ADD: The Rant
Telling other people how to raise their children, especially when not asked, is an exercise in futility. I promise you that they will ignore you. Even when they ask you, they are likely to ignore you, if they don’t like what you have to say. For example, a lot of people know that I have ADD, so they’ll ask me about ADD in their children. They then argue with me about everything I tell them.
So let’s get a few things straight.
I know that you do not want your child to be labeled. They are going to be labeled, though. If your child has untreated ADD, what they’re
going to be labeled is:
Would you prefer a child who is properly labeled and properly treated or would you prefer a child called any or all of those things? Would you prefer a child who has no friends because they have no impulse control and hit people when they get mad? Or who say whatever comes to mind, no matter how inappropriate?
We all have labels and I think labels can be good. No one minds their child being labeled The Smart Kid, do they? Your ADD child might well get THAT label if they are properly treated and can function well in school.
Get over yourselves. This is about what is best for your child, not what image you have in the world at large.
People also say to me, in a very dismissive tone, that they “don’t believe in ADD” and that it’s overdiagnosed and that kid just needs his/her behind paddled.
I’m amazed at how many people “don’t believe in ADD.” What’s not to believe? It’s a medical fact. It’s not the Virgin Mary showing up in someone’s potato.
As it happens, I agree that it is overdiagnosed. There are a lot of lazy parents out there who think that because their child is a child, that they are hyperactive. MOST children have a lot of energy and need engagement, attention and something to do with all that energy. THAT IS NOT ADD. That is childhood.
I also think that spanking children only serves to teach them that violence solves things. I know our parents spanked us and all the arguments that the pro-spanking people have. I also think that spanking is lazy. If you whack a kid, they’ll probably stop doing something but it’s lazy. And it teaches them that violence is the solution. So. If you are too lazy to parent your children, then don’t have them. (PS: On the other hand, I completely understand the *urge* to smack that freaking look off a kid’s face. I just don’t understand that actual doing of the smacking, even on the behind.) [Oh, and, yes. I have had children. This is not a *theory* for me.]
Also, not every child who has ADD is hyperactive. I’m not. I was the daydreamy child. The one who couldn’t pay attention or stick to the topic at hand. I still have ADD. There are 2 kinds of it. Just because your child is not hyper, doesn’t mean they don’t have ADD.
There are also the smug parents who say that they will not give Ritalin or Adderall to their child because a) it’s addictive and b) they are controlling their child’s ADD with diet and exercise.
For a person who has ADD, Ritalin/Adderall is not addictive. I have been taking it since 2000 and I’m not addicted. How do I know? Because I frequently forget to take it! If I were addicted, trust me, I would not forget it. The medication makes my brain work more closely to normal. The end. If a non-ADD person took my Ritalin, they wouldn’t get calm and focused, like I do. They’d get jacked and jittery.
If your child gets a diagnosis of ADD, I absolutely encourage the parents to try the diet/exercise thing. It certainly cannot hurt. A healthy body is good all around. HOWEVER, ADD is a brain dysfunction. It cannot be treated by diet and exercise. If that works for your child, they do not have ADD. The end. Given the fact that ADD is frequently misdiagnosed and you never want to give a child medication that they don’t need, definitely try the diet. Just remember: if the diet works, your child does not have ADD. Don’t go around smugly telling other parents whose children are ADD and ARE taking medications how superior you are.
If you’re a parent of a child with ADD, please get your child treated properly. It will make a world of difference in their life. I can tell you this from experience. I was 33 before I got my diagnosis. I thought it was nonsense until I started to take Ritalin and saw my entire life change. I don’t struggle with things that other people do easily. I can remember stuff! My relationships are better, my work is better, my LIFE is better. I am happier because I don’t feel so frustrated and I no longer have conflicts that I don’t understand.
It isn’t about self-control or discipline. If your child has ADD, they have a brain dysfunction. You wouldn’t ask your diabetic child to use self-control to manage their insulin, would you?
Get educated about ADD. There are good websites and TONS of good books. If you want a recommendation, just leave me a comment and I’ll send you some information.