These past few months have been exhausting. Princess still isn't sleeping through the night and she's now one. My first trimester of this pregnancy is taking its toll. And we're pretty sure that Blue Rock has ADHD and are finding ways to help us ALL. I say help us all because I feel that ADD and ADHD are something that can and does affect the whole family. We always knew Blue Rock was a very active kid. But finding out a big reason he's so active, has trouble sitting still, talks a lot, and is curious and wants to be into everything, is helping us know how to better parent him.
Depending on when he met my son, you might think he's just a very smart and active young boy. A lot of Blue Rock's behavior is normal, especially for young boys. I thought a lot of his misbehavior was due to the fact that he is a boy and is immature. Even though I've never seen a kid with as much energy as he has. While that is part of it, there are other factors that play a role as well. About 8% of kids have this "disorder." I personally don't want to label it as a disorder. I'd like to refer to it as learning differently and seeing the world differently. This is going against some of my natural instincts of let's be "proper" at all times. One must always come when called right away or else! I'm learning that kids who have ADHD have a much harder time following directions at times, hearing you call them when they are actively involved in something, and have a wide range of interests. They also act impulsively from time to time and may get the urge to climb something random or run around really fast. Some of these skills require extra patience and time to teach. I'm also a firm believer that food plays a huge role in my child's attitude and well-being. When someone offers him a piece of candy for instance, I'm later dealing with a child who seems to have lost control over his body. Is he wanting to be bad? No. Does he think he's bad when he starts acting out? If he thinks about it after doing it then yes. Otherwise, he's just going with how God made him. He honestly does not want to be "bad" or misbehave. Doing what other kids might think is normal, such as sitting still and quietly, he truly has a hard time with.
Which brings me to my next point. It's okay to seek help. I have become so frustrated with how Blue Rock behaves at times, am embarrassed, upset with how he carelessly seems to make a mess as he explorers, and his attitude. That finally I decided to seek help. I found a counselor who does play therapy to help explore some of his impulses and social anxieties. Also to help me as well! He's not a bad kid, he's actually a very good kid. But in large groups, he tends to get overwhelmed and at times will act out from nervousness. He's super extroverted and very friendly so this seemed strange to me that he might get nervous or overwhelmed in a large group. But some of it is his brain hears and sees everything. So someone without ADD or ADHD might walk in a room and notice a few things and find a place. He on the other hand will walk in the room, realize it's very loud with lots of different conversations going on, notice all the colors people are wearing, the smells, and get overwhelmed with what to do with himself. It takes a kind and patience person, even another peer, to bring him down and help him engage in the group setting. His impulse tells him to be the center of attention and act out and be the class clown. While being funny can be fun and funny at times, we want more for him that than. We want him to learn to control that part of his brain and realize it's okay to be quiet. Even if that means he needs to be manipulating something in his hands. People with ADD/ADHD tend to need to be focused on at least 2 things at once to really pay attention.
Will we medicate for this? I sure hope not. While sometimes medication is best for some people, I'd prefer for us to seek all the natural ways before medicating or considering medicating my child. Some of the side effects of the medications are, loss of appetite, loss of sleep, depression, and a more sedative state. I don't want to lose my kid. If you knew him, you'd know he already doesn't sleep much and he's very skinny. The risks are not worth it.
Lastly, through my research and what I'm learning about ADD and ADHD is that there are lots of benefits from having this. Sadly our society tends to want to put people in a box and if you are different or see things differently then they don't see a benefit. However, there are benefits to having this. People who have it tend to find jobs they love because they are not afraid to try new things. They are adventurous, usually very smart, outgoing, and are able to notice many things that other people in the world might miss out on. They also tend to have more energy and make great athletes, actors/actresses, spies, inventors, and anything else that takes a lot of energy and time with.
If you have a child with ADD/ADHD, please don't be discouraged. At first I literally was crushed. But now I'm seeing the beauty of my son and looking at the positives and realizing that God made him the way he is and gave him to me to love and cherish. I've become more understanding. I'm changing my parenting approach, and I'm praying more than I ever have before!
By the way, please don't give my child any candy, mints, or gum without asking me first. :)