Women's Health

Flow and Parenting: Preschool ADHD

Support Services Beneficial to the ParentsIn her recent book Parenting: All Joy and No Fun, Jennifer Senior begins her discussion on challenges with parenting on the concept of “flow”. Her book is excellent, she is in tune with many questions and concerns todays modern parent has. Flow is something we don’t discuss much in families. We discuss flow in yoga, movement, work, breath and meditation. It is the concept of how families balance privacy, joy, banter and conversation that is integral to keeping flow alive in the home.

In today’s hectic life mothers and fathers are frequently working from home or after hours catching up on office work etc at home. Children can interrupt, demand and be irritable. This for many parents disturbs their “work flow”; “email flow” or “cellphone conversation flow”. It is as if children, particularly ADHD children are privy to “nagging”. Balancing a career, family responsibilities and financial pressures are not an easy task. Parents can in return become short, irritable and eventually emotionally out of tune with their little ones if they feel their “flow” is interrupted.

ADHD especially in preschool children leads to disruption in the home, high demands, not using an inside voice and rages or tantrums. This can lead to family fatigue, burnout and helplessness.

One of the areas Jennifer Senior states families can work on flow is family activities. How do we keep flow in the family do we enjoy our family time. Has all the freedom led to chaos…what is structure and is there a thing as too much structure.

Answers lie in areas of: Acceptance, Mindfulness and Letting Go. Being open and understanding there is no “perfect” family or “perfect” child alleviates ADHD stress and burden. Keeping things light, being innovative and fun and playful brings back flow in family life. Inner calm of a parent is important; as is working on less criticism and choosing your battles. Letting go of guilt and taking care of yourself are important for a parent of a preschool child with ADHD symptoms. As a parent gravitates to being centered, calm, non judgemental and nurturing flow returns to a home. To learn more I suggest reading the first few chapters of Jennifer Senior’s book revolving on flow and family life. I feel these chapters are particularly relevant to those parents whose children struggle with ADHD.

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