Thursday, January 27, 2011

Am I the Worst Parent Ever? by Keath Low

Am I the Worst Parent Ever?

by Keath Low
By , Guide

Question: Am I the Worst Parent Ever?
“Oh, I’m just so frustrated! I wish I could just come home and we could be a ‘normal’ family. I know 
that sounds bad but it’s true! Parenting a child with ADHD is hard frick’n work and some days I 
wonder if I’m the worst parent ever!” Forum Member
One of our ADD/ADHD Discussion Forum1 members wrote in after having a run of horrible days with 
her 8-year-old son. A single parent who works 50 hours a week, she has admitted on the forum that 
she feels exhausted and wants to know how to avoid falling into battles, arguments and power 
struggles with her son. “I just want to come home from work and have a good time with my son 
but by the time I get home (and his medication has worn off), it’s just a constant night of 
struggles,” she writes. The past two days have been the worst she explains, “Yesterday I cried 
about it for 3 hours. Today I put my fist through a wall while he was in the shower. I swear I am 
not a bad parent, even though that sounds terrible to do.” She has tried to spend quality “play” 
time with her son, but then he wants to play all night and avoid homework. “I know he’s only 8, 
but that boy can argue, justify and manipulate every directive I give him until he’s blue in the 
face. Some days, it’s easier to surrender to his strong will. The only thing that makes him happy 
is his Wii and TV and 100% attention all the time.”


I think you describe the challenge of parenting a child with ADHD perfectly. It can be “hard 
frick’n work!” It takes a tremendous amount of energy, patience, attention and creative 
parenting. As a single parent, you are doing this all on your own. To top it off, you are 
working 50 hours a week!
Try not to be so hard on yourself. You are exhausted. Everything is going to be harder 
when your energy is zapped. For any of us, when we are drained emotionally and physically 
it becomes impossible to be proactive and respond in the most effective way. We may 
engage in the battle rather than stepping back and avoiding the power struggles. And as you 
say, it becomes easier to surrender rather than maintain consistency, but obviously the 
surrendering ends up causing more problems in the long run. A child learns that no doesn’t 
really mean no and the way to get that no to change to a yes is to act out. In other words, 
it reinforces the negative behavior.

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