Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say: With LOVE

Joan Teach

For families living with ADHD, impulsivity is often at work on an hourly or daily basis. As parents, we are concerned with our children’s success in life, their major and minor failures, and their seeming lack of success. As the adult in charge, we often get exasperated, prejudging events, desiring instant actions to fix situations. This may lead to a short fuse and triggered explosions. If one or both of the adults in charge also have an ADHD brain, the explosions accelerate.

Valentines Day, the day of love, is upon us. As a parent, it is a good time to take a walk, clear your mind, and reflect.

  • Are your responses to your child more positive than negative?
  • Is your household under stress?
  • Do you get stressed about grades, unfinished school projects, shabby hurried work, homework (done, not done, not turned in), your child’s apparent lack of caring, feeling unable to discipline (as nothing works)?

It is an occupational habit that, as parents, we immediately point out what is wrong and give wise advice as to how to fix it. Think. Are you exasperated at the very thing you had trouble with in school? Those with ADHD often are highly sensitive, and we can start to yell before our own filter system jumps into place.

What are your consequences for explosive behavior? ADHD or not, if your behavior is impolite, rude, explosive, or unkind, its up to you to rectify the situation. (Examples: apology letter, speak face to face.)

The overall message you want your child to get, in the end, is that while you will have your ups and downs, if you work things out together, you can solve anything — because you love him/her! Those three words – I LOVE YOU – are powerful beyond all measure. When honestly used, they are the greatest tool you have as a parent.

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