Being a parent is hard work; kids don’t come with directions. You bring home that little bundle of joy and you are off on a 24/7 job that lasts for years and years and years…If you have a child with a learning disability or executive functioning deficits or ADHD, it is really easy to get worn down and discouraged by your challenged and sometimes challenging child. How do you survive so that you can all thrive?
First, learn all you can about the issue your child faces. For example there are organizations dedicated to dyslexia, Tourette Syndrome, autism, and ADHD. For ADD/ADHD I recommend CHADD. They have a informative website and if you join the organization, CHADD members have access to many online support and educational programs. They also publish a useful magazine.
My second bit of advice is to get help. Scour your community for professionals and educators who can support you as you support your child. If there isn’t a support group, consider starting one. Remember too that you have to take care of yourself in order to help your child over the long haul. You are in a marathon, not a sprint event.
My third piece of advice is to plan for some fun time with your child. If you feel like all you’re doing is nagging and fighting over homework and chores then it is definitely time to lighten things up. Stop focusing on the learning challenges. Ask your child what they would like to do for fun and join them. No strings attached. You’re not allowed to say, “If you finish your homework then we’ll be able to…” Just go. Just have fun. That positive experience will give you renewed energy to do the harder parts of being a parent of a challenged child.
When I have angry exhausted parents at my table, their homework assignment for the week is to plan a “fun” event with their child and do it. When they report back the next week tension has dropped.
So, if you need it, your assignment for the week is to have fun with your child. Please leave a comment to share the results!
Marydee Sklar is the president of Executive Functioning Success and the creator of the Seeing My Time Program®. She is an educator and author of three books on executive functions, as well as a trainer and speaker. Marydee has more than twenty-five years of experience working with students and adults with executive function challenges.