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“Everything I Wish I Knew 10 Years Ago”

Following my son’s ADHD diagnosis a decade ago, I felt lost, alone, and quite certain I could ‘fix’ him if only I tried harder. I was wrong on all fronts. Since then, I have found ADHD guidance, support, and acceptance — not to mention four books worth of lessons learned. Later this month, I’m sharing all of that during the Parenting ADHD Summit — a free online symposium of 38 expert-led sessions — and I’m giving away one “Empowerment Pass” here as well!

Life is one big paradox. It’s absolutely true that you get back what you invest in it. But sometimes you get more — including some aspects you would neither pursue nor choose of your volition, like a diagnosis of attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD). My son was diagnosed with ADHD nearly 10 years ago and I’ve become adept at making lemonade over the ensuing years.

At first, I just wanted to fix it for him. I couldn’t bear to see my sweet boy struggle so much. It really hurt this Mama’s heart. I became obsessed with researching ADHD — its causes, manifestations, and treatments — desperately seeking that fix I knew just had to be out there somewhere. I wanted to end the daily struggle, stop guessing how to improve my son’s behavior, and feel good about my parenting. Did I mention I was desperate?

Though I didn’t feel it at the time, I really did have a lot of control to shape this life we had been given. After the first few years, I genuinely accepted ADHD. That allowed me to start facilitating a life that works with and around ADHD. It also made room for all the wonderful aspects of my son to shine through, and illuminate our family life.

The more I focus on accepting the negatives and letting them be, the more our family thrives. Now, don’t get me wrong, lemonade isn’t all sweet — there are sour notes, too. We still struggle, but much less often than we did when I was searching for answers that didn’t exist.

Acceptance also shone a light down a path I’d never considered for myself — making a career out of helping parents of kids with ADHD. Reflecting on the first several years following my son’s diagnosis, I realized how much I wish I had known. No one told me how to settle into this special brand of parenthood, and it would have been a game-changer if I’d known the process from the outset.

[Self-Test: Could Your Child Have ADHD?]

Now, I’m bringing virtually everything I wish I had known a decade ago in one free online event: the Parenting ADHD Summit. From June 18 to 24, I will host 4 to 6 daily presentations from the world’s foremost experts and thought leaders on ADHD, parenting, special needs, and self-care. Did I mention all 38 sessions are totally free?

By the end of the Summit, I hope parents will leave with strategies that actually work for kids with ADHD — and a better understanding of how their ADHD brains work. After all, empowered parents empower children.

Even better, I’m giving away a Parenting ADHD Summit Empowerment Pass to one lucky ADDitude reader. The Empowerment Pass is an upgraded ticket that gives you forever access to more than 28 hours of expert information, a downloadable bonus from every presenter, a Summit Workbook, and two follow-up group coaching calls with me. This will be a fantastic reference library for anyone raising a child with ADHD.

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Leave a comment below and share a question or concern about parenting your child with ADHD. What is your biggest struggle today?
  2. On June 15, 2018, I will randomly select one winner to receive the Empowerment Pass, absolutely free (it’s valued at $497).

Of course, you can register for free access to the Parenting ADHD Summit at any time at ParentingADHDSummit.com (that won’t change your ability to win the Empowerment Pass as an upgrade).

I hope to “see” you there!

[Related Read: The Single Most Helpful Strategy in Raising Your Child]

Updated on May 31, 2018

25 Related Links

  1. Hi, I would love to get the empowerment pass. Here in India access to ADHD resources is comparatively difficult than in countries like the US. Something like this pass would be a step in changing this imbalance – it will give me the insight of so many experts in the field – who I would never have access to other wise.

    One of the biggest challenges I face with my teen is how to motivate her to do even routine things.

  2. Hi Penny,
    I just read your review on Vayarin, where you mentioned it is a homeopathic supplement. Maybe I’m missing something but I’m not seeing anywhere on websites for Vayarin where it is referred to as homeopathic. Could you please clarify?
    Thanks!

