My Son Is Not Defined By A Label

My son has recently been diagnosed with ADHD, ODD, and anxiety. If you don’t know what ODD is, it’s oppositional defiant disorder. Before you judge me and think, “you just need to get your kid under control”, he can’t control it. That’s why we’re in behavioral therapy, which has been a great catalyst for him. I’ve seen him mature and grow over the past few weeks of therapy.

Basically when my son feels something, he REALLY feels it. So, when he’s angry, he’s REAL angry. When he’s loving, he’s REAL loving. When he’s excited, he’s REAL excited. 

But that is the beauty and reality of this road we have been chosen to walk alongside him as he discovers how to depend on God: HE IS REAL.

Some days he’ll wake up at 5:45 full of energy and ready to go. GO BACK TO BED! But he can’t control it. My son is fearfully and wonderfully made. I would not change him and the way he is for a second. He is full of life. 

I feel judged…a lot. I feel like a failure…a lot. And as much as I hate to use the phrase, “I feel…”, it’s just the truth. I know I shouldn’t let my emotions dictate my outlook, but if I’m honest, some days I let it get the best of me. 

Rather than people understanding, they compare. THAT IS THE WORST THING YOU CAN DO WITH SOMEONE WITH ADHD. Child or adult. Don’t ever compare them to another child or another adult who does not have ADHD because they don’t have a chemical imbalance that they’re trying to overcome on a daily basis. 

We have homeschooled for the past year and a half, and getting these “results” from the pediatrician solidified my exhaustion and difficulties in homeschooling my son. He is also the most social child I have ever met, so you can see where this has been a struggle for both of us. 

I want to bring awareness to those who do not have a child with ADHD. For the tired, exhausted parent – I mean, what parent isn’t exhausted?! – please offer grace to these children and parents. As Bob Goff states, “Grace seems unfair until you are the one in need of it.” 

I have been so thankful for two friends specifically who have children with the exact same “diagnosis” who have offered me grace, encouragement, and advice. They’ve been there to listen to me vent, cry, and complain. Yes, I’m not proud of those moments. They have helped me more than they will ever know. 

I need to be surrounded with these people.

Not people who will judge and compare my son to their child. Every child is uniquely made, and I’m so thankful God chose me to be his mommy. Sure, it’s been a challenge. But, through it all, I can say God has humbled me like no other through this! 

Before I became a mother, I judged. Yep. I said it. Not proud of that, either. I would see a mom in the store with her screaming kid. “Just take him out already” would be my thought. My mom was in the store one day. While on the phone with her, I heard a child in the background. I told her, “Mom, don’t you judge that momma!” And my mom totally gets it. 

That momma is trying her best to hold in those tears in public. All she is trying to do is get in and get out…just like you. You never know what someone is going through or what obstacle a child is trying to overcome at that moment. 

Now, instead of judging, I go and talk to that mom. I offer any help I can give her during that moment of trying-to-hold-it-together-in-public. 

I do not write this for sympathy or pity. I write this to bring awareness of how you never know what someone is going through and the challenges they are up against. To be a little more graceful to those around you. To be a little more loving and understanding to those around. 

If you or a loved one struggles with ADHD, please don’t ever compare them to anyone else. Know that they are struggling with something they really have absolute no control over…and they’re working through it. 

This diagnosis does not define who my son is. It makes him that much more extraordinary. Seeing life through his eyes changes everything.

Spiritually speaking, we all have ADHD. We get so distracted by the world, we become hyperactive in our earthly lives and our spiritual well-being suffers. We’re looking left and right, getting pulled in different directions, not focusing on the Lord and His ways.

Psalm 119:37, “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way.”

Psalm 23:2-3, “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His names’ sake.”

The only reason why we are able to focus on God is because Jesus never took His eyes off The Father. (Heb. 5:7)

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5 thoughts on “My Son Is Not Defined By A Label

  1. Wow, what an awesome perspective! As someone with children who don’t struggle with ADHD, it’s sometimes hard for me to understand what they and their parents are going through, so I appreciate hearing your story.

    Also…you’re an amazing mama! Don’t ever let anyone make you feel otherwise! 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Having several grandchildren diagnosed with ADHD, OCD, and ADD, I know the struggles. They are real. But, I also know that God is so good. Each child IS unique and yes, wonderfully made. Each day brings new challenges as well as new blessings. Life is an adventure and God leads us down that path. He gives the Grace to endure, wisdom to understand, and patience when it’s needed. God bless you Ashley on this journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ashley, Robbie and I were talking this afternoon about McKenzie and her feelings of “when she loves, she really loves” “when she’s sad, she is really sad” etc… I was telling Robbie that the passion that derives from her ADHD, ODD and Anxiety/Panic Disorder is such a blessing, but it can also be a poisoned thorn! Yes, she drives me crazy, to tears, to anger and to yelling I can’t deny that!! This past Friday after I dropped her off for a weekend youth retreat, while driving back by myself, I started thinking about how much she and I bump heads and argue. I was wondering if she would ever just have that “everything starts to click moment”, but the longer I thought about it the more clear it was to me that I don’t want her to change! It makes her who she is and that is exactly who God made her to be!

    Like

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