Moms: Re-evaluate Your Priorities:
With so many demands on the mothers of ADHD children, it is easy to lose oneself in the midst of caring for your children. The most important thing a mother can do for her children is take care of herself, to the best of her ability. For mothers of ADHD children, the first way to do this is to give serious consideration to whether she may also have ADHD, or one of the many other conditions often found in families where someone has ADHD.
Do You Have ADHD/ADD? Are You Sure?
You Can Not Best Help Your Child, Until You First Help Yourself
There is a genetic component to ADHD and so, where there is a child with ADHD, there is often a parent with ADHD. Additionally, Addictions, Mood Disorders, Obsessive Compulsion Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Sleep Disorders and many other conditions, are far more prevalent in families with an ADHD child, than in the general population. If you suffer from any undiagnosed, or untreated, mental health condition, you need to address this in yourself before you address it in your child. If your neurobiology is unbalanced, it is likely that it will interfere with your ability to help your child in the best way possible, and be the mother you want to be.
If you are a mother with any of the conditions mentioned above, you may become more overwhelmed and stressed, more often, and more intensely, than necessary, leaving you depleted sooner, with fewer internal resources with which to deal with your child. When this happens, mothers often find themselves in a position of going against their own values, regarding child discipline and parenting. These moms often shut down, disconnect, start drinking to relax, yell, spank, and/or hand out disciplines too harsh for the infraction. Many carry regret and guilt for their behavior, and try to make up for it by overindulging their children. The inconsistency between overreacting to a child’s behavior, and overindulging the child, only serves to confuse the child, and break down trust between the mother and her child. Ultimately, both mother and child lose.
Another important consideration is what you are modeling to your child and the subsequent unintentional, subliminal messages the child receives. You probably already have witnessed your child’s awareness of something you didn’t think he understood, or picked up on. Children tend to be more clever, and more aware, than parents think. Even when the child isn’t aware of the message, he or she is absorbing it like a sponge, and it eventually surfaces.
Through the years, I have had many children inquire as to why they should take ADHD meds when their parent doesn’t. Children can tell when a parent (or parents) have ADHD because they make a connection between their parents’ behaviors and their own, which they are told, the medication will help. Many teens refuse to take medication when they suspect a parent also needs it but doesn’t take it. These children talk about feeling like guinea pigs, trying something their parent won’t try for themselves. Worse, many of these children feel as if they are somehow not good enough. They get the messages, “I’m fine, but you’re not,” “You need fixing, but I don’t.”
ADHD children of undiagnosed or untreated ADHD parents often refuse medication and go through their childhood struggling unnecessarily and suffering with one problem after another.