I can’t tell you how many times I have pondered this very question in the years since my son’s ADHD diagnosis.
If I had a buck for each occasion someone has lectured me on how I should leave him to his own devices because “he’ll learn from his mistakes” or because “he’s old enough to know better”, I’d be able to retire comfortably.
If I had 50c for every time I asked myself why I still had to remind him to perform a simple task like brushing his teeth or having his meds I’d be able to buy a mansion on an equestrian estate to go along with my retirement.
Reminding him to do something- even when most kids will have learned to do it by his age or by his grade- is simply easier than fighting with him about not having done it. Ignoring something that is unimportant in the greater scheme of things is easier than fighting with him about it.
Plain and simple.
And I will keep doing it until I don’t have to anymore.
It has become part of my C.A.S.E.*
Something that has come up in almost every support group meeting is whether we as parents to children with AD/HD do too much for them. The question is asked- “When do we stop?” “When do they learn to do it without being told?” “At what point does it switch from supporting them to babying them?”
I wish I knew.
I’ve been thinking it over, and whilst I battle to find the words when I am speaking to someone or to a group, perhaps this will come close to explaining how I see it.
A lot of the time, it will seem as if you are focussing on your child’s actions and fighting metaphorical fires (and sometimes real ones) instead of teaching your child about the consequences of his actions. To start with, this may be true, but building a strong base with therapy, medication, routine and structure, and diet changes will mean you can start teaching your child about consequence and life lessons once you have a balance at home.
Please don’t see acceptance of your child’s diagnosis and issues as giving in, see it as having the strength to move on and work through it. You will have to make concessions in your life, and making concessions shouldn’t be seen as admitting defeat, they are concessions made to enable your child to live with and learn to cope with his disabilities.
As much as I hate making comparisons with other illnesses and disabilities, here’s an illustration.
Heaven forbid, one of your children has an accident and has to be in a wheelchair. No matter how strict you are, how positive you try to be, how structured your routine and home life, your child will most likely not be able to perform certain tasks, right?! In order to aid your child, you will make concessions and allowances at home for your child’s disability- like wheelchair ramps, or even moving house!
Your ADHD child’s disability requires concessions and allowances made when it comes to communication; time management; learning from mistakes; task completion and social interaction.
Its that simple.
ADHDers can be “A students” and thrive at home and at school, but they cannot do it alone. They need your help to do so. To put it very bluntly, if your diagnosed ADHDer is battling at school and at home, then he or she is not getting enough help and something needs to change.
*My “CASE” is something I use when speaking to groups and parents and it stands for Consistency, Acceptance, Support and Education.