Arguments, drama, troubled transitions — sometimes getting an ADHD family out of the house in the morning is like herding cats.
by Amanda Driscoll
This past weekend, we had the genius idea to take all three kids to their first professional soccer game. It was to be a very special event for our footballer, Quinn. Thanks to the team she plays on, she had the opportunity to be on the field during the opening ceremonies. The idea was quite exciting to us all.
However, when the day came, the idea seemed like a terrible one. Getting my ADHD family ready to go is an ordeal that requires a great deal of energy. No matter how much planning I’ve done the previous night (set clothes out, pack diaper bag, plan breakfast), someone has a hard time transitioning.
Because my ADHD kids are so different from one another, I have to take two totally different approaches to getting them out the door. Holden’s medicine takes a very long time to kick in, so he has zero focus on the directions I give him, and is also unable to control both his mouth and body. He tends to be loud and argumentative when faced with change. For him, I find myself repeating the same phrases 27 times each, “Please get dressed. Please go to the car. Please get dressed.” I have to be authoritative and stern.
On the other hand, change for Quinn induces all of the emotional drama that comes with being an adolescent ADHD girl. At first she protests the idea of even having to go. She worries about potentially being on TV and not having her hair done correctly. While Holden may hoot and holler, Quinn ends up a sobbing mess during transition. For this reason, my approach with Quinn has to be very reassuring, calm, and loving.
Notice the polarity in the approaches I have to take with each child, simply to get them in the car? It doesn’t always work out well; I’m human. So on Saturday, by the time all three kids were dressed, yet still running about the house, I glanced up and said, "Do we haaaaave to go?" I was simply exhausted, and we hadn’t even left yet.
Had it not been for my toddler Isla dashing to the door yelling, “Car!” I may have very well thrown in the towel. Someday I’ll find the trick to getting them all out of the house in a decent amount of time. Hopefully it’ll be before Quinn's high school graduation.