Q & ADHD

I’m not technically a professional in the sense that I would have numerous degrees in child psychology or genetics. In fact, I prefer to be considered a writer first and a laborer second. However, I have a careers worth of on the job experience with ADHD, OCD, ODD and various other acronyms.

I’ve heard all of the questions people have. I’ve heard every negative comment. I’ve heard every positive comment. I’ve witnessed the best and experienced the worst that these acronyms offer (I’m not being literal when I say “everything.”) So, here’s a Q&A for parents or siblings or friends that have questions from a guy that lives around it. If you have an added experience or advice for a person with (acronym here) then please comment. Same goes for further questions.

Q. Is MEDICATION bad/good

A. I first encountered ADHD with my brothers who were nearly teenagers when I was born. Neither were taking any medication and that was in part due to the options at the time. Many years ago a “professional” would typically give a large dose of Ritalin which would essentially null even the personality of a child. In today’s time, any medicines given are started at very low doses especially any deemed a narcotic. The sole intent now is to help the child focus, stifle obsession, stifle defiance, help concentrate, help… well, help (assume I’m referring to adults as well going forward.) Each person’s acronym, whether spelled the same or not) is different. If you decide to give medication to your child then the doctor should be starting very slowly. IT IS A PROCESS. Please, I would ask that you show patience but I know well how stressed you may be so I’ll ask this instead. Pray. Trust the process.

Q. You think he’ll grow out of it?

For a little context about Auggie’s Deddy, me, I have a character flaw where when I’m asked a question/spoken to or startled I’ll immediately have a “get bent” look on my face. If I don’t want to even entertain the question I’ll just say…

A. No… well, not entirely no but it’s how my children’s brains are constructed. My hope is that they learn how to drive the high horsepower vehicle their in. My brothers, my dad and mother all had/have a version and they all coped or are coping. It’s absolutely possible that they will find control but they’ll never “grow out of it.”

Q. How do you discipline?

A. That’s a difficult question to give a concrete answer. Here’s what I do (disclaimer above)… My discipline is fluid. I do what I can to stay in tune with them. A time out? Spanking? Grounding? Any of those may work great. Really. Keep in mind that ADHD and others can cause “milk in the cupboard” syndrome. The best case I saw of this was with my son when I took away his gaming privilege. He was around six and this was before any medical help. Simply put, he eventually forgot about it existing. His brain wasn’t going to waste time on something that couldn’t be had and as soon as that was apparent… it was milk in the cupboard. Attempt to understand what really drives them and what they really want. Also, timeout never worked with Auggie. His best toy is his imagination and the thoughts of what’s to come. He can even “milk in the cupboard” an activity. It’s fluid, simply put.

Q. How do you do it?

A. No. I don’t do anything but view my child positively or negatively. I get the slight. Not cool. He’s my best friend. Get on with that.

Q. Aww, isn’t he just being a kid.

A. No. It’s not a question about him. That is a question for the parent. An ignorant person is telling you that your child, who may possibly have terrible grades or who lacks social skills and can’t even color a full page in a coloring book before…(the list is substantial for hardships) is just being a kid. I’m not saying anyone is dumb for saying that. I do mean ignorant in the fact of being uneducated in the matter. Auggie has a really high IQ (humble brag and proud Deddy. Don’t @ me.) They’ll test a child’s  IQ during the battery of ADHD testing. Auggie practically taught himself how to read. Then, in school, he’s failing basically everything? No. He’s not completing anything. He writes so fast that it’s illegible. Say whatever you want because you’re free to do so but if a child has ADHD then they need particular guidance. They may not need medication at all but they need guidance geared towards the acronym. I used to hear this a lot but the years have been kind to the way the public views acronyms. Thanks be to God for that!

Q. What is ADHD

A. Maybe I should have started here so you would have an idea of how I view it. An ADHD brain and a brain without it are the same thing but built differently. Both are a machine. One machine is made to run at a really high RPM. The other machine is geared to run at a lower RPM. Both of the machines can perform the same task and run the same race but they’ll be driven differently. Sometimes a person with an acronym needs more guidance in learning the roads ahead.

Q. What is ODD?

A. Oppositional Defiance Disorder. Tiny is the culprit here when I’m asked this question. Tiny doesn’t enjoy being told what to do which is like most humans. However, Tiny’s first impulse is to defy whatever is being asked of her. She has more control with adults and almost none with a person who isn’t an adult. She’s a brilliant person. She knows she’s brilliant. She dissects conversations to find any argument against what is being asked or told. She’s taught me the most about being a parent because sometimes… she’s right.

