Good stuff: lessons learned from my ADHD fella

We are having a stinky day in my house. I’m trying to homeschool my child and it seems like four out of every five days he won’t do a thing I ask him to do. Today is one of those days. I’m in a pickle.
But I won’t bore you with the details. You’re welcome to go to my homeschooling blog, A Square Peg, A Round Hole, for that. Today’s post is about GOOD STUFF I’ve learned from my ADHD fella. I’m going to write about it whether I’m really feeling it or not!
Hmm…here goes:
  1. Ask lots of questions. Lots. And if you don’t get the answer you want, ask again. Who knows? They might answer it differently the next time around. And when you forget what the answer was because your mind is going a million miles a minute… ask again!
  2. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Your mom will do that for you. Or someone else. Or maybe the small stuff doesn’t matter at all. If you’re going to use that marker again… someday… then leave it on the table. Same with the pants and the socks and the shoes that are strategically strewn around the house. And why bother turning off the light if you’re just going to go back in that room later in the day? Wipe my face? Why? It’s just going to get dirty again. You get the idea.
  3. Say what’s on your mind. If you think your brother is a *&@^#!!, then tell him so. Same goes for Mom and Dad and that rude kid next door who got mad the time you broke his video game controller. They should all know how angry they make you when they don’t do exactly what you want, when you want it, and what better way to let them know but to use the new words you learned last week when your older brother’s friend came over to play?
  4. Breaking stuff, particularly when it’s not yours, is a very satisfying response to feeling mad, frustrated, excited, or bored. Proprioceptive input is very important for brain development, and ripping apart toys, electronics, books and pretty much everything else, provides a great way to reinforce big muscle movement and fine motor skills, all at the same time. And your problem solving really kicks in when you’re looking for a place to hide what you’ve just destroyed! Why bother to go to Occupational Therapy when you can take stuff that doesn’t belong to you and mess it up instead?
  5. If you don’t respond when people are talking to you, they might go away. This is a good thing, because usually when people (i.e., Mommy) are talking to you they want you to do something. So if you ignore them — whether or not you’re legitimately hyper-focused on something else OR because you’re purposefully pretending not to hear — they might become frustrated and give up.
Snarky, I know. I’m not in the mood to be all lovey-dovey my son is A-OKAY even though he has ADHD, I guess. But I actually do admire these things about him (although I am more than equally annoyed by them as well).
  1. First, questions are good, and much better than the alternatives: apathy or assumptions. Questions mean that my child is thinking and trying to fit what he’s learning into the framework of his world.
  2. Next, the small stuff. I tend to get overwhelmed by the small stuff and I’ve also been known not to see the forest for the trees. I waste time worrying about details… a useful quality sometimes, but it also tends to get in my way.
  3. Third, saying what’s on your mind. This is a great thing about my son! I don’t tend to swear as much as he does, and I’m encouraging him to be more accurate about expressing his feelings (i.e., I don’t like that decision. vs. You are such a bitch!), but directness in communication is a quality I’m sure most of us appreciate.
  4. Fourth, breaking stuff. Hmm. Hard to find how that’s a good quality, except for this: I think pent-up emotion and energy needs to find an outlet. The trick is finding an outlet that’s productive. Breaking stuff is not productive, but Little J does other things, like making creations out of cardboard boxes, carving wood and digging holes, that are all positive manifestations of the same urge.
  5. Last, ignore extraneous stimuli. I could definitely do with a bit more of this. When I was younger I could concentrate for hours at a time. Now, not so much. But when Little J does this we call it hyperfocus. Is that so bad?
So what do you think? Can you add to this list? Positive, affirming comments (as well as a continuation of the snark), are welcome.
(picture by flickr user leesean)

Adrienne Ehlert Bashista is the co-editor of and contributor to Easy to Love but Hard to Raise: Real Parents, Challenging Kids, True Stories, and is also the author of two picture books about Russian adoption. She’s had stories, essays, and articles published in a variety of journals, both print and on-line. She is the owner of DRT Press. She was a school librarian for many years before giving it up to devote more time to the rest of her life. She chronicles her adventures raising her son, recently diagnosed with FASD in her blog, A Square Peg, a Round Hole. She also writes for the blog for Easy to Love but Hard to Raise and her writing/speaking website is adriennebashista.net. She lives in central North Carolina with her husband, two sons, two dogs, 21 chickens, and a lot of bees.

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About the author

Adrienne Ehlert Bashista is the co-editor of and contributor to Easy to Love but Hard to Raise: Real Parents, Challenging Kids, True Stories, and is also the author of two picture books about Russian adoption. She’s had stories, essays, and articles published in a variety of journals, both print and on-line. She is the owner of DRT Press. She was a school librarian for many years before giving it up to devote more time to the rest of her life. She chronicles her adventures raising her son, recently diagnosed with FASD in her blog, A Square Peg, a Round Hole. She also writes for the blog for Easy to Love but Hard to Raise and her writing/speaking website is adriennebashista.net. She lives in central North Carolina with her husband, two sons, two dogs, 21 chickens, and a lot of bees.

2 Comments

  1. Melody says:

    Love it!! lol, it is something only parents of kids like ours can really understand! So true to ADHD life, isn’t it?! 🙂

    Reply
  2. Melody says:

    Omg “short order cook” thing made me laugh!! Always like that here and it drives me crazy! 🙂

    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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