Every time I was ready to tear my hair out, I would remind myself that Chris was not really his chronological age, but was three years younger. This always served to help me calm down and see the situation in a new light. With this insight his “inappropriate behavior” was not so inappropriate after all. And my response then could be geared to what he could understand and appreciate.
Dr. Martha Denckla, our closing plenary speaker at the CHADD conference in San Francisco earlier this month, added a new twist to this insight. She suggested we consider our children with ADHD as both absolutely brilliant and three years younger than their actual age. What a fantastic combination.
Your precocious and delightful seven-year-old is hiding in the body of a ten-year-old. That sixteen-year-old teen who wants desperately to get his driver’s license is really a twelve-year-old who wants to do what all the big kids do. No wonder there is such a sense of disconnect with what is expected in life and what our kids do.
Today my twenty-five-year-old son is a well-grounded and successful twenty-one-year-old. He is thriving as a junior in college who has found his passion in life. He is my late bloomer. And he is blooming beautifully.
Ruth Hughes, PhD, is the CEO of CHADD.