But Superman never gets a sunburn.

 

Four seconds. That’s the approximate range of forward thinking our teenage ADHD/Asperger’s son can engage in. There are obvious problems with this present focus, like the inability to envision future consequences of actions in the here and now.  This makes the Clark Kent in the present think he’s invincible like Superman, right? In fact, that’s what we have always called our boy: Clark Kent.

Clark Kent landed a summer job as a lifeguard. Last weekend he was in two days of lifeguard training. CK stayed with his dad the night before. CK’s father Edward is also ADHD. I sent the instructions to Edward and CK two days in advance, including a link to information about the site, the address and directions.  I didn’t connect the dots, cross t’s, and dot i’s about it, thinking, “It’s Edward’s time, and he’s a responsible adult.”

Well, it didn’t go well.

For starters, neither Edward nor CK actually looked at the address or directions, because lifeguard training was scheduled outside the four-second window. CK did not set his own alarm. Edward got CK up at a time that would have worked beautifully if the pool were next door, but didn’t work so well for a pool 40 minutes away from his house.

Edward sent CK off to the training, to which he was (quite) late. Without sunscreen. For a nine-hour day in the sun, the first day in which CK would have sun exposure on his shoulders, chest, stomach, and back since last summer. CK is a white boy. A very, very white boy. Casper-y white. Or at least he was.

Now, he looked like an oversized tomato.

On day two, Edward pulled it together and sent CK with mega-extra-strength sunblock. But you know what they say about the horse and water, right? CK decided to just wear a cotton t-shirt instead; the hassle of sunscreen was far greater than the likelihood he could see of further burn, at least within his four-second window. Unfortunately, cotton t’s don’t do much to stop the damaging rays of the sun.

Now, he looked like an oversized, over-ripe tomato. His sunburn  was so bad that even with aloe vera and acetaminophen he couldn’t sleep.

Yes, all of us from time to time forget sunscreen or don’t want to put it on. From time to time. But for someone with the inability to appreciate future consequences, something as simple as a day in the sun  can become much more. It is a foregone conclusion that your ADHD’er, like mine, believes he is Superman, and Superman never gets a sunburn.

Clark paid dearly for it. Edward was racked with guilt. I’m hoping these issues continue to improve with maturity. Meanwhile, I just bought the extra-large size aloe vera at Wal-Mart.

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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ADHD teenagers, Asperger's, Clark Kent Chronicles, fathers, high school, Pamela Hutchins, parenting ADHD, self-regulation, teenagers ·

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. Caroline says:

    Oh, poor Clark. Sunburns are soooo not good. My youngest, M-bug, has PDD-NOS and ADHD, and I can completely understand the lack of forward thinking. She has no concept of cause and effect, or consequence, as a matter of daily life. It’s scary, sometimes.

    Caroline
    lifeunfocused

    Reply
  2. Dee says:

    My son has ADHD.  I strongly suspect and my husband agrees that it’s an almost certainty that he also has ADHD.  On the mornings that DH gets Dylan up for school, it makes me crazy.  DH sits and reads the paper while Dylan gets further and further behind.  Or they fight, while DH sits and reads the paper.  We live 2 blocks from school but DH doesn’t manage the morning routine so he always has to drive him to get him to school on time.  And of course, I so often have to get involved to keep things moving, even though the idea is that we split the time so I can have some mornings “off.”  So I totally get the scenario and could see us living it word for word in some future scenario.  God, please give me patience!

    Reply
  3. Julesmpg says:

    We all got sunburns this week. I love cold aloe from the fridge.

    I can’t imagine having a ADHD child with a ADHD parent. That is overwhelming and must be exhausting. That must be scary to send him off and not be sure what will happen.

    Reply
  4. Nan Loyd says:

    Poor Edward and Clark Kent – sunburns suck – especially if they could have been avoided.  Or not.  Hope he’s doing better now – I used to burn just thinking about going outside.

    Reply
  5. Kara says:

    Pamela, after reading your other article I went searching for others.  Apparently, in addition to having almost the same teenage children, we have the same exes lol.  In my case, it’s Asperger’s. 

    Anxiety/exhaustion is not even CLOSE to what I feel when I don’t dot the i’s and cross the t’s when he is left responsible for her and her sisters… and my (current) husband wonders why I’m such an OCD over-achiever lol.  I know it’s not so funny when you’re going through it, but reading it about someone else, makes it a lot easier to chuckle at your own mishaps and foibles.  Thanks again.  Oh, and my 16 year old isn’t the only special one in the house.  She’s one of 4. So, of our 6 (his, mine and ours) we have 2 Aspies (one with ADHD) 16 and 11, a true OCD anxiety-filled over-achiever, 15; one  “normie” who pukes when he’s upset (or does that disqualify him? lol), 14; one “normie” who is adopted and had was born addicted to heroine and cocaine – straight A, AWESOME kid (I don’t like to too closely examine what that says about me genetically speaking lol),13;  and a meglo-maniacal ODD four year old… I’m on a permanent school rotation depending on who is going through their “bad” period. The ironic thing is that ALL of their “problems” make them phenomenal in some way.  I like to remind them their “gifts” have made them special…. we just have to find work arounds for how it’s complicated them.  Ultimately, I think I’m the one going to the looney bin lol.

    Reply

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