Following Bunny Trails

“I don’t have ADD, it’s just that…OhLookAKitty!”


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Psychoanalyzing Life’s Crappy Parenting Moments

Hello readers!  It’s been a long time since the last post in Following Bunny Trails.  As I wrote in a few previous posts, I have decided to go back to college.  And as I’ve been barreling full speed ahead, I often think of my Bunny Trails and its readers.  But going to school full time, year-around, has left me little free time.  So I would like to offer up a bit of my writing from my Intro to Psychology class.  This piece was asked for us to analyze a situation that was stressful and to write about what you might have changed, and what you would not have changed.  With citations and sources, of course.  This was written over a year ago, and I just found it today.  It is perfect for Following Bunny Trails.

Observing Emotional Behavior

Summary

I knew it was a bad idea from the beginning.  I had a lunch date with my friend, they were becoming few and far between.  She and I had first met when our sons were 2-years-old and attending a local education center for therapy.  Her son was ahead of schedule with his speech, but was there to refine his motor skills, and while my son had all the motor skills of a gymnast, he could hardly say a word.  We were fast friends.  She has a degree in early childhood education, so I glean as much advice as I can from her.  She is familiar with children with ADHD, and is patient and loving with my son.  When the opportunity for a lunch date arose, I leapt at the chance.  Her son had school, but since the boys attended in different schools, mine had a teacher in-service.  I had to bring my children along on our lunch date.  Lunch went as well as it could, with my daughter in her high chair, and my son blocked on the inside of our booth.  He only crawled under the table a dozen times, his best restaurant behavior yet.  When Josie suggested going to Kohl’s afterward, I immediately stiffened up.  My son hasn’t had a successful shopping trip in a long time.  He was behaving relatively well at the restaurant, and I did have a 30% discount coupon burning a hole in my pocket, so we gathered my children and headed to the store.

 

I gave my son the usual, “please behave in this store, use your inside voice, no running or you’ll have to ride in the cart,” pre-shopping lecture.  He either misunderstood or was tired, and he immediately climbed into a cart with two seats.  I didn’t argue, and I pushed both kids through the store.  I picked out some Marvel Super Hero underwear that he desperately needed, and he begged for a shirt with a trophy on it, so he could be a “winner.”  About 15 minutes into the shopping, he began to start squirming in his seat.  He climbed out to get a better look at a shirt, and I cajoled him back into the cart; we were coming to the end of his ability to be in the store.  There’s something about the lights, the sounds, all the merchandise with the colors and stimulus, it just sets him off every time.  I headed to the checkout because I knew my time was up.  My son started grabbing merchandise as we strolled by it, once causing us to nearly collide with a very unappreciative lady and her well behaved daughter.  I started warning my son of the impending removal of privileges, starting with the activities I dislike the most, his video games.  It was pointless, he was gone:  my son had left the proverbial building, and the only thing left was impulses gone awry.  Threats weren’t working, his behavior was deteriorating by the moment.  I decided, out loud, that I could and would not reward this type of behavior by purchasing nice new super hero undies or a new shirt.  He did not heed my warnings, and I ditched the underwear on a shelf.  He saw me bailing out his precious items from our cart, and went ballistic.  By the time we reached the checkout lane, he was screaming, crying, and then he leapt from the cart and ran out of the store and into the mall.  I was completely humiliated, angry, sweaty and red faced, as I ditched the few remaining purchases and handed my daughter to Josie so I could, pursue my son, who had disappeared around the corner.  I had to carry the screaming, thrashing 6-year-old, who made a scene all the way out the doors.

Interpretation

I have never been very good at disguising my emotions, as suggested by Thomas Phelan, author of 1-2-3 Magic:  Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 (Phelan, 2010).  He states that “The two biggest mistakes that parents and teachers make in dealing with children are: Too Much Talking and Too Much Emotion.” According to Phelan, discipline should be a “matter of fact” process, the child is suffering a consequence because they made the wrong choice, not because you are angry at them.  He also repeatedly mentions that children feed off our emotions, and if they can figure out how to “get your goat” they will (Phelan, 2010).  By the time Josie met me outside the building, I was nearly in tears, with a howling wreck of a child on my lap.  She calmly took my son, and handed my daughter to me.  She put him on her lap and hugged him tight until he calmed enough to hear her speak.  She spoke softly and reminded him how much his mommy loved him, and then she somehow managed to change the subject and got him to talk to her about stickers.  She promised him a sticker, they were in the trunk of her car, which was parked right next to mine.  I buckled him up, without a word, and turned around in my seat and sat clutching the steering wheel until my knuckles turned white.  I counted to ten, then to twenty, while she gave my son a sticker, which I had to fight the impulse to wrench it out of his hands and tear the sticker into bits.  He didn’t deserve that sticker after his behavior, ie. what he had just put me through.  My daughter must have been stunned by the whole incident, but she finally “came to” as I pulled out of the parking lot.  She started crying, and no offer of her sippie cup, stuffed animal, or snack would calm her.  I turned the radio on and drove home with a wailing daughter, and pouting son.

