It can be hard being the parent of a child with ADHD. Once you receive the diagnosis, there are several things you will want to do and not do, so that you can help your child more effectively. Let’s start with the Don’ts first.
1-Don’t Give In to Guilt
ADHD is not something that you caused your child or loved one to have, so do not give in to any “guilt trips” if they try to surface. There isn’t any concrete evidence pointing to any one specific cause of ADHD, so understand that it is just one of those things and focus instead on helping them to succeed.
2-Don’t look at what they can’t do.
3-Don’t look at only the ‘naughty behavior and fail to see the good.
4-Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
The most helpful attitude to take will be to pick your battles. If you have a child with ADHD, there will be some behavioral issues that will occur as a result of the disorder which would not usually occur, or occur as frequently, in a child that did not have ADHD.
Try to overlook these when they aren’t too severe because these are symptoms and not actual character traits. These include fidgeting, chattering and being restless. Instead, try to incorporate these actions into their daily routine, through plenty of exercise and breaks between activities to help them work off steam so they will be able to focus better.
Here the DOS:
1-DO Change Your Diet
There is a growing list of trigger foods that you will want to consult if you have a family member with ADHD. You need to get your entire family on board with these changes and implement them immediately.
These dietary changes have the potential to help reduce the symptoms of ADHD greatly and your entire family will benefit as a result. Some of these foods include ones with artificial coloring, artificial sweeteners, foods high in sugar, foods treated with pesticides, and more.
Avoid relying on convenience foods full of chemicals and preservatives. Whenever possible, buy fresh food and cook it yourself so you can be sure of what is in it. You might even like to start a food diary to see if there is any correlation between your child’s mood and their food.
2-DO Seek Support
ADHD is becoming more and more common and, as a result, there are many support groups out there to join. You’ll find it helpful and therapeutic when you get involved in one of these groups because you will meet others going through the same thing you are. Additionally, you can help each other by providing new ideas, thoughts and techniques for dealing with the various difficulties the disorder brings.
3-DO set a routine.
This will help stop bad behavior because a surprise of some sort (even a good one) triggers an episode.
4-DO continue your daily school routine, even in summer.
Ever see how bad your kids are by the end of the summer holidays? Even the ones without ADHD. A bored child is a mischievous one. Keep them busy at all times with something entertaining and educational.
In the same way that schools have a timetable, set a schedule and stick to it. If you decide to homeschool your child, you will definitely want to do this, though your ‘school hours’ will be extended in order to fit in little breaks more often, plus real world educational experiences like field trips to the store, bank or park.
5-DO encourage sports and hobbies.
Many children with ADHD actually have a lot of great personal qualities that can be focused upon, rather than just trying to deal with distracted or ‘bad’ behavior. In particular, they can be very athletic and excel at individualized sports (not team sports in which there might be a lot of standing or sitting around doing nothing, like baseball). The great Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps is one inspiring example of what a child with ADHD can achieve with active support from at least one parent.
Just remember that they will want to concentrate on what they love to the exclusion of all else in some cases. This is termed ‘hyperfocus’. A well-rounded schedule will include a variety of activities throughout the day, with their least favorite subjects and activities sandwiched in between things that they like. In this way you can keep them on task, in a routine, and watch them thrive despite their medical condition.