"ADHD *may* not be down to bad parenting" say the scientists!


Originally published on 30th September 2010. Updated on 11th March 2014.

Naughty child?  Must be ADHD or bad parenting.
Child won't sleep at night?  Must be ADHD or bad parenting.
Issues with food? Must be ADHD or bad parenting.

Except that I have never used ADHD as an excuse for my son's behaviour. Here is an article about a group of scientists from Cardiff who have now discovered that there is a genetic link to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and that the disorder is a brain problem.  Oh *yawn*. Tell me something I don't know. We were given that snippet of 'useful' information about seven years ago.

I have never considered my son's ADHD to be part of 'bad parenting' and I get really annoyed when so-called experts decide that the chemical imbalance in my son's brain is down to me not being bothered to raise him correctly.

I have written before about how my son explained his ADHD.  Here is an excerpt from that blog post:
One time he said to me that he hates his ADHD because his head tells him that some things are wrong but his body won't stop doing it
So, experts - tell me how the fuck that is to do with bad parenting?  I tell you what, let pick apart this 'new' discovery and the statistics that go with it:

The researchers compared genetic samples from ADHD children with DNA from 1,047 people without the condition.
They found that 15% of the ADHD group had large and rare variation in their DNA - compared with 7% in the control group.
Big fat fucking WOW! An 8% difference!  This isn't going to dispel any myths and discourse from the people who are already so judgemental about this condition.  Since my son was a few weeks old I knew that something was 'different' about him - I was already a mother to two children and instinctive tells you when something is 'not quite right'.  I doubted myself so much at the time that I enrolled on a couple of parenting courses but ended up teaching the tutors a few tricks of the trade.  That says it all really!

If you think we had him diagnosed with ADHD so that we could get extra help and money, let me tell you that, apart from a slight dalliance with Ritalin, we have controlled his ADHD through diet, exercise, praise and positive parenting.  We don't receive one single penny in extra assistance.  Any parent who has a child with ADHD will support me in the view that no-one wishes any kind of disability on their child and for public commentators and speculators to say as such saddens me.

Charities and scientists have every right to be excited about this new connection with genetics but it doesn't really help the parents that live every day of their lives being judged, whispered about and effectively being told that they are jumping on some kind of bandwagon.

*this blog post was edited about eight times to take out most of the anger and the swearing.  This is the best draft you're going to get!


Sharing is Sexy - Snazzy Social Buttons for Blogger

These "sharing is sexy" social media buttons are great and allow your readers to share your blog posts with their social media network.
They are traditionally a Wordpress plugin but after googling "sharing is sexy" I found a couple of tutorials which I have managed to break down into plain English for HTML numpties like myself.  I have also experimented a little a put together this HTML tutorial for you so that you can install these buttons too.  These instructions work perfectly on a Blogger/Blogspot blog.  If installing them on another platform or website then you will  have to insert them directly into the HTML section of your template.

How to build up a great appetite



During the summer holidays free entertainment was paramount.  Here in Blackburn there is plenty of opportunity for us to spend as little money as possible if we looked carefully enough.  We took lots of walks along the Leeds-Liverpool canal, watching all the barges sailing through the lock gates and spent many a happy few hours taking advantage of free swim sessions at the local leisure centre, Waves.

Social Engagement

Earlier this week, I became quite annoyed with the fact that a blogger* failed to display a comment that I had made on her blog.  She had asked for readers to share similar experiences and I thought I could offer a slightly different view point.  I took my time with the reply. I wrote about three paragraphs, so it wasn't a quick visit - it was a measured, balanced comment.  I filled in the captcha code (don't EVEN get me started on that) and was greeted with the "your comment will be displayed after approval" messsage.  Four days later, that comment still hasn't been published on the blog.  And, yes, she has been active around the blogging and social media community since.

Now I am acutely aware that a blog is a personal space and you have every right to display what you want on your corner of the internet, but why invite comments if you're not going to display them?  Even if you don't agree with what I have written then publish it and flame me.  Let me know why you are unhappy or why you disagree with my comment.  Conversation is a two-way street and I don't expect everyone to agree with me.  In fact, I am quite a hot-headed sort of person who sometimes says something just to forge a balanced discussion.

