Friday, 17 February 2012

Kevin's Not Welcome Anymore (Also Known as What Not to Say to a Mom of ADHD)

I really hate those articles titled "What not to say to So and So".  This is one of the worst things you can say to someone who has anxiety because there is a very good chance that they have said at least one of the seemingly innocuous, well-intended but offensive things mentioned.  Every time I read one I spend a good couple of days agonizing over the insensitive things I've unwittingly said.

Well now I have to write a "What not to say" post.  I've given it a lot of thought and I think it's a good idea.  But I also decided that instead of preaching to all of you about what not to say I would write about the time I banished my husband's best friend Kevin from my home.  Kevin was already skating on thin ice with me.  I probably wouldn't kick anyone out of my home for any one of these things.  But this guy not only said all of them, he also had a bad history with me that I was always cool about.  

When Kevin picked a fight with a guy in my kitchen, I was cool about it.  When Kevin was rude to his girlfriend at one of our dinner parties making us all feel very uncomfortable, I was cool about it.  When Kevin ruined my 30th birthday party by hucking the last piece of chocolate birthday cake at one of my guests (a woman wearing a brand new white shirt) I was cool about it.  But when Kevin came into my house spewing this shit....he crossed the fucking line.

Do not come into my house and tell me about my kid's ADHD.  I will cut you up.  (Verbally).

Kevin managed to say everything that is wrong to say to a Mom about her kid's ADHD.  Everything.  So if ever you were just a little curious about what not to say to a Mom of ADHD just pay attention to the points Kevin brought up, late one Saturday night.  I will point out why these things are so wrong in my stinging rebuttal that I wasn't clever enough to come up with at the time of the argument.

1. There's no such thing as ADHD.  Easy for you to say Kevin, you don't live with it.  Look, I don't really care if you believe in ADHD.  It's not Jesus and I'm not an evangelist.  I am not on some crusade to convince the world about the existence of ADHD.  To be honest, before I had kids I was also skeptical, and that's fine.  You're entitled to your opinion.  Can I please just point out what an asshole thing it is to do to bring up this subject with a woman who tells you she is raising an ADHD child?  Can that be designed for anything other than causing shit? I think not.

2.  Oh, everyone has ADHD.  Like 20 of my cousins say their kids have it.  Therefore ADHD doesn't exist.  I don't know anything about your cousins, Kevin.  What I do know is that there is a genetic component to ADHD so it shouldn't surprise you in the least to find it prolific within a family group making it look to you like "everybody has it".  You must be really popular with your cousins, though.

3.  But everything these so-called ADHD kids do is normal.  Yes Kevin, that is very true.  It is totally normal for kids to run around, daydream, be active, interrupt, throw fits, forget stuff, lie and have no impulse control.  You know what else is normal, Kevin?  Sleeping.  Sleeping is totally normal and everyone does it but if you fall asleep behind the wheel of your car and at work and pass out regularly in your soup at lunchtime then that's not normal my friend.  That's narcolepsy.

4.  It's the parents these days.  They don't want to get off their asses, they just want to medicate their kids into being little robots.  (Um, did you just imply that I'm lazy, Kevin?)  If these parents are so shitty they wouldn't go through all the bullshit you have to go through to get ADHD meds.  They wouldn't bother with trying to get a diagnosis (which, contrary to your belief Kevin,  is not handed out like candy from a Pez dispenser).  If the parents are that shitty they would just dose their kids with over the counter anti-histamines and Gravol.  Easier and (I suspect) cheaper.  Of course, I wouldn't know because I don't medicate my kid.

5.  ADHD is something that was invented by Big Pharma to fool parents into thinking they need to medicate their kid.  Do you hear yourself, Kevin?  Basically what you are saying is that every parent of ADHD (not to mention adults with ADHD) out there are just the gullible dupes of Big Pharma.  More importantly, you are saying that I am just so stupid that I jumped at an ADHD diagnosis based on spurious or made up research?  Did you just call me stupid, Kevin!?!  In my house!?!  Let me reiterate that I do not medicate my son's ADHD.  How is Big Pharma making money off me?

6.  Well you're just a better mother for opting out of medication.  Actually ADHD exists on a spectrum.  We, and most parents I know, think twice before handing their kids an aspirin.  If my kid does not have a fever then I do not give him the aspirin, but that doesn't mean he's not sick.  And if he does have a fever you better believe he's gonna get that aspirin.  My decision of whether or not to medicate is not a reflection of what kind of parent I am.  It just means that our son can live without it for now.  If he needed meds he would absolutely get them!  I made the point about my not medicating to show how stupid your point about Big Pharma conspiracies is.

