Finding one small blessing each day.

This Way to ADHD August 30, 2012

Filed under: Parenting — hiddenblessing @ 12:47 pm
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Child Putting on Shoes“>

Photo credit to Poppy Thomas-Hill, http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinkpoppyimages/

I was at a party the other night, with a roomful of people I didn’t know. I was listening to a woman talk about her new husband’s children and somehow the topic of ADHD came up.  She immediately began to very loudly express her views on ADHD, which were something like this:

“There is no such thing as ADHD or ADD. There’s not! It’s totally made up. It’s a concept made up by teachers who just don’t want to deal with kids. It’s just an easy way out for parents and teachers who just don’t want to deal! What they really need to do is just DO THEIR JOB and parent their kids and DEAL with these kids’ behaviors.”

I nearly choked on my drink as I turned to her, just waiting to hear what more insight this woman had to share.  My best friend and I made eye contact over the people in our small circle, and I just sadly shook my head.

One of my children has ADHD.  It is not, and I repeat this in the biggest possible letters ever, NOT from a lack of parenting, discipline or teaching.  My husband and I have “parented” him relentlessly.  My boy has been in time-out so many times in his short life that I’m surprised the carpet isn’t worn out on the stairs where we send him to sit.  We have tried charts and redirection and rewards and, yes, turning the other cheek.  We’ve counseled, talked, taken things away, grounded him… you name it, we’ve tried it.

ADHD is an ugly, snarling beast.  I wish it was something made up, because if it were, I promise you I would have found a way around it.  What nerve this woman had, to tell a roomful of people she didn’t know (or not very well, obviously) about how it was due to a lack of parenting.  She has no idea.

I promise you, she has never wiped tears away from her child’s face as he cries to her that he “just must be bad.”  She has never sat in a roomful of people  and watched as a teacher shook her child’s homework at her and spat his name out with frustration and intolerance.  She has never tried to explain to her child why it is that he has to take pills every morning, when no one else has to. She has never sat up late at night, worried about how to help her child be successful when he struggles to get through five minutes of homework, let alone eight hours at school.  Or interrupted a birthday party sleepover to bring meds, because she is afraid he will never get invited back again if he wakes up and doesn’t have his pills right away.

Or the worst – which is, totally lost her cool and yelled at her child for his inability to brush his teeth, put on his shoes and get his backpack on in the last fifteen minutes before they walk out the door for the day.  This is the one that happens the most frequently… and the one we struggle the very most with.

Just put your shoes on. Please!  No – don’t look at the TV.  Why is the TV even on?  I turned it off twice already!  I don’t care if the Annoying Orange is almost over.  It’s time to go.  Shoes. SHOES! … What are you doing NOW?  Put down the cat.  SHOES.  Just shoes!

This is the one that haunts me through my whole day.  Because he’s at school and I can’t pull him into my arms and apologize for yelling at him.  I can’t try to explain how mama just needs him to please remember to get his shoes on and his teeth brushed because it would make our mornings so much easier.  I can’t be sure that he’s not hurting and sad, because the last thing he remembers of his mom that morning was how angry she was. Again.

But here is what I know to be true. This beautiful child, this marvelous boy… this is my son.  He was given to ME for a reason.  There is a life lesson, something he and I are supposed to learn together, and this is why he is mine.  ADHD is a monster, for sure.  I hate the fears, tears and pain it has brought into my sweet child’s life.  But it’s a monster that for whatever reason, God chose to place in our path.  And slay it, we will.  One way or another.

For his sake, if I could choose to make it go away, I would.  Of course.  What mother wouldn’t?  I want what all mothers want for their children – for them to be happy, to love and be loved, to choose paths that honor the bright light that is them, and nothing else.  ADHD doesn’t change any of that, it just makes the road a bit more thorny than others.  There are a few more dips in the road.  But dips in the road only make your legs stronger, in the end.

