Friday, December 31, 2010

"Yeah Right, You Didn't Do It"

Rapscallion, scoundrel, whippersnapper, hooligan - labels generally reserved for boys who are up to no good. They have established for themselves a reputation. My ADHD boy is fast, sneaky and naughty. I don't deny the charges. Honestly, I may have used one or two of those titles over the years as well. Unfortunately, everything that gets broken or is missing gets slammed on THEM. I'm learning to ask some questions before assuming Bobby has done the crime.

This morning I was driving him across town to hang out with a mentor-buddy for a few hours. I gave him my infamous "You behave, or else" speech. Out of the blue he began to tell me about  a time back several years when he went to a friend's house for an hour or two after school. I had heard this story before so was sorta zoning out when he came to some details I hadn't heard before. He told me how they were missing a game boy and were certain HE had taken it. (Not sure where they thought he had it. Pockets were empty.) But what he now remembers that I didn't know before was that he was sent to the couch in time out while not one, but both parents stood in front of him demanding he fess up. He recalls telling them over and over how he didn't have it and them not believing him.

I do remember the parent calling me to report all the drama of older child screaming through the house that my son had taken this thing. I promised if I got anything out of him I'm call. A few days later they let us know the game boy was found. Surprise - my son wasn't guilty.

Bobby was upset TODAY about this old story. I explained how they told me long ago it wasn't his fault and what he said hit me hard: "Mom, they never apologized to me." OUCH. He was right and I learned more lessons on this ADHD roller-coaster:
1) These kids have deep feelings.
2) They get blamed a lot for things they didn't do.
3) They should be heard.
4) He's not the only one who makes mistakes. (Great opportunity for me to teach him that everyone makes mistakes. Not just him!)
5) He can learn to forgive as well.

Here's to less blame & more forgiveness.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christian Comedian Jeff Allen On ADHD

Hilarious! Sometimes ya just need to laugh. This ADHD road is intense and I'm becoming more and more aware of the need to stand back and see things from a different perspective. (Generally not when my son's awake.) My husband and I stumbled upon Jeff Allen's ADHD clips on YouTube. Jeff's material is ingenius & so much fun to watch.

He talks about taking one of his sons to kindergarten on the first day of school. The teacher said what most teachers say when they meet the parents for the first time. "We're going to have a great year!" He and his wife left laughing while planning to get an answering machine and not answering their phone between 9 and 3 for the rest of their lives. He then went on to tell about another day when the teacher called the house because his son was so out of control. Jeff said "Just let him out the back door. He'll come back when he's tired. That's what we do....." These are just a couple of the highlights. The YouTube version is wonderful!

When we were done watching we knew there are other people who truly understand. There are quite a few coping strategies for me....counselling, reading & the support of family and friends. But I think humor might be right up there near the top of that list! Awww, I'm laughing again!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The 5 Gifts of ADHD - (taken from Lara Honos-Webb's book)

Couldn't wait to FINALLY get this book primarily because of it's positive angle! "The Gift of ADHD," by Lara Honos-Webb, Ph.D, will be at the top of my stack for a while. I can already tell I'm going to like it. She has a private practice in the San Francisco Bay area and has written several books. This particular book is available from: Barnes & Noble Book Store

Here are the "5 gifts of ADHD," according to Dr. Honos-Webb:
(I need to just take these in for a bit.)
1) creativity
2) attunement to nature
3) interpersonal intuition
4) energetic enthusiasm
5) emotional sensitivity
First off, I have to admit that if you told me a year ago that my son's ADHD was a "gift" I would have said, "If you think this is a gift, you come raise this kid!" But WOW! I can only imagine what this thinking would do for the self-esteem of ADHD kids everywhere, if the adults around them began looking at their issues in a different way. I must add that in no way do I desire to make light of the negative affects of ADHD in our kids and homes. These are real. I have for the past year however, for my own health and my son's, needed to take a hard look at ways to embrace his particular differences.
Here's the common generalization of ADHD kids:
1) Outspoken
2) Headstrong
3) Spun out of control
4) Destructive
5) Inattentive at school

Better go read this book........still pondering how to get this into the hands of every educator and discouraged parent out there!! Hmmm....  Here's to figuring out how to tap those COOL attributes of my tornado-boy!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

All Things In Perspective

I wish things were easier in our home on a day-to-day basis. It would be so nice if Bobby listened & worked with us without so much resistance. I sure wish he wouldn't say things without thinking, especially in front of other people! Days would be easier if we weren't needing to be ahead of him continually. But as I look forward to 2011, I want to put things in perspective:

* We are dealing with something challenging but I'm thankful my son is healthy and not dealing with a terminal illness.
* He can see, hear, walk & talk. (Sometimes it would be nice if he walked and talked more slowly, but I'm putting things in perspective here!)
* He has 2 older sisters, brother & brother-in-law who all care deeply about him and watch out for his good.
* My husband and I have each other. I can't imagine doing this alone!
* Awareness of ADHD treatment & compassion is on the rise.
* Our son has healthy interests in life that occupy more and more of his time. Reading, History, Legos, Fishing.