    1. I don’t see where I called it homeopathic. My review on this website says,
      “My son takes Vayarin and I finally see some positive benefits after trying a dozen different omegas over the years. Vayarin is called a Medical Food Drug, I think. You need a prescription, but it’s not a pharmaceutical. I asked my local pharmacy to order and stock it and had no problem getting it for my son.”

      It’s not a pharmaceutical but it does require a prescription. It’s not homeopathic.

      I do see where ADDitude Editors classified it as Homeopathic on the reviews — that wasn’t my decision.

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

  3. Our biggest issue lately has been the frustration on his part, and then ours, when we battle over the tasks he doesn’t want to do. I’d love to win the empowerment pass so I can refer back to the lessons in the months to come…

  4. My biggest struggle right now is his melt downs when he isn’t getting what he wants. I really need help to guide him through that and also to help him better understand what is expected of him.

  5. I struggle communicating to others that his brain works differently than others. ADHD isn’t what most people think it is.

    I’m interested to see the video game segment!

  6. My son just completed his first year of high school. He started out strong but things changed second semester and he’s struggling just to pass. With high school, new problems have come up. He is depressed and anxious. My biggest struggle is helping him while also letting him take responsibility for himself. Also, how does puberty affect kids with ADHD?

    Shannon

  7. We are brand new in the ADHD world so I have so much to learn, but I am especially interested in learning how to handle the emotional meltdowns effectively and learn to be a better parent.

  8. Our biggest struggle right now is that we are constantly fighting against the learning curve for ADHD. The condition is SO multidimensional, and our son is also very bright that it is hard to find the right strategies at the right times and we are often overwhelmed.

  9. I don’t even know how to rank “what I struggle with most.” I’ve got an almost 17-yr-old who just graduated high school and will enter collegein the fall. Whenever he gets PARTICULARLY stressed, he lashes out at me. I’m the source of ALL of his angst, make him hate himself, his friends, life… He knows he has ADHD, but doesn’t want to treat it w/meds OR lifestyle changes… I also have ADHD, as does my younger son (adopted, but SO MUCH LIKE US, even pre-“nurture”), who will be 9 at end of summer. Clearly, nothing I did, attempting to help eldest, “worked.” Now I hope & pray he “figures things out for himself” before he succumbs to “self-medication”–or worse. And I hope/pray I “do better by” my younger son. Sigh.

  10. I have ADHD and i constantly struggle with being consistent with my two kids, who both also have ADHD. Some days I can do it, and some days I’m just too exhausted to follow through. I have trouble taking care of myself and also doing what I need to do for my kids. Help?

  11. Thanks so much for hosting the Pareting ADHD Summit, looking forward to several of the presentations.
    Our biggest struggle now is what we see as defiance when asked to do a task or given instructions.

    1. Unfortunately, there is a lack of quality information about ADHD to counter the stigma in society. The empowerment pass would not only help empower me and my 3 ADHD children but also help me to share valuable ADHD knowledge and hope with other parents I meet.

      For me the most challenging part of being a parent of ADHD kids is how to instill and keep alive my children’s view of their unique abilities and potential when they get such strong messages from the outside.

  12. The hardest part I struggle with continually replying to family and friends who makes various comments as to “he needs to learn how to…”, “…right now…”, and “why can’t he just…”, or “he’s playing you…”.
    I’m tired of repeating that it is a neurotypical issue and he will learn to regulate his emotions more, that positive parenting and nurturing works. That I am still able to be the parent in all of this.
    I am the parent that keeps in close touch with the school and teachers and have shown them things because they do not teach the general ed teachers about this. I am the parent that had to report the school for violating the law in regards to secluding my child.
    I am in a constant state of challenge for the success of my child in school, daycare, socially, and emotionally. While taking care of my other children and being there for them. This has taken a toll on my self-care, a single parent with ADHD as well who also has to keep a job, while on FMLA in order to meet the needs of my child, and still putting in an average of 90 hrs of work every other week.
    I honestly would love the Summer Empowerment Pass, but I also know there are others out there that need it more than I do. I just try to stay on top of everything and read as much as I can to be the best parent I can to all of my children, which I know are like me…

  13. Our biggest struggle right now is teaching our son when his speech is disrespectful – especially when delivered to coaches, teachers, and other adults besides his dad and I. We have grown accustomed to responding gently when we realize that his speech is not intentionally disrespectful, but rather a reactionary comment born of frustration. But it’s a hard lesson to teach when he’s in a group learning environment.

