Raising kids is not an easy task for any parent, but with a child diagnosed with ADHD, it can be even more of a challenge.
Every new parent goes in blind when it comes to tackling childrearing. However, with ADHD kids all your expectations, readings, and planning become void.
Standard household rules, routines, parenting tips, don’t apply to children with ADHD. It can be taxing to cope. But, there are solutions to every problem.
Having ADHD does not make your child incapable of doing ordinary things for kids’ their age. It just takes them more time, a little patience from you, and your unconditional love and devotion.
They can learn to act within societal norms, but the disorder makes them impulsive. You can help your child overcome their ADHD and reached their life goals; thus, consider the following parenting tips for raising a child with ADHD.
What is ADHD?
Before you can help your child, first understand the disorder. When you know what they are experiencing under normal circumstances, you can help them deal with their problems better.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, aka ADHA, is a neurodevelopment disorder. It disrupts a person’s natural ability to focus, understand, and manage their routine, school work, relationships, etc.
A child with ADHD can be disorganized, inattentive, impulsive, and hyperactive.
Almost all kids’ show one or two of the ADHD symptoms, but that does not mean they have the disorder. Your doctor needs to evaluate your child’s behavior in different situations, with different people, and surroundings to make an accurate diagnosis.
Types of ADHD
ADHD is recognized as early as in toddlers or babies, when the kids first start school or in their teenage phase. There are three types of ADHD, more often diagnosed in boys than girls, and each type is divided based on the symptoms of ADHD they show. Take a look to see what they are:
Now that you have a better understanding of what you are dealing with, let’s see how to deal with ADHD in Children...
Be Accepting and Patient
Coping with ADHD is hard for any parent. But, remember it is your child that has to live with it. They are the ones suffering; they have to survive the pressures of modern-day society while combating with ADHD. Thus, your acceptance and patience mean more than you realize.
It is difficult to accept that your child may not be “normal,” but over-thinking and resenting them for it can lead to self-doubt and lower self-esteem issues.
Children are sharp when it comes to an understanding of their parents’ moods. Being aggressive, hateful, intolerant can force them to be a shell of the person they are.
The best parenting tip for ADHD is to love your child irrevocably and unconditionally. Be supportive and encouraging; believe they are the person you know they can be, and they’ll strive to follow through.
Medications Alone Aren’t Sufficient
While it is true that medications help with ADHD, they alone are not the solution. When parenting a child with ADHD, it is important to remember that you don’t put all the credit for their good behavior on their meds.
Talking about medicines as if they are the sole reason for their good behavior will have your kids believing their efforts are futile. They will be dependent on medications and stop trying to put forth any personal effort.
When children with ADHD act out or does something you previously told them not to, then parents should take care not to ask if they took their medicines. Nor should you threaten to increase their dosage.
According to Dr. Brown-Gratchev, these statements make the kids’ believe that meds will make all their problems go away.
That is not true!
As a parent, you need to make sure your child understands that while the meds help ease their symptoms, they only alleviate the attributes your child already possess.
Discipline Not Punish
Many times parents mistake discipline as analogous to punishments.
You need to remember that all children misbehave, but for a child with ADHD, it is often out of their control. If they are particularly disobedient or breaking rules, then harsh punishments are likely to make them worse.
Examples of harsh punishments include:
If you are always nagging or yelling at them to behave a certain way, in time, your words will be white noise their brains will cancel out.
On the other hand, completely ignoring your child’s misbehavior will confuse them. They will either think that you approve of their wrongdoings or worse, don’t care. If they believe you reject them, they are more likely to act out to gain your attention.
Similarly, spanking or threatening your ADHD child will make them fear you, not respect you.
Thus, a countermeasure to these methods is to keep calm and relay your message in a gentle but disapproving tone. Keep your words to a minimum or don’t say anything more than what you want them to do.
Another approach is to relegate consequences to their actions. For example, if they spill something, make them clean it up.
Set Guidelines: What is Accepted and What is Not
It is a simple matter of how you are going to control behavioral issues when you don’t even know your level of tolerance.
Any child, attention deficit or not, will have trouble following your rules if you keep changing them every day. If you allow one thing the first day but refuse it the next, it will confuse your child.
ADHD is an impulsive control disorder in children, which is why children with ADHD need structure in their lives to help them stay on track. They need to understand the penalty for their actions and control their impulsive outbursts.
Thus, you need to decide what you will and will not allow.
Keep a soft hand when choosing the dos and don’ts because not every behavior is a bad one; children are naturally prone to be reckless and impulsive. Knowing which behaviors are part of growing up and which are not will help you in aiding your ADHD child.
