3 Steps to Balance in Parenting Kids with ADHD
Many of us seem to be struggling with finding balance in parenting kids with ADHD and other challenges – more and more these days. Sometimes, balance as a parent seems out of reach, maybe even impossible.
But it's actually closer than you think – especially when you consider that balance is a process, not a destination! Little steps can actually help in really big ways.
What is Balance, Anyway?
I remember distinctly watching my daughter learn to balance on her bike without training wheels when she was nine. She wobbled at first, straightened out, wobbled again. Once she found her center, she was off – but she had to continue to correct the wobbles and stay balanced on that bike. In fact, every time since then that she's climbed on a bike, she's had to re-establish her balance and correct the inevitable wobbles.
As a coach, I often work with clients who want more balance in their lives. As a business owner, I am constantly rediscovering my relationship with balance – from balancing my time to balancing my checkbook. In yoga class, my instructor introduces me to poses that challenge my relationship with gravity – to the limits!
So I've come to understand that balance isn’t about staying in the middle all the time. It is about finding our center, whatever that may be for each of us. And we do it all the time.
Take a minute and walk on an imaginary balance beam with your eyes closed (go ahead, I’ll wait…). Notice that you are shifting too far in one direction or the other, and then making a slight adjustment to get back to where you feel most comfortable.
That’s balance, and it requires three steps:
- Understand where you feel comfortable
- Notice when you aren’t where you want to be
- Make appropriate adjustments
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So How Do You Do this in Life?
Paying attention to yourself is critical to understanding where you feel comfortable. In this society we are conditioned to look externally for our desires and approval. Taking time to figure out who you are and what really makes your heart sing is not always fully embraced.
Think about how much time and money most companies spend annually on strategic planning, or how much time you spend planning for your family. What if you spent some time doing some planning like that for yourself? Like a company, you can re-evaluate your own mission, adjust your plan, and make sure you are still relevant to your primary customers (the most important people in your life, including yourself).
At its core, noticing is about being present in every moment and paying attention to where we are at right now: mind, body and spirit. This is something that most of us find challenging. We are constantly worrying what’s next, or re-working something in the past. It’s all about being here… right…. now. Nowhere else.
How often do we catch ourselves not listening to our kids or our spouse until they are half-way through their thought? If you aren’t present, it’s not likely that you’ll figure out you are out of balance until you are about to fall over! I challenge you to take one hour, or better yet, one day, and become mindful of being completely present in whatever you are doing – all day long.
This is really all about making minor adjustments. Most of us couldn’t tolerate a large scale shift; we are already juggling children, marriages, jobs, and other “normal” stuff going on. More importantly, most of us don’t need to make big adjustments to get back to a place of comfort (though if you do, you might want to try out our 1:1 coaching program!)
Where Will Your Balance in Parenting Kids with ADHD Be?
What is it you want more of? What do you want less of? The answers to these questions will help you choose to live your life with more balance, little bits at a time.
To make it simple, here's how you can start to re-balance yourself this week:
- Pick one thing that you can reasonably do in the next week that will help you course correct – help you straighten out a little bit of the wobbling that is throwing you off balance.
- Think about what might get in the way of you accomplishing your goal
- Do some contingency planning
- Write down a commitment; or better yet, tell someone your plan so that you have an accountability partner
- When you notice how successful you were, celebrate! If you weren’t – don’t beat yourself up – just make another adjustment and test it out again.
Believe me, I know from personal experience that finding balance in parenting kids with ADHD and other challenges can be difficult. I also know that it’s worth the effort! When you find more balance, in little ways, every day – you'll begin to notice that the ride of parenting is a whole lot smoother. Sure, there will be wobbles. But with some practice, you'll be off and enjoying the ride in no time.