I was reading a blog post on Tumbling Sanity of Raising Sadie Jane one morning. She was writing about how her ADHD daughter’s neurotypical* brothers deal with her disorder and whether ADHD can be a positive thing in the life of siblings. At the end of her blog post, she said: “I would love to hear about how you handle the challenges of sibling relationships and the benefits of having a child with ADHD. It’s good for me to focus on the positive sometimes.”
In my comment on her post, I said that I often thanked my lucky stars that my son and I were alone when he was growing up, that I didn’t have the complication of parenting him and another child- or children. At the same time, I often wished that I had someone in the house to “carry” some of the load… my parents were super helpful in giving me some time off occasionally, but it’s not the same as having two parents in the house.
Then I started thinking about how I benefited from raising my ADHD son (and that should be a REALLY big “H”, just btw).
Yes, there were the times I cried myself to sleep, and cursed the name on the screen of my ringing cellular phone, and the times I prayed that he wouldn’t remember… But there are so many happy memories and so many lessons learnt!
For one thing, I was never short on hugs and kisses. He was always affectionate and lovable no matter how old he was. He never hesitated to kiss me goodbye when I dropped him off at school, and he loved nothing better than to watch TV snuggled on the couch with me. He’s a little less so now that he’s older, but he doesn’t flinch if I ask him for a hug or a kiss. 🙂
This next point may sound strange considering how he can’t sit still himself, but my son taught me to slow down, not to sweat the small stuff. He showed me how to wring every little bit of enjoyment out of life. He taught me to enjoy every moment to its fullest, instead of always trying to see the big picture. He did this by example. He showed me that it is okay to laugh out loud if you think something is funny. People don’t laugh enough. He showed me that it doesn’t matter if people stare, it doesn’t matter if your straw makes a noise when you suck the last drop of a milkshake out of your glass, and it’s not the end of the world if you drop your box of popcorn in the movie house. The world isn’t going to end if your socks don’t match.
He showed me that holding a grudge or fostering resentment, no matter how small, is just not worth the effort. Not because he tried not to do so, but because he doesn’t bother remembering whether someone has hurt his feelings or not.
He taught me to put myself in someone else’s shoes before judging them. By being more aware of how people saw us, and how he and I behaved and were criticised by anyone and everyone, I learned that I need to look at a situation from as many angles as possible before deciding that I know exactly what it’s about.
Who know! ADHD does indeed have an up side to it! Raising a special needs child has made me a better person.
*neurotypical is another word for non-ADHD, or “normal” which I loathe using because my knucklehead isn’t abnormal.