STEP 1 Confirm the diagnosis and get support from professionals.
A number of childhood conditions can look very similar to ADHD, so a very thorough diagnosis is needed to make sure you are dealing with the right condition. Reach out to a professional who has experience with diagnosis and treatment of children with ADHD.
We list this first because it is so easy to be pulled down emotionally by hyperactive behavior. When parents are stressed, it makes it much harder to take the steps required for parenting adhd children.
It is important to find a support group with other parents who are struggling with these same issues in their home. Just being with other parents going through the same issues as you are will greatly reduce the stress.
These other parents of ADHD children will be able to provide emotional support as well as ideas of things that have helped them work through the difficulties that this disorder presents.
Step 2 Connect with your child.
Connectedness is the first and most important step. Feeling rooted gives children a foundation of security. Children need unconditional love from one or both parents and benefit when they have close ties to their family. Let your child know that you love them and show them that you love them with praise and affection. Spend time with your child doing the things that they love. Get to know your child’s personality, likes, and interests. Show them that you are connected with them!
Step 3 Boundaries.
Make sure there are always very clear instructions and the child knows exactly what is expected of them. It is much easier for both the child and parent if there are clear and definitive rules and expectations. If your child misbehaves, give them a quick sentence on what it was that the child did wrong and why it’s wrong, and give them advice on what they should do instead. If they continue to misbehave, give them one warning of what the consequences will be if they don’t stop. Most ADHD kids don’t understand boundaries; if you give too many warnings and not enough punishment, they will get worse. They need to be punished promptly and appropriately. Use time out as a consequence. It is very effective for ADHD kids and even teens. Magic 123 by Thomas Phelan outlines a structure for setting up household rules and consequences that is simple to follow. Create a household rules and consequences chart.
Step 4 Give lots of praise and encouragement.
ADHD kids thrive on praise and will be more successful when they get it. ADD/ADHD is as much a marker of talent as it is a potential problem. The problems can be taken care of. Many ADHD kids think outside the box, are intuitive, persistent, and creative. They have huge hearts and a desire to march to the beat of their own drums. All these positives are what make people with ADHD so interesting and potentially successful. Let them know that you love their talents!
Once they get a handle on what’s going on, people with ADHD tend to contribute to the world in a very positive way. Having ADHD is like having a race car engine for a brain with weak brakes. Once you strengthen your brakes, you’re ready to win races!
Step 5 Learn various techniques/tools/treatments for managing ADHD symptoms.
Studies show that diet, exercise, therapy, supplements, medication and non-medication based treatments are effective in managing symptoms. Research various treatments and pick the ones that you feel work best with your child’s needs and personality. Remember that there are alternatives to medication for treatment for ADHD symptoms. For non-medication based treatment of ADHD symptoms, neurofeedback has been shown to be a great resource. Neurofeedback training can help children learn to make their brains more active when they need it to be. This is especially important for school and work environments. www.sandiego-neurofeedback.com