Monday, June 27, 2016

ADHD in Aisle 3

Last week 3 of my children had dentist appointments 20 miles from my home in the town I usually do all my errands. I usually do errands alone to avoid behavior problems, this time, however, in order to save a trip back to town, I decided to do my errands after the dentist appointments. Keep in mind we were at the dentist for 2 hours.

After the dentist, we went to Target to get a few birthday gifts for parties coming up. After Target my 13-year-old son and I needed hair cuts so we went to Great Clips. My other son who is 9 years old and has moderate ADHD started getting antsy and was peeking behind the curtain to see me, standing on a chair, wandering back and forth from the product shelves to the opposite wall. All the while, my 7 yr old daughter was sitting nicely and being quiet. By the time the hair cuts were completed we had been gone for four hours.

Looking back, I now see the error of my ways.
I guess I should have known better than to think my 9 yr old could make it through another store, judging by the way he acted at Great Clips, but I pressed my luck. Next stop, the grocery store.

We began the shopping trip with the kids each being asked to retrieve a grocery item. I allowed them to choose fruit and put things into the cart to keep them busy. Five minutes into the trip, my 9-year-old started running. I begged, I pleaded, I nearly cried.

After a bit, I grabbed his neck so he would look at me and quietly said, "Please slow down." This is when things got a little out of hand. We only had dairy and frozen left to get through, so I thought we could manage. He immediately began walking is super slow motion. He loudly said, also super slowly "I can't keep up." He looked ridiculous and I was mortified. People were staring. Others were shaking their heads as if to say "She can't control her own kid." I ignored all the looks and told him I was not waiting and the other kids and I went to the frozen foods without him.

Eventually, he showed up. I assumed this would be the easy part because I was allowing each of them to choose a TV dinner, which I rarely get. He chose his quickly then decided it would be a good time to begin writing the word "poop" on every freezer door since I was distracted trying to choose dinners for myself, my husband, and the 2 kids left at home. I had no idea he had done this until he had written it on every freezer door in that aisle. I held onto him while my 13-year-old went to all of the doors and rubbed the word away.

This concluded the shopping and all the kids were super helpful putting the groceries on the belt, but then after they were done, the 9-year-old was goofing off at the end where everyone walks through and he was getting in people's way.

What people do not understand is that ADHD kids do not have the same impulse control as the rest of us and often display behaviors 3-5 years behind their actual age. He will be 10 in July. Yes, he looks like a normally developed 5th grader. But behavior reflects that of a 5-7-year-old. It seems as if he has bad parenting. I will tell you, none of my other kids act like that. I actually spend double or triple the amount of time correcting his behaviors than I do on the rest of the children. He really is a very sweet kid with a ton of amazing qualities. They are just difficult to see through all the rambunctious behavior.

Next time you see a seemingly normal looking child acting out at a store, keep in mind that there is maybe something you do not know that can not be seen. Consider that this tired mama works hard to help her child overcome these obstacles but can not possibly stay on top of it every second of every day. Consider the daily struggle this family encounters and the judgments by others they face. Above all else, recognize the treasure each child is and realize there are probably amazing things about this "terror" that you are not seeing. It makes me very sad that people can not see the amazing kid under all of the crazy behaviors. I am the only one who really knows him. Let me tell you-I am oh so blessed!

Do you have a child with struggles that are hard for others to see? What are your solutions?