I Can't Handle My Child's ADHD

April 14, 2021 Sarah Sharp

Since I author a blog about raising a child with mental illness, you'd think I'd be an expert at handling my own child's attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but that's definitely not the case. Some days I feel overwhelmed by the mental, emotional, and physical toll that this job can take. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone, either.

When I did keyword research for this post and researched the phrase, "raising a child with ADHD," I came up with results like these: "I have no patience for my ADHD child," "I can't handle my ADHD child," and "overwhelmed with ADHD child." In other words, parents are trying to figure out how to handle their child's ADHD. I'm still trying to figure it out, too, but I have some idea as to why I feel so overwhelmed with my child's ADHD sometimes and ways I can handle it a little bit better.

This Is Why I Can't Handle My Child's ADHD

Despite all the research I've done, all the learning I've accomplished, and all the advice I've given, I still have some days when I feel like I simply can't handle my child's ADHD. That's because, frankly, parenting someone with ADHD is a very noisy occupation, and I've always been overly sensitive to noise. (Figures, right?) Whether he's angry, happy, or sad, my kid is guaranteed to be loud and always has something to say. As the day progresses, I get overstimulated and tired, and I start feeling like I'm losing my handle on my child and his ADHD.

Sometimes I can't handle my child's ADHD because I run out of ideas, and I get desperate. Maybe I can't get him to listen or stop throwing tantrums. Maybe it's two hours after his bedtime, and I have to be up for work in five hours, but I can't make him go to sleep. Maybe he's finally realized he isn't getting a Hotwheels at the grocery store, and I'm getting defeated by yet another cosmic meltdown. After trying every idea I can think of to get control of the situation (and failing), I eventually hit a roadblock and feel hopelessly unable to handle my child's ADHD a nanosecond longer. In short, I don't know what to do next.

I can't handle my child's ADHD because I start feeling sorry for myself. Self-pity is my most formidable enemy, especially when it comes to raising my kid. I tell myself that raising a child with a mental illness is just too hard. I feel miserable, run-down, and alone. I start to feel pretty sure that life will never get better, I'll never get a handle on my child's ADHD, and no one else has to go through what I'm going through. I tell myself a string of lies that make me feel even sorrier for myself.

All the problems I just discussed start with me: I'm fed up; I'm out of ideas; I'm throwing a pity party. I can't handle my child's ADHD because of something in me. Luckily, though, that's where the solution lies, too: myself.

Handling My Child's ADHD Is All About Perspective

When I lose my handle on my child's ADHD, it's because of my own thinking. It has more to do with what's going on in my brain than my kid's, so to solve the problem, that's where I need to start. For instance, I try to avoid judging myself for not being able to handle something as complex and overwhelming as a child's ADHD. With or without ADHD, all parents struggle with being able to handle their children with perfect grace every moment of every day. No one can handle their kids. It's nothing to judge. It's simply being a parent.

Then I remind myself that my little boy won't be little forever. I won't always be bombarded with high-pitched screaming and angry, senseless arguments that go in circles so quickly they make me dizzy. Someday he'll grow up, and this chapter in our lives will end. When I think like that, it makes me grateful for my kid's childhood and makes all the difficulties that go along with his ADHD a bit easier to handle.

When a change in perspective doesn't do the trick, I try a change in scenery. We go somewhere other than home, where my child's ADHD can feel particularly impossible to handle. Or I separate us like little kids who can't get along--I barricade myself in my room for a few minutes or banish him to the backyard. Or, occasionally, I'll let the TV do a little much-needed babysitting (just a little) until I can get myself together enough for everyone to survive the day.

Do you sometimes feel like you can't handle your child's ADHD? I'd love to talk about it. Drop me a line in the comments below.

APA Reference
Sharp, S. (2021, April 14). I Can't Handle My Child's ADHD, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Author: Sarah Sharp

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April, 2 2024 at 3:08 pm

I deeply regret having children now I have 2 NDs. Tbh the ADHD is harder to handle than the ASC in our particular case.

May, 23 2024 at 9:15 pm

Read Howard Glasser’s transforming the intense child. It’s lifesaving!

