My child has always marched to the beat of her own drum, which is something my husband and I have always commended her on. She's never been afraid to use her wildly creative mind to think outside the box and go against the norm.
By the time my child entered kindergarten and had to start following classroom rules, though, things took a turn for the worse. All of a sudden, I was receiving emails from her teacher about how she was unable to stay seated, blurted out answers in class without raising her hand, and had a difficult time focusing on her work.
My child was soon diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which was not a surprise to my husband and me. Frankly, we suspected she had ADHD even before kindergarten because she showed quite a few trademark signs. But it wasn't until she entered kindergarten, though, that her ADHD really began to affect her life.
What many people do not understand about children with ADHD is that it can tremendously affect their self-esteem and self-confidence. Day after day, these children are told that the way they're behaving is wrong. They're constantly corrected and it can really take a toll on their mindset. Although the adults in their lives may have the best intentions, they may be inadvertently making these children feel insecure and ashamed of themselves.
My child would become so incredibly frustrated with her ADHD that she would act out at home and at school. Full-blown meltdowns were a common occurrence for her. I researched ways to help my child improve her behavior with positive reinforcement (like sticker reward charts and earning special prizes), but nothing worked. It got so bad that my child even began talking about suicide. It terrified me. And the worst part was, I didn't know how to help her.
I was heartbroken because I could see my child was suffering, and I felt like a failure as a mother because I didn't know what to do. It was very difficult for me to admit that I needed help raising my own child. Ultimately though, I knew I had to swallow my pride to do what was best for my daughter. So, I made an appointment with a therapist for my five-year old.
Allowing a stranger to enter my young child's mind and expose her weaknesses, insecurities, intense feelings and emotions, and dark thoughts was something I never thought I'd willingly do, but I'm so glad I did. The well-trained child psychologist knew exactly how to help my child. Not only was she able to get my daughter to talk openly about the strong feelings she was having, she was able to teach my child great coping mechanisms to help her deal with the more intense emotions that come along with her ADHD.
The therapist also taught me great behavior modifications and coaching methods to use with my child that have proven to be very successful. After seeing a therapist, I have my amazing little girl back. Even better, she now has her self-esteem bucket filled so high, it's overflowing. I've also learned that admitting I need help raising my daughter doesn't make me a failure as a mom. On the contrary, it makes me a better mom, because I'm teaching my child that it is okay to ask for help when you're struggling.