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How can I stop blaming myself for my child's ADHD?

To stop blaming yourself for your child's attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), do the following exercise:

Consider all the ways you may benefit from self-blame, and write them in a notebook. For example, perhaps by blaming yourself you feel like you are more in control of the situation. Perhaps you feel less helpless by taking responsibility for the ADHD diagnosis. Try to generate as many benefits as possible by asking yourself these prompting questions:
  • What are the benefits to my child diagnosed with ADHD?
  • What are the benefits to my spouse?
  • What are the benefits to my other children?
  • What are the benefits to my professional well-being?
  • What are the benefits to my health?
Now consider the costs of self-blame, making a list in your notebook. For example, perhaps you feel worse about yourself as a parent as a result of blaming yourself. Perhaps you spend valuable time ruminating about how you have failed your child. Perhaps you are afraid of interacting with your child for fear that you might make another mistake. Try to generate as many possible negative effects of your self-blame as you can. Ask yourself these questions:
  • What are the costs to my child diagnosed with ADHD?
  • What are the costs to my spouse?
  • What are the costs to my other children?
  • What are the costs to my professional well-being?
  • What are the costs to my health?
Examine your list of costs and benefits of taking blame for your child's diagnosis. Most likely you have arrived at the conclusion that it is to your benefit and your family's benefit to stop blaming yourself. Now, remember that your thoughts will ultimately change your feelings. Next time you find yourself feeling guilty, remind yourself that there are no substantial benefits and many costs of self-blame. Regardless of the truth or falsity of the charge, self-blame is simply not productive. Further, one concrete way you can assist your child's transformation is to stop blaming yourself. This will help you gain control in a situation where you often find yourself feeling helpless.
The Gift of ADHD: How to Transform Your Child's Problems into Strengths

More About this Book

The Gift of ADHD: How to Transform Your Child's Problems into Strengths

As a parent, you already know that your child has many gifts. What you may not know is that attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) related symptoms—the very qualities that lead him or her...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.