I realized early on that my two children with ADHD would need my help and patience, not to mention my strategies, to overcome many of the obstacles. They were going to need nurturing, love, and total involvement to grow and achieve their potential. I learned this from my own father: dear old Dad.
When I was a young boy, my dad and I dug up a little tree in the woods and planted it in our front yard. I remember my dad watering the tree almost every day during the summer and pruning its branches in the fall. Years later, this tree towers high above all the nearby houses. It has many branches and provides a lot of shade during the hot summer months. In the fall, the leaves turn a beautiful orange, and in the spring, a mist of tender buds shows that life is back.
When I think about this tree, I think of the fertile ground that I want to provide my children, so that they too can blossom. They need my love and acceptance. They need a home that is safe to live in. They need daily praise and to know that I believe in them.
I don’t want them to “shrivel up” in the scorching sun, so I teach them ways to handle the tough times — to problem-solve, deal with stress, and manage anger. And when they make mistakes, and their “leaves fall off” and their “branches droop,” I want them to know that I love them just the way they are.
All dads raising children with ADHD should think about how they can plant the right “seeds” in their children, so that they will grow up to be happy, confident, and resilient.