By: Cheri Locke, MA, LPC At times parenting a child or teen with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD or ADD, can be overwhelming. As parents you may struggle to understand your child. As a couple, there may be consistent differences in how to handle situations with your child that may lead to conflict. The whole […]
At times parenting a child or teen with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD or ADD, can be overwhelming. As parents you may struggle to understand your child. As a couple, there may be consistent differences in how to handle situations with your child that may lead to conflict. The whole family can experience a disruption that leaves everyone feeling frazzled and emotionally drained. However, there are some things that you can do to provide stability and calmness in your home. These things will also help your relationship with your child and with your partner.
Children with ADHD often experience just as much frustration as their parents. They want to be able to “do” all of the things that are asked of them. Remember, children with ADHD typically have deficits in some executive functioning which include the ability to organize, complete tasks, think or plan ahead. Parents can learn to manage and guide their children in positive ways, assisting in areas where their child experiences the most difficulties.
Here Are A Few Ways To Help Your Child or Teen With ADHD
Know The Time
It is really important you get to know your child’s routine and understand how long she/he needs for homework, to get ready, etc. Being rushed is sure to trigger a meltdown or a fight. You can constructively allow your child time to work at their pace. For example, asking my child to get ready in 20 minutes in the morning does not work and leads to everyone feeling flustered. I know that he needs time to ease into the morning so 45 minutes to an hour works better for him and sets the tone for a better day. You can also set them up for success. Use timers and clocks around the house to alert them when their time is over. For example, if you tell them they have 15 more minutes of “play” time, set a timer to signal the end of time for an easy transition.
Help Them Plan
Structure and routines are very helpful no matter the age. Find a routine that works well for your child and try to stick to it. When they know what to expect it helps them function better. Also, the older a child becomes, the more help they need staying organized and planning, especially for school. As parents, we tend to think that because they are maturing we can step back. However, parents and kids end up more frustrated because homework is not done and/or turned in. The entire school experience can become daunting. Ask your teen what they feel will help them best. You can add simple solutions to your daily routine such as a whiteboard, a planner, daily to-do lists, or daily check-in's. The teen years are not the time to let your kid figure it out on their own. With a little help in organization and planning, children can be successful.
Create A Space For Your Child
Creating a space for your child can look different to every person that reads this blog. For some, it will mean creating a quiet space for your child to work. For others, it may mean carving out some positive time in your day to spend with your child. It may also mean allowing them to run at the soccer field to burn off some energy. Whatever this looks like for your family, take it. Who knows, it may even be a combination of the three!
A Few Ways To Help Your Partner While Parenting A Child With ADHD
I see many couples that often experience some issues with parenting. Recently, several couples have brought up issues related to parenting a child with ADHD. I believe it is important for couples to be united in helping their children. Here are just a few simple steps you can take today.
As parents of a child with ADHD it is important that you educate yourself. The needs of children with ADHD are different and cannot be “lumped” in or compared to those of other children. Read books or articles that are from reputable providers. Ask your child's doctor if they have any resources. If your child is old enough, ask she/he what they feel will work best. Sometimes, our kids can offer some of the best insight on what will help them personally.
Talk About It
One thing I often hear from couples in session is they fight over their children and are at opposite ends of how to handle the situation. You are not going to agree on every parenting aspect, especially when it comes to parenting a child with ADHD. However, you can talk about it and come up with a solution that best serves your child. The last thing we want is to make your child feel that they are the cause of their parents fighting. Remember, this is a diagnosis. Your child is not intentionally "not listening." Find a way to work with your partner, even if you need to compromise a bit!
Learn To Take A Break and Stay Positive
If I haven’t said it yet, parenting a child with ADHD can be exhausting. If you are frustrated, the best thing you can do for yourself and your child is take a break. Let your partner take over. Repeat as often as needed. This helps keep things more calm and allows more positivity to emerge. When we are positive, children are more positive. It does not feel good to anyone involved to give or hear constant negativity or consequences. Allow yourself the space to see what your child did that day that you can give them praise.
Remember You Can Help Your Child With ADHD
As a parent, you can help your child overcome their daily challenges, help to increase calm and structure, and learn to respond in more positive ways. It is important to recognize what your child needs to be successful. For some, it is gentle reminders to raise their hands to speak, while for others, it may be reminding them to actually speak up for themselves rather than daydreaming. ADHD is not a one size fits all and it is not always the child that cannot sit quietly in his/her chair. Remember, at times we as parents do become mentally and physically drained from the daily demands of parenting a child with ADHD. If you feel that you are struggling, please reach out for help.
Begin Parenting Counseling in Katy, TX
If you are ready to learn techniques to help your child and your relationship, the therapists at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch can help! We provide parenting related services as well as counseling services to all ages. To begin counseling in Katy, TX follow these three steps:
Meet with one of our compassionate therapists
Find ways to help your child with ADHD through counseling!
Other Therapy Services We Offer
Here at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch we offer counseling services for people of all ages including: eating disorder treatment, depression treatment, women’s issues, treatment for anxiety, couples and marriage counseling, counseling for kids, counseling for young adults, teen counseling, family therapy, men’s issues, trauma counseling, and group counseling. Our therapists strive to regularly post blogs with helpful information on a variety of mental health topics. To learn more about our therapists and our counseling services, please reach out to the Counseling Center today!