Thursday, September 8, 2011

"I'll be a good boy, mom. I promise!"

There's a new battle looming on the Blanchard homestead. When I ask Jonas to take his ADHD medication in the morning he starts to cry. "I"ll be a good boy, mom. I promise!" It breaks my heart and makes me wonder again if we're doing the right thing.

Somehow, he got it in his head that he has to take this pill because he's a bad boy, like it's a punishment. Sometime during the summer, he started thinking that these challenges he has can all be resolved by mind over matter and, when he doesn't control them, it's because he is making a choice not to.

That's such a load of #%&*!!

Yesterday, and again this morning, we talked about why he has to take his medicine. I explained that what the pill does is allow him to be able to stop and use his brain to think things through so he has a chance to make smart decisions. The pill doesn't do that thinking or make those decisions for him. That's up to him. All of us have to learn to think things through, to predict and weigh consequences so we can make wise decisions. Isn't that a big part of what childhood is all about?  Wisdom comes with experience, right?

He has to learn through experience and teaching, as all kids do, but ADHD means that he doesn't get a chance to go through that decision-making process or absorb those lessons. When he's not on his medication it's as if his brain is a race car, stuck in drive with the pedal to the metal. He doesn't make bad choices. He doesn't make any choices at all. Most things get lost in a blur of hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Like touching a hot stove over and over, he doesn't absorb the experience and he doesn't remember the lessons, so the same things play themselves out again and again. It's frustrating for everybody and leaves him thinking that there's something wrong with him.

That's not ok with me. I'm not the kind of mom who lives wearing rose coloured glasses. I'm an optimist, yes, but I'm also a realist. I want Jonas to learn these life lessons. I'm not trying to protect him from them. I'd just like to give him a chance to learn without having his self esteem beaten to a pulp in the process.


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