I had a rather interesting argument with someone tonight, and it really opened my eyes to how little people know about some things.
This person called me a control freak. Their reasoning? Because I expect them to go through me when it comes to things regarding my children, because I’m particular about what my children eat and the schedule that we keep and the routine that we have.
Now, let me explain WHY I do this, because I assure you, it’s NOT because I’m a control freak. Trust me, I wish I could let things go. But I can’t. Because my children have ADHD, and I’ve gone to great lengths to get to a point where they don’t have to have medication in order to function.
Everyone with ADHD or children with ADHD will find that there are different things they can do, not do, avoid or create in order to work with and around the symptoms. Here’s what works for us:
1. Watching what they eat: Food dyes, perservatives, artificial flavorings or other things in some foods impact how attentive and/or hyper my kids are. Avoiding those foods helps keep them focused or from bouncing off walls. So yes, I’m going to be a bit particular about what you want to feed my kids – especially if eating with you is typically prepackaged stuff that’s going to contain those things I’d like to avoid. If I have to feed my kid that prepackaged thing without the artificial dyes, please try to be a bit more understanding if I say no to the one that does have the dyes in it.
2. Routine: Routine is critical. Having a routine is so important. It may not be a routine that makes sense to anyone outside of the three of us, but the fact remains it is a routine, and IT HELPS! My kids know what to expect, they know when changes are coming, they know what will be happening, and that makes it easier for them to focus on what’s happening now as well as to let go of that and begin focusing on a new activity when it’s time. Having dinner at roughly the same time each day, taking a shower and going to bed at the same times, doing certain things in a certain order – these things all contribute to days that run more smoothly for us. Just because you think it’s rigid, or (depending on who you are) laidback, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work for us and doesn’t make a huge difference in our day. And considering that you aren’t here to see how things run with or without a routine, you’re not really in a position to judge or criticize, are you?
3. Consistency: This might seem like it falls under routine, but let me expand. It’s not just routine, it’s also knowing where to find things, who to go to for help, and who to listen to. When you step in and start telling my kids what to do when it’s my place to do so, you confuse them. Especially when you are someone who occasionally (read that: when I trust you to babysit or to supervise an activity) does have authority over them. You confuse them, because now they’re not sure if they need to be checking with me or with you – especially when I’ve already told them one thing and you’re now stomping all over what I’ve said to tell them another. I am the parent, and like it or not, I AM the final authority right now.
Yes, I realize this may look controlling to someone on the outside looking in, with absolutely no knowledge of the situation. But this came from someone who DOES know about the ADHD, and all that revolves around it. So the statement that I’m a control freak not only hurts, but really pisses me off. I am not trying to be controlling, I am trying to help my kids deal with the symptoms of their ADHD without medication. I am trying to teach them they do not need to rely on medication to solve their problems, and that they can find methods to keep their life moving forward and upward.
Yes, this means I’m going to say no sometimes when you want to give them some “treat” that has artificial flavors and dyes. Yes, I’m going to expect you to tell me when you’ve given them soda or candy or whatever. I’m going to expect you to respect our schedule and our routine and to not expect me to just throw it all away and say “screw it!” I’d love to be able to be spontaneous and just do whatever comes to mind whenever, to eat whatever we want – but we can’t do that.
If that makes me a control freak…well, you know what? I guess maybe I can live with that. I’d rather be called a control freak than to see my children struggle.
- How do ADHD medications work? (landmark97.com)
- The History of ADHD in America (pediatrics.answers.com)
- Control Freaks Anonymous (daniellekaz.wordpress.com)