This post is for you parents who have a child with ADHD, ODD or other behavioral disorder. Those of you who feel like you are on a long uphill battle that some days it doesn’t seem you will ever win. For those who have been drained mentally and emotionally while praying to God that you may be doing something right and that your child will grow up to be good and have a chance at a normal productive life. Two years ago, I was there. That was my every day reality. Today, I am here to tell you there is hope.
It isn’t easy raising a child with a behavioral disorder. The things they will do and even worse, the things they will sometimes say can drive you to the very brink. In the end, if you can remain calm, consistent and let them know above all else that they are loved and capable of making their own decisions, there can be change.
Two years ago, Joshua was failing his classes, getting multiple referrals and even suspensions per year. He would fight incessantly with us at home and he would never take responsibility for his actions. Today, he has been on the honor role his entire first semester of 6th grade in advanced classes! He fights and argues less and will actually go to his room when you tell him to instead of saying no. He has not had any referrals or suspensions and only one detention for talking repeatedly in class, which he has improved on now. Best of all, he now notices when things are his fault. If you had told me 3 years ago that we would see the success that we see now I would not have believed you, but here we are.
For us, counseling, medication and constant reinforcement of boundaries and beliefs such as “you always have a choice” were the key. For you, it may take a totally different approach. Your child is worth finding that approach though. Because underneath all the anger, denial, deception and acting out lies a wonderful child, your child. It is possible to see a change and best of all, it is possible to teach them valuable life skills that will enable them to have functional and happy lives. In the end, that’s what we all want isn’t it? They will never be perfect, but what child is?