challenges of parenting a child with adhd

Parenting is no easy task. As the parent of a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), I have gone through my share of parenting challenges. Although there is always more to learn when parenting a child with ADHD,   I have learned many lessons along the way. This post discusses strategies and tips to help children with ADHD. I hope you find these suggestions useful in your parenting journey:

parenting tips for children with adhd


(1) Be open and honest with your child about their struggles so there is no shame associated with it.

Children need compassion, empathy, and support.  In order to ensure that, open lines of communication are crucial. My daughter, Brielle, is aware  of her challenges, which include focusing and  impulsivity. However, she understands that who she is as a person is what defines her. While struggles are important to address, it is just as important to emphasize your child’s strengths and skills.

(2) Limit screen time

I understand we all need a break. There are times that we put our kids on the iPad or TV so we don’t lose our minds. However, kids tend to be so enthralled with the stimulation from the screen that it often becomes a huge battle to take it away from them . Children with ADHD become hyper-focused on what fascinates them, and the transition from screen time to no screen time is incredibly hard for them (, 2021 ) . My daughter acts possessed after I take away the iPad. On the weekends, I allow her to pick between the iPad or TV for thirty minutes each time. I set a timer on her iPad that goes off in thirty minutes. I then give her ten-minute and five-minute reminders.

(3) Discuss strategies in advance that your child can use for emotional regulation  

I created a “calming corner” for my daughter that is comprised of a bean bag chair, a weighted blanker, squeeze ball and some books. Make a chart of different options/tools your child can use, and place it in various locations throughout the house that are easily accessible. Encourage your child to use the tools when needed.

(4) Stay calm

I know how hard that is, believe me! However, if we want our children with ADHD to learn strategies to emotionally regulate themselves, we have to model how we emotionally regulate ourselves. Teach your child to identify their emotions by labeling your emotions. Let your child know that you need to use one of your calming tools, such as taking a time out or doing some deep breathing.

(5) Advocate for your child

As I discussed in 6 strategies and tips for parenting a special needs child , it is important that you are on the same page as your child’s teacher and school.  Make sure that your child has a 504 plan or an IEP (individualized education program).Strategies need to be implemented in the school as well as the home to set your child up for success. It is also necessary to communicate with your child’s teacher on a regular basis.

(6) Educate yourself about ADHD

Join support groups. Read literature about ADHD. Speak to your child’s pediatrician, psychologist, and any other related professionals. Knowledge is power, and knowledge will allow you to make informed decisions about what is best for your child. Have an open mind, and be willing to explore different options. If medication is suggested, find out about all possible side effects and be in constant communication with the psychiatrist. There is no shame in your child needing medication, but make sure you are well-informed before choosing any option.

(7)Make sure your child has a comprehensive evaluation so you are in the best position to help your child.

ADHD can accompany other issues such as executive functioning delays, processing issues, anxiety , or autism. A complete evaluation will give you pertinent information to better support your child. 

(8) There is no one-size-fits-all solution

Be humble enough to seek help and gather information from others, but also trust your own intuition. Nobody knows your child better than you.

(9) Take time for yourself

We love our children so much that we often take our own well-being for granted. You are in a better position to support your child when you aren’t pouring from an empty cup. In order to properly care for your child, you need to love and  care  for yourself. Make sure to implement a self-care routine daily. 

(10) Mistakes are inevitable

Parenting is a challenge with any child, and children with ADHD require extra support. There will be times where you will say or do the wrong thing. Own up to your mistakes. Set a good example that flaws are part of life, but we can learn and grow from them.

challenges of parenting a child with adhd

the biggest takeaway of parenting a special needs child

As parents, we have a responsibility to support our children, advocate for them, and love them for who they are, not the labels they have. Teach your children to accept themselves and to love all parts of themselves.