They may have difficulty following through some of your guidelines; thus, you need to keep them simple, clear, and precise. You need to be empathetic, patient, understanding, lenient, affectionate and encouraging when trying to control your child’s behavioral issues.
The power of positive reinforcement is one undisputed. Parents, teachers, and every authoritative figure acknowledges that rewarding good deeds encourage children, employees, and people, in general, to be good more often.
For a child with ADHD, behavioral issues are to be expected. But, you should not undermine their positive efforts in light of the bad ones.
Their ADHD already makes them feel incompetent. Use of negative words, nagging, and degrading will reinforce that feeling; thereby affecting their self-confidence.
One important parenting tip for ADHD is for parents to reward their children when they do well; even when the job is half-done.
For example, they accomplished two out three of their assigned chores. Overlook the third one and appreciate their work on the first two. They are learning, and baby steps are an integral part of the process.
Maintain a Routine
For any child maintaining order and following a regular schedule teaches them discipline, the importance of time, and provides stability.
For a child with ADHD that stability is a necessity, not a luxury.
The ADHD makes children attention deficit, compulsive, erratic, fidgety, and restless. If you provide them with a structured routine, it gives them a balance and control. Knowing what’s to come helps them stay calm.
A routine also introduces responsibility.
If your child with ADHD follows a schedule, they are more apt to learn, remember, and accomplish their responsibilities than otherwise.
It will also help them focus and limit distractions.
Keep in mind, when you set up a routine, stick to it every day. Any last-minute changes, breaks in patterns, will disrupt their delicate, mental balance.
Organize and Simplify
For a child with ADHD who struggles with simple daily tasks, significantly complicated instructions can overwhelm them easily.
The impulsive control disorder in children makes it difficult for them to stay calm when they feel out of their depth.
Simplifying each task will help them not just stay afloat but also tread the waters.
When you delegate their To-do list, break the tasks into parts to make them more manageable. Keeping things simple will paint a clear picture in their minds. Plus, with each complete work, they will feel a sense of accomplishment that will help them in their overall development.
Color code chores between each family member to help your child with ADHD remember and stay on track.
You can also organize your home and keep everything in its designated spot. Knowing where everything goes, will help limit distractions and keep them calm.
Assigning a particular, quiet spot for reading, homework, and taking a break will also prove to be beneficial.
Keep Things Interesting
One of the symptoms of ADHD is the inability to focus. Children with ADHD tend to get distracted more easily than an average child their age.
You can help them improve their focus by providing challenging tasks and puzzles that stimulate their hyperactive minds.
Mind games are also useful for sharpening the psyche.
You can plan challenging activities for children with ADHD to strengthen their young minds and give them an outlet for their excess energy.
However, contrary to distractibility is hyper-focus.
That is when your child is too focused on his or her task that they become unaware of the world around them. Being ignorant of your surroundings is dangerous for anyone, especially a child with ADHD.
Hyper-focus can be tricky to manage, but it will help your child get their tasks done.
Plus, many employment opportunities require sharp focus and attention to detail; it might be worthwhile to encourage them.
Their inability to focus means everything is a distraction.
ADHD disrupts a child’s ability to focus on the task at hand. And, while challenging activities provide a stimulus for their minds, it can be helpful to remove excess clutter, distractions from around them.
If your child enjoys videos games, radio, television or music, and toys, then turn them off or take them away while they work on their assigned tasks.
Whether it is homework or puzzles, getting them to focus will go a lot better if there are no distractions around.
For any child, too much time inside the house, on the computer can destroy the mind. And, for a child with ADHD it would make them more impulsive.
So, a parenting tip for ADHD is to remove all distractions and engage them in physical activities that will burn off their excess energy.
Exercise Sharpens the Mind
Exercise is a healthy and refreshing way to stimulate the mind and body.
For an average human, spending time outdoors, doing strenuous activities can do wonders for the body. It is also an excellent way for a child with ADHD to exhaust their impulsive minds and hyper-energy.
Besides providing an outlet, exercise also helps increase focus and concentration.
They can either be skipping rope, riding a bike, playing catch, or engrossed in a team sport. Physical activities will help them stay attentive to the game.
ADHD and anxiety in children can lead to difficulties in their social lives; exercise helps reduce the risk of depression and anxiety. It can help improve sleep patterns and stimulate the brain.
Exercise is a healthy way for children with ADHD to focus their excess energy, practice concentration and constructively direct their passions.
Think Before You Speak
It is one of the best parenting tips for raising a child with ADHD. It is also one that both you and your child should adopt.
For a child with ADHD
Children with ADHD lack the self-control needed to think before they speak. Their impulsivity makes them say and do whatever is on their minds.
