View Full Version : Making your kid feel special, in a bad way.


busymomonli
03-25-15, 04:49 PM
So, a question. My son is 11 and fully aware of his ADHD. Since he also has some anger issues and socialization issues, trouble making friends, etc. I am always looking for ways to help him make new friends and socialize. Recently, I found a summer camp that gears itself to special needs. It has a teen program and they take field trips and do activities, and once a day do workshops in anger management, bullying, making friends, etc. It sounded perfect for him, like there might be kids there he would have more in common with (he's not into sports, so he hates all the other summer camps we've tried).

But my husband disagrees and tell me I'm making him feel bad about himself by talking about these kinds of things. Like I am making him feel like he's not a normal kid, in a bad way.

So, then I wondered how other parents approach such things? Do you treat an ADHD kid more like a "special needs" kid? or do you try to make them feel like they're just like anyone else? Am I doing it wrong?

Corina86
03-25-15, 06:39 PM
I don't have kids, but from my own experience as a kid who was bullied and had little to no friends, I felt "special" anyway. I could have used some real advice on how to deal with these issues- advices catered to my actual skills and social abilities.

I think you should ask you kid if he wants to go, but don't tell him that you want to send him there so he can make new friends; just tell them it's a training camp where they take field trips and do activities, and once a day do workshops in anger management, bullying, making friends, etc. You might want to suggest other camps as well, for "normal" kids, and let him decide.

sarahsweets
03-26-15, 04:40 AM
Its not like you are going to tell your son you have found the perfect camp for him and that its only for special needs kids right? Its not as if you have to give him back knowledge on how you came to decide on that camp. I think every child could benefit from a camp like that. It sounds like your husband is too concerned with the description of the camp and not with what good can come from it. Its not always a matter of having a special needs kid, its having a kid who needs special things.

TygerSan
03-26-15, 06:56 AM
Um, he's not a normal kid, really. There's nothing wrong with being different. I do think there is a fine line between introducing him to members of his tribe and pathologizing/focusing only on weaknesses. If he's willing and interested in going to this camp I'd give it a try. It he hates it, find another one for next year.

Growing up for me was a strange mix of proving that I was really smart and doing well in school and proving that I really did have a learning disability and need accommodations. There were plenty of times when all I wanted was to be treated the same as everyone else . Sometimes I took advantage of teachers that seemed to pity me (it's taken me a long time to put into words the utter distrust I had for teachers who dripped sympathy when bending over backwards to accomodate me. They were almost wise than the ones who refused to believe that someone in honors classes could need extra time to process and write.

The camp may be great run by people who really care and love the kids. If done right, the group sessions will be beneficial and fun. The only downside may be a laser focus on social skills over normal behavior and fun. I still remember coming back to watch a performance by an inclusive/adaptive group I had been in the previous season. My mom had me put on make up before going (I dislike make up and even 20 years later don't wear it). The really outgoing girl in the troupe got really excited that I was wearing it and loudly announced to everyone in sight. I ran out of the room, mortified. When I came back I was embarrassed to find the troupe leaders having a post mortem over the incident using it as an example of social skills. Really, it had nothing to do with the others whatsoever and absolutely nothing to do with the social skills of the girl in question. It was great that they had my back but was really placing something that had little to do with disability into a disability context.

Tmoney
03-26-15, 08:15 AM
It's not uncommon for mom's to accept these things about their child more so than dad. Especially when its a boy. Dads worry that mom is over-protecting and making the child weak.
When I was in school, I knew I was different and I knew I had a "Disorder".
Did I take advantage of it, you bet I did. Some authority figures treated me like a baby and so I took advantage of it. But the teachers I did the best with knew I had a disorder, and I mean severe AD(H)D, but they still treated me much the same as the others, they just had a little more patience with me.

So in my opinion, I think what you are doing could be a good idea. Like Sarah said, be careful how you present it. I also agree with the others in lets see how your child responds to it. It could be very positive or he may not like the idea at all.

I find with kids that have AD(H)D, no two are the same and so you keep trying different things until you find what works best for that particular child.