I can count on one hand the amount of comments that I have deleted from this blog and they were all at the request of the original respondent.  I have also written about how social networking is evolving and I constantly talk about how I believe that social engagment is the 'next big thing', offering advice and quick 'How To' sessions on Twitter and by email to friends**.  Have a watch of this video from Simply Zesty*** which really reinforces my thoughts on what is happening with our online world at the moment:

 

My entry into social engagement is ever changing.  I already use Twitter and Facebook to promote my blog and readership is growing by the day (yes, I check my stats.  So shoot me!).  I'm a sort of "anything goes" type of blogger and occasionally will work with companies to promote their products or services but I will only publish sponsored posts that I believe are relevant to my audience.  One of my readers recently said that a particular review post read like an advert and I could tell he was disappointed with the content.  That was obviously not the reason why he read my blog and he wouldn't get those five minutes back again.  I have since readdressed the way in which I accept and write up review/sponsored posts.  The variety of posts on this blog ensures that, hopefully, there will always be something that you enjoy or gain from.

The comments section remains open and you can post as a guest or anonymously if you want to. You will only need to use your email address to sign in and this will never be displayed.  I also believe that if you take the time to respond to my posts then I should attempt to engage with you in the comments section.  Your view and comment is an extension of what I have already written.  I am glad I have reeled you in long enough to make you think.


* I am not about to name and shame.  I may be outspoken but I'm not completely mental!
** I know, I'm missing a trick here...
*** This post was not endorsed by Simply Zesty in any way.



Emotional Overload

September the 22nd will always be 
The day I want to ignore 
But I can't. 
It is a day I should celebrate 
The birth of my second born. 
The celebration of the life of 
A sensitive, clever young man, 
Yet it is a day that is burnt 
Into my heart  
For other reasons that involve grief. 
I cannot change this.
I cannot alter the past. 
I never want my grief to overshadow
A day of celebration, 
But I can see it in his eyes.
He doesn't want to mention that he knows
I am thinking of other times; 
Of another person. 
I want to cry but I need to be strong. 
Mum, I miss you more and more
And I know you understand

* * *

Shwing!

A mate recently asked me, "Which famous people would you bunk up with if you could?" (based on an episode of Friends)

So I'm going offer you a plethora of Gorgeous Guys that I think make me go *shwing* (but in a very feminine way, holding the edges of my skirt).  I think I am pretty safe in the fact that it will only be me who has even considered this section of the male population, especially after my Plastic Fantastic post a while back.  I was going to write a bit about each bloke but thought it would be funnier to see your reactions first.  Feel free to take the piss or scream "JUST WHY?" in the comments section.

In no particular order:

Howard Donald

Mark Salling 

Eminem
  

Robert Lindsay

Simon le Bon
  
James McAvoy 

Nick Knowles

Simon Gregson

Jon Bon Jovi


Blognonymous : Cyber Cheating


Editors note:  This post was submitted to me to within the ethos of Blognonymous.  The writer would like to remain completely anonymous.  Please feel free to comment on this post and offer your advice.

Useful Links:  

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Be Good To Your Daughters

This post stems from an invitation from Kate at The Five F's to join a meme originally started by Garry from Him Up North.  The meme is based on the lyrics of a John Mayer song called 'Daughters', Garry's lack of experience of raising daughters and the theory that the future of the world rests on the female population (like we haven't got enough to worry about already!).

Review : Men Are Useless

Yes, I know what you're thinking - why is she stating the obvious? But I'm on a mission at the moment to find good Christmas presents at not-too-expensive prices.  I'm also always on the lookout to find products that will stop the overpowering smell of boys that comes wafting from a predominantly male household (it's so hard being the only female in this house sometimes).

HELP PLEASE! Need information about two pictures I am selling.

