I know that in my last post, I promised to tell you about one of my favorite summer memories, but I felt the need today to write about something else. Summer memories will have to wait a little longer.
I’m sitting here today feeling completely overwhelmed. I have a series of house guests due to arrive starting tomorrow, and I really need to get the house in shape. This is not an area in which I excel. My house is livable – the dishes are always done, and I try to keep the bathrooms in shape – but I’ve got 4 ADD adults living here as well as a cat and a dog (and it’s shedding season). Keeping up with the details is an issue.
As I was rushing around the house this morning, noting dusty baseboards and stray cobwebs, I wondered why it was that some people can manage these kinds of things effortlessly and others, like me, find it such a challenge. I thought back to my mom’s housekeeping habits and wondered why she hadn’t taught me more than she did. She was one of those Martha Stewart types – went to the farm and picked the food she canned, made her own quilts, and even had an outside job at times.
I’m pretty sure she was the ADD parent who blessed me with it, but I can’t recall a whole lot that she didn’t do well. I wonder if there were things she struggled with and I never knew. I think that sharing those kinds of things is important for all kids, not just the ones with Attention Deficit Disorder.
When our kids are little, they really look up to us. We are the superheroes in their lives, and we can do no wrong. Of course, our super powers start to diminish as our kids get older, and they all but disappear by the time they are in their teens. You really can’t blame us for trying to maintain our superhero status for as long as we can.
But here’s the thing: superheroes aren’t real. Parents, kids, and the relationships between them: that’s real. I think that you can strengthen the relationship between you and your child by doing something that seems counterintuitive: admit your faults. Own up to your mistakes and your shortcomings. And, especially if you’re the ADD parent, share your struggles.
I think it helps kids immensely to see that someone else has been through what they are going through, that they understand what it’s like, and that they got past it in one way or another. There’s one thing you have to remember, though, in order to make this into a positive, bonding experience with your child: it’s not about you.
No one’s interested in how you failed 4th grade 3 times and still managed to get into Harvard at 16. This is about sharing, bonding, and feelings. If your kid fails 4th grade, then you can say, “Yeah, I failed 4th grade too – a few times. I just couldn’t seem to get it. I felt like the dumbest kid ever. But you know what – things worked out OK for me. Here’s what my parents did to help me out…”
- See if you can relate to what they’re struggling with
- Share your own experiences – even if they didn’t work out so well
- Express your feelings and strengthen that bond with your child.