I Can't Handle My Child's ADHD

April 14, 2021 Sarah Sharp

Since I author a blog about raising a child with mental illness, you'd think I'd be an expert at handling my own child's attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but that's definitely not the case. Some days I feel overwhelmed by the mental, emotional, and physical toll that this job can take. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone, either.

When I did keyword research for this post and researched the phrase, "raising a child with ADHD," I came up with results like these: "I have no patience for my ADHD child," "I can't handle my ADHD child," and "overwhelmed with ADHD child." In other words, parents are trying to figure out how to handle their child's ADHD. I'm still trying to figure it out, too, but I have some idea as to why I feel so overwhelmed with my child's ADHD sometimes and ways I can handle it a little bit better.

This Is Why I Can't Handle My Child's ADHD

Despite all the research I've done, all the learning I've accomplished, and all the advice I've given, I still have some days when I feel like I simply can't handle my child's ADHD. That's because, frankly, parenting someone with ADHD is a very noisy occupation, and I've always been overly sensitive to noise. (Figures, right?) Whether he's angry, happy, or sad, my kid is guaranteed to be loud and always has something to say. As the day progresses, I get overstimulated and tired, and I start feeling like I'm losing my handle on my child and his ADHD.

Sometimes I can't handle my child's ADHD because I run out of ideas, and I get desperate. Maybe I can't get him to listen or stop throwing tantrums. Maybe it's two hours after his bedtime, and I have to be up for work in five hours, but I can't make him go to sleep. Maybe he's finally realized he isn't getting a Hotwheels at the grocery store, and I'm getting defeated by yet another cosmic meltdown. After trying every idea I can think of to get control of the situation (and failing), I eventually hit a roadblock and feel hopelessly unable to handle my child's ADHD a nanosecond longer. In short, I don't know what to do next.

I can't handle my child's ADHD because I start feeling sorry for myself. Self-pity is my most formidable enemy, especially when it comes to raising my kid. I tell myself that raising a child with a mental illness is just too hard. I feel miserable, run-down, and alone. I start to feel pretty sure that life will never get better, I'll never get a handle on my child's ADHD, and no one else has to go through what I'm going through. I tell myself a string of lies that make me feel even sorrier for myself.

All the problems I just discussed start with me: I'm fed up; I'm out of ideas; I'm throwing a pity party. I can't handle my child's ADHD because of something in me. Luckily, though, that's where the solution lies, too: myself.

Handling My Child's ADHD Is All About Perspective

When I lose my handle on my child's ADHD, it's because of my own thinking. It has more to do with what's going on in my brain than my kid's, so to solve the problem, that's where I need to start. For instance, I try to avoid judging myself for not being able to handle something as complex and overwhelming as a child's ADHD. With or without ADHD, all parents struggle with being able to handle their children with perfect grace every moment of every day. No one can handle their kids. It's nothing to judge. It's simply being a parent.

Then I remind myself that my little boy won't be little forever. I won't always be bombarded with high-pitched screaming and angry, senseless arguments that go in circles so quickly they make me dizzy. Someday he'll grow up, and this chapter in our lives will end. When I think like that, it makes me grateful for my kid's childhood and makes all the difficulties that go along with his ADHD a bit easier to handle.

When a change in perspective doesn't do the trick, I try a change in scenery. We go somewhere other than home, where my child's ADHD can feel particularly impossible to handle. Or I separate us like little kids who can't get along--I barricade myself in my room for a few minutes or banish him to the backyard. Or, occasionally, I'll let the TV do a little much-needed babysitting (just a little) until I can get myself together enough for everyone to survive the day.

Do you sometimes feel like you can't handle your child's ADHD? I'd love to talk about it. Drop me a line in the comments below.

APA Reference
Sharp, S. (2021, April 14). I Can't Handle My Child's ADHD, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, October 24 from

Author: Sarah Sharp

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