So, as you can imagine, the 1st week away from home… working in clinic full time (for just that week) was rather “life changing” for my family. Rather, it was changing in terms of the fact that my being gone shuffled EVERYTHING around. And, it accentuated certain parenting patterns.
During one our play times last week, I realized from tussling with him along with a reaffirming conversation with my wife… that I am truly Joy & Sadness to my boy.
Whenever I get a chance, I try to play and be as happy as possible. So, whenever I’m stern… it MEANS something. My wife takes the brunt of the disciplinary presence… remorse comes from me… she get’s anger and resentment from our son.
I suppose that’s just how it kind of “is.” It’s a bit emotionally tragic as Nathan basically gets the “best” and “worst” emotions from me. It’s a huge responsibility. When I rebuke him, it basically shatters his soul. But, if I don’t, then we reinforce bad behaviors. For the moment, I guess this is how things are going to go down. Hopefully… it’s just a phase & these toddler emotions will even out.
ESPECIALLY, when they are toddlers. Yes, they are ridiculously cute at this stage. They are talking… and, talking back. They are walking… and, running away from you into dangerous traffic. They are eating… and, determined to paint the house with dinner. And, they LOVE the word “No!”
Take last night for example: Last night, we didn’t sleep… until it was already “tomorrow.” The time change screwed up our boy… and, it was a ROUGH night. It’s easy in times like this to just wish the kid would GROW UP!
Yet, I’d offer to say this is rather the wrong mindset.We need to ENJOY this little window time we have for precious moments… like these!
Nathan SMASHING his face into me… which he still does. And, I know one sad day… it’ll stop.
A photo posted by Ben Fung (aka @DrBenFung) (@daddyintheraw) on
I guess the point is this: Life only comes around once. And, you don’t get to rewind the tape and get that time back. Enjoy it! Enjoy (as best you can) those melt downs. Enjoy the emotional weirdness that is toddler life. These are precious moments.
These are the moments I quit an accelerated corporate career for. These are the moments I quit a $6-Figure job for. THESE are the moment I completely derailed the direction in my life… so, that I could be a better father.
I was diagnosed. I was put on meds. I took myself off of them. And, I started developing strategies to not just compensate — but, to channel the energy and thrive.
ADD/ADHD is not a disability. In fact, I feel like it is a super-ability! Here’s the thing, for years now, I’ve been a highly read columnist in Asian circles under a secret pen-name… ooooooooooo — the secrecy of it all!
Haha 🙂 At first, it was for privacy. Also, there were some cultural concerns. Nevertheless, this week, I just have some thoughts to share. It’s pretty personal. It’s definitely me being vulnerable. You may or may not agree. And, you know what? It’s okay. It’s just me sharing. But, I think that I have a fairly unique perspective on the matter. So, I hope you find value in it, and, will share it with people who may be struggling.
Ultimately, the lesson should be this: Parenting is not about what our children should be. Parenting is about who are children are; that we bring out the best versions of them. In some of these early stages where it is tough to know why kiddos are behaving certain ways, I think it’s important for us adults to remember that kids are ridiculously intelligent. They are far smarter than they let on to be. However, just because they produce the right behavior response does not mean they understand the depth behind it.
Some of this can easily cause parents to think children are intentionally misbehaving, being disobedient, disrespectful, etc. However, some of it may just be kiddos trying to figure out a consistent and acceptable pattern of social interaction.
Think about high school language classes. Hordes of students can say various things in foreign languages. But, do they really appreciate the deeper social and interpersonal meanings? Probably not. They just know how to spout out the right answer.’
I guess all this to say, I’m sharing my ADD/ADHD experience for two reasons:
To share that it is but a continuum of the norm. It shouldn’t be seen as anything but that. It certainly isn’t a disability. And, it certainly should NOT be seen as an excuse. It’s just a different way your body and brain processes life. So, get used to it. Leverage it. And, move on.
To share that if even a weirdo like me can “conquer” ADD, so can you.