So, your child has ADHD, and it honestly feels like the end of the world. Emotionally, the walls have caved in around you, and you can’t help but wonder, how did this happen? There is a lot to grieve when your child receives an ADHD diagnosis.
I was devastated when I found out my son has ADHD. Especially after I read the statistics. If an ADHD child isn’t treated for the condition, or goes undiagnosed, the outcome is costly.
Statistics show that an adult with ADHD is 4 to 9 times more likely to commit crimes and end up in gaol, compared to someone without ADHD. Fifteen studies from peer – reviewed journals show that 21-45% of prisoners have ADHD.
If ADHD is ignored, or left undiagnosed, the person with the condition is likely to develop other mental health conditions. These can include depression, anxiety, addiction problems, oppositional defiance disorder, conduct disorder, or antisocial personality disorder.
It’s a grim prognosis, and there is a lot of work involved on the part of the parent to make sure the boat doesn’t sink.
I spent a year questioning my parenting. I wondered where my son’s father and I had gone wrong. Had I disciplined him enough? Had our breakup contributed to his condition?
Sadly, I even wondered what other people would think once they realised that our son is out of control.
I knew I had disciplined him enough. I knew that I had loved him enough.
I also knew that I was deeply ashamed of myself for having a role in handing down this horrible, life changing, debilitating condition to my child.
I felt an overwhelming sense of inferiority around the other parents whose children went to school with my son.
This inferiority had absolutely nothing to do with my son. To me, he was beautiful in every way. However, his out of control behaviour was something else – and for a long time I blamed myself for every aspect of his dreadful behaviour.
There were inconsistencies in my own immediate family which screamed dysfunction, and I couldn’t help but wonder if this had something to do with his diagnosis.
For me, the birth of my son had originally meant that I would give him a new history. My original plan was to give him the love and nurture that I had never been given. I wanted him to succeed in his life more than I ever could. To give him the opposite of what I had planned was not my intention.
While other people’s children were getting 100% in their class test, or reading at level fifteen, my son was failing everything, and reading at a level two. He was also ripping up his schoolwork, and throwing it around the library, giving the teacher a kick every now and again, and screaming at his class mates.
I found it embarrassing that he was calling out in class all day everyday. I found it embarrassing that he would hit the other children for laughs, and I was absolutely terrified about how the other parent’s perceived me as a mother.
I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, ”he didn’t get this from me,” and point at his father.
I was annoyed that my son couldn’t simply get dressed in the morning without falling to the ground in a ball of tears. I was annoyed that he couldn’t complete a single solitary task without either losing concentration, needing help, or leaving his work unfinished.
I was also very angry that I would need to give my son a pill every morning up until the age of sixteen. A pill to have friendships, to concentrate, to behave, and to stop the constant out of control impulsive, overly hyperactive behaviour.
What has the world come to if we have to give our children a pill everyday?
ADHD is a misunderstood condition. There are still people in this world who have no understanding about ADHD, and who would even go as far as to say that the condition doesn’t exist.
I did question my parenting. I was worried about what others may think if they found out my son is so out of control he needs medication. I was very hard on myself. Especially when I had a really good look at the family tree, and realised that hyperactivity and inattention runs rampant in my family.
”What is wrong with us?” I continued to wonder.
After a couple of years playing the blame game, I finally decided that enough was enough. I needed to come back down to earth and accept the reality that ADHD is an hereditary, neurological condition. A brain malfunction! Plain and simple.
I know what I know, and I know the behaviour can’t be helped. I’ve seen it first hand. Other people haven’t. To hell with the people who want to judge.
I was told my son has an immature brain, and that was devastating to hear. ADHD will most likely impact his adult relationships, his impulse control once he is weened off medication, and his ability to concentrate for the rest of his life.
My son will probably always say silly things without thinking. He will always have learning difficulties, (which often coincide with ADHD) and he will have times where he suffers from self-doubt. It is all a part of the ADHD parcel.
My boy is difficult to parent, difficult to teach, and his energy is non-stop. He picks fights, hits, acts out, does his own thing instead of what he was told to do, and he often can’t get organised.
I am one hundred percent certain that with my non-stop support he will get there. Yes, he will get there later than some of his peers, but he will get there! His journey is his journey. At the end of it he will have lots of amazing funny stories to tell, and a hell of a lot of wisdom.
I love my quirky little boy!