Q. What is OCD?

A. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. All of my children (maybe not Grey but…) have this column checked. Simply put, when they want something or want to do something their brain tells them they will not survive without having it or doing it. That’s REALLY hard to comprehend if you don’t have OCD. It’s not about fixing picture frames (it may be but typically that’s a quirk.) You’ll get the same answer from someone that has it. I’ve watched my children become physically ill from obsessing over something as simple as a small toy. I really dislike this acronym the most this far because it hurts them the most and then, because of it, I have to ask them to be stronger than all of their peers. They are children and children want things and watching them hurt or weep because their brain won’t let it go sucks. Simply put, it sucks.

Q. Why does he keep clearing his throat?

A. A child that has ADHD will develop ticks. At one point Auggie would constantly roll his tongue. Then he began clearing his throat which sounded like he was hocking up a… you get it. It’s something that, in my opinion, gives them a blanket or a re-center of sorts. It’s usually harmless unless it’s some form of picking but that hasn’t been one of Auggie’s or Tiny’s. Not all children get this play thing and according to the doctor it’s completely natural. That’s not to say you shouldn’t tell your child that it’s an issue. We had a teacher tell Auggie in fifth grade that he would be suspended if he kept “hocking.” Even teachers can be ignorant (again, that’s not too say someone is dumb) but after speaking with her she understood even if she didn’t like that it was happening.

I’ll post another Q & ADHD in the future with a deeper set of questions. For my children’s benefit and privacy I don’t want to be too personal especially at their expense. At least now you have a perspective that’s from a parent with first have knowledge. I know I don’t know everything and maybe my way isn’t what’s best for you but do I hope that if you’re struggling with raising a child or children with ADHD then I will say this… You’re going to get stressed and you’ll find a new breaking point after you’ve hit your breaking point but you have a very special, very unique individual in your life. I’ve never met a person with ADHD that I didn’t remember and quite frankly didn’t enjoy being around. I had to accept that my children do not fit into my mold. So, I expanded my mold and my way of thinking and just put one foot in front of the other. Some days are tough while some are great. EVERY DAY is one to remember.

God bless and I hope you have enough.

Just Jared

*I do implore that you research further ESPECIALLY from professionals. Also, Google what a quirk is. You may believe that you have an OCD. Please,  PLEASE don’t wish that on yourself.

**please look past my errors. I’m a writer. Not an editor. I write tragedies and miss apostrophes.

It’s not okay to not be okay and honestly, that’s okay.

Would you guess, I’m a rainbow baby.

Life doesn’t always come at you fast. In fact, it’s when life moves slowly that the parts that need to be fixed are overlooked. If you overlook a leaking tire long enough it’ll go flat or burst or… you get it. This was a weekly blog with the intent to showcase the shenanigans and trials of a family with ADHD. It will remain that way but this entry I want to explain some things about myself. In doing so, you’ll have the opportunity to understand why a certain decision was made or why a certain process is in place with how I raise and teach my children. Here we go…

When I was around nine my mother and I walked into a church’s food bank with the permission to get what we needed and wanted. This was a blessing! There were so many items in there that I had seen but never had until that moment. I didn’t know that wasn’t normal.

My mother and I had a profound relationship of which we were best friends, honestly. She crossed the river when I was twenty-one because of complications stemming all the way back to issues fourteen years prior. She had been sick for three quarters of my life. As a child I didn’t know that wasn’t normal because it was all I knew. Where I had a home with two parents most of my friends lived with one of their divorced parents so my circle included near like minded people in regard to… that didn’t make much sense, huh? My mother was immobile for long and short periods throughout which kept us home often and not always on a family trip or excursion. In fact, most of my friends were treading the poverty line as well. My dad was a tradesman that didn’t always have work and my mother was sick but… I didn’t see my life as being bad and I don’t see my childhood as something bad. Today I love to travel for a day or two but I love being home every night. My fondest memories are at home of conversations or holidays. At home, you focus on each other. On trips, you focus on the trip and what it offers or at least that’s what I do.

Between nine and ten I walked the streets of north Laurel (cleary blessed that I wasn’t abducted although I nearly was once) and went on grand adventures to old train tracks and abandoned factories and hospitals. In fact, I continued adventuring into my early twenties. Not having extra money didn’t stifle my wonder or wanderlust. If anything it ignited it.

