ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
Being the Parent of a Child with ADHD
Being the Parent of a Child with ADHD
Raising children isn’t easy. All parents experience the occasional challenges that come with having kids, but if you have a child with ADD or ADHD, you will likely face hurdles that other parents don’t.
Children with ADD or ADHD have difficulty staying focused, are often impulsive, and exhibit hyperactivity. As a result of these symptoms, they may have difficulty in social situations, low self-esteem, and poor performance in school.
What You Can Do
Fortunately, ADD and ADHD are treatable. Although there is no cure, your child’s doctor will likely recommend medications or other treatments. There are also many techniques that can help you manage your child’s needs.
At the same time, it’s important to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself too. You’ll be healthier, more at ease, and have more energy to handle challenges that you and your child encounter.
Tip 1: Provide Structure
Children with ADD have difficulty with change. While some change in life is unavoidable, creating a predictable schedule that is as mellow and organized as possible will help your child to feel safe and comfortable.
Giving children a warning and countdown when you’re about to switch from one activity to another. This will help your child change gears more smoothly.
Tip 2: Positive Discipline
Children with ADD and ADHD often need to learn new habits to improve their learning and social skills. The Mayo Clinic recommends encouraging these changes with positivity and rewards.
After some time, the behavior change will become solid and further rewards likely won’t be necessary. Promoting the good behavior, rather than punishing the bad, goes a long way toward preventing tantrums.
Tip 3: Take a Breather
It takes a lot of energy to provide your child with continuous positive support. Be sure to take some time for yourself, away from your child, to re-fuel. Sometimes just stepping into a quiet room to take a few long, relaxing breaths can help you feel calm, refreshed, and ready to tackle the next challenge.
Tip 4: Take Time Away
You may also find it helpful to take longer breaks away from your child. Book a babysitter and set scheduled dates with your significant other, longtime friends, or even with your other children. Just a few hours of personal time can make a world of difference to your own mental state.
Resist any impulse you may have to feel guilty about taking time for yourself. By scheduling personal time, you are caring for yourself, which will allow you to be a better caregiver for your child.
Tip 5: Share Stories
Your friends may not have children with ADD or ADHD, but they might still be going through similar struggles. By opening yourself up to those closest to you, you'll relieve some of the pressure. You may also find that you and your friends can learn from one another. Having a strong support network can help you feel less alone in your struggles.
Tip 6: Focus on Your Child
The symptoms of ADD and ADHD are similar to what some would call “bad behavior.” It’s important to remember that having ADD or ADHD doesn’t mean that your child is “bad.” Focus on remembering that your child is good, but that the symptoms of ADD and ADHD can be difficult to manage.
Tip 7: Look to the Future
It’s also helpful to know that childhood doesn’t last forever. The Mayo Clinic reports that most children with ADD and ADHD grow into healthy adults. With your support and encouragement—along with any doctor-recommended treatments or medications—your child can make improvements and enjoy a happy childhood.
- ADHD: What Parents Need to Know. (2013). University of Michigan Health System. Retrieved June 12, 2013, from http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/adhd.htm
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – Behavioral Management. (2009, January 22) University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved June 12, 2013, from http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/managing_attention-deficit_hyperactivity_disorder_000030_9.htm
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Children: Coping and Support. (2013, March 5). Medscape Reference. Retrieved June 12, 2013, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/adhd/DS00275/DSECTION=coping-and-support