Friday, December 12, 2008

Advice for Frustrated Parents

I recently had a parent ask me the following, and I thought it would be helpful to post my response so that others could see:

Parent: You wouldn't have any parenting advice for a frustrated parent of a 10 year old boy with ADHD(combined type), Mood Disorder, and Disorder of written expression. If you could give any advice I would be forever grateful! He gets so frustrated!

Me: Sounds like everyone is frustrated...and reasonably so! Parenting is never easy, and comes with a lot of extra challenges when your child suffers from any, let alone multiple mental health issues.

To a parent who gets frustrated, I would recommend a few things. First, get support. There are several communitities online that offer advice from specialists and other parents. One of my favorites is called ADDitude. They have a whole section on parenting issues as well as a forum section where you can post questions ( Another great ADHD organization to follow, which sends out a terrific magazine, is CHADD ( I would also consider finding a local support group in your area.

Another thing I would recommend is some relaxation exercises. There are some you can teach yourself, but the best way is to go to a professional. They can help you to learn guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, and several other useful techniques that you can use not only in the heat of the moment, but also as you are trying to, say, unwind from a hectic day.

Also, don't forget the importance of exercise--a great stress reducer!

And finally, (and a professional can also help with this) don't forget to constantly remind yourself of 1. the wonderful things about your child and your life. Perhaps keep a journal by the side of your bed and every night take 5 minutes to write all the great things your child did that day and the things you are grateful for. Or, for you and the child, put up post-it notes around the house with positive statements about the child so that he can see them and boost his self-esteem and you can see them and feel good about him; 2. Don't sweat the small stuff. No matter how bad things are for you, there are countless people out there with even greater problems. As hard as it is sometimes, always try to remind yourself of this.

I hope this begins to help. Best of luck to you and congrats for having such a dynamic, energetic child!

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