ADHD, Now What?
Updated: Dec 23, 2021
Raising a child with ADHD presents a unique set of challenges and is often different than traditional childrearing. In supporting the growth and development of children with ADHD it is first important to understand how the brain of a child with ADHD works. Children with ADHD often have significant strengths in their areas of interest and some common weaknesses, such as difficulties with attention, focus, organization, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Often children with ADHD are viewed as misbehaving due to such challenges. It is important that your child develops their strengths so they can begin to soar. Learning specific parenting tools can help offset some of the difficulties and reduce frustrations in the home. Setting boundaries that are firm and consistent is often the first step in helping your child with ADHD. Setting boundaries and expectations can be difficult to do when your child pushes back. It can be helpful to develop your own “scripts” or language of how to respond to your child when this happens. Maintaining as much structure as possible can also be helpful for your child to stay organized and focused.
What Helps A Child or Teen With ADHD
The most important factor is to target intervention and support towards the area your child or teen is struggling with the most. It is important to avoid becoming overwhelmed, and trying to tackle all issues at once. Learning new skills takes time and patience!
Children with ADHD immensely benefit from resiliency and regulation training as well as learning how to become independent problem solvers. Behaviour management tools, such as punishment and rewards, can be beneficial in the short term, however often backfire, as children may have difficulties reaching the reward due to the very nature of ADHD (impulsivity). This may cause your child to feel anxious over time if they are unable to reach the rewards. It is important that your child builds internal motivation for long-term success. This can be done by using your child’s strengths to build areas of challenge.
At Creative Sky Psychology, a strength-based approach is used from the first session. Your child will learn tools that work for them. These tools can be used in the home and school as well. As your child starts to build success, they feel good about themselves. This is what matters in treating any childhood condition. All children want to do well, when they struggle to do well, maladaptive behaviours can emerge.