“He Reminds Me of Me”
by Karen K. Lowry, RN, MSN
UNDERSTANDING YOUR CHILD with ADHD may be the hardest thing to do. When you don’t have it, but the other members of your family have the symptoms and impairments that result from an invisible wiring difference, it’s hard to grasp what really makes them tick!
But I often think that it’s even more difficult for my fourteen-year-old to understand himself. I believe the oppositional defiance he shows when encountering academic challenges is rooted in self-esteem deficits. A relationship in his life has begun to enlighten me.
Sam is a fourteen-year-old boy who attends a school for learning differences with Jon. They have quite a friendship. Sam has shown Jon the beautiful brilliance of being an entrepreneur. Jon tells me about how his friend runs a business selling video games on Amazon. Together, these two gifted children monitor this business—at times during school hours. They both keep a close eye on the stock market, using their very handy iPhones.
But in addition to the respect Jon has for Sam, there is something else. Sam’s impulsivity and hyperactivity get in the way of classroom expectations. From Jon’s point of view, teachers can at times be intolerant. Once Sam was so frustrated that he ran to a classroom window to jump out. The teacher was aghast… and Jon ran to Sam’s side to pull him away.
He did face some unknown disciplinary measures. But often, the negative, disdaining looks and behaviors from teachers or students do the most damage to how Jon views himself. How do I know? Because, through his words, I have finally figured out why Jon defends this friend so vehemently: “He reminds me of me. He gets in trouble as much as I do. People don’t understand him.”
It seems that Jon is gentler on his friend Sam than he is on himself, though. He will always verbally defend Sam to his peers. No one is allowed to speak badly of Sam or exclude him from activities. The two boys once listened in on a conversation that included negative statements about Sam and how he should not be included in a special lunch. Jon was there to defend and protect his friend once again.
In this young friendship between two kids with ADHD, I have seen an ability to accept. I have also seen the boys’ genius in figuring out that, despite the impairments that rear their ugly heads in the school setting, they have gifts and they really do have something to offer this world. I am proud of my son, who displays so much courage for his age as he defends his friend’s behaviors to his peers. And I am so pleased that, for now, he has found a way to feel good about himself through his friendship with Sam.
Karen K. Lowry, RN, MSN, is a Parent to Parent certified teacher and the author of the book, The Seventh Inning Sit: A Journey of ADHD (BookSurge Publishing,