Parenting any child is a difficult job, with numerous daily challenges that parents are forced to face, but when you have a child with ADHD those challenges become increasingly difficult, and the tribulations can quickly become overwhelming. From behavior problems to low performance in school, ADHD creates a new set of hardships not present in other families. Collectively, these problems a parent must face with an ADHD child can range from frustrating and maddening to utterly heartbreaking and helpless, because parents realize it’s the disorder and not the child that’s at fault. Fortunately, there are some things parents can do to cope in these situations, some of which are highlighted in the article below.
Coping Strategies for Parents of an ADHD Child
Parents often feel responsibility when their child is diagnosed with ADHD, misplaced responsibility that often causes them to blame themselves for something that was more likely due to nature or heredity than any specific parenting choices or actions. Ultimately, this blaming can trigger unnecessary and unwanted stress, but the good news is that the following strategies may be able to help parents cope a little more effectively with this unfortunate situation:
- Ditch the Blame. Parents are seldom at fault for their child’s ADHD symptoms, and blaming habits are a waste of time and energy. Instead, parents should use this energy to practice good parenting habits from this point forward—habits that can help manage the symptoms of ADHD in their child more effectively.
- Get Support. Raising a child with ADHD can seem like a lonely road, but parents must keep in mind that they are not alone in their struggles. Close to 10% of children demonstrate the signs and symptoms of ADHD, and there are currently hundreds of support groups and counseling opportunities that parents can utilize for support. Here they can discuss their struggles with people who truly understand, and get advice on how to cope with specific ADHD problems and behaviors.
- Become Educated. Education is power, and the more parents know about ADHD and how it affects their child, the better prepared they’ll be to meet the challenges the disorder brings. Parents can check with their child’s doctor on where they can obtain reliable information, or surf the Internet, which has rapidly become a fabulous resource for ADHD education.
- Make Time for Yourself. While it is understandable that much of your time is spent dealing with your child and his/her disorder, experts say parents must make time for themselves in order to recharge their batteries. This precious time can help parents become more centered, and when they’re more centered they’ll invariably be a better parent and a rock of support for their child.
- Protect and Nourish Your Relationships. Married parents of an ADHD child must make time to nourish their own relationship. ADHD can cause a lot of stress on a marriage, but if spouses neglect to take time for themselves—alone and without their child—this stress will continue to mount and affect both parents’ ability to be effective.
Coping with an ADHD child is not easy for parents, but it is not an impossible task either. First you need to ditch the blame—it’s not your fault—and even if it was there’s no point in dwelling on the past; it does nobody any good. Become educated as you can about ADHD, studying its causes, symptoms and the available treatment options, and find a support group where you can discuss your issues and trials, getting firsthand advice from parents who know exactly what you’re going through. Finally, you must make time for yourself and for your relationship. This is not being selfish by any means, as you need this time to recharge so you can become a more effective parent.