Last Friday we had our regular monthly Warrior Mums meeting. This is a lovely group of mums who meet every month to share what’s been going on and to support each other with kindness and understanding.
But as a mum you have a constant worry that you are not being a good enough parent.
Heads up: You are bloody amazing!
It is extremely tough being the parent of a child with ADHD. You have to throw out the rule book of what you expected parenting to be.
You have to be a different parent for your child.
You have to be the parent your child needs.
What you are doing is good enough. You are not perfect. You make mistakes. But good enough is good enough. But it comes with a caveat. You must be willing to try new ideas and approaches……
WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR YOUR CHILD?
You have to parent in a different way to achieve these outcomes.
But we all need help and support as on your own is just too exhausting and overwhelming.
Last Friday during our support meeting , a few issues kept coming up..
I’ve written a previous blog post how to help your child make friends. This is the thing that hurts most for you as a parent. Your child has lagging skills so may not have the social dexterity to form successful friendships. I get it. My son never had birthday invitations, play dates and would be asked to leave from practically every club, child-minder or activity he attended.
So your child ends up with nowhere to go. It’s a nightmare as the result is your child bouncing off the walls. Try not to get cross. Try and ignore the rudeness. Your child finds it difficult to initiate tasks and needs motivation and guidance.
- Use a planner to decide together every day what you are going to do. This may seem too prescriptive and lacks spontaneity. However our children thrive with routine and knowing what is going to happen and when. I have made some planners to use – just pop me an email or check them out in the files section of our Facebook group
- Go outside. I know it sounds obvious but there is soooooooooo much evidence that being outdoors is good for physical and emotional well-being. Find woods, parks, open spaces, free events. Go pond dipping, insect collecting, den building. Take bikes, skateboards, bubbles and games. ️ Keep 29th August free during the day for a meet up in a park in Hertfordshire for some fun and friendship.
- Lucky Dip. Sit down with your child and on post-it notes write down things that your child likes to do. Go on Pinterest for inspiration. Or go to the library and find books like the one below for ideas. Pop each note into a jar. On the daily planner have a time for Lucky Dip – then the ideas are already there! You may have to go out and get resources but that is all part of the plan.
Arguments with siblings come up time and again. There could be jealousy of a brother or sister who seems to have friends, finds life easy and doesn’t get into trouble. It is really tough for your child who has a really negative image of themselves.
But what can you do? It is easy to slip into the “why did you hit your sister?” line of questioning. But your child may not know why, may not be able to articulate it and knows that they have caused trouble. Again.
- There is no need to insist they apologise. Saying the word “sorry” on it’s own is meaningless. They might as well say the word “apple”. What they need to show is sorrow and be contrite. Be a good role model and when you need to, show how to BE sorry when something happens. Own up and let your child know that shouting isn’t okay.
- Discuss with your child how to handle situations better when they are feeling cross, angry, frustrated, jealous. These emotions are okay and normal. But your child must learn what to do with these BIG emotions.
- Practice walking away, going to a calm space, deep breathing, listen to calm music, hit a cushion, crush ice cubes, go for a run. Your child will have their own ideas too.
- Spend quality time with each child in your family. Put away your phone. Listen. Play games, have fun, go on a trip, read a story, have a hug. You may have to abandon family outings for now with each parent taking different siblings.
Rudeness is your child’s response to what is happening around him. It is frustration. Your child does not want to be annoying and irritating. It’s possibly a cry for some attention. So give your child attention – but in a positive way. Your child is immature and may not be capable of what is expected.
- Change your expectations. ADHD means that your child has deficits in organisation, time keeping, relationships, memory. ADHD is not an excuse for rudeness – however they are being rude as a reaction to an unrealistic expectation.
- Educate the rest of the family. If everyone is clear what ADHD is and how it affects your child, then you can all work together and have realistic expectations.
- Focus on your child’s natural skills . Promote their talents so they feel amazing.
- Notice the little things your child does. Maybe write them on a post-it and present them all at the end of the day.
- Decide together the rules, the chores, how long on a screen. Make it a collaboration and not just an adult dictating the regulations. Your child will battle with that. There must be compromise.
- Have fun. Bring back the joy.
This is a tough life. Holidays, outings, family celebrations are not what you expected. But do not beat yourself up that you’re doing a rubbish job. You are doing your best.
good enough, is good enough
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