I have to be your friend

Not a little kid anymore

Auggie said, “I have to be your friend, Deddy.” The night he said that to me will, just as his words, stay with me until I’ve gone on. The evening leading up to those words was a tough one. Typically, the hurricane days are when his medicine hasn’t been filled.

*Keep in mind that prescriptions are for thirty days and the months that have thirty-one days will have at least one hurricane warning.

On those rare occasions where Auggie is, well… Hurricane Auggie, he becomes something else. He laughs loudly, he cries quickly and he moves at lightning fast speeds. Please know, before I continue, that I am not nor will I ever complain about his “powers.” He is my best friend and without him I’d be expired, moldy bread ready to be discarded. Auggie will start a running tab on disciplines when he’s at cat five. It’s a constant flow of calling his name, issuing and following through on threats (from both sides) and leaving a trail of things undone, not put up and strewn about or even destroyed. Typical ADHD behavior. The difficult part of rearing a child like Auggie is being consistent. It’s easy to give in… it’s easier to give in after weathering the storm all day. Stay strong. If it’s no the first time it has to stay that way even when the crocodile tears become pure tears.

Towards the end of the night Auggie said something fairly hateful to his mother. This is the line of completely unacceptable (even now with life changes). Normally, really bad behavior calls for tougher discipline but this time I couldn’t. He knew when the words left his mouth that the whole situation had changed. He stared at me intently with his big hazel eyes full of frustration and fear. I walked over to him and leaned down to his ear to whisper, “son, that’s my wife and your mother you’re talking down to. No one is allowed to do that. I don’t even do that. I’m not sure we can be friends if that continues. Do you understand?” He nodded slowly as tears filled his eyes. I was too angry for any type of discipline and hoped this would reach him. He apologized to his mother and remained fairly quiet until bed.

A child’s belief

It was getting late when Auggie crawled onto the bed with me. I was nodding off but came to attention when the bed jolted softly. He was being quiet and gentle in his movements and I knew he’d be asleep soon. Auggie was always fast to sleep IF (big IF) he closed his eyes and gave it just a few moments. He laid on his stomach and put his arm over my chest. He asked softly if I was awake to which I said, “I am, son.”

Then, he said something that took the wind from me. My ten year old son, still a child, spoke words that shook me.

“I have to be your friend, dada. I have to be. (At this point his voice became a whisper as he began falling asleep.) If you’re not my friend I may hurt myself or somebody. Please be my friend.”

Jesus… my eyes filled with tears. I pulled him close to me and told him, “we will always be best friends. We have to treat each other that way too. Okay.”

He was already asleep. I couldn’t sleep for a while as that laid on my heart but it made sense with thought. At least, it made sense to me. A child with ADHD can feel like they are walking this path alone by constantly hearing about their wrongdoings and misdeeds. He felt like the world was against him BUT he had his Deddy. He felt like everyone was against him but I was for him. He felt like he was unwanted but I wanted him. Then, I explained to him that even our friendship could expire and he felt completely alone or, at least, considered being alone in the world.

The next day

Auggie ended up staying in the big bed overnight. I was getting things together to go to work and trying to be quiet for everyone who was sleeping. Just before I left I heard his feet hit the floor. I knew that sound like the back of my hand (throwback idiom?) It was a long standing joke that Auggie never learned to walk, only to run and he came running into the living room and smiled when he saw me. He hugged me as tight as he could and told me I was his best friend. I squeezed him until he made funny fart noises with his mouth.

“We’ll always be best friends son.”

He gave a sly grin, “I know Deddy. I heard you last night.”

What it means to me

A child (adults as well but an adult should have more control) with ADHD has large emotions. They have large thoughts. They have a large imagination. Everything in their sphere is larger and the world is always so new and shiny. When that melds with Auggie’s intelligence and his logic there can sometimes be disasters. He needs consistent discipline. If it’s no the first time it must be a no the final time but… He’s learning control but that process is slow. Thankfully, God gave me patience.

*I may differ from other parents here

I’ve learned with Auggie that restricting him can send his hurricane status from a cat one to a five. His mind needs a release, an outlet. He is programmed to follow his first thought to completion and when he can’t it becomes an even more obsessive thought. He needs to follow through for any satisfaction. With that said, I give him untold rewards. He gets to play his Nintendo at certain times and ride his bike at certain times but each activity has a time limit even if he’s in “trouble” (being in trouble or under punishment works so much differently with ADHD because of how unattached or unmoved a child can be when something is removed like a game or toy. You have to be creative when applying punishment). Unless I cannot watch him or know he’s safe then he has more freedom than in his previous years and you know what occurred? He’s calmer now. He listens… he listens.

Is that a perfect system? No. However, it works for Auggie. It works for me and for his siblings and we stay friends. Of course, I’ll always be his friend. For years he was raised as if he was a child without ADHD. The past few months I’ve applied to raise him knowing he has ADHD and OCD. He’s an incredible person and vastly unique. He’s better than I ever dreamed when hoping to one day be a father.

Next week: ADHDTUDE Err… ATTITUDE

Thank you for reading.

God bless.

Jared

*Please know, if you read any of these blogs and feel that I am glorifying disorders then I’m writing and presenting them the wrong way. I glorify my God and my children. My goal is to present my life rearing children with ADHD, OCD and ODD and hope it helps someone or maybe get advice that helps. I’ll introduce “Tiny” in the coming blogs and talk about ODD with it.

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