It’s taken me a while to write this follow up article to An ADHD diagnosis, now what?, for several reasons. As a mother I know that all I want to do for my kids is make things better. Firstly, there is so much to report back on. Secondly my mind is just so full of all the studying I’ve been doing on ADHD. Of course I’ve also had to adapt everything to my specific circumstances and that in itself is tedious. Most importantly though, it’s because the biggest revelation of all my investigating was that I needed to change first before I could do anything for my son.
I was so overwhelmed with the support and advice I received when the article was published about my son being diagnosed with ADHD. It gave me comfort knowing that others were in similar situations at a time when I felt helpless and despondent. In a way it makes things harder to deal with when the thing you’re trying to ‘fix’ or deal with, isn’t tangible. It’s not something I can put a band aid on or rub an ointment on. It’s not something that disappears after a few days or heals in good time. I can’t see it but I know what it feels like because I feel it too. I understand the frustration, the inability to express how it feels. The feeling of being misunderstood and different.
I want everything in their little lives to be fun and nourishing for their souls. I want to make them each feel accepted and loved just as they are. This diagnosis made that very difficult for me. In the times prior to the diagnosis it was me that couldn’t cope with him. It was me and my reactions or attitude towards him that made every day so much harder. It was me who struggled and tried to get him to just be… less like me. Like they say, you find fault in others because you recognise it from within yourself. (Or did I come up with that? Either way, it’s profound!)
All of it actually taught me more about myself.
How I always had to be in control of everything. How I want life to be perfect for everyone. That I had a very mistaken idea that it’s a parent’s job to keep their kids happy all the time and any kind of disorganisation on my part is a sign of failure. And this was or is one thing I can’t control. It’s one thing that made me feel like a failure because I wasn’t coping with it. It made me realise that in order to deal with this situation I needed to change my mind-set. Instead of constantly fighting or resisting it I had to embrace it and learn how to effectively manage it all. He was brought into my life, as he is, with all his quirks and sensitivities, to give me a deeper understanding of what a parent is. I have become more intuitive and emotionally intelligent which I think all parents need and I was lacking.
In observing him and myself I’ve managed identify his triggers, what makes him restless or angry and believe me, being responsive instead of reactionary has made a huge (positive) difference. How was I expecting him not to throw tantrums when I myself completely lost my mind and exploded at him? How did I expect him to concentrate with his schoolwork when most times, I’m distracted when he’s talking to me? How do I expect him to be self-confident when I second-guess myself all the time? So one step at a time, starting with myself, this journey has already become easier just with a change in approach. Obviously his symptoms haven’t disappeared and there are many other things we have been doing to help him but the first and most significant was learning more about myself and more about being a better parent.
This article was originally written for Jozikids by Fatima Kazee in 2015.
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