Please share this blog post within your network using the TweetMeme button to the right of this page or the 'share' facility at the bottom of the post.  I am desperate to find out more about two pictures I have that I am willing to sell.  I have Googled as far as I can and my knowledge and experience ends here.  If you have any information whatsoever please feel free to comment at the end of this post or email me

A Weight Off My Shoulders

Lone study is hard.  Really bloody hard.  I have been slogging away at this Open University degree now for two years, as well as working full time and dealing with all the pressures that come with everyday family life.  For the first time in recent years I have just had to admit that I can't do something and it makes me want to cry.  I have emailed my tutor to ask if I can substitute an assignment.  It's the final assignment of this course and I have a four hour exam looming (I may be asking you to join hands and send collective positive thoughts on the 15th October).  I have used the online calculator to see if I can substitute this assignment and still pass the course and *drum roll* yes I can.  I need a minimum of 40% in the exam.  As soon as I clicked "send" on that email I heaved a sigh of relief.

What Have You Learnt Today?

What have you learnt today?  It could be

  • triva-based 
  • a "Really?  I never knew that!" moment
  • practical
  • useful
  • something that you will never use again (or maybe at the next #FridayTwiz).

My knowledge increased one notch today by finding out that ketchup used to be administered as a medicine!
I also learnt that when the people at the tax credits office say, "We will ring you back within 48 hours" that their 48 hours isn't necessarily the same length of time as my 48 hours.

Love and Marriage...

... go together like a horse and carriage.  Or do they?

The newspapers are full of the story that Chris Moyles has split up with his girlfriend of eight years because he isn't ready to settle down, marry and have children.  Commentators and spectators are up in arms saying that he has lead her on, taken the best years of her life, that he should consider himself lucky that a "man like him" was adored by a woman as pretty as Sophie Waite... but hardly anyone is congratulating him on having the confidence to admit that he is too selfish for the responsibilities that come with a family.  And he has made no secret of it in the past. His girlfriend was certainly under no illusions about his lack of interest of commitment.

Does a relationship have to lead towards finally settling down and starting a family?  

The Gallery : A Celebration

As soon as I saw Tara's prompt this week, I knew exactly which photos I was going to use.  The two lovely ladies pictured with me are my two best friends from the internet.  We 'met' on a parenting forum and, whilst we are incredibly different, we are very much the same.  I love them both and would trust them with my life.  We don't see enough of each other due to family/work commitments and the fact that we live miles away from each other.

The One Where I Blog Whilst Drunk

I'm sat on my own here and need a natter with someone... you know what it's like when you've had a bit too much to drink and need to offload somewhere.  Twitter is great but 140 characters isn't really enough for me at this time of night.  So here we have my first drunken blog post.  No, there probably won't be many spelling mistakes because I touch-type and have done since I was 14 years old (yay for typing classes at school) and even hit the 'delete' key automatically when I've miskeyed.  Anyway....

Blognonymous : Cyber Bullying

Editors Note:  This post was submitted to me within the ethos of Blognonymous.  The writer does say who she is but would like this issue kept away from her own blog for obvious reasons.  Please feel free to comment on this post and offer your advice.

Useful Links:
Raising Awareness (Typecast post)


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Offensive Haircut?

I really would appreciate any hairdressers advice or teachers input on this one please.

Jake started high school last week and was very self-concious about a patch of alopecia at the back of his head - the result of a careless somersault-related prank over the summer holidays.  It is definitely caused by a bang to his head and the hair has already started growing back, albeit very fine strands.  He definitely didn't want to go to a new school environment drawing attention to himself.  I had scoured the school website and all the paperwork sent to us prior to the start of the new academic year and found no school rule that prevented the haircut we had planned to cover up the bald patch.  Because I had heard that the school had previously banned "V-cuts" (see below for a visual explanation), I sent a letter in with him on his first day, explaining the situation, promising to have his hair restyled once the alopecia deceased and included my phone numbers so that if there was any discussion to be had, someone could ring me straight away.

Vandalism

Why? Just fucking WHY?  At what point does anyone decide that it is a good idea to damage someone else's property?  It's pointless and it's petty and it costs me money that I don't fucking have to spare.  Angry?  You bet your life I'm angry!

