How can I help my child with ADHD? Management Strategies for Parents

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1 How can I help my child with ADHD? Management Strategies for Parents

2 Raising a child with ADHD can be incredibly challenging for any parent Russell Barkley, 2000

3 The challenge of raising a child with ADHD

4 Parent also becomes angry Sees child as having bad attitude Not a real neurological problem Both parents and children become unhappy and miserable Child with ADHD experiences difficulty Parent sets increased limits/ punishes child Child continues to experience failure Becomes angry and defiant

5 Children with ADHD have a need for increased activity, may be impulsive may have uninhibited or uncontrolled behaviour have poor concentration need constant input from you as a parent These difficulties all impact your role as parent in ways that you never thought were possible when you first thought about or were aware that you were having a child.

6 These children s need for increased guidance, love, protection, nurturance and advocacy from a parent can sometimes be hidden behind a façade of demanding and at times obnoxious or difficult behaviour! Barkley, 2000

7 Parents of children with ADHD need to teach, monitor, supervise, plan, structure, reward, discipline, protect and nurture their children in far more ways than would be needed by a typical parent.

8 Parents will need to meet more often with other adult s involved in a child s life such as teachers, doctors, mental health professionals as well as others in the community such as sports coaches etc, as a result of other behavioural difficulties these children may have. Barkley, 2000

9 A lot may be required of you as a parent of your child with ADHD! So, what to do?

10 Understand the diagnosis Make sure that everyone in the family knows what ADHD or ADD is and what it means in terms of how a child with ADHD behaves.

11 Understanding how ADHD can affect a child s behaviour and their emotional understanding and perception of the world is very important!

12 Separate the child from the Diagnosis As soon as you are aware that your child may have ADHD or ADD, separate your child from their medical condition.

13 ADHD isn t anyone s fault, it just is, and must be managed. (ADDandADHD, 2009)

14 Be positive A child who is always in trouble is likely not to have good self-esteem and possibly a strong dislike of themselves. It is thus vital that parents repeatedly let their child know that they love them regardless of their behaviour.

15

16 Noticing and commenting on good behaviour as well as praising a child when one sees that an effort is being made, however small, everytime it happens can really help.

17 Don t assume a child is simply lazy or defiant. When failures occur, one s comments need to always be constructive.

18 For example, if a child loses an especially precious toy and cannot find it, rather than tell them off for not keeping their toys tidy, it would be better to agree together on a good place for the toy to be put so that it can be more easily found the next time.

19 If a child is expected to succeed, they probably will. A child who is expected to fail will too.

20 Provide your child with statements of approval, praise or positive feedback.

21 Here are some ideas (Barkley, 2000) Super I like it when It s nice when you Fantastic. You sure are a big girl/boy for That was terrific the way you

22 Terrific Nice going Great job Wow, you sure act grown up when you. You know six months ago, you couldn t do that as well as you do now, you are really growing up fast.

23 I am very proud of you when you What a nice thing to do Wait until I tell.how well you ve done Beautiful. Wow! You did that all by yourself.way to go!

24 If words don t come easily, try some nonverbal signs of approval a hug, pat on the head or shoulder, placing an arm around a child, smiling, giving a thumbs up or a wink. Barkley, 2000

25 Involve the whole family! Involve the whole family in helping to find solutions, since ADHD behaviour affects everyone. Family meetings on how to deal with a specific problem can be helpful. Only discuss one problem at a time!

26 Handle Jealousy In a family, a child with ADHD will most likely get the most attention. As a result, other children in the family may acquire negative behaviour patterns and the message is given that only bad behaviour gets attention.

27 It is thus very important for parents to make sure that each child in their family gets the attention they deserve. Non ADHD children also need opportunity to voice how they feel in order that their views are also seen as important and that they matter too!

28 Giving children the attention they need Scheduling dedicated parent and individual child time on a regular basis can be very helpful. In this way one is able to give a child a whole meal of attention and they are less likely to keep snacking on you (particularly in negative ways) during the day!

29 Child below nine years: choose a 20 minute time that is your special time. For school children after school or supper may be good. If your child is preschool after you have dropped the other children off. It is important that no other children are involved.

30 If your child is older, you don t need to set a time, just find a time when your child is enjoying a play activity and ask if you can join in. Don t try and control the play, just relax and watch for a few minutes.

31 After watching a while you can begin to describe out loud what your child is doing. Don t ask questions or give commands as these can be disruptive. Only ask questions if you are unsure of what your child is doing.

32 This is your child s special time to enjoy your attention, not to teach or take over the child s play. Occasionally give your child statements of positive feedback.

33 Some additional suggestions: Create a daily routine for your child for example, homework, bedtime, mealtime routines.

34 Clear communication is important Be specific in your instructions, and make clear and reasonable requests Ask your child what will help and communicate honestly and clearly with your child.

35 Have clear and easily understood boundaries and expectations Rules make life predictable and therefore safe for children. These should be few, clearly stated and repeated often. It is very confusing for a child to be told different things by different caregivers. If possible, have rules visible.

36 Be consistent in your handling of your child Reward your child s good behaviour quickly and often

37 Use sanctions (eg loss of privileges) for unacceptable behaviour or overstepping of boundaries Remove disturbing or disruptive elements from their daily routine Encourage and praise your child s good behaviour!!!!!

38 Let yourself be playful, have fun, be unconventional. Children with ADHD love novelty

39 Its okay to admit that you are uncertain about something/its okay to ask questions! Seek information. Evaluate Information.

40 Be open to trying new ways. Seek out and underscore success as much as possible.

41 Praise Encouragement

42 Remember Bringing up a child with ADHD may be the hardest thing you ever have to do.

43 But if you rise to the challenge, raising a child with ADHD can provide a tremendous opportunity for fulfillment as a parent, as you watch the direct investment of time and energy pay off in the happiness and well being of your child. To know that you are needed by such a child can bring a deeper purpose to your life than many other things can do. Barkley, 2000

44

45 References and Resources Barkley, R (2000) Taking charge of ADHD: the complete, authoritative guide for parents, The Guilford Press, New York. Faber, A. & Mazlish, E (1999) How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk. London: Piccadilly Press.

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