I gave my child ADHD. I also gave him wavy hair and a love of sarcasm.
Maybe you also gave your child ADHD? I guarantee you also gave them some other stuff as well.
A few weeks ago my son was struggling at Jujitsu. He was supposed to do a front roll and he struggles with motor skills, so he was really afraid to tuck his head and…well, ROLL.
I’m pretty good at reading his facial expressions and body language and I could see a meltdown coming. All these littler kids were running right up and my son stood there paralyzed with tears in his eyes.
When he looked at me I smiled and mouthed, “it’s fun, try it!”
I’m not sure precisely what I was feeling in that moment, but my nasty inner voice came out in full force.
“You gave him these issues.”
“It’s your fault he isn’t laughing like all the other kids.”
I had to close my eyes for a second because I felt like I might have a panic attack.
He never rolled, but a few minutes later he was practicing take-downs with some yellow belts.
Why did I have such a strong emotional reaction?
You know how hard it is to watch it happen. You can’t jump in and help or make it less painful so you watch it happen. There are some things our children have to experience on their own.
All you can do is provide a soft place for them to land. Which is easier said than done if you are living with ADHD yourself.
And when you have verifiable (diagnosed) proof that you have passed on this highly heritable neurological condition that will make life even more challenging, you will periodically be hit with all of the emotions at once.
so you gave your child ADHD
You are doing a great job. And I’m gonna prove it to you.
You have awareness
When I was a kid school was an escape from the troubles at home. My parents did not fully understand my diagnosis and they definitely did not understand each other.
My son’s only worry is whether or not he will earn time on his Nintendo switch this Friday.
These days our understanding of ADHD and its symptoms is lightyears ahead of where it was when I was diagnosed in 1991. My son benefits from this because we work to make sure he learns how to self-monitor his behavior and earn rewards.
Your children will benefit from the last thirty years of research into ADHD as well.
You see the big picture
My son has high functioning autism in addition to ADHD. For us this means that he becomes very reactive in certain situations.
People often ask which diagnosis is harder for me. My response is always, “it depends on the day.” The symptoms often bleed together.
My son can be impulsive verbally, and not pay attention to direction or details. And he does not take correction very well. He also has an element of social impairment that is problematic for us as a family, and for him at school.
Since I grew up with ADHD I know he cannot control this any more than I can control my own ADHD symptoms. So I try not to dissect every incident and make myself crazy.
Look at the bigger picture. Remind yourself that even the most difficult days always come to an end.
Are you making progress? Is your child’s sense of self improving?
You accept what is
Genetically speaking, I have a terrible family history when it comes to ADHD and other associated disorders. My brother is the traditional impulsive/hyperactive presentation of ADHD. Other relatives live with serious psychiatric disorders and varying degrees of functionality.
Quite a few of them self-medicate with substances.
My family tree also includes gifted athletes, scientists, doctors, and artists.
My husband’s family history includes no ADHD whatsoever. The Hubs is my opposite in many ways. He is focused, detail oriented, engaged and able to utilize all of the executive functions of his brain when he wants to. He does occasionally go through a spell where he has some anxiety, but it always seems to pass.
Don’t forget that your child has your spouse’s genes, not just yours.
We all accept the good, the bad, and the ugly in our family and in our genes.
You share symptoms
The more I read about sensory integration the more I think I have had issues with this my entire life.
Are you a hugger? I’m not. I don’t like people entering my personal space.
Loud sounds are jarring and frightening, and I often react by either withdrawing from the situation or becoming irritable.
This is startlingly similar to the way my son reacts to sensory stimuli that are upsetting to him.
I’m easily overwhelmed and I react emotionally, much like my child.
You are the person who best understands what your child is going through. Use this to strengthen your bond.
You know how it feels
My son knows he is different from his peers. I always knew too.
Just as I did, he has an active imagination and very high-level verbal skills for a child his age. Many adults find this charming until they are on the receiving end of a tantrum.
I once told my mother that ADHD is a, “curse.” While I no longer believe that, I do believe it is something that can affect your whole life’s trajectory if you do not manage it.
Do everything in your power to give your child the tools to manage ADHD.
Instill the idea that your child can figure things out. Let them try and fail. Even when things get hard, they are learning that it’s safe to try.
Maybe you did give your child ADHD. But you also gave them the best parts of you.
And you are doing a great job.