What Personal Space?

My exuberant, outgoing daughter might not yet be skilled in noticing other kids' boundaries — but she's worked very hard on setting limits for herself.
The Distracted Princess | posted by Sarah Kaczmarek

I'm really proud of how my daughter handled getting hit by a classmate.

— Sarah Kaczmarek, ADDitude.com blogger

Hadley's principal called and told me that Hadley had been hit in the face by another little girl. She reassured me that Hadley was fine. She'd shed some tears, but mostly from having her feelings hurt — she'd wanted to play with someone who didn't want to play with her. I can only imagine Hadley begging to play, and invading the other girl's personal space.

If you have kids, you know "personal space" talks begin in kindergarten. But if you have a child with ADHD, you also know there isn't much personal space to be had. Hadley wants to be friends with everyone — that is one of the things I love about her.

Once the principal told me Hadley was okay, I started to tune her out. I was secretly happy, and I was jumping for joy (in my head) that Hadley wasn't the one to hit first. I'm really proud of how she handled herself recently. She asked another friend to go tell the teacher, and she didn't physically strike back. This is progress; almost a year ago, Hadley struggled with impulse control when upset, and I felt like she was mistakenly labeled by some parents as violent.

I did manage to let the principal know during the course of our conversation that I wasn't overly upset, and to reassure the other parent I wasn't angry. She indicated that the other parent was mortified. One thing I've learned from having a child with ADHD is to try not to judge — you never know what someone else may be dealing with.

Hadley didn't talk about the incident until the following night when I brought it up. I'm glad the principal called — otherwise, who knows when we'd have found out? We talked about what happened, and I reminded her of how upset she'd gotten in the past. We discussed how well she was using her calming strategies. She wasn't inclined to dwell on it: she showed us how she'd been hit — a fist to the chin — and said, "It didn't hurt, and she apologized today."

I worry that her truly caring nature will allow kids to walk all over her as she approaches her pre-teen years. On the other hand, I think, "If only we were all so forgiving."

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