I started a full time job at fifteen as a warehouse worker loading trucks and sometimes getting to ride along on deliveries. At the time I was a strapping young lad with a strong back which the boss saw as a stairwell dolly. At one point, I was asked not to come onto the sales floor because of the way I dressed which was a t-shirt and blue jeans. Nothing fancy cause I ain’t. Nothing was tattered or stained and my clothes were washed after use and… I’ve always used deodorant because I was a man at the age of eight (Okay, I just had a big ego.) But this… this was the first moment I looked into the mirror and saw a kid who didn’t have everything. I also understood that a man can thank you for doing a good job with the usual, “only you could’ve done this,” or “we wouldn’t have done this without you,” behind closed doors but when nicely dressed, paying customers are around you’re asked to stay hidden. When I hit sixteen I made that rule permanent and he didn’t have see me again. *Side note, I worked for City Salvage (CHS now) while in college and the owner (similar upbringing) had the same opportunity to hide me as I regularly got dirty from busting my tail but he encouraged that I come onto the sales floor. Different men completely. One viewed work ethic as value. One viewed… I’m not going to talk down because both men taught me something.

Within that same year of my being tucked away as a dirty boy, one of my best friends told me that his mother didn’t want us to be friends anymore (for context, he had a bonfire party go south after water balloons with hot sauce got introduced. I didn’t introduce them but I did go hard on stopping the shenanigans using my… temper and strength?) It was apparent that to show his mother that he was her golden child and not the reason it blew up, myself and our other friend was named for starting it. I’ll admit, him and his family were higher middle class and we cleary were not. No, we were literally the only friends he had until that conversation. I began looking inward and began learning what I saw compared to how the world viewed me. Hint: I’m not a great person and hate it when someone finds out.

College will change how the world views me…

My first semester of college was one semester before my high school graduating class. After an injury and poor decisions I was sidelined from football which made public school the worst and home school the way to go That decision helped me finish high school early. My goal? Oh, to be rewarded with a PhD in philosophy and religion, of course. Who wouldn’t?

Okay… I’m going to say this because I’ve been urged to explain why I didn’t finish after getting close to a bachelor’s degree because I tell people now, in person, it was the money and that’s partially true while in fact, my mother took a turn for the worse and I dropped out to care for her. I didn’t go back and I promised her I would finish so when someone would ask (when I was younger) why I didn’t finish I could be honest or be quick adout it. She wept when it told her. She blamed herself that I wasn’t going to finish school. You won’t hear me say that. I can barely type that. I’ve learned since that a philosopher doesn’t need a doctorate to exist but merely a mind for logic and enough stubbornness to question the answers.

Now, now…

It’s been well over a year that I get every other weekend with my children though I’m blessed to see them everyday. I don’t want to linger on a failed marriage because… still hurts, ya know? What I learned and am learning is much more about myself. It’s a dumb feeling when something occurs or a thought comes to light and I know it could have made a difference. Every relationship, especially a marriage, requires compromise, communication, understanding and love. You know those hind sight moments where you could kick yourself? If you don’t like kicking yourself after a failed relationship then don’t look at it as an outsider. I will not… I’m not going to point a finger at her but I live with me and, as when I was younger, really looked inward. This time, I hated what I saw. I was embarrassed with myself. You want to know what I saw? Hint: I’m not great person but I know now what’s stopping me from at least being good.

I’ve not changed so to speak but… okay, I’m sure I’ve changed. My goal is to be the best dad I can be especially now and now when you read adout how I discipline or how I talk with and work through issues with my children you have an idea as to why…

These are my truths:

My life before today only molded me. It does not define me.

Nothing in life is fair nor should it be.

Assume I could have done more.

Look inward before acting outward.

This world owes me nothing.

Love is a commodity.

Moments matter more than time.

God is the only reason I’m here. I assume and I know I shouldn’t assume that everyone knows I’m a Christian. In fact, I first prayed, really prayed to God at nine. I surrendered at eleven and can’t honestly say there was a moment where I didn’t believe there is a God. My belief in Jesus was solidified later in life but belief in God was… just is. My goal is to be a good person and a great Deddy. I’m honest with myself and I know I’m not a great person but I will keep trying and anyway I can help I will.

