It’s all in the family: The Clark Kent Chronicles

Clark and family, circa 2007 (middle school)
We have ADHD at our house.  Well, technically Clark has ADHD, but he shares.
Sometimes he shares in a good way, and sometimes his pain hurts the rest of us a lot more than it hurts him.  Wait, isn’t that what the parent is supposed to say to the child, not about him?  Ugh.
Want examples? When Clark was in 3rd grade, I devised a wonderful poster board game for his life.  If he completed life successfully that day — no dishonesty and no missed assignments — he would move one space forward.  If not, he moved back one.  I put tons of “move two spaces forwards” on it, and prizes of all types every few spaces.  Some were praise prizes, some were “experience” prizes, and others were LOOT.  Clark went backwards.  I was shattered.  Even my most positive parenting had no impact.  (Gee, you think he had ADHD??? This was pre-diagnosis.)
His younger sister was crushed that she didn’t get a game board.  We wrestled with it.  At nearly six years old, she would slay the game board concept.  She would clean up.  We would go broke.  We finally gave in.  Luckily, though, she was young enough that I was able to sneak a simplified, less prize-rich version of the game past her.
The smallest accomplishments in school earned Clark raves.  His sisters performed flawlessly with no parental involvement and little fanfare, until we would catch ourselves and over-praise them in compensation.
Clark’s bobbles (daily) absorbed our attention.  We were constantly on edge, losing our patience, regrouping, and focusing on coaxing him along.  At our worst moments, home would become a tense place to live.

“Duck!” Clark got three zeros today.

“Run!”  He stuck his Concerta under the microwave instead of swallowing it.

Another time, Clark swore on MY life that he had brought his medication, after running back in the house to get it upon my repeated instruction minutes before our 5:00 am departure for Christmas break.  The family pulled to a screeching halt half an hour into the drive when the adults suddenly realized it was impossible for him to have it with him, still — we quizzed him on where he found it after we remembered it was in our bathroom.  We ordered him to produce it.  He couldn’t.  So, we got to the grandparents an hour late.  It wasn’t the end of the world.  (I’ll write about medication resistance someday soon.)
The lows may be low, but the highs are higher.  And, don’t the idiosyncrasies of each family member leave an impact, not just those of the ADHD child?  Our girls are positively bipolar as teenagers, with the requisite drain and drama.  My husband has migraines that leave him a blubbering nerve end.  I am the only one with no  imperfections, in fact.  🙂
So, albeit not always gracefully, we expect the “negatives” and celebrate the positives.  The biggest impact on our family?  He makes us laugh.  With him.  At his antics.  At his wildly creative and zany sense of humor.  “I like cheese and I’m a dog” he has announced so many times, apropos of nothing, that as soon as we hear “I like ch…” we scream “NO!” and laugh.  He’s just as likely to swing and miss, but when he connects, he’s the funniest one in the house.
He has taught his sisters empathy for their peers, some of whom have ADHD, others with challenges such as dyslexia, and that those kids are probably as smart or smarter than they are.
Yep, we have ADHD at our house.  And sometimes we cry.  But mostly, we think it rocks.
Until next time,
Pamela aka Clark’s Mom

Pamela Fagan Hutchins writes the Clark Kent Chronicles on parenting ADHD wonder kids, thanks to the crash course given to her by her ADHD son and his ADHD father. Pamela is the author of the book The Clark Kent Chronicles: A Mother’s Tale of Life With Her ADHD & Asperger’s Son, and many others, like How To Screw Up Your Kids and her bestselling, award-winning Katie & Annalise mystery series, led off by Saving Grace. Visit her blog, Road to Joy, where you can buy her books in any form, anywhere. Pamela is passionate about great writing and smart authorpreneurship, as well as her husband and kids. Like Clark Kent, she also leaps medium-tall buildings in a single bound, if she gets a good running start.

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About the author

Pamela Fagan Hutchins writes the Clark Kent Chronicles on parenting ADHD wonder kids, thanks to the crash course given to her by her ADHD son and his ADHD father. Pamela is the author of the book The Clark Kent Chronicles: A Mother's Tale of Life With Her ADHD & Asperger's Son, and many others, like How To Screw Up Your Kids and her bestselling, award-winning Katie & Annalise mystery series, led off by Saving Grace. Visit her blog, Road to Joy, where you can buy her books in any form, anywhere. Pamela is passionate about great writing and smart authorpreneurship, as well as her husband and kids. Like Clark Kent, she also leaps medium-tall buildings in a single bound, if she gets a good running start.

