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adhd
attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder
last nerve
class mates
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classmates
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Living With A Child With Adhd
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Living With A Child With Adhd

When I was a kid I had huge birthday parties. In fact, there were kids in my house that I knew had to be in my class but I didn't even know who they were. I don't throw big birthday parties for my seven year old girl. Not with her classmates in any case. We do family only gatherings. It's not because I'm cheap. In truth, I'm often frivolous to a fault. It's because I'm afraid.

I imagine taking my little girl to the store. I envision watching her skip and trip down the aisle to excitedly pick out the cutest My Little Pony party invitations. I imagine sitting with her at the table while she fills them out, offering her spelling tips and my lecturing her about distinguishing between her b's and d's.

After that we buy a big bag of balloons and streamers. She picks out the coolest goodie bag treats. We plan games and make prizes. She picks out her brand new pink party dress. We set up the whole house on party day. She vibrates and drives us all to the last nerve relentlessly asking if it's three o'clock yet. Then four comes. Then five comes. No one rings the door bell. No one comes to play with my little girl on her big day.

Not much terrifies me more than that, so we only do family parties. We surround her with people who know how sweet natured and amazingly perceptive and intelligent that she is. Her class mates, their parents, and her teachers don't know her like we do.

My daughter has Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder. Children with this disorder have problems organizing their thoughts. They are faced with indescribable confusion and disorientation when they are asked to take in too much. They have trouble sitting in their seats or containing their energy. This can even cause them to act out, sometimes even through fits of anger or aggression. This occurs most often when they are dwelling outside of their routines or comfort zones.

Other children can see a Tasmanian Devil careening towards them, spinning and stumbling over everything in their path like a larger than life tornado. Teachers, who don't know, can see a disciplinary case. They can see a child with no direction, a child who is either severely neglected at home, or is spoiled beyond reason. Outsiders will often misjudge children with ADHD because of the very nature of the disorder. Perceived outlandish behavior manifests itself in situations that are new or different or overwhelming.

I know the answer to a better life for my daughter doesn't lie with keeping her from the world. I don't know if medication is the best course of action, but I do know that the road to bettering her mental health begins at home. It is our job as parents to do what we can to help our children to organize their thoughts. When it comes to ADHD we need to suppress that urge to control what our children do, and to concentrate on the way that they think. We need to organize their lives and create an environment that helps them to control their own minds.

We do this by using every opportunity to promote thinking. We can post charts to follow for basic chores and activities and have them track and take part in monitoring their own successes. We can ask them questions about anything and everything and reward the correct answers. We can exercise patience and understanding and attempt to deny our parental instincts to demand and expect.

The natural tendency to protect our children from possible harm forces us to keep them close. We can't fear the world or hide them forever. With time and no shortage of love we can help our children to not only think but to learn how to help themselves to think. After that, just maybe, their behaviors can influence how others think too.


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