My son, Alex, was 8 years old when a neurologist diagnosed his ADHD. That was 21 years ago. At the risk of over-simplifying one of the most complex parent/child issues I know of, and seen through the lens of hindsight, here are three lessons I've learned about parenting a child with ADHD.
- ADHD can be managed but not "fixed." Since there is no set of instructions, we parents have to get comfortable with the idea that we may not always know what to do next. Sometimes it's best to "let it be" for a while — to do nothing — within reason, of course.
- Be partners with your child, not adversaries. When Alex felt that I truly believed in the two of us — that we would find our way through the storms — the tension began to melt away.
- Our children are not us. Anaïs Nin wrote: "We don't see things the way they are, but as we are." Acknowledging that our children have the right to be themselves frees us to help them fulfill their own, often unconventional, dreams.