Do you suspect your child has ADD or ADHD? Has your child already been diagnosed with this? Are you medicating your child or considering medication? Are you wondering if there’s an alternative? Would you like to take your child off medication? Are you swimming in the negative murky waters of guilt, shame, fear and confusion? Do you often think “Why my child”? How could this be?
It’s time for parents to have a new understanding of this thing being called ‘ADHD’. It’s time for healthcare practitioners to stop calling ADHD a ‘disorder’ and for everyone concerned to remove the negative hidden messages attached to this erroneous label. So let’s begin by removing the two D’s from the ADHD diagnosis.
When you do this you get AH (like AH, a relaxing feeling…like AH part of an AHA moment, AH like ________ you may fill in the blank). Believing in these two D’s – deficit and disorder – can be harmful for any parent because it suggests there is something wrong with your child, that she is not “normal” like all the other kids running around the neighborhood, that there is something wrong with his brain. I am here to tell you that ADHD is not a disorder nor is it a deficit. I would like you to quiet your mind and instead of thinking about all the negative connotations of the ADHD label, know that behind the symptoms you are seeing, there is a normal, healthy, uniquely talented, happy child, capable of learning easily, relating well to others and loving life.
When did we start calling our children’s difficulty to sit still or to focus an actual disorder? Not only that but who categorized these “symptoms “as a disorder? Sure, your child has some challenges but what you need to focus on, as the parent, is the scientifically proven knowledge that deep inside there is a perfectly happy and capable and balanced kid, who has some stress in his body and spirit that is interfering with his ability to be everything he is capable of being. When you find and treat the emotional and physiological stress, you will be fixing the attention and hyperactivity problems.
I get it, you’re worried, and so you take your child to the doctor hoping to find a solution. This is where conventional medicine steps in and tells you that your child has a disorder and needs medication. Traditional doctors are not telling you that there is an underlying cause for your child’s symptoms. They are not telling you that when you find the underlying root cause and treat it, your child’s symptoms will go away. They are not telling you that this so-called ADHD could be a vitamin deficiency, a gastro-intestinal problem, a hidden food allergy, heavy metal toxicity or some other problem in the child’s body. They definitely don’t tell you that these so-called ADHD symptoms have been originally set off by stress. Instead they reach in their shiny little medicine cabinets and give you a sample of what is meant to help your child manage his disorder, and do the same to the next patient and the next patient, and the one after that. See a problem here?
Now, if you are a parent who is giving your child medication and who is happy with the positive changes this has brought to yours and the child’s lives, please do not stop reading this blog and certainly don’t feel offended. I do not want you to think that I believe that you have made a bad or a wrong decision. This is not the case at all. Certainly my philosophy is that medication should be a last resort but whatever your reasons may be for choosing the medication route, I do believe that your child can still benefit enormously from the information I am sharing with you in this blog. It does not have to be an either-or choice. One of my favorite authors describes it as –the tyranny of the ‘or’ versus the genius of the ‘and’. So I ask you not to get stuck by thinking of the ‘or’ but rather to read further and think about the ‘and…’ solution for your child.
My concern is that conventional medicine treats patient’s symptoms as a one-size-fits-all solution. The truth is that every child who has been given this diagnostic label is experiencing their own personal kind of emotional and physiological stress. When have you met a person who is JUST like you, who has the same medical history, the same DNA, same physical and psychological features, has been brought up in the same environment, eats the same diet that you do etc.? It is not possible! Should medicine then not be geared to treat each child as an individual case? You are YOU, and like Dr. Seuss said “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Why are we trying to approach these symptoms with a one-size-fits-all approach? If you are YOU then shouldn’t whatever treatment be tailored to help or cure YOU and only you?
I could go on and on, but it’s time to get to the good and juicy stuff! Did you know that this disorder that everyone is talking about has actually some pretty special, unique benefits? A “disorder” with benefits? You may laugh at this but remember we took the D’s out of ADHD? Sink into the AH again…go along with me and follow the light in this tunnel that so many parents may think is so long and so dark. Did you know that there was a statistic reported on Psychology Today that says that people with ADHD are 300% more likely to start their own business…300%! What are your thoughts on ADHD now? Are you scared for your child’s future now? Hopefully not as much! A person with ADHD is 4 times more likely to be a successful entrepreneur than a non-ADHD counterpart, not to mention they have great artistic abilities and some have even near genius IQ scores!
You would be surprised at the amount of famous people that have been diagnosed with ADHD, whether it was as a child or later in life. Here is a quick rundown of people who have won gold medals, started up Fortune 500 companies, starred in TV shows or movies, won Super Bowls, etc. — and they all have ADD or ADHD.
Sir Richard Branson (English business magnate, best known as the founder and chairman of Virgin Group of more than 400 companies), Justin Timberlake (the super-talented Grammy-winning singer), Will Smith (the charming actor), Michael Phelps ( 14 Gold medal Olympic swimmer), Jim Carrey (The hilarious actor who used to be the class clown), Ty Pennington (the host of Extreme Makeover who is a great carpenter), Paul Orfalea (Founder of Kinko’s). A lot of these people, if you read about them, had difficulties as children and even later on as adults. Some dropped out of college; some couldn’t focus in school, many were told by teachers that they wouldn’t be able to amount to anything. They were once where your child is today. (For more famous people who made it with ADHD go to www.parenting.com)
I’m not saying that because your child has ADHD he/she is bound to be successful if left untreated. I am saying that if your child has ADHD-like symptoms, this does not mean their brain is not functioning correctly. It means that you need to find the root of this problem in your child and treat that, after which you will find that the child’s symptoms will be reversed or significantly reduced.
If you are a parent of a child that finds it difficult to focus, pay attention and is hyperactive and disruptive, here’s what you need to immediately think- ‘These symptoms are telling me that there is some form of stress in my child’s spirit, body and brain that is impeding his/her ability to learn and behave appropriately. I must find and treat this stress so that my child can stop grappling with these problems’.
There are ways to determine if the child’s body is in stress. His/her body might be screaming for a change in his/her diet. This child’s spirit might be calling for some peace and understanding or a certain need to be met that is currently not being met. The child’s spirit, body and brain could be looking for the right amount of hormones that will help remove the stress.
So clear the murky waters of unnecessary shame, fear and guilt and replace this with hope and lots of AH’s. Learn how to identify the underlying root cause/s of your child’s symptoms. Stop using the term ADHD as something negative and start practicing the kind of parenting behaviors that will free that unique wonderful child buried by problematic symptoms. Besides your children being go getters and likely to start their own business and pay for your retirement later on (big plus), they will also bring you great joy in knowing that you intervened in the right ways at the right time so that they could be everything they were intended to be. Unique!