Be your child’s biggest cheerleader and fan. Try to instill in them that although some things are challenging for them, they are capable and wonderful just as they are. Parenting a child with ADHD is challenging. As in all aspects of life, some days will be easier, and some days will be incredibly challenging. The journey of parenting is a bumpy road, but I feel blessed to be along for the ride with my daughter.

avoid raising an entitled child


We love our kids. That is a given. However, in our quest to shower our kids with love and the best things in life, we often find ourselves raising entitled children.  How does a child become entitled? They seem unappreciative and act demanding, ungrateful, and selfish. In a nutshell, we took a wrong turn somewhere along the way and found ourselves in Entitled City.


Do you ask yourself, “Why is my child so entitled”?  Here are 10 strategies on how to avoid raising entitled children and stop entitled behavior dead in its tracks:

(1) Gifts are a privilege

Kids need their basic needs met- food, clothing, and shelter. Many of us didn’t have many materialistic things growing up, so we want our children to have what we lacked. Remember that gifts don’t fulfill what our kids really need. Love and memories are what matter most. Memories are far more valuable than tangible objects.

Of course, that doesn’t mean your children shouldn’t get any books, toys, or games. However, be mindful that too much of anything is not a good thing. If your children never want for anything, they will never learn to truly appreciate what they have.

(2) Institute chores

age appropriate chores for children

In order to avoid raising an entitled child, teach your child that they have responsibilities in the household as well. This teaches them self-sufficiency and the value of contribution. Chores will obviously vary based on age and ability, but even young children can do chores. This allows them to feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. Increase responsibilities with age and ability, and remember that doing their chores for them is not doing them any favors.

I don’t believe that a child should get paid to do chores, as there are certain obligations that we do simply because they are necessary. I don’t get paid to wash the dishes, and my husband doesn’t get paid to mow our lawn. That said, it is a different story if you want to give your child money for doing extra chores that are not their responsibility. Teaching your child the value of earning money is an important lesson as well.

(3) Give back

We often don’t appreciate what we have until we see how blessed we are. Children don’t always realize that many others lack the things they get so readily. It often takes seeing others who have less than we do to not take things for granted.

Let your child give back and spend time helping others. Whether it is volunteering at a soup kitchen or taking care of animals at the shelter, they are making a difference and see the value of giving. If your child has a ton of toys, let them gather up the ones they no longer use and donate them. Learning that giving is better than receiving is a life lesson worth learning at any age. They will feel good about themselves for helping others. This will help them to appreciate what they have and put their own good fortune into perspective.

(4) Make sure to spend quality time with your children

spending quality time with your child

The amount of time isn’t as important as the quality of time. Teach your children that love isn’t something reflected by the amount of toys they possess. Rather, it is shown by the connections people share. Set aside time each day to focus entirely on your child, without any distractions. Allow your child to determine how you spend your time together. It gives them a sense of control and independence, while teaching them that love cannot be bought. This time together should never be taken away as a punishment.

(5) Do not encourage entitled behavior

If your child doesn’t use their manners, acts demanding, or starts whining, simply state, “I will not discuss this with you until you are respectful.” Then ignore or walk away if necessary. Engaging will only send the message that this behavior is tolerated. When setting expectations, make sure they are age/ability appropriate.

Remember that although it is easier in the moment to give in and buy that candy bar when your child is throwing a tantrum in the store, it is also rewarding inappropriate behavior. It sends the message that your kid is entitled to get what he/she wants at any cost. In order to stop raising entitled children, remember that the values we instill in them now lay the foundation for their adulthood.

(6) Don’t solve their problems

As parents, it is heartbreaking when we watch our kids struggle. We want to step in and do whatever we can to make it easier for them. However, hardships are a part of life. If we don’t teach our children how to handle difficult situations now, how will they be equipped to deal with them as adults? They will grow up expecting that it is other people’s jobs to do challenging things for them. More importantly, they will have no coping skills for life’s challenges.

Talk to your kids about the fact that life isn’t always easy. It is okay to not always be okay. Model for your child ways you give yourself love and support during difficult times. Be a source of support when they are struggling too. Remember that you can support your child without fixing their problems. Instead, brainstorm about what they can do during difficult circumstances so they have the tools to help themselves. The harsh truth is that we will not always be there to soothe our kids and take their pain away. They must learn to rely on themselves.

