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Parenting kids with ADHD is …. A LOT!

Updated: May 12, 2022

As a mom of boys with ADHD…. make that identical twin boys with ADHD, parenting is the hardest and most exhausting part of my day. Do I love my boys with all my heart? Absolutely! They are kind, funny, clever and inspirational in their ideas and energy. I am so proud to be their mom.

Am I challenged by them…? You bet! Pretty much every moment of parenting requires me to be on my toes, brain clear, running shoes on and caffeine at the ready should I dare feel tired or want a rest.

I know all parents can relate to the fact that parenting kids is hard work and very tiring. So, what makes parenting kids with ADHD different? The word that often shouts in my brain, and I that feel in my body, is that my kids are A LOT…. A LOT more intense, A LOT louder, A LOT more hyperactive, A LOT more impulsive, A LOT more resistant to requests and in need of A LOT more supervision than typical kids their age. My boys have been intense since they were born and being twins is a component of this A LOTness…but add in ADHD and it’s really, truly A LOT.

My life is full throttle parenting all the time, but why is that? My kids are 9 years old now…. They must have grown out of having meltdowns. You can surely sleep in on weekends and let them get their own breakfast. They have to play team sports, look at how athletic they are. They have lots of friends, they must be invited for play dates and birthday parties. Certainly, they can play together upstairs while you make dinner downstairs. Well…. The answer to these assumptions is, "I wish but no, nope, no way, no how and not yet."

Don’t get me wrong, I desperately want to my children to be independent and gain important life skills needed to navigate in the world. We work on these skills at home, we do. But as a parent I've had to shift my expectations to meet my kids where they are at rather than expect them to do and give more than they are capable of. They will get there, but not quite yet and for good reason. The brains of kids with ADHD are wired differently and mature more slowly than typical kids. It is estimated that the brains of kids with ADHD are anywhere from 2-5 years behind in maturity from typical peers in executive functioning, and social/emotional regulation. Reminding myself that what I’m seeing from my kids looks like behaviour similar to a 5 or 6-year-old shifts my brain to step back, recalibrate and gain a new perspective on the situation. Only then can I respond in a way that meets their needs and doesn’t place unrealistic demands on them. I can meet them where they are at and truly support them. Together, we move forward with learning, growth, love and understanding.

The growing knowledge I have about ADHD has a direct connection to how I respond to my children and their challenges. Knowing how my kids’ ADHD brains work allows me to distance myself from inappropriate or hurtful words, to understand that their nervous systems are sensitive to loud noises and lots of people, that boredom is painful and that I may have to give several calm reminders to help them complete tasks. These are just a few examples of how ADHD shows up in my kids. Each person with ADHD is different and your children will have their own strengths, struggles and challenges. The knowing and understanding of ADHD benefits all of us living with or caring for ADHDers. It allows those frustrations and constant questions about why your child is doing or not doing something make sense. It allows you to love and support them as needed on their ADHD journey. As a parent, it readies you to meet their unique challenges.

I want thank my beautiful children for inspiring me to learn about ADHD and train as a Certified ADHD Coach so that I may now work to support other children, teens, adults and parents on their ADHD travels.


Tanya Strubin, MSW, RSW, CALC

ADHD Coaching and Consulting Victoria

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