Parenting is hard! Parenting a child with ADHD can seem insurmountable at times! Life throws curveballs, and routines and systems get thrown off track. Don’t forget to love yourself first through the ups and downs!
How do you talk to yourself?
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My older daughter Biggs recently started to experience some self doubt in her gymnastics. We were prompted to enroll her in a program called Perform Happy. Giving her the tools to be aware of and direct her mindset will last her a lifetime. One of the lessons I heard asks the athletes to consider how they talk to themselves. They cheer their teammates on that are struggling. However, its common for them to tell themselves they just aren’t good at something when it doesn’t come easily. Self talk about what they CAN do and positivity towards what they WILL be able to do with time sets them up with more confidence.
Speaking kindly to yourself, and putting things in context is important. None of us will do everything perfectly all of the time, or even most of the time. We do the best we can to use all of our parenting tools, but if we’re honest, most of us have yelled at our kids. We try to eat healthy, but when someone brings doughnuts to work, many times we will indulge. The point is, we all fall short. But do we give ourselves enough credit for the things we do well?
Praise for success
When I really praise my kids and get excited about them doing something right, a positive behavior is much more likely to stick. I try to find things to praise my kiddos for, (read here about the importance of positive parenting). Poor behavior is usually a result of an unmet need. Success recognized, no matter how small it seems, always feels good. Rather than internally beating ourselves up for not meeting an unrealistic standard, we should be recognizing our many successes. For Little Bit, read about how those principles made this responsibility chart work.
Why it’s important to model loving yourself
In my own home and many others with adults with ADHD, I have seen a huge prevalence of RSD, or Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria. I believe this is due to a combination of children with ADHD getting corrected frequently. The lack of impulse control, hyperactivity, and other things that accompany the lagging executive functioning often necessitates frequent correction. Combined with poor emotional regulation, adults with ADHD are often very sensitive to criticism. For kids with ADHD, they need to see parents gracefully loving themselves, despite mistakes.
In addition, with the prevalence of eating disorders or suicide in young people, kids need the example. It is vital for them to learn to love themselves, despite inevitable mistakes and failures. But how can they learn to love themselves if it isn’t modeled for them?
How to love yourself
Practice self care regularly. This does not have to be going to the spa. Self care does not need to be expensive or time consuming. Simple self care practices that are easily attainable are going to be easier to accomplish. Read about a few ways I practice self care as a neurotypical parent here. Follow me for a post coming soon about happiness triggers and incorporate yours regularly.
If you struggle speaking kindly to yourself incorporate a regular strategy to improve. Read about how we use a gratitude journal to improve emotional intelligence for my kiddos. A similar one to write successes for the day is a great mindfulness habit. Successes can be as simple as making dinner, tidied something small, or used kind words to reassure your child even when it was hard. There will always be something successful. Practicing loving yourself will help you parent successfully, and model that ability to your child.
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The content in this post is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is merely opinion based on personal research and experience.