Parent Guilt: The Loss of the Idealized Child, Stages of Grief, Anger, Acceptance, and Joy – 2020

with Terry Matlen, ACSW


Do you remember bringing your perfect, beautiful, newborn baby home from the hospital, ecstatic that he/she will now fit into or complete your family- a dream you perhaps have had for as far back as you can remember? As your baby grows into toddlerhood (or even earlier), your world starts to quietly crack. Then the school years begin and your child isn’t living up to your hopes, dreams, and expectations. Something has gone awry- his/her ADHD has created challenges far beyond what you could possibly have expected. The cracks keep getting wider. This continues throughout your child’s lifespan (a parent is a parent forever). How do you manage your feelings of guilt, sadness, even anger? We will be talking about getting through the stages of loss of the “idealized” child: denial, grief, anger, acceptance, and yes, even joy!


About Terry Matlen, ACSW

Terry Matlen, LMSW, ACSW, a nationally recognized expert on ADHD in women, is a psychotherapist, author, consultant, and coach, and a leading expert on ADHD, specializing in women with ADHD. She is the author of the award-winning book, “The Queen of Distraction” and “Survival Tips for Women with AD/HD”, and runs, an international online resource serving women with ADHD, and QueensOfDistraction, an online coaching program for women with ADHD. With over 25 years of experience helping women with ADHD, Terry is a sought- after presenter at conferences, webinars, and interviews. She has written hundreds of articles for various publications, including ADDitude Magazine, Attention Magazine,, and more. She served for many years on the board of directors of ADDA (Attention Deficit Disorder Assoc.), and is immediate past coordinator of the E. Oakland County CHADD (Children and Adults with ADHD) Chapter in Michigan. Terry has been interviewed by NPR, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, Glamour Magazine, and more. Follow her at,, Terry can be reached at [email protected].

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