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November 24, 2009

Mind your language

Filed under: Uncategorized — andrewchilvers @ 1:20 pm

Ever rue the day you had children?

Of course not…well sometimes. It’s not so much the sleepless nights and nappy changing of the early years, but more the tantrums, long silences and emotional blackmail when they’re older.

Forget about reading manuals or taking tips from mum and dad; this is on the job work experience – and (like the Terminator) it does not stop. But unlike a logical robot from the future, children often behave in such an irrational way that you’re left standing, speechless, trying to unearth a hidden meaning.

Actually that happened to me last night. I’d arrived home late from work and I gave my 10-year-old boy, Kit, a birthday card to write on for mummy, who was born this day sometime in the 1960s (I’ve been led to believe).

Anyway, halfway through writing his missive – with daddy looking lovingly on – he suddenly and inexplicably threw the pen across the room, yelled into my face that it was “ALL MY FAULT”, and with tears streaming down his face, lips curled in anger and hurt, ran off screaming. Other Chilvers family members tried to mollify him; he yelled back; everyone shouted; there was much anger.

I briefly cast my eyes down on the card for the source of all the pain. Kit had misspelled the word present “presnent”. I stayed silent. It was late; he was tired; irritable; upset that he’d let himself down.

That was just one recent incident that occurred in my home. Now times that by a hundred fold and you may begin to comprehend what it’s like to be a parent who has a child diagnosed with ADHD (that’s attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

Here’s a brief list of possible warning signs

Your child often:
• blurts out answers before the question is complete
• cannot wait for his/her turn
• interrupts or intrudes on others
• fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in in their seat
• runs about excessively and inappropriately
• has difficulty in playing quietly
• is ‘on the go’
• talks excessively.

Your child might:
• speak without thinking, so will be socially clumsy
• barge into games
• have volatile moods so other children won’t know what to expect
• have a short fuse and lash out when frustrated
• go on about a subject and can take over a conversation
• have poor motor skills (eg can’t catch or throw a ball).

The effect of all this on a parent can be devastating. It can break up marriages, ruin health, cut short lives.

And most parents or carers are alone, with few people to talk to. Online forums can help, but they can’t illustrate the enormity of the challenge or the emotional pain.

People need to talk, so get them talking directly to others. On camera. This will help a parent to lighten their load and will create empathy in others. Just a simple video blog. Have a look at the following blog by Tanya Guest, whose son was diagnosed with ADHD.


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