4 Things Parents of Kids with ADHD Do Like a Boss

Hi parents,

I’m writing this while sitting at my son’s basketball practice, dodging the occasional stray ball that lands in the bleachers just inches from my head. Before climbing to the top row and feeling the burn in my legs, I passed a fellow Mom on the way in who told me ‘you look tired.’ No argument there. I AM tired, though I could probably have gone without the reminder that the bags under my eyes are, in fact, visible.

We’re all tired.

Some would even say exhausted. And for good reason. Parents of kids with ADHD don’t just pack lunches, do loads of laundry, and sit in the carpool lane, wondering if we actually plugged in the crock pot that morning only to be interrupted when Suzy-in-a-Hurry honks for you to pull forward.

Slow your roll, Suzy.

All of that is a job in itself, but we do much more. Parents of children affected by ADHD can easily add a variety of other roles to their parental business card…

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We also become self-appointed mini-doctors, minus the important and required certification, digesting various medical terms, processing all of the possible medications, journaling side effects or progress and googling remedies to help our children fall asleep when nothing else we’ve tried has worked. Then for the love of all things necessary, we pray they stay asleep long enough to give us the stamina to face a new day. We’ve also become so knowledgeable of ADHD symptoms that we can spot a child who may have the same struggles in a crowd and feel an instant, yet invisible, connection to that child’s parents. Sort of a like a secret club where you’re an instant member but you didn’t want to join.

Parents of children with ADHD also learn the ropes in the field of education without earning our degree, tossing around words like IEP’s and 504 plans, and offering up suggestions to schools on the environment our kids will best thrive in, all the while knowing that taking away recess for bad behavior is the worst possible outcome. Sometimes it’s taken away anyway. We know when homework is important and when it’s worth it to close the books and step outside for some fresh air because one more math problem might be the difference between a good night and one that ends in tempers flaring and pillows thrown.

And if parents of children with ADHD were paid to worry, we would be swimming in Beyonce-money. That’s code for ridiculously rich, folks, because we worry about our kids more than the average parent. We worry that they will never make a connection with a true lifelong friend who accepts them for their differences, that they won’t notice other kids posting about sleepovers and birthday parties on social media (they do), and we worry whether our parenting is helping or hindering our children. And if we are doing enough. And we worry if that time (or times!) we completely lost it means we are failing or human. We worry when the phone doesn’t ring because no one is inviting our kids over, and we worry when it does, because it’s likely the school calling with yet another complaint.We worry whether our kids feel like a part of something bigger, or like an outcast, and we hide the pain in our eyes when they tell us they wish they were ‘normal.’

We are doctors, educators, worriers, and most importantly, advocates. We may not understand the job we were given and some days it seems all too taxing, yet we do the job and we do it well. Others wouldn’t come close if they tried because they don’t tuck your kids in to bed each night. You do. We can’t take away ADHD, but we can love our kids unconditionally. So we help them find their way and we look for the good. We praise when possible and serve as their guide on an often lonely and confusing journey. Kids with ADHD need someone in their corner, and that’s us. You don’t have to be perfect at the job, but we owe them the effort to try. To get them to their destination in life, though the trip may not come with a map or easy directions.

Parents, keep on keeping on. I’m telling you, you will get there one day. At our worst, I didn’t think we would make it. But, nearly 10 years later, my kids are thriving and I know it’s possible. It may not be tomorrow, or next month, but it will happen.

Yes, we’re tired. But, for good reason.




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2-Part Series: A Blueprint for Raising Kids with ADHD

Part Two

A child with ADHD receives two negative interactions per minute. 

Mind-boggling, right? As parents, we get so focused on wanting our kids to behave and correcting their daily wrong-doings that we don’t always think about the effect it has on our children. The negativity surrounding ADHD can be overwhelming. You try to do your best to be a good parent. But, parenting ADHD almost requires more than good, we have to be great. (No pressure, right?) Hey, I get it, Mom and Dad. You juggle a lot.

Like, a lot…a lot.

Then you collapse at the end of the day from the heavy emotions. Why does ADHD parenting require so much more? Because it isn’t just a focus thing, that’s only one piece of the puzzle. Our job as parents is more than just scheduling doctor’s appointments and meeting with teachers. You have fires to put out as you try to make sense of it all. Are you ready for the challenge? It’s not easy. This blueprint will give you an idea of what ADHD parenting involves. Some of you will be nodding your head in agreement because you live this on the daily, others just strapping on their seat belts for this journey will likely be thinking…WHAT?!? Hang in there, I promise, it gets easier.

In no specific order, Moms and Dads of kids with ADHD juggle:

Distraction  Kids with ADHD are like a television. They are easily distracted, often changing channels.

