12 Rules for parents who have a child with ADHD
Being the parent of a child with ADHD means putting in some extra effort when it comes to taking care of your child so that they can grow up with a loving and supportive environment without feeling that they're "different" or that they're not like other children.
Here are 12 rules for parents (and for non-parents as well) when it comes to handling a child with ADHD.
1. A child with ADHD is just like any other child
Children aren't perfect. They all have their quirks and unique personalities that make them who they are, regardless of whether or not they have ADHD.
That's why for parents, it's important to stop dwelling on the negative aspects and start focusing on your child's abilities. Boost their self-esteem and let your child improve on their strengths and work on their weaknesses. Make them feel confident and comfortable with themselves.
2. Don't let negativity stop you
A lot of people misunderstand ADHD, that's why they tend to spread misinformation or "bad news" about this condition. And even if you know better, it can sometimes feel disheartening when people spread these things.
Children with ADHD have a different way of learning, but that doesn't stop them from learning and being able to succeed in life. That's why parental support is important, your child depends on you to guide and support them, and you should always be proud of your child.
3. Discipline isn't always punishment
Discipline and punishment are often confused as being the same thing. However, they can't be any more different.
Discipline is used to teach kids a lesson, and make them understand if they did anything wrong, and what they can do to avoid making those mistakes in the future. On the other hand, punishment is used to instill fear, shame, or force a child to behave.
Punishment has its place in parenting, but discipline should always be the first thing that parents use.
4. Medication helps, but it isn't a cure
Sometimes, parents can be too dependent on their child's medication. While it's true that medication does help, it's only one part of the treatment that your child needs.
Medication helps your child better cope with ADHD, but it's still up to parents to help guide their child down the right path.
5. Don't punish your child for something that's beyond their control
When it comes to kids with ADHD, "defiant" behavior doesn't always mean that your child is deliberately disobeying you. If you asked your child to pick up their toys and get ready for bed, and you suddenly see them playing with their toys, it doesn't mean that they're trying to push your buttons. They might have gotten distracted while picking up their toys, so instead of cleaning up, they opted to play instead.
Children with ADHD easily get distracted, so parents need to be extra patient and understanding of their child's condition. Always give your child the benefit of the doubt, and try to look at things from their perspective.
6. Don't blame other people if your child is having problems
Your child is your pride and joy, but that doesn't mean that they're perfect. Some parents tend to find fault with everyone else, except their own child.
It's true that other people can contribute to your child's difficulties, but it's important to know that your child needs to be responsible for themselves, and their mistakes and problems.
7. Never call your child names
If you keep calling your child lazy, hyper, easily distracted, or anything negative, they'll eventually believe that those things are indeed true.
Try to understand that most of the time, the reason why your child acts this way is because of their condition. They're not always deliberately trying to be lazy, distracted, or hyper. It's something that's beyond their control, and calling them names or calling them out for it won't do them any good.
8. Don't always say "no"
Sometimes, parents say no not because their child is in danger, but because they're overprotective or got used to saying no to their child.
Always think twice before saying no to your child. It's good to let them explore new things instead of keeping them cooped up and under your control.
9. Focus on your child's positive behavior
Sometimes, parents of kids with ADHD focus too much on fixing their child's bad behavior and tend to overlook their positive behavior.
Start to retrain yourself into looking at the positive instead of the negative and you'll see that your child starts becoming more positive and confident.
10. Know what your child's "triggers" are
Parents should always be aware of what situations and circumstances might trigger their child to act out or to behave badly. Instead of being reactive, try and plan ahead so that you can prevent any situations that can trigger your child.
Having a plan of action when you go on a trip, or even if you're just going to the store can really help when it comes to preventing your child from acting out.
11. Set an example for your child
It's important for parents to be a role model for their child. Show your child that you practice self-control, that you can manage your emotions, and that you're someone that your child loves and respects, not fears.
12. Don't be afraid to ask for help
Remember, you're not alone. There's nothing wrong with asking for help from your spouse, your friends, or your relatives.
It can be difficult if you're the only one who takes care of your child, so it's always good to have a support group that you can lean on whenever you're having problems.