5 Tricks to Make Life Simpler for Your self as an ADHD Guardian
Parenthood cannot be automated
Some tasks, like driving a car, become automatic when we master them. At 16, every turn of the wheel requires conscious thinking (or should!). Once you learn, go on autopilot unless something is bothering you – a car in the wrong lane, a dog running into the street, a police cruiser in the rearview mirror when you’re in a 50 mile / Drive 100 km / h in the h zone.
Parenthood is not an automatic task! We can’t go on autopilot, especially if our kids have ADHD. Something always shakes us – a meltdown, a bad report card, a 10-minute worksheet that turns into an evening fight. We always have to be “on”, and that is exhausting. How can we take a break? How can we as ADHD parents make life easier for ourselves?
Do you want to motivate children?
Download a free tip sheet, The Parent’s Guide to Motivating Your Complex Kid, to help your child find the motivation to do anything!
The fight is real
ADHD is a neurobiological disease – and it is highly hereditary. Many parents struggle with one double blow: raising an ADHD child and having ADHD. Parenthood places great demands on our executive functions, a range of cognitive skills and processes that are compromised in ADHD brains. When you are dealing with deficits in the executive function and then you try to act as the executive function for your child – it creates difficult family dynamics!
On the other hand, you may not have ADHD. They don’t understand why it is difficult to do a quick homework or how your child can misplace their shoes every day. Why does she need a checklist when she is 14 to remember to brush her teeth? It’s frustrating! But this is her life.
Whether your child’s brain isn’t working like yours or your child’s brain is working exactly like yours, parenting is work! Some days you feel like a Sisyphus struggling with the weight of the rock – knowing that you have to get up in the morning and do it all over again.
Can we make life easier as parents with ADHD children?
It doesn’t have to be like that. We’ve rolled our share of boulders up steep mountains, but as you learn to support your child, when you seek support for yourself, the burden becomes lighter. Some days you don’t have to fight. Some days you don’t have to work that hard. And some days you do that – but you can handle it better. To make it easier for you:
1. Take on one challenge at a time.
Sure, you need systems to get out of the house on time in the morning, do their homework, make sure your child is doing their housework, brushing their teeth, moving around, eating their vegetables … I’m already overwhelmed. Choose a. Do it. To accomplish something. Then on to the next one!
2. Know what works and what doesn’t for your child.
The ADHD brain needs motivation to do anything. What is your child’s motivation to do their chores? Is it grant? Electronics time? Is it a house rule with consequences if he doesn’t? What will make him do what he has to do? When you understand his disposition and motivators, you have a powerful key.
3. Set clear expectations.
Your child needs to understand what to expect and you need to be consistent. Base your expectations on where your child is and keep the challenge at their level. When it’s too hard, she gives up and feels like a failure. Expect great things from your children – but start where they are and build them up.
4. Keep it simple.
For example, if your child is upset, teach them that it is okay to go to their room and get their favorite book. Let him know that this is a simple structure that will help him calm down and reset himself. You don’t need complex systems. The simpler the better.
5. Take care of yourself.
Happy and healthy parents can give their children a much better chance of success at home, in school, and in life. Take the time to be kind to yourself and find the support you need to help you navigate life with an ADHD child.
You are the difference maker
Parents play a big role in their children’s lives. You are the difference between a life of struggle and a happy future. Without your love and support, ADHD children tend to stall and fall. With your support, there are no limits to what you can achieve. Nobody is this critical in their life and because you are so important you deserve some help and support. Make your life easier and the whole family – ADHD members and non-ADHD members, parents and children alike – will thrive.