Emotional post ahead…
To the parent with judgement in their eyes watching my son behaving ‘badly’ at the birthday party. To the shop keeper giving me a look as if to say ‘control your child’. To the people who call my son ‘naughty’.
Here’s what you don’t understand.
Here’s what you don’t see.
My boy is the most thoughtful, perceptive child you’ll ever meet. He is sensitive, a deep thinker and believe it or not has feelings too. Just like your child.
He sometimes can’t control his own body and this includes his thoughts. He is physically strong, well beyond his years. But he sometimes doesn’t know that the cuddle he is giving your child is hurting them.
His brain can’t tell him that your child doesn’t like it. He can’t help it. He doesn’t mean it.
He would love to be friends with your child. But sometimes can’t show it.
There are times where he will have a code red meltdown over something seemingly insignificant. And these meltdowns may happen in a public place.
To you, it may look like he is a spoilt little brat screaming because I won’t let him have that particular lolly. But in reality, he is coming down off his medication, it has been a very long day for him and due to the hidden handicap that is ADHD, he can’t regulate his behaviour.
I’m not a bad parent for ‘allowing’ this behaviour. My child is not a naughty, manipulative kid. He simply can’t help it.
And from the experience gained by living through many of these meltdowns, I have learned to leave him to it. Especially in public. It is like adding petrolto a fire trying to talk him out of it. Explosive.
My boy just wants to be understood. And to understand. Life is going to be that little bit harder for him. People can’t see how his brain works. His symptoms are evident through behaviour.
Which makes it a difficult disorder to understand and explain. You may silently ask “But why can’t he just control himself?” The answer: it is beyond his control.
Next time you see a child acting out, maybe stop and ask if you can help. Or give a genuine smile. Or simply tell the parent to hang in there.