I have three amazing men in my house-all three of them have ADD or ADHD. Attention Deficit Disorder. And what about that little H that sneaks up and adds HYPERACTIVITY to the mix!? Here are some random, and hopefully, helpful thoughts for those of you who have ADD and for those who live with someone who does.
People with ADD are usually very smart and creative. They can be full of energy and adventure. Our house is almost always fun, and I don’t think I can remember the last time I was bored! I’m learning that people with ADD may give answers that are different, but their answers are not wrong. They think out of the conventional box. However, I have noticed two ways they tend to measure themselves. They either think they are too complicated (because they make straight A’s, and they are bored out of their mind.) OR they think they are stupid (because they have to work so much harder than everyone else.) The “bored” student is often labeled “bad.” They are voted class clown. They have 10,000 thoughts going through their heads all at once. They can barely sit still. For those who think they are stupid, they will be relieved to be diagnosed with ADD-it will confirm that they are actually smart. They too have 10,000 thoughts swirling their brain, and they are used to spending about 10 hours writing a paper that takes everyone else one or two hours to write. Because they have to work so hard—they are hard workers. They are out to prove something to all of those who never thought they could excel.
People with ADD may lose their keys two or three times a day. They will most likely turn around and walk away in the middle of your conversation and not even know they did it. They may thrive on a rush of being dangerous, almost late; and they typically embrace procrastination and change. However, the rush makes them work better and faster. They are typically adrenaline junkies who love to take risks. We know many church planters with ADD. Clearly, the risk involved in being willing to uproot your whole family and throw it all out there to start something from nothing is very appealing.
Here are some things that you can do to help those you love who have ADD:
1. Summarize your thoughts into one minute or less. Better yet, thirty seconds may be the best attention you will be able to hold. If you continue to talk, you will frustrate everyone.
2. Don’t make fun of them. Don’t tell them how dumb they are because they can’t find their keys—again. Just buy a nice key hook, and when they don’t use it, say “I’m putting your keys on the key hook, ok?!”
3. Be willing to go to a psychologist and get a correct diagnosis. You may have to try medicine, many different ones. Some medicines work for some people, and make others weep. Seriously. Trial and error. Be patient. If your child needed glasses, you would not hesitate to go to the eye doctor.
4. I thought my son was disobedient, and I thought I was the worst parent until I found out that he has ADHD. By the time he got up the stairs, he had forgotten what I asked him to do. I was so conflicted. I didn’t know if I should punish him. I actually cried when I was told he had ADD because I realized it was not his fault and I was not a bad mother.
5. Just because your child can concentrate on a video game, technology or a movie, does not mean that they can concentrate on important non-stimulating things. Our doctor explained to us that having ADD was like having an empty swimming pool in your head. A thought had to swim from one end to the other to actually be accomplished or remembered. There is no water in ADD pools so thoughts are not carried out. Two things fill the pool-adrenaline and medicine. Interesting.
6. Teach those you love to discern between truth and lies. It may be stimulating to believe a lie, a lie Satan wants them to believe. A lie that says they are too complicated or messy. God is a truth teller and we want to listen to him.
7. Encourage. Encourage. Encourage. And PRAY. God made you and those you love so perfectly and uniquely. They can do difficult, amazing things. They might need more help doing it. Some of the smartest business people, doctors, inventors, athletes and world leaders have ADD. We need people who do not conform and believe those who tell them that what they dream cannot be done. Who cares what other people think? Who cares what other parents do? Who cares if someone thinks you do too much for your kids? You know them. Do what works for your family because God has a great plan for all of you and you can love and encourage and cheer as your kids just might change the world!