Mum sparks outrage, living with ADHD

Jenny Young is in her kitchen, listening to a radio phone-in show.

Jenny makes a startling declaration that if her ten-year-old-son Ryan were a dog, she would have him put down. One caller says she doesn’t deserve Ryan, who has severe learning difficulties and ADHD.

She said she is the main target of his frustration and that if Ryan, who has the mental age of a two-year-old, were her husband they would have divorced by now. In fact, Ryan's problems were partly the cause of her own marriage breakdown with Ryan's father.

She added that people should not judge her for her comments until they have heard her story.

Jenny said that she used the example of putting a dog down because she has a member of the family who went through the traumatic experience of having their dog put to sleep after they could not control its violence.

"It was a horrendous traumatic experience for the whole family. They worked really, really, hard and did everything they could possibly do for [the dog]," she said.

"They spent lots of money and put lots of effort in and ultimately they had the choice to have her put down.

"I don't liken Ryan and the dog exactly but there is a choice. When you have a dog that behaves [violently] and might attack you any minute, you have a choice.

"I wouldn't be without Ryan but [ I was trying to make the point] that when you're the mother of a child like Ryan there is no choice. There isn't a refuge for battered mums - you have to get on with it."

Jenny, whose three other children also have ADHD, is unrepentant about the comments that have provoked such outrage — and, as we talk, it’s clear there are plenty more where those came from.

She says she wants Ryan moved out of the three-bedroom terrace house she owns in Hertfordshire and into residential care.
‘I don’t want to be doing this when I’m 80 and he’s 40,’ she says. ‘You see people like that and they just look exhausted.

Jenny said she grieved for Ryan when he was diagnosed with ADHD and severe learning difficulties.

"You don't love your child any less but it's a bit like going on holiday and not arriving in the place you expected. It's a lovely place, but not what you expected," she said.

But she went on to explain that 99 per cent of the time Ryan is adorable and is violent and unpredictable for only one per cent.

"And I think most parents would say same thing. There are two sides to him. The biggest problem is the unpredictability," she said.

"He can be gorgeous all day and then I can squat down to give him a cuddle and he might bite me or scratch me or knock my glasses off or punch me. At least every day I get punched in the face."

While many parents and experts will testify to the prevalence of ADHD, others are sceptical, suggesting that it is merely an excuse for a lack of discipline and lazy parenting.

Jenny is quite certain that ADHD is real, and was even diagnosed with it herself when she was 40.

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