It's so hard. Raising kids in general is challenging, but raising a child with ADHD puts things on a whole other level.
Zach has been doing well in school and for that I am extremely grateful. His lowest mark so far this terms is a 93%.
But the emotional side of things have been really hard lately. It might not be the best way of imagining it, but it's like fuse to a bomb. Everyone ( like it or not ) has an emotional bomb inside them. The bomb explodes when you have just had it with the current situation and you completely lose your schmidt.
But it's the fuse.... the fuse is key. The longer the fuse, the more likely that the anger that lit the fuse will fizzle out before it gets to the actual bomb. ADHD kids have a fuse that's about a millimeter long.
That is hard to deal with. But it's how down Zach gets on himself that is so heartbreaking. Let's say there was a situation that made him frustrated and he blew up. In the moment he loses control, he says things he doesn't mean, gets physical with his brother etc. But it's afterwords that he feels such remorse and shame. In some ways I guess it's good that he has those feelings because then he knows what he did was wrong. In other ways though, it's so sad, because he almost gets depressed about it.
He's very aware that he has ADHD but he has not yet accepted the fact that he has two choices. He can either wallow in self pity that he has a condition that make things hard for him or he can accept it and make attempts to improve his situation. It's quite the grown up choice to make when you're only 11. Yes, things are never going to be perfect (they aren't perfect for anyone ADHD or not), but there will be small improvements and that leads to progress.
There are the daily skirmishes, but occasionally there will be a big bomb of a situation that shatters everything to pieces. Last night was one of those. The boys were playing Xbox and were getting loud. So I called out to them to keep it down. They both know that too many reminders to be quiet will result in the Xbox being shut off. So when I called out to keep the noise down, Zach got upset with Logan because he felt Logan was the cause of the high volume. His response was to haul off and smack his brother on the back and.... fuse to the bomb...BOOM.
This of course led to the Xbox not only being turned off, but removed entirely until such time as they earn it back. The Xbox is Zach's prized possession, so he was devastated.
Once the dust settled, we had a big talk as a family. We talked about Zach's needs, Logan's needs and what Brad and I need. We talked about being there for each other. Zach started to say how things would be so much easier in the family if he wasn't a part of it, so we talked about how our family is exactly the way it's supposed to be and if given the chance to pick anybody else, we would still pick Zach and Logan every single time.
Zach has such a good heart and empathy for others. When someone else is going through a hard time, he is the first one there to support them, rub their back and try to make them feel better. I honestly believe that it's because of his own challenges he genuinely empathizes when others are going though a rough time.
We do sometimes forget how hard this all is on Logan as well. So we made a point of sitting and talking with him to make sure that he felt supported and knew we were there for him.
As emotionally draining as evenings like this are, I find that we always come out the other side in a better place than when we went in. It's like that Hemingway quote, "The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places".