Have You Ever Heard Of Distraction Disorder?

by Debbie Twomey on September 12, 2013



Distraction disorder is a condition that affects most children and even a few adults. Distraction is described as drawing or diverting one’s attention in different directions at the same time. Words that could be related to this syndrome are: chaos, disruption, interruption and commotion. Distraction is also a “state you can be driven to.”

You are probably thinking, “I am glad my children do not suffer from this disorder, it could cause quite a few problems and accidents. It is sometimes referred to as being muddled. But, just who is muddled and how does this affect your child?

I can only share my stories of DD, if you have the stomach for it. Most of my incidents revolve around the “telephone.” Back in the archaic days when the phones were attached to the wall, you could not go any farther than the cord reached. You have to remember (if you can) this was years before any remote phones were available except in James Bond films or Get Smart’s infamous travelling shoe phone. When you got a call, you had to be attached to the area in the house where the phone was connected. I cannot even imagine how difficult it was way back before my time, when the phone cords were only about 6 or 8 inches long—perish the thought.

I would get a call and since I loved talking I was just thrilled to have a conversation with another adult. Sounds innocent enough except for I may have forgotten to add in the factor of a toddler who demands attention even when our attention is ‘distracted’.  I am all excited to share the latest gossip with whatever friend was on the other end of the phone. Meanwhile, my toddler daughter Jordan was all excited about the prospect of Mommy being distracted.

I finish talking after what I believe is only about 5 minutes (okay so it was a good conversation and it was actually 30—maybe 45 minutes).  I have not seen or heard my 3 year old daughter Jordan for awhile now though I can’t, in reality, say how long for sure. So I go in search of her knowing she is playing in her room.

But, and this is a big BUT, she is not in her room. In fact, I cannot find her no matter how much I am calling her name. We live in a huge house that is a daycare so there are many places to play or hide. I assume she must be wanting me to come find her since I know hide and seek is one of her favorite games.

After a few minutes (and not this seems like an eternity—another childhood marvel—Time Distortion (TD).  I start frantically calling her name. I am confused, I mean where could she have gone in only 5 minutes (yes, I forgot the ratio of toddler time to adult time)— with  TD they are capable of speeding our time up in some crazy bizarre fashion that parents aren’t meant to understand and that we have long since lost the memory of since we were once toddlers ourselves.

Finally, after forcing myself to think like a toddler I return to the kitchen which is where I was on the phone. I throw open the cupboards and there is my 3 year old, inside the cereal cupboard, fast asleep. There are boxes of cereal open inside the cupboard, spilled out in silence since I never heard a peep. She has 3 different cereals in her hands and another couple under her head. The cupboard looks like a bomb went off in it which is not possible because I would have heard it.

I purposely shared a “tame” story because I would not want to give anyone the wrong impression. I am not usually distracted when I have kids in my care but here is the TRUTH. It only takes a few seconds of having your head turned and a child can make amazing time towards an object that is forbidden. It is one of those unexplainable phenomena. (See: http://www.debbietwomey.com/silence-toddlers-can-equal-trouble)

Now, I am older and wiser but, a little bit slower too. I may have a cell phone that I can walk around talking on, but it does not insure that my 22 month old granddaughter McKenna will not find a way to get into things the moment my back is turned (or even facing forward). She is quicker, smarter and more adept at knowing when to hit—when the distraction is at maximum she is ready for distraction disorder.

The phone is only one component of DD-there are many others: bathroom breaks, laundry, cleaning, reading, visitors, and the list goes on and on. Parents need to be prepared and diligent and maybe it wouldn’t hurt to say a daily prayer. “God please protect my child from DD, TD,  and the many other ailments that could affect my child’s safety. And dear God, please keep me on my toes, alert and attentive as much as possible. Amen.”

Look for my future blog where I will share a glossary of terminology all parents should know.


"I have dedicated my life to the care and welfare of children. I feel privileged to share what I have learned with you. I am also committed to continuously learning.iStock_000004213744XSmall  I will keep informed of the latest information in parenting children from newborns to teens and pass it on to all of you.”   I will also use that same passion to help you create a dynasty generate increases in your business with straightforward and specialized media managing skills that guarantee your connection and scope will grow. Keep up to date reading our posts and discover valuable insights that can make parenting and succeeding in the business of the blogger– the most exciting adventure. (Debbie Twomey)
blog insert photo



Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: