I think back to my own family, to my mother asking, “Why can’t we be more like The Waltons?” At the time, as a teenager, I thought it was a ridiculous question and I told her so. But today, as an adult, I realize that many parents dream of recreating a fantasy family. They long for the simplicity and harmony of TV families like The Waltons, The Bradys, or The Cunninghams of “Happy Days.” Or even the manageable chaos of the families on “Modern Family” where, at least, there’s a lot of love and humor. Parents want to believe they can recreate this if only they try harder. They feel they are letting their families down by not creating this type of family.

Still other parents do not dare hope for relief from parenting their ADHD kids. They live in overwhelm and drama, with occasional glimpses of relief and joy, much like the Connors on “Roseanne” or the Wilkersons on “Malcolm in the Middle.” They resent being told that they don’t have to live with so much tension and anguish. They say “You don’t understand.”

Never catch up, never slow down, never be good enough

To be sure, having an ADHD child affects the whole family. Your child’s drama becomes your drama (the parents) which becomes your other children’s drama. Too often, though, parents will attach themselves to the image of a fantasy family, and whether they embrace the Brady’s or the Conner’s, they create a negative fantasy for themselves in which they can never catch up, never slow down, never be good enough.

Whichever fantasy you live with, I gotta ask: “How much fun are you having?”

Both perfectionism and despair often appear to be real. We think that real people don’t sweat the small stuff and don’t understand us and our dilemma. But both are untruths, fictions that keep us tied to misery.

It is possible to transform a state of overwhelm into a state of calm, contentment, relief and hope.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again (in fact, I’m thinking of having it tattooed on my arm): I just love Albert Einstein’s quote,

“You can’t solve a problem with the same consciousness that created the problem.”

The problem isn’t the ADHD or our budget and time restraints. Those look very much like the problem, but as a Coach (and having been coached) I can tell you that those are disguises. They lure us to focus on them but it’s all smoke and mirrors.

The problem we can’t solve on our own is the way we think about our situation, whatever it may be. Our problem is that we’re stuck and can’t see that there’s any other solution. In fact, people will go to great lengths to explain to me why their problem is everything BUT the way they think about the situation.

I get it. I’ve been there too.

It’s a puzzle: when we’re so unhappy, why do we fight tooth and nail to stay that way? Why do we feel we’ve been insulted, misunderstood, or rejected when someone says, “I know a better way”?

3 Ways to Suffer Less and Enjoy More

1. ADHD parents have often been “handed a line of horse manure” when trying to parent our children in a world that seems to shun us and them. We have the right to be wary of so-called experts. But thinking that we are the experts for our children is not helpful either. (Ummm, coz if you were the experts you wouldn’t be so exhausted, frankly).

Instead, find an expert who will partner with you. Someone who will be available to you, someone who will accompany you through the muck that you’re stuck in. No sandcastle can be built if the waves keep washing it away.

You need solid ground, a person who will be your dry land while you learn to avoid the waves.

2. Stop thinking about how bad the future is going to be if X does or does not happen. You may notice that your children don’t really care when you say things like, “If you get an F you won’t be able to do advanced math next year,” or “You won’t be able to get into X college.” Youngsters don’t think that way. Kids and teens live in the present for the most part. You’re worrying about the future and expecting them to step up because you’re worried is not possible. They don’t have the emotional maturity and years of experience that you have to understand your concerns.

So stay in the present. That’s where they live. Make each day a new day. Don’t gather resentments and punish them tomorrow for something they did a week ago. That really doesn’t teach much to a child with ADHD. Of course you can have rules like “No going out on school nights” but that’s a rule, not a punishment. ADHD kids don’t always see the connection between not cleaning their rooms on Tuesday and not going to a birthday party on Saturday.

What IS the connection anyway? ;)

3. Parent with kindness as your priority. I’m not at all suggesting that you be a pushover or that you give in to whatever your child wants. NOT AT ALL! But remember that our children receives all our frustration and anger. Kids are like that. They want nothing more than to please you. They would give anything to be able to control themselves so that you would be happy and not angry.

Sometimes we parent so that WE will be happy, so that WE will be calm. Often parents come to me and talk about how frustrating it is to parent an ADHD child. I would ask you to think about how frustrating it is to BE an ADHD child. We know we’re different, whether you tell us we have ADHD or not. We can’t control many of our reactions and yet we get blamed for it. We want to please you and feel like rejects when we can’t.