7.  Yeah, but everyone knows those meds are dangerous for kids.  There are risks when taking any kind of medication.  Part of deciding on a course of action for any medical condition is weighing the risks and benefits of any given treatment.  ADHD meds are very well-researched and are heavily supervised.  By a physician.  And let's just say that that guy/gal didn't go through all those years of med school to be called Mr/Ms.  Who is "everyone", anyway?  I can't really blame you for this one because the internet is so full of misinformation.

I would like to point out that the people I hear this the most from are either conspiracy nuts or so-called ADHD coaches and lifestyle gurus who want to make a lot of money off of me buying their books/videos/counselling  as a drug-free cure for my kid.  I think I'll put my faith in science, thank you very much, Kevin.

But you know what, Kevin?  It's late and you're drunk and acting like kind of an asshole.  I think I'm done with you and your bullshit, Kevin.  You really need to STFU.  Have this conversation with anyone else but me.

45 comments:

  1. Wow. You did well.

    I would have tossed his sorry ass out at the cake throwing incident. Is he sure *he* doesn't have adult ADHD? (Since like, twenty of his cousins kids have it and apparently he has zero impluse control? I wonder if he's in denial?)

    As an adult with ADHD, mom to a daughter with ADHD, and wife to a husband with ADHD (yeah my house can be damn entertaining some days) I can honestly say good for not putting up with any more of drama king Kevin's crap.

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    1. Oh, it did occur to me that a grown man capable of hucking cake (winding up for the pitch, no less) might maybe have some attention deficit issues of his own. It was glorious to be able to kick him out because after being so tolerant for so long my husband had no way of defending the guy.

      Thanks!

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  2. Wow - don't we all have a KEVIN in our lives??? Good for you. What is he a fucking psychiatrist who won a nobel peace prize in bullshit?
    Here's a good way to deal with ADHD...cut out the toxic people from your life.
    xo
    DG

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  3. a woman after my own heart. don't take that crap from ANYONE!


    www.ohshitshesawake.blogspot.com

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  4. GRRRR...that shit pisses me off. I am the mother of a 17 year old son who has suffered (yes suffered) with ADHD for many years. It took a long time for me to decide to allow his ADHD to be treated with medication. Once that decision was made it created such a significant change in his ability to accomplish what most of us can accomplish with out a second thought, that I felt I had made the correct move.

    I have had the very same arguments with many, including close family members. All I can say is that if your not a parent of an ADHD child, then you dont know shit......
    And yes Kevin STFU

    It does not get any easier. Its not a one drug fits all, nor does one drug continue to work for some patients.

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  5. YEA!!! Everything I have ever wanted to say to people who don't get it, but think they do. And, ya, usually AFTER they have left and I have calmed down. I feel you, Mommy!

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  6. YES. You are so very awesome. I think I have had this exact conversation with half my freaking family. I would fully kick Kevin's ass too. Thank you.

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  7. That was the best thing I have read in a LONG time! I agree whole heartedly!

    I worked in healthcare for decades and even with people with behavioral disorders. It was having 2 sons with ADHD, PDD-NOS, Regulation Disorder, and ODD that REALLY woke me to what the reality is for living with this.

    I love when people tell me how to fix simple things like not eating. When your kid has regulation disorder, food is a huge jag and issue. You simply cannot just not feed them. They will starve themselves! Anything to not put that in their mouth. Then from lack of solids, they then will not eat anything anymore. So while, like you said, some things are normal for kids of certain ages, it is the way children with ADHD do these normal things in abnormal ways that set them apart.

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  8. Wow! Thanks for this. I am a mom of 4 and have recently been diagnosed with ADHD. I can't take meds due to problems with stimulants. My 18 year old was recently diagnosed as BiPolar (although her therapist disagrees with her doc and thinks it is ADHD). But the most rediculous thing I was told ( by my own mother) was Oh no don't medicate her because if she stops it adbruptly she might commit suicide. Really? And not helping her with her chemical imbalance that sends her crashing into a deep dark depression doesn't have a higher risk of her commitring suicide? Really?

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  9. It's not the children who are actually diagnosed with ADHD that give it the "bad rap"; it's the parents who actually ARE too lazy and just use it as an excuse for not parenting. "Oh we think he/she has ADHD." Really? Then why haven't you seen a specialist. It's insulting to throw that term around because there are children (and adults) who deal with this very real problem. They are the ones who turn it into a very unfunny joke.

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  10. Kevin needs my stilletto up his ass!

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  11. I love this and absolutely want every person who has ever said a god damned word to me about my sons ADHD after years of treatment, appointments, support,doubt, medication, spectrum therapies and ass whoopins' to read this and consider it my glorious F-you to the ney sayers. Fortunately, my years spent really working on making all of my sons challenges become his new stengths are paying off. He now understands that the 3-million things he can do at once because he is not linear minded are a blessing and the fact that he is learning to focus while doing those 3-million things will put him light years ahead of people like Kevin someday in terms of natural talent- courtesy of loving ADHD Moms and Dads :)

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    1. That's awesome! I love hearing success stories, they give me hope. Your son is lucky to have your love and support.

