Parenting a child with ADHD isn’t easy. There can be battles to work through every single day, and at times, it’s exhausting.
When your child gets an ADHD diagnosis, it can feel overwhelming. You’ve probably been dealing with the symptoms of their condition for a while without even really realizing it. But, an official “label” can make it all seem more real and challenging.
Most parents who have kids with ADHD look for help around every corner. From talking to doctors to reading books and articles, it’s okay to feel helpless at times.
But, you don’t have to feel hopeless.
There are changes you can make, both to the way you think and the way you parent your child that can make life a bit easier and less overwhelming for both of you.
Let’s look at some of the things you should know when raising a child with ADHD.
1. You’ll Need to Adapt Your Parenting Styles
Whether your ADHD child is your only one, your firstborn, or your youngest, you have to be able to adapt your parenting style based on their needs.
Maybe you have an older child who responded to time outs when they were younger. Your ADHD child might not respond in the same way. In fact, it might make their outbursts worse.
It’s essential to be flexible and adaptable to new styles when you have an ADHD child. You’ll learn a lot of things as you go along, but don’t stick to a rigid style—it won’t work for either of you.
2. You and Your Child Are a Team
Parenting classes for kids with ADHD can be great resources. But, they often focus on you and your child separately. It’s essential to know that you and your child need to be on the same team. Find ways to work together, rather than listening to techniques you can use on your own.
Working on things together will improve your relationship with your child, and it may even improve communication.
3. It’s Not Their Fault
ADHD is a neurological condition. It isn’t your child just misbehaving or acting out. So, while it can get frustrating and even overwhelming at times, remember that your child isn’t behaving poorly on purpose.
Keep in mind that it’s typically not fun for a child with ADHD to be unable to control their behaviors. Don’t feel the need to yell at them or punish them for those behaviors they can’t control no matter how much they want to.
4. Every Case Is Different
Not every child with ADHD acts the same way or shows the same symptoms. That’s why it can sometimes be challenging to diagnose officially. If you’re worried that your child might have ADHD, it’s crucial to notice signs or changes that you might find odd. They aren’t always as apparent as you might think.
Having trouble staying organized, frequently being late, not turning in homework, or applying learned knowledge can serve as signs of ADHD. Don’t make assumptions about the condition. Instead, pay attention to the signs your child could be displaying.
5. It’s Okay to Find Support
Because ADHD can be so overwhelming for a parent, it’s okay to reach out and find help. Many other parents are going through similar struggles. Look locally for support groups, talk to family members or friends, or seek the help of a professional therapist if you’re struggling.
6. Be Careful Not to Limit Your Child
Keep your behaviors in check when you’re parenting a child with ADHD. You may feel inclined to do more things for them than you would for your other children.
While that can be helpful at the moment, it’s not teaching them the long-term skills they’ll need to get through daily life. The more you do for your child, the less they have to learn about doing things for themselves.
As their parent, you know their capabilities better than anyone. Don’t be afraid to trust them a little more to complete tasks. It gives them a hands-on learning experience, and will better prepare them for the future.
7. Rules Will Be Broken
All kids break the rules from time to time. However, kids who have ADHD tend to test those limits even more.
When your ADHD child breaks a rule, it’s critical not to take it personally. Instead of criticizing them on how their behavior affects you, take a different approach. Create a system of positive and negative consequences, depending on your child’s responses.
8. Advocating for Your Child Is Essential
There’s a delicate balance you need to consider as a parent of an ADHD child. It’s good to encourage them to learn new things, try new things, and overcome the obstacles life may throw at them.
Opportunities will arise when you need to advocate for them, too. This could include things like talking to their teacher about different methods of test-taking or bring up the idea of taking books to the school if your child has a hard time staying focused on reading.
There’s a difference between holding your child back and giving them the tools and resources they need to succeed.
By keeping these ideas in mind, you can consider ways you can change to improve your relationship with your child.
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