Sensory overload Meltdowns are often the result of things being too loud, too bright, too hot, etc.

Emotional immaturity Kids with ADHD are often 2-3 years emotionally behind their peers.

Homework struggles Sitting for long periods of time can be difficult during homework due to distraction.

Sleep Issues Settling an ADHD brain isn’t easy, often keeping the child awake for hours at bedtime.

Friendships Establishing & maintaining friendships is difficult for kids who stand out due to high energy.

Power struggles Kids tend to argue as a result of their brain seeking activity.

Anxiety Kids with ADHD can also suffer from anxiety and or OCD.

High energy Self-explanatory, but ADHD means lots of energy to burn off & not enough time in the day.

Medication (if you choose) Meds can be a successful form of treatment, though some bring side effects.

Appetite Medications often suppress a child’s appetite, causing concern for parents and weight loss for the child.

School 504/IEP’s Children can struggle to keep up in the classroom or have behavioral needs that may qualify for assistance in school.

Public Ignorance Everyone has an opinion. And some speak uninformed opinions for all to hear.

Family seesaw effect Siblings get neglected by default, or arguing with a spouse/partner over parenting decisions.

Meltdowns Emotions can unravel and often don’t match the situation. Little things for adults can be big things for kids with ADHD. (See sensory.)

Interruptions ADHD means kids are impulsive & often interrupt conversations, not recognizing social cues in the moment.

Lying Kids who lie are often fibbing to cover up impulsive decisions/guilt.

Impulsive Kids with ADHD live in a ‘NOW’ world, not thinking of consequences. They live in the moment, and act impulsively.

That’s a lot, yes?

So, someone please tell me why parents aren’t nominated for some sort of an award? I can see it now…

‘I would like to thank the Academy, and all the parents who offered me unwanted advice in the grocery store.’

No? Okay, fine. The point is, parenting a child with ADHD is no easy feat, but it IS doable. For married couples, single parents, grandparents who are raising kids all over again, it can be done. If you’re drowning in all of it, hear me loud and clear:

YOU can do this.

One of the biggest mistakes parents make with kids who have ADHD is they rely on traditional discipline. Tactics that don’t bring results are repeated day in and day out and then parents wonder why it doesn’t work. Worse? They repeat the process all over again. I know, because we did the very same thing in my family. And we did this for 9 looooooooooong years. Want an example?

My son would touch everything in the store. Even after repeated warnings to stop, he touched anyway. I was convinced he was being disrespectful and ignoring me. (He clearly heard me, right?) We would ask why he chose not to listen? (In reality, he didn’t CHOOSE to not listen.) He would respond, ‘I don’t know.’ We would tell him to sit in his room until he could provide an answer. And he never had one. He never had an answer because he had NO IDEA why he did what he did. And his parents had NO IDEA what we were doing.

Parents of the Year.

But, we changed all that. You can, too! I couldn’t take just ‘getting through the day’ anymore. I wanted a better quality of life for my family. I wanted to understand my son and how to help him function at his best. I loved him, but there were times I didn’t like him and that made me feel empty inside. Then our second son was diagnosed and we were all over the place. I knew that no change=no progress.

Parents, change your mindset. Learn what makes your child tick, the strategies needed to reduce the chaos, the triggers to avoid, how to diffuse emotional meltdowns, all of this, and create the life you deserve.

Instead of putting out fires on repeat, prevent them. Manage them with ease when things get heated. My oldest knows we are a different family today. During a recent emotional moment for him, I remained calm. So calm that my son paused and said, ‘I appreciate you not blowing up. When you stay calm, it keeps me from getting all worked up like I used to.’ I love these moments because they are tiny victories for us both. Your family deserves this. Your child deserves this. Stop spinning your wheels and learn how to help your child in the comfort of your own home.

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It’s the course I wish I had years ago when I desperately wanted answers and didn’t know where to turn. This course allows you to step inside your child’s mind, see why they do what they do and covers parenting strategies that work!

‘Deborah, I want to thank you for your parenting tips. Every single one has relevant advice that actually works! Because the tips are given as small changes, I can change that little part of how I parent. You are awesome!’
~Carrie, an ADHD Superparent

I invite you to join me in taking a step toward reducing the chaos in your home!





2-Part Series: A Blueprint for Parenting Kids with ADHD

Part One

Two years ago, I fired off an email to Bethenny Frankel on the television reality series ‘Real Housewives’ after she spit out an uneducated comment about tourette syndrome during one of the series episodes. (My son has ADHD, yet he also juggles the stress of anxiety and tourette syndrome.) Obviously, Bethenny’s words left me, well, pissed. As in, off came the gloves and Mama Bear went on the defense. It’s been a couple of years since I angrily hit SEND on that email without hesitation, (zero response, by the way) and I’ve learned a couple of things that all parents of kids with ADHD can apply.

