Its not fair….Siblings and ADD

There are some days when I feel at my worst and I don’t understand why my daughter has ADD, or why she suffers with anxiety or even why my children were born with a hearing loss so how can I expect my other children to understand?


I have talked previously about the often turbulent and volatile relationship between siblings when one has ADD but after a week now of daily tip tapping, swearing and screaming I feel like I am at my wits end. My ADD daughter is the third of four children. All girls!! I will not say it’s an easy task raising girls but I try to do my best. What I mostly struggle with is the relationship my daughter has with her sisters. Some days I blame myself and find it hard to come to terms with the idea that my children have difficulties and other days I manage to brush myself down and get on with parenting but my other daughters find it hard to process their sisters behaviour and they can not understand why (L) is the way she is.

  • I make excuses like she can’t help it
  • I try and ignore the behaviour which mostly just fuels further arguments with my eldest daughters
  • I find myself shouting and screaming at the wrong child
  • I blame all bad behaviour on her disability when sometimes it isn’t
  • I cry and get angry which then upsets all my children

It’s on these darker days that the behaviour and symptoms of ADD become more apparent especially before the medication starts to work. For two hours before school there is arguing,shouting, screaming, objects flying and general put your hands over your ears din. Some mornings I do not even want to get out of bed. With three children trying to get ready for school and one who is being disruptive, its mayhem and can resemble a battle field…..Yes girls can fight like cats and dogs and its not a pretty sight!!!

I feel so emotionally shattered by the time my children walk into school other parents must wonder what a miserable women I am! 

The older the kids get, the harder it’s becoming to be a mum. Its harder to contain arguments, disagreements and fighting especially when two of your daughters are the same height as you…There is also no negotiating with a child who neither understands, remembers or processes what you say. My ADD daughter finds it increasingly difficult to navigate the sibling situation. She is either going of the deep end at them, annoying them or being mean to them or she gets upset because they don’t want to play with her. I can’t blame them (L) may have forgotten that book she threw at them this morning or the slap she gave them but my other three do not forget and they don’t seem to forgive either.  Some days I do all I can to limit the stress caused by them.

I have to split them up, give them different directions!!  I often feel like I am waving my arms around like an Orchestra Conductor.

The guilt sets in about how my other children are coping with having a sister with difficulties/disabilities. On the outside they seem to cope well but the signs are there like yelling at me that its not fair. Life isn’t fair its hard work as there is no rule book, guide book or instruction manual. Some top tips I have learnt along the way

  • Give all of your children at least 15 minutes in an evening by themselves either talk about their day or do some reading. I have found this makes them feel important its not easy as you may get interrupted but persevere.
  • cooking….I try to involve the older ones in cooking for everyone. It gets them out of the firing line for a while and makes them feel involved.
  • always hug and kiss your children anytime anywhere. Make sure they know even if they have been naughty that you love them
  • sleep overs / days out…for the siblings of a child with ADD/ADHD family life can be hard for them. If at all possible arrange a day out or a sleepover for them with friends or family. It will give them time out and an escape especially if its been a stressful week.
  • Find an activity that everyone can enjoy. We use Story Massage a lot in our house for almost every situation. Story massage promotes relaxation, fun, concentration and it can also calm and bring everybody together.
  • Go for a walk. I find even just going around the block can clear the air and relieve some excess energy.


Phew now I have written it down I may go have a cry and then brush myself down do some breathing and release the Stress and tension.Even on a bad day I never hate my children or myself and neither should you. Feel free to get in touch with me

x Leanne X

One thought on “Its not fair….Siblings and ADD

  1. Leanne, I am a US doctor with ADHD. Let me start by saying that ADD or ADHD is a genetic disorder not a disease. In the US 70% of the children with the label are misdiagnosed. Girls are usually labeled ADHD inattentive type around the years 10 to 13. If it is in your child’s genes then she will have this problem all her life. So here is the question for you what will she do when the medication no longer works? Whatever you think the answer is wouldn’t it be better to start developing those habits now while the medication is working?

    I have a website called you will find many of the issues discussed there. For this specific issue your daughters need the tool called the Fair Fight. Here is an excerpt from my book, Does Your Child Really have ADHD.
    “Maureen [my wife] had an incredible experience with the Fair Fight technique.

    She writes, “My parents divorced when I was 8. When Steve and I married, my mom enjoyed visiting us. During one visit, Steve and I started a Fair Fight with my mother literally in the middle of us.
    “Seeing us fight, at first she felt very afraid, because to her, fights equaled divorce; but she ended up amazed. She said to me, ‘You know, your father and I loved each other very much. But we didn’t know how to fight. If we had known how to do this maybe we could have stayed married.’”

    Rules for Fighting Fair

    This technique is infinitely adaptable. It comes from basic counseling techniques of communication, with some specific format added.

    Here are the basic rules:

    1. Someone calls a Fair Fight – the others involved agree to do one.
    2. If it’s not possible to do the Fair Fight now, set a time and date to do it, and follow through. No stalling.
    3. Two minute rounds: each person speaks for no more than two minutes. Less is okay. Don’t be overbearing about timing the round, but to get a ballpark idea of the time, a discreet glance at a watch is okay.
    4. The most upset person gets to speak first.
    5. No name-calling or profanity.
    6. Speaker uses this form: “I felt ___(mad, sad, scared, etc.) when you ___(said, did, didn’t, etc.)”. Try to stay with this format through the turn. Say something like “Done,” when you are done.
    7. The Listener’s job is to listen during the Speaker’s turn. No interrupting allowed. At all.
    8. Next the Listener says, “I heard you say, …____.” Listener attempts to paraphrase the heart of what the Speaker said. Repeating word for word is okay for little kids, but for anyone older, repeating word for word is most often a way of sarcastically deflecting the words instead of really hearing them.

    a. Listener can ask for help is he or she doesn’t recall all that was said.
    b. If Listener asks for help, Speaker repeats that part, and Listener paraphrases that part.
    c. Listener says something like, “Done.”

    9. Speaker now will give one of two responses:

    a. If Listener gave the gist of what Speaker said, Speaker responds, “Good listening!”
    b. If Listener didn’t paraphrase the basic heart of what Speaker said, Speaker responds with something like, “Not exactly – I really meant _______________.” In this case Listener paraphrases again, until Speaker says, “Good listening.”

    10. Now it is Listener’s turn to be Speaker, and Speaker does the Listener job.
    11. Rounds continue, each side taking turns.
    12. As turns continue, whoever is Speaker begins to include “What I would like from you is…”. Listener paraphrases that statement, too.
    13. Continue until agreement is reached, or they decide together to finish the Fair Fight another date and time you set together

    I suggest you pick a time of peace to introduce these rules to your family. Just say that the next time there is an argument in the home these are the rules you would like all to follow. Your first few fair fights you will find that some of the rules will be ignored your job is to be the referee and bring them back to the rule. If one says she doesn’t want to do it then it is best that that girl be silent until she is ready because any words that come out of her mouth will be mean. I have never seen the Fair Fight fail to resolve the issue. Let me know how it works for you.

    Liked by 1 person

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