Raising a Few “Free Spirits”

I learned about the condition called ADHD in 2009. My son was 2 years-old. I had read every book about raising a wild, free-spirited, difficult to discipline child and nothing was working. I didn’t like to go out with him alone, much. He would run away.  Run away, like, I’m going to have to call the police because I lost my son. And then he’d reappear. As quickly as he had gone. I didn’t feel like I had control, but I didn’t really want control. I wanted him to be happy, and he wasn’t. He was frustrated a lot. He got mad and then I was passive aggressive in response.  I felt like we were a mess, but I loved my son. I loved him more than anything and he gave my life a purpose I still don’t fully understand. My purpose is to love him, help him grow and learn, no matter what.  That was how my story began.

Eight years later and everyday still holds lessons for me, but they get easier.  I learned that my ADHD was part of the reason I struggle to manage my son.  I made a lot of mistakes, but I also have plenty of grit and I never give up.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

If you feel like you’re the worst parent ever, this blog may resonate with you.  If you couldn’t dream of having another child because you can barely keep up with your current one, you’re not alone. If you don’t know how to manage ADHD, that doesn’t mean you won’t, eventually.


We now have three children total and my eldest son keeps me on my toes.  He’s a true blessing.  He taught me about my limits and capabilities.  We have become such a team, after 10 years as mother and son.  It’s been a scary, wonderful, haunting, sad, angry, frustrating, and beautiful journey.



I see signs of ADHD in my “free-spirited” daughter and I smile.  I know what I’m in for and I’ve learned strategies to help her.  Most importantly, I’m never going to stomp out her independence.  I will guide it.  It is possible, ADHD moms and dads, to be a calming light in a dark night of frustration .  My hope is, by reading our Family ADDventures, you can stop fighting against ADHD and use it to your advantage.

Published by Family ADDventures

Nicole Santiago is a learning specialist, student advocate, and founder of Family ADDventures. As a specialist, she assesses and teaches clients (adults and adolescents) to manage and grow their executive functioning skills which include emotional regulation, task initiation, and time management. As an advocate (IEP coach), she is a member of COPAA and ensures inclusive (special) education students receive the most appropriate educational services possible. She often collaborates with OT's, SLP's and neuropsychologists all in the name of student improvement and success. Her practice is located in San Antonio, TX, and everywhere (virtually). The author grew up an army brat and spends time with her three ND children and husband in Puerto Rico whenever possible. She writes about mental health, parenting, education, and entrepreneurship on her blog: FamilyADDventures.com

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