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Parenting Tips for Nurturing an ADHD Child

by on 30/05/2018 7906

The biggest hurdle to managing ADHD is acceptance, accepting that there is a problem. With its hallmark symptoms of impulsive behavior or acting out inappropriately, ADHD can often be mistakenly attributed to poor parenting or a lack of discipline. If you think your child may have ADHD, seek help. Though there is no one-size-fits-all treatment, there are many types of treatments available to help manage ADHD.


Raising a child with ADHD isn’t like traditional childrearing. Normal rule-making and household routines can become almost impossible. Hence, you’ll need to adopt different approaches depending on the type and severity of your child’s symptoms. At times it can become frustrating to cope with some of the behaviours which result from your child’s ADHD, but there are always ways to make life a little bit easier.


Fostering the development of a child with ADHD means that you will have to modify your behavior and learn to manage the behavior of your child. Behavioural techniques for managing a child’s ADHD symptoms must always be in place. By following these guidelines, you can limit destructive behavior and help your child overcome self-doubt.


Behaviour management therapy

There are two basic principles of behaviour management therapy. Treatment involves teaching children different methods of responding to situations more positively. The first is encouraging and rewarding good behavior (positive reinforcement). The second is removing rewards by following bad behavior with appropriate consequences (punishment). You teach your child to understand that actions have consequences by establishing rules and clear outcomes for following or disobeying these rules. These principles must be followed in every area of a child’s life. That means at home, in the classroom and in the social arena. It may take children some time to trust their counselor – this is normal. However, they will eventually warm up to them if they feel they can express themselves freely without consequences.


Acceptable and non-acceptable behaviour

The goal of behavioural modification is to help your child consider the consequences of an action and control the impulse to act on it. This requires empathy, patience, affection, energy and strength on the part of the parents. Parents must first decide which behaviours they will and will not tolerate. After making this decision, it is crucial that you stick to these guidelines. Punishing a behaviour one day and allowing it the next is detrimental to a child’s improvement. Some behaviours should always be unacceptable, like physical outbursts, refusal to get up in the morning, or unwillingness to turn off the television when told to do so. Rules should be simple and clear and children should be rewarded for following them. For example, allow your child to accrue points for good behavior that can be redeemed for spending money, time in front of the television or a new video game. If you have a list of house rules, write them down and put them where they’re easy to see. Repetition and positive reinforcement can help your child better understand your rules.


Define the rules, but allow some flexibility

Remember that children with ADHD may not adapt to change as well as others. You must learn to allow your child to make mistakes as they learn. Odd behavior that are not detrimental to your child or anyone else should be accepted as part of your child’s individual personality. It is ultimately harmful to discourage a child’s quirky behaviours just because you think they are unusual.


Manage aggression

Aggressive outbursts from children with ADHD can be a common occurrence. “Time-out” is an effective way to calm both you and your child. If your child acts out in public, they should be immediately removed in a calm and decisive manner. “Time-out” should be explained to the child as a period to cool off and reflect on the negative behavior they have exhibited. Try to ignore mildly disruptive behaviour as a way for your child to release his or her pent-up energy. However, destructive, abusive or intentionally disruptive behaviour which goes against the rules you have established should always be punished.


Create routine

Establish a routine for your child and stick to it every day. Establish rituals around meals, homework, playtime and bedtime. Simple daily tasks, such as having your child lay out his or your clothes for the next day, can provide essential structure and stability for your child.


Break tasks into manageable segments

Try using a large wall calendar to help remind a child of their duties. Colour coding chores and homework can keep your child from becoming overwhelmed with everyday tasks and school assignments. Even morning routines should be broken down into discrete tasks.


Simplify and organise

Create a special, quiet space for your child to read, do homework, and to take a break from the chaos of everyday life. Keep your home neat and organized so that your child knows where everything goes. This helps reduce unnecessary distractions.


