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More Praise for Easy to Love but Hard to Raise

ADDitude

"This book grabbed my scattered attention and glued me to my chair. I breezed through the pages, reading story after story, all written by parents who are raising challenging children. Some have been diagnosed with ADHD and pediatric bipolar disorder, others with OCD and autism.

It didn’t take long for the parents’ words to hit home. "I felt judged, criticized, and discredited," says one mom. "It’s an age-old story," says another. "When children have problems, mothers, in particular, are believed to be entirely at fault."

These are just two quotes from this remarkable book, which will land emotional punches to your heart and soul. Coeditors Kay Marner, a writer and blogger for ADDitude, and writer Adrienne Ehlert Bashista collected essays by parents of kids who are neurologically diverse. These moms have cried in their pillows, screamed out in frustration, failed, and succeeded.

I know how difficult raising a child with ADHD and other challenges can be, but rarely have I read a book that acknowledged the day-to-day difficulties in a way that gripped me. I, too, have wrestled with those struggles. Parents of challenging children are frequently scorned and accused of being bad parents who escape their difficulties by feeding their children psychotropic medications to tame their behaviors. Interestingly, the majority of parents in this book waited years before accepting the suggestions of doctors to start medication.

Give this book to family members, teachers, and others who don’t understand the rigors of raising a child with disabilities, the ones who say that a good spanking and setting better limits will "cure" the child of bad behaviors. The scales will drop from their eyes."...This remarkable book will land emotional punches to your heart and soul. Coeditors Kay Marner, a writer and blogger for ADDitude and writer Adrienne Ehlert Bashista collected essays by parents of kids who are neurologically diverse. These moms [and dads] have cried in their pillows, screamed our in frustration, failed, and succeeded." 

Terry Matlen, MSW, a psychotherapist and consultant specializing in adults with ADHD, ADDitude Magazine, Winter 2011

Midwest Book Review

"There's no college course, no training, you're just dumped into the deep end with only instincts to guide you. Easy to Love but Hard to Raise: Real Parents, Challenging Kids, True Stories is a discussion of parenting and the dread that many parents face as something goes wrong....Easy to Love but Hard to Raise is a fine assortment of wisdom that any parent should embrace."

Midwest Book Review: Small Press Bookwatch, February 2012

Foreword Reviews 

"In Easy to Love but Hard to Raise parents raising children with challenging—and invisible—mental and behavioral disabilities find an outlet to share their personal stories of overwhelming frustration as well as treasured moments of small triumph. While resources on invisible childhood disabilities are vast—the collection of new studies, treatments, and discoveries continues to grow each year—resources that focus on the parents who rear these children are harder to find.

Told in first person by a collective of parents, these personal essays pinpoint the difficult experiences that are unique to parents of children who exist in a world of “alphabet soup”—where a child can be labeled with a litany of confusing disorders that require treatments that are rarely uniform and straightforward. While the disabilities range from the well-known ADHD, Asperger’s syndrome, and autism to the lesser-known diagnosis of sensory integration dysfunction, the focus of all these essays is on the experience of parenting these children, not on the disability itself.

For this reason, the book functions effectively as a support network for parents. Divided into six chapters, the stories in this collection cover a diverse assortment of issues. Each narrative is perceptive and well written, pinpointing sensitive, often intangible issues that will ring true for other parents seeking solace and a sense of community. A number of the essays, for example, touch on the emotional challenge of reconciling the haphazard reality of raising a “difficult” child with the sentimental image of mothering as intuitive and natural. These parents lack the comfort of knowing that the inevitable challenges of parenting—tantrums, disobedience, tears—can be met with firm, tried, and true parenting methods. Coming to terms with a reality vastly different from the norm is a running theme throughout this book.

Each chapter also features a “Tell Us More Q & A” section where an expert is interviewed and provides insight into the particulars of a parent’s story. An authority on ADHD, for example, provides answers as to why children with the disorder tend to have trouble making friends. Short, to-the-point answers provide a much needed outside perspective that sheds light on the reasons behind behavior that appears befuddling. Also interspersed throughout each section is a first-person account by “Eve” a representative of “Everyparent,” whose short, pithy anecdotes are gleaned from real parents and are meant to serve as a unifying point of experience. Both these sections offer further nuance and depth to the collection but at times can make the collection seem choppy rather than effectively streamlined.

Overall, however, this is an essential addition to the library of any parent raising a child with special challenges and will serve as an instrumental point of reference for caregivers and experts alike."
 

Reviewed by Shoilee Khan, Foreword Reviews, Spring 2012 issue 

specialneeds.com

"Easy to Love but Hard to Raise is a collection of essays from the parents of children with “invisible”but very real disabilities. As these parents share their stories, a sense of empathy and support emerges until the reader comes away feeling that they, too, are not alone. There are other people who have done those good and bad things they never thought they would do in the process of raising their children. They’ve expressed doubt and screamed out in frustration. These parents have been judged by those who don’t understand because they have never faced the challenges of loving a child and yet feeling the need to apologize for them everywhere they go.

