Kids with ADHD often lose track of their things, have difficulty staying on top of homework and seem generally scattered when attending to chores or assigned tasks.
The impulsivity makes them little defiant devils. They know what to do but they don’t do what they know. They can get easily overstimulated and overreact to frustration or challenges.
Poor parents are completely lose and confused as to whether to be firm or be patient, while trying to strike the delicate balance of believing in your child’s abilities and protecting him from the pitfalls of ADHD.
Kids with ADHD may have “hair-trigger, fight-or-flight reactions to stress,” which can make the already challenging task of parenting even more so. Parent ADHD children is not that much more different than regular parenting, just more patience, persistence and consistency. Fortunately, there are many effective strategies and rewards.
Here are some strategies to answer some of questions you have about parenting ADHD children:
1. Stay calm and set limits on your own behavior.
First of all, it is important that parents stay calm. You can’t put out a fire by keeping pouring fuel in it. We have the tendency to over-react to our children unexplained tantrum or nonsense outburst. Remember, these kids just get frustrated easily. You just need to be patient with them to figure their frustration. It could be some very minute issue that can be easily fixed. So pay attention to yourself if you have a tendency to over-react.
Arguing with your child won’t get you anywhere. Try to understand his/her frustration, and then guide them toward a better solution.
The key is to support and patience, and let them know you’re there for them.
2. Create structure and routine, set limitations, and be patience.
Create structure. Use star charts for young children, calendars and planners for older ones, and set clear rules and routines. Structured routine helps the child to feel safe and he/she would know exactly what to expect, instead of fearing loss of control or the unknown.
Create a schedule for homework and playtime. Help your child understand and follow the schedule. Same for bed time routine – you take a bath, brush your teeth, use the potty the last time before bed, bedtime story, then lights out.
Set your time limit for bedtime story. I have a family where the parents told me they would spend over an hour reading bedtime story to their daughter at night, and they would both ended up falling asleep before their daughter falls asleep.
3. Help your kids to make wise choices and focus on his/her strengths.
Provide many opportunities for your child to respond and make decisions. Give your child two predetermined choices that steer him/her in the right direction. Basically, you already made the choices for them. But to your child, they feel they’re making the choice, and are more likely to go with the result.
For example, “Do you want to do your math or your science assignment next?” or “Before we can go, your room needs to be picked up. Do you want to start with the clothes on the bed or clear the top of your desk?”
Focus on your child’s resourcefulness, creativity and individuality. The same self-determination and stubborness that are driving us nuts today will serve your child right tomorrow. Picture him as a tireless entrepreneur, attorney, or doing any work he feels passionate about.
In my opinion, some children diagnosed with ADHD because they’re different. It’s not really because there’s something wrong with them mentally. Children with ADHD children are very creativity and intelligent children who learns and perceive the world differently, and we should honor and respect that difference.
It’s the parents’ responsibility to provide a nurturing environment to help your children thrive and succeed in his/her strengths and talents.
Think of yourself as a coach. Your job is to coach your child to successful socially, emotionally and academically. My only advice for your to patience, and a lot of love. Don’t get discouraged if you have to repeat yourself over and over again.
Sometimes I feel like pulling my hair out. But, at the same time, I’m glad that she has a strong personality, which will serve her well in the future.
Forget about the competition, and don’t compare your child to other children. ADHD children are sensitive to tension from competition. Encourage them to compete against themselves from yesterday.
4. Use reasonable consequences for rule-breaking. Tackle one issue at a time.
First of all, rules should be clear and understandable. Always write is down and all parties involved should agree to the rule.
I tape my daughter’s house rules and chores list to her bathroom mirror, so she sees it everyday, and if there’s argument later, we can always go back to the list.
Create and consistently enforce positive consequences for positive behaviors and negative consequences for negative behaviors.
Ask your child what should the reward/consequence be. This creates commitment from your child, and if they do break the rules, they’ll more likely abide by THEIR chosen consequences. On the same token, they’ll get exactly what they want if they demonstrated the desired behaviors.
