Help your child feel safe. And don’t undermine the power of your words. When your child does confront a fear and hears your comforting, “It will be okay,” (or gets the same message from daddy holding her hand) she will feel more secure that she can deploy in other trying times. Your words of support will become a model your child can use himself. Our kids copy how we cope with our fears. So be the example of how to handle your own worries that you want your child to copy. Also, keep yourself strong. Fears are caught by children or passed down. Keep your worries or pessimism in check especially during a tragedy or after a trauma.
Teach your child to face the fear by helping her learn to say a positive phrase. It’s best to help your child choose only one phrase and help her practice saying the same one several times a day until she can say to herself when feeling anxious. A few fear-reducers include: “I can do this.” “I can handle this.” “I will be OK.” “It’s not a big deal.” Say that statement out loud when you are experiencing a challenge so that you model to your child how to cope.
Remember to stay away from catastrophic statements. Pay attention to what you say to your kids and around them. Instead of saying “It’s really important for you to learn how to swim because it’d be devastating to me if you drowned.” State it in a positive format “It’s really important for you to learn how to swim,”.
Help your child label their worries and fears as the “Worry Monster” who is a bully who is responsible for making them (and all of us) think worrisome and scary thoughts.
The Worry Monster’s job is to keep us from enjoying life. He gets joy from picking on children (and adults) and making them worried and scared. The more you talk about the Worry Monster and gang up on him with your allies, the weaker he will get and the sooner he will go away.
Parenting a child with anxiety can be overwhelming at times. Watching your child suffer from anxiety can be painful, frustrating, and confusing. There is not one parent that hasn’t wondered at one time or another if they are the cause of their child’s anxiety. However, research shows that anxiety is often the result of multiple factors (i.e., genes, brain physiology, temperament, environmental factors, past traumatic events, etc.). Please keep in mind, you did not cause your child’s anxiety, but you can help them overcome it.
Toward the goal of a healthier life for the whole family, practice self-compassion and get support. Remember, you’re not alone, and you’re not to blame. Getting support from a professional who specializes in Anxiety Disordersm, who is there to guide and assist you, can help with making you feel less alone. www.sdpsychservices.com
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.
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!
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.
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!
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