ADHD and Guilt: How to Handle Parenting and Boredom

Contributed by: Terry Matlen, ACSW

Back in January, I posted an article titled Letting Go: Embracing the New You where I talked about the sadness one often feels when thinking of how life might have been had we not been born with ADHD.

I'd like to explore this topic a bit more; specifically, the feelings of guilt most of us- maybe all of us- have felt at one time or another when realizing how our ADHD affects those we love; particularly when it comes to our children.

The other day, my daughter asked if I would like to do a jigsaw puzzle with her. Forty years ago, I would have jumped at the chance- I loved puzzles as a child! But as an adult, I have always hated most children's games and activities. Board games, which should be spelled "b o r e d", do just that to me: they bore me to death. Card games do the same. When my children were small, I forced myself to do these things but what followed was a sense of guilt because I simply hated these activities and felt awful that I showed little enthusiasm for doing them. I tried to escape from then whenever I could. WHY did other parents seem to enjoy these activities? They didn't fall asleep clutching their playing cards or scrabble tiles. But I did. And obviously, I still do. As for the other night, I avoided the jigsaw puzzle activity and re-directed our attention to something that would engage me a bit more. Am I a bad mother because my brand of ADHD finds these kinds of activities beyond boring?

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