To say that raising a child with ADHD is a difficult challenge would be a grand understatement; it’s an experience that will test the patience and sanity of parents on a daily basis. Parents can become tense and stressed when living with an ADHD child, always wondering when the next wild outburst is going to happen, and eventually, each day begins to lead to new and worsening frustrations. This can create major problems in terms of your home life, and unless measures are taken to smooth the waters and ease the tension, a culture of anger and resentment may soon begin to emerge.
Parents of an ADHD child may begin to feel isolated from other parents, even envious, but fortunately, there are several parenting and coping strategies that can ease those feelings of isolation and anger, and ultimately prevent parents from becoming overwhelmed. Some of these positive strategies include:
- Alter Your Perspective. While it’s true that children with ADHD have behavior problems that can often become obstacles to their social and academic success, in most cases these children are extremely gifted, creative and imaginative. As a parent, you should learn to stop viewing your child’s condition as a disability, and instead relish the opportunity to nurture your child’s gifts and strengths.
- Learn to Spot the Good. ADHD can cause a number of symptoms that are problematic for children, but for every negative trait, there is always a way to reframe it as a positive characteristic. Impulsive actions and disorganization, for example, traits that are common in ADHD children, can be viewed as spontaneous and creative. It’s all about the way you look at it, and once you learn to reframe what the rest of the world views as negative, it will help ease your frustration and boost your child’s self-esteem.
- Prepare for the Worst. Much of the frustration and anger that parents experience is the result of being caught off guard when their ADHD child misbehaves. This can usually be avoided if you develop a plan to deal with the problem behavior beforehand. This will help you feel like you have more control over the situation and will usually help ease your worry and break the tension.
- Become Educated. There are literally volumes of information on ADHD available these days, including information on its causes, symptoms and treatment. Once you become more educated about the disorder you will invariably feel more empowered, which in turn will better prepare you to care for and nurture your ADHD child.
- Find Support. As mentioned above, parents of ADHD children often feel isolated and alone, but this is as unnecessary as it is unhealthy. There are many support groups designed to bring parents of ADHD children together so that they can share their successes and trials, and if you fail to locate a support group in your area there is always the option of starting one.
- Find Excuses to Laugh. Parenting is a serious responsibility, but that doesn’t mean it has to be tense, frustrating and depressing. Try to surround yourself with friends, family and neighbors with whom you can laugh and blow off steam when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
- Become Partners with Your Child’s Teacher. Instead of always dreading the next phone call from your child’s teacher, be proactive and reach out to him or her. Become allies with your child’s teacher and the school, and encourage daily reports on how your child is progressing.
Your ADHD child will only be young for a short while, and this time needs to be celebrated rather than dreaded. The techniques listed above will not only help your child become more successful, but will help you as a parent avoid the frustration, loneliness and isolation so often associated with raising an ADHD child.