Jennifer Gay Summers
Author | Journalist | Blogger | Inspirational Speaker
ADHD and Neurodivergent Parenting Advocate
As we head into the holidays, tempers can become combustible. Take a child who can’t pay attention and a burned-out parent, and you have the ingredients for disaster. As parents, we know we should stay calm and not react. But yelling feels, oh, so much better. And with ADHD children, it can be the difference between getting their cooperation or a cold shoulder.
Here’s a blog where Lee and I explode, then learn to try something different:
Welcome to my blog!
I’m a mom and an ex-public school teacher who’s been in the ADHD trenches for the last 20 years, navigating the school system and standing up to those who use judgment as their weapon against differences. At the same time, I’ve watched the gifts of ADHD help my child, Lee (pseudonym), blossom into a creative, intuitive, wise young adult.
Raising a child with ADHD is like living on a rollercoaster, riding to the top with your hopes soaring and racing down, holding on with all your strength. In my blog, I write about my crazy and not-so-crazy mom moments to offer encouragement, insights I’ve gained, and some laughs along the way.
Over the last decade, it’s been my honor to write 58 blogs for ADDitude magazine, my favorite national resource for people with ADHD. I’ve been called “Mom’s the Word” for many of those blogs, a name I hold dear to my heart. So often, I’ve felt anything BUT “Mom’s the Word.” My blog is dedicated to all of you moms and dads struggling with that same frustration. Together, I believe we can raise awareness and help our children with ADHD succeed.
“Comparison is the Death of Joy.”
A wise friend once told me, “Kids aren’t stamped in cookie molds.” And yet, time and again, this is what I tried to do. Stamp my child into typical. It didn’t work, of course. If anything, it always made me feel frustrated and caused my child to have low self-esteem. When Lee was diagnosed with ADHD, sensory processing disorder, and anxiety, typical was completely out of reach. And yet, from time to time, a wish for a child who was like every other kid would come back to haunt me.
On a fall day, I was walking through the park and noticed a blazing gold tree amongst the forest-green ones. And the thought hit me, why would I want Lee to be the same as all the others? Yes, I had a child with disabilities who stood out. But Lee had strengths that made her golden: unique gifts, a beautiful heart, and strong self-awareness. Acceptance might have come to me later than I wish it had, but in its power, I was free to see the joy of my child’s true self.
Here are some articles, a book, and podcasts you can check out:
From ADDitude Magazine:
“Stop Fighting Your Child’s Neurodiversity; A Step by Step Plan for Parents in Diagnosis
Denial” -Deborah Reber
“How to Process and Accept Your Child’s Neurodiversity” -Deborah Reber
If you are struggling with emotions that seem insurmountable, here’s an article to help:
From Parenting Special Needs magazine:
“Handling Your Child’s Diagnosis; Six Things Parents Should Do For Themselves” -Parenting Special Needs Team
To read more from Jennifer please Click here…
Check it Out:
Elaine Taylor-Klaus, co-founder of ImpactParents.com, wrote a terrific book called, “The Essential Guide to Raising Complex Kids with ADHD, Anxiety, and More,” which I highly recommend. Chapter Two “This Is Not What I Expected,” addresses the ways parents deal with raising their complex kids and offers strategies and steps to escape the stress cycle.
And, if podcasts are your favorite, here is a list of ones about parenting neurodivergent children:
“Six of the Best Podcasts for Neurodivergent Families” -Danielle Sullivan
I also highly recommend Impact Parents podcasts:
With 117 episodes, there are a myriad of choices for raising a child with complex needs. I am
honored to be a guest on an upcoming episode in August! Stay tuned to this website for further
As Mother’s Day approaches, I want to thank all the special moms who supported me through the years. Parenting a neurodiverse child is challenging and makes it difficult sometimes to find understanding friends. When I was struggling, long before my child’s ADHD diagnosis, two moms stepped forward and gave me hope and the gift of friendship. This blog is in honor of them.
Over the years in my quest to help my child with ADHD and now complete a memoir about it, I accumulated many books on the subject. Maybe it’s the teacher in me or just my passion for books, but I ended up with a pretty good collection. This month’s blog focuses on some of my favorites.
Even though I’d heard that communication is a skill we learn and practice, no one told me how important that would be in raising my child. Between Lee’s inability to focus, a lot of hyperactivity, and emotions that were hard to regulate, it became my challenge to find a different way to communicate. In this month’s blog, I put together the tips that worked for me over the years. Hope you’ll find one that works for you!