Raise your hand if you’re sick of ADHD.
Alice calls me in tears: “The school says they don’t know what else they can do for Robby.”
We talk for a bit and I find out that Robby is failing his classes and that it’s possible that the school isn’t following his 504 Plan. Over the course of the next 3 months the following happens:
- Robby is treated like an idiot.
- I’M treated like an idiot.
- We ask that Robby be dropped from one of this classes (abusive teacher) and the school acts like the world is ending.
- Alice is becoming increasingly afraid of the school counselor and administration who tell her that her requests are unreasonable. Alice doesn’t want to seem unreasonable. She starts backing down and I find I’m fighting for Robby practically on my own.
- Robby is denied an IEP despite being diagnosed with ADHD, Anxiety, and Depression.
- Alice tells me “I don’t want to do any more. I’m tired.”
- Robby passes only 3 classes.
If you’re like many ADHD families, you’re frustrated with the schools, with the doctors, with your kids, your spouse, yourself or just frustrated with ADHD.
I get it.
Navigating the complexities of a condition that effects everyone differently is confusing and can create quite a bit of tension in families. You wonder if you’re alone, are you doing everything you can, are you a bad parent, is your child going to make it as an adult? The whole world seems against your child, or at least enough of the population to keep you steadily overwhelmed, resentful, or disheartened.
What if I told you I can change that for you?
Here’s what no one is telling you: ADHD isn’t a disorder or a deficit. ADHD is a different way to process information and, in this society, it’s an unpopular, unconventional way. But that doesn’t make it wrong or bad. You’ll find people who are great at managing their own lives and they think that means they can teach others to do the same. But that’s not how ADHD works.
ADHD isn’t about imposing a behavior template on your child; it’s about gathering a whole circus tent of strategies so that you and your child can choose the right one for each set of circumstances.
We lose a lot of time trying to change our kids to meet others’ expectations.
What we need to focus on is how to take our kids’ strengths and apply them to situations that confuse or frustrate them. We need to give them ADDITIONAL skills, not take away the ones they already have.
This process involves you making changes, you getting additional information; your child really can’t take charge of this because he/she is a child. This is an adult skill.
And we need to educate other adults who have contact with our kids. They, too, need to understand that trying to adapt techniques that work for non-ADHD kids is not the way to help ADHD kids. They need different techniques. ADHD kids aren’t feeble-brained or unsophisticated; their orientation to the world is different so their responses to questions, situations, events, and activities will also be different. They also take in information differently.
ADHD child as immigrant
One easy solution if to think of your ADHD child as an immigrant. Imagine that you’re teaching someone from another country how to be successful in this country. They may not quite understand why they need to bring paper to class. It seems obvious but it may not be. They may not even understand why it’s important to pass their classes. Instead of meeting them with frustration and irritation, we can meet them with curiosity. I like to think of ADHD kids as treasure chests and we get to hunt for the precious gems.
We don’t want to alienate, punish, or ridicule. We want to connect, to focus on their strengths, and to applaud their progress.
What treasures may be hidden inside your ADHD child or teen?
Just scroll down and share your thoughts in the comments section. I love, love, love hearing from you.
Copyright 2017 Yafa Luria/Margit Crane All Rights Reserved
What troubles you about parenting an ADHD child or teen?
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