If you’re overwhelmed with an ADHD child you’re not alone. These foolproof steps from a child therapist (and mom of a kid with ADHD) will move you forward with clarity and confidence. ADHD in kids can be emotionally and mentally taxing for caregivers, but following these 5 tips will help you maintain a sense of perspective and keep both you and your ADHD happier.
Can I be honest?
Some days I wonder what my life would be like if I wasn’t raising a child with ADHD.
I wonder if I’d have extra patience from not using every. last. drop. on emotional meltdowns and explosions.
I wonder if I’d actually be able to keep my house together from less impulsivity driven sneaking of ice cream and the leaving behind of sticky smelly messes everywhere.
I wonder if I’d be ‘fun mom’ more often not having to provide strict routine and predictability all the time.
Typically, this pondering occurs on the days I’m overwhelmed with my ADHD child and the role of raising an outside the box kid feels heavy. On these days it seems like other parents just have it easier and that the vision of what I thought family life would look like has been snatched right out of my hands.
I’m thankful that seven years down the road, these days occur much less often. Time helps. Time is full of hope and possibility. Time makes room for growth.
On the days you feel yourself lost in the stormy waters of overwhelm and exhaustion, keeping the following ideas in mind will help you stay anchored to what really counts, the well-being of both you and your child.
Give yourself permission to press the pause button when your about to lose it. In most instances with your child, it’s not truly an emergency and both you and your child will benefit from putting the breaks on, and then following up when your ready with a more supportive and effective response.
When the world is spinning around you, pause and look within yourself taking note of your emotions and bodily sensations. What emotions are under the mask of anger and frustration? Are you frustrated and resentful that your child makes the same mistakes over and over? Terrified your child will never learn to clean up after themselves?
Whatever you are feeling is OK.
Accepting your feelings just as they are when overwhelmed with an ADHD child is step one. Emotions are temporary and when we honor them and work through them we allow them to pass. You are not a bad parent for having thoughts and emotions about your child’s challenges.
Being mindful of these thoughts and emotions and not reacting out of frustration and criticism will allow you to show up as the best parent for your child and keep your relationship intact.
You weren’t planning on navigating a special needs journey when you set out to be a parent. Coming to terms with the unique challenges brought by ADHD in kids takes time, patience and self-compassion.