ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a condition that affects many children across the world, perhaps as many as 11 percent. Being a parent of a child with this condition is not easy, and presents many more challenges than parenting a child without ADHD would do. In this case, being a good, attentive parent is a great start, but it may not be quite enough to keep your child happy. The good news is, with a little research and a lot of love, it is always possible to parent a child with ADHD brilliantly. Here are some useful tips for remember.
Know That There Are No Perfect Children
No parent likes to think that there is something different (in a potentially negative way) about their child and it can be easy to look at other children and think that they are perfect, and perhaps wonder why it was your child who was singled out to be different. Maybe you are worried about how they and you will cope in the future, for example, or that you don’t think you are going to be able to manage.
It’s essential when you are feeling like this to remember that there are no perfect children, and there are no perfect parents. All children come with their own set of issues and challenges, and that’s what makes the world an interesting place because everyone is different. So just because your child happens to have ADHD, don’t think of them as less than anyone else; that’s just their ‘quirk,’ and it can be met head-on.
Know Your Child
As a parent of a child with ADHD, you will hear all sorts of ‘bad news’ about your child. They may be labeled unmotivated or slow. They might even be thought of as a troublemaker. You know the truth because you know your child, and you can set everyone right about them.
A child with ADHD can succeed in life with the right kinds of support. Their minds might work differently, but that doesn’t mean they can’t gain knowledge and make a go of their lives; it just means they need to be taught in a slightly different way. That’s where expert teachers come in, and they can be invaluable. As long as you know and believe in your child, you can help them to do anything they want to do.
Work With Your Doctor
When it comes to ADHD, the right medication given at the right time can make a huge amount of difference to your child’s well-being. Speak to your doctor about which medication is going to benefit your child most. They may recommend Vyvanse, for example, and you can read more here. Although medication is extremely useful, it should always be coupled with understanding and the ability to talk to your child. That way, the two areas can complement one another; medication improves upon the work that is already being done in terms of behavior improvements. Your doctor will be able to speak to you about what kind of therapy can be used (if therapy is an appropriate measure).
Understand The Difference Between Discipline And Punishment
If you think of the stick and carrot approach, you can see that the stick is punishment whereas the carrot is good discipline. Discipline works better because it teaches the child why they should or should not do something. Punishment simply tells them they are wrong and does not explain. This is not a good idea because if a child can’t understand why what they did was ‘wrong,’ they could easily do it again, perhaps on purpose, but possibly without even realizing. Explaining why some behaviors are inappropriate, and maybe even offering alternatives to help them, is a much more useful approach.
Remember also that some behaviors cannot be controlled when it comes to ADHD. If this is the case, even if you feel as though you should punish your child, it’s best not to. They didn’t intend to do what they did; it is simply part of the condition you all have to live with. Becoming distracted, for example, when they are meant to be doing some other task, is one of the main symptoms of ADHD, and is part of your child’s genetic makeup.
Separate ADHD From Your Child
Parents need to be able to separate the condition from their child if they are going to deal with it successfully. The problem is that when you blame the child for the ADHD, their self-esteem drops dramatically, potentially make their behavior much worse. It’s far better to become a team with your child, and anyone else who can help, to ensure that the ADHD is the enemy and is dealt with firmly while your child is looked after with compassion and unconditional love. The child needs to feel supported in order to give their best.
Don’t Automatically Say No
Parents have to say no sometimes otherwise their child will get away with anything and everything and will not be able to become a productive member of society, whether they have ADHD or not. However, when it comes to good parenting, the key is to think first and then determine whether the answer should really be no. If the answer needs to be no for safety reasons, or because your child is unable to manage that particular activity, that’s one thing, but if it’s no because of another reason, perhaps a compromise can be found. For example, if they want to play outside, but they have an assignment to write, let them know that as soon as their work is done, they can go outside, but until then they have to work. This puts the outcome in their hands.
Simply changing how and why you say no (or yes) can change a difficult situation into a much easier, more pleasant one that has a positive outcome for everyone.
Reward Positive Behavior
As a parent of a child with ADHD, you can easily focus on the negative behavior traits and ignore the positive ones. Overlooking all the good that your child is doing can make for problems within the home, and eventually, they will stop doing the positive things because they are getting no recognition for them.
Therefore, it is essential that you look at everything your child does and reward the good things so that they can continue. The reward can be as simple as giving them a hug or praising them; it doesn’t have to be anything material.