(7) Teach the importance of intrinsic rewards

Good acts and behaviors are rewards in of themselves. We cannot give our child something every time they behave or say the right thing. It is okay to acknowledge their good behavior, but stress that they should feel proud of themselves. The next time your child makes a good decision say, “You should be proud of the way you ______________. How did that make you feel?” Allow them to take pride in their decisions and feel a sense of responsibility for their actions.  

(8) Actions have consequences through choices

Allow your children to make their own choices (within reason and based on age/ability), and to deal with the consequences of those choices. For example, if your child shows no regards for his belongings, remind him that he will misplace his toy if he isn’t mindful of where he puts his things. If he then loses his toy, the natural consequence is that he cannot use the toy it until he finds it. Do not help him look for it or repurchase it for him. Your child will learn that he is responsible for the outcome of his decisions.

(9) Teach your child empathy

importance of empathy

First, model empathy by showing concern for other people’s feelings. Demonstrate what you can do to support a person, even if it is just picking up phone and listening.

Next, encourage your child to consider other people’s feelings as well. For example, if a classmate has a family member who is ill, ask your child how they think their classmate is feeling. Discuss ways to comfort others during those difficult times (e.g., telling your classmate you are sorry about their grandmother, making a get well soon card). When events come up, discuss the impact it has on others. Help your child to consider other people’s feelings instead of solely focusing on their own.

(10) Model good behavior

You cannot expect your kid to be well-mannered and appreciative if you walk around demanding and rude. Our children watch and listen more than we realize. Being a kind, giving person goes a long way towards instilling compassion and kindness in our children.


Our kids will grow up one day, and it is our job as parents to avoid raising entitled children. We must give them the tools they need to be well-adjusted adults . Setting them on the right path now will take them from entitled children to caring, empathetic, and grateful adults.

6 strategies and tips for parenting a special needs child

parenting my special needs child

I am the parent of a special needs child. My daughter has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). My job as her mother is the greatest responsibility I will ever have. Although my job is to help my daughter to learn and grow, she helps me learn and grow as well.

The truth is, the image I had of parenting is not reality. The smiling faces on Facebook and Instagram capture mere moments of real-life. It is easy to look at others and think that you are the only one who struggles. That is simply not the truth.

Just as it was essential for my well-being to accept the hard truth about my childhood, awareness and acceptance are of paramount importance when raising a child. The road to acceptance was not an easy road for me. When I enrolled my daughter in a Montessori Pre-K, the teachers and director voiced a lot of concerns about my daughter’s inability to do things that other kids were doing. I believed that the large class size and lack of warmness were the cause of everything. When they suggested she had Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) I scoffed. I was her mother, and my daughter was FINE.

adhd and SPD

adhd and spd

When we put her into a smaller school, she adjusted well. Still, transitions were very hard for her; she would raise her hand and give answers that had nothing to do with the questions, and she often rolled around on the floor at school when asked to pick an activity at the learning stations. Brielle knew her numbers and letters, could write paragraphs, and was reading, but she couldn’t focus in large groups and was always losing her belongings.

She was well-behaved at school, but at home she constantly threw tantrums and had no ability to self-regulate her emotions. Despite being 4, I couldn’t take her to any stores because she literally touched everything, and she would not sit still and follow directions. She would squeeze the cats, fall up and down stairs, and sought out constant movement.

Nothing I tried seemed to calm her down.

Despite my background as a Speech-Language-Pathologist, I had blinders on when it came to my own child. I wanted desperately to believe that I could somehow make it better on my own. I thought if I tried harder or did more, I could somehow make the problems go away. There came a point when I had to admit that an assessment was needed. Her health and happiness were more important than my denial.

My daughter was diagnosed by an Occupational Therapist with SPD. Two years later she was diagnosed with ADHD, executive functioning issues, poor working memory, and auditory processing issues. I went from being in denial that there was anything wrong, to demanding an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) be made for my child. I learned some valuable lessons along the way, and my hope is that I can make the road of parenting a special needs child less bumpy for others:

strategies to help parent a special needs child

(1) As parents, we must look at hard truths

It is better to err on the side of caution and get your child assessed ASAP rather than hope it will all go away. If there is a problem, the earlier there is intervention, the better. If there is nothing wrong, then you have nothing to lose by getting your child tested.

