Too often, when our kids are different, we can tend to focus on the worst case scenario. It’s especially true when it comes to their futures. As upbeat and positive as we might act during the day, there are those late dark nights of the soul when we lay awake wondering about their prospects. If they face so many challenges in the classroom, what will it be like when they have reached the age to pick a career? How will they get by in an office or formal work environment?
We don’t consider often enough how the unique speed at which their brains work – I call it the FastBraiin – or how their unique perspective could help them to achieve remarkable things.
But preparing them to be leaders requires that we allow them to confront challenges and unexpected problems. And this can be hard to accept as a parent.
Our inclination is to protect our kids from the moment they’re born; this instinct is only redoubled when it comes to raising kids with ADHD. Our instinct might be to shield them from every unpleasant conversation from a teacher who just doesn’t “get” what makes them special. Our preference might be to sequester them from every classmate on the playground eager to make an insult out of the smallest differences in how their peers look and behave.
It’s important that our kids have safe places to be educated and grow. But building a safe place doesn’t mean entirely isolating them from the very real slings and arrows that will come their way through life. It is only by teaching them to deal productively with adversity that they can be prepared to take on more complex and high-stakes challenges as adults and potential leaders.
Some ways you can help instill greater resilience and grit in our kids:
- Resist the urge to solve all their problems for them. Not every schoolyard confrontation warrants an intervention or phone call from you to a parent. If your child has had a run-in with someone who doesn’t exhibit genuine concern or compassion, you can talk through the incident with them, but resist the urge to fight the battle on their behalf.
- Ensure they have regular access to a wide range of peers and friends, including those who aren’t often exposed to the world of those living with ADHD. Get them prepared now to interface and engage with people from outside their usual support system.
- Have regular check-ins with your child – dinnertime is a great time – about challenges they have faced in their day and how they can be addressed productively.
What steps have you taken to encourage your child to effectively manage adversities they encounter?