If you have been reading my blog you know that all five members of my household have ADHD. You also know that my youngest is now out of the nest for good. She has moved to a new city and is starting her new life; part of me cried and part of me was really proud of myself.
Deep down I AM really proud of myself. Raising three girls with ADHD was never easy and although it was hard to let each girl go I am thrilled that I raised daughters to be independent, to make their own decisions, to work hard and to give back to the world that has been so kind to them. It wasn’t always easy and not for the reasons you might think. It wasn’t easy because so many times I wanted to jump in and make those decisions for them. So many times I wanted to not let them fall. So many times it would have been so easy to have said “it’s ok honey, you don’t have to finish that because you have ADHD”. So many times I wanted to yell at their coaches and tell them what I thought of them. But, at least most of the time, I didn’t. And boy was that hard –probably some of the hardest times in my life.
If I think about it, I was somewhere between the “hover” mother and the “I don’t care” mother, constantly walking the tightrope that exists between those two. I was not perfect and sometimes I did jump in, and sometimes I did catch them when they fell and sometimes I yelled at their coaches (but I only yelled at their coaches in my bedroom when no one could hear me ☺) Most of the time, both my husband and I, tried to support, help and teach them what it means to be an adult.
This support, help and teaching did not start when the kids were teens. This process started when they were little ones: Having them choose what clothes to wear (and having to endure the looks from the other pre-school moms when one of them showed up with a very unique outfit), letting them pick out the vegetable for dinner, deciding which book to read first, and as they grew, letting them decide when they did their homework, whether or not to dye their hair red, what dress to wear to the dance or prom, what classes to take, what colleges to apply to. As you can see, the older they were the more responsibilities they had. We were always there to help them if they needed it and always ready to listen as they talked it out.
Gradually, after much trial and error, (on all of our parts) we saw them grow into the young women they are today.
So… although your mama instincts might tell you to jump right in there, take a minute and step back. Let your child decide, and maybe you both will be very pleasantly surprised.
Have fun out there!