Quick Tip

Do You Fear Your ADHD Child’s Future? Take A Marathon View

ADHD Child's Future

What if she doesn't do well in school? Or never makes friends? What if she lives in my basement until she's 35? Or she ends up in jail? What if she lives a lonely existence?

Are You Catastrophizing?

With all of these questions competing loudly for airtime in our heads, it's no wonder that parents of ADHD kids are completely overwhelmed! We call this “catastrophizing”: it's when you see your 12-year-old drop crumbs on the floor and imagine her at 27, living in squalor. It can be paralyzing, and it can rob us of the joy of being with our kids where they are now.

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Slow It Down

Instead of fearing forward 20 years, look at the trajectory your child is on. Look back three years. See how much better she is at managing her frustration or remembering her homework, or controlling her impulsivity. Take a moment to appreciate all the successes you've enjoyed, and the great memories you've created. Remember, they don't have to be monumental achievements to be worthy of gratitude; small victories are definitely worth celebrating.

It's The Little Things

If you look forward three years, then another three, you'll see she's going to be fine at 27 if she maintains her current trajectory. Which she will, because she has you. Look at the little outcomes, the small steps you can take this week and this year, instead of fearing forward. That's how you'll see progress – and that's how you'll be able to start living more in the moment with your kids.

So Have No Fear

Sure, it's easy for me to say. Your child has a chronic medical condition that makes self-management quite difficult. How on earth are they going to become an independent adult? How can I tell you to have no fear?

Because fear doesn't serve you or your child. It doesn't build towards success, or open possibility. Rebecca Rosen says, “Fear drives us straight into roadblocks. It escalates conflict, pain and sadness, and it manifests scarcity.”

Fear can tell our kids think we don’t believe in them, even though that’s not the case at all. When we talk about our fears, or our concerns, our kids often get the message that we don’t have faith in them.

Take a negative report card, for example. When we get upset, yell, and demand better performance, we think we’re sending the message that we expect better – so that means we believe in them, right? But the truth is, all our kids hear in that situation is our fear – more like, “I thought you could do it, but I guess you can’t, and I’m afraid you’re never going to be able to.”

If you believe in your kids, and focus on what you know they can do, instead of focusing on their deficits – well, frankly, they’re more likely to start believing in themselves, too.

So take a deep breath, and begin to release the fear of all the possible ways that your child might not succeed. Better yet, with your next inhale, breathe in any possibility you can imagine. Hold onto that vision, and use it to breathe life into your child's future.

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