For a while we didn’t tell Child1 anything about what was wrong and why he had to do certain things.
I did realise that we needed to tell him but to be honest, I wasn’t sure how. You know those “Molly has Asthma” or “Molly is having a sister” or “Molly is going to the dentist” books? Well, there isn’t one (to my knowledge) called “Molly has ADD” – am strongly considering writing one.
Anyway, for a long time Child1 was under the impression that he takes a vitamin in the morning (we all took vitamins so it wasn’t weird) or that he goes to Romy and Sharon (his OTs) to play or that he goes to Bernice (his reading Tutor) to do fun activities with letters and words and pictures. Child1 is a quality time kind of kid and does REALLY well with one-on-one interventions. He THRIVES on the attention and obviously on the praise when he accomplishes something that he’s been struggling with in his sessions.
One day he made a comment about how his vitamins made him smart. I responded and said, “no sweetie, you are already smart, you don’t need vitamins to be smart”.
He left it at that but his comments REALLY bothered me and I wondered what his impressions were about what was going on in his life and in his head.
Once again, I had to work through my feelings. Of shame and embarrassment. Because really, if he had asthma or epilepsy or diabetes or something then I would not have hesitated to talk to him (or ANYONE else) about it. We would have found ways (together) to manage it. Yet, I wasn’t able to talk to him about this thing that was essentially a part of him.
I realised that I didn’t want him to be embarrassed about his ADHD and I didn’t want him to feel like it was something that he needed to hide from people.
And so one day we just told him. We kept it age appropriate and very basic and my DH drew these zany, odd pictures of brains for him. We explained how his brain worked and why he sometimes behaved the way he did. We explained WHY he had to take his meds and WHY he needed to go for certain therapies. It was fine. Really.
I told him to come to me if he had ANY questions so we could find the answers for him. Which he did. Which proved difficult because as I previously mentioned, there is no “Johnny has ADD” book and google seems to make provision for parents and adults with ADD/ADHD only. Now that he’s older and understands himself a bit better it is easier to talk about and we continue to speak openly about it.
Would I do things differently? ABSOLUTELY. This is the one and only regret that I have. I should have told him earlier.
Because quite honestly, he is wonderfully and fearfully made and has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to be ashamed of.