It's Not His Fault
So, back to Monday. A small respite of sorts but also a day of trying to get your head back in the game. Preston went on a UEA trip with his Dad for three days this last week and came home as happy as can be. They biked, and ate at fun restaurants just the two of them. I was excited when he got home and hopeful for the momentum to continue but it came to a screeching halt within an hour of waking-up the following morning. He was sarcastic, back-talking and faking tantrums and anger. At church he was downright defiant and nasty. The fellow behind me stepped outside of his comfort zone and said, "Oh I remember the spot you are in right now - our son was eerily reminiscent of yours. Those are tough days."
We started chatting and like a warm blanket on a chilly day, I felt reassured simply from hearing that someone else knows how hard it is to raise a kiddo struggling with ADHD. Validation is also something that I can't put a price on and I revel in it when I get it. The magic words, "You are doing really well with him" put me on cloud nine as I rarely give myself much props for what I do to raise my child. Most of the props I give myself are in defense of what I'm trying to do (try being the operative word) because oftentimes there isn't a whole lot to show for what I am doing which makes it all the easier for everybody that isn't me to criticize how I'm managing my kid.
In talking with a good friend today, she also said something that really resonated with me in talking about her own struggling son, "It's not his fault. It's just his lot and it is what it is. In order to be united as a family, we all have to be willing to help one another with their own individual struggles." It really isn't Preston's fault that his frontal lobe isn't developing on time nor is it his fault that he cannot process information and stimuli like other children his age; where they might have a little cry or quiet moment to themselves after something upsetting, he goes on an angry tyrade that includes explitives, banging on the door, death threats and throwing-up on the carpet.
Parenting is just tough. The frustration, confusion, concern and tiring days never end. Some days are better than others and that's all we can really hope for. "We made it through the day and everyone is still in one piece under the same roof!" That's definitely cause for celebration as is every day we stay out of the looney-bin as parents. This good friend also said something invaluable that I know, but is easy to forget in the heat of battle, "I want my son to look back on his life growing-up remembering that he was loved. I don't want him remembering that he was always in trouble and that life was contentious and a daily struggle. I want him to always know that he was loved." We love the child and dislike the behavior. I think it is important for kids with ADHD to also know that they are good people - that is their birth right. We all make mistakes - we're human. How wonderful that with every mistake we have opportunity for learning and growth. Take it! It's free!
I've spent the morning re-considering some of my parenting methods and where I have been a little lax as of late. There are some places where as the captain I need to take back control of the ship and thwart any attempts at mutiny. Even simple tactic changes like how I phrase requests, insisting on eye-contact and remembering to lower my expectations. I think it's time to re-vamp and review the household standards and expectations (even phrasing them as such; 'rules' has the connotation of 'limiting'). And I've got to find a way to make this parenting business fun and intriguing even for myself so follow-up is easier to do and that I WILL make the time for it. It's all about trial and error and being easy on yourself when the last trial wasn't terribly effective - or an outright blowout. I'm being taught patience every hour of everyday and life will certainly be a little smoother if I start to actually learn that lesson.