Limit distractions

Children with ADHD welcome easily accessible distractions. Television, video games and the computer encourage impulsive behaviour and should be regulated. By decreasing their time with gadgets and electronics and increasing their time doing engaging activities outside the home, your child will have an outlet for built-up energy.


Encourage exercise

Physical activity burns excess energy in healthy ways. It also helps a child focus their attention on specific movements. This may decrease their impulsive behaviour. Exercise may also help to improve concentration, decrease the risk of depression and anxiety and stimulate the brain in healthy ways. Many professional athletes have ADHD. Experts believe that athletics can help a child with ADHD find a constructive way to focus their passion, attention and energy.


Regulate sleep patterns

Bedtime may be especially difficult for children suffering from ADHD. A lack of sleep exacerbates inattention, hyperactivity and recklessness. Helping your child get better sleep is important. To help them get better rest, eliminate stimulants like sugar and caffeine and decrease television time. Establish a healthy and calming bedtime ritual.


Encourage your child to think out-loud

Children with ADHD can lack self-control. This causes them to speak and act before thinking. Ask your child to verbalise their thoughts and reasoning when the urge to act out arises. It is important to understand your child’s thought processes in order to help him or her curb impulsive behaviours.


Promote wait time

Another way to control the impulse to speak before thinking is to teach your child how to pause a moment before talking or replying. Encourage more thoughtful responses by helping your child with homework assignments and asking interactive questions about a favourite television show or book.


Believe in your child

Your child most likely does not realise the stress that their condition can cause. It is important to remain positive and encouraging. Praise your child’s good behaviour so that they know when something has been done right. Your child may struggle with ADHD now, but it will not last forever. Have confidence in your child and be positive about their future.


Find individualized counselling

You can’t do it all. Your child needs your encouragement, but he also needs professional help. Find a therapist to work with your child and provide another outlet for them. Do not be afraid to seek assistance if you need it. Many parents are so focused on their children that they neglect their own mental needs. A therapist can help manage your stress and anxiety as well as your child’s. Local support groups may also be a helpful outlet for parents.


Take breaks

You cannot be supportive 100 percent of the time. It’s normal to become overwhelmed or frustrated with yourself or your child. Just as your child will need to take breaks while studying, you’ll need your own breaks as well. Scheduling alone time is important for any parent. Consider hiring a babysitter. Simple good break options include:


      • Going for a walk
      • Going to the gym
      • Taking a relaxing bath


Remain calm

You can’t help an impulsive child if you yourself are aggravated. Children mimic the behaviours they see around them, so if you remain composed and controlled during an outburst, it will help your child to do the same. Take time to breathe, relax and collect your thoughts before attempting to pacify your child. The calmer you are, the calmer your child will become.


Don’t sweat the small stuff

Be willing to make some compromises with your child. If your child has accomplished two of the three chores you assigned, consider being flexible with the third, uncompleted task. It’s a learning process and even small steps count.


Don’t get overwhelmed and lash out

Remember that your child’s behaviour is caused by a disorder. ADHD may not be visible on the outside, but it’s a disability and should be treated as such. When you begin to feel angry or frustrated, remember that your child can’t “snap out of it” or “just be normal”.


Don’t be negative

Take one day at a time and remember to keep it all in perspective. What is stressful or embarrassing today will fade away tomorrow.


Don’t let your children or the disorder take control

Remember that you are the parent and, ultimately, you establish 8the rules for acceptable behaviour in your home. Be patient and nurturing, but do not allow yourself to be bullied or intimidated by your child’s behaviour.


Each child is unique and has different needs and requirements, although they share the same ADHD disorder. The above tips are in no way a definitive guide to managing and nurturing your ADHD child. You should always engage professional help and advice and only follow what is right, prescribed or recommended for your child. No doubt it is a heavy cross to bear and the journey is long but hope springs eternal. Today, we know more about this disorder than our great great grandparents did almost 100 years ago. Many of the children who had been diagnosed with ADHD have grown up to lead very fulfilling and productive lives with good stable jobs and happy families. Your child can too.