(2)  Labels should be used to help your child, not to define your child

Brielle has learning issues, but the labels associated with those issues do not define her. Who she is as a person is what defines her. Brielle is loving, bright, sensitive, and funny.

advocate for your child during the iep process

(3)  You must be your child’s greatest advocate, ally and supporter

Involve yourself in every aspect of the assessment and intervention process. For example, I observed every Occupational Therapy session, and I implemented each tool at home.

At the beginning of last year I started homeschooling my daughter. She had a psycho-educational evaluation done over the summer that determined she had ADHD. Subsequently, I found out that I could request a meeting with the Student Support Team (SST) at the public school because we pay taxes to the county. I fought for Brielle to get a full evaluation so that if she were eligible, she could have an IEP. I brought a list of my present and future concerns and was adamant that she needed testing for executive functioning and auditory processing. When they determined she indeed had weaknesses in those areas, I researched IEP goals for those delays as well as accommodations that she needed.

I made sure they were all implemented into the IEP.

I planned to have Brielle virtually attend Georgia Connections Academy, but I insisted that she get less screen time and only go online when it would be small groups. She does not focus in large online groups. They were unwilling to cooperate, so I am continuing her education with Bridgeway . I want to put her in an environment that sets her up for success, so I will continue to be her teacher until we find a school that is a good fit for her.

Stand up for your child and make sure they get the proper support and intervention. Don’t be afraid to stand your ground. If you do not fight for your child, then who will? It is necessary that your child gets the proper support to thrive.

communicate with others

(4) Be open and honest with your child about their struggles and their needs

Having an open line of communication is necessary so there is no shame about it. Brielle understands that she difficulty starting and focusing on tasks because of her ADHD, and we have discussed strategies to help her. She knows that she can ask for a break if she needs to “let her wiggles out”. I have taught her various breathing exercises to help her “calm her mind”.

She will sometimes ask for a squeeze if she needs that pressure on her body (for sensory input), and she has a weighted blanket that she uses at night. When Brielle gets exasperated because she doesn’t understand something, I encourage her to try her best and I try explaining it to her in a different way. I also try to use as many visuals and manipulatives as possible to aid in her comprehension of tasks.

Brielle’s Kindergarten teachers thought she couldn’t grasp addition and subtraction number bonds; by the end of homeschool last year she was doing multiplication, division, and fractions. She may have different learning needs than others because of her ADHD and SPD, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t capable of learning. I won’t allow her to believe otherwise.

(5) Make sure to emphasize your child’s strengths

Brielle has a poor working memory, but her long term memory is amazing. She can recall in vivid detail incidences that took place years ago. Her hyperactivity has an upside as well. She never tires. Make sure your child knows that for every challenge there is also a strength.

(6) Parenting must vary based on the child, NOT the other way around

We must give our children what they need, not what we want them to need. Brielle has difficulty playing by herself and she is very accident- prone. I need to keep an eye on her because she is incredibly impulsive. She has difficulty playing independently because of her ADHD and SPD. I give her options of what she can do when she has “quiet time” (time where she plays by herself). She chooses what she’d like to do.

I encourage her to be her own friend and give her lots of positive reinforcement when she keeps herself occupied and plays independently. I believe in her fully, but I also needed to adjust my idea of how she should be. Brielle is Brielle, and I wouldn’t have her any other way.

awareness and acceptance 

awareness and acceptance

Awareness and acceptance– the key ingredients to parenting a special needs child. They have helped me to be the mother and person I am today. I am far from perfect, and that’s okay. I am aware of who I am, and I am aware of how special my daughter is. The sky is the limit. I am honored to be along for the ride.


