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The Exhaustion Problem in Extreme Parenting

I am exhausted in a way that parents of neurotypical children may never understand. After 8 years of dark, impossibly difficult, and sometimes scary ADHD behavior, parental burnout is taking its toll. Here’s why I think it’s high time we acknowledged the tired truth about parents who are always ‘on’ while raising children with extra needs.

8 Comments: The Exhaustion Problem in Extreme Parenting

  1. As a father of a 6 year old with ADHD, me and my wife are utterly burn out. Somedays my wife just cries, and my reaction is to just utter mental exhaustion. My son is starting to do well in school, he is a very good boy, obedient and has very good social skills, but taking care of him is so demanding. Most people don’t understand and can’t comprehend the challenge of parenting a kid with moderate ADHD. I tell people that he is the equivalent of having 2 or 3 children, because we end up spending 2 to 3 times more on everything. For him to have a “average” performance on most things, it demands immense efforts on us. I am just so tired, Thank you for writing this article.

  2. Thanks for this article. My daughter is 33, now lives on her own, but suffers most of the time. I feel as if I have to show her that I’m really strong for her but the stress and worry has a huge toll on my health so it’s a vicious circle. Her depression and anxiety has also rubbed off on me – they say it’s contagious. A course of DBT helped me to realize after all these years, that I can’t help her in any way mentally or emotionally and I’m doing my best to get on with my life as an individual, and not as mother of. Not so easy but I’m doing the best I can.
    Completely identify with neverstoptrying ” I suffer from constant anxiety & fear for her future, feel I have failed at being a parent, which was what I most wanted to be, & I am completely & utterly exhausted.” I feel I need to hug you 🙂

  3. We did neurofeedback treatment for our sons anger and emotional battles. 40 treatments and it was successful. We are now trying LENS for his anxiety.

  4. Thanks for this article! My son will be 13 in June and I still have to monitor him at home like I did when he was younger. I am a single parent with ADHD and it’s more difficult to monitor him every day and try to get household chores done myself. My house is a mess and I feel guilty about everything, especially when I take the weekend to be lazy myself from the exhaustion of the week. I appreciate reading these articles and comments. Usually brings a tear to my eyes knowing that I’m not alone and someone does understand what I’m going through.

  5. Thank you for this little article — my daughter with severe ADHD is functional at school but boy is life hard with her at home for the rest of us who have to live with her. We couldn’t love her more but it really is like living in a constant war zone, tripping over mines over and over again. We’re in a cycle of utter destruction and then setting up again. To say this is exhausting — our language really fails us here. I really fear for the teenage years. We’re looking into boarding school for high school. I honestly think that may be better for her as well as for us.

  6. This is the first article I have read that comes anywhere close to describing what our life has been like over the last 25 years.

    My daughter was only diagnosed with ADHD last year, aged 24, after a lifetime of challenging behaviour & years of mental health problems. No one took my requests for help seriously when she was younger because academically she was such a clever & talented girl; masked her difficulties & held it together at school, then completely let rip at home, regularly, every day.

    I am a teacher & single mum. I have provided for my children for the most part without financial, practical or emotional help from anyone else, & managed to hold down the same job for 19 years. When she was 18, experiencing psychotic episodes, & talking about taking her own life, I explained to my own headteacher that I might just need to take a day off now & again in order to access support for her. I was told I was “lacking in resilience“ compared to my colleagues.

    I no longer live with my daughter – I have been lucky enough to move a short distance away whilst still providing for her, & I’m better able to help her when I’m not dreading going home every evening. She now has a partner who I know will contact me immediately if she is in crisis again (which she regularly is). I will never give up on her. But I suffer from constant anxiety & fear for her future, feel I have failed at being a parent, which was what I most wanted to be, & I am completely & utterly exhausted.

  7. Oh my, tmclerc — I feel so sad for you and your daughter reading this. But I suppose it stems from empathy, tied up with fear for my own future: my daughter is 13. I’m sorry. Why are holiday parties so hard? They are for us right now, as well. And my every breath feels like new trauma, too… but I envision a brighter future. Would you like to write more about your experience? I’m sorry it’s been so hard.

  8. Thank you for this article. My daughter is 20 now and I still am involved with everything with her. College and relationships and jobs and etc. It never ends, the constant battles, judgements, comments, events, dramas, and so forth. All the schools want is that “special” form so they can get more money from the state. No help is provided when they get this form. And it is always the parents fault for having this child who just needs a little understanding some times about what is going on. We don’t do any holidays or parties or events anymore. Just too much focusing on nothing…too much and why? And all counselors want you to do is get rid of everything in your life and pay the expensive fees and take drugs that don’t work or take too long to “see” an effect. PTSD? Yeah, I have it. Every breath I take is a PTSD moment.

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