Beyondpondering's Weblog

Northwest Arkansas Therapy

ADHD and Holidays December 21, 2008

Aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, visitors and guests………..

Sights, sounds, lights, and laughter……

Music and song,  fireplaces and snowfall, presents and parties…….

So many activities and high hopes….that this years everything will go without a flaw….

But wait…there’s more….. School is out, fun is in.

Holidays are filled with activites and expectations.  Gifts picked out with special care hoping to convey the right sentiments.

Family comes in or you go there.    Perhaps you have not seen a particular set of relatives for years.  You want everyone

on your side of the family put their best foot forward, have on their best behavior, and be especially courtesy and kindness.

 

Different house rules, or perhaps none.   Squeals of joy and running here and there.   Too much sugar and a too much Egg Nog & Rum.  Someone can’t stand someone else’s brat kids.    A child brakes another child’s toy.  Someone’s child won’t

share.  Crying and commotion.   The pie burns while you are trying to put out the fires among the children.  

Spitting and spankings.   Ho Ho Ho…..MERRY CHRISTMAS. 

 

Parents in all their good intentions sometimes shoot themselves in the foot.   Many weeks or months their child has been on ADHD medication.  They understand the need to have the child sit in class and learn.  They understand how distracting school can be.  Medication is a necessary evil in their minds.  They are willing to put up with it to help their child have a better experience with school.  Now since school is out for the holidays,,,,certainly this is the perfect time to let “Little Billy” have a Medication Holiday.

Think about it for just a moment.  Does ADHD take a Holiday?  Does ADHD take a vacation?   No, it doesn’t.

The very time when family harmony is stressed out the most,,,,,

The very time when feelings can be the most sensitive……………

The very time when families needs more peace and calm……is the same time parents want Little Billy to be off his meds.    Is it helping or hurting family relationships?   Is it helping or contributing to family stress? 

You know….The ADHD child already has difficulty feeling good about him or herself,  why contribute to their negative feelings by purposefully pulling them off their meds at the very time it is needed the most?   Allow positive family relationships to develop.  Allow Little Billy to gain warm feelings about himself in relationship to their close relationships.  Do you want to help or hinder family harmony during the holidays?   ADHD does not take a holiday.  The risk of  a child having negative behaviors in the long term is related to how they feel about themselves today.  An  ADHD child can be frustrating.  Yet try to imagine how frustrated he is with himself.  Try to imagine how that child feels as he is constantly criticized, punished, or consequenced for what he has little control over.  Does the risk  of medication  really out weigh the seriousness of  long term side effects of poor self esteem or negative self image?

ADHD does not take Holidays.

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Relationships During These Hard Times December 10, 2008

“All we need is love. All we need is love, love………Love is all we need” (Beatles).  Is this true?  Really?

“I love you,,,,,,but I am not In Love, with you.”  “I love him but I don’t like him.”  What ?

“I’ll just die if I can’t have those jeans !”  Hugh ?

So, …..what then, do you need?

Time and patience for a start. How about giving honesty, dependability, determination, kindness, fairness, courtesy, cooperation, trustworthiness, and generosity? All of these can help sustain us during these financial hard times, as well as, help build meaningful long-term relationships.  Let’s take a look at things. Society has made so many improvements. Life is more convenient: Fast foods, drive thru’s, microwaves, dishwashers, and the like. We are so accustomed to “convenience”, we lose our patience if we have to give a little extra time at a restaurant. No wonder we get such a big surprise when we have to give time to another; or be patient

with another person’s like or dislikes; or even be patient with another person’s imperfections.We have never really had to wait, save up, or do without. Delayed gratification is almost a thing of the past. Perhaps the great benefit of today’s economy is that we are forced to realize that “relationships” are the only meaningful and lasting thing……… if we look at life Existentially or Spiritually. However, because life is so much easier than even a decade ago, many people have not learned to “press on” during times of momentary difficulty, as our historical counterpart once did. No I do not want to go back to the “good old days” when it comes to convenience. However, there are valuable principles which are worthwhile to carry with us from the past into posterity.

I was surprised when researchers came up with the term: “Benign Deprivation”. It is the idea of allowing oneself or one’s children to do without something, if that something, is not critical to sustaining life. In other words, if doing without an item, has a benign effect, it is okay to do without it.

The idea of “Benign Deprivations” still makes me chuckle because I have made it a point to do without a lot of stuff. My husband had to force me to get a cell phone. You see, I grew up around my grandparents. They lived through the Great Depression. Consequently they were fugal, never used credit, and saved tin foil. I did get caught up in materialism and conspicuous consumption when I was younger, but later sought out meaning and purpose.

We really have to ask ourselves if something is truly a need, as compared to a want. True, we may think we are going to die if we can’t have a particular pair of shoes. We may even tell ourselves….our children need a particular pair of jeans to fit into that popular crowd. Nevertheless, is it really life threatening to do without it? Maybe we need to count our blessings?

An over abundance of things can make ourselves and our kids greedy, spoiled, and demanding. Generosity and kindness can be lost unless we refocus back to positive character values.

Will we, as a society, allow material goods to replace character? Is “Benign Depravation” a new way to reminding us not to spoil ourselves and our kids with material goods? Is it a reminder for us to still value old fashioned character such as honesty, dependability, determination, kindness, fairness, courtesy, cooperation, trustworthiness, and generosity?

Relationships are necessary for life. Therefore, promoting, nurturing, and tending to the growth of quality character in ourselves and our kids, is beneficial for love and lasting relationships. Time is what our kids really want from us anyway. You too, probably.

These economic tight times need to be embraced and valued as a time to reinforce those things which are more lasting than temporal materialism. It can also bring out the best in us. Love, honor, dependability, determination, kindness, courtesy, trustworthiness, generosity, and meaningful long-term relationships will sustain us during these financial hard times.

About our RAD kids……………….time and patience is even more important.Not reacting to the fears they stir up in us is also critical. Our calmness can soothe their scared souls.

No matter what age they are. The younger they are,,,probably the easier it is to not react.Nonetheless, it is the older children who probably need it even more because they have gone without longer.

If we are going to catch ourselves before we over react, then we must be introspective and try to figure out why.

Why does a particular thing bug us?  What happened in our background….. which stirs up those irritable feelings, when our

kids bug us?  My father was a pathological lier, so when my child said anything which might resemble even a “half truth”,

my nerves were set on fire.   He might have been telling the truth yet I was already predisposed to expect the worst.

Therefore, I got paradoxical results.   I helped create the very thing I thought I was trying to prevent.

This is when I should have stopped myself. But I was not aware yet. Everyone does the best they can with what they know.

I am so glad to have a better understanding.