Are you a discouraged parent of a child with ADHD? I’m here to bring some light to your journey by highlighting seven blessings of parenting a child with ADHD.
Twelve years ago, God blessed my wife and me with a beautiful baby girl who has a beautiful mind.
Yes, she’s a ‘different’ kind of kid. But parenting a child with ADHD is not a curse or a burden. Parenting a child with ADHD is an opportunity to guide and learn from a mind that doesn’t think like the rest of the world, nor conforms to the zeitgeist of the current age.
Let’s start with a definition of ADHD. According to ADDitude Magazine and their ADHD Editorial Board, ADHD is defined as…
ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a complex brain disorder that impacts approximately 11% of children and almost 5% of adults in the U.S. ADHD is a developmental impairment of the brain’s executive functions. People with ADHD have trouble with impulse-control, focusing, and organization.
Before I continue, let me be clear…I’m a parent, but I’m not a parenting expert. Also, I’m not a psychologist, ADHD therapist or coach. I’m just a father of a pre-teen who hasn’t learned how to master her mental superpowers. I’m a dad who cares deeply about his kids’ present and future.
I’m not going to deny the difficulty of parenting a kid with ADHD. There will be challenging days that consist of difficulty waking up your kid in the morning, dealing with a child who can’t seem to stop saying mean or disrespectful things, and having to repeat directions two-to-three times. With that said, the challenges that parents of children with ADHD face can be a blessing in disguise.
I’ve learned that the hard things in life prepare us in ways that ease and comfort cannot. And this definitely applies to parenting a child with ADHD.
Here are just seven of the many blessings that can result from parenting a child with ADHD. Parenting these uniquely gifted children helps you…
Consider Others’ More Than Yourself
I basically grew up an only child with my single father. I had my dad to myself and all of my toys to myself. Sharing rarely had to be discussed in my home.
Fast forward to 2004 when I married my beautiful wife before her second year of medical school. I still pretty much had life to myself because she was busy studying.
And then comes this gorgeous baby girl with her distinct beauty mole in 2008. Life would never be the same again.
Because of our daughter’s developmental impairment, she needs more attention, guidance, and allowances than most children her age. This became more evident in 2nd grade. I learned that I had to stop being selfish and embrace a life of putting her (and others’) concerns over mine. This was a difficult but necessary shift for me. In the end, it is a blessing for our entire family.
Become a More Patient Person
Pray for patience at your own risk. All jokes aside…parenting a child with ADHD will help you learn how to wait. It will teach you how to gently remind them to wake up and get dressed. It will teach you how to grind through homework one step at a time. It will teach you how to remain calm when you have to redirect your child’s attention to stay on task. The patience that you can gain from parenting a child with ADHD will benefit in other key areas of your life.
Improve Organization, Systems, and Processes
ADHD brains perform better in a structured environment and with routines. I’m not the most organized person (my wife is, thankfully), so parenting our daughter has inspired my wife and me to improve various systems and processes in our home and business.
ADDitude Magazine published a helpful 10-point article about how to build a healthy routine for children with ADHD. Here are the first five points:
1. Give specific instructions.
2. Assign tasks that your child is capable of doing on her own.
3. Involve your child in discussions about rules and routines.
4. Write down routines as a sequence of two-to-five tasks, and post where easily visible (i.e. refrigerator, bedroom mirror, or bathroom mirror).
5. Be realistic about time and give them enough time to complete their tasks.
Read the article to get the other five helpful points.
Bonus Tip: Encourage your child to focus on one thing at a time. This will help them be more productive. Any process that requires multi-tasking (something that’s difficult for most people who don’t have ADHD) could lead to frustration, inefficiency, and disappointment.
Parenting a child with ADHD will undoubtedly inspire you to think about things differently and approach problems from a different angle. I can say from raising a gifted child that her way of going about this can be responded to in a couple of ways. You can either blow your top and constantly complain about their struggles with executive functioning. Or you can try to be empathetic and try to look at things from their perspective. I’m convinced that people with ADHD make the best problem solvers and entrepreneurs at the end of the day because they approach solutions from unique angles.
Yes, the basics of life need to get done. Your homework needs to get done. Your area should be cleared after a meal. You should brush your teeth and put on deodorant. And these things require a caring parent to remind the child to get them done. But after some years of guidance and the development of the ADHD brain with maturity, the gem glistens after the clouds part. The child and the parents have to go through it to get to it. And everyone is better for it in the end.
I often tell our daughter that she’s the most creative girl that I know. And that’s totally true. Her quick doodles outshine my focused artwork at a similar age. Check out the S-pen doodle that she did on my Galaxy Note 10+ below.
Today, our daughter challenges me creatively as a writer and music producer. And she inspires me to explore new forms of artistic expression. But it doesn’t stop there. She also inspires our two other children creatively.
Engage in Physical Activity
Studies show that children with ADHD perform better when they get regular exercise. According to CHADD, sports and athletic activities are known to help increase neurotransmitters in the brain. That increase can help reduce ADHD symptoms for a short period of time.
ADHD is prevalent among elite athletes as well. As a result of his research on the topic of ADHD among professional baseball players, Doug Hyun Han, MD, PhD, of Chung Ang University Hospital in South Korea was quoted saying:
“ADHD may be more common in elite athletes than in the general population, since children with ADHD may be drawn to sport[s] due to the positive reinforcing and attentional activating effects of physical activity…Common symptoms of ADHD may enhance athletic performance. Some athletes with ADHD naturally excel in baseball and basketball, which involve quick movements and reactive decision-making, due to these athletes’ inherent impulsivity. Many children with ADHD were reported to ‘hyperfocus’ on their own enjoyable activities without being distracted by regular life activities.”
Our daughter loves basketball. We support her playing sports for several reasons.
- Physical activity is good for her mind and body.
- Sports put her in social settings with kids who have common interests.
- Exercise helps her rest at night (some people with ADHD have trouble with going to sleep at night, which makes getting up in the morning difficult).
- It’s a bonding point for my daughter and me. We enjoy playing basketball with and against each other. So in a way…her ADHD diagnosis helps keep her family in shape!
Our daughter’s diagnosis helps us practice loving her sincerely during the difficult moments.
When she has zero inhibitions and has the tendency to say unkind things to her parents and siblings, we are responsible for disciplining and correcting her in a loving way. It’s a true test of love and patience in those potentially intense moments.
Parenting a child with ADHD is a marathon and not a sprint. It ain’t always easy, but this journey is worth it. We have hope for her future and our futures together.
I hope my words have helped you realize the blessings of parenting a child with ADHD. Stay the course. Things will get better for your child over time with faith, prayer, counseling/training, medication and supplements (if necessary), exercise, growth, and love above all.
Realizing, experiencing, and giving thanks for the blessings of raising a gifted-but-distracted child (especially while in their presence) will help the child grow up with more awareness, empathy, and confidence. Take a deep breath and be thankful for the child that God has given you.
“Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.” – Psalm 127:3 (NIV)