As the mother of two kids with ADHD, one hyperactive and the other inattentive, I can attest to many of the 28 Things Nobody Tells You About Having A Kid With ADHD. It is more than having an active kid, and it takes parenting to a whole new level, especially when you add in early childhood trauma and other equally fun things. Each of these hit me at the core, they really are true, deeply personally so many times.
These are not just “yes, my little Jimmy/Jenny also annoys me sometimes … I can not even look at Facebook for an hour without him/her whining to me about something” or “I always have crayons and scrap paper with me for those times we have to wait. Otherwise we would never get through that 30 minute wait time at the doctor’s office.” If you are one of those people, please, do not even try to commiserate with me. I know you mean well, but it only makes me practice biting my tongue more. That really hurts after a while. Besides, it only makes me feel like more a failure in this parenting arena. I already feel that way really, really, often and do not want to feel that way more. Please do not be surprised if I stop talking about my kids to you, or even if I stop talking to you altogether.
Here are some thoughts I had as I went through the list, you may want to open the article in another window as you read through below:
Signs and visuals have helped, but only go so far, which is why we have “underwear check” most days … to make sure it is on AND not backwards. (Point #2)
FYI – Yes, I know my kid’s shoes are on the wrong feet, but I am tired of telling him yet again to put them on right. So, please do not ask me if I knew they were on wrong. We got to where we were going on time (ish) and that was higher on my goals list for the day. If they bother you, feel free to tell my child who put them on, not me. I learned a long time ago which is the right foot and do not need the extra practice, thank you very much.
#3 – I used to think I was super patient and calm. Then I was given my two kids to raise and learned what it meant to be prideful. That was a tough lesson. Now I am learning to say, “I was wrong for loosing my temper.” and “I’m sorry.”
#4 – If you do not think this is true, wait till you realize your kid has NO friends to invite him to birthday parties (while brother seems to go to them all the time) and you have to try and explain why. This is also why we invite whole families, when we do invite people for parties.
#5 – After talking with a friend who had two very well behaved kids and one very active kid, whom we love, I found out she was this way until they began parenting their active kid and had an “ah, ha” moment. Yes, you may be a great parent, but it could also be that you just have easy kids. Don’t judge.
#6 – Sensory issues surprised me, it is something like the chicken and the egg. In our case we tried addressing all the other items first to help reduce the ADHD behaviors. When it became obvious there was ADHD involved, we then addressed the ADHD to help reduce all the other items. Neither will ever go away, so we are learning to live with both and “tolerate” some things that normal life brings, like having to do things you do not like to do.
#7 – “Oh, they are just boys.” That is true only up to a certain point. Even I tried to tell myself this for too long. After a while you have to admit something else is happening. Staying in denial can actual cause longer term harm to their brains; imagine hearing “no”, “stop that”, “why can’t you do xyz”, “sit still”, “focus”, etc all day long. After a while it really starts to affect you physically and emotionally.
#8 – They might, but we did go a year giving them almost no (and I really do mean ‘almost none’) candy, sweets, etc. We were those mean parents who told grandparents and friends that our kids could not eat those things at Valentine’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween (which we didn’t celebrate, so this was fairly easy), Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
#9 & #10 – very much YES! Yet I still relearn this point over and over. I could give you example after example of success and failures here, but will not waste your time doing so. Let’s just say that I am not kidding when I say I have to prepare for a trip to the (grocery store, church, post office, museum, restaurant, special event, etc.) This included going over what are expected behaviors, what is planned, what might happen, who might be there, etc. Though I have to make sure not to set expectations too high, as if they are not met we have a melt down. Not pretty.
#12-#14 – Ah, medication. Everyone has an opinion. 🙂 Even I have changed my views on this, somewhat, after living life as a parent of two ADHD kids. (P.S. we really have a goal for at least one kid that goes like this – “Not Get Arrested”. Yup, setting the bar high over here.)
#15 – Yup, I already know people (even family) have already labeled at least one of my kids. Because of that I choose not to share about our daily life with them.
#18 – And even those within the school. Thankfully we are in position to find an alternative to those issues I less than love. Well, usually.
#20 – There are movies/video games I am ready to mark as “Banned!”in our home. I really do not feel like hearing about them for hours. Every day.
#21 – I used to wonder how our bathroom got so dirty so quickly, “Mom’s never did.” Then I started paying closer attention and realized it was not due mainly to my homemaking skills, but to the aiming skills of others. “Look where you point!” Is a common refrain in our house.
#22 – I really thought this was in our future. Instead we got help, home schooled, worked with public schoolteachers/adjusted IEPs, took more parenting classes, added in therapies, and sought resources. 1.5 years later I think be might avoid it.
#26 – Yes, this is something I deal with often. I have to remember that we all have issues, some are just easier to hide than others. It is easy to let the jealousy turn into anger toward the child. This is something I have to keep my finger on, especially during the harder than normal times.
#27 – Surprisingly, even in church there are few who do this. I have made sure to tell them how much I appreciate their efforts.
All of this is to say … I love my children. They are great people. They have fun personalities, individual likes and dislikes, they love to help, and they are maturing. If I were to dwell on all the points above and never on the other things, I think it would be hard to get out of bed each day.
Yes, all the above are a reality in my life at one point or another, but they do not define who we are inside.