According to health experts, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common behavioural conditions to kick off during childhood.
However, it does not just affect children — ADHD is something that people of all ages can suffer from. However, because it is most common in children, it’s important to know how, as a parent, you should be managing it.
The signs of ADHD
The general description of what ADHD is refers to an individual who has difficulty focusing for any stretch of time without becoming distracted. They struggle to control what they are saying as well as what physical behaviours are appropriate for a given situation — people with ADHD tend to come across as more impulsive and reckless.
Below are common signs of ADHD in children, though it must be reinforced that these behaviours are normal among kids and that it is time to seek assistance when the behaviours are significantly more pronounced in the individual than in other children of the same age, or begin to have a negative effect on school and life.
General signs of ADHD in children include:
- the child is restless, overactive and fidgety
- the child cannot concentrate for long on tasks
- the child finds it hard to wait their turn
If your child is diagnosed with ADHD
Don’t panic. Remember, you are far from alone in this. Both you and your child will have to learn how to cope with, and manage, the diagnosis together.
For parents, a combination of empathy and consistency is required in order to cultivate a home with love and structure, which are the best things for any child or teenager living with ADHD and learning how to manage their behaviour.
The best tools for a parent who has a child with ADHD is a positive attitude and a helping of common sense. A calm and focused parent connects more easily with a hyperactive child, helping to calm and focus them.
That means: don’t sweat the small stuff and be willing to compromise, and trust that your child can learn, change, mature and succeed. Believe in your child, and nurture this trust between the two of you, the same way you would nurture any positive habit.
It’s important to keep things in perspective, and remember that your child’s behaviours do not exist in a vacuum and that they are related to a condition.
Tips and tricks for the positive parent
There are a number of things parents with children who have ADHD can work on and integrate into their lifestyles to help better manage the condition.
Take care of yourself and your child — a healthy diet and some exercise are ways that not only support you both staying happy, but also a means of engaging your child in what they’re doing. Seek support and ensure that you have a way of dealing with stress.
Introduce structure and routine into your lives — it helps your child stay more focused and organised, as well as keeping them busy and entertained.
Set up clear expectations and rules, as well as consequences for rule breaking. However, also understand the difference between mild outbursts and genuine aggressive behaviour and rule-breaking. Positive reinforcement, as well as rewards, will also help establish the boundaries.
Finally, help your child in social situations, particularly in making friends. Children with ADHD struggle with social interactions, and your assistance — whether it’s teaching, showing or guiding your child through moments like these — is crucial to your child’s confidence.
Remember, this experience is happening to you and your child, and that common ground is a good place to start planning how you’re going to make it an experience everyone is happy with.
Eloise Porter, B. K. (2015, August 6). Parenting Tips for ADHD: Do’s and Don’ts. (S. Kim, Editor) Retrieved October 13, 2016, from Healthline: http://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/parenting-tips#Overview1
Melinda Smith, J. S. (2016, October). ADHD Parenting Tips. Retrieved October 13, 2016, from Helpguide.org: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/add-adhd/attention-deficit-disorder-adhd-parenting-tips.htm
Nordqvist, C. (2015, December 30). ADD/ADHD: Causes, Symptoms and Research. Retrieved October 13, 2016, from MNT – Medical News Today: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/adhd