10 Comments

  1. I want that board game! That sounds like a fantastic idea!You could totally sell a behavior board game to well-meaning parents everywhere! 🙂

    It is the toughest balancing act over-praising one and making the other(s) feel just as accomplished. I struggle so much with that.

    The “I like cheese” thing hit an interesting nerve with me too. My daughter, Emma, who I have sworn is ADHD and the docs deny it since she holds it together at school, walks around saying “I like pie” randomly. And she is a do fanatic — to the point of being made fun of. Hmmm.

    Reply
  2. Kathy says:

    Hi! I'm Kathy, a mother of 2. My daughter ( 5 ) has ADHD. She has started being really mouthy, mean and just down right disrespectful. Is this part of her ADHD as well and how do I handle it? Both my mom and I agreed that we all ( my daughter, mom and me ) need to talk to someone and maybe even take a parenting class to better know how to raise her. I read everything on ADHD and still feel as through I'm missing something. Any advice would be wonderful – Thanks so much! '

    Kathy B.

    Reply
  3. @Kathy,

    A couple suggestions:
    1. Read up on parenting a child with ADHD. My two favorite reads on this are Superparenting ADD by Hallowell and The Explosive Child by Greene.

    2. Seek counseling. The best tool to learn how to parent a challenging child is the assistance of a therapist who specializes in children with ADHD. Our counselor has given me many AH-HA moments about my son and where some of his behaviors stem from.

    3. Keep a detailed behavior journal. When she is having a hard time, record the time of day, day of the week, where you were (home, school, grocery), and what happened leading up to and during the incident. Our children lack some cognitive skills that help them manage certain things that may serve as stressors to them. Find out what is triggering them is a great way to start working on troubling behaviors.

    4. Get an evaluation from an occupational therapist. Many ADHD children also have sensory issues that can pull them all out of whack. You'll be amazed at what an OT can tell you about why your child acts the way they do sometimes.

    And, lastly,
    5. If your daughter is in school, work with them to accommodate her special needs. If she's feeling overwhelmed or stressed or inferior to her peers, these can all worsen behavior problems.

    I hope this is helpful. Keep educating yourself, take one day at a time, and you will eventually find your stride.

    Penny

    Reply
  4. Thanks, Penny, that's funny about your daughter!

    Reply
  5. Kathy says:

    Thanks alot…I'm ordering the books after posting here and will talk to her pedi about a OT or someone she can talk to. Have a great night!

    Reply
  6. God bless you – and all of us.

    Reply
  7. ryoko861 says:

    I tried those games when the kids were little and they could care less. I gave up. You have much more patience than I do. Well, you have to! You do have to admit, never a dull moment!

    Reply
  8. Eric Hutchins says:

    I think the game was an awesome idea. I think it is a constant reminder about the day to day being a path to an end but that there are rewards along the way for staying on it. It takes a ton of energy from the parent though, it has to be sold as fun and important and special. If its just plopped in front of the kid with a prayer that it might help its a waste of time. As you all know there are no one-size fits all solutions, however, it is a really good tool to have in your toolbox.

    Reply
  9. I think with the game concept, he needed more maturity. Sami, even at a younger age than him, did very well with it. The immediacy of the focus has always been important with Clark. It's all about NOW. 🙂

    Reply
  10. I love that comment that HE has ADHD, but he shares. In our family, I think that's me. I have it and I very thoughtfully shared it with my children! But we manage and they are funny and loveable and just about the nicest kids ever, so people are willing to put up with their shenanigans. I just wish I were able to be a bit more consistent to help them through it, but it's a struggle just to manage my own self!

    Reply

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The "ADHD Mommas" are not medical or mental health professionals, nor an ADHD coach. Any opinions shared here are just that, opinions. I, and the other "ADHD Mommas," are sharing our experiences with our own ADHD children. Please do not re-post or publish any content or photos without a link back to {a mom's view of ADHD}. Have the courtesy to give credit where credit is due. Copyright protected. All rights reserved.

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