Musing in Manchester

I knew I would have two hours to kill after depositing Jake at the Opera House in Manchester for an audition* so I thought I would have a slow meander up Deansgate, into the Arndale Centre, park my arse in a prominent place for a bit of people-watching (taking notes, natch), and then a slow wander back up Deansgate taking some snapshots of the old and new buildings.

Cancer - Your Story : I'm Not An Only Child

Editors note:  This is Sarah's story and is the eleventh in the "Cancer - Your Story" series.    Sarah's blog is called "Mumra" and she tweets as @mumrablog.  
If you are interested in sharing your story please click on the link and contact me.

Related Links:
Cancer Research UK - http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/
Photo credit: D Sharon Pruitt - Pink Sherbert Photography

* * *

When I saw Nickie's site I knew I wanted to write about my experience. Its been a long-time since I lost my brother and sometimes I feel a bit numb about it all like I've just closed the door on it all.

While I sat thinking what I’d like to say and share I remembered that I’d written a piece before at school while it was all going on. I felt compelled to find it I knew it was somewhere boxed up, as I would never have thrown it away.  I ventured the boxes of old memories and actually found it. I’ve decided to share this rather than write a new piece, as it is so full of the feelings I had then and my hormonal teenage angst, I don’t think I could express it better now.

I’ll give the background to this piece as its relevant… I was 15, I was a bad pupil, I was messing about in class, I got sent to sanctuary to sit in a class room on my own. The teacher there threw pen and paper at me and told me to write something. So I did. My pen frantically scribbled across the paper as the words flew out…He looked a little scared glimpsing up from the desk. When the bell rang I placed it on his desk and went to my next lesson. The school called my mum.

This is exactly how I wrote it aged 15.



Tuesday as I made my way home from school I was worried about several things, mainly homework and an argument I’d had with a friend. Strange considering when I got home my 18-year-old brother was to have his brain scan results. I wasn’t worried about it. He’d had a few since his first tumour two years ago, which they removed and they had all been clear. He had his Chemo and the remaining bits had gone we were all back to normal. This was old news. Mum had not even gone to the hospital just Dad and Matthew so it wasn’t a big deal.
I was having tea in the kitchen.
Mum was in the lounge.
I heard the door go.
Mum went into the hall.
My brother came into the kitchen.
Dad was talking to Mum in the lounge.
I was half watching TV and stuffing my face when I asked him ‘How did it go?’ Matthews voice was calm as he told me he was going to die…all I could say was ‘Why?’
Then I heard a noise I’ll never forget as long as I live, the screams of a mother being told she was about to lose her son.
The scan was a full body scan I don’t think the others were because this one showed he had tumours again, multiple tumours on his spine. An operation would mean he could never walk again at best. Chemo could be used again but it would not stop the inevitable. There is nothing they can do he is going to die.
I can’t be bothered with school.
I can’t be bothered with my stupid friends.
I want to sit down the beach, watch the sea and smoke cigarettes.
If people don’t like that I really don’t care. ]



Matthew died a year later aged 19. The bravest boy I ever knew. He has left a hole in our family but has given us all the gift of never wasting a day, of always knowing things could be worse.

Cancer took a lot away from our family but it has also given us something back. We are closer as a family than I think we ever would have been without it in our lives. It has made us brave in the face of hard times since and we will never have that ‘worst day’ because we have already had it.



The View

From my vantage point in my lounge, I can see her.  She sits at her computer from the moment she gets up until the time she goes to bed, only breaking from the screen to grab food and drink or to answer the door.  She has the back of the computer monitor facing the window and the blinds angled so that she can see up the length of our road.  Occasionally they are tweaked or shamelessly pulled back if something interesting is happening in the other direction, but that isn’t often.

New Beginnings

Today marks the start of a new academic year.  This year my middle child begins a Motor Vehicle course at the local college after getting brilliant GCSE results and my youngest child starts high school.  It also marks the start of the early morning calls of the Worker Bird, a.k.a. "harassed working mother":