A Simple Look at a Not-So-Simple Life

Monday’s Child: Sometimes Parents Fail

My son has Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder. I know what you’re thinking: that’s what people say when they have energetic children, or when boys are being boys, or when parents can’t control their children. Parents are looking for excuses to medicate their children. I thought that too in my pre-ADHD parenting days.

Take a look at the symptoms below. In the Inattentiveness category, my son scores 8 out of 8. In the Hyperactivity category, he scores 5 out of 7. In the Impulsivity category, he scores 7 out of 8. This has been confirmed not just by me, but by two teachers and two physicians. At our meds check last week, our new doctor checked him over thoroughly, asked lots of questions of both of us, and did some observation. “Classic ADHD,” she said. “Almost every symptom on the list.”

Symptoms of Inattentiveness in Children

  • Doesn’t pay attention to details
  • Makes careless mistakes
  • Has trouble staying focused; is easily distracted
  • Appears not to listen when spoken to
  • Has difficulty remembering things and following instructions
  • Has trouble staying organized, planning ahead, and finishing projects
  • Gets bored with a task before it’s completed
  • Frequently loses or misplaces homework, books, toys, or other items

Symptoms of Hyperactivity in Children

  • Constantly fidgets and squirms
  • Often leaves his or her seat in situations where sitting quietly is expected
  • Moves around constantly, often runs or climbs inappropriately
  • Talks excessively
  • Has difficulty playing quietly or relaxing
  • Is always “on the go,” as if driven by a motor
  • May have a quick temper or a “short fuse”

Symptoms of Impulsivity in Children

  • Acts without thinking
  • Blurts out answers in class without waiting to be called on or hear the whole question
  • Can’t wait for his or her turn in line or in games
  • Says the wrong thing at the wrong time
  • Often interrupts others
  • Intrudes on other people’s conversations or games
  • Inability to keep powerful emotions in check, resulting in angry outbursts or temper tantrums
  • Guesses, rather than taking time to solve a problem


My son is one of the cutest kids you’ll ever meet. Sweet, Polite. Cute little dimples and devilish grin. But let me tell you, he can wear your butt down!

Now take a look at some of the following complications for this mom: single with no back- up in the home; rough week full of quacking, pecking ducks at work for 4 consecutive days; summer vacation with no childcare; a pulled back muscle and the ongoing accompanying pain; being an introvert who has literally had no more than 5 waking hours alone in 5 weeks. I could probably add a few more, but that would be whining to the extreme and nobody likes a whiner.

Take list #1 and mix it up with list #2 and you have a disastrous recipe for a major mama meltdown, otherwise known as parenting failure. I don’t like to fail. I don’t like the ugliness of feeling like a bad parent. Some days, it’s just too much. Being the professional pastor, the responsible adult, and the calm, understanding parent – all at the same time and with no personal time to regroup/refresh – is exhausting.

I love my kids – all of them – even when they screw up. My kids love me even when I screw up. After a parenting fail, I just need to learn to love myself – even though I’ve screwed up. That’s the hardest part of all.


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