There are times in our lives that we dread but at the same time we also look forward to. Sounds a bit mixed up, right? But if you have a child with ADHD this is exactly what we experience frequently.
An old school friend invited me and my hubby to the wedding of her daughter last weekend. Gorgeous. An opportunity to catch up with old friends, laugh about tricks we got up to and swap memories of times gone by. Something to really look forward.
There will also be the inevitable “so what’s your son up to?” Now I am not embarrassed nor am I ashamed. As you know I adore my son with every atom of my body. But when friends are swapping tales of their children’s happiness and success, it is bloody hard to feel light and twinkly.
The wedding was incredible and I was very emotional to see this gorgeous woman who I have seen grown from a little girl into a beautiful bride. But what about my son? Doesn’t he deserve the same chance of happiness? I was pleased I was wearing my metaphorical resilient knickers so I could smile and carry on.
But how do you ensure that your child makes some good choices so that you too can swap tales of contentment..?
Well all you can do is put things in place to allow your child to thrive and flourish.
This is a place where you must get it right. Teachers must be trained so they really understand that your child with ADHD is not being deliberately naughty or disorganised. He is not trying to wind up the adults. He is frustrated and angry because the classroom is not a natural place where he feels comfortable. There are too many restrictions, too much information, overload of sensory experiences and too many opportunities to be distracted.
Your child may be shamed and told off for not focussing. Not playing nicely and calling out inappropriate comments.
He must be helped and supported. Resources must be used and tweaks made which cost nothing but time and creativity.
Then he should be given chance to shine. Show skills and talents and make him feel amazing.
You must also be just as mindful at home that your child may be struggling.
Have a quiet space where he can go to in order to self-regulate and chill. Use planners, timers and charts to keep organised. Give one task at a time and don’t overload with instructions. Have different expectations what he can achieve. Promote talents and successes.
Your child wants your approval so have plenty of times where you have fun together. Put a date in the diary for special outings but also make time every day to enjoy doing something together.
You want your child to feel emotionally secure and resilient. There will be plenty of knock-backs in life and it is up to you to help guide a smooth path. Give opportunities for him to problem solve when things are going wrong. Be a great role model and show that you can bounce back.
Possibly the trickiest thing to help your child with. But you must try. Encourage him to join groups where he has a strong interest. Avoid football or music lessons if he hates it and has no aptitude. Role play different scenarios or make social story books to teach appropriate language. Encourage play dates and try and step back if possible. Go out to the park where he can run off the energy and doesn’t feel stifled.
So our children have a difficult path ahead. But ADHD is becoming less stigmatised and teachers are beginning to understand. We must continue to fight for our children and make sure everything is in place that can help them feel amazing. And if they feel amazing, then….who knows?
Hope that helps. Let me know how you get on.
Join me on Saturday 3rd November at 9.30am in Hertfordshire for a morning of impassioned learning, understanding and to completely rethink ADHD.