February, 19 2024 at 3:41 am

I have 2 children with ADHD. questioning potential autism/aspergers with the youngest. They are 10 and 8. I'm so tired. I'm so tired of the phone calls and emails from school telling me how out of control the child is and this is with medication. You are totally right, I'm throwing myself a pity party for 1. Some days I just wonder what it is like sending your kid to school and not have to worry. To take them to activities and not being the parent of the child not listening and throwing things. I'm ashamed of myself for even feeling this way because I'm supposed to be the adult and I'm not coping. Tonight I got so frustrated that I told off my youngest and he is lying in bed staring at the ceiling so upset that I told him off about his behaviour and telling him I was just over it all. I don't know what to do anymore

February, 2 2024 at 4:04 am

I'm completely overwhelmed and frustrated but feel I'm failing him at the same time. It's ruined our marriage. I don't know what to do anymore.

December, 8 2023 at 4:08 am

My mother struggles with this from my youngest brother who is 7. She is falling apart and has succumb to the restraints of alcohol. Sometimes I am not sure who needs more help. I came here looking for a solution. I wish I could teach my brother a few things. I want to take him out, but I realize it is impossible and I have to have him locked up inside the house all day. He is a menace to society and will do everything in his power to fight back when I say, “Time to go home.” It is loose lose. Patience? I hope there is enough time. It’s no wonder my mother feels this way, though she could at least try a bit harder. Everyone here is failing.

August, 9 2023 at 10:50 am

This resonates with me so deeply in the complete opposition. “my boy won’t be like this forever” is ringing in my ears. My boy won’t be like this forever. But I’m in palliative care at the age of 39; he’s 6. I may never see a different child. Blogs are great when there are ideas in place to assist parents with coping mechanisms. This did not provide anything other than “just deal with it”

July, 16 2023 at 2:57 pm

It’s sooo hard and challenging. Iv had thoughts of sucide, it affects your mental health. So much parent guilt! The amount of parents Iv had come up to me to complain and make me feel like a really bad parent. I don’t get any support and haven’t had a break in years. Only break I get is when he’s at school and he’s only on a few hours 10-2. I’m jobless because of his hours, I feel I’m failing on most things in life.

July, 8 2023 at 9:39 pm

I struggle with the roller coaster of ADHD. Everything is a battle. I’m so tired and sad. This is not the life I envisioned. I really don’t know how much more I can take.

July, 16 2023 at 2:53 pm

I felt I was alone. But it’s comforting that I’m not the only one. This hits home. Everything this poster said, is everything I’m feeling. We are the true parents, we battle, cry, laugh, battle with other parents that just don’t want to understand and look at our child like they are a criminal. It’s a rollacoster in deed

August, 26 2022 at 3:50 pm

My kid has ADHD and my OH has a bunch of mental health issues so is not much help. I feel like I'm trying my absolute hardest and still failing at everything. When I get a break from my high pressure job, it's not really a break because I have to look after my kid. Going 'on holiday' is what I used to do to relax but now it's a nightmare as daughter can't handle being out of the routine.

August, 23 2022 at 9:39 pm

I thought I was the only one. I can’t handle my child’s adhd and his autism everyday is a struggle I Dread getting home from work some days because he acts so bad. I love him and it hurts to feel like I’m failing him as a mother. I feel like I have lost control over my situation. I want to be better but don’t know how. I feel overwhelmed and drained. I’m tired

August, 10 2022 at 10:26 am

My child has Autism and ADHD. I try so hard to hold patience and understanding for him but find myself snapping even moments after saying I won’t scream, I won’t react. I hate myself for it and hope he grows up okay. I don’t know what to do. I think he tries to get on my nerves on purpose sometimes although he says he doesn’t. I just wish I had the patience of a saint.

April, 25 2022 at 9:06 pm

I feel suicidal because I cant handle my child's adhd.

May, 4 2022 at 8:11 pm

I'm sorry and I can relate. I question my capabilities because I never considered adhd to be present until child was 4 and it hit like a bombshell. We are capable and they need us and to find a way to cope is the best thing for both parent and child. You're online looking into it so you're trying, that's an awesome start. I'm sure it will get easier to help manage.

June, 29 2022 at 2:21 pm

I can relate so much. My daughter just turned 4 and what I believe to be adhd hit hard. I also have a one month old baby. These days are so hard.

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