Parenting a Child with ADHD

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than six percent of school age children suffer from Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a developmental disorder that affects attention, behavior and the ability to learn. Raising a child with ADHD presents many unique challenges. ADHD often keeps children from developing abilities, such as planning ahead, controlling impulses and completing tasks.

You can overcome frustrations associated with ADHD by focusing on your behavior toward your child. Remember that many of your child’s problems aren’t within their control. Keep in mind the following tips for parenting a child with ADHD:

  • Stay calm. When your child misbehaves, stay calm to help balance hyperactive behaviors that may keep them from being their best. If you react as strongly as they do, you may only escalate the situation. Keep your interactions as positive as possible, and be consistent with any punishment.
  • Plan ahead. Children with ADHD can become overly excited or out of control in unfamiliar or stimulating places. If you know certain situations or places trigger your child’s behavior, try to avoid those situations so you don’t set your child up to fail.
  • Be flexible. Set clear expectations for daily tasks, but be flexible. It can be hard for a child with ADHD to stick to a routine. Use specific time frames and rewards. This helps children plan ahead and understand what they are supposed to do. Just remember to keep time frames short. Many children with ADHD can’t plan a week or even a few days into the future.

On difficult days, remember all the things you love about your child. Take time to say something positive and affirming every day. Hug and cuddle frequently to let them know you love them.

Work with your physician to get resources for managing ADHD. Many families see the best results with a combination of medication and behavioral therapy for both the parents and child.

If you’re looking for a pediatrician or family doctor, visit Riley at IU Health to locate expert, compassionate care near you.

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