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  12. OMFSM. Thank you. Thankyouthankyouthankyou. As the mom of a son with ADHD I thank you from the bottom of my heart. These diagnosis are not taken lightly (as you know) and I freaking hate it when people get all judge-y on me. yes, much of how our kids behave is normal. you know what's not normal? how much the poor kids CANNOT control it. How my son cannot stop his brain from moving so fast it makes him literally vibrate. How he cannot focus on anything for even 30 seconds. How he cannot stop the talking. How he cannot control his impulses. Yes, my son is medicated. He NEEDS it. I worry about it all the time. I beat myself up even though I know it is not my fault. I don't need other people to beat me up too.

    People who don't live with it don't understand. It's like people without kids giving parenting advice. I would never dream of giving advice to someone about how to raise their autistic kid for example.

    From one mama to another, hugs. I don't know you, but I support you. and now i have another blog to add to my feed reader. :)

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    1. Hugs back, hon. Us ADHD parents need to stick together, strangers or not. More than that we need to laugh. I hope I can provide both ;)

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  13. Yup! I think I just fell in love with you. (New reader here.) I love the 'lazy parent' argument. I have 5 children. 2 have ADHD. If I'm ADHD is caused by lazy parenting then wouldn't all of my kids have it since they're all parented in the same manner?? Ohhhh....I know! I'm only lazy with 2/5 right??? I've dropped many friends for the shit that falls out of their mouths. Great blog! :)

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  14. While I agree on all of your points, at the end there I just want to caution against putting all your faith in doctors when it comes to treatments. I was an extreme ADHD child but the diagnosis didn't exist when I was little, nor did ritalin or adderall or any meds, really. My mother (bless her overworked and underappreciated heart) had to work over time with a number of things to help me, including a modified diet, near constant attention and memory flashcards, and together these things helped tremendously. I haven't ended up as POTUS or anything, but I can function in society and am blessed with children of my own that I can keep up with due to my ability to focus on several conversations at once ^_^ Science today would have me on medication, of this I have no doubt; all I'm saying is that doctors aren't always right (after all, they told us for YEARS that smoking tobacco is actually GOOD for us!) Otherwise, good on you for getting Kevin our of your life. I'm guessing he's childless too?

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    1. That is sound advice, and I totally agree. Doctors are flawed human beings, too. I think though, I wanted Kevin to understand that when it comes to listening to doctors vs. listening to the internets anyone would be well-advised to lean towards the doctor side with a healthy dose of skepticism and knowing your own kid (or as in your case, yourself). There is no "one size fits all" treatment.

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  15. I LOVE THIS AND CAN COMPLETELY RELATE... I am so frustrated when people say, "my kid does that too... it's normal..." INFURIATES ME!!! Or... "oh... is that what my problem is?!" Or, "my kid does that... does that mean he has ADHD??" GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

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    1. Who knew that when you became a Mom you were also going to become an informational pamphlet and poster-child? Sometimes feels like that to me, too.

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  16. My son was recently diagnosed with ADHD and I am finding that most people don't know much about it but sure as hell think they do! Thank you for saying exactly what I have been thinking! Now if I could just figure out how to get all those people to read your blog, I would be set!

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    1. Funny story...I thought I knew what ADHD was and when we began this journey with his social worker I announced "I don't know what's wrong with my kid but I know it's not ADHD". I didn't know there was such thing as "hyper focus". My reasoning was that a kid who can spend hours playing lego to the point of not being able to hear me calling his name several times should have no problem maintaining attention.

      I highly recommend a documentary called "ADD and Loving It!" It explains what adult ADD is and has adults articulating what life is like for them and how medications have benefited them. ADD is a little different for kids but this video provides a lot of info and can be very helpful. Also it stars two of my favourite Canadian actor/comedians Pat McKenna and Rick Green. Here's the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zq8zVgumJ6I

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  17. WOW! You are my new hero! I have a child with ADHD and I have heard these comments from so many people. Unfortunately, one of those people is my own husband who just doesn't understand and thinks I'm making this up and that I just need to give him a good spanking when he acts up. Maybe I could fly you up here to Alaska so you can give this speech to him. I bet you would shut him right up. :) Thank you so much for this and making me realize that I'm not alone.

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    1. I know your pain. My own husband was also skeptical. I had him watch "ADD and Loving It!" in the hopes that he would see the light. He said "That sounds like everyone I know." But, I told him, that's not how I am and I'm not special. Turns out my husband is also ADHD. He didn't believe because he assumed everyone was like him and that was normal.

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  18. I love it! I can relate 100%! Good for you!

