Parenting with ADD/ADHD
I was recently presenting at an ADHD conference. A woman approached me afterwards to ask about how to talk to her grown son. They had both been diagnosed with ADHD somewhat recently, after a lot of struggle over the years. She became tearful as we talked about what her life was like as a parent with ADHD raising a child with ADHD, before anyone knew anything about the condition. She expressed deep regret for both of them, that their lives had been much more difficult than they needed to be. She had come to the conference to learn more for both of them.
Her earnestness and the genuineness of her suffering really struck me. She desperately wanted a better relationship with her son, but felt like she hadn't been as good a parent as she could have been if they had known more about ADHD back then. The sad part is that I'm sure she's right-she probably could have been a better parent if her own and her son's ADHD had been correctly identified and treated. Instead, she had to make it up as she went along.
Being a parent with ADHD can bring up a lot of feelings. It can remind you of your own struggles as a child and the job that your parents did-sometimes great, sometimes awful. It can give you a burning desire to do a better job for your own kids, as well as give you more compassion for your own parents as they tried to figure out what to do with you.
I think the most important thing here is to forgive past sins-your parents', your own, and your kids'. We all strive to do our best, even if we don't always hit the mark. Take that disappointment (and maybe even anger) and focus it towards making your present and future better than your past was. You can't change the past, but you can change what you do about it. You might not have known about ADHD back then, but you do now, so apply that knowledge to make the best life for yourself possible.