Parenting a child with ADHD has more pitfalls than parenting the average child.
You’ll need to experiment to find out what works best for your child. Also, because a child with ADHD is unpredictable, what works one day might need a different approach the next.
Your style of parenting affects your child’s behavior. Just as good habits can be learnt, there are things that can increase the likelihood of misbehavior. They include:
- Your experience as a child. If you were told off all the time as a child, you might do the same with your own children – or go the opposite way and never tell them off.
- Parents disagreeing on rules. This confuses your child, who won’t know what he’s supposed to be doing so his behavior will deteriorate. You’re also setting yourself up for ‘divide and rule’, where if one parent says no, he’ll ask the other and act on a ‘yes’.
- Lack of energy. If you’ve had a hard day at work, you’re feeling low, you’re not getting enough help or you’re coming down with a bug, it’s easy to let discipline slip. One-off occasions won’t hurt, but if it continues for a long time, your child may start behaving badly to get some attention from you.
With behavioral problems, there’s also a lot of potential for fighting. You can feel that you spend all your time nagging your child, so you need to make sure you have good times together.
Set up special times to spend with your child doing things you enjoy together and just playing.
Rules and boundaries are important because they help us get on with other people. If everyone knows what’s acceptable, what’s not and the consequences of doing something that’s unacceptable, everyone will get on.
For example, if a child knows he has to keep his hands to himself, he won’t punch or hit other children in the playground. If he doesn’t know the rule or ignores it, other children will get hurt and they’ll avoid him. He might also end up getting hurt.
It used to be thought children shouldn’t speak up, and it was OK to hit them when they’d broken a rule. Today, people realize that children respond better if you make them feel loved, secure and important, and you give them attention when behaving well. If children only get attention when they behave badly, they’ll behave even worse to get more attention.
For children with ADHD, it’s better to praise the good behavior (ie. the one you want to see more of) and ignore the bad behavior as much as you can. Negotiate rules with older children so they’ll have a say in what happens.
When it comes to rules, you need to be consistent in your approach.
- State the rule: homework before TV.
- Remind your child of the rule when he challenges it, and what the consequences will be: homework first or no TV for the rest of the evening.
- Enforce it: take the fuse out of the plug, if you have to!
Remember to pick your battles. We can’t stress this part seriously enough. Look at what’s really important – what will matter five years down the road – and choose to address those issues.
Let your child make choices for themselves. Instead of giving them a myriad of options, set out two and let them choose between one and the other. ADHD children can’t concentrate on many things all at the same time. When you taper down choices, you are giving them the ability to make decisions but you are not overwhelming them either.
Always keep in mind that you are not a bad parent in any way shape or form just because your child has ADHD. As we’ve said before, some people feel that ADHD is just a myth that doesn’t truly exist. This simply isn’t true.
ADHD is a medical condition with no one to blame. These children are demanding and always on the go. That’s just the way they are. It’s not your fault; it’s just the way they are built.
This can make you feel extremely overwhelmed and a failure as a parent. Get those thoughts out of your head. Some parents may wonder why they couldn’t have a nice, quiet child instead of the livewire who never listens. But there are a number of reasons why children could develop ADHD.
Your parenting style can influence how you and your child deal with ADHD. There is no one right way or one wrong way.
Dealing with a child who acts before she thinks things through, loses and breaks things and forgets what you’ve said 30 seconds later can be frustrating and stressful. It can drive you to the point where you give up on discipline, and find yourself being snappy, critical or even hating your child.
You need help to deal with the difficult behaviors and accept that you’re not perfect – and that what works for one child might not work for yours.
Just as you might be dealing with some self-esteem issues when it comes to your ADHD child, your kid is dealing with the same issues in their own way.
If you want a comprehensive guide on curing your child’s ADD/ADHD naturally without drugs, check out ADHD Natural Remedy Report.