Please Think Before You Stare!

Today was a relatively good day to start off with. The children weren’t overly bad this morning, my hospital appointment went well, ran a few errands and then the heaven’s opened as I collected J and K from school and things just seemed to go down hill from there.

We had to pop in to town to pick up J’s new glasses (he snapped his other pair clean in half). I got cut up by another car trying to push in as they decided to get in the left hand turn only lane as they couldn’t be bothered to wait in the queue like everyone else, so I wasn’t in the best of moods anyway. I had calmed down by the time we parked and the kids were behaving, so I thought this should be easy. How wrong was I??

We went to get J’s glasses sorted, and whilst in there I booked K’s eye appointment as she is due a check up. I then needed to just quickly run to Boots to pick up a few things and as J has lost his toothbrush, yet again, had to buy a new one.

I decided to let the children decide which toothbrushes they want, and they both picked little electric ones. I also let J select a new toothpaste as he is very fussy. At this point he had seen a toy car he wanted and I had told him he couldn’t have it, that I wasn’t just going to buy him a toy because he wanted it and that it had to be earned. Well, this went down like a lead balloon. I decided to go and pay and get out of the shop pronto. Whilst I was scanning in my items (only the self service was working!), J came over with toy car in hand crying that he wanted it. Again, I told him he couldn’t, so instead he tried to swipe it through the checkout himself. I managed to pay for the bits I had got, and remove the car from his grasp.

All the time, he was screaming and crying and people were staring at me like I was the worse mother in the world and couldn’t handle her child. As soon as I removed the toy from his grasp he kicked off more. He jumped on my back, punched me then kicked me in the leg. I had to try to leave the shop, pushing the pushchair with A in and have him hanging off me hitting me at the same time. We got outside and I pulled him off my back and walked off.

I did the only thing I can do when he kicks off. I call P for reassurance. Whilst talking to P, J decided that he was going to start kicking the pushchair and the concrete post. Cue stares from everyone walking past, some even glancing back to take a look at the nearly 7-year-old boy throwing a tantrum any toddler would be proud of.

I wanted to die inside. I wanted the ground to swallow me up right there and then. Do you know how embarrassing it is when your child throws a full on tantrum out in public? I mean, toddlers yeah, you accept that that’s what they do, they tantrum and people can sympathise with you. But do you realise how hard it is for a mother to have strangers stare at her whilst her school age child is throwing a tantrum.

You see, even though he doesn’t look it, J is classed as Special Needs and Disabled. To everyone else he looks like he is just a typical boy. There is nothing physically wrong with him. Unfortunately it is all brain related and this is horrid for us as parents. If he looked disabled then perhaps people could understand a bit more and wouldn’t stare. Instead they just think we are unable to control our rowdy child, and with me being pregnant with our 4th baby, it makes me think they are judging me.

The reason for this post, is that I wanted to make you stop and think. Next time you witness and older child having a tantrum in town, please don’t stare at them or the parents. You do not know if that child has underlying issues. It is hard enough for the parent to watch it, they don’t need strangers standing and watching their child tantrum too. Have a little compassion for the ragged looking mum. Just because a child doesn’t look disabled, doesn’t mean they aren’t!

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Moaning old grouch!

I try not to be moany and grouchy, after all, I have probably got a lot more than a fair few people out there and I have a beautiful family, but lets face it. I’m a moaner. I don’t like being this way, and I’m sure it probably puts off a lot of people actually wanting to talk to me incase I start my moaning.

On my Twitter, I always try to be open and always try not to grumble, knowing full well that I have an open account and everyone can see, but lately I am just having such a hard time with eldest that I can’t help but take myself to Twitter and have that little venting time, in the hope that someone out there can offer some suggestions or advise.

You see, he’s getting worse. He is 6.5 and diagnosed ADHD. He also has traits of High Functioning Asperger’s Syndrome, which at the moment is not diagnosed, due to the fact that he has an imagination apparently. I know he has Aspie’s, he shows clear signs of this with the way he interacts, or rather doesn’t socially. He has no concept of social situations or how to handle them. He does not know how to talk to people. He cannot give eye contact, to anyone. He has no fear, which can be dangerous. This is what scares us the most.

