Raising an ADHD child as a single parent can sometimes feel like an impossible task. With all the regular demands of life, adding in ADHD symptoms just makes everything harder. When you find yourself as one parent alone in the home, you often feel like you have no one else to turn to.
Ultimately, a lot of our lives revolve around what we depend upon. We get up in the morning because we depend on the sun to rise. We go about our day and go to work because we depend on getting paid from our employers. What we depend on gives us a foundation on which to build structure for our daily lives.
For raising an ADHD child as a single parent, you need to learn what things you should depend upon. What you depend on gives you structure and safety and a place to rest. In this post, we break out eight things to depend on when raising an ADHD as a single parent.
These eight things will help you as you go about your week and your everyday life. We hope that you can use these tips as resources to return to time and again as you plan out the months and years ahead.
1. Depend on Your Routines
We can never talk enough about the benefits of an ADHD daily routine. For people with ADHD, routines make a significant difference, period. The best starting place for managing ADHD well begins with structure and routine. This means the best thing to depend on when raising an ADHD child as a single parent is your routines.
Routines provide such a blessing for a single parent because they provide almost a second-in-command to help direct your child’s day. With a regular routine, your child doesn’t have to always come to you to ask what to do next or what their afternoon looks like. They’ll have the answers to these questions because they can turn to your second-in-command, the regular routine, to know what to do and when.
Not only can a daily routine provide structure, it can also provide a multitude of benefits for your child. Regular routines help build independence and a sense of self. They also build self-confidence, provide stability, and help with organizational and memory skills.
No matter what you do as a single parent, you need to start with depending on your routines. Routines will make your life and your child’s life run much more smoothly. With a routine, you can find confidence knowing things are going according to a plan without micromanaging the details.
2. Depend on Your Network
Perhaps the biggest struggle of raising an ADHD child as a single parent is the constant feeling of loneliness. Every day, day in and day out, feels like a struggle, a battle almost. In this battle, you feel you stand alone. You vs. your kids. You vs. your job. The list can go on and on, and every day you come home and you have no one to confide in.
Single parenting can be a very lonely and difficult road to travel. That’s why so many support communities exist for single moms and single parents. Simply put, single parents feel lonely and disconnected.
To break out of a cycle of loneliness, you need to build around you a network. Although you are a single parent, you’re nevertheless not alone. If you happen to live somewhere where family lives close by, share your struggles with them regularly. Depend on your own parents to help out with your kids. Whatever you do, you can’t be ashamed to ask for help and community.
You need help. We all do. Depend on family as a network.
If you don’t have family nearby, get to know your neighbors and parents at your child’s school. You more than likely will connect with other single parents if you only look around. Go to your local library or church and find community support groups for parents. You can also look online on community posting sites such as this one or social media sites for single parenting groups.
Raising an ADHD child as a single parent can be terribly lonely. To face the long days, you need to depend on your network. If you don’t have a network, you can start building one today. Look online and around your community for resources to plug into.
3. Depend on Your Calendar and To Do Lists
With raising an ADHD child as a single parent, you need to make your calendar your best friend. Routines and networks provide great assistance, but they all fall away if you don’t plan well and use your calendar. As a parent, you need to know what is planned and what is coming up. As a child with ADHD, your child needs the same thing. To help you both out, make sure you have a clear visible calendar that you use regularly.
Calendars and to do lists help keep us on track and headed in the right direction. Life can be overwhelming. Add on top of that single parenting and managing ADHD and you have a recipe for disaster. Your weekly schedule doesn’t have to end in disaster, though, as long as you learn to use your calendar and to do lists well.
At the beginning of each week, make a plan for the upcoming week and all the things you have to do. Put every activity and event on a calendar where both you and your kids can see it. Then go through the week with your kids so everyone stays on the same page.
Every day, then, you need to look at what you need to do that day and make a to do list. Build out a list that you can check off activities as you go. This practice keeps you on track and will help you feel accomplished as you mark things off as completed. For helpful tips on building out a calendar, you can refer to our article on tips to avoid overbooking your calendar.
4. Depend on Family Meetings
Every good team dynamic depends on good communication. For raising an ADHD child as a single parent, this is no less true. You need good, clear, and constant communication.
For you and your kids to feel like a team instead of constant warring parties, you need to schedule regular family meetings. Family meetings provide a time where you and your kids can talk and discuss plans and feelings safely. Family meetings shouldn’t be planned all around what you want to tell your kids. Rather, you should build them around an open space for everyone to have space to discuss how they feel and what they have coming up.
Family meetings provide you an easy vehicle to clearly communicate with your kids. Without regular meetings, communication can devolve into irregular shouting and arguing matches. As a single parent, you simply don’t have the energy to constantly fight battles with your kids. To keep the peace, depend on family meetings.
We would recommend having meetings either once a week or once every two weeks for at least 30 minutes. You need to put away all distractions and electronics for this time and just focus on how everyone is doing and what is upcoming that the family needs to know about. Communicating things in this way will help remove stress from single parenting and help limit upcoming surprises.
