Preparing For A Child With ADHD
So you’ve received this diagnosis for your child: he has ADHD. You may have no idea what to expect. You could be picturing a kid who will be swinging from the rafters of your home and eating your makeup, or one who lights things on fire and spills things every hour. Some days it will feel like that; others you’ll have little glimmers of hope when you get to see your child’s real, darling personality, hidden under his diagnosis. Your doctor can give you pamphlets and set you up with support groups that deal with the topic of being a parent of a child with ADHD. But the truth is there are some things the pamphlets just don’t cover, and some pain the support group just can’t ease. Here is what you should know about raising a child with ADHD.
Others will lose their patience with him
Flight attendants, restaurant servers, babysitters, your friends, his friends…You’ll witness a lot of people lose their patience with your child and just give up on him entirely. It’ll break your heart to see your child so confused as to why this babysitter or that friend won’t come over anymore. That’s why you need to be your kid’s best friend. You can’t lose your patience for him (at least not permanently).
If you lose your patience, people judge you
You will, of course, lose our patience sometimes. And when you do, people will judge you. The one time you snap, people will look at you like you’re a monster. They are completely unaware of the million other times that month you wanted to snap and didn’t.
There are such things as ADHD deniers
There are some people who just don’t believe ADHD is a thing. They think it’s just an excuse for a personality flaw. Don’t engage in conversation with these people. And make sure your child’s teacher, babysitter, or other caretakers aren’t in this group.
You’ll have to have the medication talk
Deciding whether or not to put your child on medication will be a very difficult moment. Putting a young child on prescription drugs can feel unnatural. But watching your child struggle in life, because he isn’t medicated, will also feel terrible.
Your child doesn’t think anything’s wrong with him
You can’t explain to a child that he has ADHD. What? He is hyper and can’t focus for very long? He doesn’t see how that makes him any different from his friends.
You have to be extra cautious
Children with ADHD are constantly finicky and getting into mischief. You need to take extra precautions to make sure your kid with ADHD doesn’t play with something dangerous, walk into rooms he isn’t supposed to, burn himself, pick up sharp objects and much more. You essentially need to toddler-proof your home, but for a child who is no longer a toddler.
Everyone will ask about what your child eats
There are a lot of theories out there about how diet affects ADHD. Expect lots of people to grill you about what your child eats. If they see your child eat one potato chip, they’ll assume you’re being negligent about his diet.
You need to be a super super mom
Moms are already super heroes, and now you need to be an ever more super mom. You need to plan everything down to the second. Every decision you make about your day, from where to eat to what store to grocery shop at, revolves around your child’s ADHD.
Everyone’s an expert
Suddenly, everyone’s an expert on the subject. Your friends swarm your email with articles on childhood ADHD. Babysitters, teachers, and your kid’s friends’ parents want to sit you down and give you tips. You’ve heard it all. A hundred times.
You need your doctor’s direct line
You need a doctor who returns phone calls quickly and is very available to you. You’ll want to call him regularly about adjusting medication, or determining whether this new behavior is part of the ADHD or something else.
You will need the teacher’s direct line
Your kid’s teachers will need to be very patient. You don’t want a teacher who sends your child to detention the second he acts out. You want a teacher who understands the situation and will call you personally before taking matters to the principal.
Sometimes, your child might seem selfish
Sometimes you’ll swear you gave birth to a little narcissist. He never listens to you. Even when you ask him to do something that would be so easy for him to do and make your day so much better, he doesn’t do it.
The tougher tasks take longer
You know the tasks you hope to get out of the way quickly—like potty training—yeah, those take longer for you. Sorry. Really, sorry.
You’ll need really good friends
You’ll have no patience for adults who do not listen, do not help you, and are not giving. Your child never listens to you, so you need friends who are superb listeners and very generous.
You’ll be very involved in his school
You’ll want to know about every change happening at your child’s school because it could affect his ADHD. You’ll be on the PTA and you’ll be at every meeting.