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Parenting & Attention Deficit Disorder: Survival Strategy For Mothers

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Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder sounds like it’s just about distractibility and hyperactivity. But it’s only if your child is in trouble at home or school because of her distractibility and hyperactivity that she has ADD/ADHD.

And a child in trouble means a mother in trouble. A therapist who works with special-needs children told me every mother of an ADD/ADHD child has a similar tale of woe and has spent lots of time crying over her child.

But some mothers - and their children - end up doing very well. Here is what sets these women apart from the others, and what can you do to become one of the people who not only survive ADD/ADHD in the family but turn it to their benefit:

Look For Your Child’s Strengths

Every ADD/ADHD characteristic in your child is a positive trait that has been carried to an extreme: energy becomes hyperactivity, creative free-association becomes distractibility, spontaneity becomes impulsivity. Successful mothers know this and are always looking for ways to manage what is negative while being careful not to destroy what is positive.

COPYRIGHT_WI: Published on https://washingtonindependent.com/ebv/parenting-attention-deficit-disorder-survival-strategy-for-mothers/ by Paolo Reyna on 2021-01-25T13:25:19.841Z

Some mothers choose to home-school their children so that their education is tailored to their strengths. Others supplement school with other activities their children enjoy and are good at. Others find through painful experience that their children will be rejected in mainstream schools, but that they can do very well in special schools with lots of practical activity.

Whatever you choose to do, focusing on what is good in your child will always help you and your child.

Be Cheerful

The Bible says that a cheerful heart is good for the soul. Your cheerful heart can be medicine for your child’s soul. So be cheerful. And if you don’t feel cheerful, pretend. All good teachers know that children will learn much better from a happy, even-tempered teacher, and this is something parents need to know too.

Even autistic children respond better to a smiling, cheerful face - Ivar Lovaas, who worked very successfully with autistic children, noted that a teacher can help these children only when she enjoys the time she spends with them. It is not very different for ADD/ADHD children – you need to learn to enjoy their craziness, smile and laugh with them a lot, and show by your attitude that no problem is insoluble. You will feel much better, and your child will absorb your attitude. Sooner or later, the results will show.

Develop Yourself

I used to expect commendation for my choice to put off my career in order to help my autistic son – till a psychologist who works with special children and their families told me, in effect, to get a life for myself. This advice works for ADD/ADHD mothers also. Of course, your child is important, and you need to spend time with her, but you will find that focusing on the positive and being cheerful are much easier when you have something interesting apart from your child and your family in your life.

Once I started writing, while juggling home and career was a problem, I found myself networking with other people more and getting more support for me and for my son. I also felt better about myself – the positive response I got for my articles was very different from all the negativity about my son I had been living with, and this helped both of us. I saw something similar among all the mothers whose children were in the same special school, whatever the particular disorder they were living with.

It need not be a full-time career that you take up but do something you like either part-time or from home. Or do some social work. Every mother needs to find her own balance and what works for her and for her child.

Network With Family And Friends

Social difficulties are a big part of what makes ADD/ADHD so difficult to live with. When you take care to nurture your connections with friends and family, not only do you get more support bringing up your child, but your child herself will see in you a model for making and keeping friends.

Mothers who have a good resource of friends and relatives in place find the going easier. They are an informal but very effective support system, she can leave her child with them in emergencies (or even regularly sometimes), and they can teach children how to manage relationships with different kinds of people.

Maybe you are an ADD/ADHD adult yourself (you are likely to be if you have an ADD/ADHD child), and don’t know how to make friends. Remember being a friend is more about helping your neighbor when she needs you, and less about gossip and sharing secrets. Try to be a good friend, and you will make good friends.

If you are to take good care of your demanding ADD/ADHD child, you need to take care of yourself first. Remember the safety instructions you get at the beginning of every flight? If you have to use oxygen masks to breathe, put on one yourself first and then help your child. When you are careful to eat well, dress well, work at something you love, and build your relationships, not only do you feel better about yourself, but you are also being a good model for a child who is struggling.

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About The Authors

Paolo Reyna

Paolo Reyna - Paolo is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, majoring in International Studies with a Latin American emphasis. During the fall semester of 2012, he had the opportunity to study abroad in Peru, which piqued his interest in international growth. He learned about the disparities that impact indigenous peoples, got a taste of Peruvian culture, and improved his Spanish skills. Mitchel interned with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, conducting research on food security in Latin America, after being inspired by his foreign experience. He wants to work in international development and for a government department, writing legislation. He loves playing intramural basketball and practicing for the Chicago marathon when he is not thinking about current events in Latin America.

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