Parents of children who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD) may have many difficulties when it comes to raising their child. You may experience moments where you feel frustrated and overwhelmed with the responsibility of parenting.
But, as you’re already aware, your parenting techniques lay a major role in the development of your child’s ADHD. Furthermore, the way you raise your child can greatly help in managing and reducing symptoms.
By understanding how to properly raise a child of ADHD at an early stage in his or her life, s/he has a better chance of controlling their symptoms later in life.
Still, you may not entirely understand how to make the best of your child’s mental health condition. You might not even know anything about ADHD.
If that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place to learn more about ADHD.
This article offers advice on raising a child with ADHD. We then review ten techniques for parents out there who are overwhelmed with their situation. At the end, we invite you to ask more questions.
What Are Some Initial Steps to Take?
Before you begin practicing techniques on how to better raise a child with ADHD, it’s important to understand how the disorder is affecting your child.
Children with ADHD shortfall in executive functions, including:
- Completing tasks
- Controlling impulses
- Planning ahead
Due to this shortfall, a child with ADHD has no control over the way s/he behaves. You may feel as though your child is ignoring, annoying, or embarrassing you through their conduct. This is anything but true.
More often than not, children of ADHD have a desire to patiently sit, to clean their rooms and keep it organized, to do as their parents tell them to. However, due to their mental health condition, they have no comprehension as to how to make these things happen.
ADHD is a complex disorder which is just as irritating for your child as it is for you. This is why you need to be the one to offer positivity and a supportive environment.
How Does a Child with ADHD Effect Your Family?
Have you noticed your child’s behavior causing problems on your family as a whole? Do you become more and more frustrated when your child doesn’t listen to your instructions?
It’s important to understand what these effects have on your whole family. With this knowledge, you can better learn how to successfully parent a child with ADHD.
Common traits of children with ADHD that affect the whole family include:
- Can become a physical danger to themselves and others.
- Can cause damage around the house.
- Difficulty getting them to bed or to sleep.
- Impulsive behavior called upon at inappropriate times, often resulting in embarrassing instances.
- Starting projects and not finishing them, leaving a mess behind for someone else to take care of.
Though the parents of children with ADHD have a number of challenges to face, siblings likewise will be put against their own set of problems. Some examples include:
- Receive less celebration when successful (in other words, successes are taken for granted).
- Receive more trouble when cause problems.
- Receiving less attention.
- Some parents place siblings under the responsibility of an assistant parent – meaning anything that happens under this sibling’s supervision can be placed on him/her.
All of the above are dangerous as a sibling will look towards their brother or sister with a mix of envy and indignation.
Raising a child with ADHD isn’t just affecting you, it’s affecting everyone involved. In order to better your situation, we’ve laid out five tips which have effectively worked for other parents.
Tip #1 – Develop a Structure and Always Stand By It
By creating a predictable pattern, children with ADHD are more likely to figure out how to triumph in finishing specific tasks. Preferably, these patterns should be done in familiar locations and consistent.
There are a number of ways you as a parent can make sure your child with ADHD develops this structure. These include:
Following a Procedure
When sorting out the tasks you expect of your child with ADHD, make sure they remain strict to a set time and place. This allows those who suffer from the disorder to better comprehend and follow through with expectations.
For example, if you always require homework to be done before dinner, your child will eventually become used to the routine. The same can be said for playtime and bedtime.
Just as with everyone, by developing specific habits over a period of time, your child will become accustomed to these patterns. In order to figure out what exactly you expect of your child, it helps to write it all down on paper.
Make Sure the Procedure is Simple
It’s important to remember that children with ADHD can become easily distracted. If they have too much on their plate or too complicated of a task set before them, they’re naturally going to turn their heads the other way.
In order to compensate with distractions, you’ll want to make sure your child has plenty of time to do whatever s/he needs to do. If s/he receives a homework assignment that should only take a half-hour, give him/her an hour. If s/he needs an extra twenty minutes to wake up in the morning, offer him/her that time.
Once you begin to learn the nature of your child’s ADHD, you’ll be able to better understand where you may need to limit their activities. Or where you can push them to succeed.
Use Clocks or Timers for Procedure
As your child learns to form these procedures into their day-to-day life, it’ll help to place clocks and/or timers throughout the house. Through these clocks and timers, you’re showing your child how much time they have to complete specific tasks. The visual representation of time alone can help greatly to better their comprehension.
Keep the Environment Organized
In order to keep your child’s thoughts organized, you need to make sure his/her environment is as well. By showing your child there’s a place (and time) for everything, you’ll be giving a great example of how s/he should live his/her life.
Therefore, it’s not only in your best interest to organize the entire house but to also maintain this neatness.
Offer Your Child a Private Space
Whether it be their bedroom or a playroom, it’s important for your child to have a space to call his/her own. This is where s/he will continue to put together the skills s/he’s been learning through your discipline.
