Parenting an ADHD child can be a bit of a roller coaster ride emotionally. ADHD children can be funny, inspirational creative, and gifted in lots of ways, as well as having challenging behaviors.
A child with ADHD needs special care and attention. Providing the best possible attention and care for your child requires a deep understanding of what ADHD is all about. The first vital step is for parents to learn how ADHD affects their child at home, in school and socially.
Significantly, there are 3 main symptoms of ADHD: Hyperactivity, Inattention, and Impulsiveness.
Hyperactivity – This is said to be the most understood yet misunderstood indication of ADHD. This is the inability of a child to sit still for any period of time. Playing with objects, fidgeting, talking too much, and being in constant motion are some examples of hyperactivity.
Inattention – This is either the inability to give attention to a specific matter or flitting from one thing to another. A child with ADHD finds it hard to block out distractions and concentrate on one specific item or task. Some symptoms of inattention are daydreams, distraction from work, making careless mistakes and being disorganized.
Impulsiveness – This means “living in the moment”. A child with ADHD tends to take hold of everything that is interesting for him or her. They may immediately grab something without worrying if it might be inappropriate or without considering any consequences that may arise from that action. In short, they act before they think. A child who cannot wait for things, interrupts other people, and answers questions before they’re even finished being asked displays impulsiveness.
These symptoms can make it exhausting and seem time-consuming to raise a child with ADHD.
So, here are some steps parents can take to help them in raising kids with ADHD:
- Join a support group. This can be really helpful as you benefit from the experiences of others and can bounce ideas off each other.
- Be aware of your child’s ADHD – most of the time they are not being naughty and ignoring or defying you. The reason for their actions is because of the ADHD. It is important for parents to discern the difference between the being naughty and defiant, and the symptoms of ADHD.
- Just like any family establishing a child-parent relationship is extremely important. For this relationship to work, parents need to make time for their child. The emphasis here is on quality time rather than quantity. An hour spent watching TV together is no the same as 15 minutes talking and listening to your child. Find time in your day to incorporate ways of spending quality time with your child for example around the dinner table or before bedtime.
- Be a good role model to your child. Children usually imitate the behaviors that they witness so make sure you show them positive examples.
- It is okay to be firm, yet kind to discipline your child. Be sure to remain calm especially when facing difficult situations. Establish ground rules and expectations about behaviors, be clear on what will happen if these rules are broken and always follow through with the punishment. Just as important is to acknowledge when your child has done something right. Ensure you give them praise and rewards for good behavior too. It is all too easy to focus on the negative and forget the good stuff.
- Tell your child that you love them. ADHD sufferers are used to hearing how naughty they have been and they can often fail to realize that parents love them. By feeling loved and wanted children’s self-esteem and behavior can improve.
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If you manage to add these approaches when parenting an ADHD child you should find your job as a parent becomes easier and your child clearer on what is acceptable behavior. Stay patient, remain positive and don’t lose hope.