You want to know what I saw? I saw a person who wasn’t giving enough where it mattered. I’m more focused now. I pray daily that I stay focused and if you enjoyed reading this I don’t mind a prayer being sent my way for just that.

God bless and I hope you have enough.

Auggie’s Deddy

*I hope to give you an entry a week. If you have a child with an acronym and want advice or have advice then let’s start a conversation.

**I haven’t written long form in a while. Please forgive my grammar.

Are you down with ODD?

Tiny at open house, 3rd grade.

What is ODD? Well… I’ll start with this…

A civilised society has laws, rules and an unwritten set of moral guidelines. These laws and rules are decreed because we are humans and are allowed by God to have free will. This is MY belief.

In other words… we (law abiding citizens of Earth) sometimes buck the system or bend the rules to suit our needs or wants. I believe that most adults understand the reasons for a state of law. The alternative is anarchy (a society without laws or rules) which, quite possibly, is the first form of government most children want. Yep. If you have children then you may be nodding in agreement at this moment.

For instance, if you have two children the exact same age, size and intelligence sitting across from each other and then set down one sparkly, noisy, little toy in between them it will become a race to own the toy and then NOT share the toy and assert dominance over the other child in a show of force that this world has never seen before! Okay, not quite that fierce and not all children are this way. I’m not going to say one way is better because all things have a place. We’ve come this far as human beings by having the, well… the human nature that we have.

Child Rearing

A nation has laws. A home has a parent or guardian (law bringer sounds good too) to instruct the rules and enforce the rules. Some children will share without being taught. Most children will share after being taught. I’m not going to delve too deep into child rearing here but it is important to note that having a child with ODD can make this process even more difficult or a better word may be, different. I wrote that MOST children will share when taught that they need to because… (insert list of everything that’s good about good things for yourself and others summed up in parenthesis here. Trying to keep it short and not a blog on why sharing is a good thing.) A child with ODD may have a more difficult issue with this on a natural level.

Rules suck

Tiny doesn’t like rules but only when they apply to her. She’s not mean (most times) and she enjoys helping people especially with her baby brother. She’s usually organized, tries to take care of her things and enforces any rules in place to her siblings or peers. But then… those those pesky rules creep in where she has to follow them. She doesn’t like rules if they get in the way of her wants. She’s amazingly clever too, so a simple “no” is never enough (No is always enough because she’s a child and should follow the rules. Keep reading and I’ll explain.) If you tell her no about having a cookie then she will become a world renowned defense attorney and plead her case. She keeps evidence and witnesses too. What I’ve learned is that ODD is about “fairness” (or “freedom”) or what the child views as fair. Adults understand well that life shouldn’t be seen as something that is fair or unfair. It’s not healthy to do so. That’s a fairly difficult conversation for an eight year old when her older brother Auggie (a few years older) gets to do something and she can’t. The other issue is that she didn’t want to follow the rule to begin with but has, thank God, really worked on recognizing when she’s being defiant. That doesn’t mean she immediately begins following the rules.

Free Spirit or Law Breaker?

A few rules she really dislikes and fights to not follow are: Bedtime, brushing teeth, finishing her food, where to sit, what to wear, what to watch, sharing, chores and going to school. Oddly enough, she usually does her homework. She fights these rules and presents every reason why she shouldn’t follow them and then presents every excuse when she’s caught breaking them. Yes, she does this on purpose. She has ODD. It is her nature to be defiant. As I wrote earlier, I’m thankful she’s beginning to recognize that bucking every rule isn’t healthy.

Reaction and Moving Forward

The only thing I have figured out is what happened yesterday. I may be wrong but I attempt to be fluid in my decisions. There are moments where no is just that. Then there are moments where I change my mind or she changes my mind. We attempt to have a conversation about it and why the answer changed or did not. Most times she accepts the answer and when she doesn’t it’s noticed by those around her.

*I’m never going to be to personal on here and at some point, when they’re teenagers or young adults I don’t want to have embarrassed them unjustly.

One thing that Tiny enjoys above everything else (seemingly) is making and playing with slime. She’s very knowledgeable about the different types and how to make them stretchy or wet or good for bubbles and so on. This is her therapy. It’s her moment of meditation so I essentially put no limits on it. Is that right? Maybe. What I’m certain of is that even though a child is five, three, nine or whichever age you choose, they are still human. It so often gets overlooked that children have anxiety, depression, wants, fears or desires. They have few options of “mental escape” because, unlike adults, they can’t get into a car and drive away or eat a whole quart of icecream or say NO wherever they choose or quit school at any time or…

ODD makes their brain question anything that isn’t what they deem free. It could be viewed as anarchy or chaotic when truly, it’s freedom they desire. As a parent, it is sometimes difficult to explain why some rules or laws exist especially if your child is naturally defiant to them.

