“Mom, Jordan called me Kailynn!” My seven-year-old is screaming across the house as if she’s got a broken bone. “So,” I say in my flattest tone of voice, “that’s your name.” “But I don’t want him to call me Kailynn!” She continues to scream. I reflect upon my most recent meeting with her therapist and I wonder, “should I try medication? Surely all kids are like this!” Just as we start to get over that crisis, Jordan comes in holding his head, crying profusely because Jayden has hit him with a towel. Not even a wet towel, just a plain old dry kitchen rag. So I tell myself “if she needs medication, he needs medication, they all need medication, or maybe it’s me, MAYBE I need medication.” But I can’t dwell on it long because Trenton tackled Jayden and tore his hoodie. We have a new crisis brewing.
OMG! Somebody turned off the Playstation! Haven’t we all gotten the memo by now?! Don’t EVER turn off the Playstation!! It could be in the middle of an UPDATE! It’s days like this that make me feel like ADHD is getting the best of me.
Have you ever sat back and thought “there is no way all of these kids have ADHD. It’s not possible that so many kids have the same diagnosis.” Have you ever let it grow into the idea that maybe the problem is that parents today don’t discipline their children. “A good spanking will fix them right up!” I’ve heard it many times.
Many people don’t truly understand the differences in the brain of a child with ADHD and the brain of a child who doesn’t face that challenge, but the differences are real- so real that brain scans show significant differences in functioning. I remember a time in my own life when I didn’t really believe in ADHD or ADD. I thought it was a scam to get a prescription for amphetamines. Then I met my husband, and suddenly, I realized there are definitely people who are wired differently than the rest of us. Still, I didn’t fully understand ADHD or just how deeply it affected people. That’s when God decided to send me a reason to learn more, in fact, he put 8 people in front of me that struggle with some form of attention deficit.
Never let God hear you say that you don’t believe in something…
One of my close friends had a child struggling with ADHD and when she asked me for advice about medication, I spoke directly from the heart. “You don’t need that. My husband never took it. You’ll be fine without it.” Unfortunately my heart wasn’t educated the way it is now. I still believe taking medication should never be taken lightly, and at the end of the day, medication is not an answer. However, I have learned it is sometimes a valuable tool to use while finding the answers. But where do we find those answers? That’s a tough question. There is no book, website, or therapist with a definitive fix-it solution.
I’ve spent the past 10 years truly educating myself about ADD/ADHD and I still don’t have all the strategies or answers. All I have are the beginnings of ideas. Now add in the fact that at least 3 of my children also have Oppositional Defiance Disorder and I’m back to square one. “Is that even real?” I’ve asked myself. “You just need to be tougher on them,” I’ve been told.
Today I read that adopted children are twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and O.D.D., and I’ve stumbled onto a whole new topic to explore. That should keep me clicking links for a good while! I already knew that kids with ODD fight a war within themselves. They aggravate, they argue, they annoy others, and then they feel like they are being targeted unfairly. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard my child say “Mrs. Teacher thought I was talking, but it wasn’t me, they just don’t like me….”
It’s really hard to watch your child struggle to feel accepted. It’s even harder to know they live in a world where not many people will recognize or understand the different way in which they process things. At the end of the day, I can’t spend my time trying to change the world. That’s a battle I can’t win so I have to try to teach them skills to help them cope, to help them function. Wait, I don’t want them to just function. I want them to reach their full potential. Am I doing a good job? Who knows. All I can do is try my best.
So here we go: “Tucker, just turn it back on. Trenton, don’t tackle your brother by his pockets. Jayden, put that hoodie on the sewing machine. Jordan, stop crying, and Kailynn, that is your name. Now, who wants to bake the bread tonight?”
“Me. Me, me, me, me, ME!”
I guess when the going gets tough, just preheat the oven…