But for me – for me alone, I wouldn’t choose any differently. I have learned so much on this journey.  For starters, it put me in my place.  It slapped me across the face and showed me that I’m not half the mom I thought I was.  And then it yanked me back onto my feet and told me to get working.  In the end, who knows?  Perhaps I will actually be a better mom for having trudged through this particular forest.  It taught me patience, and how to pick my battles.  It brought me friends – other moms who have the same fears and frustrations and breaking points.

It also is my real-life story of not judging until you’ve walked a mile in her shoes.  Miss Lady At The Party, I really do wish that what you said was true.  I wish it were true for every child who truly struggles with ADHD and other learning disabilities, because it would make it so much easier to fix.  And you know what?  I don’t know what your story is, and maybe you have a personal experience with a teacher that led you to form the belief you did.  But for me, and the other mamas out there who fight this with their sons and daughters, please don’t tell us it’s because of a lack of parenting or a lack of discipline.

My sweet child and I are walking through this snarly, bramble-filled path together.  And it is exactly because of parenting, that we will be just fine in the end.


10 Responses to “This Way to ADHD”

  1. zen city Says:

    Wayne Dyer says this often: “Self-actualized people are independent of the good opinion of others.”
    I’ve found it very helpful when faced with ignorant people over the years. You will be just fine (you already are!) but remembering that people say all kinds of stupid things and never to take their stupidity personally, helps shorten the amount of time you may spend being upset.

    • You are absolutely right. And I’m sure that I’ve said plenty of stupid, hurtful things in my time without meaning to as well, which I need to remember when moments like these come up. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Zen!

  2. Jamie Says:

    Perfectly beautifully said. Amen!

  3. Jane Says:

    beautiful post. A special thanks for the like and follow of my Not In India 2012 blog, and even more so for bringing me here. I look forward to exploring further. Hope you will enjoy exploring my blog as well. I will not be posting there often now as I am off to India for a short trip…so will be posting now mostly on my India Journal Blog: http://janesindiajournals.wordpress.com But if you enjoyed the post on this current blog, you might simply enjoy checking it out further. Looking forward to having some quiet time to pursue yours further as well
    much love light and JOY

  4. feathersofhappenstance Says:

    If adhd were made up, I agree, it would be A LOT easier to fix. My parents didn’t even see it in me, nor did any teachers. I had to figure it out for myself, after 23 years of not knowing why life seemed particularly hard for me, I found out that i have adhd, a very severe case of it! After going to see someone about my anxiety, they were the ones who finally diagnosed me. After months of trying to manage it, I haven’t really found much that helps, but I keep searching.

    • Feathers, thanks for reading and commenting! I’m so glad that you found an answer – even if it did take so long. Hopefully it felt reassuring to at least have a reason WHY things were so hard. It’s a step towards making it easier for you, I hope. Light and blessings to you today!

  5. momfessional Says:

    You are so right, especially about getting ready for school in the morning. I struggle every day with trying to keep mornings positive, even as I tell my son for the millionth time to get dressed, eat your breakfast, stop yelling at your sister, sit down, get up, don’t play with toys at the table, etc. etc. It is exhausting.

    • momfessional Says:

      And when it is all over, and I sit at work, all I want to do is go back and do it over, give him a hug, laugh a little. So I promise myself to be better the next day…

      • That is me EXACTLY! I’ve learned little things help… like me getting him up earlier, so he has more time to wander around. To give him his pill as soon as possible. And giving him countdowns… we’re leaving in ten minutes, five minutes, three minutes, etc. It’s hard, but SOMETIMES those little things help. Sometimes, it wouldn’t matter at all what I did…it’s just one of those mornings. 🙂

      • That is me EXACTLY! I’ve learned little things help… like me getting him up earlier, so he has more time to wander around. To give him his pill as soon as possible. And giving him countdowns… we’re leaving in ten minutes, five minutes, three minutes, etc. It’s hard, but SOMETIMES those little things help. Sometimes, it wouldn’t matter at all what I did…it’s just one of those mornings. 🙂

        And thank you, by the way, for reading and commenting!!

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