What has been helping

For a few weeks now, with Tiny and Auggie, I’ve been speaking to them about how it feels when they’re obsessed or angry or overly sad about something. I ask them what they’re feeling and does it feel good or happy. Then, I explain that they don’t have to linger in that state and can move on to something else. Now, when they get into they’re emotions and feelings it’s for shorter times. No one wants to feel that yucky weight on them especially if a couple of actions can change it. This has been helping. It’s not perfect or one hundred percent effective but it has helped.

Thank you for reading. I’m trying to get back to a weekly schedule if my mind permits. God bless and I hope you have enough.

Just Jared

ADHDitude

There’s a few things to completely understand when you have a child with ADHD or OCD or ODD. I’m suggesting that you study what these issues will cause in your child, how it affects their environment, how it affects their relationships and how it affects you.

I’m going to write about my experiences with OCD in this entry because it tends to be the issue that most people have a problem with concerning Auggie. Short of the long, when he decides that he wants something or wants to do something it’s nearly an unmanageable situation to control especially if the child is still very young.

In the past few months I’ve been trying to convince Auggie to think before he acts. If he would just give a moment to the consequences or repercussions and then make a decision he would discover that the people around him or those affected would be much nicer and much more giving. Now, every time I see him or hear of him acting in a way that he shouldn’t we talk about what he should have done. I believe this has been a big help but it doesn’t completely correct the issue.

This is why

How many times in your adult life or even today have you said or done something that you immediately regretted? Foot in mouth style. How many rash decisions are made by adults that have no inkling of ADHD? I have certainly had those moments. Not today. The day is still young, though. Maybe you can imagine then that for a child without ADHD it is multiplied. The need/want of things or expression or action is heightened in a child because learning patience requires… well… to learn and learning requires time. If the child has ADHD then it is multiplied much further. You then have a child that has a need/want that couples with obsession and creates a struggle that is quite formidable for a child that hasn’t quite learned patience.

I find myself asking my son that lives every moment with ADHD, OCD and ODD to think before he acts and then find myself, as an adult who has patiently sat in waiting rooms for hours on end or waited to speak to an operator for longer than I’ll admit ask of my son something that I too have struggled with. Foot in mouth. Then I see him gaining ground and working so hard to go against something in his mind that feels completely normal. I’m asking a person that’s nearly deaf to hear normally. I’m asking a person that’s nearly blind to see completely. I wouldn’t ask that, obviously, but I’m asking my son to do something that requires so much strength and patience for a person in his situation.

Why I ask

Most of the world sees a person with ADHD as a person without self- control who is self serving. They often times blame the person for any issues that come from it. I’ve seen his teachers notes and had numerous meetings. I’ve been given verbal reports of how he acts at times from family and friends. I understand your feelings, I do. That’s why I’m writing “Auggie with ADHD.”

I ask Auggie to push further than any “normal” child because he doesn’t see how frustrated people become with him and when he does realize that he has upset someone he feels as if the world is falling down around him. He blames himself and puts himself down. Obviously, he understands when he’s done something wrong and asking him repeatedly to think is frustrating but it’s not being repeated everyday like it was. It breaks my heart when someone is mad with him or frustrated by him. He has some issues. He’s working to get through them and he’s doing great. I pray he stays on this path.

OCD

I’m not sure I can give justice to this explanation because I’m not typically driven by an obsession. Why does Auggie with ADHD act out at times? He becomes obsessed with something. Most people understand OCD has having to level a photo or straighten papers. It is BUT is not. If you feel the need to level a picture but couldn’t, what would you do? Would you scream about it? Would you try to physically push your way past any obstacles to get to it? Would you make excuses for why it means so much to you to level that picture? Would you be able to sleep tonight knowing that picture isn’t level? Would you wake up thinking about it? If the answer is no then you have what is called a quirk. That’s not an obsession. Auggie could answer yes to every question but not for pictures, no.

