Parenting is a tough job and must constantly be under self evaluation. When something isn’t working you have to change how you react, the environment, or learn and teach skills to better the situation. These last few months we have stumbled our way through a diagnosis of ADHD, OCD, and anxiety in our middle daughter. We are also looking at a possible diagnosis of SPD. With these realizations came many different ways of dealing with the situation. Our parenting skills had been put to the test and we didn’t always pass.
Now that we have more information about children with ADHD and other conditions, we are able to take steps forward in helping our child. This coming year will be a great time to take a look at what didn’t work in the past and what our parenting New Year’s resolutions will be for the coming year.
The first thing on my list of parenting New Year’s resolutions is to lower my voice. With all the frustrations that we have been through and the bumpy road we have traveled on, we have lost our way. My husband and I have resorted to yelling at the children and bickering with each other. We have both become frustrated with not knowing how to handle the outbursts and the special attention that our daughter needs. In that frustration we have forgotten that yelling only makes things worse. So this coming year I will focus on taking a deep breath, lowering my voice, and working with my daughter when she has an emotional outburst or difficulty concentrating.
The second parenting resolution on my list for this coming New Year is to learn more about how I need to handle ADHD in my child and not just ADHD in children. Before the diagnosis and becoming aware of my daughter’s ADHD, I thought there was something I was doing wrong. I thought I had poor parenting skills and her behavior was my fault. I researched parenting books trying to find better ways to parent my children. Now that we know my daughter has ADHD, OCD, and anxiety, I have researched the diseases themselves and what affects they have on children in general. This coming year I will focus on researching less about this disease and other children afflicted with it and more about how my daughter is directly affected and what I can do to help her as well as myself.
My third parenting New Year’s resolution is to spend more time with my children individually. My middle daughter gets a lot of one on one time when we are helping her calm down or are doing homework with her. Little time is spent in a one on one situation with any of the children. We are great at doing family time with board games, movie night, and family dinner every night, but rarely do we take the time for each child to have alone time with either my husband or me. We have become so busy that we have lost sight of this very important parenting technique. Alone time with my daughter should not be centered on her ADHD.
Also on my list of parenting resolutions for the upcoming year is to research more gluten free food options. We recently started my daughter on a gluten free diet and almost instantly saw dramatic results regarding her attention span, hyperactivity, and explosive outbursts related to her ADHD. All of her favorite foods contain wheat. I was able to find gluten free bread, gluten free waffles, and even mixes for things like gluten free pizza crusts and gluten free cupcakes. I have been keeping up on her gluten free diet fairly well but there are times that I get stuck. I don’t like having her eat something different than the rest of the family and try to find a way to incorporate her food with ours. When we go to birthday parties I quietly bring out a gluten free cupcake from home and place it on a birthday party plate for her so she can eat cake with the other kids. At home we all eat gluten free pizza on pizza night. I want to go a step further this coming year and start baking my own gluten foods. I want to research the best gluten free flours and mixes and figure out just how much xanthan gum I really need to buy. I want to research restaurants that have gluten free menu items so that on the rare occasion that we go out to dinner, we won’t have to fuss around the food. It is important to me that my daughter does not feel any “different” because she doesn’t eat gluten.
My fifth parenting resolution concerning my daughter’s ADHD, OCD, and anxiety is to make sure she is getting the best possible care. I want her doctor to further look into the possibility of SPD (sensory processing disorder) in my daughter. Her father and I feel that we see signs that could be related and want to get professional help in the form of therapy. We also want to look into possible therapy for her ADHD and OCD. We have researched a lot and have heard stories of great results from our friends in similar situations and have decided that this is absolutely a route we want to pursue. The psychologist at her school is dragging his feet when it comes to helping us with resources through the school and I plan to get him in gear. It is imperative that the school is supporting us and working with us to help our daughter.
With these resolutions I hope that this coming year will be our first big victory of living with ADHD, OCD, and anxiety. If we can learn how to deal with the symptoms, help our daughter cope with them, and get the school on our side I feel that our daughter will have a much easier time in life.