What We Did Wrong…the Tip of the Iceburg

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tomatoAfter I posted ADHD – What We Did Right yesterday, it showed up on my Facebook page. I got the most glowing comments – all of which would have gone to my head had I not know that – today was coming. So here it is…my tip of the iceburg list of all the things that I did WRONG.

Trust me, this post would be way too long if I listed them all. Yelling, inconsistency, throwing a tomato (yes I did), not taking supplements, talking about it too much…Sigh. I’ll depress myself if I think about it. So here are three of our TOP mistakes.

Not Learning Together – Since at some point Ron did assume responsibility for his schoolwork, we took a pretty hands off approach to his education all through high school. My big regret, however, is that I didn’t keep up with what he was studying. (Maybe because I was too busy with the other boys…) I know that there were times he could have learned more if we had discussed what he was reading, or related what he learned in science or history to what we saw on the news. He has struggles now because he doesn’t know how to do things I could have taught him. I must add, however, that he resisted our every attempt to help. But that doesn’t keep me from feeling guilty about it…

Not Reading Aloud – If I had it to do over again, I’d read textbook chapters out loud to my boys. Not only does this help to ensure the material is read, it helps to gauge attention and understanding. Reading aloud also gives a chance to model how to preview and review. It offers opportunity to relate what is being read to experiences and knowledge unique to your family or child. When your child doesn’t understand a concept, reading aloud gives you the chance to rephrase and explain until the idea is mastered. And (see above!) it helps you to be aware of what your child is studying.

Not Getting 504’s Joe had a 504. Ron and Mike did not. We tried to get them one in high school, but the process was so complicated by then that we didn’t. Since we had great support from teachers, it didn’t change much. But it would have been nice if they would have had extra time on state tests, an accommodation they may have been allowed. In hindsight, we should have asked that they be given 504’s as soon as they were diagnosed. Our rationale then was that we wanted to avoid the label. In hindsight, it was a mistake. Read more about 504 plans.

And now we’re here. Our journey with ADHD is not finished. Our boys didn’t outgrow it, and will always have it. Then (hopefully!!) they’ll have their own children, and odds are that we’ll revisit the same path. Ten years in, I’m grateful for the help I’ve had along the way, the friends I’ve made.

I’m grateful to and humbled by you, the readers, for sticking with me through my ramblings and ranting, my hope and my despair. Thank you for sharing your stories, trading your hints, understanding each other’s frustrations.

And now – for all of us – here’s to the next ten!

PS Go back to yesterday’s post, scroll down to the comments and tell what you did right!

About Kayla

Kayla Fay is a freelance writer and the mother of four boys, three of whom have been formally diagnosed with the inattentive type of ADHD. When she started “Who Put the Ketchup in the Medicine Cabinet?” in 2002, her sons were ages 8 through 14, when her life was a “progression of dirty laundry, lost homework, misunderstood Algebra, and a whole lot of love and fun”.

Connect with Kayla online Google+


  1. I laugh so hard and totally understood the tomato slinging.
    Its a moment of despair and we all do things that we may later regret.I found so much comfort just to know I am NOT alone in slinging a tomato once in a while.Sometimes I feel so bad at NOT having the patience and energy to deal with my 9 year sons’ ADHD. I am a registered nurse and feel that I am a lot more understanding and comforting to my patients than I am to my own child. You give good advice and speak candidly I for one REALLY appreciate it.

    Tomatoes R Soft