One thing that has been incredibly frustrating and painful for me as a mom of 6, two of which are living with ADHD, is the constant pressure that is on me (as the parent) to keep these children "under control." We already draw enough attention to ourselves when we're out in public simply by the number of children that follow behind us. But when one of those children draws even more attention to us because of the (always loud) disrespectful reaction to me when given a response he wasn't wanting, or the constant climbing on stacks of toilet paper, or the angry tantrum in the van because of an unforeseen seating issue, the pressure is almost unbearable.
I have never had someone come up to me directly and say something incredibly judgmental or unkind, but I know that there is an immense amount of misunderstanding about the behaviors involved with these types of issues. I try to be kind and give my children's Sunday School teacher's and any other adults who will be caring for them a bit of a heads up on really what's behind certain behaviors and unruliness. For the most part, we have have been met with tremendous understanding and patience, and this has greatly benefited my children. But I know there are many other parents with ADHD children who have not been met with grace and support. Such is the following excerpt from a blog post that I revisited lately that was tremendously encouraging to me.
Recently I got a newsletter from Crosswalk.com The title caught my attention ‘Bad Attitude: The Newest ‘Disorder’ I read the article and I encourage you to as well. Mr. Ken Connor wrote this article is response to George Will’s take on the new DSM for psychology coming out, A ‘Cure’ for Character Both of these articles discuss the medical community over reaching to create disorders to explain away our child’s problems. Do I agree with this…No with a touch of yes.
I have seen a child in full rage. No thought just a locked, frustrated, screaming cycle that can go on for hours. Is this normal..no. A normally responding child would throw a tantrum at a young age attempting to assert their will usually to get something. The parent should not give in, you are in charge. A rage is as different as a house cat is to an anger lion. They are similar and you can try to explain away they are basically the same. But if you try to pet that lion to calm it down you will get hurt. A child in a rage does not respond to normal calming techniques. They do not stop until the intense emotional outburst ends. I think though that even with all that rages are not a diagnosis. They are a symptom.
Do conditions like ODD and RAD exist? YES!!! and I am sure I could easily get a show of hands that live it. These articles belittle those of us that deal day in and day out with children that have these disorders. I don’t think the authors know that.
You can read more from this article here.
I remember before I had children, thinking I had it going on when it came to training children and keeping groups of children under control. But then I was given a child who didn't respond AT ALL to nearly every technique and strategy I tried. So I adapted and learned and things were still crazy, but bearable. Then we were given another child who not only didn't respond to what we knew in the area of child discipline, but went crazy!! You try and try, and try again. For years. And then you hear you just need to spank them more, or be more consistent. And it's terribly confusing when our other children who are not ADHD easily learn and follow along and get along happily with each other and actually WANT to do things with me. So then I started thinking I was a bad parent. Especially when you read articles such as the one she mentioned in her blog above. You know the kind.....the ones that say these issues don't really exist, they are just excuses for children who aren't disciplined well enough or come from bad homes. Well, I know better now.
I certainly don't watch the screaming children in the grocery store and think I know better how to raise that child, or that that child simply could use a good spanking.
I wish that the adults of the generation that I grew up under had had more information about it so I could've watched them handle it and already have an arsenal of techniques tried and tested that I could apply for every single situation that I deal with on a daily basis.
I do believe that these differences exist. They are very real!!
I think it would be much more beneficial for parents such as myself if the judgmental folks spent more time equipping parents with ADHD children (and the myriad of other issues out there) on how to get these children to sleep at night, or how to be able to calm their brains enough to absorb the atmosphere around them in a church service, or to resist the urge to jump on a quiet sibling, or to be able to memorize the steps for cleaning up their bedroom. It would really help take some of that pressure off!!!
Oh, and the lady who wrote the above article has a tremendous blog for parents of special needs children who homeschool: