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Age-Appropriate ADHD Behavior

I’ll take age-appropriate behavior in my daughter with ADHD — and celebrate it — whenever I can get it.

A mom helps her daughter get dressed for school as part of her morning routine
A mom helps her daughter get dressed for school as part of her morning routine

A few days ago I was reading a blog written by Terri Mauro, and this sentence, about why she tolerates a certain amount of talking back from her teenage son, really resonated with me: “When you’ve got a kid as developmentally off-kilter as he is,” Mauro says, “you take age-appropriateness where you can get it.”

As I wrote in a previous ADHD parenting blog post, age-appropriateness is a big issue with Natalie, due to both the deprivation she suffered in her orphanage years, and her ADHD. And ever since our in-home therapist, Gayle, and I talked about this a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been more conscious of Nat’s behavior — when it’s age-appropriate behavior, and when it’s not. Where I can challenge her, and when I need to support her exactly where she is.

I noticed on the second day of second grade that Harry’s mom, Victoria, and I were the only mom’s still walking our kids to their lockers, and saying our goodbyes at the classroom door. The other kids walk in, unload their backpacks, and enter their classrooms independently. I decided then and there to encourage Natalie to model her peers.

Just then, her special ed teacher, Mrs. Carter, joined us in the hall. “Look, Nat,” I said. “Victoria and I are the only moms in the hallway. Now that you’re a big second grader, I bet you can walk into school without me.”

Mrs. Carter picked right up on this. “I’ll meet you both at the front door tomorrow,” she said, “and I’ll walk you in.”

“Can I still have a kiss?” Nat asked.

“Of course you can!” I said. “I’ll give you a huge hug and kiss in the car.”

Nat’s walking confidently into school on her own now, without even Mrs. Carter’s help. I’m thrilled! I’m bragging to everyone! This might not seem like a big deal to most people, but to paraphrase Terri Mauro, I’ll take age-appropriateness in my kid — and celebrate it! — whenever I can get it.

No Cracks, No Breaks!