Parenting a Child with ADHD

“I’ve taken everything away and they still don’t listen”

This phrase has been spoken by many parents and educators that work with children with ADHD. All children have behavior issues that infuriate their parents or educators at one time or another. How do we begin to tease out the difference between a stage of child development or a behavior that is something more than that?  What if we were to look at the child with ADHD differently by identifying the child’s strengths? We then build upon these strengths, so that the child will have a sense of pride and accomplishment.

While ADHD is believed to be hereditary, effectively managing the child’s symptoms can affect both the severity of the disorder and development of more serious problems over time. Early intervention holds the key to positive outcomes for the child. The earlier the child’s problems are addressed, the more likely prevention of school and social failure will occur. Additionally, untreated ADHD is often associated with problems such as underachievement and poor self-esteem that may lead to delinquency or drug and alcohol abuse. Life with a child with ADHD may at times seem challenging as a parent. There are ways to create a home and school environment that will improve a child’s chances for success.

Some parents may waste their limited emotional energy on self-blame. ADHD is a disorder in certain areas of the brain and is inherited in the majority of cases. It is not caused by poor parenting or a chaotic home environment.

Where do I start?

It is important you learn all you can about ADHD diagnosis and treatment available. Not all information is accurate or based on scientific evidence. Using websites on the internet such as government, nonprofit or university resources is important. Also, make sure your child has a comprehensive assessment. This includes medical, educational and psychological evaluations because there are other disorders that can mimic or occur along with ADHD.

Home Success with ADHD

Learn the tools of successful behavior management. Join a parent group. Parent training will teach you strategies to change your behavior and improve your relationship with your child. Also, it is important to notice your child’s successes. This will help boost your child’s self-confidence. Let them know you love and support them even on those days when it is hard. Spend daily unstructured time with your child. Having a special time together helps build their sense of self-worth. Help your child with social skills. Often children with ADHD have difficulties making friends because of their hyperactive or aggressive behaviors. Identify your child’s strengths. Children with ADHD often have strengths in sports, art, computers etc. Make sure your child has the opportunity participate in these activities. Do not withhold if your child misbehaves.  Seek professional help from a mental health professional who provides counseling for teens. Often parents feel stressed, frustrated and exhausted. Remember to take care of yourself. By working together with a professional it can help you understand how to best support your child and help relieve your feelings of stress.

Consistency

Consistency is an important part of Parenting a Child with ADHD.  Using good follow-through, recognizing positive behavior, and helping reduce your child’s stress can reduce your frustration as well as your child’s improving the quality of life for both.

School Success

Keep all information about the child. This includes copies of report cards, teacher notes, disciplinary records, evaluations, and documents from meetings that concern the child. Form a team that understands ADHD. Learn about your child’s educational rights and educational law under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Remember as a parent you are your child’s best advocate. Have a collaborative attitude with school staff. Everyone wants to see your child succeed.

All information was gathered from the National Resource Center on ADHD. For additional information or support please visit http://www.chadd.org/NRC.aspx

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Sandi McQueen

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