"My child likes to eat candy for dinner and I believe in allowing them to make their own choices!"
"Well I think you are a horrible mother and your child's teeth will fall out and it will be your fault!"
"I think mom's have a right to raise their kids anyway they like and we should all support each other!"
"Well my kids ate candy for dinner for years and she grew up to be a neurosurgeon."
"Yes lets all stick together, us moms have it hard!"
"Nope she's the worst mom on the planet and you all are airheads for agreeing with her!'
Does some of your Social Media/online "support groups" sound like this? We are now in an age where the "it takes a village" mentality has grown past our close friends and family, to a community of millions. And one comment or post, can get a response from all million people in seconds. These comments will range from support, hate, sympathy, confusion and comic relief. Often times, we join these groups because on the surface, we are seeking advice, support and community from like minded people. However, once we dive in and join the party we realize that we don't all think alike and everyone is not as well meaning.
Sometimes I wonder why some people take the time to ask certain questions via social media, because those questions can usually be answered with a quick google search. But we all know some people like the attention, while others want to hear from people that have actually experienced that particular or a similar situation.
Outside of the internet, we are often faced with the same level of criticism in a less aggressive way. When you are a parent of a child with ADHD, there is always judgement from somewhere. We have those that totally understand and want to help in anyway possible, those that don't have a clue and think that you have slacked off in the parenting department, and the middle of the roaders that knows you are probably doing the best you can, but "my child isn't like that so I don't know what's going on?" The one thing you get used to, is being judged and/or constantly being offered advice on how to raise your children.
So here's my advice, one ADHD parent to another.
1. Start with building a personal circle that can be your go-to for advice when you have questions. These will be the people that you can trust to be honest with you and genuinely have your best interest at heart.
2. Make time to read and do research. There is so much information about ADHD and many other childhood conditions that are readily available. Utilize every resource and have an arsenal of information for yourself .
3. Don't be afraid to say "thanks, but no thanks!" There is an age old saying "all advice ain't good advice" and more importantly all advice does not apply to every situation. And at the end of the day, you don't have to accept unsolicited advice. It gets exhausting and frustrating and it's okay to respectfully decline.
4. Let experience be your teacher. When you see someone struggling and you are tempted to give unsolicited advice. Stop and think about how it makes you feel and evaluate the place it's coming from. Sometimes a simple "I understand" goes a long way. Because what worked for your children, may not work for theirs and they may have tried that already.
5. Do the best you can and the rest will fall into place. Be the best parent you can be, love your children with all you have, and keep their best interest first. If you do that everything else will follow.
As parents we are expected to be superhuman, and in some ways we are. But in reality, we are only human and we can only do so much and when it comes to our children, we can do 50% more that that. So just know that you are a rock star and if you don't think so your children definitely do!