If you do follow my Twitter then you will see how difficult this past week has been for us. We have had trouble getting him to school in the morning. He is incapable of dressing himself. He can do it, he just too busy flitting that he can’t sit still for the few minutes this takes. This results him in being taken to school half-dressed. He also trashed the house before he leaves in the morning. His room is a constant mess anyway. It takes me over an hour to tidy his room, and each time I do I throw away a black bag of rubbish, literally! It’s like Steptoes yard up there!

Not only does he collect rubbish, but we have started finding scissors and knives (toddler ones, not real sharp ones although I guess it is only a matter of time?), along with Screwdrivers and things he has taken out of our bedroom. He cuts things up. Things he shouldn’t! For example, P’s tie and a rucksack have been the latest casualties to get cut.

Once we have got him off to school, its then spending the time trying to get some order back, before its time to collect him from school. I dread this. I dread his teacher calling me over to tell me what he’s been up to. I dread him starting on K as soon as they get out of the playground and then the big Kick off when he can’t go to the park or have an ice cream because it’s peeing down with rain.

Once home, he turns into his destructive self again. Dinner time is a nightmare as he refuses most of the food I make, telling us he WANTS a cheeseburger instead, or he uses blackmail against us to get what he wants. “I want ???, the doctor said I can have what I want because I’m losing weight”….I curse the doctors and dietician’s under my breath for being so open in front of him!

The hours to bedtime pass in a blur. Bedtime itself is another battle….and sometimes that’s just to try to get in his room!

He is a Jekyll and Hyde. One moment he can be fine, then its like someone flicks a switch and he is the most horrible child ever. Although I know it’s not HIM as such, it’s the behaviour that is horrid.

We don’t get any support. No one really understands what we are going through, which is why I use my Twitter a lot, as I know someone out there will be able to offer advise or help with what we can do with him!

I feel like a horrible parent a lot of the time. I spend my days screaming and shouting, then I feel guilty about it, but he just pushes my buttons. He is testing everyone’s relationships. We get invited out to family events, but have to cancel most of the time because of the way he is. I know he shouldn’t dictate to us, but please tell me HOW I can inflict him on other people. You can see the looks in their eye’s and the rolling of their eye’s, wondering why we can’t control our child.

Please someone tell me we’re not alone and that things will get easier …. because right now, I just want to curl up and cry.

Parenting ADHD: Useful Books

My last post Update: Parenting ADHD, I mentioned a few books that I had ordered to help us as a family deal with J and his needs.

The books arrived last week and we got set straight away reading the 2 child friendly books to the children. J even read one of them back at me. It took him a while and he struggled with some of the words, but he did really well.

Anyway, I wanted to share with you the books that I brought, incase anyone out there will find them helpful too.

The books are:

“All Dogs Have ADHD” by Kathy Hoopmann – ‘Absorbing and insightful, this book takes a refreshing approach to understanding ADHD. It combines humour with understanding to reflect the joys and challenged of raising a child who is different.’

I was given this book to read at J’s last hospital appointment and thought it was really good and it is exactly like J. I thoought it would help him understand himself a bit better.

 “My Brother Is Different” by Louise Gorrod and Illustrations by Beccy Carver. Written for The National Autistic Society.

There is no synopsis for this book. The book is fabulous for explaining to children about why their brother is different. Not all of the aspects in the book are relevant to our family, but hopefully it will give the girls a bit of an insight into why J does the things he does and that he doesn’t mean to do them, and how they should love him for being him.

“How to Help Your Child With ADHD: Practical ways to make family life run more smoothly” by Beverly Davies – ‘What can you do to help your child with ADHD? Parenting a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can be hugely stressful and can often feel overwhelming. But you are not alone. How to Help your Child with ADHD draws on the advice and experience of many parents so you can make a different to your child’s life by discovering how to: * Deal with doctors and ask the right questions. * Weigh up the pros and cons of different treatments. * Provide the right diet for your child. * Handle difficult behaviour without losing your temper. * Share responsibility with your family. * Work in partnership with your school.”

