Recently, following a program on ADHD at Springer School and Center, a parent shared the above remark. When you feel like a Drill Sergeant in the Marine Corps instead of a nurturing, loving Mom or Dad, it can be frustrating.
Your dreams of what the future would be like with a family did not include seeing yourself yelling, nagging or “barking.” You probably pictured yourself being patient, smiling and speaking in a cheerful voice. Your idealized child smiled back at you when you asked him to do something and said, “Sure thing, Dad.” He immediately stopped what he was doing and did the task right the first time! (Just the way you did?) That was a dream. Reality does not have to be so bleak, but it never matches our idealized picture.
First of all, the only behavior we can really control is our own. Analyze the circumstances and how you are communicating. Pretend you are talking to a friend. How would you approach her? You probably would use a cheerful voice and have a pleasant demeanor. You would stand close to her, maybe touch her arm in a friendly way. If your friend were in the middle of something, you might say, “I see you are busy right now, but in ten minutes it will be time for dinner.” In five minutes you would remind your friend in a cheerful voice that dinner is in five minutes. With your child, you might add that you are looking forward to hearing about her day, soccer practice or girl scouts. Then you give the final call for dinner and remark how much you enjoy sitting down together as a family.