It was Mothers day; the sun was shining, the kids seemed happy so we decided that after breakfast, the whole family (eight of us if you include our three dogs) would head to the park.
After an enjoyable hour of simple stuff like throwing balls with the dogs, watching the kids play and of course the obligatory ‘selfies’ to capture the moment and share it with the world; we wandered home.
It’s funny that most of us now struggle to just be in the moment. We feel like we need to capture it on an iPhone, hashtag the hell of out of it and then share it on ‘social media’ (I do this too by the way).
We arrived home, put the dogs inside and then tried to persuade Sarah*; our beautiful, fun, gorgeous, ‘does not cope with change’, ADHD daughter into the car.
“I don’t want to go for lunch.”
“I didn’t know we were going for lunch today.”
“Why do we have to go out for stupid Mother’s day anyway”?
“I hate what I am wearing; I’m not going”.
We managed to get Sarah into the restaurant, and tried our best to ignore the screams, shouts and wails. A year ago this would have been handled so differently from Kyle* and I. We would have shouted, put Sarah on time-out and taken some priveledges from her.
Now, we try and ignore the bad and focus on the good. We have been trying this new method out for about six months. It was hard at first, but we are finding that it gets easier at time progresses. It took us a long time to realise that Sarah wasn’t being defiant on purpose or being manipulative (as the paediatrician would often tell me). She just couldn’t cope with change or transition very well.
And after lunch, Sarah said how sorry she was, how much she loved me and that she’s not good with change (which can mean something as simple as going for dinner).
After lunch, we came home, cuddled up by the fire (yes Perth does get cold too) and watched the Goonies. What an absolute blast from the past (I’m a 70’s kid after all)! I looked at the kids; all snuggled up, Daddy asleep, fire on, and realised how amazing this moment was for the children. I watched the film in a different light from the last time I had watched it some many moons ago. I noticed the messy houses and the fact that the children all looked like they needed a good wash! I watched them riding their bikes, creating inventions; drawing maps and saw how fun, exciting, yet basic their lives looked.
I thought about how life was now for our kids; social media, selfies, parents connecting with iPhones, instead of each other. And I wondered what impact this would have on our children as they grow up surrounded by this? Our parents and grandparents tell us “they didn’t do that in our day’. But their world looked very different. It was a safer place; kids could be kids and go off on their bikes until dusk giving their parents some ‘time off’. Communities were tighter; there were fewer predators, parents worked less, mothers were at home, and there was more time to just to be, connect and love.
We show love through social media. You can ‘love’ a Facebook post or an Instagram picture. We can tell the world how much we love our kids through social media, but do we show it to each other, to our children, to ourselves?
12 months ago I had a non-existent relationship with Sarah; I loathed myself as Mum for allowing this to happen. But if I am honest, I struggled to spend time with her. Her ADHD, Oppositional Defiance and wild-child behaviour were so hard that even after only minutes together I would wish the time away. A friend once said to me that ADHD children are hard to love, that may sound harsh, and although I loved Sarah dearly, I found her behaviour impossible to be around.
Then out of the blue, an old friend contacted me, as she had heard from my best friend in the UK that we were going through a tough time with Sarah. We chatted on the phone for almost two hours, and I bared my soul to her. She told me about a book called ‘LoveBombing’ by Oliver James. She explained a bit about the concept which was spending more quality time with your child; no iPhones, no selfies, no distractions. Just you, just them.
At the time, I was reading about ten books on ADHD as well as googling the living daylights out of the subject every night! None of the things that the books recommended worked, none of them talked about showering your child with infinite love. Just like the book described, we showered Sarah with love, kindness, and compassion. We spent more one-on-one time with her and only showed her love when all we wanted to do was shout, scream and put her on time-out. During this time, Sarah had recently come off medication, and her behaviour was dreadful, but we persevered with gritted teeth and clenched fists.
It wasn’t a quick fix; it probably took about six months and it was hard at first as we had been the parents who used the ‘naughty step’ and time-out. But, the more we Lovebombed her, the better her behaviour became. We used this in conjunction with other things, such as; essential oils, rewards, supplements, diet changes, etc. but all of them combined have been the key to success for us a family.
If you want to read more information about the the Lovebombing book by Oliver James – here is the link.
* All names have been changed to protect identities