PTSD Parenting: Secrets We Keep to Ourselves When Parenting a Child with ADHD  

A while back, I was a guest speaker at an online ADHD event.

My session was titled, “PTSD Parenting: How Parenting a Child with ADHD Can Take a Toll on You.”

I chose this title because I’d been reflecting on my recent status as an empty nester: my youngest- the one with ADHD and other special challenges- had recently moved into her own apartment (with support staff). My life had suddenly changed (and not changed) and I’d had to re-adjust what life was like, after having cared for her the last 30+ years. 

For many, raising a child or caring for a teen/young adult with ADHD and/or other special challenges is no picnic. In fact, it can feel at times like you’re suffering from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). For some of us, we try our best to manage children who may have daily meltdowns. We may have children who cannot manage any changes in their routine. Children who defy authority. Children struggling with ADHD plus anxiety, depression, and more.

And what we generally read about in books and see online is this: how can we be better parents? What are the latest tactics we can add to our tool chest to make our kids happy and successful?

I’m here to tell you there’s more to the story:

What about us? What about OUR needs?

We’ve been conditioned FOREVER to put our children first. And we do. But at the expense of losing sight of our own needs which are actually equally important, because if we fall apart, then what?

But the part I keyed into in my session, was the words, the feelings that we keep hidden from everyone: our partners, our spouses, our parents, our best friends, even our therapists:

“I didn’t sign up for this”

“Sometimes I wish I could just walk away from it all”

….and even…..”sometimes I just hate my child.”

Woa! No…we aren’t allowed to accept these feelings even within ourselves. Instead, we push them down, deeper and deeper and pretend we didn’t have those thoughts cross our minds. Ever. Until we develop depression. Anxiety. A drinking problem. Stress in our marriages and other relationships because we lash out those feelings towards our spouses/partners, not realizing that what we’re really doing is denying ourselves the ability to allow those feelings to be conscious. To acknowledge them, to accept them, to deal with them.

It’s time. It’s time to let ourselves feel the anger, the sadness, the grief, the loss of that “perfect” child we’d hoped for. That newborn we cradled in our arms with dreams for his/her future. Dreams that are often blown up, as we begin that long trail of IEP meetings, speech, occupational, physical therapies, psychotherapy, psychiatrist meetings, medication trials, behavioral interventions…the endless books we read. Support groups we attend. And for many of us, we hold all the feelings, all the sadness, all the intensity of our emotions deep deep inside of us.

With school starting back in just a few months, some of us, no…many of us…will jump for joy because we may see this as 6 hours of downtime where we can catch our breath and gather our energy when our child returns home at 3pm full of energy while ours only gets depleted within minutes.

It’s time to wrap our arms around our child but also around ourselves.

Please drop a comment below in the comment section.

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Look What’s Coming!

So excited to hear that Sari Solden will be re-releasing and updating her book, Journeys Through ADDulthood in hard copy on June 30!

From Amazon: In this book, Sari Solden takes what has been called a “groundbreaking” look at the emotional turmoil often precipitated by ADHD and offers readers a roadmap to a richer, more meaningful life. Living with ADHD affects the development of one’s view of self, especially for those not diagnosed until adulthood, who have spent many years of feeling “different” without knowing why.

Read more on Sari’s site HERE.

You can pre-order it now at Amazon HERE.

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