ADHD and Parenting: How You Can Do It
There are two major negative emotions in the lives of parents of children suffering from ADHD —frustration when your child just doesn’t seem to listen, and the guilt of getting upset with your child for something they can’t control. When your child ignores directions which have been given dozens of times, gets distracted in a busy public area, leaves a mess wherever they go or destroys property, it can push you to the limit of your patience. Yet you know that this isn’t just acting out or bad behaviour, it’s a diagnosed disorder that they would never have chosen for themselves.
This means you have to be constantly monitoring your child, often just protecting them from themselves. It can leave you anxious, stressed and completely exhausted. How do you address this?
Here are a few important things you need to remember to keep yourself from burning out:
Try and Stay Calm
A calm, clear mind is a mind that can focus and cut through the clutter. A home with a child with ADHD can be complete chaos, but as long as you keep yourself focused, you can help your child be focused as well.
Don’t Blame Your Child
Always remember that your child’s behaviour is not voluntary. Feelings of blame towards your child will only cause resentment and anxiety in your relationship, which will go nowhere towards helping their behaviour.
Pick Your Battles
If your child is almost through with their chores, but gets distracted before the last one, don’t sweat it. Try to see the bigger picture and maintain realistic expectations. Focus on the effort your child has made rather than the results.
Enjoy Your Child
If you’re constantly focused on your child’s bad behaviour, you might miss out on all the wonderful things they have to offer you. Cherishing your child just for the person they are will also motivate you to push through the challenges of parenting. Children with ADHD require physical contact and it is constructive to their growth.
Take Care of Yourself
You are your child’s rock and inspiration. They will learn and get strength from your healthy choices. As long as you are looking after yourself, you’re in a position to look after your child. Acknowledge when you’re tired or feeling sick and ask for help so that you can take a break.
Don’t Feel Guilty About Taking a Break
Find relatives or babysitters you can trust and develop a routine with them. Not only do you deserve the break, but you need it too so that you can be a better and calmer parent.
Make a Schedule and Stick To It
Children suffering from ADHD need structure, structure and more structure. They’re more likely to complete tasks if they occur in predictable patterns. Create a routine and only adjust it in case of emergencies, and even then, give your child advance notice. Involve your child either in the ideation of the schedule and in its implementation—make and fill charts and timetables together.
Fill the house with clocks to make it easier for your child to follow their schedule. For new tasks, such as a school project or weekend chores, especially with younger children, using a timer can help them stay on plan.
Always Ensure You’re Understood
Children with ADHD have trouble remembering even simple instructions, so it’s important to be thorough. Get their attention, use language they understand and be specific. Ask them to repeat what you’ve said. Don’t overload them with instructions, but reward them for every completed task with an acknowledgement. If they have anything to say in response, listen to them and try to come to a compromise.
Teach your children that it’s important to always do what you say, by being a good example yourself. Ensure that all adults who supervise your child follow the same routine.
Consider Getting a Pet
It may not seem like a great idea when you already have a child to deal with, but a pet can help teach your child responsibility. Studies also show that a pet can keep depression and stress at bay.
O'Leary, N. (2013, November 02). Your ADHD Child: Easy Parenting Techniques -. Retrieved February 13, 2017, from https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/add-adhd/parenting-adhd-child-easy-techniques-work/
ADHD Parenting Tips. (n.d.). Retrieved February 13, 2017, from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/add-adhd/attention-deficit-disorder-adhd-parenting-tips.htm
Parenting Kids with ADHD: 16 Tips to Tackle Common Challenges. (2016, July 17). Retrieved February 13, 2017, from https://psychcentral.com/lib/parenting-kids-with-adhd-16-tips-to-tackle-common-challenges/all/1/
If you, or anyone you know, has a child diagnosed with ADHD, don't hesitate to reach out to us. An InnerHour therapist can help you.
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