Taking care of your ADHD child can be very challenging and exhausting. If you don’t know how to manage your time and even your emotions, it can be very overwhelming. Parenting a child with special needs demands so much from you that you can forget to take care of yourself.
No matter how stressful the situation can get, as a parent you need to take a break and pay attention to your own needs. You cannot take yourself for granted because you need to renew your mind and body once in a while – you can’t continue to give if you yourself have nothing left.
Here are some suggestions on how to better manage stressful situations and make time for yourself.
Write down your challenges for the day – At the end of each day take a few minutes to sit down and write about some challenging situation you encountered. Writing things down can help you reflect on what happened and how you reacted. Did you manage the situation well? If you did, write down how you did that – because it will serve as your guide for future scenarios. If you responded negatively, think about how you could have handled things better – and write it down. Doing this will help you identify every stress trigger and the corresponding solution, meaning you’ll be better equipped to manage similar situations in the future.
Think of an activity that calms you down – Yes, ADHD kids needs supervision and will demand so much of your time – but finding time for yourself to do something enjoyable is also important, not least because it gives you time to process your own emotions, unwind and relax. Activities like yoga, swimming, listening to music and adult colouring books can help you destress and relax. Alternatively, you might like to talk to a friend or maybe an ADHD coach over the phone, do some exercise, or join a local support group in your community.
Be positive and try to avoid negative thoughts – If you are in a bad situation, it is so easy to think of negative things rather than the positives ones – but it is really important that you practice dwelling on positive thoughts. If you start your day thinking of positive things, your day will seem much easier.
Ask for help – If you’re part of a couple, make sure you take equal responsibility for the care of your ADHD child. Take turns at managing difficult situations, or even ask help from other family members to give you a bit of a break. If you’re a single parent it’s even more important that you get some help – again, never be afraid to ask family to support you, or find out what sort of respite care is available in your local area. The IASS website (formerly Parent Partnership) will point you in the right direction.
Lastly, don’t forget that even though you are a parent of a child with special needs, you should never stop pursuing your own dreams. Yes, you may have to make a few sacrifices but it doesn’t mean that you have to totally forget what you love to do.