I stopped writing for about a week and a half because I’ve been experiencing some cognitive dissonance. Our lives have changed drastically during the past few months, things have been so stressful – and now they aren’t. It’s really fantastic that life is good around here now that the chronic stress is gone, but it’s caused me to question my beliefs about things I thought were obvious and true. Things that clearly seemed to be the right thing to do. Like sending Jack to school, or employing a parenting style that doesn’t suit me but is recommended for parents of children with ADHD. It feels overwhelming – like everything I know has been flipped upside down – but it also feels great.
Now that I’m not trying to hold on to separate beliefs and try to make them fit, I feel better. But it’s still disconcerting because now what I believe in is at odds with what the majority of people believe, to the point that it feels like my thinking is so radical I don’t even want to share with others.… Click to continue
Researching parenting stress is helping me become a better parent to Jack, and I share what I learn with Jason and my mom. We make adjustments based on what we’re finding out about how children’s outcomes are influenced by specific parenting behaviors. I think that what I’ve been learning about unschooling (specifically from Danya Martin’s book: Radical Unschooling: A Revolution Has Begun) is going to dramatically impact the way I parent in a way I hadn’t thought possible.
Parents of children with ADHD often struggle with feels of doubt and incompetence. Feelings of low self-efficacy sabotage our relationships with our kids and contribute to an environment of stress and uncertainty. I spend the first six years of Jack’s life feeling like a crappy mother. It seemed like every other mother in the world parented their children with ease, their kids weren’t out of control like Jack, and I believed there was an obvious correlation between my poor parenting ability and my son’s wild behavior.… Click to continue
This blog wasn’t originally meant to be a place to talk about homeschooling Jack, but that’s mainly because when it started I never imagined he’d be anywhere but at his school this year. We had faith that the best thing for Jack would be to attend his neighborhood elementary school, and our goal was to figure out how to get him to fit in and conform to the way he needed to behave and learn in order to succeed there. In retrospect, that seems like it was a ridiculous plan.
My first instinct when we were considering homeschooling Jack was to enroll him in an online school, which would be very similar to being in a traditional school as far as oversight and workload are concerned. I started reading about homeschooling — books and blogs — and I joined a local secular homeschooling group and posted an introduction, letting the members know what our situation is, where we live, etc.… Click to continue
It’s time to begin posting text from my dissertation. In order for my topic to be approved I had to write a prospectus outlining why I felt that there was a need to study parenting stress and how fathers experience this phenomenon. Since I wrote the prospectus in June I’ve been working on the literature review, which will be chapter 2 of the dissertation. I’ll be posting parts of this review as I write it, and the text below is an introduction to parenting stress.
Parenting Stress Defined
Parenting is taxing for all parents and stress is considered a normal reaction to the demands of raising children. Parents must meet the basic needs that children require such as food, shelter, and clothing, but there are other needs that must be met as well, such as providing affection and emotional support (Deater-Deckard, 2004). Parents have varying levels of resources available to them to meet all of these needs; some examples include financial stability, support systems, and treatment of parental psychopathology.… Click to continue
Let me start this post with an honest confession—I never imagined I’d ever homeschool my child, and couldn’t understand why so many people choose that route. I assumed that it was just for people who were unhappy with their kids not having religion as part of their public education and yet didn’t choose private school. It seemed like a crazy idea to me, especially since my son has ADHD and the idea of trying to teach him at home sounded like legitimate torture for all parties involved. I scoffed at the thought of it.
But here I sit, working on a plan for homeschooling Jack. Writing this post counts as working on a plan, because it’s helping me process the whole situation. I’m sad that Jack won’t be going to his elementary school anymore, because we used to love it and as recently as a month ago we wouldn’t have imagined why we’d do anything different.… Click to continue
Things are not going well with Jack’s school, and I’m not sure how long we’re going to keep him enrolled there if major changes don’t take place to improve his likelihood of success. He and his teacher are not connecting, and I’m not sure if it’s a simple personality clash or something deeper, but it’s bad enough that we don’t feel okay with him remaining in that class for the rest of the school year. I don’t think that the people at his school are trying to make things worse, but that’s what’s happening. When Jack ran away from school last week we began to realize how much he doesn’t like it there. He was hesitant at first to tell us why it’s upsetting him, but from what he’s saying we can tell that he feels different and like an outcast. He said the kids that were his friends don’t talk to him anymore and that everyone (adults) watches him all the time.… Click to continue
Yesterday I was working on my literature review and began to pull out the symptoms and behaviors listed in the articles I’m working with for the ADHD section. It’s turning out to be a huge list, and not everyone has all of these symptoms, of course, but it’s still a good illustration of why people with ADHD struggle and why parenting stress increases in this family dynamic. The behaviors that children with ADHD display create a transactional effect with parents, where a cycle develops of parents reacting to negative behaviors and children reading negatively to parental reactions (Keown, 2012). We’ve definitely experienced that transactional process here with Jack at times.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, by any means, and I’m sure that as I continue my reading I’ll be adding to it. Note that some of the symptoms, such as daydreaming and hypoactivity/lethargy are seen more frequently in the predominantly inattentive type of ADHD.… Click to continue
I’ve been working on my literature review since July, and I’ve decided to share some sources with links when they’re freely available on the Internet. Many peer-reviewed articles are available using search engines, especially Google Scholar, but I’m not sure that people who aren’t in grad school seek out scholarly work when they want to find information. I could be wrong about that, but most people seem to refer to popular books or websites when sharing information. It appears that most of the articles I use as sources are not available to the general public, but I’d be glad to help people find research – just contact me and let me know what you need. I’m going to start sharing this type of resource on a regular basis in order to bring the academic world to the lay people who visit this blog.
The neurobiological basis of ADHD by Curatolo, D’Adati, & Moavero (2010)
Neurobiology of ADHD by Tripp & Wickens (2009)
[California State University, Chico has this handy PDF document available to explain what scholarly sources are, including peer-reviewed journal articles.]
These are the two articles I’ll be reading this morning as I wrap up my section on the etiology, prevalence, and symptoms of ADHD.… Click to continue