Hi, I consider myself a nice, caring and descent person, but I have ADHD. I am an early childhood educator and I work with toddlers. We have a busy group and they are challenging. It’s the hardest group I have ever worked with. I don’t know why, but I have the hardest time asking people to do stuff, simple stuff. My afternoon went like this...2:30 come back from break - some children are up from nap and sitting at the snack table. There are three staff, although one is an eighteen year old. One staff washes hands, one helps open lunch kits and one getting children off cots. 3:00 no cots are put away so play area is unavailable to the children finished snack. Staff doing diapers wants to put a child on the toilet before mom comes. I say we need to get cots put away first. One staff says I’ll try to put them away or something like that and then she turns to the other staff and asks her if she can do it and she says I can’t go very fast. OMG!!! Are you &$#%*}€ kidding me 😡. I end up doing it myself. Then I have to ask to have the tables cleaned so I can put some toys out and I ask that the floor be swept. She says I’ll try , but the stuff on the floor is wet. SERIOUSLY! Meanwhile I have one child pushing and hitting, another one who is trying to hug the children, but he is upsetting them because he grabs their clothing or their hair and pulls it. It’s very chaotic and I’m about to blow a gasket and I am losing all control, not to mention the tone in my voice or the look on my face. This scenario seems to be happening every day. I don’t have great interpersonal skills and I just can’t think of how to say simple things like can you put the beds away please, can you sweep the floor, clean the tables, sit with little Johnny until he calms down. Instead I feel this pent up rage within me and I’m trying to keep a leash on it, but it’s really hard. I can’t work in chaos and I need structure. Everyone should have a job and they should know their job and know when to do it. I don’t know what to do. Please help I am open to constructive criticism and to suggestions. Thank you so much 😀
Frustrated beyond words!: Hi, I... - CHADD's Adult ADH...
CHADD's Adult ADHD Support
Hi Winnifred1966! Challenging indeed! You are in one of the toughest environments! Im wondering, who is the authority in this scenario? Do you oversee these other workers? If so, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you having a meeting at a different time outside hours to go over what they call "Best Practices."
If you work for someone else, are you able to have them call this meeting to offer up suggestions and solutions (to keep it in the positive space).
Perhaps a large schedule on the wall with the time and instruction written where workers can see would also be of benefit, because not only does it help ANYONE in a moment of brain scramble when kids are involved, but it is a second line of defense, since "its written" and for you to refer to in a kind way. And, wait for it ... you never know if your co-workers also have undiagnosed ADHD.
These are alternatives to yelling at people in the moment because I know your heart is in the right place and you don't want to do it. Unfortunately, working with kids can be overwhelming, and with other adults, even moreso.
It is also okay to just say, "I need some help over here." And, I have had to learn this the hard the way because of ADHD Spectrum social cue deficits, but the way we relate to people outside of the immediate job needs can also help to make it easier when it is time to roll up our sleeves and get to task as a team. People naturally feel more bonded and are able to ask things of each other.
I hope this helps.
Hi ServiceSloth, thanks for your reply. It helps being understood, but in the real world that isn’t always the case. I used to be the lead teacher, but I had to step down due to the overwhelming amount of work on top of being there for the children. I know it was the right choice, but it makes me sad because I loved the challenge. Now I am the assistant teacher so I have less responsibility, however; I do oversee things when the lead is not there. I’m also 54 years old and I was just diagnosed three or four months ago so I’ve been this way my entire life. I am feeling defeated.
I understand. I would feel defeated too. Do you feel that because you are no longer the lead, you have lost some power or credibility whereas before, people would sort of listen to you automatically without having to ask, which I understand is your main struggle now.
And share what challenges about having more responsibility you used to love. Perhaps you can find that love again with these new challenges.
Hi ServiceSloth Actually I feel defeated because I just don’t know what to do anymore. I’m afraid to open my mouth for fear that I will offend someone.
I don’t feel defeated because I’m not the lead anymore. It was a really hard decision to make, but I don’t regret it for a second. The other girl takes over this Tuesday.
I think my challenge that I enjoy is how to continue improving the program, not that there is anything wrong with how we do it, but different children bring different behaviour and that can mean making little subtle changes like tweaking. I am a rule follower and I am one who is always looking for ways to make improvements if possible. I like to think ahead, kind of like is it going to rain in the afternoon? What plans should we have. The other staff in the room didn’t share my thoughts.
My story was and is at times similar.
While I could lead effectively when it came to activities that required delegation, I found it almost impossible to let go of the ownership.
When I took on a task that exposed my functional ability to others, the task took on inflated importance. What I perceived as "life Impacting" was "not really important to anyone other than myself.
When working with others, I would see the involvement of others as a waste of time. Disdain would build inside me for my fellow conversants; this would lead me to interrupt the conversation to get my truth into the light of day. Why, "BECAUSE THOSE OTHER CONVERSANTS, were wasting my precious time."
I was conflicted with my own behavior, yet I lived most of my life shutting down interactions with others.
I still interrupt conversations, and I still tend to default to going it alone: I find myself biting my lip quite a lot these days during conversations. My greatest change post-diagnosis has been a cessation of judging others. I have always been empathic to a fault, but the sadness from being shamed regularly caused me to develop protections from this assault. I call this tendency my "Don Keyoti." brain. In this state, the size of my desire to succeed becomes monolithic, horribly failing to correlate to the task's actual importance. The real impact came when the task is completed; this has been described as "a soldier without a battle."
We all present uniquely, yet I suspect that some of our behaviors align on key variables associated with self-worth. One common hurt we all have is the hurt of being shamed.
Shame is the ultimate attack on our self-worth; it is nuclear in its ability to degrade the persona. I received shame instead of support daily for at least thirty years of my life.
This assault causes defenses, which get us to the next day, in school and with friends and family.
Think layers, and organic, non-linear.
We are all so much more than any normative person would ever understand.
If the non-ADHD understood our gifts and our sadness, we could save the world.
Hi DesertAlThanks for sharing your challenges. I see in myself the same “inflated importance “. For so many years, before ADHD I was constantly trying to prove myself. I, now realize that I no longer need to do that; however, is hard to change something that I’ve done for well over forty years.
Try radical acceptance of what you can't change. This is your reality and you also seem to want to maintain an image of a "nice/good" person when deep down, you react the same way any human would in your situation. If your co-workers are treating you like that, then they already don't respect you. So, keeping this "image" of niceness in your mind in order to maintain what you think is "acceptance" is flawed. No need for rudeness or tactlessness, but you simply should tell them directly what the situation is, how it makes you feel, and what you would like to happen. If you're afraid of repurcussions, just think -- it can't be worse than what they're already doing. They have to do their job. Good luck!
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