Most people know Squirrel Syndrome (which I’m going to call SS for the rest of this blog) from the movie Up! Where the dog gets distracted by a squirrel in mid sentence, but this is a real thing, it happens to pretty much everyone. You’re watching a show and get distracted by something that you should have done, or your’re at the grocery store and on your way to the onions you notice watermelon and grab that, just to completely forget the onion.
But, what if you are walking home from the bus and suddenly remember something you could do when you get home, run across the street without looking, and almost get hit by a car?
Not so normal right?
For most of us looking both ways is second nature, but for an ADHD kid, it’s not so much. Their little brains are going a mile a minute, constantly thinking, wondering or day dreaming and then forget common sense.
For parents SS is super frustrating, I mean, try using a time out chair when literally 10 seconds after you place them there they forget why they’re there, and the Supernanny process is to not speak, just continue to place them back on the chair. If you’re an ADHD mom you know that this tactic typically doesn’t work. Like, what’s the point of putting them back there, if when they get off the chair after hours of putting them back on or after trying to hold them in the chair if they’re just going to forget.
Here’s a story, one time Tyler was in time out (no clue what he was there for now) I had put him back on that damn chair 100 times, no joke. I was tired, I was a single mom, I just didn’t have it in me to keep putting him back on that chair. Curse the chair! Burn it! I didn’t want any more part of that chair.
Anyway, I decide to hold him in it, no way he’s getting up now, right?
While holding him down and him getting frustrated with me because I was restraining him, and things beginning to escalate to hyper meltdown status, my glasses slid down on my nose a little, prompting the little shit to stop mid meltdown, completely calm down, no more tears, no more fighting me, no more screaming.
He pushes my glasses back up my nose!!!!(squirrel)
I had a million emotions run through me all at the same time (which as an ADHD parent you’ll know happens way more than we’d like) I was mad, furious even (cause that’s all it took for the tantrum to end), I was happy (because the tantrum time out was over), I laughed (because if you could have seen the look on his face as he slowly pushed the glasses back up all while keeping a straight face and eye contact), and surprised (because the dude gave me eye contact!!)
Speaking of eye contact (SQUIRREL!)
Have you ever tried the parenting method where you get down to their level and put one hand on their shoulder for contact to keep their attention to have an important conversation?
I have too, over and over and over again. With little eyes flicking back and forth like a pendulum. I had to resort to making him repeat what I’ve said to ensure he has heard me, because even with the touch his brain is so busy that he just can’t focus on our conversation.
Discipline is hard, it’s even harder with an ADHD kid. What works for most kids just doesn’t work here. SS is real and it’s frustrating for parents, so if you have any tips on how to discipline though the wrath of squirrel syndrome please feel free to leave a comment.