Positive Parenting

The Joy of ADHD?

One parent’s story of learning to embrace her kids’ ADHD diagnosis and symptoms.

Many hands construct a heart to emphasize the positives in ADHD
Many hands construct a heart to emphasize the positives in ADHD

I have five children, four of whom have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and one toddler who loves to imitate them. My three-year-old has swung from the kitchen chandelier. My six- and nine-year-olds have raced each other up a pair of 50-foot evergreens and waved to me from the top. They curse at me one moment, and can’t stop hugging me the next.

On the other hand, their enthusiasm is infectious. They love people, knowledge, life. They can read three books at the same time and keep the story lines straight. They can focus on a science project and spend a full weekend researching it. They can do math problems in their heads. They love intensely, and often have a can-do attitude.

If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, I want to reassure you, it is not the end of your world or your child’s. It does not mean he will end up in jail when he grows up — the conclusion I came to when one of my children was diagnosed with ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) several years back. Every child and family has something to overcome, some weakness to be managed, some personality flaw to be tweaked. In our case, it’s ADHD, with the outbursts, broken windows, lost papers, and pulled fire alarms that go with it.

It takes a lot of skill to teach my children to manage their disorder. We have to change the ways we do things, how we organize, what we choose to pursue as a family. We have to accept ADHD, minimize its damaging effects, and try to achieve our potential. When you learn to manage ADHD, you can find joy in your children and life.

Adapted from powermomsunite.com

Candace McLane, M.A., is the Mom CEO of a large family (1 spouse, 5 kids), whose many members struggle to manage their ADHD. She is a retired occupational therapist and an advocate for families living with ADHD, ODD, and other co-morbid diagnoses.

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