Discussion

Now that the incident is past, and I am no longer flooded with emotion, I can look back and identify some mistakes that I had made while under duress.  First of all, children’s tantrums are generally short lived, they go on with their lives and resume play, while the parents’ are left to stew about it.  I regret that I allowed my frustration to show and for my anger to last after the conflict was over.  Our textbook, Psychology, an Exploration by Saundra K. Ciccarelli and J. Noland White, explains that a human’s autonomic nervous system involuntarily reacts physiologically to stress.  The sympathetic nervous system (which is responsible for the fight or flight response) reacts by secreting the hormone cortisol, which in turn raises heart rate, stimulates the sweat glands, slows down digestion, and sends energy to muscles to deal with the situation (Ciccarelli & White, 2010).   This is why I was sweaty and red-faced, even though I remained relatively composed during the episode in the store, the cortisol may have also been a contributing factor as to why it took a while for me to “get over” the incident.  My second regret was that I had thought that threatening to lose his precious purchases would motivate him into good behavior, and once it didn’t work, I felt it necessary to follow through with my “threat.”  My emotional state in the store clouded my judgment, and I now realize that by using the loss of his purchases as punishment, I was only adding to his frustration, and making a child who is already feeling out of control, feel even more so.  When under pressure, it is easy to forget what we know, that children this age are not able to think logically, and revert to our emotional response of, “why isn’t his reward enough motivation to make him behave?”   I later apologized to Josie for inadvertently making the situation worse.  She explained that a young child has an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex, which regulates emotion and social behavior, and when they are having a temper tantrum, the thought process is moved from this “rational” region of the brain, to the more “primal” part of the limbic system, the amygdala.  I found an article on Parenting.com that supports Josie’s explanation of my son’s thought process during a tantrum.  The author of the e-article, P. Onderko, states that the prefrontal cortex is just beginning to mature at age 4.  She further explains that children think “magically, not logically,” and that events that are ordinary for us, may be confusing or scary for a child.  Water draining from a bathtub, for example, may trigger a fear that they could be sucked into the drain along with the water.

In conclusion, though I readily admit that I made mistakes in this situation, there were a few things that I would probably not have changed, given a chance to do it all over again.  Though my body became sweaty and red-faced, I did not scream or physically threaten my son.  I remained as calm as possible, even though it was obvious that I was emotionally distressed.  I knew that I did not have time to stop and use “counting” as a stress coping mechanism.  All of my previous experiences with my son told me that I needed to remove him from the store as soon as possible.  I learned from previous failures not to attempt to take him into the bathroom and calm him, because the echo of the bathroom stimulates him even more.  I did use counting and music to calm myself, and the music eventually soothed my daughter on the ride home from the store.  I have sought out ways to improve our next shopping trip, and I am considering trying the suggestion by T. Phelan.  He states you can enforce a good behavior by giving a child a set amount of money to spend at the store, make sure to give it to them in dollars and quarters, and then tell them that they will lose $.25 or $.50 for each outburst, or undesirable behavior (Phelan, 2010).  He recommends this for an age where money actually has a value; my son is getting there, he knows that money buys toys and treats.  This might work better for a long car ride to a vacation destination, but I am unsure if this will work on a shopping trip.  ADHD complicates our specific situation because once he becomes stimulated, any rational thought processes that a 6-year-old has, is completely drowned out by his state of restlessness and anxiety from the stimulation, so for now, we are only chancing very brief trips to the local market.

 

Works Cited

 

Ciccarelli, S. K., & White, J. N. (2010). Psychology: An exploration. (2nd ed., p. 319). Pearson Education Inc.

