How low is your “rock bottom”? Was it always this low or did it sink when you became a parent? Or did it sink as you came to realize that other parents weren’t banging their heads into walls every day and that your little one didn’t act like the other littles?
Parents of ADHD kids are like that frog in boiling water. Do you know that analogy?
FAMILIES AT THE BOILING POINT
The frog scenario mirrors the rising temperature (or tension) in families as well.
Room-temperature water: You’re going along, having a good time. You’re laughing, hugging, and enjoying each other. Occasionally you get into little disagreements. Even less often you get into yelling matches. But these are not serious and you know that you love each other.
Bath-water temperature: The yelling happens more frequently. Maybe there’s crying involved now. But, hey, you love each other so it’ll all work out.
Too hot: You start noticing how incredibly self-involved your kids can be sometimes. Were they always this selfish and ridiculous?
Boiling! Now they’re just downright obnoxious. They have to comment or criticize everything. They don’t say they don’t trust you or they hate you. They don’t understand you and accuse you of treating them like little kids. You’re wondering, “What the heck happened?”
Here’s how you know it’s time to jump out of that hot water before you burn out your patience or even your adrenal glands (stress is a killer. No lie).
- You are emotional (crying, angry) or shut down several times a week. You can trace these feelings to issues with your child’s ADD/ADHD. Maybe it’s around school work, maybe behavior. Thank God for our bodies that show us signs of dis-ease before we’re ready to accept it consciously. Or, as my counseling mentor used to say, “An angry person is a frightened person.” (This goes for your children too).
- You can’t sleep or you get sick a lot. Sickness is another sign of dis-ease. ADHD parents are like the canary in the coalmine. If we’re “passing out” – it’s a warning to all.
- You are sacrificing your well-being for your child’s ADHD. For example, you’re arriving late to work because your child can’t get out of the house on time. Or you’re not joining a gym because your child needs it more than you do. Or you don’t see your friends because your child may melt down if you’re gone in the evening (even if your spouse is there).
- Nothing is changing or, if it does change, it’s short-lived. This is the most common pattern for ADHD kids and ADHD families. When things are going well, we think the worst is behind us. The only thing is: that’s not how brains work. If nothing changes, nothing changes. If change isn’t sustainable, it’s not change; it’s just a difference.
- Your child seems to have all the power, unless you’re nagging, lecturing, or yelling. You assume that any progress can only come from your child’s willingness to change or grow. You think that if your child/teen isn’t willing to change, nothing can be done. Not so! YOU HAVE WAY MORE POWER THAN YOU THINK!
“OK, then what do I do?” you may ask.
If you’re experiencing any of these “symptoms,” it’s time to stop trying to figure this out on your own (You can’t). It’s time to stop waiting for this “phase” to end (It won’t). It’s time to stop blaming yourself or blaming someone else, and just get some HELP (I’m right here). Your child’s behavior is not your fault but you are the solution.
The truth is that conventional techniques WILL NOT WORK on an unconventional child. It’s time to try something daring, something that will take you out of your comfort zone. Abandon your solo efforts and learn some new tricks. Be willing to change the way you understand parenting.
I’m throwing you a life preserver. Are you ready to grab it?
Copyright 2017 Yafa Luria/Margit Crane All Rights Reserved
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