So much more than a label.

My kid has ADHD.

There. I’ve said it. Sadly, it’s a disability that is not curable, nor is there an “easy fix.”

When he was younger, there were many, many signs something was off. But people talked it off.

“He’s just a boy.”

“You cannot diagnose anything so young.”

“He’ll grow out of it.”

But that’s the thing. He hasn’t grown out of it and it got worse. My first call from the principal was munchkin’s first week of kindergarten. And it still isn’t good now in first grade. He’s a bright, happy boy who is not doing well at school. He has trouble making good friends. But it isn’t because he doesn’t want to.

On a daily basis all I hear is how he misbehaves. All he hears is how he misbehaves. It is not good for either of us.

You know what he prays for every night? He prays God will give him good luck so he can know how to behave so he can have friends. It breaks my heart.

And I’m not immune. I’m a single parent. I’m already stressed from work and from life, and no, I don’t want to hear how horrible you think he is. I need to know what he did, but I want to hear what he did good too.

Once at daycare I was picking up my son and another mother came up to me with venom and screamed in my face that I should learn how to control my kid. Didn’t I care about HER kid and how he treated HER kid? How could I raise my son like that?

Of course I care about others. Of course I care about my son. Of course I want him to treat others nicely and with respect. I wonder all the time what I did or did not do when I was pregnant that could have prevented this, or things after he was born. Did I eat too much ice cream when pregnant? Did I feed him the wrong foods as a baby? Is it because I’m a single parent? Would that have made it any different?

Because you cannot “see” ADHD, I feel many times people think I am a bad parent or munchkin is a bad kid. We are both trying really hard here folks. I wish it were easy, but we have yet to figure out what works. We’ve tried no dyes, gluten free diets, extra iron, fish oil, occupational therapy, reward systems, and even the dreaded medication. It’s a work in progress and costs a fortune. It also is an endless number of doctor visits and red tape trying to get him the help he needs; we all need.

Sometimes I feel like people think I don’t see it. Trust me, I know. I want to hide at pickup because I know if the teacher is walking towards me, it isn’t to ask me to bake cookies for the bake sale. Then I go home and help him with his homework for two hours when it should take 15 minutes.  Making dinner, getting him ready for bed, and then instead of relaxing, doing all the house things you have to do because you are the only other person in the house. And then I still have to work some more. EVERY DAY. It’s hard being a single parent, and extra hard when a disability is thrown in the mix. And it’s hard being a kid who just can’t seem to do anything right, no matter how hard he tries. Because yes, even if it doesn’t seem so, he is trying VERY hard.

I love my son to pieces. He is my world. He is a funny, smart, kind little boy. I just wish I knew how to make him like that all the time.

So the next time, tell me how I can help my son. Tell me how I can help you help my son. Tell me what is great about my kid. But please don’t judge us. He HAS ADHD, not IS it. He is so much more than a disability. He’s so much more than a label.

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