Managing An ADHD Child
When I took my son to a clinical psyche to finally get a diagnosis, after many failed attempts at answers through natural therapies, the psyche took one look at me and said, “So, who else in your family has ADHD?” I only knew I was managing an ADHD child.
After noticing my surprise, she said to me, “ADHD tends to run in families.” I said, “Must be my brother,” he was the one who was always so naughty as a kid and got in trouble all the time.
Doctor raised one eyebrow and said, “That’s interesting it usually comes from the mother.”
That comment shook me, I asked her, “How does that work? An ADHD mother of an ADHD child?” She said that usually depends on the mother, if she’s managing her ADHD then she can manage her child’s ADHD, but if she’s not then the child won’t have a successful time either. Alarm bells rang in my ears. I’d never considered before that I had ADHD but looking back I was always away with the fairies, every school report said the exact same thing – Freya talks too much, Freya disrupts everyone around her, Freya is easily distracted and so on. Oh no, was I the cause of Jasper’s behavioural issues? I brushed it off into the back of my mind where denial resides.
A year later I was diagnosed. I had too much clutter in my life, I didn’t know what to do or how to get rid of it until my husband left. That’s when I called in a friend who helped me clear it all out. That was my first lesson in learning to manage my ADHD.
The 3 C’s
The psyche said use the 3 C’s – Calm, Consistency and Company
It was Company that helped me clear the clutter. I realised I just wasn’t able to do it on my own.
ADHD people love company it made so much sense. Anytime I tried to get Jasper to do a simple task he just couldn’t do it unless I was standing with him. Shoes on… Impossible, unless I helped him. Clean room? Not a chance, unless I was in the room with him. He wasn’t being difficult on purpose, he would just find a million other things to do instead and didn’t even realise that he could complete tasks better if I was with him. Even now as a teenager it surprises me the things he will accomplish when his friends are over like wood chopping or emptying the dishwasher that I usually have to ask 10 times (aka nag) before he gets it done.
Calm and Consistency. I believe these two C words work well for the entire human race. Took me a long time to figure out how important they are. Like at dinner time, time to wind the music down to soft background tunes. We like to play Bob Marley, something the whole family agrees on, soft lighting, no screens, soft voices. Especially as there can be a lot of shouting in our house. But the mood music and lighting really takes effect and everyone calms down. I calm down.
Creating some sort of routine – consistency – has never come naturally to me. I’m spontaneous and run on instinct rather than the monotony of routine. So, getting the dinner routine down has taken years of hard work to get it right, finally. Training my boys to sit at the table while one in particular shouts, argues, runs off from the table, knocks over his glass, gets screamed at by me, sent to the naughty spot, too loud music or screens in the background, was always a disaster in earlier years. Jasper would happily stand and eat if I let him. And we all know how easy it is to hand a plate of food to kids in front of the TV.
Not anymore. Not without a lot of effort, and now reward, by having an enjoyable meal at the dinner table and sharing stories of our day.
Consistently getting to school on time…
Stop right there!
School has always been my biggest downfall. That’s where I realise my ADHD has failed me. I tried for years and often failed to consistently get the kids to school on time. Lateness is second nature to me. I don’t mean to be late I just see shiny things on my way out the door that distract me. My alarm can be set 3 hours early and still be, without fail, no matter how organised I am, LATE!!! I feel so frustrated by this part of me I hate even writing it down. Throw a disorganised, hyperactive ADHD child in the mix and I’m only destined for failure.
Each day, the morning routine mysteriously changes on me. That’s because I never remember what the morning routine actually is. So much to remember – get up, have brekky, shower, get shoes on pack lunches, try and wash a few dishes, something I’ve forgotten? Oh yeah, homework! Oh, too bloody late get in the car on way to school I remember – teeth? Who brushed their teeth? Goddam it neither of you? You’ve got to stop relying on me to tell you – you’re old enough for it to feel disgusting to go to school with furry teeth. And so on.
I just don’t have the organised gene. I’m jealous of other mums that do.
The penny dropped recently and I have become consistent with time in the mornings. I began setting the alarm earlier! So the kids have an extra hour to get ready. And, no TV in the morning. Ok, this makes for a tricky morning – Jasper’s medication takes an hour to kick in. An hour without TV in the mornings means an hour of yelling, swearing, whooping, beatboxing and niggling/annoying his little brother. But it’s better than having the TV high drama of …
(read the remainder of the article on Freya’s blog)
I’m a mother of 2, business owner, fashion designer, importer of Moroccan wares. I have a restless soul with an overflowing bucket list. I love writing and sharing stories about life and ADHD, my oldest son, my husband and myself all have ADHD so there’s never a dull moment in our lives!
~ Freya Duignan