When you find out that your child has ADHD, it’s not uncommon to be shocked and concerned about what to expect. However, you should know that although ADHD can be limiting for a child, there are ways to manage it successfully. ADHD does not have to be the biggest factor in your life as a parent, nor does it define your child. Raising an ADHD child is achievable without losing your sanity with the right strategies and attitude.
Probably, the biggest challenge that a parent can have in raising an ADHD child is hyperactivity. All kids can be a bit boisterous when they are young and exploring the world around them but ADHD children can be particularly so.
Raising an ADHD child may require you to develop lightning fast reflexes and running skills as a child with ADHD can get away from you in the blink of an eye.
This hyperactivity can manifest itself in different ways. Some children tend to misbehave and be noisy, although it’s generally not due to willfulness.
Raising an ADHD child can require you to develop a high tolerance level for chaos. Nobody is ever prepared for the level of hyperactivity that children can have. What you need to do is make sure that their excess energy gets channeled into a productive outlet instead of a destructive activity.
Another challenge of raising an ADHD child lies in education. The structured environment of a classroom can pose some real difficulties for ADHD children. Because of their ADHD, some children have learning difficulties and to make matters more complicated a number may have learning disabilities too. Others may be particularly gifted in certain areas. In order for your child to get the most out their education the school and parents need to work together.
Speak to the school about the possibility of adapting the curriculum to fit in with your child’s needs. Ask the teacher to make allowances for their behaviors and to try and provide an environment that doesn’t distract them from learning. This could mean sitting at the front of every class away from window and next to students who offer a good role model.
Mixing up lessons so that they involve practical work as well as writing and desk-based work can also keep them interested for longer periods.
For younger children a sticker chart can provide motivation to complete tasks and also being given jobs to do that allow for movement, like handing out assignments or materials.
Maybe the greatest challenge that a parent will face in raising an ADHD child is treatment. Every parent wants the best for their child and it may seem that suppressing ADHD behaviors with medication is the way to go. Although prescription medicines like Ritalin may seem like an easy answer, it is important to remember that there are adverse effects of these medicines which could cause you to regret using them later in life.
There is a number of other treatment strategies that can help, from nutritional supplements and dietary interventions to biofeedback and behavioral therapies, along with herbal treatments and homeopathic remedies.
Not all of these treatments will work for every child so some trial and error may be involved in finding the right treatment, or a combination of treatments, to suit your child.
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Raising an ADHD child is just like raising any other child: you need to focus on what’s best for them, not what’s best for you.