By Elizabeth Broadbent
Source Article: https://www.scarymommy.com/stop-saying-kids-adhd-are-bad/
They don’t say it to my face. They don’t have to. I hear the murmurs. I hear the backtalk, the rumors. My kids are bad. My kids are wild. Other parents don’t want their darlings to play with them. They play rougher: they run, they jump off playground equipment. They climb where climbing is not permitted, they jump where jumping is not allowed. They bring sticks places where sticks are not supposed to be, then begin a lightsaber battle. They talk out of turn. They blurt things out. My youngest throws screaming tantrums. My middle child throws crying tantrums. My oldest stomps off in tears. Their emotional regulation is not age-appropriate. But it’s perfectly fine — for children with ADHD.
So I’m telling you all to stop it.
Stop glaring at me like I’m the worst parent on earth. I’m not. In fact, I’m super patient. Do you know what kind of patience it takes to deal with a child who screams for upwards of an hour to play with an iPad you will not give him? Do you know how much effort it takes to grit your teeth in the Target checkout line, drop your voice into a honey-sweet tone, and say, “I’m sorry you feel that way. Take some deep breaths. Would you like something to eat or drink?” Or, for the fifth time, to tell your son, “Please get up off the ground. The ground is dirty and people might run over you with their cart.” It takes patience and grit to pick up said child and put him in your cart, only to be rewarded with ear-splitting screams.
No, I’m not hurting him. He is not acting like a spoiled brat. He’s experiencing emotional dysregulation. This is a common side effect of ADHD. It’s the same as if a dyslexic child was having trouble reading, only louder and more public. You wouldn’t shame a dyslexic kid for being non-neurotypical. Don’t shame mine.
This shame happened to my oldest son when we tried to enroll him in a formal homeschool class. He blurted out answers and talked out of turn. Their solution? One warning, then in the hallway for five minutes. My son can’t control his outbursts, which were simply answering the question without being called on. Disruptive, but not malicious. I proposed several solutions to the problem, but they were ignored in favor of “discipline,” because he was, somehow, being bad. As if he could stop it on his own, without help. We had to leave the co-op. My son’s neurological difference was clearly unwelcome, and I won’t allow my child to be ostracized.
When my youngest screamed for a full hour because he couldn’t have his iPad, I know it was disruptive. I know it was annoying. But we were hiking in the woods, and there was nowhere I could remove him to. I was deeply grateful to the friend who offered him something to play with. I was deeply annoyed by the mom who kept shooting me looks, as if I could magically shut him up, or as if this was somehow my fault.
I used every trick in my parenting toolkit, and they didn’t work, so we were stuck with the screams. He wasn’t being bad. He was genuinely upset and sad. Yes, when a kid does this, you either suspect they’re a horrid child or the parents are bad, or they have something going on. My children fall into the latter category, thanks. Please give us the benefit of the doubt.
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