Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How to deal with your ADHD child - #2

In my last post I told you that I'm writing a book on how to deal with your ADHD child. I posted the first draft of the first chapter and promised to keep posting chapters encouraging you to comment on the content. Today I present you with the second chapter:

Chapter 2: First you decide if you want to go on this journey

In this book I will present you with some of the situations you probably know all too well. These are situations you and your child find yourselves in on a regular basis and give you both a lot of grief and frustrations.

Please note the way I phrased this: these situations are the source of much grief and frustration, but not only to you; to your child as well. You are in this together!

Presenting these situations would be fruitless, if I did only that. So, of course, to give you some benefit from reading this book, I will also provide you with some tips and tricks that have proven their worth in my own home or in homes of other families, where ADHD plays an important part.

But before presenting these troublesome situations, I’d like to focus your attention to your own basic standings and understandings. For you to succeed as a parent to a child with ADHD, you need to look inside yourself and ask yourself some questions that may be quite painful to your self understanding. The reason for this is that your basic understanding of what ADHD is and what kind of personal view you have on this disability greatly influences your everyday approach to your child. In other words: these are questions about your basic life values.

So, if you’re ready, strap on and join me on this expedition to your inner self:

Question #1: Is my child abnormal?

Interesting question, isn’t it? Reading this book you probably have a child, grand child or some other family member diagnosed with ADHD, but what does it mean? When you look at the child, what is the first thought that comes to mind? Is he/she a crazy person ready for the local nuthouse? Is he/she beyond reach? Will he/she never get a life even remotely close to something resembling a normal life? Or do you believe in the potentials of him/her?

Let me say this a bit bluntly: if you sincerely believe there is noting you or anyone else can do for this child and that he/she will never live a life worth living, there’s really no reason for you to read the rest of this book. I can’t help you…

However, if these negative thoughts have entered your mind and you believe they are no more than a frustrated person’s reaction to a difficult situation, it’s a whole different story. Those thoughts are quite normal, but they can be dismissed, if you want them be dismissed. So, do you want to change your own thinking? Then read on!

If your answer to the above question is something like: yes, my child is abnormal, but who is normal anyway? He/she deserves all the best things in life and I’m prepared to fight for it! If that´s your answer (or if your answer was just plain: no, my child isn’t abnormal, just a bit to the side, but we’ll manage together) – well, then we’re on the same page…

Question #2: Have I ever wondered if it was better that my child hadn’t been born?

If the first question was painful, this one should be really painful! No (normal) parent would ever think that, would they? Hmm… honestly? I think it’s quite normal to think that… Sometimes we parents think that kind of thoughts, but you know what? We don’t think like that because we are bad parents; those thoughts enter our minds because of our own insecurity. Again and again we doubt ourselves as parents: am I a good enough parent? Do I give my kids all they need? Am I even fit to be a parent yelling at them like I just did?

Thinking like that isn’t good, but it doesn’t come from being a bad parent. It comes from our wish to be good parents and every time we think, we are not doing a good enough job as parents, we simply let our deepest desire to be good parents come to the surface. We occasionally think like this, because deep down in our soul, we just want to do better! So, if that thought ever entered your mind – and, if it makes you feel bad – chances are you are a good parent always wanting to improve yourself and do better as a parent!

Question #3: Am I ready to fight both internal and external battles?

I think most parents, at least those who bought this book, would answer this question with a big “YES!” But you need to think about it in more detail. The journey you are about to embark on is not to be taken lightly. You will face battles you hadn’t even imagined before. Most external battles you know pretty much all about: battles with other parents, who do not grasp the situation and who believe all the issues with your child is merely a matter of bad parenting or a bad willed child; battles with teachers and authorities; and of course battles with the child’s grandparents and other family members, who don’t get how far having an ADHD child stretches your patience and your energy.

The internal battles, however, are a very different matter. Most of us seldom share our most inner thoughts with others and because of this, we rarely know the truth: that parents with an ADHD child has to fight internal battles, where we have to change some of our fundamental values to better the lives of both the ADHD child and the rest of the family. The journey of a parent having an ADHD child requires swallowing quite a few camels and you may as well embrace this truth sooner than later.

Read chapter #3 here
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