADHD.

If you're struggling as an ADHD parent, schedule a free consultation here:


boy standing near stairs doing peace sign at daytime
boy standing near stairs doing peace sign at daytime

As we continue to navigate the seas of ADHD together, my hope is that this comprehensive guide serves as a reassuring companion for moms, offering guidance through the surprising symptoms and helping them steer their ships with resilience, empathy, and understanding.

Unmasking the Unseen: A Mother's Journey into the Surprising Symptoms of ADHD in Children

Journey with us as we uncover the lesser-known impacts of ADHD beyond the surface symptoms. From emotional struggles to academic challenges, and insights for understanding and support.

1/29/20246 min read