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Managing the Frustration of ADHD

July 21, 2017

Many parents are frustrated with their children who have ADHD.

The frustration is often most palpable in the evening when the medication has worn off. They try scolding, lecturing and punishing their kids when the kids don’t do as told and then when the kids push back with rude behavior out of their frustration there is concern for violence and aggression.

Scolding, lectures and punishment do nothing to address the underlying issue – ADHD.

Imagine if your child only has a gas pedal and no brake. The engine is always revving, ready to be unleashed. With no brake, they really can’t even stop long enough mentally to take in the lecture and demands. They can’t even contemplate what they are being told.

Medication gives them a brake pedal.

With a break pedal, they can stop long enough to concentrate on a task and make sense of expectations and information and actually use it – but only during the time the brake pedal is available.

To add, during the day, even though they may have a medicinally induced brake peddle, it still requires more psychic energy by them to concentrate. By the time they return home from school, with the medicine fading and the fatigue setting in, you have the perfect storm for a gas pedal out of control.

Some parents find it helpful to give the kids a snack and rest period after school knowing that fatigue intensifies the impact of ADHD. This doesn’t mean the child is sent to their room, but they can lie down in front of the TV to watch a show (not a video game which is stimulating) or read a book or enjoy a simple activity of their interest.

In the later evening, the children will simply require more attention and gentle guidance. Like the dog whose attention is diverted by the squirrel, so too the child’s attention is easily distracted. It is important for parents to remember this and it is true that  parenting a child with ADHD is absolutely exhausting.

The real challenge however is for the parent to remind themselves that their child didn’t ask for this either.

Keep that in mind and perhaps it will help you manage your frustration. With that you may go from anger to compassion. Compassion will better serve your child in the evening.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue. I am available in person and by Skype.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

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Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.

  1. Lizette Espinosa permalink

    Hi Gary,
    Yes it’s so frustrating to care for my ADHD child and ADHD husband! I have practiced Buddhism for a while and has helped me seen them in a different light however even though the compassion and understanding help, there is the other side of the coin , my other boy and myself burned out.

    • Sadly that can happen. It can be absolutely exhausting… It is so important for the parent to find ways to recharge and take care of themselves too.

  2. Thanks for sharing 🌸

  3. They’re a doctors and scientists institution who specialise in ADHD and the topics surrounding it. 😉

  4. Having ADHD is frustrating sometimes, but I try to see it as a positive

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