Last weekend I took my kids to a pool party for the Cub Scouts. There were many families there, most of whom we knew fairly well from Scouting. It was a time to let the kids play, enjoy a potluck and fellowship with friends.
I struck up a conversation with another mom who’s son struggled with behavior. You see, one of my children was diagnosed with ADHD and has had issues in school for years. We’ve tried behavioral therapy, food elimination, supplements, sleep schedules, electronics restriction and finally a handful of different medications. She shared a similar struggle around the journey she and her son have gone through.
I explained that we have seen a marked improvement in our son since we started a medication about a year ago. That it “has been the best thing that ever happened to him.” It was at this moment, he approached and got very upset. He realized we were talking about him and after some frustrated moments, finally told me that I was wrong. He felt differently and while he believed the medicine made a difference, he was also working really, really hard on his self-confidence. THAT, he said, was the best thing that ever happened to him.
The Brave Boy
I apologized and asked him if we could take a drive together, just he and I and maybe he could tell me more about it. The following day, we went for a long drive. He was the “DJ” and was in charge of the radio. We rolled the windows down, sang Old Town Road at least 5 times and eventually, I asked him to talk about the incident from the previous day. He said that he understood what I was saying and the context I was saying it in, but he wanted me to know how hard it was for him to make a choice to control his behavior and actually do it. He wanted me to know it was more than the medicine.
I asked him to tell me more about it and he walked through his “decision tree.” I loved hearing him talk, and tried to let him just share his feelings, his strategy and how he saw it impacting his day-to-day. I realized how much this little man has grown in the last year, and that yes, it was definitely more than the medicine.
Drives With Mom
I thanked him for being brave and for talking to me. He said it was actually fun and he wanted to do it again. I told him that I couldn’t wait.
Our DD is 9 and when the medicine wears off it is obvious that she is killing herself to complete homework, to focus on the book in her hand, to not yell at the younger brother who is cluelessly annoying her. Because of those moments, I saw that there were other moments when she worked to regulate her emotions, where she removed herself to get perspective, where she worked through the emotions that would have caused a 2 hour meltdown years before. The medicine is a tool in her toolkit, it allows things to slow down so she can make a choice instead of reacting. I agree, it can be hard to see it and know, as a teacher the kids with extended time aren’t “so lucky” they are exhausted from doing the right thing!
You are so right!