5. Depend on One-on-One Time
Not only is group communication essential but so is positive one-on-one communication. For many single parents, you might have more than one child at more than one stage in life. While family meetings can help bring together the family as a whole, you still need to connect with each person in the family individually.
In raising an ADHD child as a single parent you need to be sure that you depend on one-on-one time. You need to remember that when you as a parent feel lonely, your children probably feel the same way. Life as a single parent can feel chaotic and always moving leaving little time for spending quality time with your children. This can lead to your children feeling alone and ignored. In fact, living in a home as a child of a single parent can be harder and more difficult than most parents realize.
You don’t want your child to feel lonely or negative about themselves, but sometimes you don’t know what else to do to help. In times like this, you need to start small and plan well. Plan out one 15-30 minute block in a week to spend alone with each of your children. Make that time all about them and asking them about their interests and feelings. This doesn’t have to be any elaborate plan. Rather, the key involves simply spending some amount of quality time with each of your children.
One-on-one time with each of your kids provides invaluable benefits. Foremost of all, it helps to build trust and value in your relationship with them. This trust and value works both ways and can really help to improve the general positive atmosphere in your home.
6. Depend on Your Kids
Speaking of team communication, you need to have your family function as a team. As parents, we tend to believe our kids can’t help us with many of our daily tasks. Either we think our kids can’t handle the responsibility, or they won’t know what to do. Oftentimes, though, we are wrong, and our kids can actually do a lot more if we only set them up well to help us out.
Raising an ADHD child as a single parent can be exhausting. It can be doubly exhausting, if you insist as the parent that you have to do everything. Interestingly enough, the mark of a good leader isn’t in how well they micromanage but rather in how well they use the skills of those around them to build a team. The same should be true of the family unit.
In order to succeed in raising an ADHD child as a single parent you need to learn to depend on your kids. This looks like giving them daily responsibilities. You can assign daily or weekly chores. For ideas, you can try some suggestions from our post on the best chores for ADHD children. Think of times, such as dinner time, that your kids can really chip in and help work as a team to get things done.
Ultimately, depending on your kids helps teach them responsibility and helps to lighten your load a little bit. As a single parent, there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. You need the support of your kids and family to keep things on track. Depend on your kids to make your days less stressful.
7. Depend on an Agreement and Plan
Many children today live in more than one home. They live with divorced parents and spend time between different parents’ houses. While the parents no longer live together or see eye to eye on everything, the parents still have a relationship involving the children.
This relates to raising an ADHD child as a single parent in that if you are working with a former spouse, you need to depend on an agreement and plan with the other party. You might not get along with the other party on everything, but for your child you need to learn to communicate well. This matters particularly when it comes with keeping ADHD symptoms in line.
You could do everything to depend on schedules and routines, but if you don’t get your ex-spouse on the same page, it could all quickly fade away. Working with someone who hurt you or abandoned you is hard. No one said it would be easy, but working through the difficulty can help both your household and your child.
However you feel about your ex-spouse, you need to realize they still play a role in your child’s life. For that reason, you need to learn to depend on an agreement and plan. Sit down with your ex-spouse and talk through your comprehensive ADHD treatment plan. Get on the same page with bedtime routines and meal times and diet and exercise. All these things matter to your child, and for that reason you need to get on the same plan for everyone’s benefit.
8. Depend on Time Alone
As we have mentioned, raising an ADHD child as a single parent can be a hard lonely experience. In the midst of the difficulty of it, it can also become a self-giving devotion that wears away one’s own identity. For many single parents, they lose themselves in the demands of taking care of their kids. Their whole world revolves around their kids.
While your kids’ lives matter, so does your own life. Many aspects of single parenting or parenting in general lend themselves for self-sacrifice. Ultimately, though, you need to care about your own health to be there for your kids. Part of caring for your own health includes making sure you have time alone.
You need to intentionally plan to have 30 mins to an hour of time alone a week doing something just for yourself. This could involve doing a hobby, reading a book, or going for a walk. Whatever it is, you need to do something just because you want to do it with no other agenda whatsoever. You can find this time possibly when your kids are at school, at a community event, or when they are sleeping. Whenever it is, make time to invest and build yourself up as an individual.
Depend on More than Just Yourself for Raising an ADHD Child as a Single Parent
Raising an ADHD child as a single parent is a lot of hard work. The job description for being a single parent isn’t anything most people would want to enlist for. Typically, it includes long hours and lots of work with little immediate reward or appreciation.
The unique intricacies of ADHD can make single parenting all the more challenging. Not only do you need to guide your kids well but you need to make sure that you continually work to manage the ADHD symptoms as well. Most single parents feel they have to shoulder this burden all by themselves.
If you get anything from this article, though, we hope that you walk away with the understanding that you don’t just have to depend on yourself. You have plenty of possibilities around you for other resources to turn to and depend upon. If all you had was yourself, you’re going to run out of steam quickly. Don’t just depend on yourself, though. Take the tips and strategies outlined here and put them into practice to start depending on the resources around you to manage your household well.