Onderko, P. (2011, November). Why toddlers throw temper tantrums. Retrieved from                       http://www.parenting.com/article/toddler-temper-tantrums

 

Phelan, T. W. (2010). 1-2-3 magic: effective discipline for children 2-12. (4th ed.). Parentmagic, Inc.        Retrieved from http://www.123magic.com/Newsletter/Newsletter-April-2013

 

 

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Best-Laid Plans

The semester ended a week before Christmas.  I made it, survived, just barely squeaked by with a C in Statistics!  The big plan was to prepare for Christmas, and to send out cards with lots of letters catching up with loved ones.  The goal was to spend lots of time with the kids, baking cookies, making candy, playing educational games, etc.   My “to do” list included fixing, gluing, painting, cleaning, selling, and organizing.  And I had planned on writing several Bunny Trails posts, because I quickly found that I don’t have time to write them during the school semester. Well, you know what they say about “best-laid plans.”

My semester ended and the boy still had a week to go before his winter break.  I had a wrap-a-thon and checked off the first item of my to-do list.  Then I packed for our visit to friends and family, whom remain in the city we moved from a decade ago.  Gifts were exchanged, people were caught up on current family events, and we raced home as an ice storm was following close behind.  Only a couple of hours after we reached our homestead and unloaded the car, our world was glazed with a half-inch of ice.  The destructive ice came, downed trees and powerlines, and melted within 24 hours.  We were lucky; a mere 30 miles north of us had hundreds of thousands of people without electricity, some for days and even throughout Christmas.

The day after racing the ice storm home was the hubby’s much anticipated, annual family Christmas gathering.  We had a great time as usual, kids running around willy-nilly while the adults play catch-up and stuff our faces with pot luck food.  But in the hours following the party, hubby spent most of the overnight awake, making several trips to the bathroom.   He was feverish and exhausted, so I got up with the kids.  When he was able to crawl out of bed, it was my turn to crawl in.  I spent the rest of the afternoon feverish and ill.  We had been stricken by a noro/roto-type virus on Christmas Eve eve.  I rallied on Christmas Eve to do some shopping for food and supplies, and picked us up some fast food because I was not feeling spry enough to cook, yet the kids still needed to eat.  Hardly anybody picked at their supper, what a waste of money!  I fell ill again immediately after eating, duh-you don’t eat fast food after being sick!  Hubby got better and the kids only had a few symptoms but, for some reason, it clung to me for a while.  Christmas night was the worst, I hardly slept a wink.  When I awoke and realized the nasty virus had run its course, I suffered a headache all day.  I didn’t care, I’d take the headache over the stomach virus any day!  But alas, the headache morphed overnight into sore throat, swollen tonsils, and a deep cough.

So my best-laid plans dissolved into three weeks of sickness.  No cookies were baked, no candy made, no games played, none of my to-do’s crossed off the list.  School resumes for the boy tomorrow, and next week my college courses resume with a whole new schedule.  There is a silver lining to these events though.  I’m grateful that the illness struck between semesters; I can’t imagine attempting the course load I have ahead of me, while being this sick.  Besides, the children have no idea that they were gypped out of any holiday traditions.  They had a relaxing vacation with lots of TV watching, video gaming, and very few demands made of them.  All in all, a pretty darn good holiday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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College Attempt #1

In high school I slid by as a, pretty much, straight C student.   I listened in class and did well on tests, but hardly turned in any completed homework.  I have no idea why, now that i think about it; I had nothing better to do with my time.  My parents hardly allowed any TV, and I was on restriction most of my high school career because of poor grades.  I guess it’s just this lovely sanguine personality I was born with, this compounded with ADD, and you have a social butterfly who was perfectly content talking on the phone, sneaking TV,  reading novels or daydreaming in my bedroom.  I graduated high school when I was 17 and immediately went to a 4-year party school (completely unprepared for the work load) and partied my way right out.  (I have no regrets, I met my husband and many good friends for years to come!)   You see, my parents were very very (did I mention VERY) strict, and as soon as I felt that freedom after graduation, I ran with it!  I pretty much did what I wanted.  Of course, I was raised well, so I had my limitations.   I ended up leaving the college after two semesters, with hardly any transferable credits and several thousand dollars of student loan debt.  (Again, I regret not finishing a degree, but definitely do not regret my college days!)

The hubby and I dated for exactly one year before marrying.  We came to a point where we could no longer afford to maintain separate residences, and we couldn’t bear the thought of breaking our mothers’ hearts and living together pre-maritally.   We knew we wanted to get married, but we didn’t have the money for that either.  So we did what we thought was best, and we eloped.   He was in a fraternity at the time, and his frat “big brother” lived locally, and his dad was a judge.  We got our marriage license and were married 3 days after he asked me.  We married in the judge’s back yard, on the deck of his pool, and then celebrated afterward with a keg of beer that we weren’t old enough to even drink.  It was summer vacation, so only a few of our friends were still in town to help us celebrate.   We broke the news to our parents later.

