We all have our beliefs, our moral code, that's etched into our personality; it can't be disputed. Whether it be on parenting, work ethic, we all have a thought process or belief system that we use when we are internally debating how to respond to someone or something. How we react to each situation life throws at us is wholly based on on our internal moral code. Here's the question of the day: Can a person change how they feel about something, even if it's something you strongly feel one way about? Some may say no, but I disagree. Here's why..
I'll rewind my clock and start about 15-years ago when my daughter was around 4 or 5 years old. For being the first born everything (child, grandchild, niece etc.) she was pretty well behaved. Of course, I taught her how to say please & thank-you, how to respect her elders, how to act in public, the basic things. But, beyond the basics's I really didn't do anything extraordinary with her! Her big brown eyes, bouncy brown hair, petite little frame and sweet disposition made her the sweetest little girl. I rarely had to discipline or direct her. She kept herself busy, and knew exactly when Mommy didn't want to read a book. She was my trick child. She tricked me into a single minded thought process. Single minded meaning, I hadn't experienced it, so I thought I knew exactly what others needed to do when dealing with it themselves. My kid was ideal, which meant my methods worked, so you should listen to me, right? Well, then I met my son…
I used to say that ADD/ADHD wasn't a REAL diagnosis. All that kids needed to behave was direction from their parents. It was their parents job to direct and discipline them properly. Me, I would NEVER consider any of my children as having ADD/ADHD. I was a good parent, look at how my daughter was turning out. She was living, breathing proof that ADD/ADHD was created by environment. After-all, I was a single Mom, if anyone had a shot at being misbehaved it'd be my daughter, it was just her and I! Well, life has a funny way of proving you wrong. Sometimes life can test your moral and put your beliefs on public display to be picked, prodded and proved wrong.
Just like I was with my daughter, I was in awe of my sweet baby boy when I met him. As a baby, he was literally the most perfect baby! He never cried, unless he needed something in particular (bottle, fresh diaper etc). His smile would melt anyone with a hearts heart instantly. His big, curios blue eyes, and spiky blonde hair made him look exactly how I always envisioned my baby boy would look. A heart breaker in the making, with the softest, most sensitive heart. Even when he was so little, he proved time and time again that his compassion always took precedence over any other quality he possessed. He loved deeply, and seemed to be a bit of a people pleaser too.
My baby boy was, and is, my wild child! Never a dull moment, always on the go, he has THE SHORTEST attention span I'd ever seen in my life! Forget Mommy reading him a book, EVER! He rarely made it past the first page. Nothing aroused his attention for more than a split second. Boys will be boys, he was certainly my bouncing baby boy. He taught me how to run, no sprint, on high-heals, a master escape artist, with a very, very impulsive nature. Only he didn't grow out of it. When he started to go to school, his teachers began bringing up his squirmy, wormy demeanor. Explaining how he could never sit still, he wondered off when outside, and that they felt it would be wise to have him tested for ADD/ADHD. My reply was NO! Not my son, he's just active! He'll grow out of it… Only he didn't. Eventually, I very reluctantly agreed to participate in his Pediatrician's assessment that would determined if my son had ADD/ADHD. It was very painless, a simple questionnaire that the adults, teachers, daycare providers (and what have you) filled out, answering the questions with my son in mind. I felt if we got this out of the way, they would leave it alone, and stop picking on my son. To my surprise, he was diagnosed as not only having ADD, but ADD/ADHD! I had barely a split second to absorb the fact that I'd been in denial his entire life, before we started the next big decision. How to treat him.
Throughout this process, it was very difficult for me see things his way, and not mine. I was stubbornly holding onto ideas that were best for me, not him. After a while, I finally learned how to be the type of parent that makes decisions for their child; not for myself. I decided that I wanted my son to have all the same opportunities that my daughter did. I wanted him to enjoy school, not dread it. I wanted him to not only learn, but retain what he learns. Make friends and be a normal little boy who loves life, and puts his larger than life heart on display for the world to see! I decided I wanted what was best for him, not me. So I had to let go of my closed minded thought process on ADD/ADHD and I dove head first into researching. I read book after book, talked to others (who I once told were wrong, at first I thought man, did they get their sweet revenge. But nobody ever treated me like that). I learned a very hard lesson that every child is different. What is best for one, may not be best for the other. They are each their own little human, an individual in the making. As a parent, I decided that I was here to teach, guide and provide the tools for all of my kids to grow and become the best version of their adult selves that they could ever possibly become.
Granted, the treatment plan I chose for my son may not be the best for someone else's son. It's been a long, uphill journey, trying to find the options that worked for him. Now, he's 13-years old (almost 14) an honor roll student, who loves sports, his siblings, parents and friends. He's still the same compassionate, loving and rambunctious little boy he was way back when. His personality hasn't changed, he's just the best version of himself, because I decided to make the best decisions for him, not me.
If I have any advice, in closing, for parents out there going through the same challenges as I have; try to remember your making decisions for another person. Even if they are your child, they are still their own human being. One who isn't quite old enough to make decisions for themselves. So they trust you to make the choice that works for them. Just because it works for you, doesn't mean it will for them and vice-versa. It'd be great if our kids all grew to be our idealistic expectations of who we expect them to be. But most wont. Most will grow up to be their idealistic expectations of what they aspire to be. We can only teach them, guide them and give them the tools to be the best version of themselves they could ever possibly be!
Like the many buds on a flower, our children bloom at their own pace, and at various stages in life.