All in the Family

Ever wonder where your child got his ADHD from? You know where.
Life in the Fast Brain | posted by Kristen Caven

My kid pushes me to be better, more dedicated, and more courageous.

— Kristen Caven

How many parents don’t figure out their disorder until they are parents? “Insanity is hereditary,” the bumper sticker says, “you get it from your kids.” Snarky, hilarious, but wait: Maybe it’s true.

How come so many of us don’t accept the ADHD label for ourselves until after our kids get diagnosed? It’s because we think our kids are normal, just like us. For example:

• When Enzo was three and couldn’t eat a sandwich unless he was walking around, I shrugged and said, “My little brother was just like that.”

• When he was eight, nine, and 10, and so on, his teachers complained that he was always reading books during class. I shrugged and said, “So?” I did that, too.

• When he hit 13 or 14 and couldn’t wake up in the morning, I remembered my big brother being the same way.

• When I think he’s not listening because he’s fiddling with an iDevice, I remember my own mother complaining that she wanted eye contact, and thinking how much better I could hear her when my eyes were doing something else.

• When he thinks that his room is clean but I can’t see the floor, I remember not seeing my own detritus, or understanding the concept of organizing a drawer.

When our kids actually fall through the cracks in today’s test-crazy school environment, however, in ways that we didn’t when we were younger (or we almost did but forgot how many times adults saved our own butts), we learn that they’ve got these special brains.

And we think, “Wonder where s/he gets that from?” (Side note: I just met the guy who invented the she-slash-he pronoun when he was a professor. Would you look at that? I’m distractible, too.)

My kid pushes me to be better, more dedicated, and more courageous. He pushes me to persevere, and to fight for him and for myself — and to be more forgiving of myself, just as I forgive him. Our kids teach us to be more honest with ourselves, to look in the mirror and see ourselves for what we are.

That’s the toughest part about getting co-diagnosed. When we are trying to grasp the big picture about our child’s ADHD patterns of lying, forgetting, and boredom, we have to admit to ourselves that we lie, are bored, and forget our agreements more than just once in a while. We have to see who we are and stop making excuses like “it’s totally normal" and "everyone does it....” We have to own the fact that our impulses can also get the better of us, and our distractions keep us from moving forward when we are doing everything right.

Having grown up in a family where forgotten birthdays, double-booked dinners, and outside-the-box activities were the norm, I get how insanity runs both ways. I have spent almost as much time waiting for my son as I did waiting for my father. And ha, ha—he’ll get the same treat, some day, with his son or daughter.

He will also be an awesome dad, because awesome runs in the family, too.

 
 
Copyright © 1998 - 2016 New Hope Media LLC. All rights reserved. Your use of this site is governed by our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
ADDitude does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The material on this web site is provided for educational purposes only. See additional information.
New Hope Media, 108 West 39th Street, Suite 805, New York, NY 10018