Important Things to Know When Parenting an ADHD Child
If you have a child that is diagnosed with ADHD, you know that it can be entirely overwhelming. Your child may seem like they do not want to listen and pay attention to you, but it is not an error on their part. When children with ADHD are given the right tools and support, they can have a great, happy upbringing.
What is ADHD? ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is what is known as a neurodevelopmental disorder that is commonly diagnosed in early childhood. ADHD in children is being recognized more, as more is being learned about the disorder. Likewise, Society being more open to understanding mental health also opens up the discussion. When topics are talked about more, education on the subject is further accessible to the public, and in the case of ADHD in children, parents can know how to help their child succeed.
When children have ADHD, they have a significantly harder time concentrating and controlling impulses than most individuals. Some might say that all kids behave that way and while that is true to an extent, kids with ADHD experience this behavior even more than other children their age. This disorder affects every part of the child's life; socializing, extra-curricular hobbies, and life at home. It makes it especially hard for them to concentrate in school.
The symptoms of ADHD are usually divided into two categories. The first is inattentive behaviors and the second category is hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. Inattentive behaviors include getting distracted quickly and not paying attention when people are speaking. Difficulty with organization and following instructions when they are given are inattentive symptoms of ADHD as well. Another common symptom is being forgetful in general.
Hyperactive and impulsive symptoms can include being restless, which consists of a lot of fidgeting and running. Someone with these symptoms will seem like they always have somewhere else to be. They also experience a considerable amount of impatience and a need to talk over people. Kids diagnosed with ADHD may only have one group of symptoms or both. It differs from person to person.
You may be thinking, "how do I go about parenting my ADHD child?" Well, there are a few key things to keep in mind. The first is that prevention is the best medicine. That means that the earlier your child gets treatment for their disorder, the better off they will be. The chance of preventing problems in your child's life, like an inability to socialize or even drug abuse, goes up because good coping mechanisms and habits are being ingrained in your child from a young age.
It is also important to note that it is nobody's fault. Most of the time, ADHD is inherited. Your child being diagnosed with ADHD does not mean that you are or were a bad parent. It also does not mean that your child is bad. They are trying their best to learn to live with ADHD just like you, as a parent, are trying to educate yourself as much as you can in order to help your child. You and your child are working together to fight this battle. You have others like; teachers, guidance counselors, and therapists that will aid you in this fight as well.
Teachers have a big effect on every child's life growing up. Informing your child's teachers on their situation can make all the difference. The teachers can then know what to do if a situation with your child arises. For example, if it seems like your child is not paying attention to the lesson, the teacher will know that your child is not doing it on purpose and will calmly speak to them instead of taking disciplinary actions for a disrespectful student.
Similar to teachers, guidance counselors also have a role to play in your child's life when they are in school. Making sure that the guidance counselor that is assigned to your child is informed of the situation can make things smoother for them at school. Being informed of someone's mental illnesses or disorders always changes the scope of the situation. An action that would be perceived as insulting is then met with understanding and handled with care.
Having your child see a therapist that is educated about the ins and outs of ADHD will benefit them greatly as well. A therapist that specializes in working with children and families is a good option. There are many misconceptions about therapy, such as therapists just wanting to give your child medication, but that is not true at all.
A therapist is a guide. They are there to teach your child healthy ways to improve their lives and skills that will benefit your child into adulthood. Therapists help ADHD children learn behavioral therapy and ways to deal with impulse control. They are also there to help educate you about your child's disorder and how you can be of help. If you are open to it, you may also talk to the therapist about your struggles. Dealing with ADHD is stressful for everyone that cares about the patient. A therapist can teach you healthy ways to cope. Therapists give families the tools that they need to better their lives.
With these tools, parents are able to parent an ADHD child significantly better. They can build an appropriate disciplinary system that will help, instead of harm their child. Children can learn how to socialize more effectively and most importantly, the communication between parent and child greatly improves. Your child knows that you are on their side and they feel more loved.
One of the most important things a parent with an ADHD child can do is be open-minded to the journey. That may mean putting preconceived notions about ADHD and counseling to the side for the greater benefit of your child. Educating yourself with reliable resources from medical professionals, therapists, books, websites, and foundations contributes to the journey too. With many tools, like therapy, at your child's disposal and your continued support, ADHD is conquerable.
Below are some items that are especially helpful for children/teens with ADHD. Click on the images for the listing and to order.
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