It’s healthy for parents to vent
Parenting a kid with ADHD and/or autism can feel exhausting, frustrating, and challenging at times. Often it can leave you needing to reach out to others for advice and to vent exasperation and concerns — friends, family, teachers, therapists, and other people that are important in the child’s life. As Penny says, “For some families it takes a village to raise a child but it takes an ‘army’ to raise a child with ADHD and autism.”
Can you relate to a situation like this? “This day has been an absolute nightmare. I literally asked him to brush his teeth 15 times before I lost it. He had plenty of warning. He just doesn’t listen. It’s like he’s purposely ignoring me. I can’t take this anymore. My own child says he hates me. I’ve tried everything and nothing works with this kid!”
It’s unhealthy for parents to vent in front of their child
While reaching out for support and sharing frustrations can be extremely beneficial (and absolutely necessary!), it can be detrimental if done within earshot of your child in a way that feels and sounds like defamation. Hearing these things said to people that he cares about can leave him feeling inadequate, shameful, humiliated, and emotionally beat down. It can make the situation much worse.
With all children, but especially children with ADHD and autism, self–esteem and confidence can be in short supply.
As parents we need to build our children up with supportive comments, clear boundaries, and lots of love and respect.
To be totally clear, it is healthy to reach out for support to get through the frustrating times, but remember to ensure that it is done with discretion and consideration to your child.
Hearing your frustrations, anger, or possible hopelessness about his behavior and challenges can also manifest itself as a painful rupture in the parent-child relationship. It can put an emotional wedge in your connection with him. Think about it: if you overheard someone — perhaps a spouse, family member, or even a supervisor — say the equivalent about you, how would you react? What would you think? How would you feel? Would you want to be around that person?
Our parent-child relationships are such a biggie! When our children feel like we care, they will want to please us — they want to do better, even when things get tough. They will feel more motivated to try harder amidst struggles that they face. Nurture and cultivate your relationship with your child(ren) through mutual respect, love, and understanding, especially when things get stressful.
The fact of the matter is that children with ADHD and autism struggle with focus, concentration, follow through on tasks, hyperactivity, and more. Helping children with strategies is not only more helpful towards alleviating your frustrations and challenges, but it will preserve his motivation to try, and ultimately nurtures his belief in himself.