Tips for Parenting a Child with ADHD (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD
Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.
In this Article
- What is ADHD?
- What are the symptoms of ADHD?
- What should I do if I am concerned that my child might have ADHD?
- What are some behavioral treatments and parenting strategies for parents of children with ADHD?
- Think positively
- Define schedules and routines
- Set clear rules and expectations
- Give clear instructions
- Discipline, rewards, and consequences
- Use time-out effectively
- Ignore, within reason
- Develop organizational aids
- Eliminate distractions
- Set small, attainable goals
- Focus on one or two challenging behaviors at a time
- Find areas in which the child excels
- Promote a healthy lifestyle
- Show your unconditional love
- Take care of yourself
- ADHD resources
- Find a local Psychiatrist in your town
Show your unconditional love
Be sure your child is aware of your unconditional love and support, no matter how he or she behaves. Withdrawal of love or affection is never an appropriate consequence for undesired behavior. It's OK to let your child know that you are angry or frustrated with his/her behavior at times, but remember to say "I love you" every day and be sure your child knows that he or she is an accepted and valued member of the family.
Take care of yourself
Finally, don't forget to take care of the caregiver. In addition to the joy of accomplishment, parenting a child with ADHD can bring on a variety of upsetting emotions including embarrassment, anger, anxiety, worry, and frustration. In fact, you may feel any or all of these on a given day. Try to keep a sense of perspective and understand that your child's behaviors are due to a disorder and may not always be under his or her full control.
Celebrating the small goals and positive steps in your child's progress and development will improve both your mood and your child's self-esteem. Don't lose sight of the special and unique individual that is your child, and find things you both enjoy doing together.
If you need a break, you shouldn't feel guilty. Parenting is a stressful job, and it's OK to accept help from family and friends in caring for your child. Take time off from parenting to spend time on activities you enjoy or even spend time alone in order to recharge yourself. You won't be an effective parent or role model if you have no energy to devote to the process.
Take advantage of all the resources that are at your disposal. If you don't know where to look, talk with your child's teacher, school counselor, school system representative, and/or health care provider. School systems vary in the level of support they may be able to provide for parents and students with ADHD, but in all cases, parents and educators should work as a team to address the whole needs of the child. While the health and educational professionals you work with on your child's behalf have specific expertise, know and be confident in your unique expertise in knowing your child in ways no one else ever will. You are therefore your child's best advocate.
You may find that a therapist or support group may be helpful, for either you or your child. Many health care professionals offer social skills and positive behavior workshops and classes for children that are geared toward having fun while learning to manage their condition. Your health care professional can also be a valuable resource and may have information about parent support groups or community resources.
Next: ADHD resources
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