There are probably millions articles online about parenting ADHD children, but there are very few about Parents With ADHD.
Listen to the audio version of this post on my podcast:
I’ve written about it. ADDitude Magazine has had some coverage of it. But there is not a lot of research available about how having ADHD as an adult impacts our ability to parent.
As you can imagine, I got REALLY excited when I noticed Dr. Marcy Caldwell’s session on the 2019 ADHD Conference website.
Her session is entitled, Permission Slips, Lunches, Bedtimes and Beyond: Strategies for Surviving Parenthood with ADHD.
You know me when I get excited! I fired off an email to Dr. Caldwell asking her to be on the podcast and spilling my guts about this website and my interest in parenting WITH ADHD.
After we got our schedules aligned we talked. And the results are this amazing podcast episode.
When we have kids our own issues become amplified.
Parents with ADHD need help with three main areas life management, emotional management, and self-care.
According to Dr. Caldwell, my story is not unique. Many ADHD adults find themselves seeking out help after they have children.
It’s hard enough to manage yourself and your career, once you add a child you have so many balls in the air even neurotypical adults struggle. For someone with ADHD, the increased demands are intense.
Without some understanding of ADHD, and some specific skills training, we might begin to feel like we are drowning. Our relationships might suffer, and we might have increased anxiety and/or depression symptoms.
Trying to calm the chaos actually brings up a lot of emotions, so therapy is very helpful for ADHDers to process some of the emotional baggage that seems to come along for the ride.
Because of a lifetime of rejections and perceived failure, many of us already need a little support. You cannot just work on the day-to-day tasks, and build routines without addressing your mental health at the same time.
Dr. Caldwell has designed her practice so that patients can explore their personal history and emotional health, while developing needed skills at the same time.
Everyone wants to show up as the best parent they can, and we are better able to do this when we are managing our own physical and mental health.
If you feel a sense of control over your own symptoms, you are more likely to connect with your children and not be distracted by your racing thoughts or to-do list.
Generally speaking, ADHD adults are not great at self-care.
Between our negative thought patterns, and our inability to shift our attention between tasks we don’t always make good decisions about diet, exercise, and rest.
I wrote an article about Dr. Russell Barkley’s look into the long-term health implications of untreated, unacknowledged ADHD – check that out here.
Dr. Caldwell will adress this this vital issue head-on in her conference session. And I’m glad she is doing it because there is no way to be the best version of yourself if your physical health and mental health are not good.
This is the reason I go by, “Healthy ADHD.” It’s all interconnected, body, mind, and spirit.
Does ADHD impact your ability to be the parent you want to be? Let me know!
Find Dr. Caldwell: