Tuesday, May 2, 2006

ADHD books for guidance and encouragement

My children are what I call "borderline ADHD".  There are some people who would think they are obviously more than borderline, and there are others who would think I'm being silly to try to put a label on my active, creative, strong-willed children.  There are many parents of ADD and ADHD children in my church.  There are even adults with ADD and ADHD in my church.  Most of them classify at least two of my daughters as ADD and ADHD, although those two are not the ones that first sent me diving into the books looking for help.  But we have not sought out an official diagnosis for any of them.  We just try to use the "label" as a means of understanding them and being able to better parent and teach them.

My oldest daughter (A.10) could fall into the ADD category, but I didn't realize that for quite awhile.  I was so wrapped up in trying to parent my challenging second daughter (R.9) that I overlooked A's attention issues.  (A is also my non-stop talker who paces while she talks.)  R had me on my knees in prayer and locked in my bathroom in tears more often than not.  It took me several years to realize that she also had a cyclical nature to her behavior problems ... allergies!  She is always strong-willed, but her seasonal allergies push her negative behavior up to a new level during Spring and Fall.  This season has been a struggle for our family since R was 2 and 3.

My third daughter (C.6) is Tigger!  She is so classically ADHD that everyone comments on it.  Even my Dad who has long been a skeptic of ADHD diagnoses thinks C is ADHD.  And this year it is her year to have me on my knees and feeling beaten down and overwhelmed.  She also has allergies, and the past few weeks have been a real struggle with her.  She's normally one to tune her parents out and try to do her own thing in her own little world, but now there's an increased level of hyper-activity and willfulness that makes life a constant battle -- either between her and her just younger brother, or between her and us.

And then there is our fourth child, our first son (J.5).  He does have allergies that are also exaggerating his faults as well.  He's picking on his sisters more, being more aggressive and short-tempered, more active, and also more impulsive.  With him, I'm less likely to try to put on an ADD or ADHD level because he's still young and he's a boy.  I am not entirely sure what level of activity and distraction is normal for a 5 yo boy.  I do know that if you want J to obey you, you HAVE to get him to look you in the eye before you speak to him and then have him repeat it back to you.

And then the second son (M.2) is in the stage where he must be watched at all times and the front door locked very carefully.  He just takes off whenever he feels like it.  And he doesn't tolerate No very well at the moment, so we are also dealing with his tantrums.  Although, as tantrums go, they wear on the ear more than anything.

And well, baby L is only 6 weeks old, and thankfully she's getting less fussy all the time.  Although, she was colicky again on Sunday morning and afternoon, unfortunately.  We shall see more of her personality as she grows.

Steve and I have always tried to find the humor in our children's faults and foibles.  We've laughed as we told a child for the 5th time to BRUSH their TEETH because they keep getting distracted from the task at hand.  We've laughed quietly together about our children's apparent inability to sit through a meal without falling out of a chair or getting up from the table.  We've chuckled (ruefully) over C's Tigger-like behavior as we've told her for the 3rd time in a row to stop jumping on the couch and sit on the floor instead.  We've smiled over the impulsive mouth of R trying to be humorous who too often crosses the lines into sassiness.  And we've tried hard to distinguish between childishness and actual defiance when deciding whether or not to discipline.

But it isn't always funny.  Even the childishness, the distractions, the ceaseless activity and talking wears at a parent.  Then add in the willfulness, fighting between siblings, bickering, and actual disobedience ... and it gets very discouraging.

My first homeschool conference was 4 years ago and I was so beaten down and discouraged that May.  It was such an encouragement to hear Carol Barnier speak at that conference about finding the gift in your child.  It was what my hurting, weary Mama's heart needed to hear.  I was not alone.  And there was still hope for my child. I've since read both her books and have been so encouraged by them.  I've been thinking this week that it's time to read them again.  I need the ideas and the encouragement again.

Carol's website where you can read summaries of her top ten teaching tips for highly distractible or active children.  You can also find links for buying her two books at this website.  They are:  How to Get Your Child Off the Refrigerator and On To Learning: Homeschooling Highly Distractible, ADHD, or Just Plain Fidgety Kids   and    If I'm Diapering a Watermelon, Then Where'd I Leave the Baby?:  Help for the Highly Distractible Mom

You can read Carol's essay on finding the gift in your child and also join her Sizzle Bop email list for ideas and encouragement at her SizzleBop website.

I just discovered that we can hear an interview with Carol Barnier on Homeschool Talk Radio.

Two other books I have found really helpful and am wanting to read again is Dr. William Sear's The ADD Book   and   The Discipline Book.  I found really helpful and practical suggestions on how to discipline a child who does not respond well to traditional discipline methods in these books.  And whenever I find myself in a discipline rut or find my methods are not working, I pull these books out for new ideas and to sharpen up my parenting skills. 

But mostly, I find myself on my knees praying for wisdom, patience, and strength to endure.  And I read the Psalms and Proverbs for the balm I need when I'm in this fight.  Because it is a fight.  A fight to persevere, a fight to help the children do what is right even when they don't want to, a fight for their souls and their futures.

And my verses for this season are always:
Galatians 6:9-10 "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."

2 Timothy 4:2  " Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction." 

But I am weary.  It's hard to be patient as I correct, rebuke, and carefully instruct these children.  I just have to keep believing that we will reap the harvest in these precious blessing's lives if we just keep persevering.


  1. I know I do, since I have at least one with dyslexia and maybe more.

    But those verses are there for a reason. This life is wearisome. I know I am always lured by the promise of a comfortable life which is a lie, but still a temptation to me. Hang in there. I find this community here very encouraging.

    I heard Carol speak at our homeschool conference last year and I too thought she was good.

  2. It sounds like you are at least very in tune with your children and where they're at. Keep leaning on the Lord and His Word for that strength and Wisdom. You're doing a great job with them,



I love to hear from you. Thanks for your comment!