The school summer holidays are very long.
Very very long if your child has ADHD or challenging behaviour.
Days may have been stressful, exhausting and sometimes even a total nightmare. Days may have also been wonderful, entertaining and a complete joy.
Parenting a child with ADHD can be totally and utterly exhausting as life is so unpredictable that it’s difficult to establish just what kind of day it will be…
It can be lonely too.
A child with a challenging behaviour will have few friends.
Other children are not emotionally mature enough to appreciate that your child is struggling to keep his hands, thoughts or opinions to himself. They will not be tolerant when your child spontaneously and impulsively throws the ball over the fence, knocks over a lego model to see what would happen or helps themselves to the chocolate cake from their plate.
So your child with ADHD is left alone. No play dates. No invitations to the cinema. Nothing.
This is hard on all the family. Siblings, who are naturally popular, feel guilty. There ensues sibling rivalry on a grand scale which can make family life at times intolerable.
Your child can feel sad and angry. And this is heart breaking.
However there can be some wonderful times too. Your child with ADHD is amazing, funny and a real pleasure. You treasure those times.
But then the new school term starts to appear on the horizon. Horrendous trips to crowded shopping centres to buy uniform and supplies acts as a terrible reminder that school is just around the corner.
Where your child with ADHD may be labelled as naughty and out of control. Where all their energy is centred on keeping still, not to fidget, not to call out and to pay attention. Pretty tall order.
So with school just around the corner, what happens?
Your child starts to play up even more than before. You get the rudeness, anger and sullen treatment.
But you continue to do your best.
You are the peace maker, the entertainer, the organiser, the care giver and most importantly the one who can make a massive difference to how your child feels.
You build up their self esteem by hugs and praise. Set things up so they’ll achieve and feel good about themselves. You organise outings and day trips to create happy memories.
You do your best. But we are frazzled and exhausted by the end of the long, long, long school summer holiday.
So do you see the new school term as some kind of relief?
Too bloody right!
Should you feel guilty that you will have a few hours peace?
Errr – absolutely not!
You have put in the hours. Now you need some time to get back your energies for the next battle to fight.
Yes – the new academic year and new teacher may mean you will need your resilient knickers and cape of no fear.
Do not feel guilty that you are looking forward to the start of term so you can claw back some calm time just for you.
Do not feel guilty that you will now have space to think, breathe, plan. Maybe even go to the loo without thinking some war is going on downstairs.
Do not feel guilty that you can now go to work without the nagging worry that you will soon get a call from the child-minder.
DO. NOT. FEEL. GUILTY.
You deserve this.