ADHD is a life­long con­di­tion that must be man­aged

The Covington News - - RELIGION -

Ques­tion: Does ADHD go away as chil­dren grow up?

Dob­son: We used to be­lieve the prob­lem was elim­i­nated with the on­set of pu­berty. That’s what I was taught in grad­u­ate school. Now it is known that ADHD is a life­long con­di­tion, usu­ally in­flu­enc­ing be­hav­ior from cra­dle to the grave.

Some ADHD adults learn to be less dis­or­ga­nized and im­pul­sive as they get older. They chan­nel their en­ergy into sports ac­tiv­i­ties or pro­fes­sions in which they func­tion very well. Oth­ers have trou­ble set­tling on a ca­reer or hold­ing a job. Fol­low-through re­mains a prob­lem as they flit from one task to an­other. They are par­tic­u­larly un­suited for desk jobs, ac­count­ing po­si­tions or other as­sign­ments that de­mand at­ten­tion to de­tail, long hours of sit­ting and the abil­ity to jug­gle many balls at once.

An­other con­se­quence of ADHD in ado­les­cence and adult­hood is the thirst for high­risk ac­tiv­ity. Even as chil­dren, they are ac­ci­dent-prone, and their par­ents get well-ac­quainted with the lo­cal emer­gency room. As they get older, rock climb­ing, bungee jump­ing, car rac­ing, mo­tor­cy­cle rid­ing, white-wa­ter raft­ing and re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties are among their fa­vorite ac­tiv­i­ties.

Adults with ADHD are some­times called “adren­a­line junkies,” be­cause they are hooked on the “high” pro­duced by the adren­a­line rush as­so­ci­ated with dan­ger­ous be­hav­ior. Oth­ers are more sus­cep­ti­ble to drug us­age, al­co­holism and other ad­dic­tive sub­stances.

Some of those who have ADHD are at higher risk for mar­i­tal con­flict, too. It can be very ir­ri­tat­ing to a com­pul­sive, highly or­dered hus­band or wife to be mar­ried to a “messie” — some­one whose life is chaotic, who for­gets to pay the bills, fix the car or keep records for in­come tax re­ports. Such a cou­ple usu­ally need pro­fes­sional coun­sel­ing to help them learn to work to­gether and cap­i­tal­ize on each other’s strengths.

Ques­tion: My 2 1/2-yearold son sud­denly re­fuses to co­op­er­ate with me. To add in­sult to in­jury, he’s re­cently be­come more re­cep­tive to cor­rec­tion from my hus­band. I’m feel­ing left out. Is it just my imag­i­na­tion? Dob­son: No, your feel­ings are valid. Lit­tle boys do be­gin to pull away from their moms dur­ing the pe­riod be­tween 15 and 36 months. Boys, even more than girls, be­come neg­a­tive at that time and re­sist any ef­forts to cor­ral or man­age them. They say no to ev­ery­thing, even to things they like. They run when called and scream bloody mur- der at bed­time. They usu­ally re­spond bet­ter to fa­thers — but not very much.

Be­lieve it or not, this is a mo­ment of op­por­tu­nity for Mom. She must take charge dur­ing th­ese de­light­ful but chal­leng­ing days of tod­dler­hood. It is not suf­fi­cient to leave the dis­ci­pline solely to Dad. Re­spect for her author­ity and lead­er­ship is rooted in this pe­riod, and op­por­tu­ni­ties that are lost will be dif­fi­cult to re­cover later on.

Dur­ing this nor­mal and nat­u­ral pe­riod of dis­con­nec­tion and dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion, it’s also im­por­tant that moth­ers not al­low them­selves to feel re­jected and wounded by their boys’ grav­i­ta­tion to­ward fa­thers. Just re­mem­ber that the be­hav­ior isn’t per­sonal.

Boys are ge­net­i­cally pro- grammed to re­spond that way.

I re­mem­ber feel­ing some­what em­bar­rassed by my mother’s hugs and kisses when I was 3 years old. I told her one day that I thought it was “silly.” Her wise re­sponse was, “I do, too.” I wanted and needed her love, but I was al­ready aware of a strange tug to­ward my dad.

Al­though most kids won’t be able to ar­tic­u­late that urge, what is hap­pen­ing is a healthy process from which man­hood will flower in time. Moth­ers should en­cour­age their hus­bands to be there for their sons when the need is the great­est. Men tend to be ex­tremely busy dur­ing the early years of par­ent­hood, and their minds are on other things. A gen­tle nudge will get their at­ten­tion bet­ter than in­un­dat­ing them with guilt and crit­i­cism.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.