ADHD

Arguing: The Great ADHD Past-time

Sonny and I, being enlightened grownups with ADHD who are aware of many of the pitfalls faced by our kind, are careful to avoid certain ADHD quirks that aren’t generally very socially appreciated. We’re not perfect…but we try.

My 8-year-old stepdaugher, however, is just a wee ADHD-er in progress. She’s still learning. She’s also 8, and 8-year-olds are known to critique and question. But…it’s true that many an ADHD child has made their mark on their family by arguing their way to infamy. Miss C, let’s call her Miss C. She’s becoming infamous 🙂

Her mother texted Sonny repeatedly last night, having reached her last thread of parental sanity at the hands of an expert arguer. Considering that mom is a lawyer, this makes it either more notable, or just plain much funnier (sorry, it shouldn’t be funny, but it kind of is).

An internet site I was browsing last night put it really well…sorry I can’t remember what the site was…but essentially what they were saying is that when an ADHD child is faced with opposition that they don’t like or don’t agree with, that experience registers as a 10 in their emotional experience, versus what might be a 6 for a “normal” child. When you put it that way, it makes their reactivity seem much more understandable. Not totally acceptable…but more understandable.

As Sonny and bio-mom texted to one another, I piped in that ADHD may be a factor. ADHD is a factor for many things right now for Miss C. She’s had run-ins with the school bullies because she has a hard time honoring other people limits. She’s having difficulty with school, and told me that she feels “dumb” because she has to finish her assignments at a separate table with “the other stupid kids in class”. I told her she was not stupid, that she is very smart (she REALLY is), and that it’s okay to have a brain that just works a little bit differently. I know from experience though, that it’s going to take more than just reassurance from step-mom to make her feel smart…to make her feel good about herself. I just hope it doesn’t take as long for her, as it did for me.

In the meantime, I will continue to kindly advocate, in our home, for consideration and understanding of that “other” factor…for our own sanity too, I think it will help to keep this in mind.

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6 thoughts on “Arguing: The Great ADHD Past-time

  1. I agree that ADHD always has to be kept in mind as a possible contributing factor for most things our ADHD kids do (and say). However, I never let them use it as an excuse. It's a tightrope walk everyday!

  2. Absolutely…no excuses…but offering alternatives for her will be, no doubt, a big ongoing role for us as we teach her to grow up and take responsibility for her own BIG feelings 🙂

  3. Great post, Katy.It's not about excuses, Jenn. If a child whose vision is not 20-20 keeps bumping into things, would you tell her, "no more excuses"? A great way to create Oppositional Defiance Disorder in a kid with ADHD (who would not otherwise develop ODD due to a genetic load) is to fail to understand their neurobiology and discount their reactions as bad behavior. It's also a great way to ruin the child's possibility of ever trusting adults, the world, and their own perceptions.A great way to help a child with ADHD self-actualize in a healthy way is to learn about how their "wiring" can put a different spin on their responses and, in turn, validate the child's inner state and help the child to work through it.A child with ADHD cannot typically articulate their inner experience. Even many adults with undiagnosed/untreated ADHD cannot do this. It's the only internal state they've ever had; they don't know what can be different.It's up to the parents to bridge the gap.I especially love this, Katy (I've read a lot about ODD but hadn't heard it put exactly like this…..and "emotional dysregulation" was the topic of Dr. Russell Barkley's presentation last week at the International Conference on ADHD, sponsored by CHADD):….but essentially what they were saying is that when an ADHD child is faced with opposition that they don't like or don't agree with, that experience registers as a 10 in their emotional experience, versus what might be a 6 for a "normal" child. When you put it that way, it makes their reactivity seem much more understandable. Not totally acceptable…but more understandable

  4. I really wish I was able to remember what website I was looking at that conceptualized it that way…because I had the same reaction, it made me go "OH". I experience it myself in my own brain and hadn't though to put it that way!

  5. I guess I need to clarify. I was not at all saying that ADHD is an excuse. I have 3 chldren with it. I did say that it needs to be taken into account with everything. However, when it comes to teenaged girls, they will look for excuses to use. I have found with my own girls that they will occasionally try to use their ADHD as a cop out for something that would have been within their control on any other given day. It's all about knowing your own children inside out and walking that tightrope. It's a delicate balance!

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