Three Steps to Steadiness in Parenting Youngsters with ADHD
Many of us seem struggling to find a balance in raising children with ADHD and other challenges – more and more these days. Sometimes balance as a parent seems unattainable, maybe even impossible.
But it’s closer than you think – especially when you consider that balance is a process, not a goal! Small steps can actually go a long way.
What is balance anyway?
I remember watching my daughter learn to balance on her bike without training wheels when I was nine. She wobbled first, straightened up, wobbled again. When she was centered, she was gone – but she still needed to correct the wobbles and stay balanced on this bike. In fact, every time she got on a bike since then, she has had to regain her balance and correct the inevitable wobble.
As a coach, I often work with clients who want more balance in their lives. As an entrepreneur, I keep rediscovering my relationship to equilibrium – from balancing my time to balancing my checkbook. In the yoga class, my teacher introduces me to poses that challenge my relationship to gravity – to the limit!
That’s how I understood that balance isn’t about staying in your center all the time. It’s about finding our center, whatever that may be for each of us. And we do it all the time.
Take a minute and walk on an imaginary balance beam with your eyes closed (come on, I’m waiting …). Note that you’re moving too far in one direction or the other and then making a slight adjustment to get back to where you’re most comfortable.
That is balance, and it takes three steps:
- Understand where you are comfortable
- Notice when you are not where you want to be
- Make the appropriate adjustments
Would you like to calm down from the chaos?
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How do you do that in life?
Taking care of yourself is crucial to understanding where you are comfortable. In this society we are conditioned to look outwardly for our wishes and consent. Taking the time to find out who you are and what really makes your heart sing isn’t always fully embraced.
Think how much time and money most companies spend each year on strategic planning, or how much time they spend planning your family. What if you spent some time doing such planning for yourself? Like a business, you can reassess your own mission, tweak your plan, and make sure you are still relevant to your key customers (the most important people in your life, including yourself).
At its core, perception is about being present in every moment and paying attention to where we are at the moment: mind, body and soul. This is something that most of us find a challenge. We’re constantly worrying about what’s next or revising something in the past. It’s about being here… right…. now. Nowhere else.
How often do we find ourselves not listening to our children or our spouse until they are halfway through their thoughts? If you are absent, you are unlikely to find yourself out of balance until you are on the verge of falling! I urge you to take an hour, or better still, a day and realize that you are present throughout the day in everything you do.
This is really about making small adjustments. Most of us couldn’t tolerate a great shift; we are already juggling children, marriages, jobs and other “normal” things. More importantly, most of us don’t have to make huge adjustments to get back to a place of comfort (although in that case you might want to try our 1: 1 coaching program!)
Where will your balance be in raising children with ADHD?
What do you want more of What do you want less of? The answers to these questions will help you to live your life, in small pieces, more balanced.
To make it easy Here’s how you can rebalance yourself this week:
- Pick one thing that you can reasonably do over the next week that will help you correct your course – help offset a little of the wobble that is throwing you off balance.
- Think about what might be preventing you from achieving your goal
- Make an emergency plan
- Write down a commitment; or better yet, tell someone about your plan so that you will have an accountable partner
- When you see how successful you have been, celebrate! If not – don’t beat yourself up – just make another adjustment and test again.
Believe me, I know from my own experience that finding balance in raising children with ADHD and other challenges can be difficult. I also know that the effort is worth it! As you find more balance in small steps every day, you will find that parenting goes a lot smoother. Sure, it’ll wobble. But with a little practice, you’ll be off and enjoying the ride in no time.