Parenting a Child with ADHD
Do you have a child that has a problem with inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness? Of course, these three attributes are natural in a child in “normal doses”. However, at the extreme and when the symptoms are seen for an extended period of time, this can point to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD.
For a child to be diagnosed with ADHD, he or she must show the symptoms in greater degree for an extended period of time (half a year or longer). Some of the symptoms include:
– Difficulty in focusing on a single task so that he is rarely able to finish the task without prodding or constant supervision
– Difficulty in sitting still
– Difficulty in obeying instructions
– Talks constantly or is in constant motion
– Easily forgetting things and quickly switching from one task or activity to another
– Easily bored
– Easily distracted
– Given to daydreaming
– Moves slowly
– Tendency to be very impetuous, impatient and impulsive
– Acts without thinking about consequences
– Tends to forget things, especially things needed to complete a certain task (homework, pencils, etc.)
A Parent’s Role
If you are a parent of a child with ADHD, there is no need to fret. A child with ADHD can still reach his or her full potential with your loving support and guidance. It may be a challenge and will require some hard work, but with the help of family counseling in Utah, you can start making steps towards helping your child overcome the challenges posed before him or her.
Here are some ways that can help:
– Overcome negative feelings. You can consider going for Utah counseling to help deal with any frustration, guilt or anger that may exist, especially before the ADHD is diagnosed and parents and teachers are unsure about the reasons behind the child’s behavior. The whole family may have already been adversely affected so family counseling in Provo can help thresh out these negative feelings and help each family member come to terms with and positively handle the situation.
– Equip yourself with knowledge. Educate yourself about ADHD so that you can better know how to relate to your child. A Utah counselor can equip you with positive attitudes and skills to help you effectively connect with your child and provide him with the guidance he needs
– Develop rules and a rewards and punishment system. Establish simple and easy-to-follow rules, with consequences clearly spelled out. Be sure to consistently implement these rules. Remember to also use positive reinforcement such as privileges and activities. You can make use of charts to provide a reminder so your child can see how well he has been doing.
– Get organized. Minimize the distractions your child has to contend with.
o Keep everything in its place. Have containers for toys, school things and personal belongings. Keep his desk and work station clear.
o Develop a routine and stick to it. This means having a consistent schedule – from the time your child wakes up to the time it’s time for him to go to bed. If there are to be changes, these need to be noted on the schedule as far in advance as possible. Have consistent yet simple rituals for everyday activities such as eating, taking a bath and doing homework.
– Know your child. Discover what your child does best, what activities he enjoys. By finding out what your child’s interests and abilities, you can “catch” your child doing well so that you can have the opportunity to provide honest praise and positive feedback. It is also important to remember that a child with ADHD wants to accomplish tasks, wants to be able to listen and follow instructions, but he simply is unable to. He needs love and support, patience and compassion. Learn to recognize your child’s uniqueness and positive attributes. This will help you see your child’s potential and ability to grow, mature and succeed.
– Divide tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces. If one task taxes your child’s attention, you can divide the tasks into smaller ones that your child can handle.
– Encourage movement, rather than restrict it. A child with ADHD needs to move! So provide him with an outlet for his energy, instead of forcing him to “sit still”. Indulge in a sport that he enjoys – this sport should be something that keeps him in motion. Avoid sports that have long lag times.
– Supervise your child’s diet. What your child eats can greatly affect his symptoms. Junk food and sweets can worsen the hyperactivity so be sure to stay away from these.
– Manage your own stress. Ask your Provo counselor for stress-management tips. The situation can be demanding and physically taxing. You may have feelings of frustration, anger and subsequent guilt. You may even need to come into terms with the fact that your child has ADHD. When you are able to deal with your own stress, you can avoid blow-ups and can calmly respond to your child.
Parenting a child with ADHD can be a challenge but it can actually be rewarding as you see your child develop and grow to his full potential.