New Support Group to Help Parents of Kids with ADD/ADHD
Parenting is a tough job, and children don't arrive with instruction manuals. As much as we love our children, there are times when we'd love to just run away. These are the times when we don't know the answer, how to deal with the situation or where to find the energy to keep being loving and patient. And all of these feelings can be more frequent and take more of a toll on us when we have children with attention deficit disorder/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) and/or symptoms that impede organization, emotional behavior and motivation.
We may find ourselves at our wits' end wondering things about our children that we wish we weren't: "How will he or she ever survive when I'm not around to keep after him or her?" "She's either going to be a lawyer or in jail!" "How will he ever get through high school?" "Will I ever get my life back?" And these thoughts can make us feel guilty. And so on, and so on, we make our way around the cycle of renewed determination to serve them, to have the right words to say and love them unconditionally – until we hit a bump in the road and revisit frustration, exhaustion and thoughts of running away again.
So, what can we do to stop this cycle or at least slow it down and soften the bumps on the parenting path? How can we bring a new perspective to our reactions and support ourselves to be more mindful when we hit those bumps? As local certified Life, Transition & Wellness Coaches and parents of three children each, we have lived and worked with ADD/ADHD children and adults and know about this cyclical approach to coping with both. We have learned a thing or two about self-care and self-preservation. In our work and experience with adults and children, conversations about how parents can support their children often lead to conversations about fear for the children and their future. And when, as coaches, we ask: "What about you?" our client often falls silent, perhaps realizing for the first time that they haven't thought about themselves in months: "I don't have any energy left for myself." When all the concerns and efforts are geared toward the child's wellbeing, we parents, forget about ourselves and how important it is to support our own wellbeing as a fundamental piece of what it means to support our families.
So we came up with the idea to create a support group for parents of children with ADD/ADHD – and/or symptoms because even without a full diagnosis, the description above may sound familiar to parents. We are calling their group: "Self"ish Parents" – in a good way! The name reflects our belief that learning to be selfish about self-care and renewal are essential to a smoother path of parenting when our children demand so much of us. We need to learn to hold the space for their success and for ours; for their wellness and for our wellness. We would like to help people create strong, effective relationships with their spouses and other family members, their children and themselves. We plan to meet with parents on the second Tuesday of each month starting this October and to develop a group that meets monthly through the school year. We will be inviting guest speakers as well as creating short programs and exercises for each meeting that help support parents while providing a safe space to converse with other parents and to learn from and support each other
There is a fee to join this support group. For more information visit the Self-ish Parents website.
Noa Ronen is a Triangle-based Professional Life and Transition Coach; Suzanne Ballantyne is a Triangle Certified Wellness Coach & Registered Yoga Teacher
More Support Groups
Search carolinaparent.com's Parent Support Directory for more resources, including support groups to help parents facing a variety of situations and issues.