Surviving Motherhood

We are survivors. As women, as people, we have all had to survive different obstacles in our lives. Of course, the degree of survival differs from person to person, but we have all had struggles in one way or another. For me, I had to survive a traumatic childhood and create strategies to have a loving, healthy relationship with my daughter. I believe that these parenting tips and strategies are helpful regardless of your specific struggles.

parenting tips and strategies

These are the 6 parenting tips and strategies that helped me become the mother I am today:

(1) As a scared new mom, and even after all these years of parenthood, I often have NO idea what I am doing

If someone tells you they have all the answers, I have a bridge to sell you.  You can read parenting tips and strategies on the internet every day, and you will still not have all the answers. Each day it is my first time being a mother to my daughter at that age. Children do not come with a “how to” manual, and each child is different. What I do know is what NOT to do. I have a list of things that I will NEVER, ever do because those were horrific things that happened to me.

Awareness is key in implementing change. So I faced every horrific thing my mother did to me. I allowed myself to feel the helplessness, the sadness and the pain. If I allowed myself to stay in denial, or to convince myself that it was somehow justified, then how could I stop it from happening at my own hands? I used my own childhood as a roadmap of where I would never allow myself to go.

(2) For many of us, toxic and dysfunctional relationships are all we know

It is crucial that we learn new and healthy ways of parenting. Don’t be afraid to get help! Read those parenting books (and roll your eyes at the things you know wouldn’t work for your child), phone a friend (or two, or three) when you are having a bad day or you need some advice on how to proceed. Read that self-help book (or two, or three) that you’ve read so many times that it is hard to make out the words. Reach out to your spouse or find a good therapist. It is okay to ask for help.

(3) Kids will trigger the daylights out of you, and it is essential that you take time for your own well-being.

Parenting is hard! Scream into a pillow. Write in your journal. Talk to yourself in the mirror. Be your greatest friend and ally. Take the time to work on healthy coping mechanisms, and cheer yourself on for all the progress you have made. Remember, it is a marathon, not a sprint.

On particularly stressful days I make sure my daughter is safely occupied, and then I go into my bedroom, lock the door, and vent (sometimes to my husband, and sometimes I am a frazzled woman talking to myself). My daughter knows that sometimes Mommy needs a time-out too. We openly talk about our feelings, and she knows that feeling overwhelmed or frustrated is not something that only kids have to deal with.

(4)  We will all make mistakes

As long as we are not abusing our children, mistakes are natural, normal, and par for the course. Accept responsibility for your mistakes, learn from them, and grow from them. Be willing to apologize to your children and recognize when you have done something wrong.

Parenting Tips

Many of us grew up feeling that we had to be perfect or had a caregiver who never admitted any wrongdoing. I am definitely a work-in-progress when it comes to expecting perfection from myself. I associated saying or doing the wrong thing with shame, because I was often shamed for my mistakes. If I don’t want my daughter to expect perfection from herself, I realized that I needed to set the right example that nobody (myself included) is perfect.  There is no shame in making mistakes. I can be a great mom and still mess up. I can be the parent and still apologize if I do something that I regret.

(5)  Just as our children need a parent, so do we

When we were children, some of us did not get the love and compassion we needed from our parents.  If we did not receive support and kindness from our own parents, then we need to be our own parent.

How do we do that? Talk to that little child inside of you. Tell your inner child everything you wish you had heard from your parents and validate your inner child’s feelings and experiences. In order to love our children in healthy ways, we need to learn how to love ourselves.

(6) Unconditional love

The two most beautiful words in the world (in my opinion). What so many of us craved, but never received, was unconditional love. Give your children that love. Love them on the good days, and love them and support them on the difficult ones.

My daughter never doubts the love I have for her. She knows that no matter how I am feeling and no matter what she says or does, that nothing can ever change the love I have for her. She knows that to the point where she rolls her eyes when I say it to her. My daughter knows that no matter where life takes her, I will always be waiting for her with open arms and an open heart.



Ian S. Thomas wrote, “Before your children came, they were told that you would love them, so whatever you do, however you treat them…to them, it is love.” Being a parent is the greatest responsibility one will ever have. We know better than anyone how significant our role is in our child’s life. It is the greatest challenge and the greatest joy to be a parent. Remember to honor both, and you will be able to navigate the bumpy road of parenting.