Parenting the ADHD Child

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Anyone who has children can understand that parenting is one of the most difficult jobs in the world. If you are parenting a child with ADHD it can cause even more stress. Part of the problem is that ADHD is a very misunderstood disorder and more often than not the parent is seen as the cause of the problem. Some people really believe that ADHD is not real at all and is just an excuse for bad behavior on the part of the child and a lack of discipline on the part of the parent. When a parent feels they have to ‘defend’ the diagnosis it can add to the difficulties rather than help.

Even though there is more and more information about ADHD available and I see more TV shows and articles about the topic recently, I am still shocked to find so many inaccurate statements about the cause and solution to the many difficulties that are caused by ADHD. Recently I watched an episode of Supernanny about a family that had seven children and one of them was struggling with ADHD. I was pleased at how she handled the situation and educated the parents about how they could help their child deal with his issues in a helpful way. The difference between a misunderstood ADHD child and one that is talked to with respect and is shown effective ways to handle their difficulties is like night and day.

When a child with ADHD is in the correct environment and is supported in a helpful way they can thrive. When they are in the wrong environment and are treated harshly for their ‘bad behavior’ it can make the problem worse. I’ve had many readers email me with their difficulties in raising an ADHD child and the harsh judgments from others towards their children and themselves. It is truly heartbreaking to know that these kids and their parents are often being mistreated because of a lack of understanding about their disorder.

It would be appalling to see someone berate a child that can’t see because they ran into someone, or a child who can’t hear is told that if they just ‘try harder’ they will be able to hear. The main difference here is that ADHD is one of those hidden disorders that you don’t see immediately when you look at someone. The difficulties experienced by someone who has ADHD are different for everyone. The good news is that there are treatments and solutions that can make life a whole lot easier for those with ADHD!

Some quick tips to keep in mind when parenting an ADHD child:

• Use positive reinforcement to teach your child what is expected of them and to reinforce positive behavior

• Praise your child when they are good and be specific about what it is that you are proud of –Adhd children get so many negative messages that they need to be reminded that they aren’t all bad.

• Be an advocate for your child at school. Educate your child’s teachers and the faculty about your child's needs, and also make certain to point out your child's strengths as well as their weaknesses

• A child with ADHD can be very distractible and forgetful, so keep directions simple and focus on only one or two tasks at a time. Try to use the same routine whenever possible.

• Make sure your child is paying attention to you when you speak. Keep eye contact with your child while giving directions, even if it means turning their head to look at you.

• Be sure your child knows and understands ahead of time exactly what is expected of him or her. You may need to remind you child often, or to list the rules in writing if the child is old enough to read.

• Use immediate consequences to decrease negative behaviors so that your child understands the negative behaviors that prompted them.

By : Guest Author - Megan Dlugokinski


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