We all know that some days our children who live with ADHD really test us and some of those days we just feel that we cannot do this any longer. With school heading back most of us will experience these mornings.
I recall one of those days where I took my son to school. This particular day I had to be early as I needed to be at an appointment at a certain time. We all know that things are bound to happen when you need to be somewhere important, however combine that with having to change a routine on a child living with ADHD and well, you know how this goes…..
After spending the car ride (and before) explaining to my son that we needed to be at school early that morning because I had an important meeting to get to, he agreed, and I thought everything was going to be fine.
We get to school and pull up in the carpark and I say “OK, let’s go” No, mummy, it isn’t 8.30 yet (the clock said 8.10am and I needed to be at my appointment by 8.30am.
After taking a deep breath, I reminded him that we had spoken about this scenario and we needed to get to school early this morning.
Well, that was enough to send an ADHD child into meltdown. His world was just changed, I was asking him to go into school and deal with things he doesn’t normally deal with because school doesn’t start until 8.30am and he doesn’t normally get to school until 8.30am.
I instantly panicked, I had to be somewhere but there was no way my son was getting out of the car. My emotions went from trying to stay calm and talk him through his anxiety to yelling at him in a state of panic and frustration. I think in that 10 minutes I used every parenting tactic I had.
After I started crying myself, I realised that I wasn’t going to make my appointment as I wasn’t getting my son out of the car. By this stage he was on the floor of the car in the foetal position sobbing profusely.
I called my appointment and told them I would be late and there was nothing I could do about it.
I think tried to talk to him some more, nothing was working.
I knew I needed help, but I had never actually asked for help before, I was used to dealing with this myself, all the time!
I walked into the school office and I must have looked like I was struggling as the receptionist immediately asked me if I needed the counsellor to help me. Um, yep that would be great, I said very quietly.
The counsellor came out to the car, jumped in the back seat with my son and managed to get him out calmly.
She then told him to say goodbye to me so I could continue on my day.
Afterwards, I got back in my car and drove to my appointment.
However, on the way there I cried and cried and cried. This was a traumatic experience and I was struggling with how I handled it.
I felt like a failure as I had to ask for help!
In hindsight, I realise that was ridiculous and that we all need help sometimes but in that moment I wasn’t thinking that.
As parents of children living with ADHD, this may be a story that you can relate to, sometimes more than once.
My 3 key learnings for this situation that will help you if you are ever in a similar situation:
- Remember, this is not your fault! Our children sometimes have a problem adapting to different situations and no matter how much you think you prepare them, it just may not work.
- It’s ok if you cry and feel out of control. This is a hard job sometimes and it is ok to feel overwhelmed. One thing that was told to me that day was that by reaching this level of helplessness and having to ask for help was just a way that I was growing to what I call another level. I didn’t understand that until a few days letter when I ended up feeling stronger from the whole ordeal. I needed to reach that point, so I could grow and learn from it.
- It is perfectly fine to ask for help. There is always sometime that will be willing to help you. A complete stranger even, you never know, there is always someone. Don’t be ashamed or afraid to ask for help, we all need it at some point or another.
Although that situation felt out of control for me at the time, I learned a lot from that situation and I was a stronger person for it.
What situations have you felt have made you a stronger person? Feel free to share on the Facebook group.
If you would like to learn how to handle these situations better then contact us for our available coaching sessions.
Paula is an ADHD coach, parent advocate and author who is passionate about helping parents with children living with ADHD and changing society’s opinion on ADHD. Paula is available for speaking events also.
If you want more information on how to work with your ADHD child feel free to contact Paula at firstname.lastname@example.org