1)  Invoke the 24-hour rule before sending angry emails out into cyberville. (My husband has even taught me to write the damn thing as a form of therapy, then save it as a draft. 9 times out of 10, the email ends up in the recycle bin.) Unfortunately, I learned this AFTER blasting a couple of teachers with emails upon learning that they handled a situation improperly (and later told my son ‘Hey, tell your mother to calm down.’) GAHHHH

2) People don’t understand _______ (insert condition here), and that’s okay. Teach them.

Why the change of heart in #2? I have learned over the years that offensive comments usually come from a lack of knowledge, not a mean spirit. Heck, I didn’t understand ADHD, or anxiety, or Tourette Syndrome at first, either. I remember thinking our doctor was apparently not qualified when he first diagnosed my son, despite my child touching every canned good in the grocery aisle, never requiring sleep, and meltdowns that we, at the time, chalked up to disrespect and lack of discipline. The doctor spent 45 minutes with him, glancing at paperwork through squinted eyes and came to this life-changing conclusion. How could he know this in such a short visit? And why was his wallpaper brown and orange, and clearly in need of an upgrade?

Well, Doc was right. (And I was right about the wallpaper.)

Since then, I’ve severed ties with friends who made insensitive remarks and quickly learned that no one benefits, certainly not my kids or yours, by slamming doors. If there is a lack of knowledge in the community about these disorders, lets put out what we know. (Hence, this website.)

For the record, some of my favorite websites that are also putting it out there:



My Little Villagers

A Dose of Healthy Distraction


Others may not ‘get’ ADHD, and that’s okay. They don’t tuck your child in to bed each night. (Or watch him/her get up 9 more times for a drink, snack, bug bite itch, change of clothes, another blanket, one more hug, a night-light or monster check under their bed). Let’s shatter the sterotypes, the stigma of mental health, and THEN if friends or family still make uninformed comments, you have my permission to stick a boot in their a**.

Okay, not really. But, don’t spend much time debating their comments. I’ve learned that my energy is better spent with my kids. You are your child’s biggest advocate. No one else can be their voice when they are too young to speak for themselves.

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Uninformed people usually fall into 3 categories, from my experience:

The public figure (Bethenny from Real Housewives)

The Co-worker (Who told me my son with anxiety needs to ‘chill, and man up.’)

Friend or Relative (Who said ADHD is ‘just about focusing a little more.’)

For your sanity alone, find ONE person (I’m happy to step up to the plate, if you’re out of takers!) who accepts that your child has ADHD and doesn’t judge the chaos you are sorting through each day. Someone who says, ‘I’m here if you need to talk.’

For me, I have always appreciated a letter my father wrote me that stated ‘Your boys are the highlights of my days.’ He researched ADHD, as did my mother, and told me to find some patience. Despite my kids running circles around my dad with a never-ending fuel tank, he never considered my children a burden and encouraged me to look for the good. All parents need one, more if you have them, unconditional supporter to carry the load when it gets heavy.

YOU are that person to your child. They need parents to guide them through the chaos as it will be a factor in how they view themselves as they develop their self-esteem.

How so? Here’s an example…

Discussing ADHD in front of your child as a negative: ‘There he goes again, never stops talking. All day, every day.’ Believe me, your children hear you.


‘Here we go, throw your fit like you always do.’


What is your DEAL? Did you take your MEDS?’

All of the above phrases can be a true confidence-killer, and taunt the child instead of modeling the behavior you want them to adopt themselves. We wouldn’t tell a child with diabetes ‘There you go with low blood-sugar again,’ or a child with asthma ‘Could you stop with those breathing problems, already?’ so why do we address ADHD as though our children are PURPOSEFULLY causing problems?

One mom emailed me a couple of months back to say her son decided to ‘Pull his crap again today.’

Yet, he didn’t.

He didn’t CHOOSE to misbehave. Often, a child feels out of control during a meltdown, or other factors may be weighing heavily on the situation: Lack of sleep, hunger, overstimulated, anxiety, sensory, etc. Changing our attitudes as parents will begin to change the dynamics in our home. This mother won’t see improvements in her child until she changes her mindset that he isn’t trying to make her life miserable.

It begins with us.

Kids with ADHD need to understand how they are wired, and not be chastised for a brain difference (or anxiety, or tourette syndrome, or any other condition) that is beyond their control. We are on the same team. The scoreboard isn’t us against them (though it may feel that way on many days). Any progress is a step in the right direction, no matter how slow.

The Cubs didn’t win the World Series overnight, correct? 😉

Root for your child. And then share with others when they are misinformed. It’s all part of the job when parenting a child with ADHD.

Be sure to check out Part 2 of this series HERE.

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