Have you ever seen the film Groundhog Day with Bill Murrey? He repeats the same day over and over again. Having a child with ADD/ADHD can sometimes feel just like this. It doesn’t matter if you have things planned in advance or spur of the moment, without the cooperation of your children it’s useless. It can seem like there is no end in sight when everyday is full of the same arguements, upsets ect. I like most of you am not a specialist. I don’t have a degree or training to deal with ADD but it’s amazing how we all as parents try to cope and do our best for our children and our families. So before I set of on this blog I want all of you wether raising a child with any disability or not to take a deep breath and believe in yourself. Take heart knowing you are not alone.
ADD is not a ‘naughty child’ condition. For those suffering and their families it is very real. Yes the behaviour is a big part. Our daughter can have tantrums and periods of throwing things about in anger, but there is more to ADD than most people think. As a parent I find it hard that most people just assume my child is naughty. I even now get embarrassed sometimes as before diagnosis I was one of those people who didn’t understand what ADD is. I didn’t even know what it was.
So some of the other less known but sometimes more challenging symptoms involved are;
- Short attention span
- Can’t sit still and fidgets
- Can’t finish things
So for us as a family and me as a mum one of the symptoms of ADD which affects our family sometimes more than the other symptoms is forgetfulness.(www.livingwithadhd.co.uk)
For us with our 9 year old this is a very real issue. Firstly it is devastating when faced with the fact that aged 9 our child can not remember certain things. She forgets to go to the toilet, she forgets what she has eaten, she forgets the rules of games learned in school, she forgets lessons taught in school. It’s very hard. We as a society expect forgetfulness to come with age not with childhood. This is in effect memory loss. It has a huge impact on our family as an overall entity. For our daughter I can honestly say I don’t think she even notices except for when it is obvious that she has forgotten something because it is brought to her attention she then becomes upset. She has always been this way. It is not learnt behaviour for her, she is not being awkward.
For her the difficult part of this forgetfulness is when friends get upset or annoyed that she can’t play a game she played the day before as she forgets the rules. She doesn’t like upsetting people. Also if she misplaces something and really wants it she can become angry and upset and scream and shout and sometimes become violent because no matter how hard she tries she just can not remember. She will very often shout and cry about her ‘stupid hd’ as she calls it.
For me on a bad day my daughters forgetfulness is;
- frustrating; I am not frustrated at her herself but at this ‘condition’ that effects every aspect of our lives,and YES it affects us all. If (L) forgets where her gloves are or another item she needs for school it can make us all late for the school run, if she forgets to do something before going out there is no way we can go out until she has done it as it would just cause to much upset. She like any child will play tricks on her sisters, the downside is if she hides something she can forget where she put it,this then causes sibling arguments.
- Anger and blame; again this is in no way directed at my daughter. I could and never would feel anger towards her in regards to the ADHD. As a parent when she does the ‘normal’ naughty things then that’s a whole different kettle of fish and as any parent would this can cause me to be mad at her. For me I feel anger towards myself and towards the condition itself. People say don’t blame yourself. There are possibly many different causes of ADHD. Some researches suggest anything from something in the genes to the pregnancy and birth or biological factors, but as yet there is no one cause or reason. Even so as a parent how do you not blame yourself. I have to try hard though as if I blame myself my husband then also blames himself which to me seems silly. I carried her for 9 months, gave birth to her are not the chances higher that it would be my fault??? I wish with all my heart that she didn’t have anything wrong. I hate that she loses items. I get angry that she forgets what she has eaten, what she has done at school that day or the day before. I feel angry that she has to get upset days after something has happened at home or school because she only just remembered to tell me. I find personally the anger at the condition doesn’t fade. Some days it’s just worse than others.
- Sadness; How do you feel? I feel sad. Not just sometimes but maybe once or twice a day. I don’t cry as much as the years go by as this does not help my daughter. I look at her and feel sadness at the time she loses. She recalls things that happened a year ago but forgets what’s happened this week. I feel sadness Of the upset and stress it causes her when she can not remember something. School and learning have been a huge stumbling block for my daughter. She is so determined to learn and by the end of a day she knows something by heart and races out of school to tell me only to forget it the next day. Learning lines for a service or play breaks my heart. Her face beams when she can say them of by heart but she has to put so much time and effort into learning them she then crashes physically and mentally from the effort.
- Guilt; carrying on from the sadness point I feel guilt most days. I think as a parent this is a common feeling. Do you feel guilt? How would you answer when asked ‘why do you feel guilty?’ We are told by specialists that it’s not our fault. We are told by friends and family it’s not our fault, but with ADHD how do we deal with this not knowing. Not knowing what’s caused it, not knowing if we had done something different would the outcome have been different? As a parent this feeling is hard. But as a parent of a child with ADHD if I spend everyday concentrating on feeling guilty how am I helping my daughter. I need to be strong. She needs to know that it is not her fault. So I try to not blame myself on a daily basis but instead channel that emotion into something positive.
On a good day
- Pride; I am so proud of my daughter. To be faced with such an obstacle in life towards growing and learning she has so much enthusiasm and such a zest for life. She tries her hardest always even to the point of becoming exhausted. She tries to cover the forgetfulness and never says she can’t do anything. It isn’t an excuse for her or for us.
- Love and laughter; we by no means as people who know us know make any jokes or jest about our daughters forgetfulness. We surround all our children with love and laughter. Some days we do laugh about items that have gone missing. These days turn into family hunt the item days. There is no getting away from this forgetfulness but we can try and make life the best we can.
- Awe; I love this word. It describes perfectly how I feel inregards to my daughters unwavering energy and how she tries so hard. I look at her when she is sleeping and I am so in awe of her. She tries so hard to never let anyone down.
As a society we are becoming more and more aware of ADD/ADHD. Studies are being carried out, research also, but as a parent I feel more needs to be done to help us as parents. There is no right or wrong way to raise our children. Most of the time I feel it’s trial and error, but hopefully we shall get there one day. If anyone wants to do any research or find information to print of for other family members and friends, school to help explain ADD I have come across a couple of sites that may be of interest to other parents.
All that’s left to say is thank you for reading and take care.
Xx Leanne xx