I make the mistakes sometimes of underestimating my boys.
I spend most of the time reminding myself that my 11 year old and my 8 year old have Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder. If I didn’t, I’d flip a lid SO MANY TIMES I’d die of a heart attack before they make it to puberty. I don’t intend to belittle them; I’m facing every single disciplinary issue with this in the forefront of my mind so I don’t tear them apart with shame and failure!
And if you think Parenting comes with a lot of disciplinary issues, you have never been in the heat of correcting your child for knocking over the lady on a walker on the way out of Wal-mart and mid sentence your kid runs after a bird and nearly gets hit by a car. This is my life. I’m on top of my boys all the time to 1) keep them alive and 2) teach them to be decent human beings in the process.
But then the ADHD label on them becomes engraved on them like branding or a dog tag. Because I’ll bring down their ability to match their self-control and I catch myself assuming, “They won’t really succeed with that…”
The way I thought my 7 year old would not do good at a spelling bee. He hates to write. In the process of picking my battles I gave him the list of suggested words and told him with only one week in advance that he was participating in a spelling bee. I didn’t do anything else to help him memorize the words, but to my surprise… he placed second for his age group and only misspelled one word.
I’ve never seen self control like that day from this kid. Sitting still and silent at his chair waiting for 20 other kids to finish spelling their words before it was his turn again.
I also didn’t know that he could learn to ride his bike AND successfully complete a triathlon without training wheels in a month… but he did.
I didn’t think my 11 year old would ever make true, lasting friends. I didn’t think he’d get invited to parties or to play sports because he’s either arguing with everyone or blowing everyone off. And yet he has; he’s had friends invite him out to play all summer long. And he’s made a few “let’s stick together, I’ll go if you go” kind of friends too. And held meaningful conversations with adults.
Because it turns out that all my attempts at teaching my son to NOT be a jerk were not in vain, and teaching him to be the kid that is a friend to everyone and does not tolerate bullying – building him to be a young man with Godly character – takes precedence in the sport over his actual athletic skill.
Now I’m learning to stop myself from assuming, “No I don’t think they’ll pull through that.” Instead I say, “It may be a little more challenging for them, but these boys can…”