Parenting a Child With ADHD

Parenting a Child With ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurobehavioral condition that affects just over 6 million preschoolers, grade-schoolers, and adolescents — or almost 10% of all children — in the United States.

While kids of all ages (including most teens) are sometimes restless, unfocused, and indifferent to adult direction, it’s much harder for children with ADHD to stay focused, sit quietly, listen attentively, transition from one situation to another, follow instructions, and control impulsive behavior.

That’s because ADHD impacts the frontal lobe of a child’s brain, or the area that governs a vital set of cognitive processes and higher-order self-regulating skills known as executive function.

If you’re raising a child with ADHD, you know it takes an extra dose of patience, care, and understanding to maintain normal household rules and routines, especially when your son or daughter needs constant reminding, won’t sit still, or has intense emotional outbursts.

But if you’re like most parents, you don’t simply want to help your child get through each day unscathed — you want to provide them with the kind of consistency, structure, warmth, and sense of safety to help them thrive and develop into centered, well-adjusted adults.

Your parenting approach is an integral component of your child’s ADHD treatment process. Here’s how you can help them overcome obstacles and learn the skills they need to manage their condition successfully.

Be curious and engaged

To be as involved and engaged as possible, it’s important to learn all you can about ADHD and how it impacts your child. Although its effects can vary greatly, most symptoms fall into two general categories: Behaviors that are inattentive or unfocused, and behaviors that are impulsive or hyperactive.

Although many of your child’s symptoms may fall into a single category, most kids who are diagnosed with ADHD experience a combination of inattentive, impulsive, and hyperactive symptoms. Working with an experienced therapist to identify your child’s specific issues is the first step in figuring out the best ways to help them improve and develop.

Take it one step at a time

Effective ADHD treatment requires a customized, multidisciplinary approach that addresses each aspect of your child’s disorder. Because ADHD can affect your child in a variety of ways, their treatment plan may combine behavioral management therapy with cognitive strategies, talk therapy, and, if appropriate, medication.

As a primary area of focus for most kids with ADHD, behavioral management therapy aims to teach children how to monitor and control their actions by encouraging desired behaviors and discouraging negative ones.

Because it can take a great deal of energy, patience, and strength to provide the kind of consistent positive feedback (and appropriate consequences) that lead to successful behavior modification, it’s important to keep things simple: Start small, praise your child’s effort, stay consistent, and don’t try to work on everything all at once.

Establish a daily routine

While learning new behaviors can be hard for any child, adapting to change can be especially challenging for kids with ADHD. To help set them up for success, establish a daily routine and create a structured home environment that gives them the space they need to learn, make mistakes, find their equilibrium, grow, and simply be a kid.

No matter what your child’s age, establishing daily rituals and routines around mealtime, homework, playtime, and bedtime can give them the sense of structure and safety they need to flourish every day and keep progressing.

If any part of their daily routine makes your child feel overwhelmed, however, you can limit distractions by breaking larger tasks into more manageable pieces.

While younger kids may need step-by-step guidance to get through their morning routine, homework, or chores with ease, older kids can often manage their responsibilities with detailed lists, color-coded calendars, and other organizational tools.

Have confidence in your child

As a parent, you may feel that ADHD puts your child at a disadvantage by giving them an extra set of obstacles to overcome. While inattentive, impulsive, and hyperactive behaviors can certainly be both challenging and disruptive at times, ADHD can also give your child the gift of boundless energy, exceptional creativity, and wonderful interpersonal skills.

Showing your child you love them unconditionally and have confidence in their abilities is one of the best ways to help them reach their full potential. Your child’s mind may be different, but they can still learn, grow, develop, and succeed like any other child.

Here at Progressive Behavioral Health, we know that ADHD is a complex condition that affects each child in a highly individual way. If you’re interested in finding better parenting strategies and treatment solutions for your family, we can help.

Call your nearest office in Friendswood or Katy, Texas, today, or use the easy online tool to schedule an appointment with one of our ADHD experts.

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