It’s important to note, this private space SHOULD NOT be the same place your child goes when in time-out.
Tip #2 – Set up Rules and Remain Consistent
You may have developed a few rules for around the house which your child has failed to follow. Often, one of the biggest mistakes parents make is not remaining consistent with these rules.
In order to do so, you’ll want to write these rules down and place them somewhere in the house for your child to read. This is both a reminder for your child and YOU to remain consistent.
You’ll want to develop a reward and punishment system too as a means of making sure your child desires to obey your regulations. By implementing such a system, you’re developing the importance of these rules. Don’t be afraid to explain this importance to your child. And, most vitally, always follow through with your rewards and punishments.
It should be noted that children with ADHD become used to criticism. If your child shows good behavior, it’s key to praise them for it. In turn, this praise will make your child want to continue following the rules.
How should you apply rewards and punishments?
- Always follow through with your rewards.
- Always reward your child with privileges, praise, and/or activities rather than objects.
- Change these rewards frequently as children of ADHD grow tired of the same rewards.
- Keep a chart out starring good conduct. Children of ADHD work better with a visual reminder.
- Make rewards immediate rather than promises of the future.
- Always follow through with punishments.
- Discuss punishments with your child beforehand and immediately upon bad conduct.
- If you’re aware of certain environments or circumstances which trigger misbehavior, keep your child away at all costs.
- Instead of taking away toys, withdraw privileges and activities.
- When you’re punishing your child, ask them what s/he has done.
Tip #3 – Keep Yourself Healthy and Constructive
As you discipline your child, it’s vital to remember you’re their role model for emotional and physical health. There are a number of things you can do as a parent in order to influence a constructive and healthy attitude onto your child. These include:
- Always keep a positive mindset around your child.
- Believe in your child and keep an optimistic view of his/her future.
- Don’t expect your child to complete every little task – be proud of what s/he does get done.
- Remember your child’s disorder and keep it in perspective.
With these attitudes, you also want to keep a healthy life for yourself. This includes:
- Finding support through other parents raising a child with ADHD.
- Taking breaks when you need to.
- Taking care of yourself (eating well, exercising, decreasing stress).
Tip #4 – Encourage Your Child to Work Off Their Energy (and Sleep it Off)
One of the biggest symptoms of ADHD within children is their over-abundance of energy. It’s important you allow your child to burn off this energy rather than trying to contain it. And there are a number of ways you can do so.
For instances, your child will most likely be interested in enrolling in an organized sport. Not only is this a great, natural way for them to get their energy out but it also allows them to develop teamwork ethics. In fact, enrollment in physical activity have been proven to do the following for children with ADHD:
- Benefits brain growth
- Promotes concentration
- Reduces anxiety and depression
When deciding on the right organized sport to enroll your child in – whether it’s flag football or martial arts – it’s important to see where his/her interests lie.
However, on the flip side of the coin, it’s just as important for your child to get the proper rest ever night. Though children with ADHD have trouble sleeping in comparison to other children, without the right amount of sleep, your child can face a number of difficulties. These include:
- Further difficulty falling asleep
- Less attentiveness
Tip #5 – Encourage Your Child to Develop Friendships
The unfortunate truth is, your child is most likely struggling even in making simple social interactions. As you may have noticed, ADHD causes children to:
- Develop an aggressive social attitude
- Interrupt conversations
- Miss social cues
- Talk too frequently
All of this, including the fact that s/he develops emotions at an immature rate, leaves your child a likely victim to bullying.
With this in mind, there are a number of things you can do in order to promote healthy social interactions. These include:
- Allow them to interact with other children of ADHD (or children who behave similarly). This includes those who’ve developed the same language and physical skills as your child.
- At first, only invite one or two friends over at a time. Keep a close eye on them and, if your child misbehaves, follow through with punishments already established.
- Create time and space for your child to play. Even reward them for good conduct.
- Discuss areas where with your child where s/he faces challenges and promote ways to make changes.
- Don’t be afraid to role-play certain social situations with your child. Especially those where s/he struggles most. In order to keep it interesting, trade roles frequently.
It’s important to remember that children with ADHD are usually very intelligent and creative. With enough time, they’ll most likely learn where they are going wrong when it comes to social interactions.
Just as with any child out there, it takes a lot of time for them to develop the skill patterns and habits which will better them for adulthood. Of course, you may fear your child’s ADHD developing further into their adult life.
However, it’s vital to keep in mind – as a child grows into a teenager and a teenager into an adult, they’ll naturally begin to understand what they need to do to make the most of their life.
Still need extra tips in helping your child with ADHD? Or have more questions about the above tips mentions?
Feel free to ask them in the comments section below. If you have further advice you’d like to offer about raising a child with ADHD, we’d also love to hear from you. We reply to each legitimate comment in a prompt and personal manner.