If you find yourself getting angry, irritable and generally negative as you interact with your ADHD child, this is a very useful tool to assess where your attitude is going. ADHD is difficult. There’s no getting around that. However, we, the adults and caregivers, MUST keep the proper perspective. There is no getting around that either. Look at these five points and determine which one(s) are fitting the situation in which you find yourself when you start to go negative.
1. You ask your child “why” he acted in a particular way and expect to receive an answer that demonstrates insight and self-awareness.
2. You get frustrated because your child did not act differently today because of something that you did yesterday. Remember, change is gradual.
3. You take your child’s misbehavior personally and react with anger to inappropriate behavior.
4. You waste a lot of time and energy trying to determine which inappropriate behaviors are due to ADHD and which are due to other causes.
5. You believe that your child just needs a firmer hand and that it is wrong to offer your child reinforcement for something he should be doing anyway.
If you find that one or more of these statements is applying to your perspective and behavior, remove yourself. Go to a quiet place. Breathe. Relax. And then THINK! Reflect on what you know about ADD / ADHD. If you don’t know anything about ADHD, then, with all due respect, it is high time you learn. Remember that in any given situation, your child would choose to cooperate, think ahead, have insight. Yeah, not be ADHD.
You must keep a disability perspective when dealing with your child.
Think about all the other disorders or illnesses that your child could have and you would never consider being angry at him for having such. If ADD / ADHD is, in fact, a disorder of brain function, then you can no more be angry at him for the symptoms of inattention, impulsivity and lack of self regulation that the disorder presents than be angry if he had polio and couldn’t walk or diabetes and couldn’t eat your blue ribbon chocolate chip cookies. Would you even continue baking those cookies?
Keep your head on, mama and papa, because your child needs you. Most of the world won’t have a clear understanding of the challenges your child faces and have no doubt that he will, at times, face harsh judgement and the tremendous frustration that comes from the unending challenges of trying to meet the expectations of others… and failing. He will need you to make up for all of it and help him to learn how to manage his disorder so that, in time, he won’t need you either.