October: ADHD Awareness Month
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting both children and adults; often recognisable by a continual pattern of hyperactivity and inattentiveness.
ADHD happens as a result of missing neuro-transmitters in the brain. All it means is those with ADHD have brains that work a little differently. Typically individuals with ADHD fall in three different categories; those with a hyperactive personality, those with inattentive behaviour, or those with a combination of both. In children, this can often be demonstrated by a poor memory, often misplacing items, issues around homework, and over reactions to mistakes or challenges.
October is the month of ADHD awareness. The 2017 theme is “Knowing is Better.” When it comes to finding parenting a child with ADHD challenging, you are not alone. It is easy to get frustrated and feel like you are repeating yourself.
There are a number of effective strategies to use to help make parenting children with ADHD easier. The first step to remaining calm yourself. It can be very easy to get swept into an argument and can feel like a battle to get anything done. Using pressuring language and setting unrealistic expectations can make children feel they are backed into a corner and have to lash out. Instead, try setting routines with clear, simple rules. This can be something as simple as doing homework at a particular time with the reward of something stimulating they enjoy afterwards. Instead of doing it for them, try and identify what may make the solution easier for them and offer as a suggestion.
A part of forgetfulness can be the occasional episode of rule breaking. When responding to bad behaviour, it is important it is done so matter-of-factly, in a way you would expect a traffic warden to produce a parking ticket; instead of responding emotionally and allowing yourself to become angry. Rules are rules for a reason. Explain why they are that way, and reinforce the message that positive behaviour allows for positive rewards. Had the child decided to respond differently, this is what they would be been granted as a result.
The other side of the coin is to remember that sometimes your child with ADHD is not misbehaving on purpose. There are times where hyperfocus might kick in. Try enforcing a strategy and rewards system, this could be gold stars on a chart for doing their chores on time etc. and at the end of the week, they get a particular prize based on how well they have behaved.
It is easy to get frustrated but try and remember to celebrate your child's strengths. Their individuality, creativity, and sheer dogged determination when they set their mind to something are wonderful traits when nurtured in the right way can allow your child to blossom into strong, determined adults.
We would love to hear from you; we encourage parents to share their hints and tips with us below.