A Dysfunctional family by definition is a family, in which conflict, misbehavior, and often abuse on the part of individual members of the family occur continually and regularly, leading other members to accommodate such actions.
We may all be familiar with the term, “dysfunctional.”We all may have it in one form or another.However, when you are a victim of it, you have two choices, beat ‘em or join ‘em.Our family is choosing to beat ‘em.
While it may seem harsh, ADHD is a dysfunction.We are not talking typical sibling rivalry, or parents disagreeing on parenting.When living with ADHD, a child’s behavior can affect the entire family, and in our home, it has.We have all taken on roles with this dysfunction.It has taken a toll on ALL of us.
My little girl who is almost 4 has taken the brunt of it.In the past, we never quite knew how our son was going to react to situations.It is hard on us as his parents; I can’t imagine what it is like for Kate.She’s an easy target.She‘s little and lovable as can be.Since she was a baby, she has been taking his behavior and we are trying to put a stop to it because I don’t want her to resent him someday for his disability.I want her to be accepting, but I don’t expect her to think that his behavior is acceptable.I don’t want her to think she just needs to deal with it.I don’t want her to be a victim of dysfunction. She has learned some behaviors of his that I know are not truly hers.She does them because she has seen him get away with them.She is tough; we actually call her “Tuffy” because she gives it right back to him.We would laugh at this at times, all the while knowing it wasn’t ok for her to behave that way, but we allowed it because he was always so hard on her and we knew it was her way of dealing with it.But I know it breaks her heart when her brother knocks her down (emotionally).
She actually began stuttering at the height of his diagnosis.It would come and go for some time while we were managing his medications. It saddened me, because when he is doing well, their relationship was so special and sweet.They’d hold hands, they’d laugh under tents, they’d play house together, they’d play puppies, and they’d build forts together…But then all of that was taken away when he hit her or said he didn’t love her, or said he wants the next-door neighbors kid as his sister.It is one thing to say those things to my husband and myself, but when he crushed her like that, I didn’t know what to do.I knew this was part of his symptoms of ADHD, but I was loosing patience with it because I don’t want her to fall the victim of being a co-dependent to her brother.There were no more excuses for that behavior and he needed to be held accountable for his actions and words.
In the past, I excused this behavior because I thought it wasn’t in his control. I was wrong to believe that because he has shown me that he is capable of making good choices, he just needs tools to use when he finds himself in a situation that causes such anger and irritability.It is no longer acceptable and he knows it, because I finally bucked up and laid down the law.In fact, I just went to celebrate that very behavior for him today at school because he was chosen to be “The Leader of The Week.”His teachers tell me that he is the sweetest boy and that he is so helpful and empathetic to his friends.“Wow! Are you talking about MY son!?” Now I know he is capable and I am calling him on it.No more excuses.No more accommodating that behavior.That is dysfunctional.
I’ve seen what dysfunction can do to someone after 37 years, growing up in a dysfunctional family myself.Up until last week I was in survival mode and my co-dependence was in full swing.In my last article, I said that I was going to hire a Behavior Specialist.It is the best thing I have done yet since his diagnosis (along with medication).As a parent, I knew I needed to relinquish control, because it (ADHD) was controlling our family.We were heading down the road of dysfunction; a road I knew I had to steer in a different direction.
So it is time for new beginnings in our family.A time to sit back and watch a system that has been strategically put in place to have a positive outcome.I can no longer be a victim to ADHD, and I can no longer sit back and watch our family fall apart.I am no longer surviving, I am living!!!
Related posts: adhd behavior problems, behavior modification, General ADHD, Melissa Johnston, NEWLY DIAGNOSED, parenting/FAMILY, stress and resilience