Children and adolescents with ADHD are frequently sent to therapy or counseling, usually either because it’s been recommended or the parents don’t know what else to do. In either case, traditional counseling is rarely effective. It is usually because children with ADHD are rarely introspective and don’t like to talk very much about their feelings. We find it to be much more effective to provide the parents with the tools they need to manage the household more effectively. Otherwise, the child with ADHD ends up managing the household, and not in a good way!
In a very real sense, ADHD becomes a family problem, in as much as it affects the entire family. Parents are often left exhausted either trying to keep their child on track or “putting out fires”, metaphorically speaking, caused by their child’s behavior. If there are siblings, they too are affected, often in a negative way. Parents of a child with ADHD already know that praise and punishment rarely work as effectively as they do with other children. But if praise and punishment aren’t enough, then what’s a parent to do? This is where Parent Coaching comes in. It is not therapy; it is a concrete, practical approach that teaches parents how to “engineer” the home environment to promote their child’s self-regulation.
At The Reynolds Clinic, we teach parents how to anticipate problems before they occur and to arrange contingencies in such a way that the child clearly sees it to be in his or her best interest to manage their behavior. Parent Coaching is designed to put you, the parent, back in “the driver’s seat”. It usually takes about 6 sessions spaced out over three months with “homework assignments” between sessions. Sessions sometimes include your child, some sessions may even include the whole family, even grandparents, but the parents are the main focus.