Good luck, I wish good things for you!

stef
03-26-15, 08:28 AM
Looking back at having had gone to "day camp" and also (and this is strange), some kind of summer school gym program for kids who were uncoordinated (!)

I would have liked to know WHY. My parents had good and generous ideas (the day camp) but for this summer school, I suppose some gym teacher told them I was uncoordinated...?

Whatever it was, they always "presented' activities to me, as if it was great, and as if it was a done deal - but looking back they weren't really convinced themselves! I would have liked an "honest" age adapted pros and cons kind of approach. It was all very vague and got messed up in the category with "things kids are supposed to enjoy" (like field trips and amusement parks). So I just went along with whatever, and kind of secretly dreaded it.

(I have absolutely no animosity towards my parents for any of this! just explaining how I felt. and if I found an activity I really wanted to do and it was feasible/affordable, they were behind me 100%.)

busymomonli
03-26-15, 02:37 PM
Thank you all for your valued opinions. I presented it to him as a camp that takes field trips, has activities, would not force him to play sports (which he hates!) and has some workshops on bullying and anger management. I did not mention anything about special needs, but did tell him that there might be other kids there who have ADHD like him. Surprisingly, he agreed to go see it and has actually asked me twice since then if I've signed him up.

I know deep down, he feels "different" than most kids and I am trying to teach him that's okay. He IS different, but still the same in many ways.

We have an appointment next week to go there and talk to the director and see if its a good fit for him.

rickymooston
03-29-15, 09:10 PM
My son is 11 and fully aware of his ADHD. Since he also has some anger issues and socialization issues, trouble making friends, etc.


So, your kid already knows he isn't totally "normal". :scratch:


I am always looking for ways to help him make new friends and socialize. Recently, I found a summer camp that gears itself to special needs. ...


Great!


But my husband disagrees and tell me I'm making him feel bad about himself by talking about these kinds of things. Like I am making him feel like he's not a normal kid, in a bad way.


You have to get your husband on board. Your son has ADHD and
not having uniform rules/approach is garanteed to make his ADHD worse.

He already knows he's different. You have a plan to work with that
difference. Your husband can contribute by finding things that your son actually likes that build his confidence as well.

You have to be of one mind. I know that's not easy. Your husband loves your
son as much as you do. He is worried about him getting worse by
being treated different. However, you can't address issues you don't talk about.

I have ADHD. My ex-gfs son has ADHD. I sometimes disagree with
her discipline of him because I "know" something about his point of view.
Consistency is the most important thing. I don't let him know when I disagree. I mention it to her in private, sometimes.

ToneTone
04-05-15, 02:40 PM
I'll be blunt: Hubby is just wrong here. The danger is actually that your son feels like he has to "hide" how different he is. Different is totally neutral and OK. There are kids going to music camps for violin lessons and piano lessons. There are athletic kids going to sports camps ... Kids in both of those categories are "different."

Your son is fully human ... and he has a condition. Pretending he doesn't have a condition doesn't really help ... What makes us "normal" is that we are human.

Hopefully, at the camp, he can meet people he connects with. Don't underestimate the impact of a shy kid developing a real connection with other people. If he develops that connection even slightly at the camp, his life will be positively transformed. Here's the thing about human social life. It's hard to be around people who have a condition like ours and look down on or reject those people. Actually being around people with conditions like ours helps us to see ourselves as normal ...

There is a paradox here. The more your son can accept his condition and that he's "different," the more he avoid being ashamed of it ... and the more he can think about how to work with his condition as he goes about achieving his goals and dreams.

Knowing that my mind works different because of my ADHD has been enormously liberating. I still go for my goals ... But now, I'm way more precise and accurate about what I need as I go about achieving my goals. Before I was diagnosed, during the period I was pretending I was "normal," I was hopefully clueless about how to act in the world, because I kept expecting my mind should work like other people's minds. And I kept meeting disappointment.

I wasn't diagnosed with ADHD until I was 46. I spent my entire life not thinking of myself as "different." But I always FELT I was different. I just assumed I was defective.

Anyway, glad to hear your son is looking forward to the camp.

Good luck. Love to hear a report from you after your son goes to the camp.

Tone