Parenting Children with ADHD as a Highly Sensitive Mom

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Girl with a plaid dress walking on rocks towards the ocean.Parenting is one of the hardest jobs a person will ever have. While there are fun, silly, and beautiful moments, our children can challenge us is ways that we never thought possible. Highly Sensitive (HS) moms can easily feel overstimulated. This can be activated by your awesome, creative children with ADHD. The energy it takes parenting children with ADHD can be exhausting, especially for a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). We can both love our children and feel frustrated by the symptoms that they struggle with.

HS moms can deeply empathize with their children. Whether your child struggles with controlling their body, staying organized, focus, emotional dysregulation, or making and keeping friends, we see their experience and empathize with their challenges. HS moms see their children struggle and want to support them. They may research how to parent children with ADHD, buy workbooks, look up strategies to help their children with executive functioning, research how to navigate the 504 or IEP process, look for a therapist who specializes in ADHD, have ongoing meetings with teachers and pediatrician, and so on. HS moms will research everything they need to do, but may still find it difficult to not feel overwhelmed by it all.

So what’s an HS mom to do?!

Recognize your gifts as an HS mom.

Your empathic listening and comfort can help your child feel understood in a way that they may not feel from others. You will also be able to help them understand their emotions so they can have the emotional literacy they need to explain how they are feeling. Since the chances are that you have already done a lot of research on ADHD, you can help your child understand what it is so that they can be empowered to explain it to others.

Learn how to ground in the moment.

HSP’s are emotional sponges. When your children are overwhelmed, you can easily become overwhelmed. Notice what is happening in your body. Are you starting to feel warm? Is there a buzzing in your belly? Are you feeling anxious or agitated? These are signs that you may need to stop and breathe, imagine a peaceful place, have a few sips of water, put on some lotion, or wash your hands – all ways to ground in the moment. These are just a few ways to regulate your nervous system. There are many more!

Give your child breaks (especially during homework time) so you can get a break.

Homework can be an especially frustrating time of day. Having brain breaks for both of you could help to decrease stress.

Celebrate the successes no matter how small they may seem!

They got dressed without getting distracted. Maybe, they stayed in their chair at school. They finished an assignment on time. They listened and followed directions the first time. These are all grounds for celebration!

Don’t forget their strengths!

Kids with ADHD have so many strengths. In the book, Raising Girls With ADHD, there is a chart of strengths to help parents identify and remember all the strengths their child has within them. The workbook, Thriving with ADHD Workbook for Kids: 60 Fun Activities to Help Children Self-Regulate, Focus, and Succeed has an activity where your child can check off all the strengths listed.

Get support.

This could be joining a support group for parents, talking with friends whose children have ADHD, and getting therapy to help navigate the emotions that come up.

Therapy can also help address any shame or guilt that might come up in having any negative feelings about your child. We’re all human! It can happen. Many HS moms tend to be perfectionist, but there is no perfect here. There is good enough and it’s important to accept that.

If you are reading this, it’s obvious that you care and want to be the best parent you can be. Keep breathing through it. Take time to decompress. Learn what recharges you and what brings you joy and make sure you take time to do that. There will be good days and challenging days parenting children with ADHD. Know that your trait as an HS mom is one that will help your child navigate the ups and down that come with having ADHD.

If you are an HS Mom looking for support, please contact me for a free 15 minute chat to see if we would be a good fit in working together.

Please note that this article is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice from a doctor or mental health professional. In this article, I recommend several resources. I am not an affiliate and do not receive any compensation for my recommendations. I just like them and hope they can support you in your journey.