I have only just started to read this book and this is probably the book I need the most. I find it hard to stay strong and focused and to not shout at J for his behaviour. I need to remind myself that he doesn’t know/understand what he is doing wrong and rather than shout at him for it, I need to react to him in a calmer manner and discuss why he thought that the actions he took were appropriate at the time. I will let you know what I felt about this book when I have finished it.

“Understanding A.D.H.D: A parent’s guide to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children” by Dr Christopher Green and Dr Kit Chee – ‘Understanding ADHD is the definitive guide to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder for parents, teachers and health professionals, including the latest research on this distressing and misunderstood condition. This is the most up-to-date guide from the author of the international bestseller Toddler Taming. In his typically friendly and direct style, Dr Christopher Green, with Dr Kit Chee, explains the causes and effects of ADHD and provides well-tried, practical strategies to help cope with common problems such as inattention, impulsiveness and under achievement. He demystifies the condition and offers the latest information on the Ritalin debate. *how to identify ADHD in your child. * medication and alternative therapies. * self-help for adults with ADHD. * where to get support. * how to help with reading, writing and language. * improving behaviour at school and home. * the latest research on medication and treatment.’

This book sounds like a great book to help anyone understand ADHD and how it affects not only the child, but the family too.

ADHD is still not recognised by some people as being a REAL condition. A lot of people think it is just an excuse for a ‘naughty’ child, but it’s not! There is an imbalance in the brain that causes ADHD. It happens when the foetus is growing inside the womb and will ALWAYS be with that child. It will not go away and they will not ‘grow out of it’ like some assume. They just learn to manage and cope with it. They know no different, to the child with ADHD, they ARE normal!!

I would recommend anyone who has a child with ADHD, if you have a child with ADHD within your family or simply a friend has a child with ADHD, please take a moment to read a book about it! We need to educate people more on ADHD!!

All these books are readily available on the internet and (I assume) at bookstores and /or libraries.

*This is NOT a sponsored post. I merely want to share with you information I have found to be useful, and hope it helps someone reading this.

Update : Parenting ADHD

It’s been a while since I have blogged about J and seeing has we had a hospital check up this morning, I thought I would log it. The check up was purely to check on his weight. Since he was put on to his medication in July 2011, he has lost his appetite and we struggled big time to get him to eat. We found that his weight was dropping, but he was still growing taller.

Just after Christmas his Consultant decided to change the make of his medication and to lower the dosage. This would mean that, as the medication would release differently and be lower dose, his appetite should return and his weight increase. He was last seen in February, and since then he has grown 2cms taller and has gained just under 1kg in weight, which is a FANTASTIC improvement.

Unfortunately, the downside to the lower dosage of his medication, is that his behaviour has been out of control. His Consultant has now agreed to up his dosage by an extra 10mg so we are hoping that little bit extra will make all the difference.

We are really struggling with him as a family. He gets frustrated with himself and starts kicking off and throwing mega temper tantrums. He will hit out at either K or myself. K doesn’t understand why he is like he is, so in turn she is retaliating to his violence, which leaves me absolutely mentally and physically exhausted from constantly shouting and breaking up fights all the time.

I just feel like a really crap parent and a crap mother and if I am honest, I wonder what the hell did I do that was so bad to be given a child like this. I know, I sound horrible, but it is so frustrating and draining raising a child with difficulties. We all just want our children to be perfect, and to behave and have manners and be these little darlings that everyone else seems to have. Instead my children seem, to me, to be like little feral animals that are disruptive and uncontrollable. I am fed up of the stares from people and the whispering to each other about them.

I know that I do not have the most patience in the world (probably an understatement there), but we just cannot go on like this anymore. We do not get outside help from people and relatives. We see the Consultant every few months and that is it. I was supposed to be put on a parenting course by the hospital, but that never happened. Unless I do things for myself, they don’t materialise.

