I’ve been struggling to get Bug an ADHD diagnosis. I think his pediatrician is one of those old school types. She’s previously told me that he needs more discipline. I’m not sure where she got the idea that I don’t run a tight ship. My kids are respectful, and we have rules and boundaries in our house. We have structure and guidelines for expected behavior and a routine and expectations for responsibilities, but I don’t make a habit of yelling at them. I really don’t like her. Less so since she suggested I try spanking and I reminded her that our family has a traumatic history with family violence that we have left behind and have exactly zero interest in bringing back.

We’ve learned to make space for Bug’s high energy and constant need for movement, but some days are harder than others. Like when it’s four am and you’re woken up by the sound of rapid fire tiny footsteps and giggles running back and forth above your head for forty five minutes before you finally roll yourself out of bed and climb the stairs to deal with it.

How do you even deal with something like this? He’s not running around to be a jerk. He just has all this excess energy that needs to be used up, and he’s coming down off a particularly nasty cold so his sleep schedule’s all messed up right now. Plus who even is at their parenting best at four am? I sure am not.

I flopped down in his bed and reminded him that people were sleeping and suggested he try different movements. He sat down next to me and we played dead roach, where we laid on our backs and wiggled our arms and legs in the air above us. We stage whispered our yelling. I tried desperately to stay awake while he asked me a million questions and answered them all himself while I gently reminded him that I know he’s super wired kiddo, but it’s four am and I’m so, so tired, let’s try sleeping so we can get on a proper schedule. And then we snuggled and turned on a bedtime story podcast and did our best to shrink our movements so we only needed to wiggle our hands until we fell asleep.

It took an hour.

Sometimes parenting means you spend an hour when you would rather be asleep helping your seven year old fall back asleep. Sometimes the best approach is kindness, even when you’re frustrated. It works so much better than yelling.

Aila Moireach
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