By Elaine Taylor-Klaus (Parenting Coach, Co-Founder, ImpactADHD)
As parents, we tend to rely on the support of our “village” to help us raise our kids. We appreciate the give and take of a local support network. “Can I drop that off for you on my way home?” “Can you pick up this child for me?” It’s a kind of a dance. We learn to ask for help, and depend on each other.
But sometimes – all too often – your village doesn’t quite know what to do with your ADHD child, or with you. You find yourself bouncing from village to village, or sitting on the outside, looking for a way to fit in. Looking for a place for your child to feel understood, empowered or cherished. Sound familiar?
I WAS A VILLAGE HOPPER
For the first 10 years of my life as a parent, I tried one support network after another. I wanted other parents and schools to understand my children and their ADHD; but, truth be told, I didn’t really understand them that well, myself.
I mean, sure, I thought I did. But I didn’t fully grasp what I really needed to do, as a parent, to effectively support my children. It turns out, setting them up for a lifetime of success with ADHD requires a very different set of skills than just “regular-old-parenting.”
Now don’t get me wrong. I was doing my best to “treat” my children’s challenges with therapies and special programs. I was trying everything I could think of to help them. But I just didn’t know HOW to help them learn to MANAGE their ADHD.
And then, frankly, I lucked out. I accidentally learned the greatest secret of effective parenting for ADHD: THE CHANGES MY KIDS NEEDED MOST, STARTED WITH ME!
IT’S NOT ABOUT THEM. AT FIRST, ANYWAY.
When I started to learn the skills that would really help me manage MY fascinating, interesting and most-definitely ADHD children, a monumental change happened for my family. I learned to really understand the challenges my children were facing, and get strategies for coping and communicating more effectively – with everyone!
The results were pretty immediate. Less than a year into my journey, my then-9 year old child, with Dyslexia, anxiety & ADHD, actually said: “Thank you, mommy. Things are so much better around here.” I kid you not! I had become a much better parent to my ADHD children. And, truth be told, it wasn’t rocket science. I shifted my parenting to a coach-approach, including a solid diet of education & communication, and it made a world of difference!
I wish I could tell you that my husband immediately saw the wisdom of all that I was bringing to the family, and jumped right on the back of my band-wagon. Not so much – not right away. He eventually began to see what a difference the coach-approach was making in our kids’ lives, but he had been quite comfortable denying that ADHD (including his own) was largely responsible for the challenges we were facing, so he wasn’t in a hurry.
During that time, I learned another valuable lesson in family life with ADHD: all it takes is one parent to begin to turn the ship! Sure, it’s much easier when you’re both on board the same ship – or even in the same harbor. But it’s actually not critical. One parent can change the life of a child with ADHD. One parent can turn the tides.
THE GOOD NEWS? TAG, YOU’RE IT!
That one parent who makes the difference can be you.
But you will probably need support in order to do it.
In other words, you can be the one, but you’re not alone. Steven Jobs was the one. He didn’t do it alone.
Whatever else you believe about your “reality” right now – you might think it’s too late, or you need your spouse on board, or there’s just not enough money, or you’re not sure what to do or try – you can make a difference in how ADHD is managed in your family.
The choice is up to you!
You are part of a unique system of support here at TotallyADD.com. It’s like a “cyber-village” to get the education you need. So you’ve already taken the first step. But I want to encourage you to take the next step, to get training, along with coaching or therapy, to help you make real change for your family! Things will improve, dramatically, when you invest in yourself for the good of your child.
THAT’S WHAT I LEARNED. NOW IT’S WHAT I DO.
After searching for villages, I decided to create one. But like parenting, I couldn’t do it alone. With Diane Dempster, we created ImpactADHD.com, a parenting cyber-village, specifically for parents like ourselves, who want our kids with ADHD to thrive.
We support each other, and show parents how to take a coach-approach with their kids. We teach you strategies to help you manage in any challenging situation, and we encourage you to focus on the things that matter most of all, for you and your children. We help you really focus in on what you need to know to help your kids learn to master their ADHD. As Rick Green has said before, there’s lots you could learn about ADHD, the question is, what do you NEED to know?
Your child’s future is a wondrous world of opportunity. What village do you need – does your child need for you to have – to set her up for success? There is no need for you to wander, lost and alone. USE the village that understands and will support you and your family. And take advantage of that incredible give-and-take that happens when we parents lean on each other.