If you are the parent of a child diagnosed with ADHD, you may have a lot of questions. After all, what is the right way to parent a child who has the condition? The first answer, or the healthiest way to view the issue, is to understand that your role as the parent is to help the child. You will find below valuable Tips for Parenting a Child with ADHD.
A child with ADHD (or the similar condition called ADD – which is the same set of symptoms without any signs of hyperactivity) is going to have a noticeable deficit in what is known as “executive function”. This means that your child is not going to be able to organize their own thoughts, plan or think ahead, control their impulses, and properly complete tasks. Thus, your role is to serve as that executive function and help the child to develop these skills for themselves.
The Appropriate Responses
You might ask “don’t all children experience this lack of executive function?” and the answer would be yes and no. While all children must be taught about planning, controlling themselves, and completing things, the child with ADHD will be unable to master these things. They will have no control over their learning abilities and will seem to act out in a willful manner when that is far from the truth.
As an example – you are in a waiting room with your children. You tell them to sit in the play area and to play quietly. The child with ADHD really will want to do this, but will not know how to go about remaining quiet and following this request. This shows that the child with the condition may end up just as frustrated and upset as the parent whose requests they just cannot seem to follow.
Accept the realities and develop a good attitude
So, how do you parent a child with ADHD? The first step is to accept the realities and develop a good attitude towards them. If you fully accept the fact that you will face many challenges, you can begin to keep them in perspective. For example, a parent who knows that most of the child’s behaviours are not intentional can often see the lighter side of even a challenging time. They can put everything into balance and have realistic expectations.
The next parenting tip is to find support. Whether you make friends with other parents of children with ADHD or seek counselling in order to reassure yourself that you are making the right decisions, it is important to have a support system.
Develop very rigid structure
When you are actively parenting, it means that your next step is to develop very rigid structure in the household. This may be exhausting and challenging, but kids with ADHD respond very well to fixed routines. They also do better when they are busy. This means that organization is key.
Unfortunately, many kids with ADHD also prefer a simplified schedule. So, how do you keep them busy while also keeping the schedule relatively simple? You just create a daily routine that incorporates every possible facet of the day. You create time for schoolwork, play time, bed, chores, and special activities. For example, you can incorporate 45 minutes of “craft time” that ensures the child is kept busy as you make dinner or tackle your own chores – or even as a time that you “wind down” together.
It is also very useful if the ADHD child lives in a well-organized home as their thoughts may be chaotic enough without the additional problem of a chaotic living space. You can easily keep the child busy by creating spaces for them and making setup and cleanup times part of their at home routines too.
Children with ADHD can be tiring and challenging, but you can make sure that you don’t miss out on the joy of raising your child by following these Tips for Parenting a Child with ADHD.
Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas.