Holding Your Piece Brings You Peace
Parenting a child with mental illness brings along many challenges. In my work, I've found parents who have a difficult time with children who just WON'T listen. You talk to them until your voice is hoarse and your kids continue to not do what you want them to do.
Hello, Nagging Problem Here
Bob is the same. And my reaction to him is the same - nagging. Hello, my name is Heiddi and I am a nagger. (Please everyone welcome me to the group.) Parenting a child who needs reminders all the time (aka ADD/ADHD) is SO hard for someone who loves to tell him what to do. In fact, Bob's ADHD trained ME to be a nagger.
But, as Bob's been taking his medication, the need to be reminded has decreased a lot. Bob takes one pill, 27mg of Concerta, which is a slow-release medication. It is effective for 12 hours, which usually covers school and some after-school hours. However, it has been hard to keep the nagging to a minimum. Even with the medication, I forget that Bob doesn't need me to talk so much.
Recently, though, Bob's snarky attitude and my physical health has affected my parenting style. Rather than just talking, I've been yelling. And frustrating both of us in the process. One morning last week though, I HAD it with Bob.
Testing my Patience
He didn't want to get up that morning and wasted about half an hour taking his time. Bob finally went to the bathroom to start his morning routine. He also hadn't taken his Concerta. And even when he did, it didn't begin to kick in for another half an hour. Bob was already running half an hour behind. And as the minutes began to get away from him, so did my anger. It was growing. But, I already knew that nagging just doesn't work. It doesn't make Bob go any faster or remember everything he needed to remember. So I did something different. I shut up.
Holding My Peace
I held my piece. I didn't talk. I didn't ignore Bob if he talked to me. I just stopped nagging and brought myself a little peace. Instead, I tweeted. I shared my frustration and praised myself for being able to hold my words in for so long. It was a long 30 minutes. Probably the longest of my life. But, I did it and was proud of myself for not yelling at Bob.
Nagging's Not Helpful
Holding yourself back from saying something is super hard if you're a nagger like me. But, I've also noticed how the nagging affects Bob. He gets annoyed by it. He gets frustrated because it reminds him that he has ADHD. It reminds him that he can't focus on his own. The nagging makes him sad that he has to take medication.
Shutting up Brings Good Results
On the flipside, Bob was calm. Yes, he was SUPER distracted, but he wasn't upset or frustrated or sad. He was just doing his own thing. While he did that, I sat and took time for myself. I was able to practice good self-care. Reducing stress in your life parenting a child with mental illness can be as simple as being quiet. So, next time you want to let all the words fly, even if you intend for them to be helpful - hold back and see what happens. You may be very happily surprised and be at peace.
And for the record, Bob was an hour late to school that day. And we were both very happy.
Zalamar, H. (2013, May 22). Holding Your Piece Brings You Peace, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, January 24 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/parentingchildwithmentalillness/2013/05/holding-your-piece-brings-you-peace