If you're parenting a child that has been diagnosed with ADHD, you likely find it a solid explanation for some extra stress you might have experienced so far as a parent. ADHD, short for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a mental health condition that affects the ability of your child to control focus, stay organized, plan ahead, and control impulses. Dealing with some of these challenging behaviors in a productive way for your child takes some intentional steps.
Keep Things in Perspective
Before you even start making note of actionable ideas, willing yourself to take a look at things from your child’s perspective will go a long way in making the steps you take to help your child a lot easier. Children with ADHD aren’t acting out with the intention of causing frustration (at least no more than other children), rather they lack some of the innate abilities that other children have when it comes to thinking about the results of their actions and organizing their thoughts, making controlling impulses and focus more difficult.
If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, it could be a good idea to see a professional to see if you possibly have ADHD as well. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that ADHD is often genetic and finding that you do have ADHD can certainly help you keep in mind what worked and didn’t work for you as a child.
Keep Things Positive
It’s impossible to say too much about the power of positivity. Children with ADHD often get reprimanded or told “no” more than other children due to the fact that their impulsivity can lead to problematic behaviors. This doesn’t mean that you should start excusing poor behavior, but it does mean that you may need to make some extra efforts to praise your child and offer them encouragement. Relying on positive reinforcement, such as creating a reward system for accomplishments and good behavior, is the best strategy to teach appropriate behavior and boost your child’s self-esteem.
Again, you should absolutely correct inappropriate behavior, but you will also benefit from choosing your battles wisely. Focus on the most serious behaviors that need to be addressed, such as if your child tends to hit things out of frustration, and learn not to sweat the small stuff sometimes if your child is having a hard day. , like if your child forgot to clean up. Offer praise and rewards when they were able to not hit things and use healthy coping skills to calm down orand save addressing their occasional messiness for another day.
Create Additional Structure and Stay Consistent
Creating a consistent schedule is a great way to provide comfort for your child and to help them build disciplined skills in organization. When your child knows what to expect, it makes it easier for them to stay focused on tasks and to feel confident in their own success. Keep your reward system as consistent as possible with clear expectations of what will happen if they follow through and what will happen if they don’t. Children with ADHD also do well when things are explained to them rather than simply told, so be sure to be prepared when creating your schedule and reward system.
Following these strategies, along with making sure your child is eating healthy and getting plenty of physical activity, can be a solid step in the right direction in helping your child with ADHD thrive.
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