As parents, whenever the itch to act-out strikes for your child, encourage them to voice their thoughts aloud. Understanding their thought process will help you assist them in controlling their urges.
Voicing their thoughts will also teach kids with ADHD to judge and make decisions, consider their actions before acting on them.
Additionally, you can also advise them to stop and think. Teach your child with ADHD to pause for a breath before replying. Helping them with their homework, asking thought-provoking questions will teach them to wait and curb their impulses.
These practices will also be beneficial in their social lives.
For Parenting a child with ADHD
For parents, thinking before speaking implies that you are not quick to rebuke your child.
It can be challenging parenting a child with ADHD and the stress involved is unlike any other. But, your child does not know that his condition is painful for you as well.
A lot of their outbursts, disobedience, and impulsive tendencies are due to the ADHD. It is a mental disorder and should be treated delicately.
When you begin to feel aggravated or irritated, take breaks and calm yourself before you lash out.
Go out for a jog, take a relaxing bath or enjoy a cup of tea if that calms you; but never tell your ADHD child to “be normal.” Their behavior is out of their control, and your aggression will only make things worse.
Getting fresh air and some alone time will help clear your mind. You can get someone to watch your child while you take a breather and then try again.
All children mimic their parents; if you are calm, your child will be quiet too, with or without ADHD.
For you and your child, counseling can do wonders for dealing with ADHD.
As a parent, you are wired to feel that only you know the best for your child. And, while that is true to a degree, you are just human as well.
There are moments when you too need a helping hand to carry the weight on your shoulders; parenting a child with ADHD is one of those moments.
A Professional counselor will not only help you de-stress, but it will also help your child’s behavioral issues.
Not just professional help, but there are also many ADHD support groups for parents as well the children. You can share your troubles and ease your burdens with other parents in the same situation.
Just knowing you are not alone can have a drastic effect on one’s mental health, for you and your young one.
Peaceful Sleep Makes All the Difference
The hyperactivity symptom of ADHD makes it impossible for children with ADHD to fall asleep at the designated bed-time. Their over-stimulated minds refuse to shut down and allow for proper rest.
Improper sleep can make anyone crumble, but for a child with ADHD, it can have far worse effects.
The lack of sleep makes them irritable, heightens inattention and restlessness.
A good parenting tip for ADHD is that you make sure they are in bed at the same time every day. Following a routine gives them structure and will help reduce sleeplessness, if not solve it completely.
Moreover, you can remove any caffeinated or sugar-induced foods from their diet before bedtime; decrease TV time, fill their day with challenging physical activities; it will eliminate their excess energy and tire their overactive minds.
You can also set a downtime an hour or so before bed to lower their energy level and calm them down.
Anticipate Their Outbursts
Social interactions are good for a child with ADHD. It will help with their anxiety, be a chance to practice patience, curb their impulses, etc.
However, just because it is good for them does not mean you can turn a blind eye to the possible repercussions that may occur.
No one but you can predict your child’s behavior; ADHD or not, only a parent can read their children, know their likes and dislikes, and what makes them tick.
For children with ADHD, tantrums, and outbursts in public can hurt their social lives and worsen their mental health.
When situations arise where you feel things can go wrong, stop them before they have a chance to happen. Your intuition to plan can save a positive experience from going sour for everyone involved.
Although, make sure you don’t sound overbearing in front of their friends or their parents. You can ask your child to speak with them and excuse yourselves.
Talking in a corner will save them from potential embarrassment and give them a chance to voice their feelings calmly than to have an explosive outburst.
Set a Good Example
It’s no enigma that kids learn from their parents.
If you put your emotions on your sleeves and act irrationally, how can you expect your child with ADHD to practice the control you lack?
A child copies everything his or her parent does. Instead of just telling them how to control their hyperactivity, show them how to be in command of their disorder and manage their emotions.
If you practice calming techniques in front of them, you will also teach your child the importance of keeping their emotions in check.
However, there are times when you feel as if you are drowning, wholly submerged underwater.
As I mentioned before, take a minute to relax your mind. Then revisit the situation when you feel in control of your emotions. Yelling at your child with ADHD will not help your case; they will only see the anger behind the words.
Parenting is no joke, but with a child with ADHD, it can prove to be more challenging.
Before we end this post, I have a final tip for the parents…
Don’t let your child or their disorder take control.
Regardless of how overwhelmed you become don’t let their disorder excuse their bad behavior. You are the parent, the one in charge. So, take a patient and nurturing approach, but make the rules clear.
You might feel as if you are failing as a parent, but don’t lose hope. Many people can help you deal with ADHD and care for your child.
These parenting tips for ADHD will provide you with a guide map to keep you from drifting.
So, if you like what you read, pin it and spread the word among your friends and family.