A new book made me think about our different parenting styles when it comes to Natalie's ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder.
It was a desire to understand life from Natalie’s perspective that led me to read Quinn Bradlee’s new memoir, A Different Life: Growing Up Learning Disabled and Other Adventures. While book’s style supported that mission, I couldn’t help but “think like a mother” as I read, so I appreciated how Quinn and his coauthor incorporated Quinn’s mother’s viewpoint throughout the story too.
Quinn introduces a narrative from his mother, Sally Quinn, by saying that the problems he dealt with as a child didn’t only effect him; that his parents went through everything with him. Here are a few sentences from that section:
“The advice I would give to other families is therapy. I mean it. Immediately....[I] think it’s important because husbands and wives deal with [a child’s chronic illness] differently.... The mothers are much more into it, much more open about their grief and their sadness and their depression. They want to talk about it and deal with it in the open. The men don’t want to talk about it. They’re often in denial.”
Although Sally Quinn was referring to the serious medical complications associated with VCFS, I think this the same could be said for ADHD and common comorbid conditions.
My husband, Don, and I certainly deal with Natalie’s ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, anxiety, and developmental delays differently. I read and research, and talk to the doctor. I attend IEP meetings, and coordinate all of Natalie’s services. I talk to other moms, and write this blog. Don is concerned, and he certainly co-parents our kids, but...his level of involvement is, well, different.
For example, we lost Don with all of the med changes Natalie had throughout the fall and winter. He couldn’t keep up. He has to ask me what meds Nat needs when.
And when it comes to communication with friends and family--on any topic, really--our styles are polar opposites. I write a blog, of all things, while Don is discreet to the point that I think of him as being secretive!
What do you think, moms and dads? Does gender predict how we respond when our kids struggle? How do you and your partner differ in dealing with your child’s ADHD?