Each child has certain behavioral traits that make her special and define who she is. Certain attributes that contribute to forming their character.
ADHD does not define our children. Their strengths do. As parents of ADHD children, we often get swamped by their hyperactivity, lack of attention, lack of impulse control. We are overwhelmed. We are exhausted processing these.
It isn’t surprising that often we fail to recognize the positive behavior traits our children have. (And, if we do, it is only if we have put in a conscious effort to do so).
As a mother of an ADHD teen, I too am guilty of focussing on the negatives. My child has so many positives. Should I not be focussing some of my energies on these?
I write this article to share these little (and not-so-little) characteristics with you.
These are the things that remind me that there is a rainbow at the end of the storm.
These give me confidence that despite that occasional complaint from school, she will grow up to be a happy, successful and compassionate lady who is loved by all.
These are things that make me breathe easy knowing that she is on the right track.
She is gutsy.
She is not afraid to stand up. She will speak up if she believes she needs to. If it is wrong, if she perceives injustice, if the situation demands, she is willing to take on authority and people in positions of power.
My girl has spunk and determination. She sure does!
Some of her teachers appreciate her mettle, others don’t. As for her, she does not care about who it is that she is standing up to or what that person might think. If unfairness is perceived, my daughter will speak up.
Let me add here, that she will come right back to me and let me in on what happened. She HAS TO let it out of her system. After all, we are talking of a 13-year old over here.
She is a creative thinker. Lateral thinking is her jam.
She can create and craft stories with ease. And they are brilliant. Even if I say so myself. (Do you sense one proud mommy showing off her feathers here?)
The flip side to this is that she can craft tales to wiggle out of tight situations. Her mind works brilliantly in such times too. If she is late to come back home from her friend’s house, if it took her unusually long to take a bath – the excuses are always quick and handy.
As a mom, it is my job to encourage her to use her quick-thinking skills in positive ways only.
It hasn’t been easy. After some trial-and-error and much heartburn (on both our sides), the basic principle I follow is to not push her further if she is feeling cornered or not ready to come up with the entire truth.
If she starts to use her creative abilities to come up with excuses, I have figured it is best to let go of the situation at that point.
– Drop it then.
– Come back to it later.
It is best to go easy on her at that moment. Though not without letting her know that the truth is not coming out. Since one or both of us are upset and/or angry, we pick up the threads when both of us are ready.
This gives us time to let off some steam and to rethink about the situation. A calmer talk invariably leads to the truth and a little pat on her shoulder for doing so.
She is intuitive.
She will act on her gut.
She does not over think situations. Simple is easy. It works best.
Which also means that decision making is simple and quick in her case. She does whatever is best for her now, or in the immediately foreseeable future. Thinking too far in the future only complicates matters and is not worth it.
In life, ever so often, people do not have all the information they would like to have in their hands before taking deciding. But choose a course of action they must. Some people freeze, others hem, and haw. Not my girl. She is decisive.
She is not afraid to take risks.
She is not the adrenaline-junkie-risk-taker type of person.
Rather she is the one who is likely to smuggle in a few chocolates or a small cake in her hostel dorm to share with her mates and friends.
She is the type who would rather read in torchlight under her blanket after the lights have been switched off in their hostel dorm than sleep off as required to. If the book is interesting (to her almost all of them are), she will read till she finishes her book.
Never mind that she may have to get up early next morning for swimming practice. That will be dealt with when the time comes.
She does not hesitate. She is not scared of the consequences.
Is highly excitable.
When she gets excited, she gets very, very excited.
Okay, she does not get thrilled by everything. If it is something that her mom and dad have suggested, her lack of enthusiasm can be annoying. (Yeah, teenagers. We try and remember. And understand)
If we are going to the movies, if she is meeting her friends or if there is a dinner at a nice restaurant and her excitement levels are off the charts.
This enthusiasm is infectious. It makes that movie or that dinner and even more memorable and special occasion.
She was born to read.
She gets so engrossed, she will forget what time it is, forget to eat her meals or even to have water.
She can stay up all night to finish the book she is reading.
Science fiction is currently her favorite genre. But then a genre or an author has never defined her reading. She reads everything. Yes, everything – the newspapers, magazines, heck even the advertisements and notices posted around our apartment complex.
She reads on the Kindle, she reads physical books. The medium does not matter.
She has an insatiable appetite for reading.
She is the life of her group of friends. Her friends are her life.
Their bond is enviable. When living at school (which is for about eight months of the year) she is among them and with them 24×7. From waking up together to staying awake late into the night gushing excitedly over their celebrity crushes, these girls are closer than sisters are.
What is special is that not only can my girl fill any boring boarding day at school with tonnes of laughter and joy.
Compassion is her middle name. She laughs and cries with her mates. She is the one who can let her hair down and get the party started. When someone is missing home, my daughter has a way to make that girl feel loved. If someone gets a shouting from the teacher, guess who they gravitate to for a hug and some cheer?
In their times of hope, fear, love, joy, hatred, faith, sorrow, happiness and sadness, she is there.
She loves them. It is little wonder then they love her equally in return.
I know these bonds will only strengthen over the years she continues to spend with them. These girls are soulmates for life.
I only ask that my girl is able to keep her compassionate streak when she grows up and gets out into this big bad world.
Human beings are designed to be different. Each one of us has different abilities, strengths, and traits. These are some things about my daughter that I celebrate. Things I wish she would not only retain but also build upon as she grows up.
What do you celebrate about your teenager?
I would love to hear from you and know more about your teen. Do leave a reply in the comments box below.