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  19. I would seriously hurt someone that came into my house and said any of those things to me about my daughter who is ADHD, ODD, Borderline Bi-Polar and Hyperagressive. It is hard enough working our rears off to help our children understand what their actions mean and help them learn control over something they have little control over, to have to try to put up with someone's ignorance.

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  20. BRAVA!!!! Well done and LOVE the snark!! My son (8) was diagnosed with a case of off-the-charts-ADHD at the age of 3, but we kept him unmedicated for a year and tried to handle it behaviorally. We finally decided to medicate when we realized that Zach was either staying awake or waking up after we went to bed, so he could perform "experiments" in the bathroom. FYI, expensive french facial lotion looks exactly like semen when squirted into the toilet, and while Alberto VO5 hot oil treatment does wonders for my hair, it did nothing for my ass when I slid in the shower after the boy squeezed an entire tube out. So yeah, Kevin can go fuck himself. I'll even provide the lubricant, I bet a hot oil treatment would work just great.

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  21. As a mom with an ADHD child...I would have kicked kevin in the NUTS and then told him that the pain was all in his head

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  22. OMGosh! i wish i had the balls to say this crap to soo many people! i mean, don't they think that us parents would rather out children DIDN'T have ADHD? ugh! i would love to shove this article/blog post up the butt hole of so many people today!thank you for helping me feel like i'm not completely alone in this.

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  23. Bravo! I also have an ADHD kid that I medicated for a few years and am currently struggling everyday to help him learn to control himself without meds. It's a tough road and definitely NOT a myth!

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  24. LOL are you sure Kevin was not formerly known as Brad... the guy I just dumped... cause I have ADHD... and my kid has Aspbergers... and my other kid is difficult and my youngest is sweet. Who told me everything how I did wrong on a regular basis... and how my kids where a mess... and and and... LOL Good for you Kevin needs to learn some freakin manners... Drunk... ??? really B aha hah ah h a....

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    1. Yeah, I'm sure those two would get along fine. It takes a real genius to criticize and then offer no help whatsoever. Good for you for dumping his sorry ass.

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  25. Bravo! I, too, am a Mom of ADHD. I, too, wish I had the nerve I have now to slap the crap out of anyone and everyone who said I just didn't want to "deal" with my kid. Right. I lived in a singlewide trailer and spent $1,500.00 a pop for psych evals, because I just didn't want to "deal" with my kid. I, too, had a hard time with accepting that my daughter needed meds. For the REST of her life. I tried EVERYTHING, before the school finaly said they were going to call social services on me if I didn't at least TRY her on meds. Not because they didn't want to "deal" with her, either. They COULD NOT handle the classroom disruptions. In every grade. The meds worked. She's all grown up now and studying her behind off to further her education...and doing a wonderful job! AND she is still takiing her meds...because now, as an adult, she can see that she NEEDS them to function "normally"!

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  26. I once had a client tell me he felt sorry for the kids with mental disabilities. I told him it really sucked that my son, who is VERY ADHD would have to suffer being more intelligent and more creative than most of his peers. Also, we held off medicating him until he was about to fail the 3rd grade & keep him on the lowest dosage for his weight. It's a learning tool, like his schoolbooks, not a cure-all.

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  27. Yay!!! You have lots of new followers and your facebook page is exploding!!! YOU DESERVE IT!! Seriously, you crack me up. My new favorite blog. I troll it all the time.

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  28. I too have a child with ADHD, whom we were medicating, but have stopped. I love how everyone knows everything about my kid that they say is "normal" but yet no one wants to spend any time keeping my "normal" child for any amount of time so Momma can have a break. I get so sick of hearing that ADHD is a made up problem. Spend a week with my kid you'll know better! Thanks for reminding me I'm not alone!

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  29. FWIW, every single Kevin I've ever known is an asshole.

    Every.Single.One.

    Maybe there's a pill for that?

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  30. Good for you for putting your foot down. I have people that are not allowed in my home for similar reasons. Basically, my home is my safe haven. There is no need for stress when I am here. If you disrupt my peaceful abode, you are banished. Save the stress for when we are at work.

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  31. Great post. I don't have kids, but I do know that you never walk into someone's house and criticize their parenting. What a fool!

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  32. My kids don't have ADHD (though one is definitely "right-brained" and we have some struggles with that), but I think we all know this type of jackass who spews his obnoxious opinion as fact about subjects he knows nothing about. Ugh. Good for you for putting your foot down. Maybe he's pissed his parents never cared enough to get him diagnosed. :)

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  33. My 6.5yo has severe ADHD and absolutely crazy ODD. I blog about living with an ADHD/ODD child and I also speak about the challenges of parenting a child with a mental illness (ADHD and ODD are both classed as mental illnesses). Good for you for telling Kevin to get the hell out. He wouldn't be welcome in my house either.

    http://theoddmom.blogspot.com/

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