It's all about perspective. My circumstances aren't changing any time soon. My focus could be on the negative, gloomy side or I can be a positive-thinking mom, shining the spotlight on the good stuff about this son I love so much! I want to choose the latter. (I'll forget all this positive-thinking stuff, I'm sure, but for today, I'm ok.)

30 Ideas for Teaching Children with AD/HD - by Leah Davies

Here is a website with list of 30 ideas for teachers, to assist them in working with ADHD children:  There are 100 more complimentary teacher/counselor articles, parenting handouts, and children's activities located there. (Thanks for this information, Leah Davies!)


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Insane Amounts of Arguing!

The battle lines are drawn as I take my position opposite my strong-willed 4th grader. In his mind I swear he pictures me as a speck on the carpet while he towers yards above me, all buff and tough. When he asks a question, I'd better have the "right" answer (his of course) or I'm going to have to stand my ground & prepare to battle to the finish. Well, that's what he thinks. He hasn't caught on to this yet but I went down this "Battle Strong-Will" path long before he ever did & he's met his match! This is kid #4 and I've learned to "pick my battles" but this is a kid who'll argue it's hot outside if it's snowing and 20 below zero. Relentless. I don't think most of his battles are anything worth arguing, but no matter - roll up your sleeves 'cuz he's gonna show you a thing or two.

It's frankly, driving me nuts. Picture it. I walk away pulling my hair out from my head insisting "you're making me crazy!!!" And, I think he believes me. 

What do you do with a kid who argues non-stop? Well, from what I've read, heard and experienced, oppositional-defiance is pretty common with ADHD kids. Here are some strategies I use:

1) Things I want done I state firmly, without asking his opinion. "Please set the table in 10 minutes" not "Could you set the table?"
2) When he asks for something, I don't immediately answer. I tell him I'm thinking about it. The COOL thing about this one is ADHD kids forget things and move on to something else, forgetting they had something to argue about! (I could put MONEY on this one!)
3) If  When he rudely addresses me with an argument I require he restate it in a different way, or go sit and think about another method. A nasty attitude gets him nothing.
4) I remain calm before dealing with his arguments. I couldn't do this with the first few kids!
5) Kids argue. They see it modeled (grin) and they copy. We have to teach them the proper way to have a voice.

Teaching them it's ok to have a voice but to use it properly, well, that takes time, strategic instruction & patience. I'm working on all three.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Project June Bug," by Jackie Minniti

I'm a mom on a mission and reading everything I can get my hands on regarding ADHD. I started my quest with titles like "The AD/HD Parenting Handbook," by Colleen Alexander-Roberts & other such exceptional books filled with helpful suggestions & tools for parents & teachers.

Today however, I read an inspiring, "can't-put-it-down" novel. "Project June Bug" is the first novel I have read in a long time that not only sucked me in and entertained me, but enlightened & inspired me as well. Exceptional writing and a deeply moving book. Really a must for every teacher & parent who works with AD/HD kids.

I went to Jackie Minniti's blog and found this description of her book: "Take an intimate peek behind the faculty room door and an unforgettable journey into the world of ADHD."  Check out her blog:  Jackie Minniti's Blog

I'd love to loan this to everyone who would read it. If you don't get anything done at home, you'll finish it in a day!! (A big thanks to my older kids home from college - for watching their little brother so I could read!)  This book is available through Amazon:  Click HERE

Monday, December 20, 2010

That "Bad Word," MEDICATION

If you've got an ADHD child racing up and down the halls walls of your home, you KNOW what I'm talking about. While medication has gone from almost totally taboo to half-accepted in recent years, the subject brings with it a firestorm of information and advice. I recall well-meaning folk insisting I not medicate Bobby when I hadn't even brought up the subject of meds. (Which confirms it was obvious he needed something!)

The choice to put our child on a medicine that would help calm his nerves & fill in those neuron gaps, causing him to be more successful in school and life in general, came after several years of watching him suffer. Contrary to possible opinions it did not come as a result of us being lazy & selfishly wanting our lives to be easier.  We really thought this whole thing out for a very long time. We read tons & counselled with professionals. We became educated on the side-effects both short & long-term. I teach first grade and realized as a teacher & parent that my child was higher on the ADHD radar than most children I had ever dealt with. We had no choice but to give our son a tool that would help him be successful. We chose Strattera for the first 2 years and now he's on a low dose of Adderall. Do I like that he is medicated? I wish he didn't need to be but if he was Diabetic I would also wish he didn't have to take insulin.