Today, whilst at the hospital, I was given a book to read. It was called “All Dogs have ADHD” by Kathy Hoopmann. It was really interesting to read and had fab pictures of dogs in, but most importantly it explained about ADHD and how it felt to have it. So, as soon as I got home, I logged on to the internet and brought the book, along with several others.

I want to learn to parent him better. I want him to understand why he is different from others, and I want his sisters to learn why he is like he is. Hopefully the books, combined with his extra bit of medication will help us all learn about J and why he does the things he does.

If anyone has any advise, or can point me towards any courses or literature that might help us, please do!!!

 

Why we medicate our child….

A Post I wrote a few months ago that I want to share with you on why we decided to medicate our son!!

Some people don’t agree with parents who medicate their children. I know some people don’t agree with the fact that we have decided to medicate J following his ADHD diagnosis.

ADHD is a chemical imbalance in the part of the brain that controls concentration, attention and impulsivity.

Some people don’t believe in such things as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. They believe its an excuse for naughty, misbehaved children and bad parenting.

If its bad parenting, then why is K good? They are both parented exactly the same.

I challenge anyone who tells me that J is just a naughty, unruly child to come and live in our house for a week! I tell you now, you would not last 5 minutes!

On a daily basis we face several tantrums, violence,along with aggressive and oppositional behaviour. We have our house wrecked, our tempers frayed, and our relationships tested.

A good day is when J hasn’t attacked one of us. The verbal we can handle, it’s the physical attacks that are the worse, and as he gets bigger, he is getting stronger.

We try to avoid taking J out incase he has a tantrum in public. This can be anything from feet stomping, to full on hitting out. People think nothing of Tutting as they watch. Last summer we had to go in to town to get school uniform for J, so he had to come with us. After a while, he got bored so he kicked off. P walked with J, and I followed behind with K. Behind me I could hear an older couple discussing J and his tantrum, tutting, I could feel my blood boiling. I wanted to turn round and tell them that he doesn’t like crowds, his attention span cannot handle 30mins at the shops and he takes his frustration out by throwing a tantrum. Instead, I kept my mouth shut, did what we had to do and got out of there as quick as we could.

J doesn’t handle social situations well. He doesn’t know how to behave socially. He does not know that sometimes he is being inappropriate. He comes across as rude. He doesn’t mean to be, he just doesn’t know. He will talk to strangers about anything, if they respond, they get the Spanish inquisition. He thinks nothing of asking someone why they’re in a wheelchair, or why have they got a cast on their arm.

He has no fear! He thinks nothing of walking out in front of cars, and yes he has done that and had to be pulled back several times.  He does know right from wrong, but when asked, he cannot tell you why he did something.

Then you have the hyperactive side. J wakes up anytime from 5am onwards. 6:30/7:00am is a lie in. He does have occasions where he can sleep in until 8ish, albeit those are rare. From the moment he wakes up to the moment he goes to sleep, he is like energiser bunny…constantly on the go.

Bedtimes can be a struggle. He can spend anything from 10minutes to several hours jumping up and down on his bed. If he’s in a bad mood, he will trash is room. He will hurl things at you, he will scream at you and he thinks nothing of slamming his bedroom door against his wall. All because it’s time for bed, and that’s not what he wants.

K on the other hand, knows the boundaries. She is a year younger. She knows not to talk to stranger. She knows the boundaries that are expected of her and she knows the dangers when out. Ok, so she may not do everything she’s asked (which 4yr old does?) but she knows  when she will get in to trouble for doing something, and generally, she doesn’t do it. Bed times are no problem and she is straight to sleep…yes, even through one of J’s tantrums! That girl will sleep through anything!!

So, as you can imagine, our house is pretty hectic (especially as we have 8.5mth old A too). We are at the end of our tethers and on the verge of breakdowns, so when J’s consultant advised to medicate J we decided to give it a go. It was either that, or split our family up…something which neither P or myself want to do.

So, here we are, medicating our son to not only help him, but to help us as a family. Some people may say we’re being selfish medicating him, but without the medication, we are not being the best parents we know we can be to not only J but to his sisters. Now tell me that’s being selfish?

 

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