“I Forget That My Kids Know I’m ADHD, Too”
It makes sense that since I bang around in the same kind of ADHD brain that my kids do that I’d naturally be extra empathetic and patient with them… right?!?
It’s last week, Friday afternoon – I’m on a deadline, trying desperately to finish an article that I’ve procrastinated even starting for days, and now it’s down to the wire. My wife and twenty-year-old son are at work and I’m home alone hunched over the computer calling myself stupidlazystupidstupidstupid when my thirteen-year-old daughter, Coco, comes slamming home from school. She grabs a banana from the kitchen, walks into my office, and with a big sigh plops down in the chair across the desk from me.
“I need you to look at my knee, Dad. It’s really killing me.”
Coco’s knee is always really killing her. Or her shoulder, or her ankle, or her nails that she won’t stop biting, last week she thought she might be going blind. I nod and give her a quick smile.
“Honey, I’m swamped right now so…”
She puts her leg on my desk examining her knee.
“I swear — the nurse said I should stay off it.” She takes a bite of banana. “My shoulder hurts too. But that’s ‘cause Jay hit me. He got kicked out of class today. But not for that. And coach says I need a new sports bra.”
I tell her I’ll look at her knee later but I have to get this work done first. She says okay, starts to limp away then turns back and says oh she forgot but could I sign this envelope for her – it’s nothing – just field trip stuff.
I need to get this article done that I rigorously put off all week so I quick sign so she’ll let me work.
Thing is, I want to believe that being an adult with ADHD should make me a more understanding parent to my two adolescent ADHD children. It just makes sense that since I bang around in the same kind of brain that my kids do that I’d naturally be more empathetic and patient with them than their non-ADHD mom. I know what they’re going through. I know what it feels like to try and fail, and all that rigmarole. Fat lot I know.
It took Margaret, their non-ADHD mom and my non-ADHD wife to find the note from the teacher about homework not turned in and projects not completed that was in that envelope I signed.
I forget that my kids know I’m ADHD too, they know what I’m going through and boy, do they know how to use it.