Keep Your Eyes Open
I remember playing a hiding game with my kids when they were little. They would cover their eyes, and “hide” from me. They were convinced that if they couldn't see me, then the opposite was true.
How often, as a parent of an ADHD kid, do you wish that you could make your situation disappear just by covering up your eyes?
There are times that parenting ADHD kids becomes so overwhelming that it is easier to pretend that the challenge de jour (whatever it is) doesn't exist. Pretending that things are “fine,” even for a short period of time, can feel better than acknowledging the difficulty.
But sometimes, by the time we open our eyes, the situation has escalated, possibly even to a crisis level, and we find ourselves fighting a fire. Keeping our eyes open might feel hard to do; but, ultimately, it gives us an advantage. It offers the opportunity to prepare – and act – before things become a crisis.
Personally, I want to hide from my son's schoolwork. Like a typical ADHD kid, he has a difficult time keeping up with assignments and making sure they are turned in on time. It's a normal part of his executive dysfunction, so we have systems in place to support it. He's able to be responsible to check weekly for any missing assignments. It's my job to ask him to communicate with me, and to do a periodic spot check as his back up.
Last week I found myself avoiding our system. I wanted to trust his promise, “I'm all caught up.” When I finally opened my eyes, something had been missed. Typical. But at this point, instead of one thing, it was seven. Instead of seeing it as a “normal part of his ADHD,” I just want to close my eyes again! I'm frustrated with him, I'm angry with myself for not checking sooner, and I'm scared about what will happen with his grades. Before I have a chance to blink, there is a part of me that is convinced that he's going to flunk 8th grade and end up in prison instead of high school!
So here's the tip: keep your eyes open. Learn what to expect from an ADHD child, and look for it – disorganization, emotionality, lack of follow through, etc. Keeping your eyes open, and creating a plan to help you (both) manage through it, will be more productive and healthy than hiding behind your hands.