Hello!

I was coaching my younger daughter’s netball game. There were ten little 7-year-olds running around warming up, when a friend walked over to say hello. “You seemed a bit quiet yesterday,” she started, “Are you OK?”

Cue the waterworks. There’s something about someone asking, “Are you OK?” that gets me going. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I can’t seem to hold it in. But I had a netball game to coach and umpire, so I wiped my tears and managed to mutter, “Not really, but I will be. Thanks for asking.”

My daughter has ADHD. I used to be a nanny and I used to also babysit a lot of kids before that. I was that not-so-understanding person that turned up to a job, felt overwhelmed at such a wild child. I called their parents, told them I couldn’t handle it and I left. Granted I was 16 and out of my depth, but I thought the kids were just wild and I much preferred the easier ones.

If only I knew.

Before my daughter was diagnosed, I would best describe my parenting style as floundering. I showed up every day, and I collapsed into bed each night. The in between hours was me trying to cope, and not understanding what was going on. Why couldn’t she handle when I said no? Why were her reactions so huge and wildly disproportionate to the situation? Why was everyone else’s kid so much better behaved and even keeled? Why could my kid not read social prompts, when everyone else’s could? Or so it seemed?

I read parenting book after parenting book. I cried to my mum and my sisters. I hugged my daughter a lot, and loved on her hard. I was floundering, and I felt like I was failing.

I could handle the boundless energy, and the almost day-long tantrums, but the one thing I couldn’t handle; the constant worrying. Most of all, I just wanted others to adore her as much as I did. I wanted them to see that she was inquisitive, empathetic, open-hearted, and so loyal. Sometimes you have to get past all the noise and quirkiness to see the gold, and some people didn’t have the patience for it.

I wanted to know she would be OK. I wanted to know she would be happy. I wanted to know she is happy, despite the struggles.

Even now, two years after being diagnosed, life is easier. We have more calm. Less tantrums. But other things pop up. Teen ADHD is a whole different game, a social game that I don’t know if I have the nerves for (while also knowing this is not really about me at all, and it’s so much more challenging to be her, living it).

Another friend told me recently, “You need to stop worrying,” as if it was a switch I could flick off and on. I wish it was. I want my brain back to think about other things. Mundane things. I know all parents worry, and I’m not trying to compete for which parents worry most. In fact if there is a competition, I most certainly want to lose it. I don’t like the worry wart I am. It consumes me. It’s no fun for anyone.

That friend from netball, found me after the game, and practically jumped on me. “You know I’m here, whenever you need. You don’t need to carry this worry all alone. Any time, I’m here.” I felt lighter, almost instantly. I wasn’t alone.

So, ask your friends with kids who have ADHD are they OK. We’re probably not. But we will be. We have to be, otherwise who else is there to hold everything together?

  • Such a wonderful reminder, and great read. I hope all my friends with ADHD kids know they can reach out to me anytime. It’s okay and you will be okay.

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  • Fantastic reminder

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  • Such a great article loved to read!

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  • It’s true we are not ok! Some days we may be, for part of or even the whole day. But mostly we are not! It wasn’t until my little one was almost 5 that I met people with kids with adhd. I knew my little one had it from an incredibly young age. I was constantly told the behaviour was normal. A dr even put me in family counciling where I was told I was doing a bad job, and that I resented my kids. We finally got a diagnosis a month after turning 5. It helps to have friends with kids who have the same diagnosis because they genuinely understand. If I had known them years ago I might not have had a full breakdown before my child turned one! It’s still hard, even when medicated. It’s hard for the kids and hard for us. It’s so consuming.

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  • I have 2 children and possibly a 3rd with special needs, and it’s never easy! You have good days and you definitely have some bad days, but know that your never alone! We are a strong bunch x

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  • Support can make a huge difference.

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  • I’m loving all this awareness at the moment

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  • I know exactly what you are going through, my eldest child was diagnosed after starting school & my biggest fear was that he would never fit into society. He still takes medication for ADHD now in his adult years, but he has achieved all the things in life every parent could ever wish for.


    • I’m glad he’s doing so well !

    Reply

  • It is difficult coping with a child that has additional needs without adding Covid life to the mix. I hope you find the support you need & have someone you can unload with xx

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  • Oh my goodness, I know exactly what that’s like, as soon as someone asks “are you OK?” Out come the tears

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  • This resonates with me HARD.
    Our son was diagnosed VERY young (5yo), we first chose to not medicate, it was isolating, exhausting and some days …. I felt judged and ostracised by other parents.
    He’s now 12 and all the effort, money, counselling, medication, diet, CBT, even brain scans interstate have paid off…. we’re getting there.
    I wish I’d had the network at the time to feel supported but unfortunately I didn’t. I have reached out to other parents in similar situations though.

    Reply

  • It’s a good thing to reach out and have attention for anyone struggling / or not. In the end of the day we can’t see from the outside what’s going on in the inside.
    Not only for those caring for a child with adhd !

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  • Shows the importance of asking 3 words to anyone to make them feel like they are seen.

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  • This could apply to anyone with a disabled child. It’s harder than you know.

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  • I love this article. So true, also for anyone who seems a little off, always ask if they’re okay, you don’t know how much it could mean to someone to know someones noticing them and checking in on them.

    Reply

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