HELP! 5 year old son may have ADHD

I have a 5 year old son who has been having behavior problems for about 2 years now. I have consulted my pediatrician about ADHD with no response. Today we went for a second opinion and this doctor seemed quite concerned and referred us to a psyciatrist.

I came home and immediately started reading about this disorder and everything I have read so far has listed parents/family life as the cause for this disorder. We have a pretty good family life. My husband and I are very happily married and life in a nice suburban neighborhood. Still, after reading this I am really second guessing and feeling very guilty.

If anyone has any information please e-mail me. I do not know where to start.


Oh no no no no no!!! You are not to blame for this. Do you hear me????? Don't ever let anyone tell you that you are at fault.

You are a good mom, I know this already because you are seeking help for your child and you are concerned. If you were not a good mom, you never would have found us here on this board.

I also have a son with severe ADHD. He's 7 years old now. I can give you a lot of suggestions on what has worked for us as far as handling his behaviors. Don't worry. It does get better. It really does. Life's never a "picnic", but it does improve once you get a handle on things. Look at it this way. You've already made 1 giant step forward just by getting a diagnosis.

If you would like to e-mail me, I can fill you in on all sorts of things that we used with Jay with good success.

Good luck!
Love, Carol

Biological mom to Nick 15 year old easy child, Jacquie 13 year old Learning Disability (LD) but easy child behavior, adoptive mom to Jay, 7 year old severe ADHD with brain injury suffered from child abuse,supportive Aunt to 18 year old nephew with ODD,wife of 17 years to wonderful husband, and mom to 2 year old mini french poodle named Abby who is my little baby girl!!!


New Member
What have you been reading that says home/family life is what causes this disorder? From the things I have learned, there is little connection to home/family life other than the fact that is can occasionally be traced in the family. It has something to do with brain chemistry and may be hereditary. But, even though it may be hereditary, that does not mean than it is anyone's fault. It mainly is just something that happens with some people. Keep searching and good luck.

J-hyper/child; never feel like I fit in. Married 28+ years
husband-ret. military, 7yr teacher (5yr in 'expulsion' school); doesn't believe in psychiatrists or social workers; not a good back up when tag-team is needed
chaos- f25, gifted/underachiever; married, lives in same city
disaster- m22, military (currently Japan);
little B_little mother- f14, ADHD-Adderall 10mg BID; exhibiting defiant tendencies, definitely teenager!
difficult child- Mes- m12, no diagnosis- argumentative, loves to pick fights (physically with husband, older sibs and brother in law); failing in school; refuses to listen to adults.__no tv, phone and computer use require permission for each use


New Member
Sorry - but if this is what you have been told, it's total BS. And by the way, welcome to the board!!!! I should have said that first - we are glad you found us. You will get lots of help.
Some of our kids are the way they are due genetics, some due brain injury or early trauma, some no obvious reason at all. There are people here with loads of experience and no-one has yet been able to come up with a single cause. But there is no way parenting and home life causes it - some parenting and some home life may cause some problems, but and perhaps some of those problems may imitate ADHD - e.g. it is common among fostered and adopted children but could either be because they carry a lot of baggage from early experiences, a lot of bad memories, or it could be genetic and the reason they are adopted/fostered is because undx-ed and untreated parents can't look after them.
I could go on - but others will... just rest assured it is not your fault, it is not home life, it is a recognized brain disorder and can be treated - to an extent. It can be helped, either by diet in some cases, or in others by medication. In any case, behaviour modification is also needed - good books to start with are The Explosive Child be Greene and The Defiant Child by Riley.
Come here often, tell us more, lean on us - we are all in the same boat. And between us we have far, far more experience than the professionals do - you will get the help you need here. Good luck - drop in often.

Adoptive/therapeutic foster mom, supportive husband
3 adoptees: 13 yo m, ADD/?ADHD, Ritalin; 11 yo f difficult child, ODD, Learning Disability (LD), sp.ed.,Risperidal & Dexadrine; 9 yo f easy child. Adopted at 4, 4 and 2.
2 foster: 12 yo f, ADD, Learning Disability (LD), sp.ed, Dexadrine; 16 yo m, ups&downs, no medications.
2 part-time voluntary: 18 yo m, Paxil; 17 yo m, easy child.
Daisy the pug, Merry the husky/cross, and now Emily the Lab. Plus four cats. All help with the therapy.
"Tomorrow is another day."

Hi and welcome! First, ADHD is NOT caused by parenting (good or bad). While it was thought about 10 years ago that parenting was the cause, it has since been determined that ADHD is a true chemical imbalance that can be caused by food sensitivities, genetic, mineral abnormalities or just a "brain glitch", but not parenting.

It is presently thought that ODD can be caused by parents being too strict and, in the case of an ADHD child, there is the possibility that ODD can develop because of the constant "not otherwise specified" they hear -- not just from parents, but from schools (including preschools), relatives, neighbors, friends, etc. After awhile a child can get the attitude that they can do nothing right, so why bother trying. This, however, is not the fault of the parent, but the fault of the disorder. To protect a child who is willing to jump into every fire so to speak, the word "no" is said frequently just to protect the child from him/herself.