In addition to the 32 parents who have written about their experiences, 25 experts give insight into topics ranging from ADHD to homeschooling to a child’s social IQ in each chapter’s question and answer sections. This book is an excellent resource for parents who take comfort in the very real accounts of others who have been "in the trenches." Those who pick it up take their places in a support network for parents of children with invisible special needs."

Reviewed by Lisa Di Trolio

 

a mom's view of adhd {everyday life with our ADHD kids}

"I recently had the pleasure of reading the book, “Easy to Love but Hard to Raise: Real Parents, Challenging Kids, True Stories” (DRT Press, 2012). Co-Edited by Kay Marner and Adrienne Ehlert Bashista (You may know them, they’re kind of a big deal around here), this book stirred up such a huge range of emotions and memories of my experiences raising my own “ETL” (Easy to Love) son. I knew I was in trouble when I found myself crying while reading the Foreword, beautifully written by Dr. Ed Hallowell, ADHD guru and author of one of my favorite ADHD books, “Superparenting for ADHD.” Kleenex in hand, I forged on.

The book is a collection of true stories written by parents who are raising children with a variety of conditions (ADHD, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Sensory Processing Disorder just to name a few). The conditions and names may differ, but it’s the depth of love they have for their children that ties all of it together. The book is structured around the idea of “Eve”- a parent raising an Easy to Love but Hard to Raise child. Eve is all of us – the Everyparent. Eve’s stories are eerily similar to mine, and I am willing to bet Eve’s stories are quite similar to yours as well. Having the Eve element in the book is quite brilliant, because Eve provides a standard, a constant to which I could reflect my own experiences.

When my son was diagnosed with ADHD, I felt incredibly alone. I didn’t know anyone who was going through a similar experience, and I didn’t have support groups available to me. Reading this book is like sitting down with a friend who will tell you all the gory details – the good, the bad and the ugly. These are parents who have been through it all, and they’re not glossing over anything. You will read about parents who cry themselves to sleep. Parents who are judged by others. Parents who judge themselves. Parents who aren’t afraid to admit that at times, they want to leave it all behind. Parents dealing with the opinions of doctors, schools, parents, friends, relatives and bosses. Parents who found a glimmer of hope amidst so much hardship. Real, honest parents - such a breath of fresh air in a world that always seems to sweep uncomfortable stuff under the rug.

There wasn’t one story I couldn’t identify with in some way. Some favorite moments for me were:

  • Cringing while reading Jeanne Kraus’ essay, “More Cory Stories,” when she described being unable to relax and enjoy herself at social events because she was too focused on her son’s behavior (I do that).
  • Feeling Rachel Penn Hannah’s desperation in her essay, “Butterflies,” as she shared that popular parenting techniques didn’t work on her daughter (I felt that).
  • Wanting to stop time when Frank South scared the bejeezus out of me with his essay, “An ADHD Horror Story,” detailing his son’s choices with alcohol (I’m sooo not ready for that).
  • Reminding myself while reading Penny Williams’ essay, “Self Reflection,” that it’s too easy for me to lose myself in what I call “The Tidal Wave of My Life.”
  • Crying while reading Adrienne Ehlert Bashista’s essay “Dominoes” in which she admits that some days she wants to get in the car and drive away from her ETL son (I’ve had more than one day where I have actually been afraid to get on the highway for fear that I may end up in Denver).
  • Smiling while reading Laura Grace Weldon’s essay, “Walking Away,” about her journey to homeschooling her son (Wish I’d done it earlier).

“Easy to Love but Hard to Raise” isn’t just anecdotal. The Co-Editors did an excellent job of rounding up experts in the mental health field (and in the special needs community) to answer some hard and substantial questions about diagnosis, medication, school, caregiving, stress, socialization, education, and so much more. The back of the book also has an excellent list of books and resources if you are wanting to learn more.

My only complaint is that I didn’t have “Easy to Love but Hard to Raise” available to me seven years ago. I would have read this book over and over again just so I didn’t feel so isolated. I will recommend this book to the people I know who are parenting a special-needs child, and will also recommend it to applicable clients as a first-line reading resource.

“Easy to Love but Hard to Raise” is a special book that has the potential to provide comfort to someone who is feeling lost and frustrated about how their child’s diagnosis is impacting their life. This book also has the potential to change the minds and hearts of skeptics who believe we should just crack down harder on our kids and give them a good spanking. It's needed, and I'm so glad it's out there.

The editors and contributors of this book want you to know that they’ve been there, they’ve done that, and they’re here for you. The Co-Editors, Adrienne and Kay, created a Facebook page you can visit to share your own stories and feel supported:

https://www.facebook.com/easytolovekids.

You can also purchase “Easy to Love but Hard to Raise” on Amazon.com by clicking this link:

http://tinyurl.com/easytolovebut."

Reviewed by Kara Thompson, a Marriage and Family Therapist in Lenexa, Kansas


 

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