My final thought on ADHD medication is that the decision is up to parents. Nobody but the parents & their physicians fully understand what living with this disorder is like. We are qualified to make the choice & we're the ones who love them the most. Period.

Children Should Be Seen AND Heard

If there was one phrase I hated from my childhood era, it was "Children should be seen and not heard." Whatever!? (To quote from present-day lingo.)  I've got a boy in my house that we can't take our eyes OR our ears off of. If we do, we're mopping up, re-assembling or asking "why'd you do this?" We don't have the luxury of curling up with a good book while he plays wherever he wants. We try to know where he is at all times. (Right now he's being watched by an older cousin who keeps an eagle-eye on him.)  We have to be able to hear him, whether he's chattering to himself, humming a tune or playing crash-cars complete with all the right sounds. He's fairly used to hearing "Where are you going?" when he heads out of the living room/kitchen area of our home. It's a household phrase!

Bobby has a lot to say & needs to be heard in this respect as well. Listening to a boy who talks non-stop, rambling from one random topic to another, isn't always easy but it's our life right now & whether easy or not, we'll buck up and do it. I believe children should be seen and heard. It boils down to one thing. Is there anything more meaningful in our lives?

"Home Alone" And The Bloody Nose

"Pause the movie!" The blood seemed to be pouring out of Bobby's nose as he rushed to the kitchen for a stack of napkins. Last evening we sat to watch yet another fun Christmas movie - "Home Alone." I had serious reservations about allowing my youngest son to watch this movie. The premise ~ Two home burglars making their way through a ritzy Chicago neighborhood while families were on vacation, outwitted by a smart kid who was accidentally left home while his family flew to Paris.

This movie is filled to the brim with slapstick violence inflicted on the "bad guys" by the boy who was left at home. Because our son is quick to memorize story lines and replicate movie scenes, we've intentionally left this one off the "must watch" list each Christmas.  Action movies affect most kids but like everything else, the effects are intensified with ADHD kids! 

"Home Alone" wasn't even over and our boys were wrestling in the recliner when "something" happened. Neither boy recalls exactly what they were doing, (of course not) but Bobby grabbed his face, dashing to the kitchen in pain. Blood was dripping on the floor. Took 30 minutes to end that bloody nose I swear was triggered by watching a "fun" holiday movie. Tonight's movie will be calmer. I'm looking for the 1969 "Frosty the Snowman" right now!

Monday, December 13, 2010

ADD & Loving It - Online Video full of Hope & Comedy!

Click for video:
ADD And Loving It

"The film that started it all, ADD & Loving It?! starring comedian and actor Patrick McKenna. Watch as Patrick gets his own diagnosis and learns from top experts about Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This ground-breaking documentary is a blend of humour, hope, and science that dispels common myths about ADD/ADHD." Taken from website

I've heard all good things about this video. So far I've just seen the beginning but I'll update when I finish it. Looking forward to seeing some upbeat "stuff" on this run-away freight-train disorder!!

When I find new information that helps me, I can't wait to share it - ENJOY!

Fantastic Website: "A.D.D. Resource Center" Check it out!

I'm pretty excited about this website Dr. Marlow passed along to me this week. Check it out! It's full of great information for everyone associated with kids or adults with ADD or ADHD.

A.D.D. Resource Center
Proven Practical Programs and Services For Dealing With ADD & ADHD


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Teen Mentors - A God-Send

Very recently I heard teenagers going to bat for my son. I was thrilled to hear a different "tune" about Bobby. These two young people clearly want to help him feel accepted & as a mom, my heart is warmed. Most young kids look up to the teens around  them and if the teens are positive role-models, WOW!  Bobby has created for himself a reputation. He started out with destructiveness & insubordination, moving in the past few months into pranks & mouthiness. He is a busy guy, but unfortunately now he's blamed for more things that go wrong than are truly his fault.  Bobby has some good friends but there are other kids who can easily & regularly turn the focus off themselves and quickly on to him! They can also more-slyly, suggest trouble that he will oftentimes eagerly jump into while they disappear from the "action." There are many times when he takes the blame for things he either had little or nothing to do with. These are the things that hurt me as a mom but today I'm feeling pretty thankful for 2 teens who are speaking up for Bobby and showing him kindness. 

It's funny because he just said this week that one of them was really "cool." Yesterday while in the car, out of nowhere came, "Mom, _______ and _________ are so nice. I think they're watching out for me." Who TOLD him? I don't think anyone did - he felt it!

I'm encouraged knowing that a couple of young people Bobby looks up to, believe in him, look past his non-stop talking and mischievousness,  to the neat kid he is.  I hope they know how much this means to him as well as his mom. And maybe some day, Bobby will pay it back. Maybe he'll remember feeling unsuccessful & sad and he will offer a caring hand to younger kids who feel this same way.