Monday, November 11, 2013

Raising a Child with ADHD

ADHD...an acronym that has become a daily word in our house.  Often whispered by my husband and I from a long exhausting day.  

ADHD...an acronym with such a bad reputation.  

ADHD...an acronym which so many people relate to "bad parenting".  

ADHD...an acronym that can leave you feeling isolated among fellow parents, teachers, administrators, etc.

ADHD...an acronym that makes it hard to make and keep friends (for the child and parent)

ADHD...and acronym that makes some teachers roll their eyes, moan, and give up on the child.

ADHD...

Let me mention, I am not a doctor, just a parent trying to guide and help my child.  

Our pastor often states that our test will be our testimony.  I have decided that I am going to add a section to my blog for ADHD.  It will just have my own personal stories.  But it is my hope, that other parents will find comfort in knowing they are not alone.  

There are three main types of ADHD:
1.  Inattentive Behavior
2.  Hyperactive Behavior
3.  Impulsive Behavior

I can really only speak on impulsive behavior because that is the type of ADHD my son lives with.  

It is painful to watch him navigate through a society where everyone (including kids) must be politically correct at all times.  He is such an amazing kid with a huge heart and incredible love for animals.  BUT... (and this is where most people get stuck) he does not have the "socially acceptable filter".  If the thought or action jumps into his mind it is going to come out of his mouth.  He says what he feels, cuts to the chase, blunt at all times, lacks tact.  With the comment, also comes the emotion.  If he is feeling angry, the statement will be hurtful and loud.  If he is feeling sad, the statement or action will be crying and acting out.  The list can go on and on.  Unfortunately, many people (especially adults) give up on him.  They feel he has horrible behavior, that we must be awful parents who don't discipline him "correctly".  They give up without even trying to get to know the real child.

Because of this, he has serious trust issues (especially at school).  Too many times, teachers and administrators have given up on him, judged him, looked down on him.  He is extremely bright, therefore, he picks up on everything.  He is well aware that he does not fit in the square box that society has deemed correct.  He has had two teachers flat out quit on him, moving him to a new classroom.  So simple, they get to move on and we pick up the pieces, constantly trying to remind him that he is a great kid (all while trying to get use to a new classroom).  Parents of other students, write angry letters and make concerned phone calls regarding something he said to their child.  Other kids use him as an easy target.  When they get the best of him (which is easy to do) they enjoy the entertainment of his melt down.  

This is a pretty typical day for us.  He does have amazing moments but so few actually see them.  The moments are over shadowed by a "wrong" comment or action.  My husband and I constantly pray for patient and gracious adults to be placed in his life.  We pray for children to look past the outbursts and to see him for the wonderful child and very loyal friend that he is.  

I love that he does not judge others.  It is an incredible gift.  He really does not judge other kids.  He really does look for the good in everyone.  He is beyond loyal and dedicated to the people that put time and care into him.  He is learning to love God above everything else, to trust in Him, and to feel His presence.  He loves that I put Bible verses in his lunch box.  He reminds me when I forget to do our morning devotion.  He gets upset when I swat a fly because to him all living things should be loved.  At the age of 9, he still climbs into his grandmother's lap just to have a conversation with her.  He loves details, the more the better.  He is AMAZING.

It becomes so hard to focus on the good when everyone else is judging the not so good.  As a parent, it is exhausting, discouraging, and frustrating.  There are days we want to give up (even though we know we never would).  There are days we want to put him in a bubble and keep him from the constant judgement.  He will be a successful adult and we will see an end to our storm.  

If you know of a child with ADHD please soften the way you look at them.  They are incredible kids.  The sky is the limit but it takes really special people to help them on their journey.

"Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always." Psalm 105:4

"Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature an complete; not lacking anything." James 1:4

"We live by faith, not by sight."  2 Corinthians 5:7

When you see a child who struggles, have faith in them.  Do not judge them on the behavior that is in your sight.  Love them and help direct them.




4 comments:

  1. Excellent blog post!! We sure love Jacob and have seen what an amazing kid he is. You and Charlie are excellent parents, and I know that your job can be exhausting. I'm so proud of you for how you let God use you in your kids' lives!

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  2. I have felt your pain and know exactly how you feel, and I can assure you that it will always be a challenge. I know how hard it is to explain to your child why they are never invited to birthday parties and why no one wants to come to theirs; why they are always the last one chosen to be on someone's team; why even the little league coaches don't want them on their team even though they are a fabulous athlete; and why at age thirty they have never had a long term relationship with woman especially when they long for companionship. I just wish a special woman would see my son like I see him for the awesome, talented, clever, bright, funny, caring man of God that he is. I am praying for you and your family. Please pray for my son. I know that the Lord listens!

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  3. I love this post, Elizabeth. I know I haven't known your family long, but I applaud you for your unconditional support and choice to see the incredible GREATNESS in your son over the challenges you face on a daily. As a Behavior Analyst who works with special needs children, I can assure you that there really are many people out there who strive everyday to help others see the incredible potential these amazing kids have. They usually end up teaching US most of the time!! Keep your head up, you're doing an incredible job! :)

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  4. I feel like I could've written this myself. Our oldest has adhd, and we too have had to deal with the judgment and harshness that comes from a lack of understanding. In some ways, my son is blessed because he also has many traits of Aspergers, which makes him somewhat oblivious to the nonverbal reactions of others. Unfortunately, he seems to be catching on more now that he's getting older. Thanks for sharing. You're giving him a wonderful gift of educating him at home.

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