Although we love our children with all of our hearts, parenting a child with ADD/ADHD can be a stressful and exhausting journey. I know this from personal and professional experience. Because of the academic, social, behavioral, and emotional challenges that can come with the diagnosis, our kids require a lot from us. As well as giving them extra time and attention, we may be dealing with our own feelings of burn-out, sadness, frustration, or worry.
Many of us also feel confused by the seemingly contradictory behaviors we observe in our child. It can be hard to understand when bright, even intellectually gifted students are on the verge of failing their classes. And it gets even more confusing when they can focus for hours on things that interest them, like playing computer games or texting, yet struggle to concentrate for fifteen minutes at a time on a homework assignment.
There is a neurochemical reason for this discrepancy that has nothing to do with your child’s efforts or intent. ADD/ADHD is a syndrome caused by an imbalance in neurotransmitter activity affecting the prefrontal cortex of the brain. That’s a mouthful, but the end result is that your child’s ADD/ADHD causes a deficit in his/her executive functioning. This deficit can cause profound problems in school performance, impacting a student’s ability to start and finish work, remember homework, memorize facts and figures, organize and write essays and reports, figure out math problems, plan for the future, sense time accurately, control emotions and behavior, and complete long term assignments.
After our kids are diagnosed, most of the attention from schools and professionals is about helping our children. This is understandable, but we as parents could use help too! After raising three high need children myself and talking with parents for almost ten years, I have identified three major areas of need for parents of kids with AD/HD – Education, Stress Management, and Support. You can find all three through various sources including CHADD and ADD Resources and ADD Classes.