Remember, not everything has to be fixed or perfect. You need to choose the best batter to fight. Some battles are just not worth the energy to deal with when you have other more important issues at hand. Don’t stress the small stuff.
5. Expect rule-breaking, and realize that your child isn’t misbehaving on purpose.
Children are programmed to break rules, with or without ADHD. That’s kids. Maybe it’s meant to be no rules?
When your child misbehave or break a rule, correct him/her right away the same way a police officer gives you a ticket. He doesn’t take it personally or groan or yell, “I can’t believe you did that again! Why do you do this to me?” Like the officer, be respectful, consistent, and matter-of-fact.
Parents in general subconsciously assume their children is misbehaving to get attention or to get the parents upset. In reality, children are very goal-oriented and do what they do with the hope of obtaining an outcome they seek, which may not necessarily be the same outcome that we wanted, such as avoiding homework, chores and bedtime.
Every time your child refuses to do what you asked them to do, ask them for a reason. Honor their independent thinking and consider what part of it you can compromise, but insist that your child respect your rules while respect her independent thinking and logic.
You’ll need more trials and exposure to consistent consequences with children with ADHD in order for them to learn. It’s not that they didn’t learn from the last time, but they’re constantly challenging you and hoping that you’ll give in to their demands. You have to be consistent and persistent with your discipline.
6. Advocate for your child when appropriate and avoid muting a headstrong child.
Certain accommodations might be necessary for your child because of his or her ADHD. However, you still want to encourage kids to cultivate their abilities.
Palladino gives an example of finding this tricky balance: “… stand up for his right for an accommodation like talking books, but encourage and expect him to learn to read fluently, giving him time, attention, a tutor, and most especially, your belief that he can.”
One of the mistakes parents can make is trying to turn a spirited, willful child into one that never questions authority and accepts all that is said ‘just because I said so’ as a parent.
Instead, he suggests that parents accept that some children will protest and talk back, and parents must set a limit that on the one hand realizes that children need at least some way to express their frustration, while still enforcing reasonable standards and rules.
7. Educate yourself about ADHD and attention.
Knowing how ADHD symptoms affect your child is essential. You might think that your child is being stubborn or behaving a certain way on purpose, but these actions may be symptoms of ADHD.
Kapalka suggests parents also educate themselves about ADHD’s causes and child development. (You can refer to books on ADHD or talk to a therapist who specializes in ADHD.)
The other important part is educating yourself about attention and learning when your child is at his or her peak of productivity. Knowing when your child can concentrate best helps you chunk assignments into manageable steps, allow breaks to decrease tension, alternate interesting and boring tasks, and keep his adrenaline-based brain chemicals pumping with a steady stream of just the right amount of stimulation.
8. Help your child adjust to change.
Children with ADHD have difficulty transitioning to a new task, or any new changes, especially if they’re hyper-focused on the present activity or are used to a certain routine.
It’s important for parents to understand this and give your child enough time to mentally process the upcoming changes. Help your child to identify the emotion and let them know it’s okay to feel that way. Kids behave badly when they are upset, sad or afraid.
This is important, unless you don’t mind dealing with a crying and whining child on supposedly fun family vacation, visit from guests or a new babysitter. Even small changes, such as transitioning to a new task or activity, can turn into an ordeal easily.
9. Cut yourself some slack and celebrate being a parent.
Raising a child who is impulsive and defiant is one of the most challenging tasks any person will ever attempt. Accept your child’s uniqueness and live with it. Celebrate that your child is special and talented in his/her own way.
Trust me, every family has there issue. Our’s maybe a difficult child. But do you really want to trade your special child for other people’s nastier issues?
We all love our children, and that’s all it counts. Let your child be him/herself. Make sure they’re well fed, have a safe and nurturing environment to thrive. Spend some time each day with your child with your full attention. Look them in the eyes, touch them lovingly and listen closely to what they have to tell you.
Among all those frustrations of parenting, don’t forget to celebrate being a parent. Many couples out there struggle to have their own child. And we’re all blessed here with our unique bundle of joy.
Every child is special…embrace their individuality.