Parenting with ADHD can be a challenge, especially if one or more of your kids also share the diagnosis. Juggling work, home life, meals, finances, and the family schedule are hard enough without ADHD, even if you have a partner co-managing the household. But studies show that parents with ADHD report higher “home chaos” due to their ADHD symptoms, which interfere with their ability to establish routines at home, discipline their children consistently, and keep track of family activities.1 If you are a parent with ADHD, explore these seven tips to make life easier for you and the people around you.
Explain ADHD to Your Family
ADHD often emerges in childhood, though it can be missed, especially if you are a woman because of less obvious symptoms. In fact, some individuals don’t find out they have ADHD until one of their children is diagnosed. When people don’t know you have ADHD or they don’t understand it, they may think you are a daydreamer, unreliable, or overly sensitive. In defense, you might try to mask your ADHD by working overtime, becoming a perfectionist, or being overly careful about what you say. This restrained behavior can be taxing, and fill you with shame and self-doubt. Instead of hiding your ADHD, try your best to educate your family about it, maybe even highlighting the less-talked about “superpowers” of ADHD, like hyperfocus and creativity. You might emphasize that ADHD is a real condition proven by neuroimaging research and dispel some of the most common myths so they better understand the specific challenges you face.2
Learn How to Improve Communication
People with ADHD can have difficulty with communication, running into issues like excessive talking, interrupting, or being easily distracted. But effective communication can be learned like any other skill. To help you improve your communication, you might work with a coach or therapist who can role play conversation with you. Or, you might simply be open to feedback from your loved ones instead of shutting down if they come to you with advice. If you tend to become easily distracted, you can try echoing, which is repeating back what you’ve just heard to ensure you got it right. This is especially useful when you first meet someone if you tend to forget names. Just be sure to take it easy on yourself and manage expectations. You don’t have to become a master orator; you just have to work at one skill at a time. Maybe that means using echoing, or maybe that means being aware of when you interrupt, and then learning to restrain yourself.
Make Time to Re-energize When Necessary
Parenting with ADHD can be emotionally and physically draining, which is why rest is necessary. But getting rest isn’t always easy. According to the National Sleep Foundation, people with ADHD are more likely to experience shorter sleep time, trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, and a higher risk of developing a sleep disorder.3 This can be exacerbated with stimulant medication, which is notorious for interfering with sleep.
To help you get the rest you need so you can face the day with a full battery, you may need to tweak your lifestyle habits. This might mean limiting your intake of caffeine, avoiding screens before bed, or establishing a relaxing nighttime ritual. Practicing mindfulness meditation has also been shown to improve sleep and reduce anxiety. Lastly, you might find that switching to a non-stimulant medication or a homeopathic medication like Brillia is a more appropriate choice for you. Unlike other prescription medications, Brillia does not contain harsh, synthetic chemicals that cause side effects like insomnia or fatigue. Its active ingredient consists of targeted antibodies to the brain-specific S100B protein, which is known to contribute to ADHD symptoms when out of balance in the body. Brillia can even be added to your daily regimen if you are taking medication because there are no contraindications. Many individuals choose to take Brillia instead of increasing the dosage of their prescription medication to prevent further damage to their sleep and other undesirable side effects.
Keep a Routine with a Calendar
From doctor’s appointments to extra-curricular activities, your calendar fills up fast when there are multiple people under one roof. Trying to keep track of everything mentally is difficult for any parent, but especially the parent with ADHD. If you don’t already have one, it may be time to get a family calendar and place it within view so you can always stay on top of upcoming events. And while you can’t predict the ups and downs of every day, you can try to instill some structure by implementing a routine you and your child(ren) can follow. This means aiming to wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends, and going to bed at the same time. Following a regular exercise routine and taking time to practice mindfulness or relaxation practices can also help you commit to a healthier lifestyle while banishing stress at the same time.
Work as a Team
It really does take a village. Take on a collaborative approach to managing the household so you don’t end up carrying the responsibilities alone. This is especially true if you are a mom, since research shows that most of the responsibilities of parenthood, including domestic labor, tend to fall disproportionately on mothers. Remind yourself that you don’t have to do it alone and have open discussions with your family members to ensure everyone is doing their part to keep the household functioning as a whole. This may also entail hiring outside help if your finances allow it, taking turns preparing meals, rotating family chores, and beyond. This is why keeping a routine and a calendar is paramount, because if everyone knows their role, it’s much easier to fulfill it.
Enlist a “No Interruptions” Rule
One of the common traits of ADHD is lack of focus, which might require you to make lists, set reminders, and check your calendar more often than those without ADHD. Because it takes so much energy to stay on task, it can be frustrating when you’re interrupted by requests, demands, or unnecessary noise. And this can happen more frequently than ever if you happen to work from home. Enlisting a “no interruptions” rule when you’re working can help minimize distractions so you can complete your tasks. A “no interruptions” rule can also be useful during mealtime, so the family remains connected without the distracting dings of text messages, social media notifications, or emails.
Be Kind to Yourself
The most important tip to make parenting with ADHD easier is to be kind to yourself. Find ways to practice self-care, whether that means booking a massage or taking a vigorous hike. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and be willing to let go of the myth of perfection that so many parents strive for. And resist the urge to berate yourself if you forget something or make a mistake. Successful parenting doesn’t mean always getting it right. Your kids will be inspired if you set an example of accepting your faults and trying again.
Learn more about how Brillia can help reduce symptoms of ADHD for children and adults. As a holistic medication, Brillia works best in combination with healthier lifestyle habits like proper nutrition, adequate sleep, controlled screen time, and mindfulness. Find more information about this unique approach in our 5-Pillar methodology.