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Being a mum to a child with SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) & ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is hard.

Actually, being a mum is hard full stop. All kids have their challenges & parenting ain’t easy.

As I write this, my son is laying on a fluffy blanket & is surrounded by pillows (good for sensory sensitivity). I wish I could surround him in pillows every day. I wish I could remove his angst and pain. I wish it were that easy.

Instead, it’s a perpetual juggling act of trying to pre-empt meltdown triggers, reduce sensory overload (he experiences hypo sensitivity), overcome roadblocks to learning due to inability to sit and so on. Then there’s the specialists, school interventions etc. It’s all a bit much for him.

Frankly, it’s all a bit much for me today. This is hard. That’s just the truth.

 What is great though, is how truly amazing his is in so many ways. He is hilarious, loving, cheeky and clever. I feel beyond blessed to have him. It’s my role as his mother to do everything in my power to help him & be his advocate when he can’t do it himself. I can’t fix it for him, but I’ll do everything I can to empower him & give him confidence. 

His self-confidence really is my main priority.

Most of us want the same thing- A happy, healthy child.

The happiness of your child is something you can actively work on. Even if you are concerned that your child has been unhappy for a while and this can’t be changed, there are steps you can take.

1. Happy children generally have a good sense of self worth. 

When children have healthy self esteem, they are able to overcome challenges more readily. Knowing their own strength’s and weaknesses is advantageous for a child. They have increased resilience. When they feel positive about themselves, children are less likely to become overwhelmed, have more realistic expectations of themselves and others, and feel more secure. It’s okay for a child to realise he isn’t the best singer in the world but that it’s great to sing because it makes you happy.

2. Having optimistic influences in their lives is a great and easily implemented tool for helping your child.

I’m not talking nauseating, overly-praising optimism. Leading your child to think that everything is rainbows and that they are invincible is not ideal for them. However, using more positive language has a great impact on their self-worth.

It might even help you. If you are speaking to, or about yourself negatively;  ”Mum can never do this”, “We’ll have to wait to someone more clever can fix this”, what your child is hearing is that you don’t feel you are capable. What if you tried: “I have never fixed anything like this, I’ll give it a go though”.  Poor self esteem often leads to anxiety and a reduced willingness to try new things. If they don’t see you trying, your children will be less inclined to feel empowered enough to give new tasks a go.

3. Have positive people in your world.

The impact on your life and your child’s life will be significant.

4. Acknowledge your child’s achievements and acknowledge your own achievements.

5. Find balance within your own life.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with work, family life, study etc, look at where you can make changes. When you are feeling more balanced you are inevitably going to be happier. Children can see right through ‘fake happy’. Why would you want to be living ‘fake happy’ anyhow?

6. Using loving and humorous language helps children enormously.

“I can’t sing well at all, but the cat seems to love it and I feel pretty good”

7. Identify and address irrational thoughts or language.

They may say “I am hopeless at science, so i’m useless at school”. This belief that not being great at science makes them a bad student, can hinder their self-esteem in other areas. Help them look at the situation more objectively. For example “Science is just one subject. You are doing well at school. We can just work on science a little more”.

8. When diffusing a situation, give honest feedback.

“You keep flying off the handle for no reason” might be counter-productive to getting them to communicate and will lead them to think they cannot address things calmly. “I can see you are frustrated, when you calm down let’s talk about what is going on” might be more beneficial.

9. Provide a safe, loving home environment.

10. Give your child the opportunity to contribute, rather than always competing.

Competitive sport has many advantages for helping raise healthy children, but a balance is essential. Encouraging your children to support others, donate their toys, mentor a younger child or find other ways of contributing, is enormously beneficial for their self-esteem and instilling tolerance.

Encourage them to ‘have a go’. Help them to become aware that if they do not always achieve what they are trying to achieve that it’s okay. You will be helping them to build resilience by accepting successes and failures.

Ensure they have roles within the household.

This will need to be age appropriate, but even from a very young age, children can help around the house. Children feel secure when they have rules and roles.

Don’t forget to acknowledge the great things you are doing for your kids. You’re doing the best you can.

  • I know a child who is doing a subject she vows she hates. She has just got an “A” for it. We had to convince her that she would do well but she didn’t seem to be convinced. However another subject she often puts her assignments in late even though it is already completed.

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  • I think my kids have grown into fairly confident young people. Which is amazing considering self confidence is something I’ve never possessed

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  • yeah try to be so encouraging and not criticise them

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  • A great list for helping boost self confidence.

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  • It’s amazing the way we find strength in ourselves to change, grow, and become a more aware, open and accepting person when we’re doing it for our kids.

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  • even though my kids get nervous and shy, I believe they also have just the right amount of self confidence to get through life

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  • Fantastic tips, thanks so much!

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  • having positive people in your life is very important

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  • As someone who’s suffered with anxiety, and an eating disorder at one point, I always worry that I will inadvertently pass on my anxiety to my children, so thank you for the article

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  • All you have said is sooo true- thanks for sharing. I think being a happy mum while on the journey will extend to your child so your happiness will in turn give some joy to your child…..

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  • Some good tips for all us mums with little kids, your kid is very lucky. Thanks

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  • Thanks for sharing your article, was a interesting read,

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  • A dear friend of mine has a child with SPD.
    Shes a wonderful mother and has two children and is raising them alone.
    Some days are tough as she has health issues herself and says that sometimes she feels like shes failing because she yells.
    I think we all do the best we can.

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  • What a great read thank you so much for sharing a tiny bit of your road with us

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  • some very handy and interesting ideas

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