Hubby still attended college and we moved into married housing on campus.   He was the station manager at the college radio station, which had just gone FM and was the hottest thing around.  Between weekends with frat brothers and his undying love and commitment to the radio station (which meant him getting up at all hours of the night and taking over the broadcast when the next DJ didn’t show up for his shift) hubby eventually started getting behind in his studies, and ended up not finishing his degree.   But I’ve got to give him credit, he knew what he wanted to be when he grew up and he got a lot farther than I did in school.   He got a job at the local radio station and I worked as a home health aid (after all, my prospective degree was supposed to be something in the medical field, I knew that much at least.)  We stayed in the college town for a few more years, until the radio station put him on salary and ran him ragged for so many hours that we realized he was earning around $3.75/hr.  It was time to move on.

*Acknowledgments:

To my suitemates and the dormmates below me:   I’m sorry for all the noisy parties I subjected you to, while you were trying to get an education.

To my mother-in-law:  Thank you for forgiving me for stealing your firstborn and robbing you of your first wedding event for your children.  To my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, thank you for having big weddings that made up for us having robbed your mother.

To my mother:   Sorry for robbing you of your only child’s wedding, but you did get two super-cute grandkids out of the deal! (eventually)

To hubby’s frat brothers:  I promise you that we don’t blame you one Theta Iota for our not finishing college!

To my mom again:  Thank you for teaching me about the much-argued-over temperament studies, for without them I would have hated myself, and probably others, much more.   It fostered an understanding of different personalities, and why people are how they are.


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Going Back to School

Kindergarten, Buckeye AZ

Kindergarten, Buckeye AZ (Photo credit: Mennonite Church USA Archives)

Much has changed over the summer.  I wrote in the previous post about how busy it’s been, but it has also been a time of discovery.  I recently enrolled myself in the local junior college.  I have arranged my school schedule so that I will be in a classroom for only 6 hours a week.  (Which leaves me taking my Intro to Statistics class on line, yikes!)  When I tell people that I am going back to college, the first question out of their mouth is always, “how are you going to homeschool?”   Well, I’m not.   I really have mixed feelings about sending the boy back to school for Kindergarten.  There wasn’t the big growth and developement spurt that I had hoped would happen over the summer.  There wasn’t an amazing ADHD medicine or cure discovered, we tried yet another stimulant medication, and it made him not be able to go to sleep for two days.   I didn’t teach him to read, though we did some flash cards and he’s got his upper and lower case ABC’s down pat.  I read to him some of “The Magic Treehouse” series, and lots of nature books and magazines.  We did some rythem games, which are said to stimulate parts of the brain that need to be stimulated in the ADHD child.  But mostly, it was just summer vacation.  We were outdoors often, but the mosquitoes or the sun or the rain caused us to have plenty of days where we played too many video games, and watched too much tv.   I wasn’t as industrius with the boy as I had hoped to be.

In a way, I feel like I’m throwing my son to the wolves -so to speak- by sending him to the local public school.  Not that there is anything wrong with public school, I just am afraid that this year will be the same as last year, and he’s going to be spending more time outside of the classroom, trying to get himself under control, than actually sitting in the classroom and learning.   I am actually pretty stressed about it.  He is still the same squirmy, falling out of his seat over and over, can’t make eye contact or pay attention, kid that was unsuccessful at school last year.   The whole point of requesting the Positive Behavioral Assessment was to get the boy the help he needs to be able to stay in school for an entire day, and actually learn the criteria.  The results of the assessment were that he would have anywhere from 1/2 hour to 3 hours with a special education teacher every day.  I don’t feel that this will be enough, what will happen with the rest of the time?  All I know, is that my son has a right to an education, and I will push for the help that he needs.  The school is going to hate me.   I will be there on the first day of school, requesting a review of his education plan and requesting an Occupational Therapist to do a “sensory profile” on the boy.  (I am absolutely positive that he is very sensitive to noises, lights, large spaces, he has been since infancy… which is one of the reasons why I wanted to home school him in the first place.)

