Tag Archives: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Seeing “Lilo and Stitch” again 11 years later… Through a new set of eyes.

The other day, my husband was scrolling through movies looking for a good family film.  He chose Disney’s Lilo and Stitch. When this movie first came out I remember a coworker saying: “Disney created a character (Lilo) who was mean, nasty and completely unlikable.  A ‘bad’ kid– so he could not enjoy the movie because he disliked her so much.

I saw the movie a few weeks later, and the writer in me recognized that “bad kid” but watched her development into a “better kid” (not a good kid… a better kid)

Watching the movie eleven years and three kids later, I was dumbstruck. The character of Lilo immediately grabbed my attention as so much more than a bad kid.

Lilo was probably one of best-researched Disney characters I have ever seen.

Watching her mouth off at her sister, fighting physically with other kids trying to defend what’s right, having trouble keeping friends, trying desperately to stick to routines, and not listening among a myriad of other traits. Wow.

Lilo has ADHD

She was a classic textbook case of ADHD, and almost everything that happened I could mirror in my own family life.  (Except for the house exploding, thank goodness)  I watched shaking my head, and really feeling for her sister/guardian, Noni as she tried to control the uncontrollable. As she gave in at times just to keep the peace, as she struggled to stop things from happening that she knew were a “trigger”, and as she treasured the few special moments a day when Lilo showed affection.

I found myself wondering if one of the writers had a kid with ADHD to have NAILED the condition so well.  I did a little research, but could not find a mention of the condition in relation to the film.  I found this sad.  Maybe it is because ADHD was not as much in the forefront of pediatric medicine in 2002 as it is nowadays.

What I found encouraging, though, was the very real way the story played out.  (Not the aliens, silly)

Lilo, a kid struggling with her behavior—knowing she is bad but not understanding why—takes  this other “little kid” (Stitch, the alien, who is programmed to do nothing but destroy) under her wing, and tries to help him be a better “person”.

This is so like an ADHD kid.  My “Littlest Dude”, despite his challenges, will always pick out the person “in need” in a crowd, and help to the best of his ability.

Just the other day, he was outside teaching a kid twice his age how to ride a bike.  They were out there for HOURS.  He would not be daunted. Whatever it took, he was going to get that (much older) girl riding her bike.

When I’m sick, he is the child I can trust to be there… to drop everything and take care of me. (Not that the other two don’t help, in case they read this) But the littlest takes the whole situation to heart.

ADHD kids are not monsters.

They may appear that way.

They may destroy things (when they are mad)*

They may punch you in the face (but you probably provoked it)*

They may scream at you (because something is wrong and they feel mistreated)*

But deep inside, they are the cute, cuddly, fluffy version of Stitch.

They don’t want to act out.  They want to help, create,  make friends,  play,  be happy, and be loved by their family like any other kid.

They just need someone to believe in them, and help them control their triggers so they can make the correct choices.

Any kid can be the cute, cuddly version of Stitch.

You just have to believe in them and show them the way.

*Note* ADHD kids truly DO NOT KNOW why they act the way they do.  If you have a kid with behavioral problems, speak to your doctor or look into programs to help control their triggers. Getting help was the best thing I ever did for my family.

 _JenniFer____EatoN

Success! – Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Total Transformation #16

Littlest Dude came home the other day with a big surprise.  With a huge smile on his face, he opened up the grand-daddy of “Good Kid” prizes from school… The sticker chart.

Now, this might sound silly, but both his brothers have won the “sticker chart” in the past.  Dude #1 won it twice.  For those of you who are not familiar with this marvel of modern teacher-hood, let me explain…

Each child in the grade is placed on a list on this big poster board.  Every day they are “super good” they get a sticker.  If you make the special list (I think it’s called “Qualified Student” –picked by the principle), you get three stickers for that day.  The first person to get 35 stickers wins.

Littlest Dude Won!  Can you believe it?

Hubbs burst into tears.  I slathered the little guy with hugs and kisses.  There was even a really nice encouraging note attached from his teacher.

We made a super big deal out of it, but we need to be careful, because Middle-Dude said, “You didn’t make this big a deal when I came home with straight “A’s”

Ugh… you can’t win, ya know?

We explained to Middle Dude that his brother was having such trouble, and that this was a HUGE deal. (Hey, it’s a huge deal even if you don’t have ADHD)

(And then I reminded him of that special shopping trip we went on to celebrate his grades… oh how soon they forget)

Anyway… Celebrations are NOT to be thwarted!  I’m off to go hang a sticker chart on Littlest’s wall.

Yay1!JenniFer_Eaton Sparkle__F

No No NO! I Will NOT let this happen! – Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Total Transformation #15

Big scare this week at bedtime as Middle Dude came and told me he was afraid again.  Apparently Littlest Dude threatened him (And I don’t even want to repeat what he said)

And it was over something really dumb.  An accident, and really really minor.

The training whirled around in my head until confusion took over.  I did manage to sit down and talk to Littlest Dude, but I really should have scrambled for my “8 Step” card, because I’m sure I screwed it up.

Ugh.

And the weird thing is, the next day everything was sugar and spice again.  I don’t expect perfection, but after living for a few months without fear, I didn’t like having that in my house again.

A few days later, there have been no more incidents, but Littlest and Middle Dude are fighting a lot.  Littlest is not flying off the handle like he used to, and I am sure to praise him all the time when he’s good, but when he forgets to step back and think over his new bag of tricks… oh, it is just not pleasant.

I have to remember that he is not “fixed”.  The ADHD is still there, and always will be.  I just have to keep coaching him until proper behavior is a “habit”.

We’re almost there, and I will fight tooth and nail to keep going down the right path.

JenniFer_Eaton Sparkle__F