Parenting is probably the toughest job in the world. And when your child struggles with ADHD, it’s likely that you face challenges other parents just wouldn’t understand. Studies show that parents of kids with ADHD often experience “high stress” attributed to their child’s behavior, unmet needs for support, and social stigma. And when a parent’s stress is left unchecked, it can only make things worse. Increased parenting stress is associated with numerous negative outcomes for children with ADHD and their parents, including: the worsening of a child’s ADHD symptoms, a reduced response to intervention, and reduced quality of the parent-child relationship.1 Some experts also say that dads have a harder time accepting their child’s ADHD diagnosis, which can deter the child from getting the help they need and result in low self-esteem, poor academic performance, and damaged relationships.
If your child has an attention disorder, here are seven ADHD parenting tips you can use to support them:
1. Always Provide Positive Feedback
Psychiatrist and author William W. Dodson, MD, estimates that by age 12, kids with ADHD have received 20,000 more negative messages from parents, teachers, and other adults than their friends and siblings who do not have ADHD.2 This can have a massive impact on that child’s self-esteem and emotional health, which is a huge predictor of their life’s satisfaction as an adult.3 Instead of noticing when your child messes up, try shifting your focus to what they’re getting right. As liberally as you can, give positive feedback to build your child’s self-esteem and reinforce positive behavior.
Did you know? ADHD kids tend to have high amounts of energy for activities and tasks they enjoy.
2. Never Deny Their Diagnosis
Proven by brain imaging studies, ADHD is a valid neurological condition.4 If you deny your child’s diagnosis in hopes that they might outgrow their symptoms, your child will not feel seen or understood. Denying their diagnosis also means that you may delay getting them the help they need. Studies show that intervention at an early age can lessen the severity of ADHD symptoms and potentially prevent the emergence of comorbid conditions like depression and anxiety.5 It’s easier to accept a diagnosis you know more about, so it’s recommended to educate yourself as much as possible about what ADHD is, common symptoms, and treatment methods. You may even be surprised to know that ADHD has benefits too, like enhanced creativity, spontaneity, and more.
Did you know? Kids with ADHD are known to be optimistic risk-takers.
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3. Be Patient With Their Lack of Control
Impulsivity is one of the most challenging symptoms of ADHD for parents and kids alike. In most cases, the child knows what he or she shouldn’t do, but a lack of impulse control urges them to do it anyway. Studies indicate that ADHD is associated with weaker function and structure of prefrontal cortex circuits, especially in the right hemisphere.6 This area of the brain is the seat of our executive functions, a skill set that regulates our attention, behavior, and emotions. The right hemisphere, specifically, is specialized in behavioral inhibition. In addition to coming up with strategies with your child to deal with impulse control, it’s essential to be patient with their lapses in self-control.
Did you know? ADHD kids can be extremely creative.
4. Believe In Your Child
In addition to offering positive feedback when your child does something right, it’s important that you show your child you believe in them. If you believe that they will succeed and thrive, then they will believe it too. If your child has trouble recognizing his or her unique traits, point them out and reaffirm their worth. This can be a huge boost to their self-esteem and fuel their motivation to be the best that they can be.
Did you know? ADHD kids tend to be empathetic.
5. Establish Structure & Stick To It
All kids thrive on structure, but especially kids with ADHD. Because they often struggle with self-control, they rely on external controls to help them feel more centered and organized. From a calm morning routine to a relaxing bedtime ritual, making your child’s day as predictable as possible will help them feel supported instead of overwhelmed by too many choices and tasks to keep track of.
Did you know? Kids with ADHD are natural born leaders.
6. Seek Ways to Help As Soon As Possible
The sooner you seek help for your child, the better. While most doctors prescribe medication as a first line of treatment, we find it useful to explore gentler options first before resorting to pharmaceutical drugs. Though these medications can be useful for many, they also come with a range of undesirable side effects like insomnia, decreased appetite, and headaches.
Some other ways to seek help include:
- Therapy: A counselor or therapist can help your child devise strategies to manage their symptoms and have more fulfilling relationships. According to the CDC, behavioral therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy are both helpful in reducing symptoms in children with ADHD.7
- Classroom accommodations: These include having extra time on tests, tailored instructions, movement breaks, and extra help with staying organized.8
- Homeopathic medication: Brillia is an alternative to prescription drugs that may help reduce ADHD symptoms like hyperactivity, inattention, restlessness, and impulsivity. Free from harsh synthetic chemicals, Brillia consists of antibodies to the S100B protein, an important regulator of many different intracellular and extracellular brain processes, which plays a crucial role in attention and mood. Without affecting any other systems in the body or causing harmful side effects, Brillia’s active ingredient regulates the activity of the S100B protein while normalizing the level of monoamines (dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin) in different parts of the brain. Gentle and impactful, Brillia has no contraindications with other medications or supplements, so you can add it to your child’s regimen without worry. Even more, healthy lifestyle choices like proper nutrition, adequate sleep, controlled screen time, and mindfulness practices work in conjunction with Brillia to maximize the medication’s success.
7. Seek Support For Yourself
Lastly, another important way to support your child is to seek support for yourself. From seeing a therapist to joining a support group, seeking outside support can help you learn more about ADHD and develop healthy coping mechanisms to deal with your stress. It’s also useful to find out if you also have ADHD, since it is often inherited. Many adults don’t find out they have ADHD until one of their kids is diagnosed.
Find more resources on managing ADHD symptoms at the Brillia(nce) Resource Center.
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