My parents had a hard time in the 90's with a young child the doctors labeled ADD/ADHD. They felt it made them look like something was wrong with me or with their ability to parent me properly. Because they felt this way, I grew up feeling the same. It was only as adult that I began to really understand what it meant to be a child with ADD/ADHD and consequently what it meant to be an adult observer of it. Because of this I wanted to write a blog to those parents with children with ADD/ADHD from someone who had the same perspective of the world, as your child.
First, the reassurance. You aren't a bad parent. You didn't do anything wrong or to cause this. It's okay to be frustrated with your kid. Believe me, they get it, they are frustrated with themselves more than you know. They don't mean to annoy you, they don't mean to not pay attention. They love you. A lot. But they also love thinking and new things and "Hey, look at that dog, I wonder what his name is or if he speaks a dog language and does he have friends and what is his favorite toy and, man, I wish I had a dog, except if he ate my homework, then I would get in trouble and I wouldn't want a dog then, because Mrs. Harris would yell at me and I would have to sit in the back of the class next to that kid who everyone teases and. . " You get the point. That's the fallacy though- yeah, ADD/ADHD kids are easily distracted by shiny things and colors but mostly it's stream of consciousness, thinking ten step ahead of everyone around them, analyzing and thinking and thinking and thinking.
The Edison Gene by Thom Hartman was essential to my better understanding my ADHD as an adult. It looks at ADHD as what it truly is- a gift, not a disorder. In fact, it looks at ADD/ADHD as essential to the development of humanity. Emphasizing the set of highly adaptive and critical thinking skills that come along with ADD that among those most successful in the world posses. Thomas Edison, for one, the books namesake. But it's easy to hear that famous inventors and artists had ADHD- what about everyday people?
I can assure you, I am walking proof that it gets better. I learned to channel my ADHD (Which I still have to this day- although I no longer medicate) into a college degree, a masters degree, a solid career and into a doctoral candidate. My ADHD keeps me quicker than my colleagues, I'm a better multi-tasker, which the real world demands and I have been told by every boss that I am go-with-the flow and easily adaptable. All of those qualities that worked against me school are what make me a desirable work candidate today.
So beyond reassurance that everything will be okay, what can I offer you?
My advice on how to harness and support your kid's energy. Read the book, be patient and boost their Self-Esteem. Tell them what the book says- tell them how lucky they are. Tell them they aren't a freak. Truthfully, they are on average smarter, more clever and often very funny children. Tell them you think so. But more importantly, BELIEVE that they are. Believe that you are blessed with a kid who will never settle in life, who will always be looking for more and who has the ability to very literally change the world. If you believe that they have a gift, then they will believe. And then, once they believe they have something special, they will blow your mind with what amazing things they will do with it.