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A Non-ADHD Parent's Initiation into an ADHD World

Posted by Angie Schexnaider

From the day we took my son home from the hospital, I knew it was going to be a wild ride. He cried all night long and didn’t stop for six months. He was adopted and we knew little about his birth parents’ medical history and none of their family’s history. After six months, my son was a happy but very impulsive, hyper little boy. If a thought crossed his mind he was carrying it out no matter how often we said “NO!” He was always very good at approaching new people and making friends. Staying friends was more of a problem. His lack of impulse control did not allow him to realize how much he was irritating and sometimes hurting others. Play turned into someone’s feelings getting hurt because he would not stop when they asked him to stop when the play turned too rough for them. Little did I know at that time that I was set to micromanage his life from there on out.

Because of this pattern with making and losing friends and not having a lot of success in school, his self-esteem diminished. We rapidly rolled down the hill from there. Putting any effort into any task became a problem and homework became an even bigger battle. He started throwing an answer in the blank just to say his homework was done. He doesn’t care if it is done accurately, he doesnt care if the answer doesn’t make any sense — he just truly doesn’t care. He is currently on his third round of correcting homework. The problem is, he doesn’t change the answer; he just erases the x that’s indicating a wrong answer. If someone sits with him through every step of homework, it’s done correctly. If someone just sits nearby and asks him to complete homework, it’s just done without any accuracy.

Now my son is 15, and I still micromanage his day. From personal hygiene to putting his PE clothes in his book sack. Everything that you ask him to do is “later” — and later never comes. Every night it’s a fight to get him to bring the dog inside, every night we argue that yes the dog does need food every day. Every task is a means to negotiate and/or argue. Nothing is ever just simply done without raking it over the coals first. One night after an exhausting argument I asked him to take a bath and he asked why. With no strength left I simply stated because every night you take a bath at 8:00.” He accepted that and now we no longer argue or negotiate bath time. I’m told routine is the best thing for him, but he is the one who keeps me struggling to remain in a routine. I am not ADD/ADHD but I can’t seem to find a consistent routine to keep us both in line.

Through perseverance, striving for consistency, and Karate lessons for self-control, I am starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. He is starting to care about the outcome of something. Although, I no sooner give accolades for some form of improvement and the light at the end of the tunnel goes out. Every day is a battle, and I’m still trying to find my balance, but things are improving. It’s exhausting, but it’s a battle worth fighting.

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