How I Helped My Son Improve His ADHD Symptoms | Health Insider
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How I Helped My Son Improve His ADHD Symptoms Without Medication

I’m Rosalinda, a single mom, and I love my kid more than anything.

He’s turning 14 in a couple of months, and he’s getting to a point where the connections he makes in school and his other activities will be essential for him to be happy among his peers.

As much as I’d love my little angel to rely on the extended family and me for his social needs, I know it’s healthy for him to have a solid support system of friends.

We’re also getting close to the time when he’s going to start thinking about college and getting some excellent grades to be eligible for the scholarships that will massively help him throughout his university experience.

We’re lucky enough to live in a great school district, and he attends a lovely state school that’s rated pretty high for the quality of education.

I try to give my son a good balance of time for school work, time for friends, quality time with myself, chores, and all the things that are going to help him grow up to become a well-functioning adult.

However, I have one hurdle that we’ve been trying to work on together for a long time, and that’s his ADHD

Don’t get me wrong, I love him with his ADHD, and I couldn’t imagine him without it. But we’ve tried a lot of things.

We’ve always had issues we were trying to solve – his attention span and hyperactivity. He would struggle to plan and then get highly frustrated whenever something he didn’t anticipate went wrong. It would take so long to calm him down when things weren’t going his way. And he had been like this his whole life.

I’ve personally gone through ADHD parenting training, we’ve both gone to psychotherapy, we’ve also tried medication, and it has had the most success with treating my son’s inattentiveness and hyperactivity symptoms.

However, after using the medication for quite some time, we weren’t happy with the way it was affecting his personality and how he lost interest in his hobbies or making friends at the time, so under a doctor’s supervision, he stopped taking it.

I love his bubbly personality, how friendly he is, and how much he tries when he’s focused on something, but he’s been a little off at school lately.

He’s been falling behind on some work, he finds it hard to concentrate on homework, and his teachers have complained that he’s been getting carried away in class.

Mother helping her son to study

He hasn’t flunked any classes yet, but I’ve read his report card, and it’s mentioned that he hasn’t turned in a few homework assignments, which got me pretty concerned.

He fidgets a lot, but some of the fidget toys that I’ve bought him over the years have been going out of style. He doesn’t want to keep using them in front of his peers because it makes him seem uncool, which I understand since coolness is the most valuable currency when you’re his age.

What struck me the most was a conversation I had when I bumped into one of what I thought was his good friend’s mom.

We started some casual small talk, and when I asked whether she’d like to send her son over for a playdate that weekend, she told me that they didn’t speak anymore. She told me what her son had told her.

Apparently, when my son hangs out in big friend groups, he gets very hyper, loud, and a bit out of control

She said my son would interrupt people when they talk, yell and just be quite a bit irritating since he’s overstimulated by the number of people in the group.

I listened to her, and it obviously made me sad. If I hadn’t gone through enough parenting training and known my son well enough, I probably would have yelled at her for even suggesting that my son was anything other than a perfect little angel, but I was just glad someone had told me about these issues before they got any worse.

That evening, I sat my son down for a chat.

I talked to him very openly and honestly about the fact that I was concerned about his performance at school and that we were going to do something about it.

We needed to make an action plan that would help him bring his grades up, keep his teachers happy, and keep him on the right track to getting the scholarships he needs for college

But before we decided on anything actionable to do, I asked him how his friendships were going.

Even though it’s awkward to open up to your mom about your friendships when you’re a teen, he told me that it wasn’t going so well. He hadn’t told me this before, but he was pretty distraught that he didn’t get invitations to 3 of his buddies’ birthdays over the last couple of months and that fewer people were talking to him at school.

Boy portrait

And I said he’s a good kid. He wants to fit in, have good friends, and do well in life. As he expressed his frustrations about how he wasn’t doing as well as expected, he even considered that he might have to get on medication again. He obviously didn’t want to do it, but he just wanted something to help him do well in school and get his friends back.

I could see he was fixating on the idea of taking medication, circling around how it’s going to affect him, and getting more anxious as he was thinking about it more.

I stopped him.

I told my son that we would do everything we could while making sure he felt his best

We talked about our options and what had worked for him in the past.

While talking, we agreed that structured physical activity had done wonders for him. Not only was he interested in exercise for long enough to do it, but the benefits spilled over to other things he did.

For example, if he’d done some exercise that day, he would feel calmer and more collected at school, increasing his attention and performance.

We started thinking through our options – he wasn’t too into sports in group settings, so that rules out team sports. He really liked orienteering and had done it for a few years, but it was simply an unsustainable option for us because of locations and the commute.

He did mention that he really liked something he’d seen on TikTok and showed me a few videos of people doing some impressive-looking things with rope.

Mother and son looking at the phone screen

It was called Octomoves. He even showed me some TikTok creators with ADHD who had been using the ropes and talking about their benefits.

From the videos, it seemed like the people were using almost every muscle in their body to make gliding movements along with the rope, going up and down and spinning.

The creators said it calmed their anxiety, let their brains focus better, and improved their strength and coordination.

But the best part was that the ropes were light and compact – you could use them anywhere and anytime you wanted, and you could feel the benefits even by using them a few minutes at a time.

My son and the TikToks convinced me. I ordered the ropes for him. And as I was waiting for the order to arrive, I started reading and watching some more videos about Octomoves and even ordered some ropes for myself! Just thought it would be a fun activity to do with my son as he gets into the habit of using them.

The benefits were apparent after the first month

Sure, we needed to watch some tutorials to get the hang of it at first.

But as we were getting into it, we noticed that my son was starting to have a much easier time sitting down to do his homework.

Seeing how much calmer he was at home, I called up a couple of teachers to ask how he was doing at school.

The teachers told me that he was being significantly less disruptive in class and that he had started doing a silly rope thing during recess that clearly had something to do with it.

I giggled at the “silly rope thing” as I looked at my own ropes sitting on the counter next to me.

Soon enough, my son received an invite to a sleepover at a friend’s place. I guess he was doing better with friends as well.

Now Octomoves is something I get to share with my son every morning

We do a bit of exercise together every now and then, but now, every morning, we’re not in a rush. We take a moment to put on some music and just let the ropes flow.

My son is pretty keen on getting better at it, while I’m just enjoying some quality time spent with him as we get better at this hobby together.

It’s such a great way to start the day – it’s even better than meditation because you get to focus on something you enjoy!

It’s great for the social and educational development of my son who has ADHD, and it’s equally as beneficial for me – a neurotypical – who just wants to spend some time moving my body and clearing out my thoughts.

These ropes might bring balance and flow into your life as well, whether you’re neurotypical or not.

Check out their free quiz to see what rope works for you

Results may vary due to personal features. Always consult a professional for medical advice.

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3 Comments

  1. Can’t wait to try these out myself

  2. Is it like a yoga/ tai chi practice? I like the idea of flowy movements!

  3. My son has ADHD and a couple things that help him a lot is orienteering and hiking, but we can’t always go places to do those things. I’ll have to try out the ropes with him.

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