ADHD Parental Guide

  • Super User

Until recently, ADHD-kids were labelled as a product of bad parenting. It's not. It's a real physical condition. BUT, parenting styles and diet can affect the severity of it.

parental guide

We all know it's not easy to bring up a kid, and the more true for bringing up an ADHD kid. Apart from millions of other resources and support organisations on the Internet, this is just a brief list of things we tried to implement. If you're struggling, please make sure to contact a support organisation. Just remember, you or you're partner is hereditary link! Be patient, understanding and supportive.

What was very valuable to us was a holistic approach as family. Not only the ADHD child needs assistance and be trained to learn the skills to make life a bit easier, but ADHD affects all of the family members. It was therefore for us beneficial that all five of us was involved during the treatment stages of our kid's ADHD. After all, we needed to change as well.

Do's & Don'ts

  • Many child raising books says rather catch your kids doing something right, than doing something wrong. With an ADHD-kid, more so! Don't focus on the failures. There will be plenty failures, and also enough that will remind him/her of their failures.
  • Be positive. You will need it.
  • Let your house be organized. Routine is not old fashioned, but a necessity for ADHD-kids.
  • Bring stability into your living environment.
  • Discipline with patience. Have your limits clearly outlined. When conflicts hit your house, follow through without a word. Everybody needs rules, its how it's enforced that will differ.
  • Let them take responsibility for their actions. Often, consequences will do the "discipline trick".
  • It might feel that your "soft on discipline, coming away with murder" on your ADHD-kid. For normal kids, that might be true, but for ADHD... rather that, than losing him/her because of a feeling of rejection. Don't try and "beat" it out of them. It's an physical condition!
  • Yes, and there will often be a different set of rules for your ADHD-kid versus the other kids. Help to cope with it. Life is sometimes not fair.
  • Make sure you have their attention when giving instructions. If necessary, make checklists/ToDo lists.
  • Avoid situations that makes ADHD worse, like caffeine and sugar (find out what triggers your child); long car drives; tiredness etc.
  • Do love and accept your ADHD-kid. ADHD support group's slogan is: Accept, don't reject.
  • Take "sanity breaks"! It rejuvenate you as a parent and avoid a feeling of hopelessness.
  • Know ADHD! This will help you understand your kid. You need the skills and strategies to manage ADHD, and your kids will need them.
  • Don't change your mind to stop the "nagging"; even if you reconsidered and want to (rather do it later). They will know: that's how I get things done or changed! It will just get worse.
  • Don't fall for the abuse, it's temporary. ADHD kids will often try anything/everything to let you change your mind. And often they won't even remember or realize what they've said. Don't take it personal. You must learn to have a thick skin in times of conflict. They don't try to hurt you, just trying to get their way by whatever means available.

Other useful tips:

  • Let your ADHD-kid play outside. Provide area, sport, situations for an outlet for their energy. A study in the USA showed that ADHDers benefit from being in the open, in nature.
  • If you're the ADHD parent, this might not be that easy, but keep the ADHD-kid's room organized and structure.
  • Maintain firm discipline, but put your rules clearly in favourable peaceful times. When it's conflict, state the rule... don't argue, don't loose your temper.
  • Let consequences "kick in". If you're ADHD transgressed, don't get involved in an argument, just apply the rule and let the consequence kick in. He/she knew the rule and its consequences.

Russel Barkley has presented these 30 valuable (essential) tips for raising ADHD kids (see also the Resource page):

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