Living With ADHD Children
He is an energetic red head with a huge smile on his face everyday. Underneath that smile is a child that is confused and worried to death about every little thing in life. He takes so much into his brain and overloads on it every day. He thinks everything should be done now. The world revolves around him and him only. He gets annoyed when his other siblings get anything and really gets upset when one of them talks at the same time he is talking. He is a child that doesn't really care about being politically correct in any situation. He has no idea when he has either spoken out of place, been rude to his elders, or is just acting weird all together. He is just functioning every day with ADHD. He is my son.
Every day brings new drama in our house. We have four children and my son Nick is our oldest. He is 12 years old. He wishes he was 18 like any other child his age. He thinks everything is unfair and he should be able to drive, tote a gun, smoke, have an iphone, ipad, and any other luxury people have these days. He doesn't understand boundaries and limitations the way most of us do. He is very impulsive and gets in trouble for stupid things all the time. Like squirting ketchup all over the place in the cafeteria at school. This is just an example of the phone calls I get from school. There are multiple fights between the kids on a daily basis. Most of the time he is following me around asking a hundred questions and telling me what I need to be doing for him. I am serious. It is enough to make you pull your hair out.
I quit my job and decided to be a stay at home mom for awhile. I am in my 2nd month of it and I really think I am not cut out to do this. It is actually not so bad. I do have a time with the two younger ones here at home during the day. But I also have help from a young girl that has become a close friend to our family. So things are not so bad. I am just used to working and having that time during the day with adults and just to myself. My goal is to be here for the kids more and to also be here in the afternoons for Nick. Thinking that spending more time with him will help him make better choices and develop better habits in life.
Our Second Child Was Diagnosed After Starting Kindergarten
My second daughter, Haley also has ADHD. Hers is a bit different than with Nick. He has ADHD with symptoms of Bipolar and high functioning Autism. She has only been diagnosed with ADHD. He takes medication and really needs to. She has been going without her medication and is functioning fairly well. She gets so sick on the medication that it is just not worth her taking it. We have recently tried going without medication and Nick did not do so well. I will have to say he changed dramatically when we put him back on his medication after being off of them for a week. The 4 year old and 3 year old have not been diagnosed yet. I can't help it but I am constantly looking for signs of it with them. Regardless, all of my children are smart, outgoing, cute, and have a sense of humor. Everyone else thinks they are great which does make me feel good. I see and experience things with them that most people can't see with a short visit. Examples of the everyday struggles have to do with cleanliness habits, homework or school related issues, and sensory issues with clothes.
I Don't Have Any Friends!
Due to Nick's complex diagnosis, he has more issues with socializing than Haley. She is a social butterfly where Nick usually keeps to himself. I think he does this to keep from getting his feelings hurt by other children. He takes it really bad if another kid makes any negative comment to him. He does not take criticism well at all. With school in session it can be a daily thing where he comes home upset about something someone said to him. He will obsess about it and let it bother him for days. We try to make him understand that you can't always be liked by everyone and sometimes people say mean things. Haley has those days as well but tends to get over it much quicker than Nick. A lot of these issues are normal for all kids this age. We just see the extreme side of it. Nick is in the 6th grade this year and has been experiencing a lot of new things at Middle School. Just getting used to changing classes is a huge change for him. He has really been upset and confused about the whole concept. I think it is all working itself out now that he has been going for a couple of months now. He also has expressed his feelings toward a girl on his bus. I am thrilled that he is experiencing that but really do not look forward to the day when she stops liking him. I can't help but worry about the negative side of it because I know how hard it hits him. We will enjoy the positive side of it now and help him get through it when it ends. If it ends. As Nick gets older, he learns valuable skills that help him deal with his peers better. We enroll him in classes with his guidance group that teaches him social skills and how to detect social cues. I think a lot of those things are paying off for both children.
Where is My Screwdriver?
Nick's curiosity is a few levels above the average kid. He is always looking for things to get into and either create something or most of the time destroy it. There is not one thing in my garage that he has not touched or taken out in the yard to play with. This is not always a good thing. Especially when he leaves it out in the yard to sit in the rain and rust. He is terrible about putting things back in their place. My husband is always asking me if I have seen a screwdriver and I just cringe. I know Nick has gotten it and left it in the yard. We run over things with the lawn mower all the time. Nothing is protected with Nick in the house. Haley does not go through things like he does. She tends to enjoy her things and not everyone else's stuff. I encourage his curiosity to a certain degree but I do get upset when I see that he has gone through my stuff and either taken things or has left my things in disarray. Nick is usually the one I ask if I am missing anything. He will know where it is. I am sure.
I Will Clean My Room Later
I stay on Nick about keeping his room clean just as most mother's do with their children. I can not explain how crazy his room is after one visit by him. I can clean it spotless and after he comes in and goes in there, it is all over. He does not grasp the concept of putting clothes back in the drawers or even keeping the drawers in the chest. He has everything he like and plays with in the middle of the floor. He can't even sleep in his bed because of all the junk he leaves laying on it. He catches all kinds of lizards, snakes, and frogs and keeps them in cages in his room. I have to come in and fumigate the room at least once a month. I can't stand it but I have come to realize that organization is not his thing. I have read somewhere that if I label his drawers that it might help him find what he needs easily without having to rummage through all of them for a shirt. He will occasionally clean his room for me but most of the time I have to hit it with a trash bag. Again, a lot of this is normal for any kid. Mine is just to the extreme due to his ADHD. Haley is not the cleanest child in the world. However, she does have an interest in keeping up with her things better than him. She has neat little piles of stuff in her room and freaks out if they get touched. Lately I just close the door to their rooms and wipe the mess from my mind. I find myself fussing about it way too much and am now trying to be a little easier on them about it. I would like them to meet me in the middle somewhere. Still working on it.
ADHD Does Not Mean Stupid
Having ADHD is a challenge for kids and adults alike. I truly believe I have adult ADHD though I have not been diagnosed. I have even been told by a doctor that there was no way I had it with the things I had accomplished in life. I don't know if I believe that or not. Both of these kids are brilliant. The problem is not them not knowing things. The problem is them slowing down and taking the time to apply themselves. Nick thinks so much of his homework is unnecessary so he won't do that part. Haley wants to do everything else instead of her homework. When they both do apply themselves they make A's. Until this year, Nick has been on honor roll every grading period. Haley has also make all A's and B's. Due to Nick's grades, we have not been able to get him on an IEP or 504 plan through the public school system. We have been told that his disability does not keep him from learning and therefore he does not qualify for either program. The school system has put in place every year some informal in classroom modifications to help Nick with areas he needs help in. Some have worked and others have not. We have not had to request any of that for Haley yet. She is not on her medication this year due to it making her sick. So we may have to request some assistance for her the first time this year. Time and her grades for the first grading period will tell. Nick can do anything he puts his mind to. He has been online and passed 8-10 online FAA courses toward getting his pilot's license. I think that is pretty good for a 12 year old. He is very interested about and obsesses about being a pilot. He can figure out anything electronic or mechanical without any assistance from an adult. I think Nick and Haley both will do well in life and will be successful. I had one psychologist tell me that Nick would have so many issues that he would do horrible in school and not be successful without a ton of special classes. I am so glad that has not been the case. We have some serious struggles getting Nick through school but it pays off and he can be anything he puts his mind to being. Nick and Haley will be two success stories despite their ADHD. I am proud of them and will continue to push them to do the right things in life. It is easy to give up with the drama and stress associated with raising an ADHD child. As I tell them, It is my job to do this and I am going to do a good job.
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