It's obvious to most that have ever met me that my brain works differently than others, and I've had a lot of the same struggles as many husbands described on this board. However, I got a unique view of ADHD because of my children showing the same characteristics. The only thing is that my children are adopted. It started when I had only one adopted child that I raised from birth, and then I came to even more of an understanding after adopting five more children from the foster system. 4 of those 5 children had "adhd characteristics" with one of them being highly medicated for it.
I soon realized that the problems with my marriage (that I blamed on my wife) and the ADHD characteristics my son showed were direct reflections of me as the head of the household. I could have ignorantly gone through life blaming my wife and accepting my children's diagnosis like so many men today that remain around, however, I was fortunate that the Adderall I ended up taking almost destroyed me, but the love from my first adopted son gave me the strength to "fix myself."
Now, with a family of 8, 5 of whom show ADHD characteristics, we should be chaotic. However, the exact opposite is true, we have a well disciplined and functioning family. My wife will be the first to admit, that no matter how strong she is (and she is), she did not have the ability to bring our family to where it is today by herself. It took me "fixing myself" and working hand in hand with my wife as strong leaders of our house to help our children overcome their adhd characteristics.
We are STRONG BELIEVERS that every child and every family is different, so we do know that what has worked for us, is not necessarily the answer for everyone. But I am posting the following because it did work for us, and there might be some parents out there who could read it and reflect on their own routines and priorities.
We believe that there are 7 characteristics that strong parents should exude, and we ask reflective questions constantly to make sure we are raising our children right.
1. Endure and Persevere – Do I overprotect my children? In what ways have I taught them to endure a hardship and persevere despite uncomfortable circumstances? Do I allow them to quit when the task gets tough? Do I bail them out at school or do I allow them to learn the tough lessons? Am I raising mentally strong children who will be up to life’s challenges long after I’m gone?
2. Be Humble – Am I raising my children to be like the selfish athletes and actors on TV? Am I filling my children with so much false pride that they lack humility? What type of swimsuits do I allow my daughters to wear? Where do our children learn to be humble in our current self-gratification society?
3. Avoid Selfish Ambition – I want my children to succeed, so how do I find the balance? Am I raising selfish children by spoiling them? How does our society contribute to our selfish nature? What type of parent or spouse will they grow into if I raise them to be selfish adults?
4. Control your thoughts and actions – What messages are my children receiving each day from the TV, radio, peers, and adults? What images are their minds bombarded with? What are the lyrics to the songs they are memorizing? How can I expect my children to control their actions when I allow their thoughts to be attacked daily?We only listen to Christian music and we don't watch bad tv or movies. Google the word "illuminati" and do some research on the messages being sent out today. It's scary, and those messages are being internalized by our children. This change had a transformational effect on our family. Read about why Lebron James changed to the #6. Look at the symbolism in Rhianna videos, Beyonce and Jay-Z videos. If you haven't, you will be shocked. If kids are constantly inundating themselves with these messages, they will begin to act them out.
5. Control your tongue – How do I allow my children to speak to me, each other, their friends,teachers, and others? Do I allow my children to talk negatively about people? Do I allow them to disrespect me? What do I do when I get a note that my children are talking too much at school?
6. Do not judge – How to I counteract our American Idol society and teach my children to not judge others? Do I judge others in front of them?
7. Show Faith through Works – Do my children have chores? Do I hold them accountable? Are my children workers or takers? Am I teaching them a work ethic that will make them successful as adults? Am I teaching my children to take care of responsibilities so they will be good spouses one day?
K.L. Jones author of Broke Down & Loved Up