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ADHD causes children and teenagers to be impulsive, inattentive, and more hyperactive than is normal for their age. This condition makes it harder for kids to control their attention, activity, emotions, and behavior, so they tend to act out. Some common behaviors associated with children with ADHD include:
It can be difficult to deal with these behaviors even if you understand that they stem from your child’s ADHD diagnosis. For parents, this often brings about feelings of embarrassment and frustration. There’s no question that parenting a child with ADHD can be difficult. You have to have more patience than normal to help your child achieve their goals and become more independent.
After your child’s ADHD diagnosis, the best thing you can do for yourself is to arm yourself with knowledge. Learn as much as you can about ADHD so you’re less likely to feel frustrated by your child’s behaviors, since you’ll understand that they aren’t being willfully difficult. Remembering that their behavior stems from a common trait of ADHD can help you stay calm when you’re stressed. Learning more about ADHD can also help you find strategies for what you can do to keep your child’s energy and attention focused on specific tasks and help support them.
ADHD affects children differently, so once you’ve learned more about how it often affects people, you’ll need to pay attention to uncover which aspects affect your child the most. This can help you pinpoint which skills to focus on.
Take the time to talk to your child about ADHD and how it affects them at home, at school, and when they’re with their friends. When you take the time to talk to them about what they might be experiencing and show that you want to understand how they feel, they’re more likely to feel comforted. This is especially true when you remind them that ADHD is not a fault, and if they take some extra time to work on their skills with your help, you can set and achieve clear and realistic goals.
Instead of getting frustrated and yelling if your child’s room isn’t clean or they’ve lost something important, the best thing you can do is help them learn how to better organize their things. At first, you may have to help them work through the problem by figuring out ways to sort things and places where their belongings should go. But remember that even if you drive the message home, their room will get messy again: You should expect to repeat the process a few times before it sticks.
Something that is often forgotten about children with ADHD is that it can affect their personal relationships. Since it’s common for kids with ADHD to interrupt people, talk too much, struggle with listening, or act bossy, their friendships can suffer. You can help your child realize when these behaviors may be affecting their friendships by sitting down and talking to them about it without blaming them. Then, help them to practice skills like listening or compromising.
ADHD treatment may include medication, school support, parent coaching, and/or therapy. As your child grows up, their needs will change, so it’s important to work with your child’s doctor, therapist, and school support team to keep up with their needs and what goals they should be focusing on.
Children who have ADHD can be more sensitive to criticism, especially when they get too much of it. Criticism rarely helps move the needle in a positive direction toward change. In fact, it’s more likely to lead to negative feelings about themselves and a less secure attachment to you. This can lead them to feel angry, depressed, and misunderstood. So try to focus on the positives by paying attention to the things they do well and encouraging them, showing interest in the things they love, and spending time together on a hobby you can both enjoy. These are great opportunities for quality time together that can show your child that you accept them as they are.
Negative responses to your child’s actions are more likely to increase unwanted behaviors rather than reduce them. Instead, pay attention to the things your child does well and give them praise for the behaviors you like to see, which can help increase those positive behaviors in your child.
Your child has plenty of strengths, like adaptability, creativity, playfulness, quick thinking, and spontaneity. In those moments when your child feels that they are letting everybody down and can’t do anything right, take the time to remind them of their strengths. This will help boost their self-esteem and resilience.
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