September 22, 2022 If you are a parent or caretaker that has a child with ADHD and you feel the following:
● Feeling overwhelmed
● Feeling judged
Know that you are NOT alone.
If you are reading this blog, most likely you are a parent that has a child diagnosed with ADHD or perhaps you are currently doing your research because you may suspect or you have been told that your child has ADHD.
Did you know?
The estimated number of children aged 3–17 years diagnosed with ADHD is 6 million, using data from 2016-2019. Also, Boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls. For more statistical information please visit https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html .
“My child has Superpowers”
For years, I have been told how “terrible” my son’s behavior is. I have been judged by family members and the public more times than I can count. It often felt as if the world was against me and that my son didn’t have a chance in the world. I often cried myself to sleep in secret. People just didn’t see what I saw, and it is not because “love is blind” or maybe a little.
My son was diagnosed with ADHD at age 8. The diagnosis was devastating to him for more than one reason (I can make another blog based on how he felt that day). To him, being diagnosed meant he was “different”, “crazy” and he felt labeled (he expressed feeling this way).
Now my son is 11 years old, he communicates more than before and is open about letting me inside his “fast” mind as he often calls it. He describes his head as a tornado. The tornado never stops, sometimes he can see a cow flying or cars, but he can’t always make out what’s inside. I thought that was very well explained for a then 10 year old child.
One time he came from school and just said, “Mom, I’m sorry. I know I do bad things and I don’t listen but I promise I don’t mean to, and I feel bad.” We talked and I told him that he had superpowers and that cannot be easy on a child. I listed his superpowers:
•You can think faster than most
•You are super creative
•You are extra thoughtful, empathetic, and generous
•You are super smart
•You don’t need coffee like me, you have natural energy
•You can hyper focus when you like something
•You are spontaneous
•And so much more.
But those powers are not easy to have, especially if they are not managed or understood. I see what many don’t. If you are reading this, you probably feel as if I described your child too.
“My Child is a Supervillain”
What do you mean my child is a supervillain? I thought you said my child has superpowers. Well, yes but hear me out. Supervillains also have powers and for others that is all they see.
•Your child is disrespectful
•Your child does not listen
•Your child cannot concentrate
•Your child is explosive
•Your child cannot follow directions
•Your child is disruptive
•Your child can’t take NO for an answer
•Your child needs more discipline
•Your child cannot BEHAVE
This is the type of feedback you probably get from teachers, strangers, family and even your partner. Once again, this is not new to us parents that have children with ADHD. You have heard this often; unfortunately, it is not new to your child either. My desire for you is to feel empowered and to know there is help.
Tips for Parents
According to Medical News Today the following tips can help parents or caretakers.
1. Positive Reinforcement — Good behavior should be reinforced.
2. Provide Structure — Introducing a routine.
3. Encourage Exercise — This can help reduce symptoms of anxiety & depression, promote sleep, and improve focus & concentration
4. Break tasks down — Provide specific tasks. Breaking tasks into smaller tasks makes it more achievable and not mission impossible.
5. Find specialist support — A therapist can help both you and your child to manage and treat the disorder.
For a complete list of tips please visit https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321621
There is help
If you are a parent that is on the fence and not sure where to start, begin by speaking to your child’s pediatrician. You will be asked a sequence of questions and referred to a mental health agency.
I would recommend you research what resources your community offers. For example, Yuma Arizona counts on an agency called mikid that provides complete services that include but are not limited to; family support services, educational 504 plan, support groups, educational information, and resource linkage.
For national information and to find help, you can also visit https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Kids-Teens-and-Young-Adults
If this is not an option for any reason, contact a resource like Crisis Text Line
(text “NAMI” to 741-741) for support and direction.
Writer’s final thoughts
I hope that after reading this blog, you will begin searching for ways to understand your child with ADHD disorder better. Remember that you are not alone. Learn more about your child’s symptoms and encourage open communication. I know the frustration you are feeling, but I do not know the frustration our children are feeling.
Try to parent with love and understanding. There is treatment for ADHD that can help manage the symptoms and tools that can be used for good. Yes, those tools can help manage those superpowers your child has. Lastly, do not forget to care for yourself. Eleanor Brown once said, “Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”
This is dedicated to all the parents and caretakers that are trying their best and are relentless to continue helping your gifted child and to my son, who has taught me more than he’ll ever know. Mommy is here to help you every step of the way.
“Being blessed doesn’t mean having money,
It means being alive.” Cohen O.
Writer: Edna Keefer, BASW, SUDCC
National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities