If you’ve raised a child with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), you’ve likely seen plenty of struggle, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and excessive talking. You’ve probably faced some difficult parent-child moments! For that reason, this article will provide some tips to find some moments of care for yourselves and for the family.
It’s hard to have an ADHD child, let alone a teenager, and juggle a job, other children, a marriage, and the keeping the home clean. There’s likely little time to have fun with friends and family. Often because of family stress and many responsibilities, some mothers and fathers become depressed or anxious. They find that they’ve lost touch with themselves in an effort to make sure that their children are safe and do well despite the symptoms they struggle with.
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is an impulse-control disorder that is a common mental illness among children and teens. For the most part, symptoms of ADHD include difficulty with paying attention, difficulty with organization, fidgeting, along with hyperactivity and impulsivity. And if you’ve done your best to help your child make it through his or her life, it’s easy to get burned out. It’s easy to become so fatigued that you begin to lose your way. The following is a list of tips that you and your spouse can begin to implement for yourselves and for your family:
Keep the lines of communication open with your spouse. It’s important that you and your spouse are a parenting team and that you’re working together. Neither parent is to blame for your child’s disability so it’s best to support one another.
Compliment yourself. In this way, you can be a model for your child. By complimenting yourself in front of your child, you show him or her that you’re focusing on your positives despite having any weaknesses.
Remind yourself daily that your child did not choose to have ADHD.
Never look at yourself as a bad parent.
Hang a copy of the serenity prayer in your home. “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” This prayer is a good reminder that there are some things in life that we can’t change and that we must accept.
Do something nice for yourself every day. You deserve a break. Read, breathe, do yoga, go for a walk. Take some time for yourself.
Look for funny or humorous things. You can do this simply to keep your life light, and you can also do this with your child. Look for the things that he or she does that might be funny or humorous and laugh together.
Don’t take everything seriously.
Evaluate your day. Enjoy all the things you did right.
Don’t try to be a perfect parent. Perfect parents don’t exist. Doing your best is the only thing you can hope for.
Talk with a caring, nonjudgmental friend or therapist. Take advantage of this when you’re life gets so difficult that you need someone to talk to. You may need it from time to time.
Locate an ADHD support group. This is a great way to express your concerns, frustrations, and achievements with your child.
Exercise at least three times per week. This will keep you mental and physical healthy. You’ll be able to keep your stress level low with anxiety, and this might be something that spouses can do together.
Delegate tasks to other members of the family.
Use behavior management techniques. Use these when you need to with your ADHD teen for changing any negative behavior.
Get help. If you’re experiencing depression or anxiety, don’t use drugs or take prescription pills, instead, find a mental health professional to talk to. A therapist or psychologist might be well versed in ADHD and might also be able to provide that additional support as well.
Take a vacation from your child.
Set realistic expectations for your family life.
Focus on the positive qualities your child possesses.
Lower your expectations.
These are tips to make parenting an ADHD teen a bit easier. This psychological illness during adolescence can be difficult to manage. Taking good care of yourselves as parents is important during this life phase.
Alexander-Roberts, Colleen. The AD/HD Parenting Handbook: Practical Advice for Parents from Parents. Lanham, Maryland: Taylor Trade Publishing, 2006.
Paradigm Malibu is an adolescent mental health and drug treatment center dedicated to identifying, understanding and properly treating the core issues that impact teens and their families.