Dear Mom Of A Child With Hyperactivity…
My son has always been on the go. He’s always been fast, energetic and too curious for his own good. Unfortunately, he inherited this from both his father and me. My brother and I were energetic and curious as children and I know we drove our poor Mom crazy. I’ve heard stories from Nate’s Mom about when he was little too. One about taking off to the local park alone as a toddler comes to mind.
There is a difference between a normal energetic child and a child with extreme hyperactivity. Although Mr. Awesome could run circles around me on a normal healthy day, there are days when he is abnormally “crazy” energetic. When he was 5 years old, he developed an allergy to food dyes and preservatives. My little guy cannot tolerate them. They make him hyperactive to the point where he can’t focus or slow down. There is no reaching him, he’s gone.
I can remember one time when he had been exposed vividly. He was running around, making loud incoherent noises and banging into things. I grabbed him into my arms to try to get him to stop. He flailed around while I tried calling his name. As he flopped backward across my lap, with a crazy wild grin on his face, his eyes rolling wildly, joyfully screaming, arms and legs waving about, I remember feeling my heart break for my son. I will never forget that.
Another time, when he was older, we did something we never usually did. We were running late to meet family and we stopped at Mcdonald’s. We don’t normally eat at Mc D’s, but we were out in the middle of nowhere and it was the only place to eat for many miles. After my son ate his food, he told me, “Mom, I feel like I’m going crazy.” After that he did. He went into his usual hyperactive world where we can’t reach him.
To us, watching from the outside. It looks like he is wildly out of control. He looks like he’s had a gallon of sugar. It’s frustrating, especially in public with other people watching and judging. It’s hard worrying about my son and caring for him, but it’s also hard because I know others simply think I can’t control my son.
Over the years, we’ve found that avoiding food dyes and preservatives is what he needs to be functional. We know when he sneaks candy from his sisters because he goes wild. Because of this, we’ve stopped buying things that can cause him to react. I try to find him treats that are safe as an alternative so he doesn’t feel left out. Unfortunately, we’ve found he also reacts to perfumes and artificial scents in the air since he has an allergy to corn. So reactions in crowded places are common.
With my own allergies. I have the unique perspective of being able to walk in my son’s shoes. With exposure to corn, I develop anxiety. If my allergy bucket is really full, or I get a big dose of corn, I get extreme anxiety and hyperactivity. It’s not fun. I’ve gotten pretty good at avoiding corn, but every once and awhile I accidentally get exposed. Last week was one of those times.
Normally, if this happens, I try to minimize the damage as much as I can by drinking bentonite clay water and fasting until the feeling has passed. I try to stay productive and channel my energy into cleaning. Sometimes I distract myself by playing games on my phone (1010!, Word Cookies and Sims Freeplay) or watching a movie or listening to soothing music. This time, I used the opportunity to write a letter to myself.
I’ve switched it up a bit so that it applies to any parent with a child with hyperactivity and/or anxiety. Although boys, girls, men and women struggle with hyperactivity, I’ve written this as I’ve written it to myself about my son. If you’d like to write a letter to yourself and add your name and your loved one’s name, please feel free to do so.
The next time your child is going a million miles an hour, remember this.
For your child, having their mind race is not fun, it’s intense. It’s hard to focus, hard to be still, and hard to remember what you were doing. It’s like a video that has been sped up really fast and is dragging you along with it.
You can help him.
Speak slow and clear.
Give him one task at a time.
Be forgiving and help him remember when he forgets.
Get down to his level.
Show your love through actions.
Be the rock of stability is his rushing river.
Play slow, soothing music to help calm him and help him focus (The Guild of Ambience or Weightless)
Have a clean, calm environment.
Go outside and and let him run around and soak up vitamin D, it’s good for both of you!
Give him tablet time and take a time out if you need it.
You can do this! It’s hard for you, but it’s also hard for him. Thank you for loving him enough to care to try.
I hope this helps you. Being a parent is tough, but being a parent to a child with hyperactivity can be extremely challenging. Sometimes taking a minute out of our day to remember what they’re going through can help when we feel our patience slipping.
What do you do when your child has a hyperactive episode/meltdown? What are your child’s triggers?