Unnecessary, But Necessary
Okay, I admit it – sometimes I don't really understand why the experts conduct research to prove the obvious. They could just ask us parents, right? I wish they'd research something we parents haven't already figured out!
But in this case, it's a good thing, because the results of the research* are in – and while they are not at all surprising, they are certainly quite VALIDATING: Parenting teens with ADHD is stressful for parents.
Shocking, I know.
Here's why this research is really good news for all of us. Researchers now recommend that parents' stress management be included as part of the treatment of a teen's ADHD!
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Straight From The Doctor
Yes – that means the doctors recommend that YOU manage YOUR stress to help your child. But before you start getting all guilty on me, remember this: they are giving you a prescription to put yourself back on your list! Seriously, your stress reduction is just as important as your teen working with a tutor.
Okay, that is a little shocking. So take it in.
Not only does this research take us one step closer to insurance companies paying for parent training and support, but it really gives us the permission that so many of us are waiting for – permission to pay some attention to ourselves. So often, when we have complex kids, we feel like every free moment needs to be focused on helping them, supporting them, putting systems in place for THEM. I can't tell you how many parents have said to me that they feel guilty spending any time or money on themselves, when their kid needs so much help.
What The Research Says
But the truth is, when we focus too much on our kids – at the expense of ourselves – it's actually not good for our kids, or for us. When we are stretched too thin, when we are stressed to the limit – well, honestly, how good is our communication with our teens? And what kinds of lessons are we modeling for them, anyway?
The research is telling us to take a different approach.
We hear from parents all the time, especially after they've completed Sanity School, how much things improve after they start focusing on themselves, and learning to calm down. It's probably the number one ‘shocking' revelation from parents in our classes and programs – that when they pay attention to themselves, their kids start doing better. Kids start taking on more responsibility, seeing more success – and generally, their relationships start to improve in many ways.
And let's be clear – we're not talking about neglecting our kids, here. We're talking about what happens when parents take a moment to pause, think about their parenting approach, and learn strategies for understanding their kids and empowering them. Nothing is more stress-reducing for a concerned parent than when his/her child starts to take ownership of his challenges. When you begin to see that glimmer of hope, that glimpse of possibility – “Yes, my kid is going to be okay” – it just makes it a whole lot easier to sleep at night!
The Main Takeaway
So here's what we want you to know, that is now supported by research: Parent Training + Parent Support = Stress Reduction for parents!
If you've been noticing your stress, lately, and you want to help your teen with ADHD (or other related issues), then consider getting some support for yourself to take the stress off. The effect will benefit the whole family!
Now sure how to make parenting teens with ADHD less stressful? THAT we can help with, too: visit Parenting Programs for more info.
* According to Dr. David Rabiner in The Attention Research Update, "Numerous studies have established that parents of children with ADHD experience more stress in their parenting role than other parents. Although it is reasonable to expect that this would also be true for parents of adolescents with ADHD, this issue has not been previously investigated. This is an important gap in the literature as documenting greater stress among parents whose teen has ADHD, and how this may differ for mothers and fathers, could inform the importance of attending to parents' stress when treating teens with ADHD."