Why am I giving the public school system a try, rather then home schooling?  Social, social, social!  Many homeschooling moms would beg to differ.  There are all kinds of organizations for moms to get their homeschooled children with other homeschooled children.  I have researched and found some in our area, but I have not been able to contact any of these moms over summer vacation, so I am not positive that he will be able to have social interaction on a daily basis.  Over the summer I have slowly watched my son’s social skills decline.  I have watched him “build a bird’s nest” at the base of a slide and then proceed to yell at the children to not slide down the slide and ruin his nest.  It took me several minutes to convince him to build it out of the way, and to tell him that it’s not nice to yell at the children, and that the slide is for everybody.   Then he built the nest behind the slide and yelled at the kids that ran by his nest…*sigh.   The other reason is schedule, schedule, schedule!  I try to have us on a schedule, but I have found that when mommy and son spend every minute of the day together, son tends to buck up against mommy’s authority…almost constantly.  I have tried the sing-song voice, the “lets make it fun” technique, the “it’s 10:00, this is what time we do ___, every day,” and the offer of rewards.    I have found out that if it’s not fun for him, it’s going to be torture for me.  So for the time being, I am going to allow the trained professionals to do what they’re trained for.   Wish us all luck, I think we’re going to need it.


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Adding another food to the “Do Not Eat” list

We have had the busiest summer I can ever remember!   The boy turned six, we’ve traveled, we’ve had the flu, I’ve had jewelry parties, I’ve dabbled in cake baking, I’ve applied to the local college, etc.   We always enjoy traveling, but for the last three weeks the boy has had those tell-tale shiny eyes.  Along with the shiny eyes usually comes behaviors and difficulty sleeping.   It’s hard to detect behaviors on vacation, because we all tend to run around wearing loin cloths and being crazy when we’re camping and swimming and playing.  It’s hard to see sleep patterns when we don’t attempt to put our children down until our host’s children are ready for bed.   But once we came home and our schedules resumed, the ADHD symptoms were out of control.  Poor kid, I tried to have a conversation with the boy and it was like talking to Stevie Wonder!  He would look left, right, up, down, never stopping to glance at my eyes.  I saw him struggling and asked him to repeat a few things that I felt were important for him to actually hear.  He said, “I don’t know, can you tell me again?”  I’d tell him again and ask him to repeat.  He’d get it completely wrong.  I’d tell him again, but this time I would say a few words and ask him to repeat the words.   Wow, what is going on?  I haven’t allowed him to eat any dye, even on vacation.  His birthday cake was mostly white & natural colors, and the parts with food coloring were not served to the boy (let the other kids eat it- oops, not nice!)2013-07-05 22.52.19  So what is causing this?  I did some research on line, punching into the search bar the foods most consumed over the span of our vacation, and there it was.  TBHQ, short for tertiary butylhydroquinone, a food preservative used in McDonald’s chicken nuggets and other prepackaged foods.  Wow, my son and daughter consumed McDonalds chicken nuggets almost daily while on vacation!   What is this TBHQ, that seems to cause reactions in AHDH children?  Why, it is yet another “approved for human consumption” petroleum byproduct!

I understand that the FDA has tested the preservatives and dyes before approving them for human consumption.  I am not a consperecy theorist, I only know  what I am experiencng with my own child with rather severe ADHD.  And I see that my son is reacting to something that he is consuming, and once I remove these foods from his diet, he seems much more calm and better behaved.  According to the FDA, you should not consume more than 300+ McNuggets in any given day, it may cause nausea, dizzyness and confusion.  In other words, an infentescimally small ammount is allowed to be used in our foods.  But “I sees what I sees!”   We have removed products containing the preservative, TBHQ, for the last two weeks, and though ADHD is everpresent, the boy no longer appears to be compulsed to do and say naughty things as if he had no control at all.    In my opinion, if your child struggles with a disease or malady, it’s best not to exascurbate it.  No more McDonalds McNuggets for us.


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It’s Not Tourettes!

I’m really nervous for tomorrow’s psychiatrist appointment.   Months ago, my son’s pediatrician asked us to continue our ADHD care with a psychiatrist after 5 different medications that he prescribed were considered “failed” because of undesirable side effects– and the last one caused him to suffer a “manic” episode.   It has taken us two and a half months to get our first appointment.   I have thought about cancelling it on a few occasions.   I’m nervous and have imagined a scenario where the psychologist spends some time with us and then says, “lets try this drug, it might work better for him.”  Or worse yet, I’m afraid that they are going to try to pin a diagnosis on him that is more severe than what he actually has.  I know, it’s totally unfair of me to make assumptions.

