Back-to-School with ADHD

My daughter, Natalie, started fifth grade last week. Thankfully, she’s settling in quickly—much better than she has in the past—as you’ll see when you read the post below, reprinted from my ADDitudeMag.com ADHD parenting blog, My Picture-Perfect Family. The post first appeared in 2009, when Natalie was entering third grade. This year the transition was a walk in the park. See? There’s hope! —Kay

Three weeks before school started, Natalie started falling apart, behavior-wise, apparently anticipating the thing she dreads most: change. Now, three weeks into third grade, she’s finally starting–just starting–to settle in. Three seems to be her magic number.

Oh, my gosh, it’s been tough. Nat, like many kids with ADHD, has a hard time with change, with transitions. Even change that’s positive, or that’s neutral at worst, wreaks havoc with her emotions. And this particular change, the start of school, is on the surface, no biggie. Nat likes her teacher, Mr. Sibbel, and I’m getting really good vibes from him on my mama radar. Bobby, one of her best school friends, is in her class. She’s in a familiar environment–she’s been at Sawyer elementary since kindergarten. Same principal, same office ladies, same school nurse, same special ed teacher, Mrs. Carter. So what’s the big deal? Change. Any kind of change.

It was like someone flipped a switch, or substituted placebos for Nat’s ADHD medications: Three weeks before school started, she somehow sensed the change to come. Was the smell of sawdust from sharpened pencils wafting through the air? Did she see back-to-school commercials on TV? I’ll never know. But she became triple impulsive, thrice as naughty, three times as needy.

Okay, Miss Natalie Naughtily, you’ve had your three weeks since school started. I want my sweet girl of summer back. Flip that switch, switch out the placebos for the Ritalin. Let’s pack in three months of relative calm before the next big anxiety-provoking triad–the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s holiday season hell!

Kay Marner is the co-editor of the book “Easy to Love but Hard to Raise: Real Parents, Challenging Kids, True Stories.” Marner is a frequent contributor to ADDitude magazine, and writes an ADHD parenting blog, “My Picture-Perfect Family,” for ADDitudeMag.com.

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adhd and school, adhd behavior problems, anxiety, General ADHD, Kay Marner ·

About the author

Kay Marner is the co-editor of the book "Easy to Love but Hard to Raise: Real Parents, Challenging Kids, True Stories." Marner is a frequent contributor to ADDitude magazine, and writes an ADHD parenting blog, "My Picture-Perfect Family," for ADDitudeMag.com.

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The "ADHD Mommas" are not medical or mental health professionals, nor an ADHD coach. Any opinions shared here are just that, opinions. I, and the other "ADHD Mommas," are sharing our experiences with our own ADHD children. Please do not re-post or publish any content or photos without a link back to {a mom's view of ADHD}. Have the courtesy to give credit where credit is due. Copyright protected. All rights reserved.

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