I have been hearing about self-awareness and self-regulation and how important it is for ADHD management for some time now. Our therapist has been wanting to implement self-regulation with Luke, my 8-year-old with ADHD and learning disabilities, for over a year now. I’ve always had to tell her that he’s just not ready. He never seemed aware of his differences and when his behavior was a problem… until now.
Over the last couple months I’ve noticed that Luke is recognizing when a behavior is problematic or something he just can’t control.
|If only self-awareness was as easy as
seeing their reflection in the mirror!
Just yesterday he seemed to have an epiphany of self-awareness. Luke got very angry with me after school. We had a parent meeting and he wanted to go to after care with some of his friends but I didn’t have any money on me to pay for it, so I asked him to stay with me at the meeting. He was very frustrated and felt helpless and began to melt down. It was a silent melt though — a lot of sulking and pushing me away but he wasn’t verbally aggressive, at least not until we got to into the car and were alone. He showed a lot of restraint and it is great progress over where we’ve been. So we got in the car and he started in on how mean I am and how I don’t let him do anything he wants to. I explained to him that I wish I had the money to let him do all the fun things he wants to experience but sometimes I have to make tough decisions due to our financial situation. I told him how much it hurts my feelings when he gets mad and mean toward me over something I can’t afford to let him do. After about five minutes he began to cry.
“I hate it when I’m mean to people. I’m so sorry Momma. I’m sorry I was mean to you. I hate it when I act like that,” he said.
I was astonished. And, of course, I cried. I felt sad for him that he can’t control this behavior sometimes. Sad that it makes him feel so sad. I was also grateful that he was aware of what had taken place though. It was very clear he is finally aware of his differences and his actions.
Another illustration of this is the fact that Luke has been telling me “please don’t try to change me” fairly frequently lately. If I ask him not to chew his fingers, or stay at the table for an entire meal, or to eat more at lunch, he’ll say, “stop trying to change me.”
The difference in his awareness just over the summer is profound. I am excited we are finally ready to start working on self-regulation with him. This is a step I have longed for. My ADHD kiddo is growing up!
What exercises, systems, etc do you implement to encourage self-regulation with your child with ADHD?