Parenting a child can be tough. Parenting a child with ADHD can be tougher.
As you help your child with ADHD develop strategies to work with ADHD, there are 7 secrets to keep in mind.
Outcome? Peace At Home.
These strategies will help you guide your child with ADHD in a realistic and caring way.
With an understanding that there is no cure all for ADHD.
The guidance you provide can help your kiddo work at their own pace toward understanding ADHD and more importantly, working with it.
Let’s dive into the 7 Secrets To Parenting Your Child with ADHD.
As parents, we all need patience, and this quality is particularly important for parents AND children with ADHD. While it’s natural for parents to want to “solve” their kiddo’s problems and “cure” their ADHD, the reality for most kiddos is that they need time to develop.
Children with ADHD will develop in similar ways as that of their peers, except in brain development, where they are behind about three years. Studies suggest that parents can be reassured their children will eventually develop the necessary organizational, planning, and judgment skills exercised by children without ADHD.
What does this mean for you? It means extra patience and an eye on long-term development.
Rather than quick fixes.
Keep On Eye On Long Term
Keep on Eye On Long Term is related to Practice Patience.
Parents should understand that even though they are taking the steps to help their kiddo, they might not see immediate results. This can be tough for parents.
Change and maturation require time. Sometimes LOTS of time! Children may develop more slowly in some areas than others. Children may experience occasional setbacks.
But….these bumps in their development do NOT mean they won’t eventually have all the tools they require for a productive life.
Recognize Positive Behaviors.
Kiddos with ADHD often require constant feedback. Be sure to recognize what your kiddo is doing well.
Even if it’s just a small part of a larger task.
Let me share an example. While most school-age children can get dressed and eat breakfast independently, many kiddos with ADHD need to be praised for each step of the process they complete on their own.
Here’s another example. Putting their socks on or tying their shoes without help, or working on homework for 15 minutes, or sitting at the table for ten minutes without fidgeting.
All great reasons for praise.
There are parents who may feel kiddos should not be praised for tasks that are expected of them at a certain age. Children with ADHD need this praise to motivate them to keep completing these tasks on their own.
It may feel strange to praise kiddos who are still developing skill sets their peers have already incorporated, or which parents think are easy.
But…it is necessary to keep kiddos with ADHD moving toward independence.
Big leaps can happen in very unexpected time frames. Little changes happen all the time.
Be unconditionally supportive of your kiddo.
Most importantly, notice when they succeed regardless of how trivial the accomplishment may seem to you.
Heard of Russell Barkley? He’s the guru of ADHD. He noted children with ADHD might not internalize motivation as other children do over time. They may need external motivations.
This does not mean parents need to consider what their kiddos with ADHD value, such as playing video games or sports, and use these interests as rewards. While many parents want kiddos to carry out tasks just because it is the right thing to do, kiddos with ADHD may need to be externally motivated.
That’s why token systems, or chip programs help kiddos with ADHD persist. Without these rewards, kiddos with ADHD cannot themselves create the intrinsic will power they need to stick with the task.
Break Down Tasks and Directions into Smaller Parts
Kiddos with ADHD often need longer tasks and directions broken down into smaller, easier to manage pieces.
In the ADHD Coaching world, we call this “de-chunking.”
What should parents, teachers, and other caregivers avoid? Assuming that a kiddo with ADHD will understand HOW to break down longer tasks on their own.
Let me give you example. In the morning, your child may need a list of each task they need to complete.
It may look like this:
- Put your dirty clothes in the laundry basket.
- Put the laundry basket with your dirty clothes in the laundry room.
School assignments need to be broken down similarly. Specific times for completion need to be assigned. Many kiddos with ADHD do not have an intrinsic sense of how to plan or complete tasks within a certain time frame.
Avoid Comparing Your Kiddo with ADHD to Others, Including Siblings.
This can be difficult.
Parents who have kiddos with ADHD and different needs should not compare their children to their siblings or their peers. I get it. This is can be really hard.
Kiddos with ADHD already have an acute sense of not measuring up, and the types of comparisons when shared with children, do not tend to motivate them.
Comparisons for the purpose of trying to show our kiddo with ADHD how they should behave can frustrate them further and lead to less self-confidence and/or self-esteem in working toward developing the skills they need.
Take Personal Time to Recuperate.
Parents with kiddos with ADHD can feel exhausted.
…..and even isolated at times.
If possible, it is important to find time for yourself and reflect or just relax. You may also enjoy joining groups for parents of kiddos with ADHD so you can share experiences and journeys. Connecting with other parents who understand what you are going through can help reduce any sense of isolation you may be feeling.
Would you like to have peace in your home? Need support with your kiddo with ADHD? Learn more at about my transformational coaching service, Peace At Home: Family ADHD Coaching.
Loretta Holmes, MA CMHWC is a certified ADHD Coach, Master Life Coach, and Master Health & Wellness Coach. She is the founder of Bella ADHD & Life Coaching. Loretta began her career as a high school special education teacher and currently resides in Southwest Michigan with her hubby and her golden doodle, Riley. Loretta also has two adult children. Questions? She loves to help others! Shoot Loretta an email at firstname.lastname@example.org