What do you do, when something happens within your community or in your own backyard and your child gets the blame because hes the ADHD kid? Or your child’s anger issues blow up because some horrid little kid has been winding him up?
Daniel, between the ages of 8 and 12, maybe longer, was extremely volatile and in trouble, 24/7 I barely got sleep back then.
What happened was he got a reputation, if there was trouble in the area, they would knock on my door first, to be fair, he hung around in a group, most of whom, lived in the immediate area, so if something did happen, one of them WAS indeed responsible and indeed he ingratiated himself into the community in a ‘stick two fingers up at them’ way.
They all KNEW him, and when trouble hit, it had to be Daniel, they didn’t need to look any further. It was hard and even at a time when others in the area, younger ones, were starting to rise up and cause trouble, Daniel still got the blame. He got saddled with a reputation for trouble and even when he started to come out of that desire to run havoc and himself got sick of being in trouble and at last had a desire for the quiet life, the blame would still rest firmly at his feet.
I remember one time in particular, a woman knocked on my door, she said Daniel was a few doors down breaking into a house. Daniel was at the time sitting on my settee quietly watching cartoons, yet still for a second, for a split second I believed her, then my husband came up behind me and said, no he’s not hes sitting in there, look! The kid was blond, like Daniel, but it happened so often, Daniel had attempted to dye his hair black, unfortunately the closest he got was purple and so we added ‘…and his hair is purple look’! who ever the blond kid is, it isn’t him, because he isn’t even blond anymore! and breifly no one knocked, because the blond kid in trouble was now the purple haired kid who was tired of touble and yet even after, once his hair was cut, it went back, they didn’t equate the blond haired kid causing trouble wasn’t Daniel anymore, as soon as he was blond again, it was back to the same old same old, theree was no moment of clarity when they realised there was another.
So Daniel, giving up the exciting life, decided to in a way disguise his identity.
I rememer it clearly, he wanted a fresh start, a clean slate, it would start with black hair for him, that he felt he needed to do that is in itself absolutely tragic, but he really wanted to be someone else, someone who wouldn’t get the blame anymore. He made the fresh start, stayed out of trouble, but when the purple got cut out, it all went back, he even said to me… ‘ why haven’t they realised it isn’t me’? Good question don’t you think? Reputation is the hardest thing to change, it is also something that is the most difficult to explain to a child, that their actions now have ramifications that go on and on and on… idenfinately sometimes.
At the same time there are incidents that happen where he was justifiable in his reaction, justifiable in having a negative reaction, but that negative reaction was too extreme and then you can’t justify his reaction at all.
Someone does something to them that is cruel. Kids with ADHD can’t handle injustice very well and respond with extreme anger. Unfortunately their response is SO extreme that the origional injustice fades into the background, because it doesn’t matter how cruel someone is you can’t chase them with a brick and try to stave their head in can you?
This one is such a difficult situation to deal with, more often than not because you yourself can’t justify their actions, but also because, part of you is so angry at the kid, you end up thinking serves his right if he gets a pasting ( not very mature or morally decent is it?) It’s those kids, you know what ones I mean, the bullies, the bullies end up getting their tears wiped whilst winking at your child or alarmingly at you! It leaves an emotional exhaustion, because in the end you have to be the one justifying your child’s actions, even when the bully started the disagreement unfairly and as you can imagine, these bullies have learned ‘their’ behaviour somewhere and so their inevitabley bullying parents start to bully you.
What’s exceptionally annoying and incredibley hard to deal with is children learn, they learn very quickly that your child is the soul source of entertainment in the area.
What this means is, they WILL deliberately wined a child with ADHD up so as they can enjoy a show and at one time we could have sold tickets to Daniel’s little ‘melt downs’ they’d gather around him and watch, but he didn’t get it, he couldn’t see the whole picture all he could see was red.
It is now, with the benefit of hindsight, I realise we weren’t alone, I thought, I thought it was a Daniel thing, but through talking to other mothers of young esp male sufferer’s it happens A LOT, sad thing, people with perfect Janes and Peter’s as children can’t equate it in their minds at all, they see bad child and ADHD as a label that puts all these children in the same category, but what they don’t realise is kids with ADHD aren’t bad, they want to be good so much, they just are ALWAYS in the middle of trouble, they always find themselves in the thick of it, but the mothers of normal children don’t understand, they don’t want to understand, they just want to crucify YOUR child.
What the absolutely do not want to hear or believe is the child with the condition is usually the nicest kid out of all of them, s/he has the tenderest heart, the sweetest nature and he usually runs with the crowd, it is his lack of ‘GUILE’ that usually lands him in the mire, they end up becoming the ‘patsy’ because they don’t have the ability to cover their backs effectively and because of that sense of justice, they want to keep their friends out of trouble .
Sadly the real offenders, the real ‘bad uns’ learn very quickly that they can count on that particular child to be their scapegoat and of course the community at large has heard you say so many times. ‘its not him its the ADHD’ and so not wanting to look deeper they too blame the ADHD, but they blame it EVERY TIME it happens and they turn the ADHD into your child and so when something happens, its not ADHD its just your child, because then they don’t have to look any deeper, they don’t WANT to look any deeper, if they did they’d realise there are some very unscrupulous, devious, unpleasant children in their community and that isn’t as easy as blaming ‘that kid with all the problems’ now is it?
I have found the worse offender’s in this situation is parents, parents who for some obscure reason and despite evidence to the contrary actually think their little darlings are perfect. I’ve had dealings with someone who will point out my children swear, when their children not only swear but bully other kids AND kill small animals, but she used this to publicly lambast me in front of everyone, it was subtle bullying and it was appalling, her children stole my front door keys off of my daughter, but said they hadn’t, but they were ‘so decent’ they would look for them and miraculously found them for her several minutes later, she lambasted me for coming out of my house and shouting ‘wheres my ****ing keys?’ Then went on about a previous incident where my husband swore at them, not taking into account he was swearing at them for trying to kick our pet cat to death, swearing was where she hung her justification and that is what I have found with ‘other mothers’ they will lessen their own little darlings behaviour to make you/your child look bad.
The most frustrating thing for me was that at the time I was so filled with adrenaline and so angry I couldn’t think straight and so failed to remind her that her ‘lil darlins’ could have been arrested for animal cruelty’ that as a sufferer myself I dwell on situations like this for days and days, the frustration is incomprehensable, but instead of saying sorry that happened, she used it to bully. Because all her kids backed this one, I must be lying, my daughter must be lying, parents like these make me heave, they are super perfect and whilst their kids tear up the neighbourhood, kids like mine get the blame!
I wish I could offer some hope to others out there going through this, that it’ll change, but inevitably it can get harder and harder to deal with it, I dealt with it by isolating myself from the community because I didn’t have the energy or strength to deal with it, and thats the danger, because once isolated a transaction of dialogue can not be exchanged making it worse, there needs to be open dialogue and a genuine desire to acknowledge that ADHD doesn’t just affect ‘that’ child and ‘that’ family, it affects WHOLE communities at large, it needs to be carefully researched, so as the ‘label’ of ADHD isn’t misused.
‘Awareness’ is where its at my friends!