Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cultivating Hobbies With Your ADHD kids

Hobbies take time, energy and sometimes money. How much time, energy & funding we choose is up to the individual families but in my opinion, it's very necessary! If parents take time to really think about this they will come up with some great ideas. Most of us are running at high-speed from sun-up to sun-down (or son-up to son-down) and we've convinced ourselves we have no extra time to do things like this but the truth is we either brought these kids into the world or chose to adopt them. We aren't doing our job if we don't get our priorities lined up and take time to strategize our parenting as well as take time to enjoy our kids.

Hmm, where could we come up with 30 minutes to think about hobbies OR actually do them? Here are the suggestions I made to myself:

1) TURN OFF the cell phone. For thousands of years people operated without every person they knew having immediate contact with them. It's still possible. Put it away for an hour or two a day.

2) TURN OFF the television, movies, computer, computer games. Again, it is only contemporary society that has 24/7 entertainment at their finger tips.....while at the same time wondering "where can I get time to figure out my kids?"

3) Make a written list of ideas and post them on the refrigerator. We tried this and it was amazing to see Bobby standing by the frig reading through the 75 activities. None of these involved the television, computer or gaming systems. Amazing, huh?!

4) Last but not least, LISTEN. We've tried to keep "plugged in" to what Bobby's talking about and when something seems interesting we check into it. ADHD kids move from one thing to the next so rapidly it's really hard to discern what's a "whim" and what could turn into a real hobby, so I don't run out and break the bank over the latest "idea" Bobby has. I simply listen. When he's been talking about the same thing for weeks we begin to see this may "take" and if it's not expensive we plug in!

Over the past 5 years hobbies have come and gone. Some cost nothing. Some were small change and some were a bit of investment. All were worth it. No question.  

U.S. Quarter collecting, bicycling, sushi-making, ant collecting,  raising baby chicks, bottle-feeding bummer lambs, building forts from scrap wood, skate-boarding, soccer, legos, fishing and the most recent interest......bees. (This one's over-the-top!) We'll know next spring if it's successful. For now, Bobby's reading everything in sight about raising bees!

Bobby And The Bees!

Bobby's latest fascination is BEES! Recently he disappeared only to be found near the neighbor's bee hives. As usual, we quizzed him on what he was doing and as usual, the answers were vague. After what seemed like ages of interrogation, Bobby admitted he had lifted the lid on the top of the box. He assured us he put it back. "I was just curious and wanted to see what it looked like in there" was his explanation. Arrggg! 

"You, young man, will march right back over to the bees and we'll be SURE the lid is on correctly," we informed him as Dad began to lead him back to the bees. It was clear he was nervous about getting close again which made the discipline follow-through even more important. They arrived at the bee hive to discover the lid not quite secure in it's place. As Bobby  reached out to fix the lid, with Dad looking on from a safe distance, a mad bee shot out at his arm and disciplined him. Because he's not allergic to bees, we wasted no time on sympathy.

Since that day, Bobby and Dad have begun reading all about raising bees. They are planning to begin their new venture in the spring. As of today, Mom is apprehensive of bringing bee hives anywhere near where Bobby lives, teases & destroys. No clue how this one will end but we'll find out next spring!

Monday, October 24, 2011

My Favorite ADHD Books!

At first I simply didn't have the time or energy to pick up a book and get past the first paragraph. Now, I will make the time. With this child, it's imperative I have tools and skills to raise him. Those tools don't drop from clouds! I believe every parent of an ADHD kiddo needs to read at least the first book listed here. I guarantee you're missing treasures if you don't grab the rest!

1) "The ADHD Parenting Handbook,"  by Colleen Alexander-Roberts
2) "All Dogs Have ADHD," by Kathy Hoopmann. Published 2009 by Jessica Kingley Publishers.
3) "ADHD And Me: What I Learned From Lighting Fires At The Dinner Table," by Blake Taylor, New Harbinger Publishers, 2008. (This author is currently in college & writes from a "kid's perspective. Fantastic tips!)
4) "Project June Bug," by Jackie Minniti, iUniverse Inc., 2008.  Well-written & insightful novel. A tribute, in my opinion, to any teacher who really takes the time to try to understand!
5) "Cory Stories," by Jeanne Kraus, 2005 Magination Press
This fun paperback book is especially written for kids with tips for parents included. The author has 20 years experience in the classroom and this book was inspired by one of her sons.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Father's Role In ADHD

So often the nurturing task lands on Mom. Don't get me wrong. I realize many dads look for ways to nurture their children, but more often that responsibility is taken on by mom. Moms do more talking. (Its' a fact. Darn it anyway.) We are frequently the chosen "go-to" person when kids need to talk and figure stuff out and we seem to be the bridge between home and school. So where does Dad come in?

I just read an article on this very subject by Dr. Silver, featured in the Feb./March 2003 issue of ADDitude Magazine, entitled "Why Boys With ADHD Need Their Dads."  WOW! Great article. There are so many ways dads can contribute to the healthy growth of their kids & ADHD boys are high on that need list! I was interested in how important it is for Dad to support whatever program his child is using to become more successful as a young man with ADHD.  If Dad isn't in support that training will not be as successful. Makes a lot of sense to me! I'm a mom who believes we have to jump in with both feet, when parenting. Especially any child with high needs. We see less t.v., do less with friends & read as much as we can, to EDUCATE ourselves on how to make a positive impact in our kids' lives. It must be the priority. No questions asked.

Circumstances such as divorce, death, illness & work dictate that not every dad can "be there." Sadly though, many dads don't choose to.  Bobby's one lucky kid. His daddy is on-board. He plays games and does homework with him, attends all his soccer games, yelling his support as loud as the dads with kids who don't struggle with impulsivity, wildness, anger and destructiveness. Does he get angry & is he ever frustrated? You bet. This stuff isn't easy for any of us. He does seem to understand that his role of support in Bobby's life is crucial. Today, I am thankful for this fact!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I Need Fewer Hours In My Day!

I am honored that this blog entry is to be published with my permission in the Spring 2012 issue of ADDitude Magazine:

Every time I have a day like today I just want BEDTIME to roll around quickly so I can collapse. Most people think they need more hours in their day. Not me. Not any more. It's barely 3:00 on a Sunday afternoon and already I've said, "What were you thinking?" at least 7 times. Here are the doozies:
1) Went out to clean up the shop for a barn party we're planning for our kids and found hundreds of screws & nails everywhere. When I asked "why" the reply was honest. "I was throwing them at pigeons to get the pigeons out of here!" (He picked them up plus did some other work for restitution.)
2) I sent Bobby to the house with a wheelbarrel of produce from the garden. Simple task but when he didn't return I discovered he was "washing the windows" (with a hose & hard water).
3) Came into the house to find a large salmon hook stuck into the couch cushion. (Not sure when this happened since the house is always locked if we're outside working.) Felt ridiculous even saying the words "why did you put a fish hook in the couch?" Not surprising, he doesn't even remember this one.

I love my boy to the moon and back....I think we've been to the moon and back. But I'm a mom of an adhd boy and I'm like all other parents of adhd kids - e.x.h.a.u.s.t.e.d! This is not a "phase" but my daily, hourly life.

This is precisely why FEWER hours in the day would help me out. Fewer hours to repair, scrub, discipline, explain & argue. I don't need any more hours in my day. I'm ready for bed now and it's not much past 3:00.