So, the end result is that it is not due to bad parenting, ADHD is caused by something organic in the child. ODD is not due to bad parenting but can be exascerbated by parents trying to do their best with limited resources.

There are some things you can do now. 1. Read -- the more knowledge you have, the better. Some excellent books are 123 Magic, The Spirited Child, The Explosive Child. 2. Take time for yourself. ADHD and/or ODD or any of our difficult children (Gifts from God) can drain the life out of us. Taking at least 10 minutes a day just for you helps you to revitalize and stay strong. 3. Remember that IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. You were and are doing the best you can with limited information.

Single mom to 12 year old girl (adopted at 4-1/2). Severe ODD, moderate CD, mild Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), faulty reasoning. Quit the medications -- they weren't working.

Hi and welcome to the board. Exactly what type of diagnosis did the second opinion give? The reading that you have been doing, if it is saying that ADHD is caused by bad parenting that is absolutely wrong. Has ODD been emtnioned at all?

Our 8 yo daughter has ODD and our 13 yo daughter does not. They have both been brought up in the same loving environment with the same parenting styles. Our 8 yo is adopted and our 13 yo is biological. A wonderful control study for heriditary versus environmemt. Don't let anyone tell you that you caused this.

I am sure that many behavioral disorders can be caused by disfunctional families. If your family is not disfunctional then look for other causes - or better yet forget the causes and learn all you can about how to help your child. But don't let anyone tell you it is your fault.

Dee, I know you have written about ODD being caused by a child hearing too many not otherwise specified before but I am very curious where in the literature you have read that. In all my reading I have never heard that theory. It would seem to me that a family that said nothing but no was disfunctional just as I would think that a family who allowed their children to do whatever they wanted was also and a disfunctional family can certainly cause behavioral problems. I think a case could be made for ODD being caused by too lenient parents also. Actually I think a case could be made for every parenting style to be the cause of ODD if taken to the extreme. I would just be very curious to see some printed material on the not otherwise specified theory.


[*]8 yo difficult child daughter/ODD/Adopted

[*]13 yo easy child daughter

"Bad things happen when good people stand by and do nothing"

Hi and welcome to the board ... you've come to the best place for advice & support ... I've only been posting here a short while, but already we've tried some new ideas and are ever so slowly starting to feel that we are not sliding into an ever deeper pit of worry & despair.

Hang in there, read all you can ... and come here and vent as often as you need to!!!! Just getting it all out of the system works wonders for me

difficult child - female, 6 years, ODD (not formally diagnosed, psychiatric says if we want to label it, ODD is as good as any)

ME - 31, psoriatic arthritis & depression - coping with life only with the help of Prozac, 40mg, and a cocktail or arthritis drugs

married to husband for 8 years. husband tends to react to difficult child on every occasion, hasn't yet learned to ignore the minor arguments ...otherwise he's supportive

We live in Scotland, and there is virtually no support available. We have been attending child psychologist for behaviour management, which has helped slightly but there is no real improvement in difficult child's tantrums or violence. difficult child is highly intelligent & copes well with school, but at home she is an absolute monster. She fits virtually every criteria for ODD from Chandler's list. We are going demented trying to find solutions.

"Don't you worry time's a healer. Before you know it you'll be through it. Just believing keeps you breathing. Keep on building trust the process" - Trust the Process, John Taylor 1995

"Everythings gonna be alright... one day at a time" - Anon, John Taylor, 1997

As the previous responders have so eloquently stated, ADHD is not caused by poor parenting. It is a chemical imbalance in the brain. There does seem to be a genetic connection in many cases. Don't let anyone tell you that you are responsible, I already fired a psychiatrist who was stupid enough to try to tell me that, I felt that was a better alternative than suicide. It is NOT your fault.

Check out Jack Chandlers online pamphlets, they give very good, plain English, descriptions and are very helpful.

I don't currently have the web URL but I'm sure someone else can provide it.

difficult child Son , 6, primary ADHD, secondary DBO, not otherwise specified, adderal

easy child daughter 3

Mom, depression, PTSD, and numerous chronic physical problems. medications include Wellbutrin, Buspar, Trazadone, and several others for the other chronic problems.

husband, no obvious problems.

Stepson, 29, still lives at home, probably depressed, maybe bipolar


New Member
Welcome to your new home. You will be here often. Never let the mistakes of the past cloud your judgment or paralize you into inaction. We as parents all make mistakes, I call them typo's. Becuse sometimes you CAN fix them, and some times you hit send and its too late. Dont give in to self depreciation. You are the most important person in your childs life and your outlook and the ability to forgive yourself will impact them in ways you can only imagine right now. keep up the searching, never stop reading. Also if you need some realtime support go to Yahoo and under cultures and communities you will find add suport chat room. i live there. Great group of careing people...look for me there, my chat name is Papabearw2cubs1959. Hope to see you soon.....James