73 days ago, my mostly sweet, super fun, always up for a new adventure and extremely empathetic 10 year old girl got in trouble for cyber-bullying. I was devastated, mortified, angry and sad…but to be honest not 100% surprised. Farrah suffers from ADHD. Due to extreme malnutrition from her early years in the orphanage, Farrah’s front temporal lobe never fully developed. As a result, she is clinically significant (most severe) in all three categories (inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity) for ADHD. Her neuropsych explained it to me by saying, “Farrah does not have a stop & think mechanism…she just does.” We have struggled with this at times, here and there, but never as much as this past May when she said some very unkind things about a good friend in a very public Social Media space. AAGGHH Fifi!
Please know that I am not making excuses for Farrah, just explaining her to anyone (like myself 2 years ago) who does not understand the mind of an ADHD child. She is loving, kind and always means well, but her poor little brain is so mixed up (like a 500+ piece puzzle that has never been put together) she just stumbles. Another way to understand is that for Farrah, day to day life is like trying to push a car uphill while the car is in reverse…nearly impossible on her own. She is fierce, feisty and so strong but to think she has been dealing with this every second of every day of her life, is utterly heartbreaking.
Again, I am not making excuses for Fifi, but reminding myself that I need to work harder to make sure this girl has a fighting chance. As a result of the bullying, Farrah took an online bully prevention course, had her electronics taken away all summer and several appointments with her doctor to adjust meds. She now has a solid grasp of what bullying is and the affect it has on both those doing the bullying and those being bullied. Many, many tears have been shed by Farrah for the pain she caused her friend (and family) and the bad choices that were made. Farrah understands fully the implications and devastation caused by her actions - but, can I promise you it won’t happen again? Sadly, no. I will try my hardest and be her best and biggest advocate, give her daily reminders, make sure she takes her meds, all the while wrapping her in love and prayer. I will fervently and faithfully ask God to help Farrah make good decisions and be the amazing friend, girl, daughter and human that we all know her to be. But most importantly, I will pray that one day all of her puzzle pieces fit into place - so that when she is pushing the car uphill, it just might shift gears to neutral and maybe someday, even drive. I love you more than life sweet Fifi and will be by your side always. I promise, that together, we will get your car up the hill.