OCD isn’t just wanting a picture to be level or clothes lined up in the closet which is how it’s usually portrayed in film. OCD is a chained thought that enslaves you. Let’s pretend Auggie wants to ride his bicycle and he’s told no. If this thought has chained him then he’s going to do and say everything in his power to ride that bicycle. He may sneak out. He may lie. He may sulk. He’ll keep asking. His mind is SCREAMING AT HIM to ride that bicycle while he’s pleading with you over it. Then it becomes desperation so he sneaks out, straps on his helmet and feels the freedom of the wind against his face and for a moment he’s not obsessed. When realizes he’s in deep trouble there’s almost a calmness to him. He gave in to the obsession and now it’s over.

*That may or may not have happened a few times in his life already.

I keep asking him to think. As I said, I’m asking him to do something that I sometimes fail at, all without having my mind scream at me and consume my thoughts over it. He’s better than me. He’s learning. He’s finding patience.

Not Softly Into The Night

With Auggie, I never blame his actions on the issues. He knows he has ADHD. I know it. Those who know him know it. There’s no reason for me to keep it in the conversation when something has occurred. I remind him that he has the power to control it and that he should work on that daily which he has been and it’s going to be a process. I explain to new teachers and new people (if needed) that he has a few super powers but never explain that as an excuse. He’s Auggie and he’s going to Auggie regardless so when he’s stepping out of line it falls on him, not the super powers. The heartbreaking part is knowing that for him to fit into societal norms (to keep from bringing Hurricane Auggie onto shore) he has to work much harder than most. He’ll never go quietly and I’ll never ask that much of him.

God bless,

Auggie’s Deddy

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.

A new road for Auggie

My brother’s advice

We left the doctors office (read previous entries for details) with a lot on my mind. All of my life there were people close to me with ADHD and each dealt with it differently. Auggie reminded me so much of my brother (I call him Bubba too) and that was a wonderful thing to me. My mother was thirty-nine when I was born so my siblings were, at the very least, ten years older than me and I adored and admired all of them so much. I prayed for more time with them when I was younger and God blessed me with Auggie, my “little bubba.” Seeing the similarities between them it was a no-brainer to ask my brother what I should do. There are obviously things to consider before administering such heavy medications. My mother tried medication with my brother but at the time he was prescribed, ADHD wasn’t nearly as understood as it is today. He was prescribed a heavier dose of ritalin than a child needed and it took away his entire personality which was a no-go for my mother. Frankly, it was unsafe forty years ago without the knowledge we have today about how much a child should take and thankfully, different types of medicines are also available. After I explained to Bubba what the doctor and psychologist told us he wasted no time in giving an answer. This isn’t verbatim but is very close to his actual words.

“Oh yes, absolutely. When I was kid I didn’t have many friends, if any. They had energy but I had a super power in going non-stop. As an adult I have no issues with that because I’m energetic and always ready. Try the medicine. It’s different now.”

He wasn’t lying about making friends. You’d have to force yourself to not like him and he will run circles around his peers even nearing fifty years of age.

Here we go

So… that’s what we decided on. They started Auggie on a mixture of medicines after more discussions with the doctor. My fears were laid to rest shortly after as well. When I came home from work he was still my Auggie. Working seven days a week I never knew exactly how the medicine calmed him down but his teachers were pleased, his mother and extended family. I’ve been adamant to him that he doesn’t have a problem and that his ADHD is almost a super power. It’s hard for others to keep up with a hurricane.

The first time I noticed him reading, without interruption, tears came to my eyes. Since he could draw, color and read there’s always been an internal struggle in him. He wanted to finish his little projects ADHD his little books but before he even knew it there was something else more important. ADHD isn’t, “look, a butterfly!” ADHD is the thought of never feeling accomplished or complete, never finished, never ready and always ready.

He’s been doing well in school, thank God. The medicine, in his case, has been very good fit his education and when I’m with him in the evenings he’s still my Auggie. Hurricane August.

Next week (I started this entry a month and half ago… life happens. I’m back for now.)

Auggie’s life and my life have had a drastic change over the past couple of months. His mother has decided that she wants a divorce. I’m not going to detail anything in this blog that doesn’t pertain to him and my relationship with him so I’ll not make it about that. I wanted this blog to be a start to present day but I’m going to add in moments past and present that may be helpful to parents with children dealing with ADHD and similar situations to myself. I won’t number them anymore but I do promise to be clever in the title. I’ll try to be clever I’m usually not.

