I am a fairly self assured and confident woman. I am a bit of risk taker when it comes to jumping in and getting things done, I believe in myself and generally live by the motto “if they can do it, so can I.”
But parenting….. fuck. Thats a completely different story. Parenting an ADHD kid? Well thats a whole different ball game.
How do we know if we are doing a good job? Are we raising our kids to be compassionate and kind human beings or we completely fucking them up beyond return?
As my favourite songwriter John Mayer says “I wonder sometimes about the outcome of a still verdict-less life” I mean its one thing to not get the best of out of my own existence, but its another not to guide these perfect little blank canvasses that I have been blessed with in the right direction.
As parents at what point do we sit back and go “Yes! We are doing a good job?” Is it just a series of little wins along the way?? Do the wins need outweigh the “holy fuck my kid is an embarrassing, little shit” moments?
For me as a parent, my main concern is raising good people. Some people wish for their kids to be successful and respected, they wish for them to go to uni, to receive a better education than they did, to have the things that they did not.
You know what I want more than anything in the world? For my kids to be happy, to be confident in themselves and and to be bloody good people. If they decide to become rich and fund their mothers botox requirements, then that would be ok too! They are the reason for my wrinkles, so it’s only fair.
So what is it that makes a human good or bad? Recently another parent told her son that Sebastian couldn’t come to his birthday party as he is a “bad” kid. I won’t put into words what I think she is, but I’m sure you can guess.
You see, Sebastian is 8 now, and has been having issues with impulse control for as long as we can remember, its part and parcel of being an ADHD child.
As he gets older and the children around him grow out of it, we are noticing him still reacting in an emotional manner that is no longer age appropriate. For instance if a 4 year whacks their friend out of frustration, it’s not as worrying as when an 8 year old does so. He doesn’t quite understand the line between rough and tumble play, and a fun on whack.
He is impulsive, and at times explosive, definitely has moments of pure silliness, but is he bad? Absolutely not. His heart is pure gold, and he is the deepest thinking human I have ever come across.
We have been working hard with the school and his occupational therapist, to try and help Sebastian to stop and think, before reacting first and thinking afterwards.
Many parents simply don’t understand, and how could they? They see a child acting out in an uncontrollable manner and are quick to judge.
They don’t see the kind heart beneath the knee jerk reaction, they can’t see the way he mulls over things deep in thought about how he can help others, how the first thing he says when he wakes up is “I love you mum, I love you Dad, I love you Annabelle” or the way all animals gravitate to him because they know he would never hurt them.
Recently we had an incident when Seb and this boy who has had many clashes with before. This little boy came over and asked to join in a game of soccer. Seb said “
No I don’t want to play with you”
His reasoning was that each time they play, a physical fight breaks out. In his mind, he was trying to make a good decision. The little boy became enraged that he wasn’t allowed to play and he kicked Seb. Seb didn’t physically retaliate but did tell him to “fuck off”
He then went and told a teacher what happened and both boys received a “white slip” One for kicking, one for swearing.
Sebastian had to do a lunchtime detention as penance for swearing, but Dan and I… we are talking this as a win! Seb tried to make a good decision AND he didn’t psychically retaliate ! Instead chose to use his words and find a teacher. Granted those words weren’t the best choice but gosh they were a hell of a lot better that a swift kick to the balls! A marker that we are on the right track because 2 months ago, it would have been a full on punch up.
Today, I opened my sons school bag and found the following image. The children were giving a worksheet with the words “A family is……… “ and they had to finish the sentence.
He chose to end that with “a group of people that will always be there for you”
My heart exploded. Damn straight boy, we will always be there for you, no matter what you do. You’re stuck with us. So glad that he can recognise our family unit will always stick together and can be relied upon as a constant in your ever changing life.
Again a marker that we are on the right track!
Upon picking up Seb from school last week, another teacher stopped us to tell us Seb had a fantastic lunch time. I asked him why? What happened?….. Turns out some other kids were squashing bull ants, and he told them all off, and made them stop! He cant stand to see any animal, large or small getting hurt.
For an 8 year old to use his voice to stand up to others, to stop something that didn’t align with his beliefs, is huge and exactly what we are aiming for as parents.
Annabelle, our six year old has been mostly a breeze to parent this far, and she gives me confidence that I am a doing a good job. She is opinionated and defiant in the best way possible but thus far she behaves at school, and generally doesn’t cause too much trouble. I’m sure she is saving it for her teens!
She doesn't have ADHD, but she is the clumsiest human I have ever come across and she is a bonafide Drama Queen! She is confident, self assured and super weird! Which we love, she doesn’t feel the need to conform to the “norm”
Our relationship with our kids is open and supportive, Sebastian comes home and tells us straight away when he makes a mistake in the yard at school, and tells the truth about how it occurs. This is something we always want our kids to do, no matter what they have done.
Both kids know we are here for them no matter what they do, and they are showing signs of being pretty decent human beings underneath the age appropriate tantrums and occasional, “you’re the worst mum ever” moments.
Soy today, yeah I think we are doing it right.
P.S I was ready to publish this last week, but Sebastian had a ridiculously naughty day and I was like “Mate, who are you kidding, you’re a terrible parent, look at your child's behaviour!”
“Imagine what our story would look like if, rather than succumbing to the insistent voices of society or culture, we determined that our vocation was to be a better human.”
― James Hollis, Ph.D.