Raising Kids With ADHD When You Have ADHD Too
Since ADHD runs in families, it is very common that a parent and child will both suffer from this disorder. Parenting itself comes with hurdles but add in this element and it can be very frustrating for both children and parents. Learning a few ways to cope as a parent and how to help your child can relieve stress and tension in the home. While you’re dealing with your own ADHD symptoms, here are a few ways you can help your child deal with theirs and have a calmer home.
Take Care Of You
So often parents forget to take care of themselves as they are taking care of their children and families. It is very critical that you take care of yourself by getting your therapies in, talking with your doctor, and maintaining your treatment plan. You can not assist your child if you’re suffering on your own.
Figure Out Your Child’s Struggles
What do they seem to struggle with the most? Schoolwork? Chores? Determine what your child struggles with the most and find creative solutions to help. Consider hiring a tutor for school related issues or work with your child’s teacher to come up with a plan.
Talk to Your Children
Children with ADHD do not always respond to the traditional rewards children without ADHD will. Talk with your children about tips that encourage them and what they want to see as rewards. Sit down and have a family discussion to figure out what works best for them.
Try to come up with new and creative ideas to help you both make life a little easier. Try things out such as writing reminders on the mirror in the bathroom for your children, update a whiteboard, or use an electronic reminder system to help them stay on task.
Consistency is Key
Children always thrive on consistency and those with ADHD even more so. Be sure that routines are consistent and your children know what to expect. This can help reduce some of the more troubling reactions that can come along with surprises for you and your child.
Visual Clues Help
If you want to give your child even more assistance, create visual cues to help them through chores, homework, or other tasks. It can be a step-by-step illustration of how you want them to clean their own room or bathroom. These little cues around the home can help reduce the stress and tension.
Children need to know what is expected of them and those with ADHD are no different. They need to know what you as the parent expect them to do when it comes to schoolwork, chores, and social situations.
Adjust Those Expectations
Sometimes there are small things and you just need to let them go. You can adjust your expectations of your child’s behavior depending on the situation. While there are somethings that should never be overlooked, this is definitely a place where you must choose your battles.
Don’t Forget Positive Reinforcement
Remember to encourage your child when they are doing well. Positive statements get you a lot further than consistent negativity. One expert says your positive statements should be 6:1 to your negative. So for every time you have a negative comment, make sure you say at least six nice things that day.
Teach your Non-ADHD Spouse
Share information with your spouse who doesn’t quite understand the disorder so they can be better prepared. Teach them how to work with those who have ADHD or what methods work and do not work. It will make it easier on everyone. Talk with them on how the disorder will come out and what signs to look for to ward off a major meltdown.
Be sure to take time for yourself. You must relax yourself so you can better care for your family. That could be some alone time with your spouse, shopping with friends, or just grabbing coffee by yourself.
Don’t Forget The Breaks For Your Kids
Just as you need a break from your everyday life, so do your children. Allow them to spend time with grandparents without mom and dad. If they have friends they like to hang out with, allow them downtime with their friends or a sleepover. This will help you both feel refreshed.
Parenting is stressful by itself, but when you add in something such as ADHD, it can totally increase the stress. Remember to take some downtime as a family and laugh! Laughter is truly a great medicine and you’ll be amazed at how much better everyone feels after a little silliness.
Remember it Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect
It’s okay if the house is not perfect or that you do not always eat at the table together every night. Give yourself, and your family, some grace for those everyday expectations to be adjusted.
Put a Positive Spin On It
You will have to correct your child, that’s inevitable. Try to put a positive spin on how you correct them so that it doesn’t sound so harsh and negative. Try to use other phrases instead of do not all the time. It will make a difference.
Give Them Choices
Give them a choice when it comes to daily things. For example, give them two choices of what to wear to school. This helps them feel like they have some power in their day and you reduce the chances of a long argument over the clothing.
One Thing at a Time
When you’re instructing your child, do it one step at a time. This helps to reduce the possibility of confusion and frustration for both of you.
What Do They Need?
If your child is acting out, try to sit with them and ask them what they need. There may be an underlying cause such as too much stimulation that is causing them to react this way.
Timeouts are Good
If you notice the signs of a meltdown coming, take a timeout from the situation. Explain to your child that even grownups need some time to calm down and regroup. Take a timeout for yourself to help calm yourself and get a clear head.
Outside Help Is A Good Thing
Mothers tend to feel as if they should do everything all by themselves. This is not true and it’s not a good philosophy to have. Dealing with ADD or ADHD can add on extra stress. Having some help with housekeeping, babysitting, and organizing is not a luxury but a need. This will help you to reduce your stress and frustrations while helping your family at the same time.
Specialists are Important
Get yourself some help from those who know and understand ADHD and the parenting particulars that come along with it. You need to have someone who understands the disorder and the particular challenges you face as a parent. It is not a sign of weakness to get help but rather a sign that you recognize your need and are doing the best for you and your family.