I knew this summer would be hard–but I honestly didn’t realize how hard it would be. Can I be honest for a minute?
I have been lonely, angry, and guilt ridden. I know it’s summer, I know we are all busy, but what made issues for me more intense was realizing I had no one who understood what I was going through, maybe they didn’t want to? Who knows. But when you’re a mom of a child with ADHD and processing disorders, it’s a new ball game.
The rules of cause and affect don’t apply. Discipline is different, behaviors are gauged differently. And here’s the thing, this summer we opted to try a non-stimulant for my son. We were concerned about some of the side affects and thought the summer months would be a perfect time to try other medications.
These last four weeks, we waited for the medication to build up in his system. Every morning, I was in tears because he had already committed a dubious crime on his sisters or something worse. I cried and pulled out my hair after yelling at my son for running away with his little sister. When I asked why, he couldn’t tell me.
I felt guilty when my husband disciplined our son. It was supposed to be a fun family outing as we opted to walk to our favorite restaurant. When my husband and I both told all of our kids to stay away from the road and walk on by the grass edge of the sidewalk, my son impulsively jumped out into the busy road—during rush hour.
Barely two seconds before a white car hit our son, my husband scooped him up and tossed him into the grass before angrily asking why he did that.
Our son had no reply.
This has been my summer. Keeping my son alive and parenting his behaviors–waiting for the medication to build up in his system while I focused on diet and other avenues.
Frustrated, second guessing myself, feeling guilty and alone.
But when I shared this change, the responses from other mom’s shocked and angered me. Mom’s shared their opinions alright like:
You shouldn’t medicate your child, you should embrace him and help him cope naturally.
I don’t medicate my child, I use essential oils and they’ve reacted so well.
I think ADHD has been over diagnosed. I’ve found most moms who have ADHD kids can’t handle how rough and loud their kids are. I don’t think they know how to parent.
Stop Judging, Start Embracing
I want to take a second and say ADHD has been over diagnosed, and if you use other methods to help your child–I am so thankful they work for you. I also want to say that parents who have children with ADHD don’t need another recommendation–like me, they need support and understanding.
Listen, motherhood is hard enough. We are bombarded with countless choices we make for our children and ourselves.
Breast or bottle? Cosleep or crib? Work or stay home? Private or public education? Spank or not? We make a million different choices for our children–only to second guess ourselves because another mom does it differently.
If my choices are different than yours, please don’t tell me I’m doing it wrong. Like you, I spend enough hours laying awake at night second guessing myself, fighting the guilt and wondering if my choice to medicate is truly needed or if it’s because I can’t mother him any better.
The ADHD Bill of Rights
The guilt I felt was overwhelming and when I made an appointment to see his behavior therapist ASAP, I wondered if I was doing the right thing when his therapist stated,
You should know, kids who truly have ADHD like your son–the only thing that works for them is stimulants combined with understanding and a highly structured environment.
Weary and tired, I left with another prescription to add to my son’s medication routine as well as a new understanding for his impulsiveness. While they might not have answers for the things they do, The ADHD Bill of Rights helps you and I as moms get inside their heads. It rids us of some of the mom guilt we carry and provides a little insight.
The next time you feel alone or you wonder why your ADHD kid acted out, please know you are NOT alone and review the “Rights” listed below as you take a deep breath before you dive back in.
And if you have a friend who is struggling with her ADHD child, read this and then pass it on to her.
And if you know a mom who mother’s differently–don’t judge, instead embrace her and ask how she is doing.
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For your own print out of The Child’s ADHD Bill of Rights, click here: ADHD Bill of Rights. Hang it in your child’s room, on your fridge, in your classroom or give it to your child’s teacher.
The ADHD Child’s Bill Of Rights
By Ruth Harris
“Help me to focus.”
“Please teach me through my sense of “touch.”
I need “hands on” and “body movement.”
“I need to know what comes next.”
Please give me a structured environment where there is a dependable routine.
Give me an advanced warning if there will be changes.
“Wait for me; I’m still thinking.”
Please allow me to go at my own pace.
If I rush, I get confused and upset.
“I’m stuck! I can’t do it!”
Please offer me options for problem-solving.
I need to know the detours when the road is blocked.
“Is it right? I need to know NOW!”
Please give me rich and immediate feedback on how I’m doing.
“I didn’t forget, I didn’t ‘hear’ it in the first place!”
Please give me directions one step at a time and ask me to
say back what I think you said.
“I didn’t know I Wasn’t in my seat!”
“Please remind me to STOP, THINK and ACT.”
Am I almost done now?
Please give me short work periods with short-term goals.
Please don’t say “I’ve already told you that.”
Tell me again in different words.
Give me a signal. Draw me a symbol.
“I know, it’s ALL wrong, isn’t it?”
Please give me praise for partial success.
Reward me for self-improvement, not just for perfection.
“But why do I always get yelled at?”
Please catch me doing something right and praise me for my specific positive behavior.
Remind me (and yourself) about my good points, when I’m having a bad day.
“I may be hard to live with, and have ADHD, but I still have
feelings and would have never chosen to behave like I do
(Reprinted from Newsletter of The Delaware Association For The Education of Young Children, Winter 1993-94) © 1991, Ruth Harris, Northwest Reading Clinic.
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