Trying to instill a sense of order and structure while raising kids is normally a tall order for most parents. For parents of children with ADHD this can seem near impossible at times.
Children with ADHD can act out in impulsive behaviors, have trouble with organization, and struggle to finish tasks.
In these cases, some extra support is needed to help the child succeed and to stay focused. Children with ADHD often act without thinking ahead and find it hard to think about consequences of their actions.
When it comes to helping a child with ADHD find stability and structure, one of the most valuable things they need is consistency.
As a parent, there are so many opportunities that can help create consistency for your children. These can include rules for your home, a schedule of activities you can plan throughout the week, a set of consequences for poor behavior, a set of rewards for good behavior, and most importantly, affirmation of your children on a regular basis.
The first step in all of this is setting clear expectations for your children. This means setting clear boundaries between what is appropriate behavior and inappropriate behavior. It also means explaining exactly what will happen if they step out of those boundaries.
Rewards for good behavior should mostly be small immediate rewards, but larger rewards to work towards are also helpful. The one exception to the idea of consistency is that rewards should routinely be changed up, since children with ADHD tend to get bored of their reward if it is always the same. Things like privileges and activities tend to work best. These rewards should be rewarded based on consistent standards, and should always be followed through with.
On the other hand, consequences need to happen immediately at the point of performance. Consequences should be made known in advance for specific behaviors. For kids with ADHD, it is especially important for consequences to be consistent; a poor behavior shouldn’t have a consequence in one instance, and then go without a consequence the next time.
Most importantly, it is crucial to give affirmation to children with ADHD when they do succeed on a regular basis. Children with ADHD are often used to getting negative feedback and criticism, which can be the basis of low self-esteem and feeling like a failure. However, affirmation along with structure and support help children with ADHD to overcome their struggles and allow them to flourish.