The Early Years
For my first 10 years parenting, I was searching for my village. I wanted a place to belong, to fit in. I wanted a place for my child to feel understood, even cherished. I wanted to connect to other parents and schools who understood my complex children. I was searching, but wasn't finding the help parenting my complex kids that I needed. Sound familiar?
Searching Without Knowing
In truth, I really didn't know what I was looking for. Because:
- I didn't fully understand HOW my kids were struggling;
- I certainly didn't understand how my actions were helping or hurting their chance for success (and it was both, I assure you!); and
- I had not yet learned how to set them up for success – for their whole lives.
The funny thing was that I thought I understood. I was trying hard to follow doctors' advice, treating my children with therapies and special programs. I thought I was doing everything I could to help them.
The Changes Needed to Start with Me
And then I accidentally learned the secret sauce to effective parenting: the changes for my kids needed to start with me. When I got some help for myself, everything started to get better for the whole family!
Don't get me wrong. My child's therapist was helpful – truly a godsend for me. But 10-minute conversations at the end of my daughter's sessions were not enough. Not even close. I needed specific training and support, and that really wasn't the therapist's job.
With training and coaching, I had help parenting; I came to understand the challenges my children were facing, and learned strategies for coping and communicating more effectively. I began to take a whole new approach to raising children with complex needs. WOW! What a difference.
“Thank you, mommy. Things are so much better!”
My kids were SO much happier and more successful. Less than a year after I started getting coaching, my 9-year-old child (with Dyslexia, Anxiety, and ADHD) celebrated New Year's by saying, “Thank you, mommy. Things are so much better around here.” I kid you not!
Now I'd be lying if I told you that my entire family life turned around in a year. Not so much. This is not Fantasyland – this is real life, and it's complicated stuff we're dealing with! It takes time to turn an ocean-liner.
But I made enough changes in that first year that my husband's attitude started to shift. He told me, once, a few years later (after he'd gotten some coaching for himself), that he couldn't deny, anymore, what a difference my approach was making in our kids' lives.
It Takes Just One Parent to Turn the Ship
You see, it had been easy for him to deny that ADHD and its related challenges (his, mine, and the kids') was at the core of so many of the challenges we were facing. Accepting that fact – and DOING something about it – just WOW.
So here's what I can tell you for sure. While it's a heck of a lot easier when both parents are on the same page, sadly, that's not very common in ADHD families. But don't let that keep YOU from starting, NOW, to make things better. All it takes is one parent to begin to turn the ship! One parent can save the life of a child with ADHD. One parent can turn the tides.
It takes more than special programs, IEPs, social skills groups and occupational therapy to raise complex children in this modern world. It takes parents, committed to helping their children reach their potential, open to a new way to tackle old problems! It takes parenting education, communication skills, coaching, and strategy personalized to the individual child and family. PARENTS make a world of difference!
Commit to Yourself for the Good of Your Child
Now you might think it's too late, or you need your spouse on board, or there's just not enough money, or you're not sure what to do or try. Excuses are much easier than doing the hard work of focusing on you. But I assure you this: things will improve, dramatically, when you invest in yourself for the good of your child!
We've created a special, online village for parents at ImpactParents.com, and we invite you to join us. It's just for parents like you – parents who want their complex kids to thrive, and aren't always so sure how to help make that happen. So whether you join our free newsletter, or a fee-based coaching group – we urge you to make a commitment to learning to be the best parent you can be for your child THIS year!
Your child's future is a wondrous world of opportunity. What will you commit to do now, to assure independence in 5, 10, or 20 years?