Friday, November 28, 2014

Charlotte's ODD Web?

The picture of bouncing wildness has shifted in the past year to one of defiance and opposition. Every single (and I truly mean EVERY) request of ours seems to hit a a barricade of willfulness. We are slyly distracted away from the point at hand through a lengthy exchange of words and wills. Our son no longer presents many symptoms of ADHD but strong ODD or rather, Oppositional Defiance Disorder. From what I've read, these behavior labels regularly go hand in hand.

So here's the deal. Just when I feel we've begun to get a hold on the ADHD, it all shifts to a completely new bunch of stuff. I'm not humored by this one bit but that's extreme parenting for you. Should my blog title be Charlotte's ODD Web instead? Or maybe I should leave the title alone so those readers who are dealing with ADHD can transition into this ODD thing with me?

Some days I'm so frustrated with figuring out this behavior and what I can do about it. That's a lie. Most days. I'm sad and overwhelmed. For him. For us. For his teachers. It's hard and painful. He hates being told "no." He's angry at even his shadow. He rarely stays respectful and quiet for longer than 15 minutes unless in front of a screen... Which in our home is rare and earned.

More rules? Stiffer consequences? No privileges? Rewards and incentives? Teen boot camp? Argggg. I just shake my head while I begin another journey. A trek through piles of book titles, methods and blogs. Why didn't I start this a year ago when it all became more intense? Maybe because I was in denial but more likely because I thought it would end like it began.....suddenly.

I love my 14 yr old Bobby. I don't like this path and I probably hate the behavior. It raises my blood pressure, quickens my pulse and takes me through a path of tears. When will our home just be calm and just what is "normal?"  ADHD to ODD - I'm on this journey of labels determined to understand this second one. For myself but even more for him.

I have learned a couple things already... It takes strong strategies to deal with ODD in our parenting. Firmness with love, consistency and a willingness to help these kids become successful at thinking about reasons for doing things and consequences. We can't argue. We state facts. We can NOT get sidetracked by their sly excuses and blaming. These kids need to be trained carefully to engage with and respect adults and kids. Important discussions must be put aside if the child is hostile, but not aside for good. We need to listen and praise successes they make in their growth. I'm learning. I'm reading a lot. More later. Stay tuned......

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Conversations About the Driver's License

Boys and cars. Roads carved from sand and dirt. Hot wheels tracks. Riding on Dad's lap to the mailbox. Steering. "Varoooom" and "beep-beep" through the house and out the back door. The quest for that paper license began at birth. But are our adhd kids ready for this great big responsibility at 15? Every parent surely asks this question.

I started the driving "lessons" with Bobby years ago. Little "teach-to" conversations while we rode together in the car. Talking about safety.  Staying focused and sharp. Pointing out stupid-driver actions that we see and what we could do under those circumstances.

We began telling Bobby maturity and control were needed before he would have even a permit. Maturity and control in other settings-school, town, home. He knows what needs to happen and when he makes good decisions and shows wisdom I do try to point that out to him.

Will these things help Bobby be a better driver? Can't hurt. Impulsive kids struggle so much in all areas of their lives. We parents are struggling to help them.  Bobby likely won't be ready for a permit at 15. I don't see a license right after his 16th birthday. For now we'll stick with the motorcycle in the pasture. He's got a couple more years...Wasn't it just yesterday I bought all those hot wheels?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

"Just A Boy" or ADHD?

He's 13 now. We've been collecting stories of our experience for years and any "one" of those stories could be plucked from the bio of any modern-day American boy. Or any boy, really. The truth is, these stories are our existence. Day-to-day and hour-by-hour. Our boy shoots from the hip, then thinks. This thinking is only present if the outcome of the situation has affected him in any adverse way. Otherwise, there is no time for reflection as the next "event" is already under way. to capture this energy and force into good doesn't happen simply by desire.
Bobby's dad and I talk throughout every single day, of ways we can reach him and work to motivate good. Often our first words are "Is Bobby up?" or "Where is Bobby" and as we fall asleep, if we aren't saying these same words, we are no-doubt thinking them. Because of the intensity of Bobby's behavior in spite of diligent and continual efforts on our part, we have agreed with our physician's diagnosis of ADHD. Yes, Bobby's "just a boy." Just a boy with ADHD.
If I could look into the future I would not see calm at any point in his life, not for the next few decades. As for hyperactivity & misbehavior, I pray that with consistent boundaries, modeling appropriate life behaviors and regular outlets for exercise, our son will grow into a young man who is proud of his place in life and what he accomplishes. In the last 2 weeks Bobby has managed to get into his normal share of trouble in and out of school. We've talked, worked through and resolved numerous infractions, the details of which are unimportant here. It's the stuff we parents go through with our special kids.
Some days I laugh and some days I cry. I never know ahead what's coming. Maybe that's good. But what I do know is one day at a time is best and sometimes I take it all minute-by-minute. Right now he is sleeping. I think. It's quiet anyway.