Anxiety from Family Holiday Visit

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    • #137043


      I (mom) have significant anxiety about an upcoming visit from my in-laws. One family member in particular is extremely judgmental of my ADHD son’s behavior. Just the thought of seeing this family member’s disapproving looks is giving me significant anxiety and tempting me to take my son and go to a hotel or anywhere else.

      Does anyone have any suggestions about how to deal with family members like this? This family member attributes my son’s behavior to me and my husbands poor parenting, in particular that we do not hit our child.

      Thank you for your help and happy holidays!

    • #137094
      Penny Williams

      Not everyone is knowledgeable about ADHD. Some people are ignorant on the subject and choose to stay that way. You won’t change this person’s mind, so you have to learn to manage your own reactions to them. Their opinion truly doesn’t matter. They are not your child’s parent. They do not know the facts of ADHD. You can allow them to ruin your day, or you can put on your armor and decide that their opinion doesn’t matter to you and not let it penetrate.

      I know anxiety is tough, I have it myself. In the beginning the judgment of everyone around me — even strangers in the grocery store — crushed me. Then I realized that my son was what mattered, that my son was having a hard time, and I was able to control my concern about the opinions of others and my own anxiety and emotions at those times.

      Bottom line, you can’t control that person, but you can control how you respond and what emotions you attach to it.

      Hang in there!

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #137125


      Penny gave great advice. I’d also like to add to consider reminding the person one time that your son is working through issues. If the person continues to provide disapproving looks or is not being supportive, then THEY can stay at the hotel if they’re coming to your house. They are not forced to stay at your home if anything bothers them that much that they can’t at least try to be supportive and put on a smile instead of disapproving looks!

      When things get really bad and I have to say something, I might say in private, “I can tell by the look on your face that you seem stressed out/angry, etc. I am also struggling with some anxiety about this.” Then the two of you can come up with a hotel close by that the person can stay at if that would help! Sometimes I like to call out people on their dirty looks, and it works like a charm 😉

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