As a neurodivergent parent of two autistic children, I know firsthand the challenges of juggling my ADHD and parenting duties. But fear not, my fellow neurodivergent parents! I’m here to share some tips and tricks that have helped me survive and thrive in the parenting game.
Firstly, let’s acknowledge that parenting is hard enough as it is. Adding neurodivergent challenges into the mix can feel like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube blindfolded. But like the Rubik’s Cube, with some patience and practice, you can eventually figure it out (or at least get close).
One tip that has helped me is to create a schedule or routine. I know, I know, easier said than done. But trust me, having a set routine can alleviate a lot of stress and anxiety. Plus, it gives your neurodivergent children a sense of predictability and structure, which can be comforting for them.
Another tip is to find a support network. Whether it’s a local support group, online forum, or even just a trusted friend or family member, having someone to turn to when you need a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on can make a world of difference.
And let’s not forget the importance of self-care. As parents, we often put our own needs on the back burner, but it’s crucial to take care of yourself too. Whether it’s taking a relaxing bath, going for a walk, or indulging in your favourite hobby, make sure to carve out some time for yourself each day.
So.. just to recap.
Embrace routine and structure: Children with autism often thrive on routine, and having a consistent schedule can make a big difference in their behaviour and overall wellbeing. Try to establish regular routines for meals, bedtimes, and other activities. Visual aids like calendars and checklists can be particularly helpful.
Prioritise self-care: It’s easy to get so caught up in caring for our children that we neglect our own needs. But taking care of ourselves is crucial if we want to be the best parents we can be. Whether it’s taking a break to do some deep breathing or scheduling in some “me time” each week, make sure you’re taking care of your own mental health and wellbeing.
Find your support network: Parenting can be isolating at the best of times, but it can be even more so when you’re raising neurodivergent children. Look for support groups, online communities or local organisations that can connect you with other parents who are going through similar experiences. Talking to other people who “get it” can be incredibly validating and empowering.
Learn as much as you can: The more you know about ADHD and autism, the better equipped you’ll be to help your children. Read books, attend workshops, and connect with professionals who can offer insights and advice. You don’t have to go it alone!
Keep a sense of humour: Parenting can be stressful, but it’s important to find moments of joy and laughter amidst the chaos. Don’t be afraid to be silly or let your guard down – your children will love you all the more for it.
Remember, you’ve got this – and I’m rooting for you!
I would also like to say – if there is a particular area you are finding difficult, or if there are any topics you want me to speak about or advise on. Please leave a comment.