10 Tips For Parents With ADHD Children

A diagnosis of ADHD can often come as a relief to parents who have been struggling to figure out why their child has been having a difficult time. With a diagnosis comes a better idea as to how to help your child cope.

Unfortunately, ADHD can also come with several challenges that can be hard for both parent and child to deal with.

What might be an easy task for your other children may become a daily battle between you and your child with ADHD. It can be hard for parents trying to parent their children the same way, as ADHD brains don’t work the same way that their non-ADHD sibling’s brains do.

10 tips for parents with ADHD children

A one-size parenting solution won’t work when you’re parenting a child or teen with ADHD. We’ve got a few tips to help you and your family find your way to a more harmonious household.

1. Adapt your parenting approach

What might work well for your other children may not work as well for your child living with ADHD. Household and family rules can help to keep things running smoothly, but for your child with ADHD, they can be hard to stick with and understand.

While we are inclined to want to treat our kids the same, it will simply work out better for everyone if you adapt your parenting approach to better work with the differences ADHD brings with it.

As an example, let’s look at the concept of timeouts.

For the average ten-year-old, a timeout of ten minutes can prove an effective deterrent for poor behavior. For a ten-year-old with ADHD, those ten minutes can prove to be akin to torture. Your child is not likely to sit still in timeout for the full ten minutes. He’ll fidget, argue, yell, get up, wander off, and generally frustrate you.

Instead, consider consequences that are better suited to an overactive brain, like taking away privileges.

2. Don’t withhold the physical affection

Children with ADHD can be prone to throwing tantrums and making you feel like you need a break from them. That said, they respond well to physical affection. When your child appears to be at his most unlovable, this is the moment that he needs the most love.

Hug him more, touch his arm more, cuddle with him more.

As your child enters the teen years, he may not want to be hugged as much as he once did. This is very typical for teens, so try not to get too upset by it.

3. Skip the punishments, opt for a reward system

While some consequences may be effective for your child or teen with ADHD, it’s important to note that they often respond more positively to a reward system versus one based on punishments.

Each child is different. Yours may respond better to learning consequences through timeouts, removing privileges, or extra chores. Alternatively, he may learn better behaviors by focusing on rewards for the desired behaviors.

Deciding rewards vs punishments can take some trial and error to see how your child best responds.

4. Focus on the positives more than the negatives

No one likes to be told what they are doing wrong. Think about how demoralizing it would be if your boss focused only on what you are doing wrong at work. If you’re never told how great your work is, you’re going to feel pretty rotten about your job and yourself.

The same applies to your ADHD child. If all he hears about is everything that he is doing wrong, he will not feel confident in himself.

Praise him for all of the great things he’s accomplishing and the positive strides he’s taking towards modifying his behavior.

Children living with ADHD can often engage in attention-seeking behaviors. That includes negative attention-seeking behaviors.

He is likely to have a strong over-reaction to the negative attention and consequences he gets because of it. It’s up to you to focus on any positive behavior and give him the positive attention he needs versus the negative attention he seeks with his poor behavior.

When possible, ignore the irritating and poor behavior. Don’t give your child or teen the attention for acting out in a way that has been established to be incorrect behavior. Focus as much attention and praise as you can on the correct and appropriate behaviors. With time, you should start to see self-correcting taking place.

5. Don’t harp on issues

Constantly coming across as nagging to your children will lead to them simply tune you out.

Instead, demonstrate the better behavior rather than continually focusing on what he is doing wrong.

Example:

  • Instead of saying, “Your bedroom is always messy. Why can’t you pick up your messes?”
  • Reframe it as, “Let’s put your laundry into the hamper. Let’s take the cups to the kitchen. Let’s organize your desk.”

6. Work with your ADHD child

Your ADHD child or teen may be struggling for independence, but in truth, he needs your help so much more than he will admit to. Working together as a team is a much more effective way to get the results you need from your child.
What this looks like will depend on the issues that you are struggling with. It’s a great idea to work with a therapist who has experience with ADHD and the family dynamic.

Your child could benefit from learning social skills, problem-solving skills, and self-motivation skills. Many who live with ADHD struggle with concentration, attention, memory, and self-control. Working with a therapist can help your child or teen improve upon each of these skills.

You, as the parent, can learn how to best help your ADHD child cope, learn, and grow.

7. Learn and celebrate strengths

Just as you should take the focus away from the negative and put them onto the positives, it can help your ADHD child if you learn and celebrate each of his strengths.

What is he good at?

What are his interests?

Once you’ve identified what he’s good at and enjoys the most, you can help him focus and celebrate them. This will help him in so many areas of his life.

Rewards can take the form of positive words, praise, celebrations, and more.

8. Incorporate exercises to improve motor skills

One of the key facts about kids with ADHD is that they can struggle with their motor skills. They may also benefit from increased physical activity.

For your ADHD child, it can be beneficial to encourage them to participate in sports or other types of physical activities.

Studies have shown that staying physically active can help kids with ADHD better focus. It can also help to relieve frustration all around.

9. Stay consistent

Staying consistent is a parenting must across the board. For parents with ADHD children and teens, it’s even more important.

Stick with parenting techniques that work for your child, stay consistent, don’t ignore poor behavior, and follow through with consequences.

Many of us function better and see better success when things are predictable. Establish and stick to a schedule for your ADHD child and the family at large.

10. Don’t forget to prioritize yourself

It’s easy to neglect your own physical and emotional well-being when you’re focused wholly on ensuring your children are as healthy and as happy as they can be.

That said, it’s so important to place a priority on yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup, as the cliché states. Make those doctor’s appointments, schedule therapy, and take the time to enjoy the things that soothe your stress and help you feel refreshed.

This can help you to maintain the positive attitude your ADHD child needs to see modeled. If you are relaxed, calm, and focused, your child will recognize what a calm and focused attitude should look like.

Be willing to compromise when it makes sense to. Children with ADHD do better with structure, but if you can’t compromise on a later bedtime or cookies before dinner once in a while, you’ll find yourself stressing over things that you could otherwise let go of.

Something else that is ultra-important for a parent of an ADHD child is to get support. Whether from family and friends or a mental wellness professional, there’s no need to tackle your day-to-day challenges on your own.

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