  14. I would love to win the Empowerment Pass. Every day is a struggle with my son and I wish I had more tools in my toolbelt. I get down on myself constantly due to not feeling as though I handle things properly to better help him.

    I am hoping the Summit would help build my tool kit and I can help him in a positive manner.

    *Maybe I will get lucky since you are doing the drawing on his birthday 🙂

  15. I love all the different aspects ADDitude magazine showcases in the articles to help us all through our journeys. Although, I feel overwhelmed with the ALL the advice, even as informative and helpful that it is meant to be. I feel I have lost so much time trying to figure out how to parent my ADHD’er’s, by reading all the time, and trying to implement what I’ve learned. I just don’t feel like, I like how I’ve managed them, or myself through the last ten years of parenting. My oldest is going into tenth grade, and he doesn’t like, or accept his ADHD, therefore, I don’t feel he’s getting prepared for the real world, like I have read that he should be. There is so much out there to learn about how to parent for ADHD with not enough time to teach the children before they have grown.

  16. Three of my four children walk through a neuro-atypical world. All are effected in different ways. What I struggle most with is making decisions for them as individuals. My oldest child went off to college and just decided that “I ruined his potential by drugging him…” because his new enlightened college self heard a professor from Toronto berating parents for using medical interventions with ADHD. My second child is a junior in high school and struggles with teachers considering him smart and lazy. My younger daughter is going into fourth grade and she struggles most with details and finishing tasks in timely fashion. I really love this site and its resources and continue to learn and accept my decisions on their behalf and hope for the best because I know I have paid attention and tried to make informed decisions for them along the way. This really has been the best support so far in our journey.

  17. Hello,
    I have fought for years to get my son the help he needs, and this year (he is now 10), we finally have a piece of the answer with more information coming. He was diagnosed with ADHD, and the more I learn the more I realize that he is truly a mini-me not just in looks but behavior too. Due to this and all of his struggles, trying to figure out how to best help him and myself would be greatly appreciated! The toughest struggle recently has been his angry explosions. He is a completely different child when it happens, and once calm, he is now using lots of negative self-talk, even though I try to help him see that it was just an accident, that we are getting help (which we have had to wait 3 months just to get in to get more help than just meds through his pediatrician). Getting the pass would mean the difference between somewhat getting it and rocking at putting to use this new information that we need so desperately! Money is tight with all these doctor’s appointments and medications on a Dr appt insurance that isn’t helpful… Sigh! Thanks for offering this!

  18. My biggest struggle is getting the family on board with the different ways of parenting my son. I was resistant to the ADHD diagnosis myself, but once it was official I have spent hours everyday looking for ways to better understand, relate to and facilitate my son having a better relationship with himself and our family. I feel like I am up against a brick wall some days. My husband and his family seem to be the hardest ones to gain help and understanding from. What more can I do than what I have done? I send them articles, webinars, links, websites anything I can think of and find, I discuss all the things I send to them and yet I feel as if I am getting no where. How do I help them understand and get them on the same page? I feel alone in the day to day struggles.

    1. Hi @bhaslow!

      You’re the WINNER! You’ve won an Empowerment Pass for the Parenting ADHD Summit. I’m emailing you access now.

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

  19. I am tired of hearing, “I’m concerned for you” with no follow-up action. I am tired of hearing, “have you looked for other care solutions?” and “he just keeps doing the same thing, he won’t listen.” What I would like to say is, if he was properly supervised, we wouldn’t be having these conversations. But there is always an excuse. We are short staffed. Our staff doesn’t have the training. It’s not rocket science. Supervise him, pay attention to him and redirect him.

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