Now what? Communicate effectively of course!
We heard from a few people that letting go of some control was refreshing and actually decreased anxiety. A few mentioned that it was a major task, requiring major effort to hold back and not direct everything to make things easier. Giving up aspects of parenting control can be super challenging simply because we love our children so much and just want what’s best for them. We want to pave a path without seeing them struggle. After all, as adults, we can see action verse consequence and find reason and logic when oftentimes children cannot. Why wouldn’t we naturally want to make it easy for them? Going against our instinct, letting them stand on their own some of the time is a challenge, but worth it to see growth and reduce our own stress. The good news is that giving up some control lets you harness other areas of your parenting that may be going sideways.
What if you spent your energy focusing on how you and your child communicate. Let’s face it, this is an area we can all use help in. We may be asking simple questions and our children think we are nagging. We have a boundary and our children try to negotiate beyond it. And of course the yelling—theirs and ours. We yell to get things done, we yell to react, we yell to hurry them up. And of course—They. Yell. All. The. Time. Gaining control of your parenting communication is one thing that is actually easier than you think!
One of our favorite phrases is “communicate with the ADHD Brain in mind.”
We love this phrase because if you break communication down it is as simple as getting your message across so it is heard and understood. When you add in the ADHD brain, there is a level of complexity but it is not impossible. All you have to do is think about the ADHD brain and how many things it is likely focusing on while you are trying to communicate. Think about this: if you find yourself yelling because you feel like your child is ignoring you—maybe it is that he is simply thinking about 12 different things at once and isn’t registering your voice. Your yelling likely brings his focus back to you, but instead of hearing your message, his brain is stimulated and ready for battle. The fix? Make sure you are in close proximity and have eye contact. Then quietly state your message. You can also ask a clarifying question to be sure they understood what you are saying. “Does that make sense?” “Do you have any questions about what I just said?” “Do you need me to repeat that?” “Capiche?”
Remember your goal is to get a message across so the ADHD brain understands it. If you become mindful of your approach, you will see your interactions with your child become more pleasant and the added bonus is a boost in self esteem. All of that yelling won’t magically go away because let’s face it—they are kids, but there will be a heck of a lot less of it! As always, let us know how it goes! We could talk (write) for days about this, but it’s a community that enriches the conversation. We love to hear both successes and challenges so drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or join the conversation on Facebook.