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:
...When we told Lee she would have to wait until she was 18 to drive, she was angry. But when her anxiety grew worse in tenth grade, she became fearful. My husband and I went from reassuring her it could wait to encouraging her to give it a try when she turned 18. ...
...I leaned back in my chair, feeling my heart swell. If I had known, when Lee was diagnosed with ADHD, that one day I’d hear these words, it would have given me so much hope. ... “Mom, Alex and I had an argument.” Lee plopped into a chair across from me at the...
...When Lee was thirteen, I went to a conference for people with ADHD and met the representative for ADDitude magazine, a leading resource for the ADHD community. Without a doubt, I knew this was the place I wanted to submit an essay. The ADDitude representative...