A Lack of Impulse Control on a Saturday Morning
…It’s exhausting, right? Poor impulse control was, for me, the hardest part of parenting an ADHD child. Instead of disciplining Lee for urges her brain couldn’t avoid, I learned over time to talk to her about the feelings that led to the impulse. We discussed ways she could gain better control by looking at the consequences before an overwhelming desire took her down. …
On a Saturday morning, I tiptoed into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee. Maybe I’d have a few moments to myself before Lee, my high voltage nine-year-old daughter, woke up. Just when I took my first sip, her door banged open like a gunshot. Little feet raced down the hall. I sunk into my chair at the table moments before she hurled herself into my arms.
My cheek pressed into her soft flannel kitty pajamas, and she snuggled her head against my chest. Just as my pulse started to slow down, she bounced up and ran to the refrigerator.
“I want scrambled eggs!”
I grabbed my coffee and followed, catching an egg carton as it sailed toward me through mid-air. “Jeez, Lee, slow down.” Throwing open a cupboard door, she got out the mixing bowl and snatched the egg carton out of my hands.
Lee cracked eggs, then flung them into the bowl. As she moved back toward the pantry, I fished eggshells out of the bowl and dropped them into the sink. Lee came back with a tin of cinnamon and dumped half of it into the bowl.
I steadied my hands on the kitchen sink, then took a long gulp of coffee. Yelling would have felt really good right now, but I heard the occupational therapist’s voice, “Breathe before you react, breathe…” Hyperventilate felt more like what I was doing, but I tried to stay calm as I scooped cinnamon back out of the bowl. “OK, Lee, we’ll have French toast.”
A little while later, we took our first bites. Lee glanced out the window and jumped out of her chair. “Mommy, a hawk just flew by!” She threw open the sliding glass door and ran outside.
It’s exhausting, right? Poor impulse control was, for me, the hardest part of parenting an ADHD child. Instead of disciplining Lee for urges her brain couldn’t avoid, I learned over time to talk to her about the feelings that led to the impulse. We discussed ways she could gain better control by looking at the consequences before an overwhelming desire took her down.
In the meantime, I tried to reach deep inside myself and find a way to be patient, even when life was spinning out of control. Although, I do admit to getting through the mornings on many cups of good old joe.
Here’s a great article from ADDitude magazine to help you find some control:
As Mother’s Day approaches, I want to thank all the special moms who supported me through the years. Parenting a neurodiverse child is challenging and makes it difficult sometimes to find understanding friends. When I was struggling, long before my child’s ADHD diagnosis, two moms stepped forward and gave me hope and the gift of friendship. This blog is in honor of them.
Over the years in my quest to help my child with ADHD and now complete a memoir about it, I accumulated many books on the subject. Maybe it’s the teacher in me or just my passion for books, but I ended up with a pretty good collection. This month’s blog focuses on some of my favorites.
Even though I’d heard that communication is a skill we learn and practice, no one told me how important that would be in raising my child. Between Lee’s inability to focus, a lot of hyperactivity, and emotions that were hard to regulate, it became my challenge to find a different way to communicate. In this month’s blog, I put together the tips that worked for me over the years. Hope you’ll find one that works for you!