ADHD Nearly Ruined my Relationship
ADHD was ruining my relationship with my son.
Brayden, now 14 has always been a very bright, and eager learner. When we homeschooled he rarely sat at the table. He instead opted for the floor, reading upside down, standing to complete his math taped to the whiteboard, verbal spelling tests, and loads of hands-on activities. (Bonus if the activity was outside!)
When we decided to send the kids to a private Christian school all of that eagerness changed. Mrs. Cox made the difference! She allowed him to stand, quietly bounce on a yoga ball, or sit on the floor. But the structure of a traditional school setting seemed to bring out the worst in his ADHD. We had many, MANY homework battles. We tried medication (I'll write a blog about this one day). We tested out systems to structure times, locations, meals, etc. Even when he would complete the assignment he would get distracted in class and miss turning it in!
He pulled through 6th grade acing tests without studying with below average homework scores. After spring break the kids didn't return to school because of Covid. For as remarkable as our school did during that time, the constant use of technology was brutal for Brayden. Screens are his #1 trigger for ADHD.
In many ways, middle school was worse. Most assignments and tests were completed on his Chromebook which meant he found more opportunities to get distracted during class. Again, he would miss turning in assignments which would pile up resulting in academic detentions. This year he's in 9th grade and I was dreading the grind of school.
Here's where life changed!
I wish I could tell you it was overnight but even today it's a work in progress. His ADHD changed with a shift in my heart toward the beautiful way my son was created. Here's the exact framework I used:
Respect & Honor: I sprinkle these two words in the authentic way I speak to him all the time. I spent years yelling, pleading, and bribing but it never occurred to me to change what I was saying to build him up. These three books transformed my communication with Brayden. "Mother & Son: The Respect Effect" by Dr. Emmerson Eggerichs; "Boys Adrift" by Leonard Sax; and 'Raising Boys by Design" by Gregory L. Jantz, Ph.D. and Michael Gurian.
Counseling: Natalie, Brayden's counselor who specializes in ADD/ADHD was an integral part of someone who had resources at just the right time not only for Brayden but also for us as parents. (ps-I don't get any kind of commission for suggesting with wonderful books. Just spreading the love!)
Chiropractic: Dr. Haley at Evergreen Chiropractic saved us in so many ways! She was able to help Brayden's body calm his constant state of fight or flight, resolve lingering primitive reflexes and find balance in his rapidly growing body.
Inviting him into the process: The expansion of this autonomy increased his self-confidence and self-awareness. Brayden has more freedom in his schedule. We talk about his current grades, projects, and sports. He lets us know where he needs additional support and accountability AND lets us know how he would like us to provide this.
Is this system perfect? Not at all! I share our story to bring hope to other mamas who are drifting in the same boat without a clear plan. The simplicity of our plan has made a world of difference in how I'm showing up to support my incredible son.
Do you have a teen with ADHD? I'd love to know your thoughts. What are you doing that works for your family? Share your comments below.