I am a parent of that kid. You know the one. We have all seen and heard them. The one who swears. Yells obscenities to random people. The one who post inappropriate memes, Facebook posts, tweets or texts. The one who gets suspended from school, regularly. The one who draws violent pictures. The one who runs away, rages against the norm. You know that kid, right? The one who sleeps through church. They have a hard time showering. they wear the same clothes over, over and over again. The disorganized one who rarely turns in homework. The kid you can’t really seem to like. The one you tell your kids to avoid or ignore. The one you just don’t understand. The kid you think isn’t being parented correctly. You may think they just need more structure or disciplined firmly. You know that one, the one you try to give the parents advice about how to handle them. The one who steals, breaks things, lies, puts holes in walls, destroys things and throws food. Yes, I am a parent to that kid.
Now please allow me to tell you about “that kid”.
- That kid cries regularly. They wonder why they can’t act the right way. they ask, “why don’t I have friends?”, “why can’t people let go of the way I behaved yesterday?” “Why am I different?” “Why can’t I say, think or do the right things?” “Why am I so stupid?” I am sure your child does the same thing. Except, you can tell your child it is temporary. Mine will act like this for life. How would you address it now?
- They have a disability, you just can’t see it. They have ADHD, Reactive Attachment Disorder R.A.D., Bipolar disorder etc… Sometimes, I think it would be easier if you could visually see their disorder. You would probably treat them differently, wouldn’t you? You see someone who is a certain age and you expect them to act that age. They just can’t. I promise it isn’t because they don’t want to.
- They get overloaded very easy. It may seem like a simple church meeting to most. To them it is an overload of stimuli. Music, movement, crying babies, the speakers, crinkling paper or everyone singing the hymn.
- Their parents are well aware of how their child acts/behaves. It is NOT a reflection of their parenting. They are trying their very best to handle everything. Sometimes, it may seem that they are ignoring the bad behavior. Please know, it is because they have bigger issues they are handling.
- My child may and will offend your child and probably you. It is not personal…it is a disability. You may not be able to connect with them. There may be no understanding their behavior or reasoning with them. what would you do if they had downs syndrome? You wouldn’t expect them to act a certain way nor explain themselves.
- They have a hard time making eye contact. Eye contact is scary. They aren’t being disrespectful on purpose.
- Here are a few facts about ADHD from the mayo clinic: Coexisting Issues with ADHD
- Learning disabilities, including problems with understanding and communicating
- Anxiety disorders, which may cause overwhelming worry, nervousness and worsening of ADHD symptoms until the anxiety is treated and under control
- Depression, which frequently occurs in children with ADHD
- Bipolar disorder, which includes depression as well as manic behavior
- Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), generally defined as a pattern of negative, defiant and hostile behavior toward authority figures
- Conduct disorder, marked by antisocial behavior such as stealing, fighting, destroying property, and harming people or animalsSigns and symptoms of ADHD may include:
- Difficulty paying attention
- Frequently daydreaming
- Difficulty following through on instructions and apparently not listening
- Frequently has problems organizing tasks or activities
- Frequently forgetful and loses needed items, such as books, pencils or toys
- Frequently fails to finish schoolwork, chores or other tasks
- Easily distracted
- Frequently fidgets or squirms
- Difficulty remaining seated and seemly in constant motion
- Excessively talkative
- Frequently interrupts or intrudes on others’ conversations or games
- Frequently has trouble waiting for his or her turn
Now, add to that this: Many of the children in my home suffer from some form of Fetal Alcohol Exposure.
- Achievement: Learning disabilities
- Adaptive behavior: Poor impulse control, poor personal boundaries, poor anger management, stubbornness, intrusive behavior, too friendly with strangers, poor daily living skills, developmental delays
- Attention: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), poor attention or concentration, distractible
- Cognition: Intellectual disability, confusion under pressure, poor abstract skills, difficulty distinguishing between fantasy and reality, slower cognitive processing
- Executive functioning: Poor judgment, Information-processing disorder, poor at perceiving patterns, poor cause and effect reasoning, inconsistent at linking words to actions, poor generalization ability
- Language: Expressive or receptive language disorders, grasp parts but not whole concepts, lack understanding of metaphor, idioms, or sarcasm
- Memory: Poor short-term memory, inconsistent memory and knowledge base
- Motor skills: Poor handwriting, poor fine motor skills, poor gross motor skills, delayed motor skill development (e.g., riding a bicycle at appropriate age)
- Sensory processing and soft neurological problems: sensory processing disorder, sensory defensiveness, undersensitivity to stimulation
- Social communication: Intrude into conversations, inability to read nonverbal or social cues, “chatty” but without substance
- Mental health problems: Diagnosed with ADHD, Clinical Depression, or other mental illness, experienced by over 90% of the subjects
- Disrupted school experience: Suspended or expelled from school or dropped out of school, experienced by 60% of the subjects (age 12 and older)
- Trouble with the law: Charged or convicted with a crime, experienced by 60% of the subjects (age 12 and older)
- Confinement: For inpatient psychiatric care, inpatient chemical dependency care, or incarcerated for a crime, experienced by about 50% of the subjects (age 12 and older)
- Inappropriate sexual behavior: Sexual advances, sexual touching, or promiscuity, experienced by about 50% of the subjects (age 12 and older)
- Alcohol and drug problems: Abuse or dependency, experienced by 35% of the subjects (age 12 and older)
- Dependent living: Group home, living with family or friends, or some sort of assisted living, experienced by 80% of the subjects (age 21 and older)
- Problems with employment: Required ongoing job training or coaching, could not keep a job, unemployed, experienced by 80% of the subjects (age 21 and older)
My point is to allow you to know there is more going on with “that kid” than you can see with your eyes. Please try to understand. Please try and be compassionate and forgiving.
Because “that kid” comes with a family that loves them no matter what. “That kid” has parents that want to defend him just like you want to protect and defend your kid. “That kid” is a beloved son or daughter of Heavenly Parents, just like you.
We are not making excuses. We get overwhelmed sometimes with the various needs. Take the time to explain to your children because “that kid” isn’t mean. They need more support, more reminders and more friends. How would you feel if you were the parent of :that kid? How would you feel if whenever you went somewhere someone was telling you everything your child did wrong. (while I completely support that we should be aware) Can you imagine how hard and overwhelming it is?
I am determined to give my beautiful child the best life possible. I feel an overwhelming guilt that my child acts the way they do. I am truly sorry your child is exposed to the hard parts of mine.
Think about “that kid”, pray for them and their families, be a support and a strength but most of all love “that kid”. They may need it more than most.