My fears are not completely baseless though.  I have written before, of the  behavior specialist that we must meet with in order to even make an appointment with the psychiatrist.  She came to the boy’s school and observed him during gym class.  He was running around like a maniac and making high pitched, almost chirping, noises.  I can not possibly spell the noise out to give you an idea of how it really sounds, like they do in the comics and Sunday funnies, but I can tell you that this noise has gotten him into a lot of trouble.  He has done it in class and disturbed the peace quite a few times with this weird little noise.  The boy once explained to me that it was his bat superpower and he uses it to repel bad guys.  (That’s what you get when you cross Batman cartoons with The Wild Kratts!)  The teacher tells me that she thinks he can’t help but to make that noise.  I agree with her somewhat.  When he’s overstimulated or stressed, he will still occasionally make that noise, I feel like it’s a “tension breaker” for him.  But when I tell him to stop, and use 1, 2, 3 counting, he stops the noise.  The behavior specialist who observed these noises, thinks that he might have “something else going on” and has mentioned Tourette Syndrome on several occasions.

Attention deficit and Tourette Syndrome do go hand in hand in many cases.  They do have similar symptoms, they are both neurological disorders.   But for crying out loud!   Tourettes?  Cut me a break!  ADHD is all about impulses and trying to control them. Making weird, inappropriate noises is par for the course with young children with ADHD.  I am not saying it should be allowed, or go uncorrected.  In fact, what I really want from the meetings with the psychiatrist is for someone to teach him how to cope and control his outbursts, be it noises, or temper, or need to run or move or tip his chair over (and over and over).  Drugs don’t teach children how to take this energy that is welled up inside and direct it, or to hold it in until it is a more appropriate time.  After our recent terrible experiences with ADHD medicines, I’m not really ready to jump right into another prescription.  I would like to give him some time to grow over the summer and be the wild, fun, free, funny, intelligent, inquisitive, inventive boy that our unmedicated son usually is.


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Compulsed by Impulses

Disciplining my son has always been so difficult for me because I believe that his behavior is sometimes fueled by impulses that he can not control, especially as a five-year-old.  I never know if he is the world’s most strong willed child, or if he Just Can Not Quit the behavior.  What makes me think that it could possibly be an issue of his ability to control himself, is because I practice consistency to the point where I’m almost obsessive about it.  I’ve seen the results of parenting without following through on “threats.”  Woe to the parent of the child who isn’t afraid of consequences!  And for a while, it was “woe to me” because no matter how consistent I was with the timing and type of consequence, the boy would push it one step past the proverbial “line in the sand”, and force me to discipline him.  He just Had to say it, touch it, do it, that one last time… it was as if he just could not help himself, as if he were compulsed by impulses!

I found myself wondering why anyone would not just stop!  Why they would push until the threshold of tolerance was crossed and they’d end up in time out, every time!   I do remember when I was quite young, I was excitedly bouncing on our family friends’ couch.  I was told to quit, I was told to quit bouncing a second time, and then their grandpa lightly swatted my behind.  I was hurt and humiliated that this grandfather figure had gotten so stern with me, why hadn’t I just stopped when he told me to?  I can tell you from experience, the person with ADD/ADHD has a hard time actually hearing and processing a command.  My brain was so busy going “Weee…Weeee, this is fun!” that I didn’t even hear the first command to stop bouncing on the couch.  In fact, it was probably just starting to register that a command was even said when the swat on the behind came (and no, it didn’t hurt… just my ego.)  This is why you will often hear me repeat a command three times in quick succession to the boy.  I know #1. that he’s most likely not going to hear the first command, and the processing will start with the second command, and recognition happens with the third repetition.  And #2. He moves so darn fast!  If I don’t get his attention very quickly, he’s gone out of earshot.

Because of my personal experiences with ADD, I have this ability to identify with my son, and I think it helps me to be more patient with him at times.  But it may also be causing more internal confusion.  For instance, if I had no idea what ADD was all about, I might just set rules and follow them strictly.  In stead, I find myself struggling with “is this an impulse or is he being directly defiant?”  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to allow unacceptable behavior to continue because I think it may be fueled by impulses, or sugar, or food dyes and additives.   But there have been times in the past where the boy has spent a good chunk of the day in his room because he just can’t seem to behave for even a few minutes at a time.  Maybe what he really needed was a “reset,” and to have some extra special time with mom, but instead I was Mrs. Followthrough.  These are the times when the fine line between disciplining and understanding, correcting and comforting are blurred and confusing.  All I can tell you that this is all a learning experience, and that I’m sure I’ve crossed, stepped on, tripped over, and fallen onto that fine line.