I can pretty much guarantee that if you are a parent/carer of a child/children with ADHD you will have had the majority of these eight things! Let me know which ones resonate!
8 things a parent of a child with ADHD will have had:
1. Rubbish Advice
Often well-meaning, this advice can be anything from cut out dairy, bathing in salt water, giving certain vitamins, pillows, bed positioning to stand on one leg whilst hopping with a boiled egg on your head chanting. Ok, maybe not the last one but you get the picture. It’s so difficult to stand and nod and pretend to be showing one iota of interest to these pieces of well-meaning advice. As parents of ADHD kids, believe us when we say we have read everything there is to know on ADHD and eating parsley with one eye shut is not going to cure it!
2. Guilt Trips
I can’t tell you how many times daily I feel guilty. I feel guilty for not being more patient. Not truly understand their needs. Not wanting to spend more time with them. For sitting down and watching a series instead of reading up on things I can do to improve their lives or gadgets I should be buying to make them happy. It is like if I don’t spend every waking moment trying to improve their lives I’m a failure. I feel guilty for not being able to make them better and love ADHD away.
I also feel guilty for the siblings. Are they having an ok time? Is this the childhood I expected them to have? I definitely don’t give them as much time as I should because my daughter takes up the lion’s share. Is that fair? ARGH! All I know is, from my airline days, always put oxygen on yourself first before helping others. There is literally no point letting yourself get so low and run down, you will be no use to anyone. And above all, you are only human and deserve a life too, you did not cause this.
3. Relief of a Diagnosis
It is a strange feeling when you get the call/letter from the specialists saying that your child has been diagnosed with ADHD! It is almost a relief. Not that anyone WANTS their child to have any kind of disability or label. It’s just a relief to have it acknowledged. You are not going mad. Your gut instinct as a parent was right. You are not a rubbish parent who cannot control their little darling.
It is not that you just want a label so you can sit back and use it as an excuse. Being given the diagnosis helps you work on how now to help your child. It’s not that they can’t learn. It’s that they need to learn a different way, with different kinds of support that are very individual to them. Diagnosis is rarely a shock. I’m pretty sure by the time that letter arrives you will have been through a few years of hell before it got acknowledged. You’ve probably had ample time to come to terms with it. I remember having a glass of wine. Not to celebrate, just to pat myself on the back and enter the next chapter.
4. Constant Calls from School
How much dread do you get when the school phone number flashes up on your mobile? When all three of mine were initially in the same school I’ll admit, I saw the school number and not once did I ever think that one of my kids were unwell or hurt. I immediately thought, What has she done now? How bad is that?
I would answer with a mix of trepidation and what now? I’ve been called to be asked is there anything going on at home? Yes, my child has ADHD that’s what’s going on at home; did she not sleep well last night, she did, she has a very good bedtime routine; can I come in and give her a cuddle to calm her down; get her out of a bush; bring her a snack (she has snacks); can I come in and sweep the school hall with a broom up my arse! I felt like saying I’m as clueless as you at this stage! Yet the school kept telling me she didn’t need a specialist school!
5. Envy of ‘normal’ kids
I’ll admit, I have had these thoughts. Why is my child/children so difficult. Couldn’t I have had an easy one like little Sammy, Daisy or Emily? Why do I have to have so many battles on a day to day basis? How I would love to not dread them coming in and wondering what moods they would be in. How lovely would it be to go on a day trip without fearing what was going to happen? Believe me, a day trip out with an ADHD kid is never NOT eventful. How lovely would it be not to dread half terms and the worst, summer holidays? Imagine going on a flight without a meltdown that could divert a plane. I’m sure we all have days like this. Guilt trips, see point 2. Again I think this is normal and deep down we wouldn’t change any of them for the world.
6. The Medication Debate
To medicate or not to medicate, that is the question. It is so hard. What parent truly wants to put chemicals in their child? We all worry about what we are doing because it’s our choice to do it, not theirs. That’s a huge responsibility. What if there are side effects that are long-lasting, what if they have a bad reaction? Will it be viewed as the easy way out, lazy parenting?
If we don’t medicate, are they going to remain in this horrible heightened state that is both exhausting and frightening for them? It’s not a great choice to have to make and all parents of ADHD will have had this dilemma. I just remember a Doctor saying to me once about certain conditions, You wouldn’t ask a diabetic to just get on with it so why is this different? Whatever you chose, and the choice is always personal, just know it’s the right one for you. As my darling little grandma would say, Balls to everyone else!
7. Mainstream School or Specialist?
I found this one of the hardest decisions to make. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll ever know if I made the right choice? I chose to take her out of the mainstream. I just felt she wasn’t thriving, was always under a table, or being calmed down by baking cookies. Then there were the constant calls from school, see point 4. I had had to give up my job in a children’s nursery. I couldn’t keep leaving them in the lurch to go and collect my daughter, it just got too much.
But my biggest concern was, would a specialist school be the correct environment for her? Would she still get an education? Would she still make friends? ADHD is more prevalent in boys, or should I say obvious, so in specialist schools, there are far fewer girls. Would that have an impact on her? Is she ‘bad’ enough to warrant a specialist school, would it make it worse?
So many questions, such a huge decision that only you can make for your child. I chose a specialist, and for me, it has worked. She is happy, she is thriving, and she is learning. She might not get as many GCSEs as her peers when the time comes. I’m sure she will get the ones deemed important. It’s better to get those few than to fail them all under pressure.
8. Finding someone who ‘get’s it’
That amazing feeling of talking to someone who has a child like yours and truly gets it. Not a parent who has had a toddler tantrum that day. Those meltdowns are nothing like the Mount Etnas we deal with. And it is not that I don’t sympathise with them, toddler tantrums can be horrible too. It is just then when they try to compare, quite frankly, they don’t! I remember someone saying to me about my daughter, Ah well, girls are difficult. Difficult?? Difficult is when they refuse to wear a coat one day. My daughter is threatening to kill one of us in the night during one meltdown! When you find that person who really gets it. Is un-shockable with the stories you can share. Who won’t stand and stare at your child’s mega meltdown, language etc, celebrate!
Please do let me know which ones you can relate to! And any others you may have had. I’m sure we can add to the 8 things a parent of a child with ADHD will have had tenfold!
I have started a private support group on Facebook for parents and carers who need support with their child with ADHD. It’s a friendly place to chat with others. Please do click this link ADHDinchildren to join. And for anyone on Instagram, I’m there too ADHD Mum.
This Post Has 2 Comments
Totally get all 8 !! Just moved my 10 yr old to specialist school SEMH . Huge decision!! Only 4 weeks in, and so far happy to go in & not stressed & comes out happy too. No calls from
School to collect either .
Diagnosed in Nov , medicated in Jan , no regrets, as so far things have generally improved. 👏🏻 , Looking forward once more instead of being stuck & exhausted !!
So happy to read your positive outcome! That’s brilliant x