God bless

Jared

P.s. I didn’t proof read much at all. For my sanity I need to get this on here to go over the hump. I need to write more now, more than ever.

Auggie breaks my heart (working title) in the next entry.

Not knowing

Recently, some issues have occurred and I’m not going to present any details at this time but I want everyone to know that I’ll continue writing and eventually get back to a weekly blog. I’m focusing on my family right now and with Auggie being Auggie, he needs my full attention. Of course, my other children do too. They have great big hearts and because of some of the obstacles they face it compounds their emotions.

And I said, “baby, don’t worry”

No worries though. It’s going to be okay. My life has been interesting, to say the least, and every day I’ve been around to live it my God has seen me through. I’m not worthy of His love which is an absolute truth and yet… He loves me.

I’m going to keep writing.

I have a series on another website you can read that focuses on my relationship with God if you’d like to read it. Check out thefishersnet.com and click on the blog button. My blogs will have my name attached. At some point I’ll add them here as well.

Until next time

Jared.

Auggie with ADHD (2)

A hurricane riding an iron tiger

And away we go

Our first visit to the Doctor’s office was a memorable experience especially for my wife. The vast majority of her family did not or do not have ADHD and judging by the waiting room, most of these parents and guardians hadn’t either. There was a few in there that were rocksteady and calm while most others seemed to be at their wits end.

One mother in particular was on the verge of tears as she called her son on multiple occasions to sit back down or get back to the seat or stop running or… That was Auggie and his mother as well. My wife is a tough woman and I thank God for that because having a child/ children with ADHD is a full sprint marathon. The waiting room was quite full with it being the start of new school year. Most of the children were between five and six and in Kindergarten.

    Raising a child or children with ADHD has its challenges but it really only requires one thing. You have to be tough. Oh, you can bend and you can even break but you have to be tough or you’ll be consumed by it. My wife is a tough woman and she has to be. Our children are everywhere instantly, especially Auggie. The frightening part with Auggie is that he has no thought of consequences or danger when he makes a decision. Our daughters will give some thought before jumping from the top step (they will jump but give considerations first). Auggie is on the ground grabbing his ankle while they think about what may come.

    My wife’s family hasn’t dealt with ADHD as mine has. In fact, most haven’t. It’s nearly an anomaly according to doctors at my children’s clinic. Once it got a foothold in our family it decided to stay without paying rent. For Auggie’s first visit we met with a child psychologist first and I kid you not… this man was Mr. Magorium. He even looks like Dustin Hoffman. That made the visit oddly comfortable. He spoke with a voice full of joy that connects with a child unlike anything I’ve ever seen. My wife and I were asked to leave the room so Auggie could be given the intelligence quotient test. I’m not bragging when I say this because I’m not dumb and I know what I see. He tested very high. We had no doubts about his i.q. at any point in time. We met with the doctor next, a very young woman who also had a very nice disposition. Then, we met with a teacher/ counselor who specializes in reaching children with acronyms attached. She wasn’t as bubbly and after hearing that her children also have ADHD it was no wonder (it may be that she just prefers being straight and to the point). Regardless, she has a noticeable toughness about her.

    Now, don’t take me the wrong way please. Having a child with ADHD does not take a parent’s joy away unless they let it. Auggie is precious human with a big heart and after a day with him, in my mental and physical exhaustion, I’m joyful that I am allowed to be his dad. We left the clinic that day with options. Auggie was diagnosed (after all information was taken into account) with ADHD, ODD and OCD. Our options were to medicate or not to. This particular aspect was my main cause for concern because I knew what the medicine could do and was scared I would lose who Auggie actually is. I didn’t want to lose the boy I love to accommodate someone else, anyone else, who barely knew him. I had to call my brother later that evening for advice. He’s in his forties and takes medication for his ADHD. For some adults, ADHD is like being a superhero. You will run circles around everyone else and have this energy that just seems limitless. I’ll explain further next week. Concerning TL and Bubba, two of my brothers, they are superheroes who harnessed their ADHD for side of good.

My Thoughts…

I know everyone deals with these issues differently and may have a different opinion than I do and that’s okay. We’re all trying to make it out of this life alive. This blog is written to detail my journey, our journey, with a hurricane named Auggie.

***OCD… It’s not a switch. I shouldn’t, because it’s a free country, but I take issue when someone levels a picture or straightens a stack of papers and says, “that’s my OCD kicking in.”

Nope.

If you don’t have OCD then you have a quirk. That’s it. A quirk. The O in OCD means obsessive. Obsessed. Being obsessed with leveling a picture would consume your world. Some people are obsessed with such things and it gives them great anxiety when they cannot fulfill that obsession on a mental and physical level. They can’t stop themselves most times. It’s not a switch. It’s their life. You have quirks or you have OCD. You can turn one of them off. Okay, I’m finished.

God bless,

Jared

P.s. in bold just because OR next week…

The next entry will detail the conversation with my brother and a little on the effect of ADHD on a stay-at-home mother (the way I see it as a father.)

Auggie with ADHD

This blog will be a journey and lesson into rearing a child with ADHD and a few other obstacles. These obstacles, as told to him, are not impassable. Some obstacles have to be jumped over, some you have to go around and some… you just have to break the wall down. Obviously, it’s a process.

Meet Auggie

    August is a ten year old boy with wild dirty blonde hair and hazel eyes. His smile is warming and his laugh is contagious and joyful. He’s a brilliant kid who essentially taught himself how to read by comparing the names written of television shows to how they were pronounced when the show started. As crazy as it sounds, Sponge Bob helped in that area. That may make it seem like he watched television all of the time. No… that wouldn’t be correct. The television would be on but he rarely, if ever, sat and watched it for more than a minute at a time but could explain what was happening on the television show nonetheless. Auggie is also great at drawing, coloring and loves creating wild, robotic super heros. He loves science, history and especially reading and watching videos about games and playing games. He loves riding his bicycle and playing with his sisters and trying every moment he can to hold his infant brother. He is sometimes gale force winds and heavy rain and sometimes a blue sky with a light breeze. He’s my little boy.

When We knew

    Auggie was around three when we (my wife and I) began to notice the major signs. When you have a child with ADHD you’ll often hear, “oh, that’s just a kid being a kid.” That’s true and false. He is a kid… A few things come with ADHD such as defiance, obsessive behavior, rash decisions, ticks (flicking the tongue, clearing of the throat, etc.), frustration, depression and anxiety. That is not the whole list but I hope you understand what I’m trying to explain.

    Auggie couldn’t even stay locked on to someone’s eyes in conversation. Once something caught his attention it became an obsession. It was as if his hearing would even cease to work when his mind was elsewhere. When he became obsessed with something it was (and still is at times) relentless in his want for it. Imagine an adult dog on a leash that’s trying to get to whatever has caught its attention and the amount of force used and lack of care for anything it hurts or destroys to get to it. That’s the physical part of obsession. The mental aspect is not letting go of thoughts that rule the mind at that moment. These issues filled his days and at times, still do.

When the world met August

    After two days in Kindergarten,  Auggie’s teacher requested a parent/teacher conference to discuss his behavior. —Before I continue, please know that Auggie was never purposely destructive or mean and still isn’t. He was hyper and couldn’t control his desires or wants. He simply acted without thought of consequence.— In the meeting she explained (as nicely as an older woman one year from retirement would which is not as nicely as my wife thought she should be but that’s for another time) that Auggie’s behavior was basically out of control. In fact, his hyperactivity was of epic proportions and that he needed to be evaluated for ADHD as soon as possible. We knew this, of course.

*Side note: My mother, father, brothers and sister have or had a form of ADHD. Some forms worse than others. This actually gave my wife and I a leg up in rearing our little boy.  It doesn’t make it easy but wrangling a hurricane shouldn’t be.

    The teacher went on to explain that his grades and progression would suffer greatly if this wasn’t treated properly and soon. Basically, she did not want to contend with his form of ADHD in the slightest. I get it. I really do.  I adore MY son. If you know him then you do too. He makes it difficult to NOT like him. He truly is precious (I’m biased, so what?). I understand a person in their sixties (hundreds really) having a difficult time with him especially if they make no attempt to know or understand him. I get it.  That doesn’t mean I accept it. So… we had him tested and sure enough they began throwing all kinds of acronyms at us and that’s where I’ll leave it this week.

What happened next

    In the next blog I’ll discuss the initial doctor’s visit and the raging feud between a six year old that moves like a hurricane and a hollow, immovable oak tree of a teacher.

*I’m not mad at the teacher. I’m mad that being different is somehow incorrect and abhorrent in individual perception. I’ll address this topic too when the time comes.

God bless,

Jared