Before my oldest was born 17 years ago I read my first book about parenting. It was called “Raising Kids That Turn Out Right.” It was a good book. I read a few more over the years. I liked Dr. James Dobson too, and when child number three came along I picked up his book “The Strong Willed Child.” Yep. Number 3 was a bit more of a challenge. The first two were boys, and although they did give me a run for my money some days, they were pretty calm and easy to deal with compared to number three.
My girl is a beautiful and delightful child when she is in a good mood, but then there are the moods! The hormonal unbalances are nothing compared to all of the acronyms. ADHD, ODD and a few more I can’t even spell the initials. Even though I had been a Pastor for 12 years and a family advocate with dozens of cases nothing had prepared me for the “fun” that was headed my way! I had to learn to laugh in the trying times, and operate in love in the middle of chaos and there was a whole lot of chaos. This gal puts the DRAMA into Drama Queen. I needed a whole new education just to cope. I had to learn all about ADHD and how I was literally dealing with the brilliance and creativity of a scientist one moment and then the cross over to evil genius the next.
The ADHD child is a riddle. Boys are different than girls too. Often they are more easily spotted because they jiggle about and have obvious trouble focussing, but with a girl it may not be so obvious. The distraction may be more in her mind. She is daydreaming in school and has trouble completing her assignments. As parents we think, “It can’t be ADHD, because my child is sooooo smart.” We don’t understand that a child with ADHD may be very intelligent. They may be Mensa material in fact. The ADHD child will be completely not interested and unable to focus in one area, but so ultra focused with a spirit of perfection in another area.
My daughter is very creative. Since she was 8 she could prepare a whole newsletter that looked like I did it and I am now a marketing professional by trade. However, math for her is a totally different animal. We can’t even get her to put an answer on the page to tell where she might land for a grade value. She is an amazing artist, loves to sing, and has “the moves.” But she is a terror to get out of bed in the morning and the Oppositional Defiance Disorder has some other perks that I won’t even get into here.
Structure is helpful to the ADHD child. What happens though when Mom has ADHD too? Yep. That’s me. And worse, I am single. Single mom, making a living and supporting three kids while operating with ADHD. (That should be an advertisement in the personals – lol). No problem until the kids need the meals to be at the same time every night and clothes to be ready for school the next day. I know, I know… Moms who do not have ADHD are shaking their heads in judgement right now thinking I should just get it together but ADHD doesn’t work that way. The button for structure is missing. So there is no point in getting upset with us. It is just not there. It wasn’t there for my mom and it isn’t there for me either.
The good news for parents today is that there is help. There are books to read, counsellors to be had, and an abundance of good materials to equip us. We can’t just change because of our ADHD, but we can learn a few more tools and then we manage a bit better.
Recently I ran into this one and it has me rather excited to give it a try. It is an online program that is about to launch it’s pilot project here in Calgary. It is designed to be fun and interactive for the whole family and it reinforces all kinds of good values and self-confidence. But the best part for us is that it helps build a little more structure into our lives and that is really important for me and my ADHD daughter.
Me In A Tree is good for anyone with kids, but for those of us who have a child with ADHD I believe it is going to be a tool we will soon not want to be without. Check it out yourself, and let your friends know too. They are only taking a limited number into their free pilot project.
This article was written by Kerry George who is a single mom of three children and a serial entrepreneur. She is the CEO of Loyal2U Email Marketing and Social Media as well as the owner and CEO of the Calgary and Cochrane Business Network. Kerry has written articles and blogs for a variety of online and print publications including Today’s Business Woman Magazine and the book “Juicy Fruit Christianity” still available on amazon.com.