When your child is diagnosed with a behavioral disorder, it can seem like the odds are stacked against you. You may feel isolated, desperate, and worried about how people may perceive you. Fear not – being the parent of a child with a behavioral disorder can actually work in your favor! Follow these useful tips to get the most out of your child’s challenges:
Social Anxiety: Don’t assume that just because your child has social anxiety, you’ll no longer be the life of every party. Isn’t it so annoying to drag your daughter to places where she feels completely alone in her knowledge that what most people consider one of life’s greatest joys causes her extreme nervousness?? Capitalize on the isolation she feels by talking about it constantly! The other mothers will feel bad for you and make sure to invite you to their next bash. Bring her along so they can see what you’re dealing with, or just hire a sitter—you deserve it!
Insomnia: Don’t lose a wink of sleep over what your child’s damaging condition will mean for your social standing! The fact that your kid is basically a vampire (You can make that joke! Sad jokes make you seem like a trooper) means that you almost never get the recommended eight hours of sleep. Seamlessly integrate your child’s struggle into conversation: “I’m so tired.” “So is my son. He’s an insomniac. I’m worried that the lack of crucial REM sleep will start to affect his grades, and therefore his entire life trajectory.” Score!!!
Seasonal Affective Disorder: There’s a reason we call this one “Notorious S.A.D.”—it makes a famously big impact on your personal narrative. Say your girlfriends still haven’t invited you to the Ingrid Michaelson concert they’re all going to next month. Your child’s winter-specific depression could be your “in”! Just keep talking about how difficult it is to live in such a negative environment for three months a year. Then, when you’re on the way to the concert and Carla tries to complain about her kid’s concussion, say, “I just hope my Chase doesn’t do something drastic while I’m gone.” That’ll shut her right up.
ADHD: This one is a little tricky, because it’s so common that few people really sympathize with it anymore. By acknowledging the widespread nature of the diagnosis, you grant yourself the authority to claim that your child is the exception. “I used to think that ADD was a myth, but ever since Kurt went on the meds, I feel like I have my son back.” See? Easy!!! It also doesn’t hurt to imply that you heard a “certain crowd at school” is “using Adderall to get high,” and that this makes you “so sad.”
It’s so important for us mommies not to let our children get in our way. And when those children have behavioral disorders, it’s even easier to slip into a dangerous pattern of letting them ruin everything for us. Don’t worry, though—just because your children aren’t healthy or happy doesn’t mean you can’t be!