If I don’t do the dishes, even if that’s my chore to do, it’s not because I want to make you life harder. It’s because something is blocking me from seeing this as an easy task. It doesn’t matter that it’s easy; it doesn’t matter that you tell me it’s easy. I need your help, your company, to learn to make doing the dishes an easy task.

It isn’t super convenient to have an ADHD child but it’s even less convenient to have an ADHD 30- or 40-year old that sees himself/herself as a loser because he/she was never able to please you. I’ve seen that. It’s a miserable existence and I know that’s not what you want for your kids.

P.S. I’m going to venture a guess: I’m guessing that Mary Ellen Walton, Peter Brady, and Joanie Cunningham may have had some attention and/or executive function issues. :)

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Like this post and want more interaction? Check these out:

1. I’m on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest. I’m @GiftedWithADD

2. 45-minute free phone consultation. Schedule here.

3. If you haven’t gotten your copy of “Revolutionize Your ADHD Parenting in One Week,” grab a copy at this link.

 

xoxoxo, Margit

Copyright 2014 Margit Crane All Rights Reserved

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5 Tips for Communicating with ADHD Teens

by Margit Crane on February 17, 2015

 

 

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1. Come to a conversation to connect not to control

2. Instead of sitting down for conversations, look for individual moments to state your thoughts, opinions, or reactions.

3. Have “No Texting Time”

4. Yelling is ineffective

5. Practice “Fearless Listening”(TM)

====================

Like this post and want more interaction? Check these out:

1. I’m on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest. I’m @GiftedWithADD

2. 45-minute free phone consultation. Schedule here.

3. If you haven’t gotten your copy of “Revolutionize Your ADHD Parenting in One Week,” grab a copy at this link.

4. Check out my new book, “Getting Schooled” – Great for ADHD families in the American public school system!

xoxoxo, Margit

Copyright 2015 Margit Crane All Rights Reserved

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3 Tips to Eliminate ADHD Parenting Guilt in 2015

December 30, 2014

Tweet Pin It   I don’t know a parent that doesn’t have some guilt about something, somewhere, sometime. It might be something that happened a while ago or it might be something that happened recently. It seems to be part of parenting, which is a shame. Parenting is tough – we need to admit this. [...]

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The #1 Secret to Productivity When You Have ADHD

December 16, 2014

If you don’t have ADHD and your child/teen does, you may not understand why, when given a list of things to do or even when given one thing to do, there’s no movement. “Get up! Get going! It’s really not that hard!” you may be thinking (or saying).

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Taking the CRAZY Out of ANY Family Celebration

December 10, 2014

Tweet Pin It   With Christmas and Hanukkah approaching, we tend to forget that there are many other occasions to gather as a family. In some families, the Sabbath is a weekly celebration; and what about birthdays, anniversaries, and other milestones in our lives. When you’re together as a family, stuff happens! Most families experience [...]

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3 Tips to Help Your ADHD Family Manage the Holiday Season

December 8, 2014

Tweet Pin It   Ditch the stress by trying these 3 tips. Don’t let another holiday go down in the book of misery. You can lead your ADHD child to greatness and lead yourself to sanity! Tip #1: Seemingly “happy” transitions are still transitions. ADHD kids often have trouble transitioning from home to school to [...]

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Does Your ADHD Child Rock or Just Pop?

November 29, 2014

Tweet Pin It   Are you the kind of family that looks good on the outside but is struggling on the inside? When there’s an ADHD kid in the house (or more than one. or one + a parent!) life can shake, rattle and roll. You know what I’m talking about! It’s hard to know [...]

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End the Confusion! Get Your ADHD Child Ready to Rock 2015!

November 28, 2014

Tweet Pin It   Do you live on this block? Or way too close to this area? I used to live there. In fact, that was my childhood home. I spent pretty much my whole childhood and adolescence not feeling quite like I fit in. I knew I was different than my friends. I only [...]

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Happy Thanksgiving!

November 27, 2014

Tweet Pin It   Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving (or a Happy Thursday, if you aren’t United-Statesian). XOXO  

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Start 2015 With a BANG! Even If Your Child Has ADHD.

November 26, 2014

Tweet Pin It   This is a picture of: (a) Your brain exploding when your ADHD child tells you she hates you. (b) All your child sees when, yet again, he falls off the roof of your house. (c) Fireworks your tween set off, just before you had to race to the hospital. (d) A [...]

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