How does ADD/ADHD affect the daily life of a child?
Although the symptoms of ADD/ADHD are clear to substantiate a diagnosis of ADHD, this does not always provide information on how a child is affected in their daily lives.
A child with ADD/ADHD many times is immature for their age; they may have difficulty in making friends or in keeping friends. They may have anger outbursts, temper tantrums, the inability to think things through as well as the inability to connect a consequence with an action, especially if the consequence will happen sometime in the future. Their lack of impulse control can frequently cause them to get into trouble, and their impatience at waiting turns can create tensions between the child and other children.
Children with ADD/ADHD often complain that they feel they do not fit in with their peers. They feel left out of activities and many times can strike out by making fun of other children, becoming the bully or becoming the victim of a bully.
Children with ADD/ADHD often lose things or forget where they have placed items, causing them to always seem like they do not care or are lazy.
Children with ADD/ADHD often move from task to task without completing a project. This can portray laziness but this is not the case. These children have a low frustration level and will quickly become bored with a project if it is frustrating for them or if it is not challenging. Leaving many project incomplete can cause a child to feel worthless.
Children with ADD/ADHD often do not follow through on projects. Easily distracted, children will move from one task to another, forgetting what they had started in the beginning.
Children with ADD/ADHD may also feel as if their life is out of control. Most do not intentionally misbehave and the frustration at not living up to others expectations can cause undue pressure on a young child. Many times the child will begin to believe that they are “bad” or something is wrong with them, long before a diagnosis.
They know that they try to behave; yet it never seems to work out for them. They know, even when adults to not understand, they no matter how they try to behave, they seem to always be caught doing something wrong.
Children with ADD/ADHD may have a problem with bed-wetting or soiling of pants. This can cause embarrassment in any child and an ongoing problem can create a withdrawal from friends or fear of making friends with other children for fear of being made fun of.
Children with ADD/ADHD may have a difficult time falling sleep or settling down for a nap. Many parents of children with ADD/ADHD say that their child gave up naps by ages 2 or 3. This is exasperated when the child is in a highly stimulated area. The child will have a hard time slowing down their thought process in order to relax and fall asleep. Recently a study indicated a link between sleep disorders and ADHD.
The issue of co-morbid conditions is also present. Children with ADD/ADHD have a higher incident rate of depression, bi-polar disorder and learning disabilities than the general public. Many children with ADD/ADHD are extremely intelligent and some are both gifted and ADHD. Despite popular opinion, both depression and bi-polar disorder can occur in young children and manifest in many ways.
A few symptoms of depression in young children would be tantrums, complaints of physical ailments, hyperactivity or withdrawing from activities.
A few symptoms of bipolar disorder in children would include: rages, mood swings, oppositional behavior, aggressive behavior, periods of giddiness, high-risk behaviors.
(Please note that a child exhibiting these symptoms does not necessarily suffer from one of these disorders. Many of these symptoms are common to all children; however, a history of these behaviors may indicate the need for additional medical intervention.)
All of this takes a toll on the child’s self esteem, leaving you with a child that feels inadequate, feels lonely and will act out in order to receive the attention they crave. Younger children, especially, do not understand nor have the capabilities of dealing with these emotions.