Chapter 9: Especially for parents

The pressure of living in today’s modern family can, like a pressure cooker, build until an explosion occurs. Previously we looked at some of the feelings parents raising difficult children can experience. Difficult children can incite chaos and ineffective discipline. Often the parents’ relationship is under constant strain and in many cases has already broken down. What energy parents have is channelled into trying to understand and cope with the difficult child’s behaviour. This leaves little left over for either their own nourishment or emotional input for the relationship.

Care for your adult relationships

Care for your relationship. Lots of small gestures are worth far more than extravagant (and unaffordable) activities

To prevent burnout, learn to take care of yourself. Take time out to refresh yourself. Regular exercise can be very effective in the reduction of stress. You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money to achieve this goal; a simple brisk walk on a regular basis will do just fine. Find time to sit quietly and put your feet up and relax. Consider joining a support group so you can meet others who really know how you are feeling. Be wary of substance abuse, such as alcohol, when you are feeling stressed. Substance abuse is a common but unhealthy means of ‘getting away from it all’ for parents who are struggling to cope with difficult behaviour in children.

Heather – Mother of Four

Being the mother of four children (three of whom were diagnosed with ADD or ADHD) was never a dull life?  Looking back now over 30 years it has been extremely rewarding.  I do not say it was not hard, challenging and at times almost too much to cope with, however overall it has been full and exciting.  It is sometimes difficult to motivate and to maintain the self esteem of these special children but with unconditional love at the centre it is possible.  In retrospect I may have changed some of my techniques but I would not change my children for the world.  They have all left home and achieved success in their varying careers (well suited to their special gifts) and now wholeheartedly thank their parents for their perseverance and guidance.

I do not feel that the ongoing relationship and bond with my children, who still love to discuss and debate the challenges that the world presents to them, would be nearly as strong if their childhood years had been ‘normal’ and boring.  I would like to encourage parents who are commencing or in the process of the journey – never give up, it’s worth it.