{Raising a child with ADHD}

I originally wrote this post for Whitney at Work It Mommy as part of her Mommylogues series, but I wanted to post it here too.

When Whitney asked me to be a part of this series I thought about what I could write about and knew I wanted to share our struggles of raising a child with ADHD. I've mentioned it a few times on my blog, but haven't shared the details. I've been meaning to, just haven't had the chance to sit down and write it all out.

We are raising a child with ADHD. We found out Mason's diagnosis when he was in Kindergarten {last year}. Mason was getting in trouble almost daily for things like talking, not siting still at his desk, not staying in line when walking down the halls, not staying on task, etc. But mostly talking. He was coming home with red marks all over his behavior folder every other day or so. At first Nathan and I were furious. We had never had any issues with Mason's behavior in Pre-K 3 or Pre-K 4 so this was all new territory for us. It didn't help that the school made it seem like Mason was the worst kid in the school. It was happening so much that we were all going to bed each night so defeated. We would talk to Mason about his behavior for hours, we would discipline and take away iPads or whatever. Nothing seemed to work. I even asked if the school counselor could sit in on Mason's class a few times to see if there were any triggers for his behavior. Finally, it was the end of the 9 weeks and time for parent/teacher conferences to see how Mason was doing in Kindergarten so far. This was also an opportunity for us to talk about his behavior and what we could do for him. We met with Mason's teacher, the counselor, the vice principal and the principal. It was a very helpful meeting to Nathan and I. When the teacher would mention one of the behaviors the principal would step in and say "have you tried this with him?" For example, Mason couldn't sit still in his desk so the principal suggested letting him sit on one of these special pillows they have for things like that. We left the meeting with all kinds of ideas and new plans that we would put in place to see if they helped Mason.

Also at this meeting it was brought up that Mason showed some signs of ADHD. His teacher's son had it and she saw many similarities between the two. We had thought that many times over the course of things, but we also knew that he was just a 5 year old boy. They asked us if we would be willing to let the district psychologist sit in Mason's class and observe him over a period of time. Mason wouldn't know that he was directly there for him. We agreed. Anything to help our sweet boy! The district psychologist observed him over the course of a couple of months. And then I got the call, "Yes, Mason has almost every classic symptom of ADHD", He said that he has been learning about ADHD for over 40 years and both of his sons had it. One of his sons outgrew it with time and the other son's ADHD got worse. He said it was our choice on whether to medicate him or not.

So, what are the classic symptoms of ADHD?

1.) inattention
2.) hyperactivity
3.) impulsivity

Nathan and I were not surprised by this, really. We had recognized these things with Mason. Thankfully, Nathan and I were on the same page when it came to medication. Neither one of us wanted to go that route. We did not want Mason to become like a zombie or a little robot. Even though they promised us there were medications that would only 'take the edge off'. We just couldn't do it. We love the person that he is. Mason is smart, hilarious, and such a joy to be around. The other reasons that contributed to us deciding against medication were that it was not affecting Mason's learning, and he was just a 5 year old boy. Mason was testing as a 2nd grader in Kindergarten, and like the psychologist said...he could grow out of it. We just decided that we would do everything in our power to help him and began researching just that.

We began cutting as much sugar out of his diet as possible, got ourselves on a nice routine and made sure he had over 10 hours of sleep each night, stay positive and really praise the good behavior, set clear expectations any time we go anywhere or do anything, and essential oils. I use a peace and calming blend of essential oils on Mason before bed each night {helps him relax and wind down} and before school each morning. I will be the first to admit that when I learned of EOs I was a skeptic. But, we were willing to try anything natural at this point. And they have made such a huge difference in our lives. All of these things have helped Mason so incredibly much. We see a big difference in Kindergarten Mason vs First Grade Mason. It's not easy by any means, but it's getting better.

The ADHD seems to affect Mason more when he's among a big group of people or kids. He wants to entertain everyone and tunes out any instructions from Nathan and I. He can't be quiet in group settings and is always talking or making some kind of noise. He also has trouble finishing something that he starts. Especially with sports or extracurricular activities. Mason will get so excited about a new sport and then after the first game or so he is completely done. He feels like one game is enough and he's done that and doesn't need to go back. We try to make him stick out the season as long as it isn't making everyone miserable.

And I do have to admit that it's heartbreaking as a mother to watch your child have struggles in life. Mason wants to be a good kid and wants to listen, his brain just doesn't allow that all the time. He makes careless mistakes and then later gets so upset about it. He tells me things like, "Mama I tried and I prayed really really hard" and that just rips my heart to shreds. I know he's trying and that is what matters. But, I still want to advocate for him all the time and let everyone else know that he is trying. I have a hard time sharing Mason with others and the ADHD just intensifies that. I want everyone to see him for the sweet little boy that he is and to see his tender little heart. Not just the struggles that he endures.

I believe in him and I know that we will get past the ADHD. I already see a huge improvement and I have faith that it will continue to get better. And I will do everything in my power to help him along the way.

Thank you again Whitney for letting me take over your space today.

No comments

Thanks for the comments! Hope you are having an amazing day!!