Parenting a Child with ADHD
ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and it is one of the most commonly-diagnosed childhood medical conditions. Brain development occurs differently in those affected by ADHD, specifically impacting one's ability to regulate attention and emotions.
What is ADHD in Children?
ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and it is one of the most commonly-diagnosed childhood medical conditions. Brain development occurs differently in those affected by ADHD, specifically impacting one’s ability to regulate attention and emotions.
In children, this can lead to behavioral issues such as hyperactivity, impulsiveness, daydreaming, disengagement, disorganization, angry outbursts, inability to follow directions or rules, or an inability to get along with others. While these types of behavior issues are typical among all kids to some extent, in kids with ADHD, the problems are pronounced.
Help For Parents
Parenting a child with ADHD is challenging, so the first thing we recommend is not to go it alone.
Medical experts estimate that anywhere from 5 to 11 percent of American children have ADHD. You are not alone in this struggle, and there are a ton of resources available to assist you.
Additionally, you may choose to reach out to a counselor or therapist to help you and your child learn better methods of controlling your emotions and reactions.
If you have a child with ADHD, it’s also important to have regular meetings with teachers, school administrators and counselors to keep them updated on your child’s progress and address any changes in behavior they may be experiencing in the classroom.
Simple Actions You Can Take at Home
Simplify & Organize
Structure is important. It’s how we organize our life, so it makes sense. Structure is enormously crucial to kids with ADHD, and a recommendation from numerous experts is to help children with ADHD structure their life by simplifying and organizing.
Start with your child’s daily routine. What time does he or she wake up, go to bed, do homework, bathe and eat meals? It should be the same every day. The importance of proper sleep and nutrition cannot be emphasized enough when parenting a child with ADHD.
Simplify the number of choices you offer your children to provide further structure. The question is not, “What do you want for breakfast?” The question is, “Do you want cereal or eggs for breakfast?” “Do you want to wear your green shirt to school today or your red one?”
In the same vein, limit the number of distractions in the house. Turn off the TV during meal or homework times. Limit your child’s exposure to overstimulating video and computer games.
Visually organize your child’s living space too. Keep toys in one place, schoolbooks, and backpacks in another. Use charts and checklists to help your child keep track of homework assignments, sports practices or chores.
Consistency, like simplification and organization, is vital to add structure to your child’s life. It makes it easier for them to pay attention and react appropriately to situations since they know what to expect.
Make physical activity a consistent part of your child’s routine as well. Physical activity promotes brain growth and improves concentration.
Communicate positively with your child. Children with ADHD need more structure, order, and discipline than children without ADHD, but they still need positive parenting. The benefits of positive parenting are overwhelming, and one specific advantage is that it helps children learn how to manage their feelings and behaviors.
For yourself, as hard as it may be some days, stay calm, cool, and collected as much as you can. Children mimic the behaviors they witness on a day-by-day basis. You can help your child learn to manage his or her feelings but managing your own. Choose to count to 10 or walk away for a short period before disciplining your child for a behavioral outburst.
And back to our number one recommendation, it’s so important for parents to take care of themselves and have a support system for managing the inevitable ups and downs of raising a child with ADHD.