As a mom, I must admit that it was a whole lot easier managing my ADD when I was single and without kids. The only person I had to monitor and teach to behave was myself. There were consequences to my actions, but they only lasted for a short while and I could move on and pretend none of my impulsive mistakes ever happened. People who were offended by my outrageous comments and outbursts were certainly glad that I was the only one like me that they had to deal with. They were actually more ashamed than I was.
Being a parent however, changes all of that. I have to keep track of myself and four other little people and if they made those same shameful comments, I was scorned by all the other upstanding mothers for teaching my kids those nasty behaviors. Luckily, I am the only one in my family who sometimes struggles to contain myself on occasion and every one else around me seems to have some kind of internal gauge for when they might be getting out of hand.
The problem is that my kids are still young and pretty impressionable. They have not fully developed their internal gauges as yet, so whatever storms out of my mouth. goes into their ears and out their mouths. It seems, even when I am trying not to rub off, it still happens. Their are five things that I am sort of, kind of trying to manage around them though so that the affects are not as bad, and here they are:
1. Talking is good, but listening is better
Its well known fact that we ADDer's let our mouths run all the time. My very good friend and my hubby have learned to switch off when I ramble on and on and on...
I always have ideas and always have something to discuss, but not always to everyone's benefit. I tend to talk so much sometimes that my kids calling me in the background sounds white noise along with the loud TV and the toddler crying. Sometimes I catch myself mid sentence to give them attention, and sometimes I don't even notice its happening. The key is to become more aware when the kids are around so that attending to them does not disrupt anything and everyone gets all of what they need at the same time. It is however so easy to stop talking and 'not listen' listen. I look Liam dead in the eye and carry on talking in my head and only hear the tail end of what he is saying. He knows that I am not paying 100% attention, which only then dawns on me a little later when he becomes upset over the fact that he only got half of what he was asking for, my attention. I function better in noise, but I have learned that I listen better in semi-silence which makes talking to the kids easier and listening even easier.
2. Having Ideas is wonderful, procrastination, not so much!
I am not sure if all ADDer's have this problem but I sure have a huge procrastination issue. I always have. Its so easy to become motivated to study, lose weight or start a new business project, but the momentum dies just as soon as the TV goes on. My brain prefers easy endorphin's as apposed to actually getting up and doing something that will only produce the same response later on. Honestly, I hate it. if there was a cure for Procrastination, I wold be the distributor. There are always a million things we want to do, but most of them never get off the ground which is something nobody wants their kids to be like. I want my kids to thrive in this world, They need to be trend setters and break cultural norms with their ideas and talents. I however know that if this stagnant trait rubs off on them, they will most likely become couch potatoes instead of the next inventors. Make the commitment to be different this year. When the urge arises, turn the TV off or better yet, sell the damn thing. The kids will be better for it.
3. If you throw Tantrums, they will too!
We are not bipolar at all, but trying to keep our emotions in a jar is a very hard thing to do. We are very expressive whether excited or angry and some of it is good for team moral but others just look like five year old temper tantrums. Children throw temper tantrums because they feel either misunderstood or not heard. Just like them, those two things drive me crazy too. I have been known to have a few outbursts of frustration a few times, but having kids has made me a little more cautious. A banging door could hurt someone, and a loud scream could render me a monster to their fragile souls. I have had to count my words, and against his better judgement, hubbies too. How can I justify discipline for tantrums if I throw them myself. I guess self control is part of the parenting manual, the ADD parenting manual includes a section of self control, then the run into a sound proof room to scream your lungs out.....
4. You may not need time, but they do...
because they are students and live in a world defined by time and punctuality. I may not have any concept of time and even care to find one, but they need to know that it exists and understand why it should matter to them. Liam and Aspen are both in primary school and on a couple of occasions last year, we got scolded by the school a few times for tardiness. Its embarrassing yes, but it continued and Liam kind of got the hang of being late all the time. I have made it my mission this year to stick to time, no matter how exhausted, lazy and ridiculous its seems in my head. My kids need to learn to keep time for their own sake's. We all don't live in an ADD filled world and no matter what anyone deals with, there is a code that we need to adhere to in order to fulfill some of our dreams and make things happen. Time forms part of that code and no matter how far I try to run away from it, it catches me at a moments notice;)
5. You Love the spotlight, but hand it over to them
ADDer's and ADHDer's in my apinion are always the life of the party. We are chatting away with everyone, telling interesting stories and then dancing on the tables. We simply love to entertain people. So many celebrities have ADHD and it has helped them go farther in the career as they just have that extra spark. Its fun to be the center of attention, but its not fun when it overshadows the other people in the room, especially your kids. Children need to learn confidence and the only way they are going to do that is if they have a chance to express themselves in whatever may interest them.
In my experience, I tend to get emotionally attached to my passions, so when the opportunity arises to show them off, everything else kind of takes a back seat. I have however had to learn how to give my kids the spotlight. I want them to confident and free to show off every now and then. I guess it comes down to intentional balance as taking a step back is not built in to me, I have to remind myself to intentionally do it.
The saying goes that children learn by what we do and not by what we say, and so often my hubby has said that some of the things my kids do is just like me. I however would prefer to forgo some of the traits that could effect them in this so called 'normal' world. There are tons I would love them to take with them but these 5 things could hurt them if not paid close enough attention to.
Who I am cannot be seperated from having ADD but I can chose what to seperate what I have from who my family is and becomes.
To find about the 5 ADD traits that you want to rub off on your kids, go HERE